Monday, February 21, 2011

Should the Church throw her lot in with popular culture in order to gain "relevance"?


I've linked to an article by a religion writer for the Huffington Post. As you can imagine with anything from the HuffPo, it's decidedly anti-Church in it's outlook. The writer, a 23 year old who classifies himself as "...grew up Catholic" to avoid the impression that I would ever participate in such silliness...", puts forth the idea that if the Church could just get with the popular culture, his generation would find the Church on the way toward becoming "relevant".

I believe we've seen, since the 1960's, too many instances of the Church trying to be "relevant" to the popular culture. The effort to throw open the windows and let the World in has been a failure. Instead of evangelizing the world, the world and it's secular viewpoint has infected the Church, or more clearly, has infected the thinking of many inside the Church. We don't need a Church to "play down" to the popular culture, we need a Church to stand strong against it and call it out of it's darkness.

Pray that the Church continues on her road of Restoration, and that She resists the temptation to become "relevant" to the popular culture.

Read the article (and get a load of the comments)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tyler-mahoney/the-99-lost-sheep-20-some_b_823611.html#s240996&title=Fr_James_Martin

21 comments:

Athanasius contra mundum said...

Not to mention Catholic values and traditions have shown staying power in a way unimaginable amongst the shifting sands of pop culture.

Adopt a Catholic Blog

Tyler Mahoney said...

You missed something, read a little closer. I'm a practicing, and confirmed Roman Catholic who works for a Catholic Ministry, and went to a Catholic College.

Paul Nichols said...

Tyler,

I wasn't implying that you were a former Catholic, I just noticed the line I quoted about being "raised Catholic". If I've misquoted, let me know.

Your article was definitely interesting, but as a 46 year old coot, and as a revert (at age 34) our perspectives are definitely different.

The premise seems to be that the Church needs to alter her teaching on sexual morality and "treatment" of women in order to gain the attention of your generation. In my 20's, I might have said the same thing.

Kenneth said...

I was raised Lutheran. Yet I never felt that abortion, contraception, and the "popular view" on sexual morality even though people repeatedly tried to beat it through my brain since 8th grade. I was eventually baptized a Roman Catholic on June 28, 2009 by Rev. Ronald Brown of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Chapel in Elgin.

Kenneth said...

never felt those things were morally right, is what I meant to say.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

It might be well to know what popular culture is before saying such a thing or drawing such a cartoon.

Accepting sodomy, women priests, not to mention contraceptives and in very sore cases abortion is of course a no-no.

But that is not called pop-culture, that is called culture of death.

What being relevant to pop-culture means to me is, when you start refuting the errors of Dan Brown da Vinci Code, the first thing to do is not to frown upon it because it is pop culture in the sense of a suspense and mystery novel with heavily satiric (overly satiric) portrayals of the French Police force. But to start off where the errors begin.

Holy Blood Holy Grail was so much less pop-culture, it is the same errors. And seeing them rehashed in a pop-culture work is a call for refuting them.

Btw, congrats to drawing cartoons, then!

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

HERE is more pop culture, and lots for theologians to write correctly about.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Huffington Post, by the way, is part of Paid Content, which started as a blogger earning money on his blogs. That one - the richest "mere blogger" I know of - bears an Oriental not a Christian name. Which explains orientation.

Paul Nichols said...

But that is not called pop-culture, that is called culture of death.
-----------------
But wouldn't you agree, Hans, that pop-culture today basically accepts all of the tenets of the Culture of Death?

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Which works in it?

This now deceased professor says some American Soap Operas celebrate infidelity and makes fidelity after long marriage ridiculous. That IS of course Culture of Death.

As this made me note on my Comics Blog (not writing them any more than I am drawing cartoons, but critics on my wide reading in Comics), that is so much NOT the case with Love Hina.

Keitaro is attracted to Naru from start, and asks himself if she is the girl, is even sure of it, whom he promised before a move at age approx five to see again at "Todai". BOTH fail Todai. Naru beats Keitaro so much before marriage as certain wives with rolling pins after marriage (Viennese old fashioned pop culture a k a legend celebrates the wife with a rolling pin).

US soap opera: "well, too bad, they were not made for each other, find another and get on with life, someone more like you, right?"

Love Hina ridicules that idea. There actually is a sidekick, but since she is as myopic as Keitaro, their short connaissance ends with a farewell, after which he says - in presence of Naru - "phew".

They even get to enter "Todai" together, only author involves obviously Ruritanian Asiatic geography to make the happen.

AND Keitaro and Naru keep virginities up to marriage.

Another favourite manga of mine, though not quite as, Great Teacher Onizuka, involves ridiculing feminist school principals who stop goood disciplinarians from doing their work (GTO is karatoka).

Pop Culture? Definitely. Culture of Death? I do not think so.

Archie - Culture of Death?

Prince Valiant - Culture of Death?

Popeye and Belgian Peyo - Culture of Death?

Getting real might help.

Paul Nichols said...

Hans, I have to get a few Excedrins.

Let's say this - The Culture of Death is definitely a "part" of today's Pop Culture.

So, I'll shift gears a bit and say that Pop Culture isn't interchangeable with the Culture of Death.

But today's Pop Culture has a much larger helping of the Culture of Death than it did, say, 50 years ago.

Having said that, I think the point still remains that trying to be "relevant" has done more harm to the Church in comparison to any good it's done for the world.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Rafat Ali founded Paid Content. Right now I cannot find any link to Huffinton Post, but I remember there was one earlier.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

But today's Pop Culture has a much larger helping of the Culture of Death than it did, say, 50 years ago.

True. A reason to get into it and change the helpings - unless you are bound to leave the world alone.

Having said that, I think the point still remains that trying to be "relevant" has done more harm to the Church in comparison to any good it's done for the world.

There are two instances where this is true:

a) getting into Marxism, Freudianism, Evolutionism, Big Bang and Heliocentric Cosmology with Einstein, i e into doctrinal error, but this is not "relevancy" in pop culture terms as much as in terms of Academic culture;

b) getting pop culture - but not TOO popular - into Church. Back when this meant Ave, Ave, Ave Maria (traditional popular meelody of Pyrenees) this was better, I think, than what US has now.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

Quoting myself: ... unless you are bound to leave the world alone.

Meaning priests, monks and nuns are not primarily in for secular pop culture, rather for saying what parts are not acceptable.

But Vivaldi was a priest, and baroque music was as pop culture as rock is now.

Mona said...

Great cartoon - in the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, the priest says, "Holy things for The Holy."

Nothing common or profane must touch Our Lord, nor can we hope to find Holiness through error.

The True Mass, Sacraments, and Faith HAS INDEED been altered and implemented during and since Vatican II. How can The Church and Faith of almost 2,000 be changed and called the same? It can't. It's blarney.

Not only is secularism is ruining our church; but errors including but not limited to: (false)ecumenism, inter-faith, religious liberty, religious relativism, and this "subsists in" new claus added to the New Catechism of The Catholic Church. people really are ignorant of these things and follow blindly, instead of learning The True Faith so they can recognize errors.

The sheep to the slaughter, instead of running to Christ, the Good Shepherd.

Again, great cartoon. Keep us the awesome work!

Paul Nichols said...

"The True Mass, Sacraments, and Faith HAS INDEED been altered and implemented during and since Vatican II. How can The Church and Faith of almost 2,000 be changed and called the same? It can't. It's blarney."
--------------------
This is the thing that I struggle with - how can you make such profound changes and then say everything is still the same?

Mona said...

You struggle with the rest of us dumb shee, Paul - I guess we're just too stupid to recognize where to get fed: The True Mass! Or so we've been told by novus ordo priests and bishops. I say to them: "BAAAAAAAAAH."

Paul Nichols said...

Or so we've been told by novus ordo priests and bishops.
---------------------------
Or, at the very least, we're told that there's no difference between the extraordinary form and the ordinary form.

I think we're told this because any reasonable person could figure out that the Latin Mass is much more efficacious in presenting the Faith than the Novus Ordo. I know, I know - that's one of those things you're not supposed to say in polite conversation.

The Novus Ordo, to me, is a good example of the Church attempting to be "relevant". Instead of drawing us "up" to God, the Church meets us down in our lower state, and unfortunately, doesn't ask us to climb that mountain of Faith.

Chad Torgerson said...

I love this site! The cartoons are pretty cool. Would you be willing to trade links? Let me know.

God bless,
Chad
wakingupcatholic.com

lauermar said...

"I'm a practicing, and confirmed Roman Catholic who works for a Catholic Ministry, and went to a Catholic College." Well Tyler, we baby boomers are way ahead of you. I attended Catholic school, so did my daughter, and I have relatives who went to Catholic Colleges and ministries too. No one knows less about the Catholic faith than we do. A pew poll shows that atheists know more. You made posters of Jesus with peace signs in catechism class, and received the same watered-down Catholicism along with the rest of us. You were taught nothing about your faith or its history--or else you wouldn't have published your article.

Julia said...

I do agree that the Church ought not jump down to the popular culture. However, when speaking of relevance, there is something to be said for contextualizing the Gospel Message so that it appeals to various demographic groups.

Not everyone will find the traditional, pre-concilar style of worship appealing. My parents, for example, are parishoners at a Church where the Priest faces away from the congregation. it is beautiful and feels like you are transported back in time, but it does not speak to me.

On the other hand, my Parish is more contemporary, with contemporary (but always reverant) music and a very strong emphasis on being in communion with Rome and being one universal Church - however, this message is delivered so that it draws you in and wants you to be a part of it.

Relevance and contextual theology should not be about stooping to society's standards but rather about explaining the Church to society in a culturally relevant way so they can understand and apply the teachings to their lives. This process, from what I have experienced and read, has been very successful - if done right!

Julia
http://reason-for-my-hope.blogspot.com/