Imagine a restaurant with a sign on the entrance that reads: No Catholics Allowed. However, the restaurant has a take-out window in a back alley where Catholics can pay full price for leftovers.
Is this akin to today’s reality with the great majority of companies, filmmakers, TV and streaming programs, mainstream publishers? I think so. For all intents and purposes, no Catholic perspectives, themes, or ideas are welcome. Increasingly, such perspectives are shamed.
In fact, this trend has accelerated in the past decade to the extent that many Catholic beliefs are equated with bigotry and misogyny. Can you imagine a faithful Catholic being a Disney executive today without hiding their beliefs? This reminds me of how people once justified discrimination against blacks because they judged them to be untrustworthy and immoral, or why discrimination against the Irish was okay because they were superstitious drunkards. That’s how the game’s always been played, and today’s No Catholics Allowed instigators are no different, in spite of the virtuous airs they affect.
With fewer and fewer exceptions, Catholic perspectives on life, morality, virtue, culture are barred from the public arena, mainstream platforms, and artistic channels. Yes, the rare John Krasinski or Patricia Heaton breaks through, but could an emerging Flannery O’Connor, Paul Horgan, or Gene Wolfe find a mainstream publisher today? Or could an emerging Alfred Hitchcock find a major studio to produce his films? Could Dean Koontz find a mainstream publisher if he were starting out today with no canon of successful works behind him? Could the provocative Walter M. Miller’s classic, A Canticle for Leibowitz, find a mainstream publisher?
Lest some think this is exaggeration, just consider the transformation of Disney, once an icon of family entertainment, in the past several decades. The rapid rise of transgenderism has turned tyrannical, and the goal of trans-activists is, as Abigail Shrier explains, is chaos, social upheavel, and undermining stable families.
I can think of a few prominent newsmen, newswomen, and journalists with Catholic perspectives but even they have to be exceedingly careful in these times. Apart from big moral issues like abortion and marriage, even the use of “he” and “she” are considered bigoted by the advanced guard of the new culture. Meanwhile, while Catholic beliefs are considered to be beyond the pale by many companies, they are only too happy to do business with torturers and murderers in the Chinese regime.
Hyperbole? Paranoia? Rather, year by year evidence and experience. To deny this is to have one’s head buried in the sand.
Is there an answer? At this stage, with hostility toward Catholic perspectives so far progressed, numerous measures are needed, none of which have been seriously pursued thus far.
When marshaled, the economic power of Catholics is still massive. Even if done imperfectly, Catholics can have a big impact. Look at how impactful organized environmentalists have been. Catholics should seriously consider turning away from—stop purchasing, stop viewing, stop reading, stop vacationing—programs, films, news, theme parks, companies, publishers, etc., where No Catholics Allowed is practiced. Take the money we’re spending on streaming services, music and audible book subscriptions, movies, cable TV, apparel, and use it to support institutions and programming that are open to a Catholic perspective—a perspective that delights in beauty, joy, truth—or at least perspectives that respect traditional virtues. This will take discipline and sacrifice because many of us have become addicted to the bad food the No Catholics Allowed restaurant has been feeding us.
However, retreating into “safe” Catholic echo chambers and ignoring what’s going on in the wider world isn’t the answer because such attitudes do an injustice to our children, grandchildren, and society at large. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings, Merry the hobbit sounded the horn of Rohan to rouse the beaten-down hobbits of the Shire to resist the persecution and degradation they were experiencing: “I am going to blow the horn of Rohan, and give them some music they have never heard before.” We need such clear and compelling horns today to rouse Catholics to action. I’m far from an exemplar but am determined to be more committed to this mission going forward.
The present reality of No Catholics Allowed should be clearly and forthrightly articulated by Catholic clergy and prominent Catholic laypeople in very direct language. Again and again, as warranted by a threat of this nature. This shouldn’t be a subject that’s danced around or accepted as inevitable, because No Catholics Allowed increasing entails discrimination and persecution.
Catholic businesspeople and entrepreneurs should consider investing in existing and new businesses, platforms, and forums, even if not explicitly Catholic, that welcome Catholic and traditional Christian perspectives, with funding via Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs), philanthropic ventures, crowd funding (as Dallas Jenkins is courageously doing with The Chosen) and the like, with emphasis on perspectives and art compatible with Catholicism and that’s accessible to the public at large. Individual Catholics should consider doing likewise as they are able.
Prayer is needed, always mindful that this mission isn’t about casting stones but leading others, including instigators of No Catholics Allowed, to the truth—prayer for courage, fortitude, repentance, conversion.
I worked on environmental projects for decades and am committed to environmental stewardship, yet I believe the No Catholics Allowed threat is more worthy of Catholics’ attention and commitment than climate change because a No Catholics Allowed worldview degrades the human spirit and human culture. Further, this mission isn’t just a matter of giving Catholic perspectives a voice in the public arena. More importantly, this could be a powerful tool for evangelization, because the truth is beautiful and liberating. If Catholics don’t recognize this, the No Catholics Allowed instigators certainly do.
Are Catholics satisfied with paying the No Catholics Allowed restaurant full price for scraps and the back of the restaurant’s hand? If Catholics don’t take action, this is what they will continue to get, and worse.
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