Insight on the News
Priest: ‘Sermons a Shame’
● The headline of an article by Catholic priest Andrew Greeley declared: “Catholic Sermons Are A Shame.” The outspoken priest said that the quality of sermons by Catholic priests is shameful. He stated: “Preaching rotten sermons defrauds those who pay for the training and support of the clergy.”
Greeley noted that “anger, despair, frustration, outrage—all are mild words to describe the feeling of the laity that they are being shortchanged.” He warned the clergy that things have changed from the time when they “had a captive audience,” when people felt that they had to come to church. “Now a lot of Catholics think differently, but the word that the captive audience has flown the coop apparently hasn’t gotten around to many rectories yet,” Greeley said. He added: “How dare a priest [himself] write these things about other priests? That’s easy: it’s true.”
The prophet Jeremiah wrote about those who professed to be God’s representatives: “Look! They have rejected the very word of Jehovah, and what wisdom do they have?” (Jer. 8:9) The result? God’s Word says: “I will send a famine into the land, a famine, not for bread, and a thirst, not for water, but for hearing the words of Jehovah.” (Amos 8:11) That situation now exists in Christendom, due primarily to the clergy’s having abandoned the clear Word of God.
Reading to Your Children
● Good reading ability is a key to knowledge in many fields. But today, increasing numbers of children who graduate from school are very poor readers.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have found that great benefits come to their children by reading aloud to them even before they go to school. Later, when their children learn to read, the parents continue reading along with them on a regular basis.
Jane Bingham, an associate professor of children’s literature in Michigan, says that when a parent reads aloud to a child it “can give the child things, the interest and the personalization,” that it cannot get in school. She also recommends: “If at all possible, when reading to a child, let the child sit close to you, or on your lap, or put your arm around him or her.” This adds to the child’s security and joy, and helps it to learn that reading from books can be a pleasant experience. Reading in an interesting manner is helpful too: “They’ll listen to you read the telephone directory, if you do it dramatically,” Jane Bingham states.
This parental reading, coupled with children’s literature that explains the high moral principles of the Bible, provides a foundation of great value. It will help the child for the rest of its life, and makes up for poor school training. Too, it is in harmony with the principles of teaching found in God’s Word.—Deut. 6:7; Neh. 8:8; 1 Tim. 4:12, 13.
More Violent Films
● In recent years, the trend in motion pictures and television is toward ever more violence. The New Haven, Connecticut, “Register” observes that what is different now “is not just the filmmaker’s emphasis on violence, but the sensationally graphic portrayal of it, down to the last bit of brain being blown out of [the] victim’s head—on camera.”
New York film critic Vincent Canby asked: “Are audiences so bloodthirsty that they demand this realism?” The answer appears to be Yes. He observed that just as the public “has come to accept the existence of pornographic films in the last decade, so has it come to accept films that are more and more brutally violent.”
Movies and television are media of mass entertainment and information. They have a great effect in conditioning the minds of vast audiences. Thus, no doubt part of the large increase of brutal assaults on life and property can be attributed to such conditioning over a period of time.
This breakdown of morality and law and order was long ago foretold by Jesus Christ and his apostles. It is one feature of the sign of the times that tells us that we are in the “last days” of this present system. (Matt. 24:3, 12; 2 Tim. 3:1-3) Under the influence of demonic forces, the people are being conditioned for the time when each man’s hand “will actually come up against the hand of his companion.”—Zech. 14:13.