The Catholic Thing
Should Catholics Have to Pay for Anti-Catholic Bigotry? Print E-mail
By Fr. Val J. Peter   
Friday, 07 December 2012

Last year, the FX cable network debuted a new series by Ryan Murphy (Glee, Nip/Tuck, The New Normal) called American Horror Story, conceived as a number of season-long, self-contained mini-series.

The first season, which focused on a married couple who move into a “haunted house,” was marked by explicit sexual content, often tinged with violence.

The second season, “Asylum,” is set in the year 1964 in an institution for the criminally insane run by the Catholic Church. It contains some of the most bigoted, offensive, and depraved content you can imagine – all squarely aimed at the Catholic Church, its beliefs, and its institutions. And if you are Catholic and a cable subscriber, you helped make this content possible.

From the opening sequence – in which creepy music, graphic surgery, and copulation are interspersed with images of the Virgin Mary – American Horror Story: Asylum is virulent anti-Catholic propaganda from beginning to end.

Among the program’s catalogue of anti-Catholic canards are: 

•     Nuns are abusive and sadistic. Sister Jude brutally canes a serial killer known as “Bloodyface,” allows him to be attacked by other inmates, then orders the asylum’s orderlies to beat him. The episode ends with Jude strapping another character to a table and threatening her with torture.
•     Catholic clergy are motivated solely by ambition. Monsignor Howard rhapsodizes at length about how success in running the asylum will cause him to be promoted to cardinal, and eventually “the first Anglo-American Pope!” He offers to share his power with Jude, whom “thousands of sisters will call ‘Reverend Mother!’” Admittedly, this does take place in Sister Jude’s fantasy. But this is only natural, since…
•     Catholic clergy are sexual perverts and hypocrites. Before dinner with Monsignor Howard, Sister Jude is shown fondling her cleavage and donning lacy red lingerie as religious music soars. Her fantasy concludes with the nun stripping off her habit and straddling the priest’s crotch.
•     Catholic piety is phony, and Catholics are secretly bigots. Sister Jude is shown praying the “Hail Mary” – after which, she proceeds to abuse her patients and Sister Mary Eunice. Instead of leading to compassion, Sister Jude’s prayers are shown only to engender a shrill hatred of everyone and everything that does not meet her limited worldview, and actually cause her to exhibit only brutality and sadism toward others. Sister Jude is also a bigot; while taunting “Bloodyface” (who killed his African-American wife), she sneers, “Did her dark meat slide off the bone any easier than your other victims?”
•     Catholics are ignorant and substitute irrational dogma for science. Sister Jude snarls that one inmate was committed by a doctor who “compared her to a wood nymph.” “You mean nymphomania?,” Lana asks. “Just more nonsense from the charlatans,” Jude replies. “That young woman is a victim of her own lust! Mental illness is the fashionable explanation for SIN!” Sister Jude also persistently criticizes Dr. Arden’s treatment of the patients. That a nun with such beliefs would have been put in charge of a mental institution in the pro-science, pro-psychology Vatican II era of 1964 Catholicism is ridiculous.
•     Catholics use their influence solely to oppress others. In addition to her blatant abuse of the charges under her keeping, Sister Jude wrongfully imprisons Lana – a woman she knows to be sane – then bullies Lana’s lesbian lover Wendy into signing commitment papers by threatening to expose their liaison, which in 1964 would result in Wendy’s disgrace and dismissal from her job as a schoolteacher.  
      There is an audience, apparently, for this kind of anti-Catholic invective. At least three million viewers tuned in for the second season premiere. But that also means another 87 million cable subscribers who chose not to watch, presumably including many faithful Catholics and non-Catholics who are offended by this content, paid for this program to come into their homes, whether they wanted it or not.                        

Murphy may have his reasons for disliking the Catholic Church, and he is entitled to his opinion; but it is unconscionable that every cable and satellite subscriber in America (including many Roman Catholics, who comprise the single largest religious denomination in the country) is forced by the entertainment industry to subsidize Murphy’s bigoted attacks on their faith.

The reverse is also true, by the way. Is it fair to make a committed atheist pay for religious programming? Is it fair to make a childless bachelor pay for children’s programming, or a person with no interest in sports pay for ESPN?

According to a recent survey, 92 percent of respondents said they would prefer to pay for cable channels à la carte. Variety reports that: “U.S. consumers would overwhelmingly prefer to pay for just 19 TV channels at $1.50 a pop than their current multichannel packages.”

Unbundling cable channels is only fair, and it is the only way to set right a distorted market that forces people to subsidize content that assaults their deepest beliefs and attacks their very faith.

Father Val J. Peter, a new contributor to The Catholic Thing, was Executive Director from 1985 to 2005 and is now Executive Director Emeritus of Girls and Boys Town, the original Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home. He has served on the boards or committees of more than twenty national and local organizations, including the Parents Television Council, and has published eleven books and more than fifty scholarly articles. He holds doctorate degrees in canon law and theology. Francis C. Beckwith will be back in two weeks.
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Rules for Commenting

The Catholic Thing welcomes comments, which should reflect a sense of brevity and a spirit of Christian civility, and which, as discretion indicates, we reserve the right to publish or not. And, please, do not include links to other websites; we simply haven't time to check them all.

Comments (22)Add Comment
written by Ib, December 07, 2012
Of course, Fr. Peter offers the sensible suggestion of unbundling cable channels and letting the market sort out the successes from the flops. However, this would doom the perverse world of Cable TV production companies, and so will be opposed to the death by them (it would literally mean the death of these companies). It is unlikely the Cable companies would support something that the production companies oppose.

So what's the solution? Simple: cancel your cable.

Many people already do this and watch the shows they prefer through streaming video services like Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, etc. There are even more or less free versions of these streaming services as well.

So unless you absolutely can only get the content you need on cable TV, save some money and boycott nasty stuff like the show Fr. Peter describes by canceling your cable TV service. Starve the beast.
written by Deacon Ed Peitler, December 07, 2012
I cancelled my cable this Fall. Can't say my life has gone down the tubes since.

Instead of the bishops calling for meatless Fridays and rosaries, they might call, instead, for cable-less Catholic homes. This would be a more meaningful sacrifice for most. Meatless Fridays made sense when eating meat was a luxury. Now it's taken for granted.
written by DS, December 07, 2012
Agree with Ib. Can the tube completely. We recently bought a new house and my wife and I decided to experiment temporarily with no TV. We feared a backlash from our children, but they don't miss it at all! Neither do we. Now we read more, play board games as a family, talk longer over dinner, spend time outdoors and get more sleep.

Of course, nobody is perfect. We still have an Internet connection. But with no large screen in the house, it's hard for streaming TV shows to be come the "go to" option.
written by Jack,CT, December 07, 2012
One does not have to look hard to
find evil',we can find it all around us.
the perception of us is very "Ugly" to
I agree this show and shows like it are
wrong but we also must forgive and not
be burdened by this.I do understand where!
you are coming from but the more "Attention"
you give to this type of garbage" the more
they win the arguement.
Father this really has to start at the home,
and "Parents",parents play the role of
Welcome Father and Merry Christmas.
written by Frank, December 07, 2012
Father Peter,
The simple answer is NO, we should not have to pay for this trash. But I refer back to the movie "The Untouchables" where Sean Connery's character asks Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner), "And what are you willing to do? And then what?"
I'm keeping the satellite TV until my father-in-law leaves from his Christmas visit. He likes his football and being a widower and a distinguished veteran of WWII, I will accommodate him all that I can. But after he leaves, the satellite TV is gone. I don't need to protest in the streets or lobby my legislators for a law...JUST CUT OFF THE MONEY!!!! When enough people begin to target their opposition at the pockets of the progenitors of this filth, hearts and minds begin to follow. There are other areas of which my wife and I are cutting back targeting markets whose employees are predominantly entry level and probably voted for Obama. These people need to feel the sharp sting of unemployment and the rigid rod of reality that elections do have consequences.
Take a cue from the American Revolution and an organization called The Committee of Correspondence. They had feather pens, expensive rag paper, four legged horses, and two legged couriers to communicate ideas, intentions, and actions. We have our ideas, our intentions, a keyboard on a computer and an Internet operating at the speed of light to communicate.
Sometimes, freedom demands of us a sacrifice. Walk the rows of headstones at a National Cemetery and you will come upon the graves of many who were killed in action to ensure our freedom. All gave some and some gave all and I can assure you that I find it much more to my advantage to spend my time working and spending my hard earned cash on other endeavors than to pay for and and having my common sense and intellect insulted by such tripe as Nip Tuck or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo!
And lastly, we can take a cue from Don Corleone who had to slap around a pitiful Johnny Fontaine, "You can act like a man!" said the Don!
"We can act like mature men and women!" I say; justifiably indignant and committed to finally drawing the line in the sand and tell those who are bringing rot to our culture, "This is far as you get, the push back starts NOW!"
written by Jack,CT, December 07, 2012
@Frank, I agree totally agree,you make my point
for me,we cut the money train off and the "Media",
The "Liberal media will respond to lack of funds.
Thankyou for a refreshingly SIMPLE but great solution!
written by William Manley, December 07, 2012
Actually to some degree most television and film productions are anti-Christian in the values they project. The damage these shows do to the whole concept of traditional Judeo-Christian morality is significant. It's why I choose to have no television service at all. I love the personal freedom stemming from that decision. Another point: Can you imagine the furor that would ensue if the program you are discussing went after Muslims/Buddhists/Hindus (or fill in your particular blank) rather than Catholics? Why is it politically correct to attack Catholics so viciously?
written by Jack,CT, December 07, 2012
The double standard seems to
be obvious,great point. Jack
written by Achilles, December 07, 2012
Good article Father!

We cut off cable for Lent a year and a half ago. It has been off ever since and we are much richer for it, just like DS said, much more family time, we are much closer and that poison is out of our house. Cut it off, starve this evil tree at its roots!
written by petebrown, December 07, 2012
I think most people would love an a la carte approach to cable programming--for the reasons the author gives as well as many others. The vast majority of cable viewers only watch a handful of channels. So it has a superficial appeal.

But it will never happen. Cable's business model depends on bundling for several reasons. The biggest is that they have a business with high fixed costs for infrastructure and content but very small marginal costs for each program or channel watched. So bundling is the real way for them to make money.

People paying $50-$100 a month for the whole package would expect a big discount if they could only sign up for the channels they wanted. That would destroy cable's revenue stream. Moreover even if we did mandate that cable did offer a la carte pricing all the channels would have to make up the lost affiliate fees in subscriber prices. So subscribing to your 10 favorite channels would not be any cheaper for you than the cable bundle of 200. But the end of the annoyance of feeling like you are paying for content you don't like and aren't watching and thus saving money every month is the major appeal of a la carte pricing. When people figure out they can't save money..the rationale for supporting it falls away.

Moreover the easiest way for cable to attract new subscribers is to offer more channels rather than fewer ones thus creating a bigger bundle to surround the core channels with broader appeal. EWTN for instance would not work on an a la carte basis (too few eyeballs) but reaches many many homes because it is part of the bundle and many areas. Many niche channels are like this and could not work as stand-alone deals but could as part of the broader package. If you forced cable to price a la carte they'd just respond by carrying only the channels that have a broad appeal.

But there is one misconception in the article. The subscriber is not subsidizing the bad channels...not really. Affiliate fees in cable are based on ratings and unpopular stations do get dropped unless cable is forced to carry them or they are affiliated with a larger more powerful network. So you can rest easy that none of your monthly cable bill is paying for FX but really this is the pro rata fees of those who do watch it.

My advice...Don't watch FX or better still, do what I've done and drop cable entirely and watch everything on demand!! That's the way to go!
written by Jo the housewife, December 07, 2012
I agree--shut off cable. I like EWTN and would hate to punish them, but I can do without the rest. Just think what good people could do with their time trying to make our world better if we shut off 10-20 hours (wasted hours!) a week! DO IT!
written by Frank, December 07, 2012
I share your outage and frustration at the content of this aparticular piece of trash and cable bundling that finances it. I will express my sense of wrongness to the cable supplier. But I am sure many at the Cable company, as well as FX and the production company of this show are Catholics, and will proclaim such along with not going to mass, believing in the real presence or Sacrament of Marriage, etc. The point being, there is no definable Catholic. 60 years of poor and inadequate catechesis has made it an amorphous personal choice. This trash will appeal to large Catholic segment. Equally frustrating. Much less the de-brief that will follow in RCIA meetings.
written by Mack, December 08, 2012
Well said.

I have a nifty little television which features a DVD slot in its side. I view the movies I want (most recently THE LITTLE WORLD OF DON CAMILLO and THE RETURN OF DON CAMILLO) from my own modest library of films.

To subscribe to cable or satellite is to pay other people to put out weird stuff.
written by David, December 08, 2012
Thank you for your article. For years I have only kept cable for EWTN and local news. Local news I can get for free over the air and it seems that EWTN is now available by streaming video over the Internet. I had not realized this.

Cutting the cable...
written by Graham Combs, December 08, 2012
I worked in NY publishing for a nearly a decade. The only Catholics I met were on the Catholic left. Perhaps one reason why I was so long becoming a Catholic. The fact is that feminism and gay activism has taken over in so much of American life and that these movements are by their nature anti-Catholic. This is true not only in Hollywood or Manhattan's media ghettoes. It is true in corporate America as well. Check out any career site of any major corporation and you are grilled regarding tolerance and inclusion and "getting along." The fact is that if you are a practicing orthodox Catholic you will discover that "getting along" is a one-way street. Only this week a co-worker overheard me saying I attended Mass on Sunday. She repeated again and again "I don't go to church." And again and again I ignored. But she knew whereof she spoke -- her validation came from the human resources department and management themselves. After the election things have only worsened because the unthinking leftist masses have been emboldened by the re-election of the president who is overtly anti-Catholic as is his entire administration. I suspect that this is true in virtually every metropolitan area in the United States.

The ugliness of the media was emphasized during the election by the Samuel L. Jackson, Lena Dunham, and Michael Moore ads. And Chris Rock's faux ad on a late night tv show.

When tv went digital, I donated my TV to a children's ward fund drive raising money with recycling electronic devices.
written by William Hughes, December 10, 2012
I have been without cable for six years now, and I don't miss it one bit. I decided i was spending WAY too much money (about $65.00 a month in 2006) for the "privilege" of watching raunchy, commercial-infested programming. I have since used that money to purchase family-friendly programming on DVDs, and lots of them! If Cable wants me back two things will have to happen:

1. They will have to make their programming "a-la-carte" so I get (and pay for)ONLY the channels I watch.

2. The "V-Chip" Law will have to be amended to INCLUDE COMMERCIALS. Parents must CRINGE whenever a program their children are watching goes to a commercial break, you can have a toy commercial on one minute, next comes an "ED Pill" Ad! :( Parents should have the right to block Ads they don't want their kids to see!
written by David Meyer, December 17, 2012
I havent had cable for years now. Best decision ever. Yet I still watch TV series that play on FX (the network of the awful show from the article) AMC, Showtime, HBO, etc, etc. I decided if they won't let me choose what comes into my house, I would make the choice for them. So I Bittorrent the shows I want online for free and ignore their horrid commercials and other sick shows I dont want to pay for. There is simply no way to pay ala carte for these things. Until that time comes, I will take what I want and leave the rest. The only downside is I have to wait a day for the shows to be available. No big deal.

If we starve these companies they will change or die.
written by David Meyer, December 17, 2012
Jo the housewife said:
"I agree--shut off cable. I like EWTN and would hate to punish them,..."

EWTN is available to stream online! I don't have cable, yet watch EWTN regularly with the whole family. I believe it is also "on the air" for beter quality than a stream.

I canceled cable and pay more for a higher speed internet connection so I could target the content I want. Computers can be outfitted with a "TV out" card also, so your big screen TV can be used to watch content played from your computer. Very easy to do.
written by Brad Miner, December 17, 2012
@David Meyer: Are the downloads you receive legal? And are they free from malware? I understand that a legal study found that thousands (nearly all the most popular) BitTorrent downloads were in violation of copyright. And I've also read that as much a 20% of all BitTorrent downloads contain malware.
written by Moax 429, December 23, 2012
William Manley is right: The production and media companies are *definitely* anti-Christian (especially anti-Catholic) in the values they project.

The Weinstein Company, Viacom (owners of Paramount, MTV, Comedy Central, etc.) and NewsCorp (owners of 20th Century Fox, Fox Broadcasting, FX, etc). are *the worst* offenders.

One wonders why we don't have any more producers - such as the late MTM Enterprises in the 70's and 80's - that really *cared* about *quality* and also, when the occasion called for it, portraying Christianity in a positive light?

Very simple: Said companies were swallowed up by these giant media companies during the 1990's and now cease to exist. To paraphrase former Parents Television Council President L. Brent Bozell III: "[These media companies'] bottom line philosophies mean bottom-of-the-barrel [product], and quality be hanged."

About the closest thing we have now to real quality family shows are the Hallmark Hall of Fame specials on ABC. I watch them every chance I get.

(By the way, MTM Enterprises, which gave us such quality shows as "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Rhoda" died in 1998 when they were bought out by the NewsCorp empire and absorbed into 20th Century Fox. And two other "quality" production companies, Embassy Television ("All in the Family") and Lorimar ("The Waltons," "Eight is Enough") died in 1992 and 1993, respectively, when Embassy was bought out by Sony Pictures Entertainment and Lorimar by the Time Warner empire, respectively. Embassy was absorbed into Sony Pictures Television and Lorimar into Warner Bros. Television.)

*Very* sad, indeed!
written by Bryan, January 11, 2013
Don't back down catholics, if you put pressure on the network you eventually get the series concelled take from the Christians that had a similar experience the the anti-christian ABC series GCB which cancelled due to continuous pressure on the network to cancel the series read what what i wrote about GCB here http://21stcenturyreagan.blogs...right.html and http://21stcenturyreagan.blogs...ebook.html
written by Ernest Turriziani, February 04, 2013

I have been a fan of the science fiction by H.G.Wells, such as The Time Machine.
I found out that he was a rabid anti Catholic & advocated bombing the Vatican during World War 2.
Should I still read his book?
What is your opinion?
Please let me know and you can email me at

Write comment
smaller | bigger

security code
Write the displayed characters