Why Priests? Stephen Colbert takes on Garry Wills on Transubstantiation.
Catholic-link.com – Stephen Colbert is the host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert report, a satirical news show. In today’s video Colbert takes on Garry Wills, a prolific American writer and also a Pulitzer Prizer winner, who has recently written a book called Why Priests. The incredible thing about the video is Colbert’s capacity to keep Will’s on his toes and even pull the rug out from under him more than once. Discovering such a clever and relatively well formed defense of transubstantiation and Catholic teaching on the Comedy Central channel is a rare event, to say the least.
The video offers us 3 important things:
1. The Catholic Faith is like a symphony orchestra, its beauty and truth resounds in its unity. Each element of faith is complemented, elevated, and situated thanks to the other elements. Pull out one element, or separate it from the others and you will be left with nothing but dissonance. “The living tradition of the whole Church must be taken into account along with the harmony which exists between elements of the faith.” (DV 12).
2. Remember that we are in a year of faith. Without faith, without truly believing that God and his Word interpreted through the Church offers us Truth, one’s Catholicity crumbles. What’s saddest about Garry Will’s approach isn’t only his belief about transubstantiation or about priests– these are manifestations and consequences– rather the fact that he appears to have lost his faith in Christ’s incarnation. He fails to accept and perceive a God of presence, a God of closeness, a God who truly works in and through the lives of others. It is in contemplating the event of God becoming man that we behold the key for perceiving reality: Christians, through baptism and God’s call, are called not only to be “leaders” but also “Other Christs”! This is a radical novelty not to be ignored or downplayed! It is the Church who has fought and gone to the world’s end to preserve and transmit this truth. To deny Her her role, her value and validity, is the first and fundamental step towards losing your way among the countless empty voices in the world.
3. Faith can indeed be defended publicly, intelligently, charitably, and even with humor in today’s world! Leave your excuses, your false humility, your cowardly appreciation for political correctness aside. It isn’t about imposing our beliefs! It is about living them with naturality, with gratitude, with radicality and courage! Since when did lies or misconceptions deserve more airtime than truth and understanding? The Truth of the Catholic Faith is NOT a possession to be proud of (in the negative sense) nor a weapon to belittle others. It is above all a gift that demands responsibility, courageous coherence, and humble creative service.
Please check out another interesting article written about this video by Frank Weathers. He also provides some great quotations from St. Augustine refuting Will’s ridiculously unfounded claims.
Learn more about Garry Will’s book Why Priest’s? with Fr. Baron’s commentary: