Review Policy

The difficulty of modern Catholics with today’s entertainment is that there is little guidance on what is acceptable and pleasing to God, or even what is forbidden. This is not to say that there is no guidance. Pornography is banned by the Catechism, to the point where it is demanded that civil authorities prohibit it as well. Movies and video games that corrupt the youth with false images of exalted violence and trivial sexuality have been condemned by Pope Benedict XVI. The Index used to ban books, and remains a guide. There are still some Catholic reviewers out there.

Nevertheless, this does not help when checking out a random book from the library to determine whether it is acceptable. There are three thousand new books published every day; it is absolutely impossible that moral guides can read all of them. For another example, decentfilms.com’s large database has no review of The End of Evangelion, leaving the innocent Catholic otaku to be blindsided by it like I was or wondering whether they should dare watch it (protip: don’t). For yet another, so many content-hours of video games exist that even the most dedicated reviewer must either only skim each game, missing what may lay later, or play through only a few.

That old canard, What Would Jesus Do, is little help. We only know what Our Lord would hypothetically do based on what is right and wrong. We cannot at the same time base what is right and wrong on what Our Lord would hypothetical do. To do otherwise is reasoning in circles.

There is thus a spectrum of views on media. On one end, anything with an Imprimatur of some sort is acceptable, everything else is prohibited. On the other, everything on an Index of some sort is prohibited, everything else is permissible. Neither, I believe, is wrong.

I say that the difficult lies in that the line differs from person to person. Some can look at women in bikinis without lust, for others it is an occasion of sin. Some enjoy pagan myths without belief in them, others are only offended. Some can watch violent films, others can’t stand them. Indeed, the Apostle Paul talks about food sacrificed to idols in the same terms.

This, therefore, is my review policy.  While I desire not to be a stumbling block for the weak, this is the internet, and I cannot guarantee that everyone who reads these posts has the same “possession of knowledge” that I do. What I review and find acceptable might not be for everyone. This is not to say I am better for having a stronger stomach for bad (morally or otherwise) works, or worse off for having a weaker stomach in other cases. What I review and don’t find acceptable, conversely, is not necessarily a condemnation of the work and those who enjoyed it. I’m sure there are some Catholics who got something out of, or at least managed to sit through, The End of Evangelion, but I am not one of them.

I will also attempt to avoid spoilers, but no guarantees there, either.

10 comments on “Review Policy

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