Friday, August 12, 2005

Mutton dressed as lamb

The Catholic church is trying to lure new sheep into the flock with a poster that spoofs the Matrix.

I actually like the poster. It’s clever and slightly irreverent (it’s rated R, for "restricted to those radically in love with Jesus"). Does it make me want to run out and join the priesthood? Oh, wait. I can’t. I’m female. Right, I knew there was a catch.

I have bigger problems with the Catholic church anyway. Like its Mesozoic stand against gay marriage, for example.

To its credit, the church recognizes it is losing relevance among young people. Hence the poster.

But the effort falls flat by failing to address the real reason the church is having trouble recruiting young priests. Catholicism is irrelevant not because it isn’t cool or hip. It’s irrelevant because it’s completely out of touch with reality.

Jonathan Meyer, the 28-year-old priest who dreamed up the poster, proves my point by saying, "If we can get kids to hang a picture of a priest in their room, we’ve done something huge for vocations."

What kind of whacked out teenager would hang a picture of a priest in his bedroom?

My buddy Bill sums it up best on his blog, where he writes:

"The poster is clever and well-done, but from my perspective as an agnostic, it doesn't address the fact that the Catholic Church remains an immensely hidebound, conservative institution -- and that many of its traditions make it somewhat anachronistic in the modern world.

Allowing priests to marry and ordaining women would be two steps that would provide much more substantial results with regard to solving the priest shortage, but the church doesn't want to change.

Fine, then continue to wither in North America and Europe.

Wrapping a pre-medieval institution in the cloak of pop culture will do nothing to reverse that trend."

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