Thursday, 1 November 2012

What's going on at L'Osservatore Romano?

Two stories about the new James Bond movie appear in The Daily Telegraph today .

One is by Byrony Gordon, a feature writer, who says:
"I couldn't help but laugh out loud at one of the prerequisite seduction scenes, in which ... James Bond steps into a woman's shower uninvited, having only met her an hour or so before. I know the man is a legendary lover ... but I'd have slapped him round the face ... and threatened to call the police".
The other story by Nick Squires in Rome headlined James Bond, licensed to thrill ... by the Vatican reads:
" ... L'Osservatore Romano devoted an entire page and five articles in praise of the fictional spy on Wednesday.

"As the latest Bond film, Skyfall, opened in Italian cinemas, the Vatican paper said it was one of the best of the 23 films made since the franchise began 50 years ago ...

" ... it lauded this incarnation of Bond ... as being 'more human, capable of being moved and of crying: in a word, more real."
Now I'm a father who over the past few decades, with the support of my wife, has cautioned his children against James Bond movies which glamorize the permissive lifestyle. Dare I quote in support of the position I've adopted the following extract from Humanae Vitae? ...
"Everything therefore in the modern means of social communication which arouses men's baser passions and encourages low moral standards, as well as every obscenity in the written word and every form of indecency on the stage and screen, should be condemned publicly and unanimously by all those who have at heart the advance of civilization and the safeguarding of the outstanding values of the human spirit. It is quite absurd to defend this kind of depravity in the name of art or culture (25) or by pleading the liberty which may be allowed in this field by the public authorities."
Of course, it's argued that James Bond films are not to be taken seriously, it's just good fun, and it's extraordinarily difficult in today's moral climate for parents to make a stand on such issues. Do we really want to risk making our children a laughing stock if their friends know they're not allowed to see such films?

My position on this is rather simple. If the film in question depicts an actor, in a brazenly glamourising and explicit manner, committing what for me, if I were doing it, would be a mortal sin, should I be watching that film, let alone allowing my children to watch it?

No serious commentator today is in any doubt about the social consequences of permissive lifestyles which are a fundamental part of James Bond movies. Consider, for example, cohabitation and its lifetime cruel consequences compared with marriage.

The conclusions of research include:
  • Living together leads to living alone
  • Cohabiting relationships are always more likely to break up than marriages entered into at the same time, regardless of age or income.
  • Cohabiting also influences later marriages. The more often and the longer that men and women cohabit, the more likely they are to divorce later
  • Both men and women in cohabiting relationships are more likely to be unfaithful to their partners than married people.
  • At all socio-economic levels, cohabiting couples accumulate less wealth than married couples.
  • Cohabitants have more health problems ... Cohabitants are also much more likely to suffer from depression than married people.
  • Cohabitations with children are even more likely to break up than childless ones.
  • Unborn children are four to five times more likely to be aborted than babies conceived inside marriage
Like practically everyone else reading the newspapers this morning about L'Osservatore Romano's coverage of the James Bond movie, I have been reading about the L'Osservatore's coverage rather than the coverage itself. Maybe it's much more nuanced than The Daily Telegraph reports today. Maybe the line L'Osservatore takes, reflects the kind of caution struggling parents seek to adopt about such cultural phenonemena when raising their children.

But enormous damage has been done. A few google searches I carried out when I got to my desk this morning at SPUC headquarters in London suggests it's been reported, literally, in millions of news/internet outlets. What is happening at L'Osservatore Romano?

If  L'Osservatore's coverage has been mischievously misrepresented, will a front-page apology be made to parents around the world, the primary educators, and to their children, for what appears to be, at best, a gross misjudgement and lack of editorial prudence?

If it has not been misrepresented, will anyone in the Vatican care about parents and their children sufficiently to seek, urgently, to redress the situation?

What's going on at L'Osservatore Romano and will someone bring it under control please?

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