Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

Mass appeal? From The Hollywood Reporter: Kyle Chandler to Star in Showtime’s ‘The Vatican’ Pilot…The Vatican, a contemporary thriller about spirituality, power and politics, is set against the modern-day political machinations within the Catholic Church. The potential series would explore the relationships and rivalries in addition to the mysteries and miracles behind the institution…Chandler, who has been among the most sought-after actors since his five-season run on NBC’s Friday Night Lights, will star as Cardinal Thomas Duffy, a charismatic yet enigmatic archbishop of New York whose progressive leanings excite some and alarm others within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The casting reunites Chandler with former Friday Night Lights executive producer and Showtime Entertainment president David Nevins, who is said to have wanted to cast the actor for the role of Brody on Homeland.

Comment: With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, it would seem the timing for such a show couldn’t be better. There’s actually potential in a series about the Vatican. I’ve had a similar idea rolling around in my head for quite a while. The key, however, is in the execution. To be truly excellent, The Vatican will need to honestly and humanely reflect the politics, hypocrisy and scandals of the Church alongside the truly inspirational compassion and idealism that also exists within it. All over the world, faithful Catholics are working within the Church to help those in need while living out the notion of serving and loving God by serving and loving others. Both aspects are true and both aspects should be given their due. And, of course, the faith itself needs to be respected while the show will have to work as entertainment. It’s a tricky balancing act — but in balance there is complexity and in complexity the makings of outstanding drama. I hope Showtime is up to the task. I’m not holding my breath but I hope so.

In the meantime, enjoy Anthony Quinn in the final scene of 1968’s The Shoes of the Fisherman.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11