Catholic Teddy Bears: Is Shia LaBeouf Playing You?

Catholics do the Church no favor by suspending warranted skepticism for the easy gratification of prematurely claiming a pop culture ally in the liturgy wars. 

Before you accuse me of plagiarism, the quote comes from here.

The article repeats, in an excellent way, the theme of one of my posts of some weeks ago, when I warned from the ueberschnell promotion of Mr LaBeouf to new Catholic hero for our times.

The article makes for very interesting reading, in that it touches on two issues that were – my bad, of course – new to me: the plagiarism, and the vastly different language registers in different interview about the same issue (his conversion/repentance/redemption).

As to the first, the man appears to have such a history of plagiarism that you would think he is a relative of Joe Biden. Not only that, he goes very stupidly about it, which does not engender any confidence in the solidity of his intellect and, therefore, of his proposits.

The second, much more ominous in my eyes because extremely recent, is the frequent use of expletives and the careful avoidance of the Latin Mass theme in repeat videos on his troubles (and conversion) destined to a different audience from the Catholic one.

To me, this is sheer marketing.

If you have had a sincere conversion, you don’t go around spitting expletives to look cool with the atheist kids. More disquietingly, if you have found the Latin Mass a touching, spiritual, growth-inducing experience, you want those who don’t go to mass or are not interested in Catholicism to be the first to know.

There is nothing of this in Mr LaBoeuf’s performances. There is, in fact, an actor.

Mind, this does not necessarily mean that the man is lying. Like many actors, he might merely be in love with the idea of his conversion (or with himself as converted) whenever it is useful to him, reverting back to the usual A-H mode when he is in a different company. He might, also, have experienced a very tepid, slow-burn, conversion, again in contrast to the big proclaims and interviews. But as a whole, this whole affair is screaming at us to be prudent.

Let me quote the author of the linked article again:

Sentimentality is the enemy of true compassion. It is the self-centered substitute of one’s own feelings, one’s druthers, for conscientious appraisal of reality.

This is, I think, exactly what has been happening. Emotional (probably, largely female) Catholics can’t wait to adopt the new Famous Guy like he is the latest Catholic Teddy Bear. But there is no sound reasoning behind this.

Sound reasoning would command, first of all, prudence, and a truckload of salt.

Posted on September 28, 2022, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Joseph D'hippolito

    The fact that Catholics swoon over LaBeouf’s conversion reflects the pervasive, overriding influence of a consumerist culture infatuated with celebrity. Evangelical Protestants react the same way to celebrity conversions. The only group that doesn’t is the Mainline (liberal) Protestants, who really don’t give a damn about their own faith to care.

  2. I have never been fond of Maureen Mularkey’s writing, and did not read her post. Actually, I’ve read almost nothing of the LeBeouf story. I saw about three minutes of his interview with Bishop Barron, and I was more interested in the bishop’s attempts at steering the discussion to his own personal ‘faith experience’. I offered a prayer for both men. But her article surprised me by those same two points that you mention: the plagiarism, and the different tones of tailoring the speech to the audience. It sems very peculiar to me…rather like trying to win both sides of a match. It doesn’t work, of course. May God bless them both, and maybe suggest to them to quit talking so much. Neither is that interesting.

  3. Your discernment is spot on here, Mr. Mundabor. We have also seen the “conservative Christian” actor Chris Pratt basically renounce his faith recently. I have always thought Mel Gibson is legit, although he has had his personal trials and problems.

  4. I was skeptical because his first mention was with media-star Bishop Barron. He IS an actor, and he can be well coached. Just like Milo, we wait and see.

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