Letters to the Editor

Catholics on the Tube

Dear Editor: It is a given that the cable/satellite channel Fox News presents itself unabashedly as America’s bastion of all that is good and wholesome in government, culture, and social conduct, a beacon of traditional values and moral rectitude.

Therefore it defies all logic that Fox’s broadcast network is arguably the most blatant purveyor of vicious derision of religion, almost exclusively of Christianity and, most especially, of all that is sacred in the Catholic Church.

Various Fox melodramas and sitcoms (as in situation “comedies”) have targeted the Church, parodying Catholic rituals and demeaning profoundly held Catholic and other Christian beliefs as fodder for their notion of hilarious plots and punch lines. Even their cartoons spew blasphemies, and surely any entertainment oozing from the imagination of Seth McFarlane is bound to invite contempt for religious sensibilities to infiltrate the joviality.

While it is also a given that the “entertainment” media in general are not known for their displays of respect for believers, at least not for Christian believers, and that enthusiasm for bashing the Catholic Church is a hallmark of political correctness, one could only hope that perhaps Fox, considering its conservative cable/satellite teammate, might be more circumspect about its pursuit of the profane and the blasphemous.

Several weeks ago, however, the broadcast avatar of Fox, seen locally on Channel 5, entered a new phase in its campaign to offend with an episode of a real “knee-slapper” of a series called “The Mick.” One Tuesday last month, as I casually surfed the usual collection of on-screen synopses in planning my enjoyment of that evening’s fare, the brief description of the upcoming episode of “The Mick” caught my attention. Succinctly put, the plot was to be about one character’s return to church in order to help her fight an addiction. It sounded like a morale was to be had and perhaps watching the episode might be a source of Christian edification; I looked forward to watching, not expecting a healthy dose of piety, yet surely not prepared for an onslaught of heavy-handed blasphemous mockery.

But there it was – on Channel 5, in prime time – the most shameless display of anti-religious ridicule that Fox could muster.

First, there were two of the main characters in a contest to outdo each other in expounding their atheism, then engaging a young boy, barely having achieved the age of reason, ostensibly trying to spare him their atheism while the tyke’s own foul mouth was used to propel the plot (it is evidently not judged to be child abuse when adult script-writers and directors, not to mention parents, coach an eight-or-so-year-old to spew vulgarities in order to entertain the TV masses).

As offensive as this presentation portended to be by already the first few minutes, I could not click away with the remote, succumbing to a morbid curiosity to watch exactly how far this train would careen before finally tumbling off the track.

Throw into the mix a “hip” tattooed priest (his inked Christian symbols displayed when he strips down to demonstrate his basketball prowess), his dim but easily bought-off pastor, ridicule of the Mass, parody of God the Father, desecration of the altar, and yet more mockeries and indignities, all within the one merely half-hour episode.

Finally, cap off the episode with the conclusion that an opioid is the authentic source of spiritual enlightenment, and you have the essentials of the Fox network’s gleeful presentation of light entertainment. Enough said.