A Catholic Girl’s Open Letter to Louis C.K.

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(Louis C.K., an Emmy and Grammy Award-winning comedian, is well known for both a successful television show ‘Louie’  and stand-up comedy tours. He admitted to sexual misconduct).

Dear Louis,

A week after my second son, Louis, was born, I found out that some allegations were being made against you in the wake of the “me too” furore.

‘He’s going to admit it,’ I said to my husband. I think the following day, you did just that.

I have always enjoyed your comedy because it is obvious you are a good person.

With all the “me too” stuff, to me, it was obvious that Weinstein was a sick man. I do not mean he does not deserve any mercy but just to say I truly believe, given the chance, he would cause harm to countless people and should, therefore, be stopped.

The Church’s definition of a good person is someone who feels some kind of shame about the terrible things they do, not someone who does not do terrible things. This is the definition of a good God. This is why Christ calls humans to ‘repent, and believe’.

Your Comedy

Your comedy is brilliant precisely because of the sincere shame you so evidently feel. I do not mean it is not technically an impressive comedy, that you are not also a master of the craft, have spent decades honing it and that you don’t have a talent for ingenious, unthinkable punchlines. I mean that none of those things would be anywhere near as effective in creating such magnetic performances without the fuel of a sincerely repenting soul behind it.

I knew after you released your statement that I had to go see you if you ever returned to comedy, especially if you ever came to Europe, where I live.

You Asked if Anyone Believed

Last night you came to Milan and my brother and I drove up from the coast in Genoa, where we live. We were one of the six people who cheered when you asked the thousand-strong audience if anyone believed in God.

As a child, I wasn’t baptised or ever taken to church. My parents were not into indoctrination; they got married in the Seventies when it was cool to tell kids that God if He existed, was probably more of an energy than a Jewish thirty-year-old male.

My mother died when I was eleven and ten years later I converted to Catholicism. It’s kind of a cliche, everyone who has someone die finds God, but whatever.

I know you are one of those lapsed cradle Catholics who was raised in the faith in a lacklustre way and so grew up completely disenchanted. I am not really writing to convince you to return to the Church because I am not sure that I have that kind of power when it comes to my persuasive skills.

We Are Called to Love

I am sure you probably remember this: as a Christian you are supposed to see Christ in everyone. You’re supposed to treat everyone as you would Christ. Even Harvey Weinstein. You’re supposed to see Christ in everyone, not just people you like, as Mother Teresa said:

Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.

You are supposed to love even the people that you dislike with intense passion, not just the economically poor, but those whose character is poor, whose morality is poor, those with poor people skills, poor emotional or academic intelligence, those whose contribution to society is poor, those who are a drain on resources, those who destroy our planet, and those who cause harm to the most vulnerable and the truly innocent. You are supposed to love these kinds of poor people.

Obviously, for the most part, we only really love people we like or our family, who I guess we all dislike at least sometimes. However, the blood ties for some reason make it easier for us to accept we have some kind of responsibility of love towards them, even when they’re being intolerable. Those people who were not related to, and whom we find intolerable – they can go to hell. I think most of us think that even Christians who are explicitly told not to think that, every single week of their life, it is very hard to hear about atrocities committed and not think that – at least for me, it’s almost an impulsive reaction that happens before I can do anything about it.

I am writing to you to say this: I wish it were as easy to see the face of Christ in everyone as it is to see it in you.

Louis C.K., I See Christ in You

You make it easy to love you, not because you are a spineless people pleaser – those can be some of the most difficult to love too. I don’t know how or why – it looks like magic – but you make it easy to love you. That is what we should all strive to do, to make it easy to be loved. So, thank you for modelling this in a world that seems starved of examples.

Thank you for all you do, for all your work over the years. I still cannot fathom how your brain works and how you found the discipline to keep working after losing the support of your entire community, of a whole city, a whole nation. How can you create such impressive, intricate material? How do you deliver the punchlines so seamlessly? How do you master every single detail: ‘the good news is you’re going to heaven? The weird news…’ That word, weird instead of bad, I do not know how you came to it. I know it is not magic. I know it is all sacrifice. I know your soul is alive and striving and that your daughters are immensely, immensely loved.

Yes, I believe in God, and I went to see your show, and I play your old specials on loop, and I follow your work, because your work reminds me, assures me, that God is alive. Maybe some people get that reminder most clearly directly from Him inside the Tabernacle. Maybe their priest gives great homilies. Maybe jokes about incest don’t remind them of God at all. Maybe I’m wrong, and there is no God, or if there is, vulgar punchlines are certainly not any evidence of his existence.

However, this is what I experience. It’s hard to believe in God based on what I am like, I do not look at myself and think, “Oh yes, this is the work of a Divine Creator”. In me, in my misery, in my efforts, in my life, it’s very easy to believe I am an accident and I will expire when I die. In you – in seeing your sacrifice and its fruits – itis almost impossible not to believe God is at work. So thank you for what I like to call your inadvertent testimony – which I am not so sure is quite so inadvertent at all.

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