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Here comes Super Bowl Sunday.

We're not opposed to some fun -- recreation is important -- and we hope those who enjoy football enjoy the game in the right spirit. Go Patriots! Go Seahawks! Taken in the right way (as cooperation instead of mere competition), it not only can be fun for those so inclined but an opportunity to pray for everyone in the world who is likewise watching. It is a massive gathering.

But as everyone knows, much of it, especially what surrounds it, has become a debauchery, both the ads and the show at half-time (this year featuring a singer who often likes occult symbols for her surroundings; hopefully that won't happen this weekend). Should it now be known as Salacious Sunday?

"Salacious" seems to be the byword of our day. It is beyond "out of control."

There are many times that we'd much prefer to carry news items from Fox News than from other sources. In certain ways, especially with issues like abortion, persecution at Christmastime, and homosexual marriage, watching Fox is easier on the spirit. A number of its hosts are Catholics, and unafraid to let that be known. The problem: Fox often has such (here comes that word again) salacious photographs (alongside its articles, as well as on the front of its web page) that to carry them is to risk a degree of scandal. This occurs with many news websites (see, for example, ABC News), but an irony it is that news agencies with whom we have less than a spiritual affinity -- and in fact vigorously oppose, on certain moral issues -- are often cleaner when it comes to sexual content (see The New York Times, which we so often differ with) than Fox and others. Fox News is owned by media "mogul" Rupert Murdoch, whose British and Australian tabloids are notorious for lewdness (two weeks ago, 1/14/15, a London newspaper of his called The Sun halted its practice of placing photos of topless women after women protested, but several days later -- apparently concerned about circulation -- it resumed the practice (see report, but caution: tabloid. Caution: ads. Caution: photographs). Yahoo and Google...

A challenge it is, these days, to take "custody" of the eyes.

Yet, it is also crucial, given that the lewd stuff is all but impossible to avoid. Prurient advertisements and/or content haunt now the majority of secular media websites, especially those tied to televisions news stations, making it a challenge to find decent links (especially in that advertisements change through the day). When something is fleshy, the first instinct must be to avert our attention to something else and whisper a prayer for purity. Our time is a time of suffocating impurity. Soon, at a theatre near you: Fifty Shades of Grey -- based on what is perhaps the most diabolic novel of the modern era.

The fact that such a novel could sell a hundred million copies is one of the most chilling facts in modern history. Meanwhile, a football star is on trial for murder (or otherwise would be suited on Sunday).

If it's not lascivious, it's the use of profanity: so pervasive that last week (1/24/15) a major politician, a former candidate for vice president, who says she's Christian, posed with a military activist who held a sign castigating a person on the opposite side of her political spectrum and referring to this opponent with the "f-word." She smiled broadly and said it was what everyone was also thinking. A few days later this same politician insulted the leadership of her own party by comparing a certain aspect of their masculinity to deflated footballs. Another used the word "low-life scum" the other day. The current vice president is not beyond bawdy language. Politics is now entertainment, a blood sport (never mind football!). Or look at those hyper-liberal "comedy central" shows and the language and vitriol.

There is no more shame. Say what you want how you want about whomever you want. (No one will hold you accountable for it, this side of purgatory.)

We are in the age of insult. It is beyond bawdiness.

It's like an obstacle course -- navigating through modern Western life without ones eyes finding the contamination of images or words on billboards, magazine racks, books, websites, and the like, as we have complained before. Even Catholic websites accept ads with questionable content. Try finding a program on TV without a commercial for Viagra (and our kids sit there watching this).

Excuse the pontification. None of us is perfect (for sure).

We all make mistakes.

We all miss things.

But if it isn't ads, it's nasty or profane or anti-Christian (particularly anti-Catholic) comments at the bottom of news articles.

The level of bile out there is astounding. Meanwhile, good Christians are often entangled with political or media types to whom they gravitated due to stands against abortion and things precisely such as gay marriage but who, in embracing such worldly personalities, because they agree on certain issues, also embrace their argumentation, slander, name-calling, hatred, extremism, and unfettered Ayn Rand materialism.

Are we Catholics first or are we, first, political? And has sports become a monster? Is there irony in such a massive game consuming Sunday in an era when football and soccer and shopping and work and everything else now regularly consume a day we were told to keep holy?

Pray this Sunday. Bring the sun back to Sunday. Bring Light. Take back the Sabbath. Let it be an opportunity to intercede. Score some spiritual points. Take back Sunday so we don't have to wonder: Sabbath? What Sabbath, any more?

[resources: The Gold Book of Prayers,  On the Brink, and Prayer of the Warrior]

[also: Michael Brown retreat, signs of the times: Orlando and Spiritual warfare, prophecy: retreat in Charleston, South Carolina

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