Catholic students not impressed by Big Brother

A group of Catholic students have slammed the Ten Network's failure to axe the controversial Big Brother reality-TV program as a "cop out to youth" and called for a national debate on young people and sex.

Australian Catholic Students Association (ACSA) President Daniel Hill said the Association's intention is not to "spoil a good party" but is concerned that relationships being portrayed on the Big Brother reality TV show is "not healthy, its not good for Australia to have these on air and that it gives a perverted image of relationships between young people."

The reality TV show caused controversy at the weekend - again - after its website streamed footage featuring an alleged sexual assault of a female housemate.

The online subscribers-only footage reportedly showed a housemate rubbing his crotch in the face of a fellow female contestant while another male housemate held her down. The male housemates were "evicted" from the house in an episode that reported higher than usual ratings.

"This controversy illustrates a need within our society to rethink how we form our young people, how we value human relationships and how we portray them in the media," Mr Hill said. "It calls for a national discussion and a gathering of various community and government representatives."

Another ACSA member Joanna Hayes said, "young adult Catholics, like many other young adults, really like to talk about sex and relationships. ... The success of many reality TV shows reflects the yearning within many young people to understand how relationships work and how they can have fulfilling and life-giving relationships."

Calling for "a national discussion, Ms Hayes said, "Let's broaden the terms of reference and decide what is trashy and negative for our young people and what is a positive and truly a live-giving portrayal of human interaction, love and relationships."

Meanwhile, the Association will be hosting a special forum with leaders and representatives of Catholic student groups from across the nation at its annual conference at the weekend at Newman College in the University of Melbourne.

Archbishop Barry Hickey will deliver the Inaugural Archbishop Daniel Mannix Memorial Dinner Address on the theme: "How can we know the Way?". According to an ACSA statement, the group decided to name the address after one of the great champions of student movements for his contribution to education in Australia.

"Archbishop Mannix ... was a fervent supporter of the need for young lay men and women to be involved in Church. In a sense, Mannix was a visionary in that the work he did was part of a pioneering effort that has led to the springtime of the new evangelisation. It is our privilege to honour his contribution to education in Australia," said Mr Hill.

National Catholic body joins call for Big Brother to be axed and for national discussion on relationships (ACSA Media Release 3/7/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Catholic Students Association
Network Ten Australia
CanWest Global Communications (Wikipedia)
CanWest Global Communications

Catholic Students unite to help death row Aussie (CathNews 18/11/05)

4 Jul 2006