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“Ask a Priest: What If I Don’t Want My Kids to See ‘Lightyear’?”
Q: We are a Catholic family with four children and are trying to do our best to not succumb to secular ideals. We have rather liberal “Catholic” family members who cannot understand why we do our best to do things for the glory of God, especially when the topic is about LGBTQ. So soon, we are staying at my brother’s house in Texas for a vacation. The new Toy Story movie, Lightyear, was brought up, and they invited us to see it when we come to visit. The United Arab Emirates recently banned this movie entirely for the same-sex kissing scene. Disney apparently took out the episode but then reinstated it later. I would like to be able to explain to my extended family why we have to opt out on watching the movie. I need advice on the right words to say, preferably quoting the Bible or the Catechism. Thank you in advance. – M.R.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: It is admirable that you are trying to raise your children to have a Christian outlook on life.
I’m not sure, however, that quoting the Bible or the Catechism to your relatives will help in this instance.
Perhaps it is better to just say gently but firmly that you don’t feel comfortable allowing your children to watch the movie.
If the relatives press you, you could mention the scene above and say that it would send the wrong signal to your children.
If the relatives press you further, you can simply mention that God has a plan for sexuality, and you are trying to live it and teach it to your children.
Try to remain charitable and calm as you explain these things.
If the relatives push back, well, then you might just need to reconsider how comfortable you are vacationing with these relatives.
In the meantime, it might be good to intensify your prayers for these relatives. Ask the Holy Spirit to open their hearts.
In any case, witnessing your faith can be a great act of charity for the relatives.
For your own background, this is what the Catechism says:
Chastity and homosexuality
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
I hope some of this helps.
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Good answer again, Father. As to the seeing or not seeing a movie with extended family members while on vacation. Perhaps, rather than inciting a heated debate of truth and subjective truth by those not yet in full understanding of what Christian discipleship means, it might be good if this woman and husband speak an alternative entertainment (to going to a dark movie theater on a beautiful sunny day) PUSH the idea of a trip to an amusement park, or park and picnic grounds, or hiking a trail together and ENJOYING NATURE.
Those of a more secular mindset are ALL FOR ‘go green’ ‘nature’ the ‘environment’ so in this manner, AN OBJECTIVE TRUTH can prevail which has no cause for debate. Even a backyard barbecue picnic and kids running around getting exercise while the adults chat (KEEP TOPICS LIGHT)
As Catholic Christians ‘don’t walk into a debate’ LEAD the WAY… that ‘the other side’ (sort of) can’t argue with. Do not fall into the ‘trap’ of having to defend our way of life to those NOT THERE yet. One will always lose. Might be good to go on a vacation, and ‘pay one’s own way’ by staying at a nice motel or hotel . . . or resort. When topic of evening movie comes up, one can politely say, WELL, thank you but we promised the kids we’d do some miniature golf this evening, and they are looking forward to it. You and the kids can certainly join us if you like. Have your plans set, tell it to the kids (as you plan the vacation beforehand) and ideologies need never be broached… nor arguments. (unless this other side does, then say a simple, excuse … the ‘links’ of miniature golf are waiting) Do this talk without kids present. THIS IS TO LEAD the discussion.
When this family with four kids ‘stays with another relative’ they give up a certain FREEDOM to make their own decisions. Take a vacation of one’s own and INCLUDE the brother relative. No arguments will ensue.
I would explain it by asking them what do they think God created sex for?
If their response is for procreation and union of spouses, then I would further ask about sexual behaviors that do not result in children or the union of spouses. If God created sex for procreation and union, what does that about masturbation, birth control, oral sex, or homosexuality?
It comes down to who people think make the rules about sexual behavior. If they believe man makes the rules, then anything goes. If they think God makes the rules, then breaking those rules puts them on the outside
It’s a good thought, Chuck, when MUTUAL RESPECT is operative. Mutual Respect of OBJECTIVE truth.
As you stated: there are ‘two camps’ operating these days: that ‘mankind’ can make his own rules and truth (called subjective relativistic truth) and that GOD counsels one’s actions and going against God is SIN.
As long as this divide exists, ‘THE FAITHFUL’ need to lead their own lives and not put themselves to the temptation to debate, argue, fight. This Catholic Christian family should go on THEIR vacation, making THEIR vacation agenda plans for themselves. Stay in a motel or hotel near to the brother, visit with them for a day, going to a restaurant or special park or house visit . . . or invite them to ‘meet up’ in an amusement park for a day. When making the relative that is directly opposite one’s own values and beliefs… it is never a good outcome. LEAD the way. ENJOY ONE’S OWN VACATION at a motel or hotel. ‘PAY THE COST.’ . . . and different ideologies need not be broached.
TYPO: making the relative directly opposite one’s own belief system the ‘entertainment director’ aka host, there can come conflict. Stay pleasant, make one’s own plans ahead of time. invite (don’t force) this brother to a day at picnic grounds or specialty park (each pays their own families) If brother invites to the movie in question, one can politely decline as ‘plans were already made.’ We can’t debate truth anymore because HALF the population do not understand GOD or HIS TRUTH AND WAYS. (saddle)