Listen to the show:
Today’s host(s): Scot Landry, Fr. Matt Williams
Today’s guest(s): Teresa Tomeo, radio host and author of the new book, “Extreme Makeover”, and Danielle Olsen, Mission Coordinator of the Office for the New Evangelization of Youth and Young Adults
- The Extreme Makeover site
- Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ, Not Conformed to the Culture
- Noise: How Our Media-saturated Culture Dominates Lives and Dismantles Families
Today’s topics: The messages women hear in the media and the message the Church has for them
Summary of today’s show: Women have been subjected to intense and conflicting media messages on body image, promiscuity, and personal choice. Teresa Tomeo, author of the new book Extreme Makeover, and Danielle Olsen, talk with Scot Landry and Fr. Matt Williams about the Church’s alternative message for women, a message that has been consistent and proven correct over the past half-century. Teresa advocates that women detoxify from the media onslaught and embrace the beautiful truths that God wishes to share with them through the church.
1st segment: Scot welcomed Fr. Matt back to the show. He said his office has been doing some research based on a synod for the new evangelization coming up next year. One of the areas the bishops will discuss is media and culture. Danielle said these issues affect even the middle school girls she sometimes works with.
Teresa Tomeo is on from 9-10am Monday-Friday on WQOM. Scot welcomed her to the show. Teresa’s been on the air for 9 years. Extreme Makeover is Teresa’s third book. She discusses the mixed messages that come at women through the media that confuses them. She wants women to know that they’re not crazy or alone and that the Catholic Church is the best place for a woman to be, but it has the message for women that recognizes their inherent dignity. She also blows the lid off of topics like abortion, contraception, and other issues for women.
It first started for Teresa when she lost a big job as a TV anchor, after having sacrificed her family and her relationship with God. It had become her identity. So when she lost her job, she had nothing. It was heartbreaking because the industry she had sacrificed for wasn’t there for her. It’s difficult to come to the point of realizing you’ve been doing everything wrong. It’s a long process. It started her examining what she was investing her time in. It took 5 to 7 years before she decided to walk away because she didn’t know much about her faith. This was back in the 1970s where she didn’t have a lot of opportunities to learn more.
God doesn’t give you the whole picture at once. It’s a detoxification process where you have to peel the onion layers back slowly.
Scot quoted a segment from the book. He said with the amount of media we consume, it’s almost impossible to avoid the messages they contain. HE asked why so much of the media advances these messages of abortion, contraception, promiscuity and more. Teresa said it’s an example of groupthink. So many of the people in the media are not religious and they come from similar colleges where much of this is taught as the norm. It goes back to the Sixties, which saw the birth of all these movement undermining traditional morality. They put bondage out there and sold it as freedom. The feminists sold a new bill of goods to women.
The Church has been an advocate for women, including Blessed John Paul, who said the new freedom of women has been taken too far.
Fr. Matt remembered coming back from World Youth Day 2000 in Rome where millions of youth came together with the Holy Father. Yet when he came back, the local media showed a small photo with “Pope meets with young people” even though it was one of the largest gatherings of humanity in the world. How does the Church begin to address and deal with this tsunami of the culture of death. Teresa said we keep challenging and raising the bar. We have to offer professional media from a Catholic perspective. It’s good solid professional discussion and content. We have to be involved and submit story ideas to the media. Engage them in a Christ-like manner and not let them get away with it.
On the topic of pro-choice, Teresa said it’s a cop-out. Is it ever safe, legal and rare to kill anyone? When Roe v. Wade happened, it became legal overnight. There was no effort to regulate it. The abortions moved from underground to Main Street. How is this rare? All kinds of problems like depression or eating disorders and other health problems are associated with abortion, so how can this be called safe? You don’t even have to be an ob-gyn to be an abortionist.
Scot said Teresa cites statistics in her book that 64% of women felt pressured to have an abortion and had no choice. Most of the women are there because they’re in a desperate situation. Teresa said many women tell it was not a choice, but a desperate move.
2nd segment: Scot said women are sold a lie about sexual promiscuity and contraception that it will bring them happiness. Teresa said in Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI made predictions about the effects of contraception has come true.
Contraception is so physically damaging to women that promises of freedom for women is a lie. Stopping menstruation is not natural. Contraception also affects a woman psychologically, making them think they need to be sexually available to anyone.
Scot asked if Danielle has seen this in her ministry with young women. Danielle said she has worked with many young women who enter into a detoxification phase when they realize how many lies they see.
Pope Paul VI made a number of predictions in Humanae Vitae in 1968 about the fallout from contraception. All of them have come true. There is an attendant fallout in the media with how women are portrayed in media, especially pornography. She has decided that Satan particularly hates women. Throughout Scripture, there is a constant battle between Satan and women, from Eve to Mary to the Church.
She uses secular research to show that the Church has always been right on these issues. God has a plan, not to hurt you or squash your fun, but to help you live your life. Fr. Matt said sin doesn’t make us happy. You’d think people would know that by experience. These things we talk about today don’t make us happy.
Teresa said it’s amazing to her how many people are not paying attention to what their children are consuming. These are people coming to her talks who are evidently somewhat invested in this.
Scot noted that the fruits of sexual promiscuity issues are numerous. There are two ways to live your life: by the culture and ending up on depression medication; or by the Church’s teaching which frees us from sin. We have a different view of freedom, that which helps us live our God-given potential. Teresa said most parents know the concept of saying No to a child when necessary because in the end it will be better for the child, even though for the moment no one is happy with the resulting tantrum. Yet adults don’t realize this applies to them.
One thing Teresa says women need to do is to leave behind the culture’s idea of what it means to be a beautiful woman. She used to think she needed to be extremely thin. Instead they should embrace the Church’s image of what a beautiful woman is. Teresa said there were two women on a popular dancing show who are not heavy, but curvy because they’re athletic, yet the media is calling them heavy. The Church’s idea of beauty is from the inside out, not that they can’t be beautiful on the outside.
Part of detoxifying is seeing yourself how God sees you, first and foremost as a daughter of the King. You are created in the image and likeness of God. God likes you where you are, but he also doesn’t want to leave you there. He wants you to have the abundant life of John 10:10.
Women also have the idea that God doesn’t see them as equals to men. Teresa pointed out that Jesus has very important conversations with the women of Scripture. The women were with him at the most important times and were the ones to stick by him.
3rd segment: It’s time to announce this week’s winner of the WQOM Benefactor Raffle.
Our prizes this week are The Salvation Controversy by Jimmy Akin, and The Bible Answer Man Debate: Akin vs. White.
This week’s benefactor card raffle winner is J. Garry & Michele Hebert. Congratulation, Garry & Michele!
If you would like to be eligible to win in an upcoming week, please visit WQOM.org. For a one-time $30 donation, you’ll receive the Station of the Cross benefactor card and key tag, making you eligible for WQOM’s weekly raffle of books, DVDs, CDs and religious items. We’ll be announcing the winner each Wednesday during “The Good Catholic Life” program.
4th segment: Teresa said one of the ways to see ourselves as God sees us is to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Teresa compares it to getting a facial. She also talked about the importance of silence for peace and for hearing God speak to us. We can’t hear him if we cover up his voice with all kinds of media noise.
It’s very important to be affirming when talking to people who are in this culture. You have to be loving because you never know the pain they’re in or where they’re coming from.
Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future. There’s no sin too great for God’s mercy.
Teresa said she’s coming at this with such passion because she’s lived this stuff, she’s been there, she’s had the mindset. So now she can encourage them to consider those things which she eventually considered that changed her mind. She had to gradually come to an understanding and that you have to help others gradually.
Scot asked Danielle what’s the best way to take the teachings of the Church to young women. The best way is by being in relationship with them. For her it was the witness of the women living out the teachings of the Church. You can’t teach unless you are in relationship with them and understanding their hearts.