15 November 2012


Profe$$ional Neo-Catholicism visualized...

Part of the "New Evangelization"?
Dumbing down of Catholicism?
Catechetics devolved/submissive to pop culture expression?
Is an attempt to make the Catholic household a cool and hip place a valid way of witnessing to the Faith?
Does it, then, not come off as cheezy and pathetic to non-Catholics already inundated with Reality TV shows, who will assume these "Reality" Catholics to be wannabe celebrities?
Voyeurism tailored for Catholics?
Do we really need to know everything about the aspects of one's personal life, Catholic or not? Curiosity was the problem in the Garden of Eden.
Does not the scene staging and forced/awkward acting make discerning viewers think that Catholics are "phoney"?

Purely an American phenomenon?
Or am I  being cynical and mean?
Or is this just a chick thing that, as a guy, I cannot understand?
My mind is open to alternative explanations.
Com boxes are also open to criticism and condemnation of me. Catholic ladies especially welcome.



LarryD said...

 I'm of mixed mind about this, really.  Honestly, I think most of the viewers will be those familiar with the Catholic blogosphere.  It's hard to figure the reach and audience of the show.  I may watch it for purely analytical reasons and come to a clearer decision then...oh, and to see her freak out at the scorpion.  That could be funny.

Suzanne Fortin said...

If I had the channel, I might watch it. Maybe it wouldn't be the most Catholic of motives. I'd wonder how my life compares to hers. I don't see this as having anything to do with the New Evangelization. I see it more as a means of showing how one faithful Catholic lives. When you aren't surrounded by faithful Catholics, this is kind of important. It makes you feel less alone and inadequate.

maximilian said...

PBJC!  I love your humour.  I couldn't get through the trailer, meself, too early in the mornin for a dram, which might've helped, dunno.  I think you're right, it's a chick thing, and we just can't understand.  It ain't "Into Great Silence", but who knows?  Maybe she will actually show an authentic Catholic woman's life.  It will probably be more understandable for women...

A few things I learned from Grandma: 1. Always dress to kill, esp when going to Sunday Mass, but make sure you know the mink is a symbol for the wedding garment you'll one day put on if you persevere.  Her little giggle taught me that.  The ladies who don't get it don't giggle to their grandsons when showing off the mink coat.  But it's up to other people to figure it out for themselves...2. Always make a grand entrance, with a big smile and a warm welcome, because we must always be practicing for the one grand entrance that matters: that entrance before Our Lord Jesus as our Judge.3. Always be ready to tell a joke to make everyone smile and laugh and feel welcome.  Really good jokes are a Catholic thing: to understand a joke, as to come to faith, we apply all the force of our intellect and memory to get it, and when we do get it, we laugh!  The joke is the analogy of evangelization.4. Stay in your office!  I thought Grandma was somewhat antisocial when I was younger, because she was always either at home or at the cottage in the mountains during the summer, while she had a small circle of great friends, she didn't get out much, she wasn't a joiner.  Then I realized that she had undertaken the office of wife and mother and grandmother, and that is where she knew the Good Lord had placed her for her life's official work.  She kept a wonderful house, always welcoming and great fun when we would visit her at the lake in the summer.5. Pray and work!  Grandma prayed and worked.  But don't let others see you.  We really had to snoop to see Grandma work or say her rosary, but she was a constant worker and pray-er: she made it look easy and kept two beautiful homes. All of these things are a challenge to others, no need to be in-your-face, but no backing down either, always be ready to give an explanation of your hope in the Gospel.  Gram was always preaching, and when necessary, she used words, but we all loved it when she used her cheesecake!  So here's hoping...

Mary said...

I'd love to know the audience to which is directed.  Most reality shows have a freak show factor, which doesn't seem to be present here. I'd never tune in though, because of 1) lack of time for TV viewing, and 2) this life is too much like my own, minus the successful writer and atheist convert parts.

That being said, Jen Fulwiler seems like a lovely person, and I wish her all the best with her show and her book.

TH2 said...

Interesting comments everyone. Thank you. I think, specifically, yours truly is operating on the same wavelength as plc53.

No pleasure on my part in posting about this particular person/show, although there is an inauthenticity here that needed to be identified, which points to the continuing, larger problem of the "Catholic celebrity". Or, more specifically, making "the self" a central node upon which everything revolves, including the Faith. Catholicism becomes like an appendage, a vehicle to fame and, similarly distasteful, the way to make "a buck". The Faith becomes "a business", analogous to that "health and wealth Christianity" disseminated in those books by flamboyant Protestant ministers with sculptured hairdos.

You see manifestations of this exaltation of "the self", not  just in the Reality TV show mentioned in this post, but at various popular locations in Catholic social media in general, most prominently the blogs. Even in something as simple as avatars there are expressions of this self-revolving-"look at me"-navel-gazing aspect ... an image of half a person's face looking directly/intensely at you as if to be enigmatic, or a pretty boy peeking over a wall, someone else leaning against a wall staring at the ground, as if lost in deep thought... all attempting to give the impression that they have some secret and superior insight in human affairs and the meaning of life. Yet the first thing that pops into my mind when I see this stuff is Sears catalog fashion model.

This Neo-Cat hipsterism  comes through - let me be blunt - with the bloggers at the National Catholic Register, of which the star of "Minor Revisions" is one. With Patheos bloggers, too, there is that self-revolving aspect, which Michael Voris' Vortex video highlighted in my previous post. A fair number of Patheos bloggers were represented at the USCCB session and, instead of asking the hard questions to bishops, they seemed to be very excited about themselves, just for the fact of being present. For example, one Patheos blogger, after giving a brief summary of the goings on, then - as if what he said beforehand was irrelevant - got to the "important" issue...

Okay, enough of that jazz. What you really want to hear is what Celebrity Blogger No. 1 is really like, if Celebrity Blogger No. 2 is really going through with this Catholic thing, and if Celebrity Blogger No. 3 actually has the Pope in his rolodex.

Pathetic. Gossipy titillation, like watching Entertainment Tonight with John Tesh and Mary Hart. Again, all about "the self".

Note to self: Mark this comment as the kind that makes me popular in the Catholic blogosphere] :o

Mary said...

Did I ever tell you that I know someone who is personal friends with Mark Shea?! ;-)

plc53 said...

 We can not rebuild the Holy Catholic Church with a new evangelization that is founded on this "health and wealth" prosperity gospel. And this is one of the biggest dangers I think we face now, as this new generation within the Church attempt to build a better world for themselves, the root word there, of course, being "self". It is not proving, really, to be much different than the attitude and focus of the latter generations which led us to this pathetically weak and pampered state we now find the Body of Christ to be in at present.

In many ways, we have already seen this over the past 40 years, within the social justice organizations of the Church — D & P, or CCHD, where the greatest sin is presented to us as being lacking in material goods and wealth, or having poor health of some sort, or simply just not "getting enough" out of life.

The fear which the last forty years of social justice and self-focus has generated, is that the ONE thing we must dread above all, is to not have it all. It seems, in this mode of thinking, money can indeed, by you Love.  It really is just more capitulation to the values of the secular world, and in the end, the false master that is served.

Obviously, that is ridiculous to come right out and present such a philosophy as having any merit according to the teaching of Christ, so it is presented in more vague generalities and so on, most often in the Church by using, as Roberto keenly observed, "theological language and Biblical references." 

The joy junkies use the same language and tongue, often enough, to beat away at the true teachings of the Church. Joy is simply one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. I am quite certain though that the Church teaches there are eleven other fruits as well. Stemming from the seven gifts!

All of this health and prosperity nonsense, Protestant in its roots, seems to live and breath in the mirky area of vague emotions and "feelings", which of course makes up the lion's share of what we endure in the daily and weekly Sunday homilies these days. Designed to make us consider if our "hearts are right" with God. How could we possibly know when it's all left up in the dreamy air of self-focused fantasy and desires?

Would that there were a great new evangelization begun on the very solid ground and teaching — from the pulpit to the various faith formation endeavors of every North American Catholic diocese — of pure doctrine and dogma of the Magisterium. Let the faithful engage in their own navel-gazing and judging the merit of others' examples, if they so choose, but first, for heaven's sake, give to us the unadulaterated Truth, the teachings of the Catholic Church, clearly and cleanly like a pure breath of fresh air.

At present, we are smothering to death in the wishy-washy grey, and often enough filthy smog of vague perceptions and observations concerning our "pastoral needs" and "self-fulfillment". At times, one can barely catch one's breath amidst all the pollution of self-indulgent imaginings and judgments.

Ave Maria! And peace to men of good will.

TH2, I am quite simply filled with joy that being popular in the Catholic blogoshere is not the first consideration here at The Heresy Hunter. :o

TH2 said...

Must say, plc53, I am very impressed by your insightful commentary. Much better than what I wrote in my post.

As for the popularity matter you mention at the end, a blogger is sure as heck not going to be - shall we say - appreciated by "top Catholics" (a term I've come across) if your blog has a critical bent toward them on occasion, especially if a blog is as blunt and bombastic as mine. As I mentioned to a fellow blogger the other day, I'm very well aware of my bad reputation. Yet as Catholic bloggers (incl. commenters, just as important in my opinion), the goal is not to satisfy and get along with "the club", neither to always write nice things about one another, not to win the most readers, nor to garner the most stats (i.e. achieve popularity, celebrity). Rather, it is to write/witness in a manner consistent with the Magisterium, to point to Catholic truths. Our prime duty is to God and His Church FIRST. Tone or style of presentation are "accidents", to use the medieval phrase, and people's reactions are secondary, and we have no control over them.

TH2 said...

I will pray for that "someone".

Paul Turner said...

Or, am I being cynical and mean when I think of the alternative, namely, the unappealing EWTN shows with a single camera and few production values?  Content alone can't help a TV show.  And remember, this is TV, not radio.  All this machinery making modern reality shows can still be open-hearted . . .

TH2 said...

Spirit of Radio, Permanent Waves... good one, Mr. Turner.

maximilian said...

Excellent discussion!  I agree with Mr. Turner, as much as ol farts like me enjoy EWTN programming, many young people I know, committed Catholics, just can't sit through "boring" shows.  Some thoughts follow in no particular order. 
Haven't we all had the idle thought from time to time, "I wonder what the presentation of an honest Catholic family would look like, either on a TV series or a reality show"?
The rub is that we're not supposed to show the "prayers, works, sufferings and sorrows of this day", just the fruits.  Not the praying, cooking, cleaning, scrubbing, painting, roofing, etc, but the Sunday Dinner at 2pm!  How does a Catholic on a reality series preserve his or her regular life of faith, with the separation of the private life with those works which we are supposed to show so that others may give glory to God?  
Good Reality shows (if there were any) are about "the Talk", learning how to really grow up.  Boys look to men, and girls to women for the talk, how to be a man or a woman.  How would a Catholic reality show give the Talk?  In sum, I don't think it is impossible, but it would have to be pretty close to "Into Great Silence", probably one very good documentary, as opposed to a series of truly off-the-cuff filming.  Dunno!      God bless for this politically incorrect blog!  Saint Kateri, pray for us.

Clotilde Frazier said...

Today returned to my blog.  I visited Face Book for a year or two and took part in the battle between tradition and New Church.  In the process, I discovered the celebrity Katholiks.  They are Protestant Catholic wannabes, who have tainted the teachings of the faith with a good dose of commercial Pentecostalism.  You are right.  It is all about MEEEE.   Down with females singing their own praises, like EWTN'S stars. YUK! 

Dorothy said...

Okay, I like the trailer. I don't think I've read her stuff on Patheos, but I identify with what she says about writing. And I don't think it will hurt curious viewers to see a happy Catholic couple in their mid-30s who have five children and look like they are open to having more. That follicly challenged husband looks like real cutie patootie, too. 

Authentic, believing, practising Catholics are at a danger of being pushed to the margins of society by a whole lot of people, including unauthentic, unbelieving, unpractising Catholics who say things like, "Well, I'm a Catholic and I don't see anything wrong in partial birth abortion." So the more practising Catholics grab a share of the cultural market, the better. We need more great literature written by Catholics so that Catholics don't think they can't be novelists anymore. We need more compelling TV starring Catholics so that Catholics don't become as invisible as habitless nuns.  

Catholics need to be out there, slugging it out for truth, beauty and the Christian way because if we lose the cultural battles of our generation like the last generation lost the sexual revolution, it will be tougher than ever for the next generation to persevere as Catholics. So if reality TV is another way to assert Catholic truth, then let's use it. 

TH2 said...

Speaking of "We need more great literature written by Catholics"... I'm still waiting for your book to come out.

Dorothy said...

Yeah, me too! If all goes well, it will come out in early 2013. 

Anita Moore said...

A "Catholic" "reality" show?  Yuck.

Lola said...

 "I have no interest in myself. I think about myself, I get bored out of my mind."  - Joe Banks   Joe Vs The Volcano

THH you posts are always interesting.  Hope your Advent is full of Blessings.

TH2 said...

Thank you, most excellent lady.

A blessed Advent/Christmas to you and your family.

Celia said...

~This is the new age of Catholicism in the West. It's suburban, urban, successful, and attractive, and very cleverly balanced between the materialistic secular culture and the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. This is the "we want it all generation", which is taking over what has come to be known as the "new evangelization" of the Church in North America.~

Yes, this! So very late to this, but came across this via another blog recently and just wanted to say this quote sums up exactly what it is I find so disturbing about this "new evangelization".

It's also a pretty insipid, shallow version of Catholicism, and it's a version of Catholicism that begins and ends with the individual, not God. There's nothing of depth to it, it's slick and calculated, and it ultimately becomes about something to sell -- there's always a product at the heart of these blogs and websites and this online "reality" show. It's all about links and clicks and money and quid pro quo among this elitist set of Catholic bloggers. Christ cleaning out the temple always comes to mind when I read those sites, or his warning that those who seek their reward here on earth will have found all the reward they will ever get, or his admonishment that the first shall be last.

I don't think this "new evangelization", which all boils down to a social media marketing campaign for a handful of bloggers, is a good thing for the Church.

TH2 said...

Hi Celia: That quote was from plc53, a very perceptive and intelligent commenter. The comment as such perfectly summed up everything that I wanted to relay in my post, much better than my post, if fact.

Even though there are those - mainly American - "elitist set of Catholic bloggers", as you correctly say, there are still other places you can visit to get good, edifying Catholic cultural commentary - without the salesman schtick, the self-absorption, the Diva conniptions, the I'm-so-cool-n'stuff infantilism, etc. My advice would be to very weary of, and only take lightly, bloggers at the National Catholic Regi$ter and Patheo$. But that's just me.

Boniface said...

In case you need more proof that its all about meeeeeee, I wonder why this sort of thing is news. I empathize with the joy of a new birth, but...I like it better when the blogger keeps their own persona out of it. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/simchafisher/2014/08/15/fine-im-pregnant/

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