St. Padre Pio died in 1968. During his life, he witnessed the rise of the movie business and the invention and popularity of television.
While he had limited exposure to both, he did hear the confessions of many individuals, getting a glimpse of how these technologies were affecting Christians in the world.
According to Padre Pio: The True Story, St. Padre Pio rarely watched the friary’s television set.
By the mid-1950s, the friary had its television room, but no one ever remembered Padre Pio darkening the door, except for an event such as the funeral of Pope Pius XII, and then only for a few minutes.
Padre Pio’s dislike of television was primarily based on its ability to distract families.
Padre Pio, in fact, believed television a pernicious invention that corrupted morals and destroyed family life, and he strongly discouraged people from acquiring televisions. He told Joe Peterson, “The man who invented refrigeration went to heaven, but the man who invented television …” He pointed downward.
In particular, “Instead of talking to one another, he pointed out, family members spent their evenings staring at the set.”
When it came to movies, Padre Pio had a very negative reaction, reportedly saying, “The devil is in the cinema.”
Which movies elicited this response is unknown, but the 1960s were a time of experimentation in cinema, and Padre Pio likely heard about movies that were morally offensive.
Ironically, multiple movies have been made about his life.