Metropolitan Vitaly (Ustinov) – Television as a contemporary pastoral problem.
This article was printed in 1959 in Russian in the Canadian Orthodox Herald [Kanadskii Vestnik]. It is reproduced here, both in Russian and in English translations, as its subject matter, far from diminishing in relevance, has acquired a much more important place in our pastoral work. – Editor.
WE HAVE NOT yet fully understood the enormous consequences of the invention of television. Possessed of a truly magical power of fascination and attraction, and at the same time concealing within itself the terrible poison of corruption, it naturally wins for itself the most honored place in every home, in every family. The contemporary clergyman cannot and must not pass television by in silence, as it is surpassed by nothing and nobody in its power of influence over the human soul. The campaign against television must be our foremost task, and 1 say this without exaggeration, because of the influence it has over us, hour by hour and minute by minute, in our very homes. Our struggle against it must be based on a correct attitude to this invention of modern genius; the difficulty and complexity of this struggle is due to the fact that we have to fight, not against television itself, but against the infinitely weakened power of the human will, which simply cannot find the strength to tear itself away in time from this exceptionally deceiving and alluring pleasure. Here we can remember the words of St. Paul: "All things are lawful unto me, but not all things are expedient; all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any" [1 Cor., 6, 12].