Oprah and All Her Works and All Her Empty Promises

Of late I am increasingly frightened by something I see happening in our culture: it is the seeming superficial-ization of everything in American life to the point of absurdity and deception. The prime culprit of course is the ubiquitous mass media (especially 24-hour cable programming and the Internet) and its constant dumbing down of the American consciousness to the lowest common denominator of the most tantalizing sound bites and images. The other bad boy is the interminable chatter/commentary by clever cultural sharpshooters: it’s so bad sometimes that it makes me wonder if we can actually pull ourselves out of our co-dependence upon charlatans. What makes my priest’s heart so heavy is that I think our society is going down the path of deep spiritual degradation, and it doesn’t look like this trend will be ending any time soon. Certainly not in an election season.

Case in point: Oprah. Our country’s richest woman is easily one of the most spiritually bankrupt people in America and also one of the most shockingly popular. How does a New Age con artist like Oprah get so many people to literally adore her? She did not make $260 million last year by feeding people solid food. She deals in fads, feelings and frauds – it’s that simple – and apparently she is very effective at convincing people to follow her well-packaged crock of nonsense. Of a recent political speech, she admitted fawningly that she had “cried her eyelashes off” when she heard it, and I am sure her crocodile tears were persuasive to her vast audience. For people schooled in the truth, the reaction would be very different: I saw the same speech and could barely keep myself from throwing up, but they don’t pay me $260 million a year.

When asked why she refused to interview her anointed one’s political opponent, she balked and got caught in a nasty public relations double-bind which is what usually happens to people who play games with their own popularity. Her refusal would have been easier to swallow if she had just said simply that she didn’t like the other candidate and didn’t want her on the show; that we can accept! But then again, basic honesty is probably above Oprah’s pay grade. The truth is that Oprah has put her social clout to partisan political use, and when she was called on to be fair, she just couldn’t admit that she was playing the political hack.

I do think Oprah’s menace is fundamentally spiritual though, and that it feeds off the growing spiritual superficiality of the American populace. Its treachery is not to be underestimated. Oprah not only believes in but forcefully advocates pernicious New Age trends like Helen Schucman’s A Course In Miracles and Eckhart Tolle’s terrible esoteric movement that is trampling down Christian values and opening up a spiritual vacuum in the hearts of millions as we speak. Having the life sucked out of our souls by spiritually bankrupt “celebrities” is a slow spiritual death, to put it mildly. However, Oprah is just the worst case scenario of what is reaching epidemic proportions in a personality-obsessed, spiritually infantile and media-saturated culture. The most popular show in American prime-time is not called “American Idol” for nothing: we are literally becoming a nation of idol-worshippers.

What can we do about all the deceptive cultural garbage clamoring to fill our vulnerable souls? Well, the Church has always had the answer and never ceases to instruct us in the discipline that will bring our souls down that “narrow way” of Christ. We are to “reject Satan and all his works and all his empty promises” — that would include all his idols too. We are to consume the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth and say “yes” when we mean “yes” and “no” when we mean “no.” As Jesus said, “everything else is from the devil.”

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  • Claire

    Oprah is a hypocrite. During the last election she said that it wouldn’t be right to endorse one candidate over the other. This time, she has no qualms about endorsing Obama. I think that Oprah’s intentions are good, and she does genuinely try to help people, but she has done far more damage than good by buying into the New Age and promoting it.

  • http://www.rosaryarmy.com Mickey Addison

    Oprah is a private citizen, and she is free to make her own choices.

    The great danger that Fr Eutenheuer correctly points out is the empty shell that is the “Oprah World”, devoid of any meaning deeper than a good feeling. The emptiness and even desolation of popular culture has claimed millions of souls…and as the good Father pointed out, the only answer is Christ.

  • Catherine

    “…the Most Holy Virgin, in these last times in which we live, has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations, that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.”
    Sister Lucia of Fatima in a letter to Father Fuentes

    “Give me one million families praying the Rosary and the world is saved.”

    Blessed Pope Pius IX

    “If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, in your country, assemble every evening to recite the Rosary.”

    Blessed Pope Pius IX

    “It will not then seem too much to say that … in families … in which the Rosary of Mary retains its ancient honor, the loss of faith through error and vicious ignorance need not be feared.”

    Pope Leo XIII

    “The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers, it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God … and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary.”

    Pope Saint Pius X

    “There is no surer means of calling down God’s blessings upon the family … than the daily recitation of the Rosary.”

    Pope Pius XII

    “It is important not to lose this precious practice. We must return to family prayer, using the Rosary.”

    Pope John Paul II

  • http://www.fatimashrine.com Peter M. Calabrese

    Actually thank God she refused Palin the way she did. So many kept giving her the benefit of the doubt. Now …

  • Catherine

    The Rosary could even convert the richest woman in America and fix the spiritual damage she has caused. On a dare, Alphonse Ratisbonne was converted from a similar condition to becoming a priest and the great apostle of the Miraculous Medal. I could easily see Oprah as the great promoter of the Rosary in the USA–is there anyone willing to pray a novena of Rosaries for Oprah? (even just to see what would happen) I mean, wouldn’t it be wonderful if she were on our side?

  • noelfitz

    I am surprised at Fr Euteneur’s personal attack on Oprah.

    How does he know that Ms Winfrey is one of the most spiritually bankrupt people in America? It seems Fr Euteneuer’s main compliant is that she supports a politician he does not and that she is richer than he is. What does he mean by “basic honesty is probably above Oprah’s pay grade”?

    God bless,

    NoelFitz.
    ___________________________________
    “When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons” Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI.
    ____________________________________

  • dennisofraleigh

    Fr. Euteneur writes:

    “How does a New Age con artist like Oprah get so many people to literally adore her? She did not make $260 million last year by feeding people solid food. She deals in fads, feelings and frauds – it’s that simple – and apparently she is very effective at convincing people to follow her well-packaged crock of nonsense.”

    Oprah appeals to that quite large segment of the U.S. population that also says “I’m spiritual, but not very religious” and tends to be not only unchurched but untaught by any formal system of religious truth, especially the Christian variety. Or if they consider themselves “Christian” they are quite comfortable with a syncretistic blend of their own vague Christian sense of God and moral teachings combined with Oprah’s loopy notions of “feel-good” pop-psych spirituality.

    ##############################################################################
    “What could possibly be a proportionate reason for the more than 45 million children killed by abortion in the past 35 years? Personally, we cannot conceive of such a proportionate reason.”—Catholic Conference of Kansas
    ##############################################################################

  • noelfitz

    dennisofraleigh,

    Thank you for your post.

    Fr Euteneur wrote: “How does a New Age con artist like Oprah get so many people to literally adore her?

    This is incorrect. People do not adore Oprah. It is silly to say that anyone pays Oprah the supreme worship of adoration due to God alone (latria). Even the Blessed Virgin or any of the saints are not adored.

    Many in the US “tend(s) to be not only unchurched but untaught by any formal system of religious truth”. There are many who consider themselves Nondenominational Christians. Perhaps Mrs Palin, even though baptized a Catholic, would fit into this category.

    God bless,

    NoelFitz.
    ___________________________________
    “When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons” Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI.
    ____________________________________

  • proudmomma

    Yes, but when a person votes for a candidate BECAUSE he/she IS pro-abortion (and Obama is the most radical in the Senate on that….even disallowing a live baby of a botched abortion to be given medical attention and leaving him/her to die), then God will judge you accordingly. Oprah is pro-choice; she avows that…and so that IS one of the reasons she supports Obama. So the “remote material cooperation” clause of PBXVI does not apply in this situation…

    Just view the following video, and you will see that Fr. Euteneur’s observation of Oprah’spiritual bankruptcy is valid

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW4LLwkgmqA&feature=related

  • Lucky Mom of 7

    Who else in America has her face on her own magazine in grocery stores all over the country? Yes, people adore Oprah. Her magazine is selling. Oprah is a master at filtering the “feel good” out of everything and making a show from it. She’s really a genius, in my opinion. She has honed her gift and built an empire. In a way, that’s admirable. The problem is that she is a Queen of Hedonism. I think the only reason she “helps people” is because it makes her feel good. That’s fine, except that many works of virtue are intensely uncomfortable, even to the point of death. Oprah touts we shouldn’t trifle with discomfort. That’s an easy attitude to adopt when you’re fabulously rich.

    I was watching her with John Travolta on her show once. Mr. Travolta said, “You want to know how generous Oprah is? Once my wife admired Oprah’s watch at a party and Oprah just wrapped that watch up and sent it to her the next week.” Then Oprah went on to relate how John Travolta just gave her a Rolls Royce. Aren’t they generous??? Oh, my. It must take some heroic strength of character to give from your excess like that. It made me sick. All the “good works” Oprah does are nothing but spiritual masturbation.

    Fr. Thomas, you’re invited to my house for a beer any time. :)

    Lucky

  • goral

    ‘The path to hell is paved with good intentions’ ala Oprah, Claire knows that.

    NoelFitz picked up on a sentence that I think should read the other way:
    “basic honesty is probably above Oprah’s pay grade”
    I actually think it’s below, way below Oprah’s pay grade. On that level honesty is subjective and user-defined and I do mean user.

    Oprah is the product of this shallow society, she feeds on it and there’s plenty of food for these spiritual charlatans. Many are Catholics and among us.

    William F. Buckley Jr. RIP had the best description od her.

    Let’s take up the rosary and get inspired on how to breed more of Fr. Euteneuers.

  • heinz

    Brilliant work, Fr. Euteneuer. It is very true that we need to take our rosaries and get back where we ought to be. Dr. John Senior once said something to this effect: “The question is not so much whether we can turn back the clock; but rather the question ought to be what time is it.” We ought to be progressing in a spiritual sense, however we are progressing in a hedonistic sense. Oprah Winfrey is a perfect example of this; the only thing more nauseating in her case is that she tries to call it spiritual progress.

    One of the major problems with the Oprah phenomenon is religious pluralism: all religions are equally good and lead to the same place. If they all lead to the same place, then why do they absolutely contradict so often. The only way this could possibly happen if we are all trying to walk toward nothing, or perhaps anti-being would be a better term. This is the premise behind the New Age filth that is pervading in our modern culture. We are turning away from Absolute Being (God) and turning to the vacuum. And we do this because it feels good.

    Take up your rosary and lets restore the culture

    Pax

  • noelfitz

    I am grateful for all who contribute to this discussion.

    It is saddening to realize how far many of us have come from Catholicism, with its emphasis on love or God and neighbor and acknowledging Jesus as Lord.

    Lucky says “All the “good works” Oprah does are nothing but spiritual masturbation.” Others claim she is God. These seem to be accepted views here.

    “Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God”
    (NRSV, Ro 14:10.

    God bless,

    NoelFitz.
    ___________________________________
    “When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons” Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI.
    ____________________________________

  • SolaGratia

    NoelFitz,
    While I appreciate your efforts to be fair & give Oprah the Christian benefit of the doubt, I have to wonder how familiar you are with her & the efforts our good priest is criticizing herein? This is not just because she is supporting a pro-abortion candidate & no one is judging Oprah’s soul – though granted some should be more careful about how they are judging her intentions – but we are most definitely called by Scripture to judge her words & actions – and when our sister will not accept correction (but even worse, continues to lead souls away from Truth), treat her as a gentile or a tax collector.

    Google Eckhart Tolle just for starters and you will have no trouble understanding where Fr. Euteneuer’s concern is coming from…

  • SolaGratia

    P.S. What is a morally proportionate reason sufficient to justify voting for a pro-abortion candidate?

  • edfromlasvegas

    To Noelfitz and SolaGratia,
    A morally proportionate reason sufficient to justify voting for a pro- abortion candidate was explained by Bishop Vasa of Baker Oregon. The ONLY way to justify voting for a pro-abortion candidate is if the competitor candidate is ALSO pro-abortion. Period.
    In this election, we have one who is pro-abortion and one who is not. There is NO proportional reason evident here. You cannot vote, according to the Bishops statement and the Holy Father’s words – for a pro-abortion candidate if a pro-life candidate is also running.
    In Christ,
    Ed

  • http://arkanabar.blogspot.com Arkanabar Ilarsadin

    I’m willing to say that there’s a significant portion of Oprah’s audience that does not worship her. But recall, if you will, the “Oprah’s on!” adverts that ran, oh, five or more years back (mostly on WGN, but doubtless elsewhere as well). The gimmick was that all sorts of people considered the Oprah Winfrey show to be the most important part of their day, so much so that it took precedence over work and family.

    It would not have aired without containing some portion of truth, to which people could relate.

  • heinz

    Ed,

    It appears that you are trying to call John McCain pro-life. While he may not be as pro-abortion as Barack Obama, I think all of us need to take a closer look at his stance on the non-negotiable issues. First of all McCain says that he will allow abortions to be available to women who are pregnant because of rape or incest. Ironically enough, he also says that he will try to reverse Roe v. Wade, even though the original proponents of it said that it would only be used in these exceptions. The supporters then were called pro-abortion; John McCain should also be called pro-abortion.

    By the way, he also says that he supports embryonic stem cell research.

    Pax

  • anthony

    DONT BE FOOLED! Sometimes a popular person endorses somebody to get the exact opposite done… it make him/her unpopular. (MHOP)

  • madonnaofthestreets

    God Bless us, everyone !
    May we always set an example of faith, hope and charity….
    an immense LOVE that goes placidly out to the souls He sends us…

    “Preach the Gospel at all times, if necessary use words.”
    St. Francis of Assisi

  • ozmott

    I did some homework on Tolle (Oprah’s mentor), which is not his real name but one of his mentors’. I suggest you do the same. It is quite frightening. The people he quotes, or however you would like to put it, worship Lucifer as their Christ. Many of his ideas are plaigerized from Hindu writers and a few others which in turn point back to Helen Blavatski (? spelling) and Alice Bailey. Some of the more infamous Lucifer worshipers of the 19th and 20th century. The people they influenced was amazing; some of which shape our lives today. Margret Sanger being one, so now you have the abortion side. Order of the Eastern Star was (in most part) started by Alice Bailey, so now you have the Freemasons. Eckhart Tolle is only taking their beliefs one step farther. This religion is not new. It is all over this country and the world. I PRAY YOU DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!!!

    Think of how Lucifer works! Who better to get to than a woman with millions of followers. I have only gave a few examples here. None of which are fabricated though some of you will not believe them. Look it up! The web of deceit is so HUGE it almost seems unbelievable. But, isn’t that what the devil want’s you to think?

    Pray for these lost souls that they will see the treachery and lies. We must pray for our enemies and these people are enemies of Christ and all Christians.

    I could continue but I would begin to sound like a raving lunatic. Anyone wanting more info on where to look, please e-mail me. jumpinpete@yahoo.com

    lisa

  • SolaGratia

    heinz,
    John McCain may not be perfectly pro-life, but he does have enough of a track record working against abortion to qualify for the term (as well as qualifying as NARAL’s current public enemy #2 – #1 being Gov. Palin). To call him pro-abortion is a stretch requiring some serious neural contortions. To try to equate his life credentials to Obama’s is utter absurdity.

    Even if you want to persist in such irrationality, JPII said that in a situation where your only political choice is between to pro-abortion candidates, it would be pro-life as well as prudent, to vote for the one who has the most restricted position (ie. will result in fewer dead babies, thereby a vote for that candidate would be saving the lives of those babies who otherwise would have died from the license granted by the other).

    Nope, there is no justification for supporting a man who believes that a woman’s right to choose abortion is more important than giving life support to the baby who survives her hired hit man. Obama is more pro-death than even NARAL & anyone who thinks that’s only one issue among many must have been asleep during the Clinton era (& Clinton was supposedly a moderate on the issue to boot!).

  • JoanAee

    To answer noelfitz’s question “What does he mean by “basic honesty is probably above Oprah’s pay grade”?”
    I guess noelfitz needs to be more tuned in to all of the political debates and public forums. This line is referring to the Rick Warren Saddleback Forum where Warren interviewed both Obama and McCain separately but asked each identical questions.
    Obama was asked “at what point does a human being get rights?”
    Obama fumbled and answered with the now infamous line… “that is above my pay grade”…!!!?
    McCain was asked the same question and he instantly replied “life begins at conception”.
    So I give you…. there is only ONE candidate that we, as committed and true Catholics can ever vote for!

  • trailblazer

    I’m a bit mystified why, when the need for truth is so great, someone in a Catholic forum would want to defend the actions of the likes of Ophrah Winfrey whose views are radiaclly, if not subtlely, anti-Catholic; any religion is okay (even the Mason’s claim this) and we can truimph by the power of the human spirit alone? Our discernment in these days needs to be radically precise becasue of the many very clever ways in which the truth has been disguised.

    Michael

  • cathie

    To NoelFitz,

    I strongly urge you to read “The Case Against Barack Obama, The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media’s Favorite Candidate” by David Freddoso. There are three chapters dedicated on how he worked his way up in Chicago politics (scary). Also, you should read the chapter very carefully about his stance on abortion issues. One example is that if a child is born alive after an attempted abortion he believes that child should be left to die. That is when choice goes out the window and it becomes, by law, neglegent homicide. Another word for that is MURDER! Even Hillary Clinton disagrees with him on this issue. You do have a “morally proportionate reason” NOT to support Barack Obama.

    Cathie

  • GaryT

    I’ve only watched a few episodes of Oprah over the years, so most of my information is second hand.
    I don’t have any reason to believe she is not sincere. And you can certainly get some truth on her show. But I think it is safe to say she is confused at least. Her life perspective seems to veer one way after another, always searching. And it seems to me that would not be the kind of person I would want to follow, since they don’t themselves seem to know where they are going.

    Wouldn’t we all do better following the ancient, constant wisdom taught to us by God Himself? Why accept any substitutes?
    Perhaps one day Oprah will find the Truth – Christ – and that is something worth praying for.

  • noelfitz

    GaryT

    You wrote:

    “she is confused at least. Her life perspective seems to veer one way after another, always searching”.

    That is different from saying people consider her as God incarnate and give her the supreme worship of adoration due to God alone.

    It is also different from what Fr Euteneur wrote:

    “Our country’s richest woman is easily one of the most spiritually bankrupt people in America”.

    God bless,

    NoelFitz.
    ___________________________________
    “When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons” Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI.
    ____________________________________

  • livingsimply

    Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Not Oprah, not Obama, not McCain, not Tolle, no one other than Jesus. Not Mary, not any of the great saints, no one other than Jesus. As Catholics we are called to the ministry of prayer for the conversion of and salvation of souls. As we do the practical things in the struggles against the worldly political order let us always remember that prayer is one of our most practical and efficatious practices.

  • SolaGratia

    NoelFitz,
    It is passing strange that you are willing to give Oprah the benefit of the doubt, but not Fr. Euteneuer. Charity is supposed to begin at home (I am assuming your spiritual home is Catholicism?).

    Fr. Euteneuer did not just make that statement without explanation – he went on to support what he said with this, “She did not make $260 million last year by feeding people solid food. She deals in fads, feelings and frauds – it’s that simple – and apparently she is very effective at convincing people to follow her well-packaged crock of nonsense.”

    As I & others have said, it does not take a whole lot of effort to verify Fr. Euteneuer’s statements as true. Have you made any effort to verify them or are you merely concerned about Oprah’s reputation here? While you are bending over backward to extend her charity, think about what you are thereby implying about a very good priest. Shouldn’t you make some effort to check your facts before you try to tarnish Fr. Euteneuer’s reputation? ;-)

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