I’m sure that all of you have heard of the HBO show Game of Thrones, even if you don’t watch it. I don’t, but just like everyone else, I’ve heard of it and the racy content that it contains. Graphic violence, nudity, and sex scenes are a big part of the storylines, and for Catholics and other Christians, this is a big concern and a good reason to avoid the show even if you enjoy the action and overall storylines.
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the virtue of purity is linked to that of modesty, and it is pointed out that modesty consists of one’s feelings as well as the body. “It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements, or against the solicitations of certain media that go too far in the exhibition of intimate things” (CCC, 2523). The “exhibition of intimate things” refers to nudity that is not necessary to the story and is not covered up by camera angles or objects and also to sex scenes that are graphically depicted, as in Game of Thrones. Whether it is intentional or not, these kinds of depictions can arouse feelings that are sinful, which is also a factor in giving scandal, another sin outlined by the Church. No matter how much we may try to convince ourselves otherwise, the things depicted in TV shows and movies do not take place in a vacuum. Therefore, they can have an effect on the moral state of an individual and, in turn, on society.
We all have a duty to discern and moderate what is coming to us from the outside world. What we fill ourselves with will come out. The more we fill ourselves with good, wholesome content, the more we will exude those good morals and principles to others. The same goes for bad, destructive content. Besides this, we all have a duty instilled in us by our Creator to do all things for His glory. 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” If even eating and drinking is designated for the glory of God, then how much more should our entertainment be geared toward it?
Now, unfortunately, in this day and age, it is difficult to eliminate all unclean and impure content from our recreation without going to live under a rock. In this case, a couple of questions are necessary to help us discern:
- Is the impurity part of the main plot of the story consistently? (e.g. In Game of Thrones, it seems to be the norm to depict graphic violence, nudity, and sex, and to have them be main parts of the story every week). This can also be applied to cursing (is the F bomb dropped consistently or just once or twice when a particularly stressful situation arises? Taking the Holy Name in vain is NEVER acceptable.)
- When it comes to nudity, how is it depicted? Are the people openly naked and are they naked just to be naked? Also, how often does it occur? If the nudity is mostly hidden and just in passing for one scene (for example, at the end of the Passion of the Christ, it is obvious that Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus, was naked, but it was hidden well and it made sense because Jesus had just shed the burial cloths), then it is acceptable.
Even if the impure parts of TV shows and movies are few and far between and do not mean to degrade the dignity of the human person, it is still a good idea to avoid them whenever possible.
So, if you watch Game of Thrones, or any other show like it, think long and hard before you turn it on next time. Is that form of entertainment really helping you respect yourself and others and bringing you closer to Christ?
**Reminder: I am leaving Friday afternoon to go on retreat. If you have prayer requests, you can email me or comment on this post. And that goes for ANY time. Let’s be here to pray for each other.