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CUT says that Catholics should unplug their televisions: but if we do, how shall we know what to fight?

Culture wars aren’t won by switching off

By on Friday, 15 July 2011

The licence fee funds all of the BBC's output, not just the programmes we choose to watch (Clara Molden/PA Wire)

The licence fee funds all of the BBC's output, not just the programmes we choose to watch (Clara Molden/PA Wire)

This week I received through the post the summer newsletter of an organisation I had not previously heard of, engagingly called CUT, which stands for Catholics Unplug your Televisions. This immediately put me in mind of a Finnish religious sect which was operational around 30 years ago (I think it no longer exists, presumably because its active members all ended up in jail) who believed that television had come between man and God, by obsessing people to the extent that they could think of nothing else, and certainly not religion: it had despiritualised them. So they used to break into people’s houses, not to steal anything (they were very strict about that) but just to destroy the television set. So you would come down in the morning to a perfectly tidy house (if you had left it that way) except for the wreckage of your TV set.

That’s not quite what CUT is on about. The Finnish cult dates from the early days of television, when people, everyone it seemed, really was entirely and obsessively engrossed by the black and white pictures flickering away on their tiny TVs. CUT is opposed to what actually is to be seen on the television, not the very existence of the thing itself. St Padre Pio, they point out, described the TV as Satan’s Tabernacle. Also (I like this one) St Elizabeth Seton (early 19th century) is said to have had a prophetic vision of the 20th century in which she saw a black box from which Satan would enter people’s homes. That is precisely CUT’s contention: its rather splendid logo shows St Michael the archangel in his classic winged warlike posture, standing with his foot on a prostrate Satan into whom he is about to plunge his spear: the difference is that Satan is shown emerging from a very modern looking (possibly even HD) flat-screen television set.

The point is that CUT says it’s just as much opposed to your having a TV even if you carefully avoid anything morally dubious, and just watch concerts and nature programmes (mind you, if David Attenborough has anything to do with them, even nature programmes can be mostly sex and violence). Because in this country we have to pay the licence to watch anything, just having a functioning TV is what causes the problem, CUT claims: as it argues in the editorial of its summer newsletter:


When TV licence fee paying time comes around do Catholics ever wonder what exactly they are funding? Some will say “Oh, I only watch the news, or sport” with football, cricket, golf, snooker and rugby all being cited as unmissable. And “I do love a good drama like the classic serial” or “I like to watch documentaries”, and “I only watch selected good programmes, like EWTN”. However, in Britain, as in many countries where a licence fee exists, the fee also funds pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, “politically correct” and often anti-Catholic propaganda. Perhaps saying “I do not watch bad TV” whilst funding it is not really a good excuse. Would you buy poison for other people even though you would never take it yourself? … There can be no doubt that the influence of TV, funded by viewers paying the licence fee, has radically changed society and its laws. Licence fee-funded drama has been used to promote the legalisation, acceptance and normalisation of abortion through emotive plays and soap opera story lines. The BBC is adept at twisting any argument using various TV and radio genres to create a discussion format “with an unmistakeable flow of meaning”.

This is, it will be seen, an entirely and necessarily British movement. In countries where you don’t, by paying a licence, have to fund liberal secular TV like the BBC in order to watch anything, the argument doesn’t work. And even here, objections present themselves, however much sympathy one may have with the objectives of CUT. First, TV’s capacity to produce good, wholesome, even actually holy programming would be wholly undermined if we just withdrew from involvement in the media. The Pope’s idea that we must use the media to fight the good fight would simply be ruled out. And by the way, a propos the Pope – the stunning success of his papal visit to this country was not merely recorded and conveyed by the TV coverage; it was to a large extent actually generated by it. And not paying the licence fee, incidentally, would of course mean we couldn’t legally watch EWTN either.

And how, I wonder, does CUT know about the programmes it has a go at in its newsletter and on its website if it doesn’t watch them? That’s the trouble: in the middle of any war, including the culture wars the Church is continually engaged in, you have to know what the enemy is up to. If you simply switch off, they can do anything, unchallenged.

All the same, I’m glad to know about CUT, whose views on what the BBC is up to I shall keep in touch with. I end with the section in their website giving details of their prayer crusade and how to join it:

Prayer Crusade for July 2011

We ask for prayers upon the demise of the News of the World and for those who will lose their jobs.

We ask Prayer Crusaders to pray that the quality of British journalism will improve.

Not only at News International but also at the Guardian and at the BBC.

Please say a Rosary in reparation

Prayer Crusaders engage in spiritual combat to counter the media, the Cult of Celebrity, and their often bad influence.

If you have a favourite saint please let us know and we will send you a prayer card with your saint on it (or we can allocate a saint that has not been taken).

Ask your saint to intercede before the Holy Trinity for the souls of celebrities who are in the news and whose influence may lead many away from Christ.

Enrolment in the Crusade of Prayer is free.

Contact us at:

St Winefride’s Presbytery
Mynd Close, Shrewsbury, SY2 5RA

For their website, see the link at the top of this page.

  • Ben Trovato

    I think you are on thin ground here, Dr Oddie.  

    I do not need to watch pornography to oppose its promulgation, for example.  

    With modern communications, I know well what the BBC is up to (and comment on it) without having a television.  I see no reason to fund a institution that consistently undermines Catholic values and civil virtue (see, for example, its recent blatantly biased approach to Euthanasia).

  • Joseph Shaw

    I haven’t had a TV since my last one died two or three years ago. I don’t think I’ve missed any of the important controversies caused by BBC programming. I watched ‘Abused’ on IPlayer. I’ve seen Jon Snow attacking Joanna Bogle on YouTube. I saw how slanted the BBC coverage of the Pope’s visit to Sydney was from the website. I’ve even complained about BBC programmes a handful of times.

    Contributing to their coffers is quite unnecessary. And watching TV to catch all the anti-Catholic rubbish on it seems like masochism to me.

  • Brian A Cook

    We do have computers. 

  • W Oddie

    Of course we do’t need “to watch pornography to oppose its promulgation”. But how do you know when it’s on, so that you can object to your licence fee being used to promulgate it? What about the BBC campaign for euthanasia? We need to KNOW about the actual programmes. Otherwise it’s all theoretical. It’s not the world we’re actually living in.

  • Aquinitatis

    There’s a major difference in the pornography example given by a commenter below: there is no good or bad pornography; pornography by nature is immoral. It is a one-trick pony at heart. A simple definition is enough to tell you it is not moral. You do not need to watch it to know this; nor do you need to keep up with its “latest developments.”

    Back to the matter of television. People will find bad programming on television and support for bad things through it, it is true, but if that is the argument, then I would also suggest that people had better stop their internet service as well (where, incidentally, all of the ills which can come with TV can not only be found, but found *on-demand* anytime of the day, often for free and without any filters whatsoever.  In fact, a stronger argument could be made for people cutting off the internet than cutting off television if one is going to try to go with this principle.)

    Further, if we’re going to go with this idea consistently, what other mediums can (and do) carry ill messages, teachings, support immoral causes, etc? The answer is all of them. magazines, newspapers, books, etc.  So then, should we next establish a movement to avoid the fruits of the technology of the printing press? CUG? Catholics “unplug” Gutenberg? After all, while the printing press can produce the Catholic Herald, the Catechism or the Bible, it can also produce Playboy and Jack Chick tracts. So the argument would have to go if we follow it through.

    And what about the “marketplace” of the world more generally? People will be subject to all sorts of messages in their schools, in their places of business, in their supermarkets, their arenas, and on their streets; billboards, overheard conversations, conversations, product packaging, etc. Perhaps then Christians should be growing their food from their own seed, abandoning the cities, towns and villages, etc.?

    While we are at it, we should probably not subscribe to any utility/service, not only television, but also to the electric companies, oil/gas/petrol companies, nor should we likely patronise any grocery stores, sporting events, clothing stores, transit system, etc. One should probably stop purchasing alcohol as well. After all, in all likelihood, these same organisations and service providers are quite likely making charitable donations or offering other support to causes which are immoral and popular in this secular society. It only stands to reason.

    No, on the contrary, we do not need the media and social equivalent of the American prohibitionist movement, we do not need the Catholic version of the protestant fundamentalist movement, nor should Catholics be trekking down an eremetical, “more Amish than the Amish” path. Instead, Catholics need to exercise common sense and prudential judgement — and teach their children too how to do so. Catholics have to identify, taking their lead from the Magisterium of the Church, what is inherently bad versus what requires that discretion, further recognising what can also be used for good — and on that front, use it that way in the same way that a Catholic should know how to properly employ the benefits of alcohol while avoiding the ill effects had through improper, non-discretionary use.

  • Mild-mannered Zealot

    Is everyone called to be on the front line of the culture wars? As Dr Shaw notes, selective use of iPlayer and YouTube on a (filtered) internet connection provide access to all that is needed of modern televisual output, without the near occasions of sin. To have a television – or unfiltered internet connection – in a family home is akin to letting your children play around an open sewer. Don’t express surprise if they get covered with excrement.

  • Aquinitatis

    (Incidentally, I should make clear that I am neither trying to suggest there is a moral requirement to watch television. Indeed, if someone makes a personal choice that they want to “unplug” because they prefer to keep up with things by other means, or they find it helps them to spend more time reading books or pursuing other activities, or if they simply find they personally have too great a struggle against temptation — in the way some do with alcohol — then of course, by all means, unplug. That is a choice one can make for any number of legitimate reasons. My point instead if about the principles the lay behind the suggestion that would seem to wish to make this not a personal choice, but rather an absolute moral requirement.)

  • Aquinitatis

    The internet and Youtube without near occasions of sin?

  • Mild-mannered Zealot

    That’s why I said “filtered”. Blue Coat K9 Web Protection is both free and excellent.

  • Aquinitatis

    … but even if filtered. For one that isn’t a perfect science on the one hand, but for another, while that might help with the problem of pornography, it certainly isn’t going to filter out ideas and values which can be at odds, let alone other things which might be immodest but not strictly pornographic.

    My main thought here, however, is that the principles you are applying to the internet are what should be applied to things like television and most everything else.

  • Mild-mannered Zealot

    Actually, the software I cited does allow for the filtering of “ideas and values” inimical to the Gospel. It also keeps a log of all internet activity. No, it’s not a perfect science, but I think it’s a bare minimum if you intend to install an internet connection in a family home. When similar technology is available for televisions, then perhaps we can revisit the discussion about families owning TVs.

  • Joseph Shaw

    If you want to know when it’s on, there’s always the listings!

  • Joseph Shaw

    And I’m perfectly well aware of the BBC euthanasia campaign without having a TV.

    I understand that CUT actually has selected members with a brief to keep an eye on TV content. That sounds like a sensible division of labour.

  • Aquinitatis

    These applications tend to operate based on keyword exclusions or on explicit site exclusions; far from perfect by any stretch.

    I reiterate my point: things contrary to the Catholic doctrines and morals absolutely will get through that technology rather readily and routinely, so the pass you are willing to give the internet over TV really doesn’t stand in my estimation because at the end of the day, manual discernment and discretion is still required — neither does your consideration here extend much beyond the circumstance of children (whereas this discussion is indeed much more general on the level of a more fundamental, universal principle being proposed, not only for children, but also for adults).

    As for the rest, I would simply refer back to my longer comment.

  • Ratbag

    Isn’t Saint Clare of Assisi the Patroness of Television? The Archangel Gabriel the Patron of Radio Workers and Communications? Isn’t the one of the oldest radio stations in the world Vatican Radio? Isn’t EWTN the fastest growing Catholic TV channel in the world?

    How about the Vatican speeding up the canonisation process of the Servants of God Archbishop Foulton Sheen and Father Patrick Peyton? The media needs saints, especially in the light of recent happenings in the world of the press.

    The BBC was founded by a Christian, Lord Reith, whose principles for broadcasting is often woefully neglected these days (but hang in there for a comeback): To educate, to inform, to entertain.

    Aren’t we Roman Catholics big enough and confident in ourselves to rise above the anti-Catholic bullying? Anti-Catholic bullying did not start with the BBC… it goes back further in time. We’re still here and we ain’t leaving…

    And, before we go full on BBC-bashing, Jon Snow works for Channel 4 and there are worse examples of anti-Catholic bilge on other channels and in newsrags besides the BBC.

    Has anyone ever heard of the term ‘know your enemy’? Just switching off full stop is the same as sticking our fingers in our ears going la-la-la-la-la. The big sin on our part is having the telly switched on just for the sake of it, not being selective in what we watch and not being prudent with our precious time.

    If we do not know what is going on in the world, how can we possibly do our Christian duty to help or maintain a presence?

  • Prayer Crusader

    First of all I would like to thank Mr Oddie for starting this discussion and for not being too severe on us (CUT).  I guess he realises that we ‘view’ the TV from an orthodox Catholic perspective, that we love the Catholic Church, the Holy Father and Our Lord Jesus Christ. As a journalist he sees the TV from the freedom of speech point of view. I will try here to point out that the TV is actually stifling the freedom of speech. It is in fact biased and in fact left-‘liberal’ and that the TV, the most powerful form of the media is leading people by the nose down a very dark road, and that the most powerful corporation the BBC is in fact very biased despite its Royal Charter and the requirement for impartiality. I was so concerned regarding what I was seeing on the TV and the effect it was having on friends and family that I took media studies to degree level. One of the media strands we studied was the single play and in-particularly the BBC’s Wednesday Play of the sixties. One of the videos we watched for this was a Play called Up the Junction involving a strong depiction of an illegal abortion which was used by the BBC along with their current affairs programmes, documentaries and BBC Radio to created a discussion format with an ‘unmistakable flow of meaning’.  What is meant by this is brain washing and soon after the BBC took up the legalisation of abortion cause it was indeed legalised. Britain was one of the first counties to do so after the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.
    Regarding how do we know what’s going on as Dr Shaw has said we do in fact have members who watch programmes legally and report on the contents Programmes such as BBC’s –Choosing to Die and Channel 4 and Peter Tatchell’s The trouble with the Pope and many others. If you love your Catholic faith enough to sacrifice your telly you do not need EWNT. This is not meant as a criticism of that channel. EWTN should be for the weak Catholic who does not know their faith very well, or the non Catholic who is filled with misconceptions on the Church generated by biased secular channels. It is where it should be battling it out on the airwaves slotted among the porn channels and the BBC, Channel 4 et al, if you have a TV.
    I was interested in Mr Oddies views on Culture Wars. Joseph Stalin once disparagingly said of the Catholic Church ‘where are the Pope’s divisions’? To which we could reply now where is the Soviet Union. Perhaps CUT and the Crusade of Prayer is one small division like the many other division taking part in the Culture Wars that have taken place since Jesus founded His Church. We step up to the mark along with good and orthodox Catholic newspapers like the Catholic Herald, like EWTN (even though most of us do not watch it), like the Latin Mass Society and other traditional movements and the many new and growing orthodox Catholic apostolates.
    I was interested in the Finnish group who would break into people homes and smash there TV; CUT are not the only group that are concerned regarding the TV then. However, to do this on a national scale it would take someone with the powers of Father Christmas. Seriously though perhaps it is the television the breaks into people’ s homes and disturbs their faith?
    When all is said and done the most worrying aspect of the television is what it does to children and young minds, steels their childhood, sexualised them, and it can damage children’s brain development. The French government is so concerned about this it has made all TV directed at children carry a government health warning.
    From the Prayer Crusader under the patronage of St Philomena and the Blessed Dominic Barberi ….

  • Another Prayer Crusader

    I think Aquinitatis and Ratbag are missing the point slightly. CUT is not urging Catholics to cut themselves off from the content of television (except where it’s pornographic etc., when it goes without saying that we shouldn’t be watching it) but to avoid funding the BBC by not paying the licence fee, – which can only be legally done by not having a television set. Many programmes can still be watched – including some of EWTN’s programmes – via the internet (not at the same time as they are being aired on TV; for this a TV licence is required; but a day or so later).  

  • samson

    I was astonished last night. I clicked on a website that would help improve my handwriting, and found I had accessed a hard core site! One wonders if there are allegedly pornographic sites that are there to entice the unwary into handwriting classes.

  • Ratbag

    Missing the point?????? I’ve read it all, now…

    One cannot watch the telly without the plug in the electric socket *duh!* So why call yourselves CUT? Call yourselves something else because your name is misleading.

    I, for one, will NOT refuse to pay the TV licence because the alternatives to the BBC are a damn sight worse by ways of anti-Catholic propaganda, pornography and tasteless bubblegum viewing. RTE charges a licence fee in Ireland as well as income from adverts and, since the fallout from the clerical sex abuse horror, their anti-Catholic attitude towards reporting the Roman Catholic Church makes the BBC look like Vatican TV.

    There are orthodox Catholics who work in the BBC. Few and far between, yes, but don’t tar them with the same brush as those who do not take their faith to their hearts…

    So, what IS the alternative? Ask yourselves these questions:

    Did Channel 4, ITV or Channel 5 bid to cover Urbi et Orbi every Christmas and Easter for Catholic viewers?

    Did they offer blanket coverage of the Papal Visit last year without a commercial break?

    The BBC did. Actually, they were criticised for TOO much coverage of the Papal Visit by militant atheists and others who wanted to cause trouble.

    The BBC were and are fulfilling their public service remit. 

    Christianity as a whole is woefully stereotyped on radio and television, especially in soaps on all channels. It makes me retch and squirm with embarrassment. I don’t automatically switch over to watch them but other members of my family do. The scriptwriters don’t have the slightest clue about real life Christians nor do they want to. Soaps like to think that they reflect real life but I beg to differ. The scriptwriters live on a different planet. If you want a glaring example, Coronation Street is one…

    Prayer for the media as a whole is essential, especially The Holy Rosary and the Stations of the Cross. If a prayer crusade is firmly adhered to – put it this way, after the News International debacle, we must pray even more for a sea-change in attitudes and ethical practices amongst journalists, producers and programme makers.  Priests and Bishops should emphasise the crucial importance of World Communications Sunday to pray especially for all in media – especially those who risk their lives to bring news to our screens and airwaves.

    It hardly gets a mention in my parish, in spite of the fact that some regular parishoners actually work in the media…

    If something positive and balanced has been broadcast on any media, why not email or write a letter to the broadcaster concerned? If more people acclaim good quality, well balanced material this way, it will encourage broadcasters to invest more ideas. By doing this, they can’t afford to ignore what we have to say… but no mushy stuff! 

    You attract more flies with honey than vinegar…

  • Nat_ons

    I enjoy TV, not least the kind of material that properly ought to distress any thoughtful orthodox catholic. Not the annoying godless illiberalism of the pseudo-liberal status quo, this was dealt with wonderfully by Chesterton a century ago .. and dear Lord but was he right! Rather, I mean the pervading background fuzziness of some remarkably good forms of the vulgar drama, novel or spiel: Doctor Who or even Torchwood spring to mind, perhaps Merlin (penny dreadfuls, I guess, do help sharpen the critical eye for less easily read errors).

    Yet, for the most part, I am happy enough to do without the entrancing evil-Edna glowing-eye. The other media of state or commercial communication still do plenty enough to advance the work of the One who prowls ready to devour – goggling at a stream of pictures would do little to inform me of the sinful intrusions of headlinist journalism. In fact, the recent journalists’ strike at the BBC reminded me just how tawdry is so much of the flagship medium of news – ‘Today’ etc; weep for the days of Jack De Manio’s impossible timekeeping yet seemingly impeccable nonchalance rather than the now constant biting-news-drive of journalists interviewing other journalists about the journalistic fancy of the moment.

    Apologies for the silly gripe, as I do applaud today’s BBC (even ITV), its striving for excellence, and the hard(ish) work that its journalists put us through. I suspect that Crusades, even where necessary, rarely have the effect one desires – let alone the victory one may prayerfully hope for. Only hard-hearted (rather than invincible) ignorance need really concern the Catholic careful of his orthodox faith .. that media ignorance shown in the visit of the awesome Benedict XVI to Britain is a fine example, it can be challenged and fought even exposed (if not yet overcome).

    God bless, Nat.

  • Prayer Crusader

    Dear Ratbag
    Peace be with you.
    Yes you are right St Clare of Assisi is the Patroness of the Television and also of the internet I think? And the Archangel Gabriel is the Patron of radio workers and St Nicolas is the patron saint of prostitutes but just because they have a patron saint does not mean the God approves of their actions.  Everyone has the chance of redemption.  
    As for BBC-bashing, that turn of phrase reminds me of a long panicky letter we received by someone who was worried that we were going to bring down the BBC. The BBC, Chanel 4, News International  or any other broadcaster do not need any help from CUT to bring them down. They are perfectly capable of doing that themselves. What we are about is keeping them honest (or rather helping them be honest). Honesty and impartiality appears to be quality used with extreme economy by the media.  
    You are right again when you say that Catholics are big enough and confident in ourselves to withstand and to rise above the anti-Catholic bullying. This is precisely why CUT exists and what we are doing. And yet again we agree with you, there has always been Anti-Catholic bullying from the time that Jesus founded His Church to the present day. But CUT exists today as a charitable and prayerful response to the BBC and others in the media. This does not mean we are wimps but we do not engage in complaining to the broadcasters about every bit of bad TV. Others have done this and failed we say deprive them of funds and influence and they will change their ways. Perhaps it could be argued that we are the BBC’s greatest friend. And if our experiment works Britain really will have truly impartial honest and fair broadcasters for at the moment we cannot say this.
    However, even if we succeed we will still campaign for a Government warning regarding children and television exposure for TV watching by young children impairs a childs brain development.  
    With prayers by the Prayer Crusader under the patronage of St Philomena and Bl Dominic Barberi

  • Anonymous

    The idea of  a “culture war” is absurd. What could possibly constitute victory in such a war –  presumably some barmy notion about the restoration of Christendom? But I am quite sure that if Catholics retreat to the ghetto they will have even less influence on our culture. Perhaps CUTS  should invite Cardinal Burke to address them…… 

  • Anonymous

    The idea of  a “culture war” is absurd. What could possibly constitute victory in such a war –  presumably some barmy notion about the restoration of Christendom? But I am quite sure that if Catholics retreat to the ghetto they will have even less influence on our culture. Perhaps CUTS  should invite Cardinal Burke to address them…… 

  • Sandy

    Indeed we do. I gave up TV for Lent four years ago after my set broke down. I have not replaced it and have not looked back. Apart from anything else, having no TV has done wonders for my prayer life. I would recommend it.


  • Crusader with St Michael

    Yes we agree Dr Shaw

    Funding the BBC not only gives them money to indulge in anti-Catholic rubbish but they are also one of the strongest promoters of the Culture of Death. Not only in their support for abortion and euthanasia by their World Service Sexwise website they proudly proclaim their partnership with the world’s largest abortion providers – the IPPF. But don’t take our word for it have a look for yourselves our home page which has a link.

    Prayer Crusader with St Michael the Archangel

  • Prayer Crusader

    Dear Aquinitatis
    Thank you for your contribution. We liked the idea of CUG – unplug your Gutenberg, and what about all those scribes and monks working away producing Bibles before the press?  We could have cause a medieval strike!
    However, the TV works in a very different way – it is what we call a ‘push’ form of media. For the most part people just sit in front of the TV and watch what’s being thrust at them. They have very little control of what they watch or show. And because production values are far higher than print and the internet harder to pull yourself away from – no wonder the soaps have some of the highest viewing figures.
    They have the on off or they can switch channels where they encounter the very same of ‘push’ media that they have just turned over from and they are back to square one.  With the internet you need to do a lot more work and research to get information it’s the same as reading text you become more actively engaged and your brain works more.  Of course you are not totally free you are still subject to other people’s views which can be pro-Culture of Death or anti-Catholic the internet for all its faults has enable the ordinary person and Catholic to have a voice. But the TV for some reason works in a different way on the brain it turns the left hemisphere off, this part of the brain does all the questioning and problem solving, which allows the right hemisphere to dominate this part of the brain acts in an emotional way does not question information but absorbs it.
    Prayer Crusader with St Philomena and bl Dominic Barberi

  • Prayer Crusader

    Dear Fr Heythrop
    I think the original Culture War was instigated in the 19th century by German Chancellor Bismarck instituted a Kulturkamp policy in 1871 which sought to minimize the power and influence of the Catholic Church in Prussia. So neither the BBC or CUT are being particularly original here. By the way we would love Cardinal Burk to address us. 

  • Crusader with St Michael

    Very interesting Mild-mannered Zealot, if we could filter what we watch that would be fine, better still if we are able to filter what we pay for as well.

    It will be interesting to see how YouTube develops it could bring television production to the masses and undermine the media moguls and corporations. However, I suspect that Satan has anticipated this and is already planning his next move. But then as Christians we will know how to deal with it.
    Prayer Crusader with St Michael the Archangel

  • Crusader with St Michael

    You raised some very important points both for and against the TV.
    We do have an ex-BBC employee in CUT who is in full agreement with our stand. RTE and the BBC both have advertising as well as the license fee. The BBC has advertising on its world service network. It also has a partnership with the IPPF, Promoting abortion around the globe through its ‘Sexwise’ programme. It was a BBC Reporter Robin Atkins in his book ‘Can we trust the BBC’ who said that ‘Being pro-abortion is a core value of the Corporation.
    As for their coverage of the Pope’s visit they spent the previous 6 months in anti-Catholic calumny, I doubt the atheists complained about that. On BBC Radio Five Live Nicky Campbell even instigated a phone-in programme with the title ‘Are children safe in the Catholic Church’. We have even had reports that because of this type of programme Catholics were being verbally abused in the work place and among their acquaintances, and as Christians we return their abuse with charity it’s all part of our faith.   
    But what the alternative to the TV? Well music, family activities, exercise, reading, and prayer for a start.
    Prayer Crusader with St Michael the Archangel

  • mitsy

    What right wing, tory supporting organisation is this coming from? Are they working of Murdoch? Because they want to bring down the BBC, so they can plug their own right wing agenda and further manipulate the electrote..
    I watch very little tv, but I do not like being told what to watch and I do like the BBC, I listen to Radio 4.
    It is not just the BBC that supports abortion and euthansia, ITV and Channel Four have also got an agenda, why are they not also mentioned, in this attack piece on the BBC. And Rupert Murdoch is still the owner of The Sun newspaper which promotes nudity, abortion as normal and socially liberal views, is CUT also going to advocate boycotting his outlets too even without the current disgrace?

  • mitsy

    Are you going to campaign for Catholics not to read newspapers too… All the British press, even the Daily Mail is comparatively socially liberial to the US equivelent…The Times may be a good Right Wing paper but has it opposed abortion much lately and it belongs to News International which also owns the Right Wing paper The Sun which advertises sex jobs, has page three, supports abortion on it’s Dear Deidre page and is not less socially liberal than the BBC. The only difference is it campaigns for the return of the Death Penalty and supports David Cameron strongly. So if you suggest we give up our TV licence, when are going to tell Catholic that they should stop reading The Times and The Sunday Time, which supports the sleazy world of the Murdoch Press, which encourages free sex.

  • Kennyinliverpool

    It’s a really interesting idea —- half of me wants to do it, but the other half loves watching tv. It might be something to try over Lent or Advent and then try to work it in.

    I think the Church should fund its own media, a bit like the low budget Revelation tv channel; an evangelical media outlet run by an English couple. 

    I think a British / Irish Catholic channel that was streamed online or on sky could be really effective.

  • Prayer Crusader

    Dear Mitsy
    Peace be with you.
    Let me assure you that we are certainly not working for Murdoch, I think if we were you’d have heard of us by now. In fact we constantly struggle to find the funding for our campaign. Criticising multi-national media broadcasters like Sky and the compulsory tax funded BBC does not make you very popular. We are strongly apolitical or rather aparty-political, we do in fact have supporters from all the three main parties. We always suggest that our supporters write to the candidates at election time, and try and see which candidate comes back with voting intentions that are most in tune with the teachings of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This is also the reason why we try and point out that the majority of broadcasters produce programmes that are hard to reconcile with the teachings of Jesus. We are just as critical of Sky beaming into third world countries Western orientated materialistic programmes as we are of the BBC World Service’s partnership with the IPPF. In fact social scientists have found when third world countries first receive TV broadcasts for the first time there almost always follows a crime wave. The only reason why Britain and other western countries manages to keep a lid on media induced crime is because they have such large police forces.
    As for the newspapers our policy is very simple if it is contrary to the teachings of Jesus then it is likely to be an occasion of sin. But we are mainly concerned with the most powerful form of the media, the TV. Incidentally we were recently made aware that the Richard Desmond owned Channel 5 is producing a soap opera that will mainly take place in a Soho Lesbian bar, is this likely to be exploitative nonsense or am I being judgemental? Desmond is also the owner of the Daily Express and is one of the country’s leading pornographers (ah… sorry Mr Desmond Adult-TV channels). There I’m having a go at media outlet that is not controlled by Rupert Murdoch or the BBC.  
    If Mr Murdoch does read this yes we would love a donation but do not expect any special favours.
    I’m off to Mass now I will pray for all who take part in this discussion.
    Can I ask everyone to pray for our Hereford Prayer Crusader who is under the patronage St Richard Fisher he is suffering from a tumour.
    From the Prayer Crusader under the Patronage of St Philomena and bl Dominic Barberi

  • Anonymous

    Do what I do.  Watch the TV news bulletins on your computer without buying a licence.  You can also watch EWTN and KTO.  The British law that forbids any specifically religious TV channels can be easily ignored.

  • Alan Marr

    Alan Marr
    For the last at least 20 years the role of the BBC has been to attack Christianity , especially those of us who are practising Roman Catholics. So it would be foolish to pay an organisation that is intent on my destruction and  my co-religionists. When their policy changes then I will possibly get a Television set and pay the license fee.

  • Anonymous

    For that reason, Alan, I have not watched BBC TV since May 1997.  Not since the Beeb censored that election broadcast by the Pro-Life Party, allowing the audio but deleting the video.  Nor have I listened to BBC radio, or bought any BBC publications or promotions.  Only when their policy changes will I acknowledge their existence once again.

  • another prayer crusader

    Mitsy – the difference between BBC TV and the newspapers that you mention is that in order to watch TV we have to pay a licence fee to the BBC (or, for anyone aged over 75, the government funds the licence fee on their behalf) with which the BBC, in turn, pays for a variety of programmes some of which are insidiously pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia etc. CUT campaigns for Catholics not to pay this licence fee; it does not campaign for Catholics to lose touch with what is being said and done throughout the media. Simply reading the newspapers doesn’t support “the sleazy world of the Murdoch press”, – though admittedly, buying them does.  

    Nothing particularly right-wing about being opposed to abortion and euthanasia. There is an all-party parliamentary pro-life group which includes members from all three major political parties.

    Prayer crusader under the patronage of St. Teresa of Avila and Bl . John Henry Newman

  • Prayer Crusader

    You may want to delete your viewing history from your computer. As TV licensing inspectors have been known to check this. By the way unless the TV licensing people turn up with a warrant they have no right to enter your home.

  • Ben Trovato

    Yes, we haven’t had a TV for 20+ years, and have brought our four children up without one. 

    Contrary to all the comments from practically everyone condemning us for denying them access to what was going on in the world, they are emerging as intelligent, engaged and sociable young people.  

    Oh yes, and they still practice their Faith.

  • Ben Trovato

    You missed my point: I don’t pay a licence fee, precisely so I don’t fund the promulgation of the BBC’s agenda.

    And that does not prevent me from being an informed critic, anymore than I had to buy the NOTW (which I never did) in order to warn others not to do so.

  • Anonymous

    A true Catholic would not have anything to do with an outfit that censors and suppresses any meaningful expression of the Catholic faith in the media.  I am referring to the telecast in support of the Pro-Life Party at the general election in May 1997.  The BBC allowed the audio of this advert to go out, but blacked out the screens to disallow the video component, because it contained images of aborted babies that the BBC considered to be too graphic for the sensitive British audience.
    Nothing has happened since that day to convince me that the BBC has amended its policy to one of fairness and a non-partisan approach, and accordingly I have boycotted the Beeb ever since.  In doing so, I have missed nothing of any importance.

  • Catholic TV Facebook Fan

    There are many ways to watch family-friendly, moral programs on the Internet. For example the CatholicTV network out of Boston, provides a live simulcast of its broadcast at for free! They also have on-demand videos of all things Catholic at their website. They have been around longer than EWTN, but are the 21st century Catholic television source. They are on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter! You can watch their programming on iPhones, iPads with their app. They started “Facebook for Catholics” at and they have a free multimedia digital magazine available through that website.

  • Honeybadger

    The BBC should be impartial, independent and in the pay of NO-ONE but the Licence Fee payers.

    I don’t remember pro-abortion being mentioned as a core value of the BBC – perhaps by stealth BUT it is a breach of impartiality all the same. Its partnership with IPPF should be brought to book as it is a violation of what the broadcaster is bound to uphold. Tough, uncompromising questions should be asked of them about this and they should be open and transparent.

    In the BBC producer’s guidelines, religion should be treated with respect. Selective memory on the part of writers and producers is to blame for such imbalance in representing Christians.

    If more of us express our distaste for their anti-Catholic/Christian slant, they will be forced to review the situation.

  • Prayer Crusader

    Yes I agree, well said Ratbag!
    The trouble with BBC employees is that they do not know their own rules or chose to ignore them – like many Catholics and their faith in that respect.
    BUT BBC employees have such enormous power, and if Offcom will not enforce the Royal Charter regarding impartiality, then they can use this power in an irresponsible way.
    It’s not just the BBC, BCAP (Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice) have produced a consultation document on Post Conception Advice Services in which they are proposing a further relaxing of the rules on adverts by Family Planning Centres and abortion providers. How can they remain impartial when abortion providers are paying their wages? The consultation ends on the 8th August so please contact BCAP. I wonder how many TV adverts BCAP took out advertising this consultation?
    Prayer Crusader with St Philomena and bl Dominic Barberi

  • Dio

    Count your blessings! In Germany, we have to pay our fees even if we only own a Computer that lets us access the internet (because, hey – you can watch TV online, too!)

  • Honeybadger

    I will write to the BCAP in the strongest terms about Post Conception Advice Services. Messing with young women’s hormones with more hormones (i.e. The Pill) without a just medical cause is both irresponsible and dangerous. Do you know about Planned Parenthood in the USA? Sickening… it is a money-making industry built on shattered and destroyed lives… with the full support of the abortionist-in-chief, US President Barack Obama.

    O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee, for those who have not recourse to thee, especially for the enemies of the Church and for those who are commended to thee.

  • Honeybadger

    If all the programme makers at the BBC adhere to their producers guidelines and journalism training, then the BBC would be truly impartial, honest and there for the public good for which it was set up in the first place.

    Please continue to take them to task. If people don’t speak up then they will continue to think they are doing a smashing job.

    Making good, sound, well balanced, quality programmes does not make them any less hard-hitting, entertaining, thought-provoking, exciting or less compelling; neither does it feel the need to bash, insult or blatantly and ignorantly disrespect easy targets like the lives, values and beliefs of Catholics or Christians from any denomination. 

    The thing is, as what is happening to News International, it takes something scandalous and drastic to rock their comfortable boat. The same thing happened with the BBC in 2004, when Greg Dyke was forced to fall on his sword over the Gilligan Affair.

    It defies belief that such scandalous and scurrilous thing – which requires equal amounts of knowledge of procedure and commonsense - could spiral out of control in the first place! 

    Unfortunately, there are narcissists in the media who hate being told they are naked and would condescendingly insist to their subordinates that they are actually wearing beautiful clothes and convince their own superiors that they are, too, with that thing called CHARM! 

    They abuse and manipulate their position of authority like tinpot Neros. Then, when the proverbial hits the fan, they blame other people for what’s gone wrong, point the finger randomly … whilst not noticing the dog poo on their own designer boots.

    No broadcaster needs to be brought down. They need to be pulled up by their collars and given a good chastising by the viewing public… then go back to basics of good and prudent broadcasting!

  • Honeybadger

    RE: the line beginning with ‘It defies belief…’

    What I meant to say that it doesn’t take a brain-dead flea to know that commonsense and knowledge of procedures – and integrity of the person on the reporting end – could have prevented the sort of things which have spiraled out of control in the first place.

    The statement did not come out right. APOLOGIES.

  • Anonymous

    If you can make logical counter arguments then one should have no problem watching the TV. Challenging current beliefs is important in coming to reasoned conclusions.

    Cutting off connections to the views of the outside world is cowardly, and gives the impression that our arguments cannot stand up in the face of question. 

  • Ben Trovato

    I think you have missed the point.  It is about not funding an organisation (the BBC) which consistently acts in contradiction to its own charter and seeks to influence society in ways wholly hostile to Catholic values.