EWTN News August 20, 2011:
Bishop Samuel Aquila used one of his World Youth Day catecheses to urge young people to scrub “evil” music from their iPods.
“You need to look at the music you listen to and the words. Don’t fool yourself. It impacts upon you,” said the Bishop of Fargo, North Dakota, at his World Youth Day catechesis session on Aug. 19.
“There is good music out there that you can listen to, but there is also a lot of trash. And it is simply evil. It is the evil because it distorts the gift of human sexuality, the gift of sexual intimacy, the gift of human life.”
Bishop Aquila was talking to several hundred English-speaking pilgrims in the parish church of Virgen del Mar in the Madrid suburb of San Blas.
He told the youngsters how he was recently visiting a friend with two teenage sons who wanted to show him the music they had downloaded onto their cell phones. The title of one particular song grabbed the bishop’s attention.
“A few days later I read the lyrics of that song, and very honestly I was horrified,” he said. “The words used objectified women” and the woman the featured in the song “was very simply a toy for men and their sexual pleasure.”
Bishop Aquila said he’d then asked the two boys if they “would want your sisters’ boyfriends to treat them as the woman is being treated in that song?” That question “stopped the conversation completely, as these boys would defend their sisters to the hilt.”
He concluded by explaining to the young pilgrims that while the witness of a bishop can be effective, it was more important for young people to witness to each other when it comes to ditching “evil” music.
“Be not afraid to get rid of that sort of music from your iPods or your iPads or your iPhones or wherever you put that kind of music. And don’t be afraid to shut it off because it can play constantly in your head. Give witness to that.”
This morning’s catechesis session was only one of 220 being given in 27 languages all around Madrid.
The reaction to Bishop Aquila’s talk seemed overwhelmingly positive.
“I think that it’s important for the youth to hear what he said about music, because that sort of music is all over the place, it’s infected many levels, even young kids are listening to this stuff,” said 17-year-old Sean Palmer from Philadelphia.
“So it’s important that Catholics lead the charge and show the world what music is right and what music should be avoided because it affects our subconscious in ways we sometimes don’t realize,” Palmer said.
His friend, 17-year-old Andrew Parrish also from Philadelphia, agreed, saying that “music is really language and it can be used to express beautiful things or things that aren’t so beautiful.” He added, “it was important to hear that message from Bishop Aquila because you don’t hear it that often.”