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.
Delivering The Goods
I have never been a fan of Shia LaBeouf. In fact, I have always considered him a galactic idiot. I think I am not the only one.
We have now been informed that Mr LaBeouf has converted to Catholicism. Quite coincidentally, he is also in need of publicity; firstly, because his public image has almost gone down the drain as a whole and he needs to revive it, and secondly, because the guy will also star in a film on the life of Padre Pio, and there is no doubt that this one here is the perfect stunt.
“Don’t be so cynical, Mundabor!”, my charitable readership will haste to clamour. Well, dear charitable readership, I am somewhat cynical, and I do not easily believe in people who “have changed”, just at the time when it is most convenient for them to say so. The fact is, if Shia LaBeouf was an idiot twelve months ago, what makes you think that he has suddenly become intelligent and, on top of that, spiritual? Have we not already seen many of these conversions of people who love to call themselves “spiritual”, and only want to nourish their extremely vast ego? Heck, if you ask that obscene, pathetic old slut who chose the name of the Blessed Virgin as her stage name, she will most likely tell you that she is spiritual!
Plus, the guy might have decided to convert in light of contacts he had with Bishop Barron. Don’t get me wrong (yes, I *have* to *always* say it!), I think there is *some* Catholicism in Barron. However, what Catholicism there is, is of the fashionable, fuzzy, Coca-Cola Light sort. The guy can’t even manage to believe that there are people in hell. What kind of Catholicism can you learn from a guy like this?
You understand, now, why my cynic-metre is reaching peak level.
However, as a devout of Padre Pio (my absolute favourite Saint, whom I ask for his powerful intercession every day), I can also not completely exclude that the great Saint has been allowed to show, with this rather unintelligent individual, the power of a Saint’s intercession. The actor has also, apparently, said some positive words about the Traditional Latin Mass, which is another good sign (of course, he would get in close contact with the Traditional Latin Mass during the acting, provided the screenplay is not entirely horrible).
I have given a look at Rebellion, the Canadian production company of this movie. They seem largely OK, and have a keen interest in Italo-Canadians. The movie might, in fact, be good, and give us the real Padre Pio instead of the one imagined by Father Georgina. It’s not a big production, and it’s not Hollywood rubbish. We shall see.
The proof of this pudding will be, if you ask me, in the next years. If LaBeouf is really interested in Catholicism, this will transpire in his tweets, interviews, and public statements, because you expect that one who could be so obnoxious before changing will be able to at least open his mouth after changing. He will, also, most likely, be asked about his position about controversial issues. From his answers we will see if he says it, or he means it. And I don’t mean here “I so much love the Traditional Latin Mass”, I mean “sodomy is a sin crying to heaven for vengeance” stuff.
For now, my dear readers, I invite everybody to take this with a whole bag of salt. It’s not good for Catholicism if we run to “celebrate” every more or less famous public figure who claims to be on our side, and then regularly look like easily duped simpletons.
Still, best of luck to the guy, and let’s see if he delivers the goods.