Can Catholics Watch ‘Game of Thrones”?
No. No they can’t. And if they think they can…they’re dreaming.
Some things in life are complex. Nuclear fusion is one. Linguistics, something I failed miserably in university, is another.
Mercifully, many things are pretty straightforward. So let’s make this simple. Being Catholic, a serious Catholic who loves the faith and seeks to become a better person via prayer, the sacraments and the life of grace means that there is a truckload of stuff that you can do and some that you can’t.
Ever since I have started this website I have been trying to make the point that the Catholic Church is not a democracy. It’s not like the local branch of a political party where every one gets a say. It’s a mystical body, established by Christ for the establishment of the kingdom of God so that people can get to heaven to be with God eternally. Pretty simple that. It would also be even simpler if Adam and Even had a stronger aversion to snakes. But them’s the breaks!
Anyways…back to the point.
We are sensory beings. What we see and hear has an impact upon our spiritual nature. And no, it does not matter whether you think it does or not. It just does. For example, there is a reason we have art galleries and a reason we have the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Beauty is an essential aspect of what it means to be human because beauty is one of the three transcendentals that constitute what is taking place in the heart of the Godhead. Within the very essence of the Trinity exist Truth, Beauty and Goodness in their ultimate and full expression. So, in this life the degree to which we expose ourselves to truth, beauty and goodness will strongly impact our relationship with God and our ability to experience him in daily life.You contemplate beauty you get closer to God…you watch Game of Thrones you get the opposite.
Game of Thrones strikes out on all three transcendentals. It is not true, in the sense that its depictions of sexuality and human intimacy do not conform to the truth of human sexuality as an exclusive gift by which spouses make a mutual self-donative gift of love in harmony with the self-giving essence of the Trinity. Game of Thrones is not beautiful and it ain’t got the market cornered on goodness either!
What exactly do you think St. Paul was getting at when he said in Philippian’s 4 V. 8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” He knew very clearly that what we allowed our eyes, ears and minds to dwell upon was pretty damn important. It”s not rocket science people!
I never thought I would quote St. Paul and Nietzsche so closely but good old Friedrich Nietzsche, that happy camper that helped provide the philosophical basis for the holocaust and topped Hitler’s ‘Must Read’ list, made the point. “If you stare into the abyss long enough the abyss stares back.” He knew that the longer we watch, consume and assimilate dodgy ideas and stimuli the sooner we find ourselves attracting the attention of genuine evil who is all too ready to serve more of what we want. 24 hour room service from the Pit! Oh, and yes, Catholics can mention evil and Satan. Pope Francis does it at least once per week and he mentions evil by name. So if you’re in the camp of ,”Evil is just bad ideas.”, then take it up with the Pope.
“But I like the storyline!” Who cares! Crack users like crack but that does not make crack good for them! “I don’t focus on the sex just the plot.” Sorry friend! It’s a package deal. You watch the plot, you get the sex. You watch the sex, your attitudes shift over time and then, ‘lo and behold’, you’ve joined the ranks of the cafeteria Catholics who don’t support the Church’s pastoral wisdom on sex, love and marriage. Well thank God you don’t get to vote on that!
So, let’s all grow up and realise that if you want to be Catholic then you need to make some adult decisions about what you are going to let into your life. Daniel went to Babylon but kept himself faithful to God by refusing to join in the headlong descent into hedonism that surrounded him. He made choices.
It’s time to take the culture back with a reenergised evangelical Catholic culture that has amongst its foundations a love of beauty in art and entertainment.
If you’re watching Game of Thrones…you’re dreaming!