"Not only is the telly full of mindless junk, not only does it eat into spare time that could be used for prayer, study, family and Blogging...it is also largely inimical to all that our Catholic Faith stands for. Why do we pay to watch it in the first place?"Well, I sold my presbytery's television in January 2003 and have not had one since. I thought this would be a sacrifice but actually, I never missed it, even slightly. I watch films occasionally, using a DVD player and a projector. Sometimes, I look at EWTN on the internet, especially if I want to get a good Catholic version of a major news story. It was great to see some of their coverage of the election of Pope Benedict. Again, very occasionally, I check an item on the BBC website for information; I am always pleased when there is a transcript available because reading through the text is so much quicker than having to watch the footage.
This issue is problematic for families. Their children are made fun of at (Catholic) school and I have often heard people involved at various levels in (Catholic) education speak as though the absence of a television makes a family abnormal so the peer-level comments are never effectively challenged. Yet families without a television (or where its use is very strictly regulated) do have a much richer life. It is natural that this should be so: they have so many more hours to do interesting things, visit interesting places, grow plants, look after animals, play sports, read books - and of course pray together.
A couple of good websites in connection with this are White Dot and The Center for Screen Time Awareness.
There is a story that St Elizabeth Ann Seton had a vision of the future in which she saw a mysterious black box in every home in America. In one version I heard, the devil was coming out of the box. In another, it had two wires, leading down to hell. She did not understand the vision at the time...
If anyone can confirm this or let me have a link or a reference, I'd be most grateful.