Matt Lauer took the “Today” show to the Vatican this week. Archbishop Dolan went with him, and it was good to see the archbishop get even more publicity in the mainstream media. He’s such a gift to the Church and a powerful spokesperson for the Church in America during these challenging times.
In particular, Archbishop Dolan understands that, even for the Church, marketing matters—not just the message. In fact, the marketing and the message are all wrapped up together. How the Church presents herself and how we engage the culture matters as much as the message we bring ... at least when it comes to how effectively that message is received.
There are still many in the Church that think all they have to do to evangelize is to shout the truth loudly or shine the “Light” directly into everyone’s eyes and then let the Holy Spirit take care of the rest. At the other end of the spectrum, many people think that the truth literally speaks for itself, even if it goes unspoken. But the truth is that the truth speaks through our words and actions. And the Holy Spirit works through the very use of our own human creativity and thoughtfulness.
We have to realize that it’s okay to be creative in how we share (i.e. “market”) the Faith. That’s just good evangelization. It’s also okay to be funny or entertaining ... provided we don’t compromise our authenticity. What all of that means though is that we are honest. It means being our authentic selves. If we are real people (instead of stuffy, fake ones who have to pretend we have all the answers) who are really in love with God and His Church, we will be effective. Real people are creative and appreciate creativity. Real people are funny ... in one way or another. Real people are honest about their flaws. And their love for God shines through their flawed humanity much better than a contrived facade.
Too many in the Church have hidden in fear behind this contrived facade for too long. And it’s a freeing feeling to have leaders like Archbishop Dolan who are willing to be honest about who the Church is and what we’re all about. It’s effective. And I’m excited and inspired by it. I think a lot of other people will be, too.
Here’re some video clips from his appearance on the “Today” show:
(Hat tip to Brandon Vogt)