I am a reality television hound but one new show I won’t be watching when it debuts on A&E on April 16 is a new show called God or the Girl. Here is the official blurp about God or the Girl from the A&E website:
This five-part documentary series follows four young men through the emotionally wrenching final weeks that lead up to the most important decision of their lives – whether to become Catholic priests or not. Traveling with his brother to the Catholic celebration of World Youth Day in Germany, Joe also looks forward to reconnecting with Anna, the love of his life. In Columbus, Dan leads his youth group of high schoolers in protest prayer outside an abortion clinic, sparking a conflict with pro-choice college students. Mike is thrilled to see soul mate and girlfriend Aly, but her visit exacerbates tensions with his mentor, Father Pauselli. And Steve makes a nerve-wracking journey home, finally telling his best friends about his aspirations toward the priesthood.
Is God or the Girl being intentionally offensive and provocative by premiering on Easter Sunday this year? Is there anything wrong with the dramatic setup for God or the Girl? I’m not Catholic but the idea of this show — the title God or the Girl alone — sickens me as being tasteless and unnecessary and rather cruel to True Believers of the Catholic faith.
Will God or the Girl cheapen the process of becoming a priest? I was taught young men who dedicate their lives to the priesthood were Called By God to that role. When you are Called to serve Him — as an uncle of mine was similarly Called to serve the Episcopalian church as a priest 45 years ago — it is a serious certainty that leaves zero room for doubt: If you doubt your Calling then it is not God who has called you.
The young men in the God or the Girl reality show — just by reading the description of the show alone — are already doubting and bleeding and rotten and uncertain and slosh-footed in their resolution to join the priesthood. Is the Catholic Church that desperate to accept them? The television commercials promoting God or the Girl show most of the young men in tears of hysteria as they struggle with their choice between intimacy with a woman and a life serving the Lord. Just watching the promos for the God or the Girl one cannot help but wonder how those young men could ever be true priesthood material.
I also wonder if the Catholic Church was formally involved in the God or the Girl. I cannot imagine the Church would approve of such meandering uncertainty about the priesthood in a time of crisis begging the Last Days and full of waffling change and wallowing self-pity. The Catholic Church demands dedication from, and offers absolution to, its young priests and to doubt that covenant before the relationship even begins cannot beg a harbinger of determined lifetime resolution to come.
Would a show like God or the Girl be more effective or less effective if Catholic priests were allowed to marry and to raise families — or is the impending vow of celibacy the engine that drives the drama, conflict and irrevocable change in this television reality program?