The church needs heroes, created by the deeds they perform, not a clever stunt that just gets people talking.
News that the Roman Catholic church is trying to solve a shortfall in the recruitment of priests in Westminster by advertising on beermats and in the underground is not as surprising as it should be.
That a nominal Father Ted Crilly should have popped down to the local ad agency to get help replenishing their seminaries is quite within their remit; what’s unfortunate is how inept their planning department must be, not to appreciate the enormous scale and power of a global movement with 1.1 billion baptised members and be unable to find some equally impressive and touching way of using this.
Are they looking for more Father Jacks red- faced boozed-out priest screaming for more fecking drink or do they really want genuine men of conviction. I am a little confused.
Surely, it’s not about cheap PR stunts, good as this one is in getting people to talk – it’s bold but has all the strength of a low alcohol communion wine.
The “brand values” Rome enjoys go back 2000 years and feature some pretty remarkable tales of human sacrifice and commitment, quite enough, I’d surmise, to inspire others to a true calling.
The church needs heroes, created by the deeds they perform, not a clever stunt that gets the odd “front man” trying to talk this up on the odd radio phone in!
If I was advising the newly-anointed Pope Benedict XVI, I’d suggest seizing the initiative from the growing ranks of atheist world leaders and highlight the exceptional unsung work of Catholic charities around the world. I’d start with trumpeting the true heroes of the Church on the front line… the priests who do astonishing work of real human value in the world’s inner cities and in the field in the Third World, who make real sacrifices and actually do live lives of simple humility.
But I suppose making religion feel a bit sexier and more real wouldn’t be an entirely bad thing. Look at the work of the American rabbi, Shmuley Boteach.
Love him or loathe him, he’s deliberately chosen to appeal to youth, having initially targeted the Oxford intelligentsia while writing books about sexual relationships and promoting polemical debate.
The geezer with the Koppel now has a talkshow in the USA ranking alongside shock-jock Howard Stern for outrage. Come to think of it, as an outsider he might be a good choice to bring up the struggle with celibacy that your average modern Catholic priest faces, and the reality that in certain parts of the world Christianity is still persecuted every bit as vigorously as it was in AD33.
Talking of reality, wasn’t the death of John Paul II acted out in a bizarrely public manner? It displayed an almost medieval sense of spectacle as the dying man was wheeled to and fro past his window for a succession of farewell curtain calls from his adoring fans.
Effectively elevating the first Polish pope to sainthood while still on earth, his PR advisors- led, we gather, by his successor