Disney is creating a buzz with its newest foray into programming for mature audiences as it debuts “Pauline,” a series about a teen girl who finds herself pregnant after a one-night stand with Satan. Yes, you read that right. The production company once synonymous with family-friendly programming is jumping into bed with the devil himself.
This comes at the end of a long line of projects departing from what was once considered appropriate in children’s television. Gone are the days when parents could turn on a Disney series without careful scrutiny. Disney+ showcased “Out” in 2020, a short film about a gay man coming out to his family, released its “Pride Collection” of over 20 different series in 2022, introduced its first live-action trans character that same year, and included gay kiss scenes in feature films “Star Wars” and “Lightyear.” Parents who wish to discuss these sensitive topics with nuance must take care to avoid this kind of secular programming, which company executives have stated is intended to provide an indoctrination of its values into young children.
In addition to being utterly repugnant, “Pauline’s” storyline is riddled with theological inaccuracies. First, the satanic inversion of the Incarnation, in which Satan and not the Holy Spirit impregnates a woman, is obviously sacrilegious and an affront to all Christians. The very idea that Satan could take on corporeal form in his own incarnational manifestation is completely incompatible with Christian theology. Satan is not “on par” with the Holy Spirit; he is a mere spiritual being and has neither the power to take on flesh nor the ability to create life. Furthermore, the idea that Satan might find it desirable to do either is dubious.
Although there is no scriptural explanation as to exactly why Satan fell from grace, to the best of our understanding, his break with God is rooted in pride. As an angelic being comprised of pure spirit, Satan had the expectation of being superior to man, whose nature, being a composite of both the spiritual and material realms, is inferior to that which is purely spiritual. In the Incarnation, however, God subverted that dynamic, taking on flesh, and further angered Satan by making a mere human girl, a virgin, Queen of the Angels. Disgusted by the idea of becoming subservient to creatures polluted by the material realm, Satan rejected God’s divinely appointed order and was cast out of heaven for his disobedience. Due to his disgust for humanity and the material realm, it is unlikely that Satan, even if he had the power to become incarnate or create life, would desire to do so.
Despite the inaccurate portrayal, however, we can be confident that Satan will revel in the opportunity to corrupt viewers who, knowingly or not, make themselves vulnerable to his advances in viewing “Pauline.” In greenlighting this project, Disney portrays deep ignorance of the reality of the devil, of his true nature, and of just how spiritually dangerous this sacrilegious blasphemy really is.
This series is a demonic affront to Our Lady, whose perfect obedience and submission to God in her fiat made her the vessel by which our salvation was born. In the moment of her “yes,” she became Mediatrix of grace and Mother of God and all the living. “Pauline,” with its depiction of satanic conception, is a mockery of Mary’s role on earth.
As the exorcists tell us, Satan harbors a particular hatred of Our Lady because she has “crushed his head” with her obedience and humility. This series mocks Mary and demeans women and motherhood. As Alice von Hildebrand observes, “the one deadly enemy of the serpent is the woman … the enemy’s most vicious attacks will be directed against her.”
As I point out in “Reclaiming Motherhood from a Culture Gone Mad,” women have been duped into fearing their own motherhood, relying on contraception and abortion to “free them” from what is arguably the greatest privilege known to humankind, a privilege extended only to women — to shelter and carry each new human soul that, unlike all other creations of mankind, will last forever.
This series represents a new kind of evil — not merely stoking the fires of fear surrounding the idea of creating new life but encouraging viewers to actively imagine carrying and birthing evil into the world. This satanic distortion of the imagination is one all of us, Christians and non-Christians alike, ought to avoid. As St. Paul urges us in Romans 12:2: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”
Boycotts and the culture war
Worse for the production company’s bottom line, if not their souls, is its misunderstanding of its target demographic. Sixty percent of Americans believe this country was founded to be a Christian nation, and nearly half agree that it should continue to be so. When parents take young children to the movies, it is to be entertained and create memories together. If they want moral formation, they desire formation that is in line with their own beliefs. This is why films like “Lightyear” do so poorly at the box office. Disney actively voices its contempt for Christian values, and now that contempt has been made manifest in “Pauline.”
The question is, can parents do anything about it?
The answer is that, as with any product that is consumer-driven, we must vote with our dollars. This is the best strategy we have to combat the modern media’s brainwashing campaign seeking to eliminate biblical values from our cultural imagination.
As we have seen, Christian boycotts are making headway. In the wake of transgender scandals, Bud Light and Target have both taken serious hits, losing a combined $42 billion. (It is worth noting that Disney also partnered with a trans influencer who dressed up in Minnie’s iconic dress — even though Minnie, now, apparently wears a pantsuit.)
We have myriad entertainment alternatives, and the more we embrace them, the less likely it is that we will be left with a monopoly. Media companies like The Daily Wire, PureFlix and Formed all provide wholesome children’s programming that parents can trust.
How protective is too protective?
When we raise our voices against this content, they will call us book-burning censorship lovers. But averting our eyes from satanic imagery is not censorship. Censorship involves a silence in the realm of worthy ideas, ideas that may touch on dark places to explore the truth about human nature and the realities of sin and redemption. In short, censorship overlooks the redeeming qualities of art and literature.
There is nothing redeeming about sacrilegious content that mocks Christianity and glorifies Satan. The reality is that no celebration of the demonic has the potential to lead us to that which is true, good and beautiful. If your family hasn’t canceled Disney+ yet, what better occasion could there be? We have no good reason to view or financially support this project, and as many reasons to avoid it as there are souls in the world.