Just as in our own time, the ancient Roman public flocked to lowbrow entertainment full of dirty jokes, sex, and immorality. An early Christian writer, traditionally identified as St. Cyprian, says that what you watch will eventually affect what you do.
And now on to the shameless corruption of the stage.
I’m ashamed to tell you what things are said. I’m ashamed even to denounce the things that happen—the tricks of arguments, the cheatings of adulterers, the immodesties of women, the dirty jokes, the sordid parasites, even the respectable fathers themselves, sometimes stupid, sometimes obscene, but always dimwitted and immodest. But although no one, and no family, and no profession is spared by the talk of these scoundrels, yet everyone flocks to the play.
What is a faithful Christian doing among things like that, since he’s not even supposed to be thinking about wickedness? Why does he find pleasure in the representations of lust, among which he will set aside his modesty and become more daring in sins? He is learning to do while he gets used to seeing.
–St. Cyprian, On the Public Shows, 5
What does the entertainment I choose teach me?
What does it teach my family?
Lord, you know my frailty. Deliver me from the evil one and his works, and from all his malice and craftiness, for the sake of your holy name.
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