Fair warning. There may be spoilers in this one. So it’s no secret I’m a “Doctor Who” fan. I’ve watched the show ever since I could remember. The first episode I saw was “The Seeds of Doom,” and it scared the living hell out of me. I was hooked ever since. (This was back when the Chicago PBS station, WTTW, played them in the afternoon…at least I think it was the afternoon.) I have just about every episode that’s been broadcast–including “Shada”–except for some of the William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton episodes.
So I’m also a fan of the Daily Breakfast podcast. The guy who does it is a priest, who’s a total geek. Fr. Roederick has been discussing “Doctor Who” lately. (He’s also a fan.) So some guy came on, giving feedback about how horrible the new seasons are. First off, Captain Jack isn’t all that important to the series. Second of all, he complains about how there’s no organization in the universe–there never was in the Doctor Who universe–and that there’s no spiritual side (I guess he missed the episode in last year’s series, where the Doctor defeats Satan.)
But I’m so fed up with fanatics thinking that the only social issues that matter are homosexuality and abortion. If the guy who gave feedback on “Daily Breakfast” thought the entire first series was about “perversion,” then he missed the point. Jack does kiss the Doctor, but he also kisses Rose–that’s during the episode where they thought they were going to die. There wasn’t anything sexual about it. If anything, I thought it was a beautiful scene. The first series (season 27 to the old fans) is really all about redemption and reconciliation. See also: “Planet of the Spiders,” where the 3rd Doctor regenerates into the 4th Doctor. The guy giving feedback also says that the Doctor genocided his own people. That line was given in the same episode as “The Satan Pit,” by an alien thought of to be Satan, aka “The father of all liars.” The creature lied about Rose in the same episode. Why is anything else it said true? Or true in a way that doesn’t twist what really happened? All we have is a PTSD-suffering alien’s take on it and an evil being’s. Neither are reliable informants about the Time War.
But it’s just one guy’s opinion from Oklahoma. His voice isn’t that of other Catholics in the US. Frankly I think the Doctor does a good job of working according to Catholic social teaching. For the sake of argument, I’m using this from the USCCB, the seven key themes of Catholic social teaching.
1.) Life and dignity of the human person. And alien for the Doctor. When has this (from the USCCB) not been true? “We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person.” That’s been the show’s refrain since it started. Like in last night’s episode with the Doctor’s interaction with the mentally ill people in the hospital. And if “New Earth” didn’t echo this theme, I don’t know what does.
2.) Call to Family, Community, and Participation. Families don’t come in very often. We know the Doctor’s had a granddaughter, so he’s had a family in some part of his life. He’s often remarked in the past two seasons how special it is that Rose had a family and an ordinary life. Or in “The Runaway Bride,” he offered the Arachnos empress every chance to go away, and he even offered to help her and her brood find a planet where they could live in peace.
3.) Rights and Responsibilities. Society can only be healthy when all rights are respected. I don’t think this has ever not been a theme of “Doctor Who.” I can’t count the number of episodes in which he’s fought against some dictator. Duty to society? Sure, the Doctor’s not overly fond of small-scale responsibility, but given the number of times he’s saved Earth and/or the universe, I think we can safely say he’s got some responsibility to society.
4.) Option for the Poor and Vulnerable Again, when has this not been the case for the Doctor? I can’t think of an episode where he didn’t protect the poor and vulnerable.
5.) The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers Fair labor doesn’t come up much, but there have been episodes dealing with slavery and forced labor. (“Impossible Planet,” “Destiny of the Daleks”)
6.) Solidarity Oh yeah like the theme that we’re all one race under God’s creation doesn’t come up. That is, that we’re worthy of respect regardless of race, nationality, religion, economic status, or species.
7.) Care for God’s Creation There’s been a lot of shows with environmental themes. “Sea Devils,” most notably.
End of rant. Go watch “Doctor Who.”