Yesterday my mum and I watched one episode of Fr. Robert Barron's Catholicism series. I had been really excited about this, because the whole Catholic online world was talking about how awesome the series was, and even the usually critical, just-because-it's-Christian-doesn't-mean-we-should-applaud-bad-quality crowd was singing it's praises. My mum had to do a session about the liturgy, so we started off with Episode 7: "Word Made Flesh, True Bread of Heaven: The Mystery of the Liturgy and the Eucharist”.
First of all, it IS beautiful. The video quality was awesome, and I got a taste of the beauty that I have come to associate with Catholicism. With the music, the shots, and the commentary, it really is quite an experience. To hear sound theology, interesting examples and analogies, anecdotes and perspectives from the gentle, but persuasive Fr. Barron, made me SO happy.
But. I'm also a little disappointed. (WHY? scream the Fr. Barron fans everywhere) Well, I was REALLY hoping for something that I could use to draw the common Indian to the truth, beauty and goodness of the Catholic Church, something that would appeal to the deepest hunger of their hearts. And it does do that for me. But the words that Fr. Barron used were far too elevated for most Indians to connect with. He's awesome, he spoke truth... but he didn't speak it in a way that common man could get. Even average English-speaking Catholics would find it difficult to get.
I realize that he didn't make Catholicism to evangelize Indian Catholics. It was probably aimed at the Western world, the intellectuals who have grown cynical and bored with what the world offers. I guess it's supposed to whet their intellectual and aesthetic appetites. And I know that is a need, and I really hope and pray that it does help them. But for my ministry in India, it does not fit the bill.
I did think of one possibility- what if we (got permission and) dubbed it in Hindi... and simplified the theology so it could explain the same truths, but in a simpler way? The visuals are amazing, so we'd get the feel and the beauty. It would take a talented theologian fluent in both English and Hindi to manage that.
Another possibility I am still ruminating is inviting friends and acquaintances over for a dinner and Catholicism viewing and discussion once or twice a month, the kind of people who would be able to grasp it if not in its entirety, but at least a large part of what Fr. Barron attempted to convey. It's no use inviting theologians (who are the only ones who would fully get it), but people who are very comfortable with English, but also interested in using their minds and engaging their hearts in something more than a Hollywood movie. Yes, I'm talking to you Man of Steel fans. ;-) What I mean is, if you don't have an appetite for it, it won't satisfy you.
I suppose I should watch the rest of the episodes before making up my mind so firmly on all the pros, cons and possible uses of the series. Anyway, in spite of it not being EXACTLY what I was looking for, it IS awesome, and I hope we're going to see more quality, beautiful media emerging from hearts and minds transformed by Christ and His Church.
More quick takes at Jen's!