February 28, 2003

TV Addiction

"If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you into enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna." — Mark 9:47

"Now those who belong to Christ [Jesus] have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires." — Galatians 5:24

"Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh." —Romans 13:14

Some of you who are reading this will never be what the Lord calls you to be unless you let the Lord free you from addictions, especially the addiction to watching TV. To understand this, you must be aware of the difference between an abuser and an addict. Abusers overdo things such as watching TV, drinking alcohol, eating, and working, etc., but they can control themselves if they turn to the Lord for help. However, addicts cannot consistently control their watching TV, drinking alcohol, etc. They may avoid addictive behavior even for long periods of time, but what seems to be self-control actually is only delaying a binge.

TV abusers should be told to turn to the Lord and limit their TV viewing. TV addicts should be told to turn to the Lord, face the fact they can't control themselves; and get rid of their TVs. The Lord works with TV addicts not by giving them the grace to control themselves, but by giving them wisdom to remove the occasion of sin. Just as an alcoholic should not have alcohol in the house, so a TV addict, should not have a TV in the house.

Many people deceive themselves into thinking they're TV abusers but actually they're TV addicts. They will never be given the grace to properly control their TV watching but will have the grace to get rid of their TVs. Many people don't need a "remote control," but need to throw out the TV so there is no TV to control. It is difficult to face this, but TV addicts either get rid of their TVs or be slaves. There is no other possibility for them.

If you have resolved to limit your TV watching but have been inconsistent in keeping your resolutions, you should probably get rid of your TV. The following prayer from the Roman Ritual (Book of Blessings, 395), is a way of accepting God's grace to throw out your TV and to get on with living for Jesus. Pray this prayer from your heart and be free. After you let Jesus free you, tell others what Jesus has done for you.

"God of mercy,
we bless you in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, who ministered to all who came to him.
Give your strength to N_______, your servant,
bound by the chains of addiction.
Enfold him/her in your love
and restore him/her to the freedom of God's children.

look with compassion on all those
who have lost their health and freedom.
Restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy,
and strengthen them in the work of recovery.
To those who care for them,
grant patient understanding and
a love that perseveres.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen."


Nihil obstat: Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, May 21, 1994.
Imprimatur: † Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 25, 1994.