Disney Blamed For Encouraging Greed By A Leading Catholic Cleric

by Savitha C Muppala on Dec 1 2008 1:13 PM

Disney has been blamed by a leading Catholic cleric for corrupting young minds by inducing greed.

Christopher Jamison, the Abbot of Worth in West Sussex, launched the attack, claiming that Disney pretends to provide stories with a moral message, but has actually helped to create a more materialistic culture.

Jamison, who starred in the hit-BBC series The Monastery, has warned that in a guide to helping people find happiness, society is in danger of losing its soul because of growing consumerism and the decline of religion.

He suggests that many people have become obsessed with work, sex and eating in a bid to ignore their underlying unhappiness, and criticises corporations and industries that have benefited from promoting false notions of fulfilment.

Jamison has targeted the behaviour of Disney in particular, which he says is "a classic example" of how consumerism is being sold as an alternative to finding happiness in traditional morality.

He cites films such as Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians that feature moral battles, but get into children's imaginations and make them greedy for the merchandise that goes with them.

"The message behind every movie and book, behind every theme park and T-shirt is that our children's world needs Disney," the Telegraph quoted him, as saying.

"So they absolutely must go to see the next Disney movie, which we'll also want to give them on DVD as a birthday present.

"They will be happier if they live the full Disney experience; and thousands of families around the world buy into this deeper message as they flock to Disneyland."

"This is the new pilgrimage that children desire, a rite of passage into the meaning of life according to Disney.

"Where once morality and meaning were available as part of our free cultural inheritance, now corporations sell them to us as products," he added.

Jamison, who has been tipped as a contender to succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor as the next Archbishop of Westminster, has claimed that brands such as Disney market themselves to be about more than mere materialism to create an addiction to consumption.

He said that "this is basically the commercial exploitation of spirituality," adding that as a result Disney and other corporations "inhabit our imagination".

"Once planted there they can make us endlessly greedy. And that is exactly what they are doing," he added.