I have to admit I watch the Super Bowl for the commercials just like many Americans. Of course, enjoying the snacks never hurt either. Each year there are two guarantees. My beloved Detroit Lions will not be in the Super Bowl and the commercials will be worth watching. (specifically, the Budweiser and Doritos commercials)
Much to my surprise, Jim McDermott recently wrote a piece in America Magazine advocating that the Catholic Church should run a Super Bowl commercial. Just when I did not think I could be surprised by anything, America Magazine continues to find ways to shock me. Why? It seems McDermott appears to be associating the Catholic Church with a business and industry which needs a large advertisement to “reach” an enormous audience. It seems as if he thinks serving the Lord is something to be branded and marketed.
“Super Bowl Sunday often has the biggest audience in all of television. It’s an opportunity like no other to get your product out there; some of its ads will be talked about for days, weeks, even months. So why doesn’t the Catholic Church ever use it…..why aren’t we out there?” McDermott writes.
He even writes a proposed script for the commercial. His idea is to have celebrities reading mean tweets from American Catholics about Pope Francis. The commercial then leads into Jesus feeding the attendees at the Synod with a picnic basket, comparing it to a “picnic after the pandemic” to “catch up and talk about life.” It’s even complete with Jesus using a noise maker to get people to laugh. Of course, his commercial would not be complete without Jesus bringing in the Blessed Mother’s “favorite hot dish”…a tin foil covered casserole.
The last thing the Catholic Church needs is something like McDermott thinking it’s cute to turn the holiness of the Catholic Church, the reverence of Jesus Christ and the Blessed Mother, into some Super Bowl commercial stunt. Let’s begin with the logistics of having to pay $6.5 million for a 30-second commercial in the Super Bowl and I’m pretty sure his little proposed gimmic of turning Jesus into a casserole toting, picnic celebrating Lord would take more than 30 seconds. Not to mention, I guarantee there is a better use for $6.5 million from the Church. Not to mention, the utter ridiculousness of the concept turns the Catholic Church into nothing more than a business recruiting members.
Jesus did not tell us to recruit new members. Our mission on earth is not to adjust to the world in an effort for people to find us more “likeable”. Our mission is the Great Commission. He told us to make disciples.
“Then Jesus approached and said to them, ‘All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
If you want to increase the Church then you make disciples, not commercials. If you want people to come to know Christ more fully, then you focus on the truths of His word and what He taught us to do, not on gimmicks and mockery of the holiness of the Lord. If you want others to love Jesus as Lord and Savior, honor the Blessed Mother, and become saints then you don’t reduce Jesus to a picnic basket bearer or the Blessed Mother to an apron sporting homemaker cooking up her best casserole. You teach them holiness and respect for the Lord. You live the life of a saint and teach others to do the same. You urge repentance, not picnics. That does not happen in 30 seconds while someone is stuffing their mouth full of hot wings and drowning out the sauce with a Bud Light.
How are we to ever expect our children, our grandchildren, and those around us to take the faith seriously and serve the Lord when we have the McDermotts of the world thinking its cute to pay $6.5 million for 30 seconds to mock the Lord Jesus?