BY ANGUS MACDONALD
THE DAMAGING EFFECT of uncontrolled television on children was the target of senior Catholic Churchmen last week, with unusually strong language from both the Pope and Catholic hierarchies closer to home.
As part of his world-wide message for Communications Day, John Paul 11 criticised parents who used television as "an electronic baby-sitter", pointing out that they were surrendering their role as the primary educators of their children. The Pontiff said that dependence on TV meant some families did not interact with one another. The Pope's message was echoed by Bishop Joseph Devine of Motherwell, who said that TV could cause "moral damage" to families if treated carelessly. He bemoaned the "uncritical acceptance" parents gave to "the screen in the corner" .
And in Ireland, the Catholic hierarchy went further, attacking the media for "ruining the image of family life" and conveying "ambivalent" signals about violence.