Overrated Catholic celebrities

I'm not sure if this blog post will be something that you read and think 'he's right!' or 'what a cranky jerk.'

But my thought is this: Are the highly-acclaimed Catholic "personalities" that we trump up really that great, or are we grasping at straws hoping to find someone amazing?

A note before I continue, I am in no way advocating myself as one of the esteemed Catholic voices in the blogosphere, as I've still got a ways to go when it comes to honing my skills in writing. And I'm not going to drop any names, lest I look like a petty guy with a grudge against speaker X.

Just recently, one of the Catholic radio programs had a notable Catholic author appearing on the show, and the show was gushing about how amazing the person was. And the show isn't alone: thousands of other Catholics have read this person's book.

And I tried to be one of them. A woman I knew some time ago gave me a copy of the book to read, said it was life-changing. I couldn't get through the first 20 pages. And each time I hear this person on the radio, I am bored out of my cranium.

I felt the same way about John Corapi (not comparing current Catholic speaker to this fraud). Everyone loved him, thought he was the greatest Catholic speaker in the world. And for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what the appeal was.

I feel that when I look at Catholic media, half the time I see quality take a backseat to spirituality. While spirituality is important, I don't think quality and skill should be sacrificed just because it's Catholic or Christian, and people thinking that just because something is faithful, it doesn't need that extra polish. The stuff we create should be great in both areas.

This made me think today. Am I alone in feeling this way? Am I just a grumpy, hard-to-please person who won't give anyone a chance? Or do we set low standards in Catholic media, so that anyone who comes along with a fancy book and great web site is immediately an "influential voice" in Catholic media?

I'm not saying that everyone has to be exactly like Lino Rulli or Mark Hart when it comes to entertaining Catholic personalities. I just wonder if we in the Catholic world jump the gun a little too early when it comes to making someone "famous"


Angelica August 10, 2011 at 6:49 PM  

You're not grumpy at all. I think you bring up a good point. Gravitating toward an author or speaker sometimes has to do with their personality or their words hitting us at the right time/right place. Sometimes, a speaker or author will never really resonate with us. It's a matter of taste in a lot of ways. But, I do think different groups try to find "celebrities" among them. This is true for political parties, social orgs, and even Catholics. Corapi is an example (I wasn't a fan either, btw). Maybe it's a need to have a popular representative with a public face or maybe it's just human nature. I think it is right to question and I also think that it is perfectly okay not to like a book everyone else does or find a popular speaker to be less than exciting for you. God speaks to each one of us differently. For some, God might be speaking to them through the speaker you mentioned. For others, it might be someone else. And, for others still, they don't find God speaking through any of those speakers.

Do we sometimes jump the gun a little to early? Perhaps. I'm not entirely sure, but what does worry be is the occasional cult-like following for some of these people.

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