jesus, sad, perplexed

One Catholic to Another: Don’t Stoop, Stephen Colbert

jesus, sad, perplexedFor many years, I enjoyed Stephen Colbert’s The Colbert Report. Colbert was funny in a positive way, never was vulgar, and was always respectful of his guests.

Stephen Colbert Before and After

Colbert made fun of himself, most of all, and that attribute of self-deprecating humor supported his open and frequent discussion of his own Catholicism.  He seemed very proud to be Catholic (even having a Catholic “show-down” with Patricia Heaton) and was very successful in proclaiming his faith in such a way that he attracted people to him and it. Colbert made his Catholicism cool.

After moving to late night television, however, it appears that Colbert has chosen to succumb to the lowest common denominator.

Colbert not only began to use vulgar language but also began to exhibit “hate” for certain individuals. Saddest of all, he seemed to show this disdain because it appeared to win him the most applause from the audience. He followed the crowd to win ratings and appeared to throw his faith life under the bus.

Commanded to Love

As Catholic Christians, we are never permitted to hate anyone, even if that person’s actions are not good. In fact, as Fr. Mike Schmitz so eloquently stated in this video, we are commanded by Jesus to love everyone, to wish them the best, to pray for them, and to hope for their well-being. While we can judge actions and choose wisely not to participate, we are never to judge people. Even if everyone else feels that a particular person is not worthy of love, we are to stand up and love them. We are to treat them as children of God. We are to love as Jesus loved.

This call is so radical and so counter-cultural that it is difficult to obey. It is so much easier to stoop to the level of the world’s expectations, and love only those people who are considered cool to love, and belittle the “other.”

Yet when the world wants us to be repulsed, Jesus calls us to welcome. When the world wants us to boo and heckle, Jesus calls us to listen respectfully. When the world wants us to call names, Jesus calls us to speak with kindness. When the world wants us to turn our backs, Jesus calls us to reach out our hands.

Follow Jesus’ Call

I’ll be praying for you, Stephen Colbert, as I pray for myself, from one sinful Catholic to another. With courage from the Holy Spirit, may we stand strong and follow Jesus’ call to love one another, just as He loved us.