What do Hollywood, the NFL, and the Catholic Church have in common?
They all have fans whose faith has been shaken by the behavior of the heroes they held in high esteem. This happened because they lost focus on what was important about each of the entities they supported, which was the purpose not the people.
If you haven’t followed the news recently you have missed two major stories in entertainment. First, the founder of Miramax films, Harvey Weinstein, has been accused by multiple actresses of sexual harassment or outright assault. Include the revelation that Weinstein paid off several women for their silence in recent years and this story has rocked the Hollywood establishment to its core. Many fans have expressed sadness that their favorite stars seemingly knew of the rumors surrounding the movie mogul or had been harassed by him and said nothing. Some have even vowed to stop going to the movies until Hollywood cleans up its act and all predators like Weinstein are brought to justice.
Similarly, NFL players and teams have come under fire for protests occurring during the playing of the National Anthem. Regardless of your thoughts about President Trump’s involvement, the issues of racial justice, or whether or not players should kneel during the Star Spangled Banner, you should know that fans around the country are burning jerseys and returning season tickets over what they consider despicable behavior by their heroes of the gridiron.
For both Hollywood and the NFL, fans forgot that the institutions that they adored were simply places to get entertainment and a little distance from their lives. The heroes of the silver screen or the football field were only human beings paid to use their talents to provide us “little people” with an escape. Many people lose themselves in these outlets and the faux world eclipses the real.
“Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation.” (Psalm 146:3)
Hollywood makes movies to ask, “what if?”, to make you forget about what is, and sports allow us to belong to a tribe and choose a side in a battle where the winner gets bragging rights but everyone lives to fight again. Neither one should determine what we believe or how we think. It is sad that the actions of people hurts the spirit of so many.
We can’t pretend that Catholics are immune to this. We can all probably think of friends or loved ones who left the Church because of the child abuse scandal brought on by depraved priests. In addition to that nightmare, I know many people who still refuse to accept that the popular priest Fr. John Corapi could have fallen from grace the way he did leaving behind broken-hearted followers. In these and similar situations, people forgot that Jesus Christ should be the center of our worship, not the behavior of human beings. Yes, the Holy Spirit should dwell in the hearts of the hierarchy and help them to live in sanctity, but we are foolish to put our faith in them when the Savior will never let us down. Let us look to the Lord to sustain us in our lives.
I have tried to find more solace in my family and church community and diminished my reliance on film, television and sports as an escape from my reality. I often fail in this too. After all, I am human. Pray for me.
Copyright 2017 Mark Andrews