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Sacred Heart Radio celebrates 10th anniversary

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July 18, 2011

By Melanie Crowe

ST. FRANCIS DE SALES DEANERY — Sacred Heart Radio celebrated its 10th anniversary with a conference at Guardian Angels Parish in Mt. Washington on July 2. The anniversary celebration began with a Mass for the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus July 1, with Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr as the celebrant. Conference speakers included Jesuit Father Mitch Pacwa, president and founder of Ignatian Productions; Ray Guarendi, a clinical psychologist and nationally syndicated radio host; Teresa Tomeo, an author and syndicated talk show host; and Al Kresta, president and CEO of Ave Maria Radio. More than 600 participants attended the conference


The keynote address by Tomeo, focused on “How Our Media Saturated Culture Dominates Lives and Dismantles Families.” She quoted Paul 2 Corinthians 11:3, “I am afraid that your thoughts might be corrupted.”  


“Giving up is almost as bad as giving in to temptation; telling ourselves that Jesus is not big enough to handle our challenges” she explained, in discussing whether there is hope for today’s families. “We can [make a difference] because it’s not our work, it’s God’s work.”


According to Tomeo, our cultural landscape is rife with sexual content. Citing a Gallup study on morality and media influence, she shared that 70 percent of all television programming contains sexual content, and 75 percent of videos on MTV contain sexual imagery. According to Nielsen ratings, the most popular show among girls ages nine to 12 is “Desperate Housewives.” Furthermore, 22 percent of teen girls are sexting, while pornography has grown into a $12 billion industry, largely fueled by the sexualization and objectification of young girls. According to a report by the National Organization for Women, “Women in Peril,” violence against women on television increased 120 percent between 2004 and 2009.


Tomeo outlined a media awareness plan, highlighting the bias of the secular news media, and citing an overall attack on moral values. She said that the profit motive leads to coverage of sensational news stories reported by journalists indoctrinated with a liberal worldview.
 “Learn to judge soberly and critically,” she urged the audience. “We need to know how the media work so the media don’t work on us.”


According to Tomeo, a Pew Center study found that 64 percent of Americans believe that media leads to overall moral decline, and that journalists describe themselves as more liberal than conservative. In 2008, the Pew Research Center found that 70 percent of the media wanted a liberal presidential candidate, while nine percent favored a conservative candidate.


Tomeo’s also shared her “do’s” and “don’ts” media awareness. The “do’s” are:

•    Pray for the media — Catholic, secular and Protestant — to be strong enough to do what they’re supposed to do

•    Support Catholic media: EWTN, Ave Maria and Sacred Heart Radio

•    Encourage young people to pursue careers in media

•    Question how much media you are consuming

•    Learn more about solid Catholic media available: EWTN, Our Sunday Visitor, the Vatican website

•    Establish media guidelines in home and stick to them

•    Keep computers and televisions out of bedroom

•    No television for children under age two at all

•    Limit television viewing to 1 hour-2 hours a day (vs. five-hour average)

•    Use Internet safety devices

•    Write editorials to educate media


The “don’ts:”

 •    Don’t take issue of media influence lightly

•    Don’t give in to the demands of children for technology: Be a parent! Your kids will thank you.

•    Don’t alloy your mealtime to be interrupted by media

•    Don’t give up on all the media

•    Don’t become apathetic


Despite the negative cultural landscape, Tomeo said that there are some encouraging signs. “Catholic media is exploding,” she reported. “EWTN is now the largest Catholic media organization in world, Live Action (a youth-led, pro-life movement for human rights) is making some progress with Planned Parenthood, and Roe v. Wade is not going away.”


She also emphasized how the Catholic Church is using social media as a tool for evangelization. “Even the pope tweets!” Tomeo said.


“Rather than trying to wall yourself off [from the media], go on the offensive in faith and confidence,” she encouraged conference attendees. “Christ is in you, and you are in Christ. Stand up. Don’t be afraid. Stand tall, stay close to Jesus and watch the devil flee!”


Tomeo closed by sharing a prayer from St. Teresa of Avila and told participants that,  “We are the hands and feet. We can’t back down.”


With a call to gentleness and reverence, she reminded the audience that the greatest things on their side are Mary, the Eucharist and Jesus.


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