Raymond Arroyo, as most readers here know, is head of EWTN’s News department and host of the The World Over, seen on Friday nights. He trained as an actor and worked as a journalist, both of which give him an excellent perspective into the topic of his talk: Engaging the Culture.
Arroyo said he that at one time, he was invited to Steubenville to give a talk on engaging the culture. He said Steubenville was Dean Martin’s birthplace, which led to mentioning that both Martin and Sinatra were Catholic, even though not exemplary Catholics. Arroyo then asked, “What can we learn from them?” and listed several lessons learned from the less-than-exemplary Catholic entertainers.
Define what culture is.
Raymond Arroyo quoted T.S. Eliot: “Culture is the incarnation of the religion of the people. If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes.”
Play to the common folk.
He said something along the lines of using plain language rather than ten syllable words, but what I wrote down was an anecdote of Mother Angelica because she was so good at speaking to the common folk. Raymond Arroyo always cracks me up when he does an imitation of Mother Angelica because he captures the essence of her sooo very well. Apparently, one of the other sisters was a bit of a “woe is me” person and Mother Angelica said, “You’d better laugh your way to heaven, because tears won’t get you there.”
Oviously, Raymond Arroyo takes his own advice on this because his talk was punctuated by much laughter from the audience. Earlier in the talk, he said that Dean Martin had a fantastic sense of humor and didn’t take himself seriously. Self-deprecation is a good tool.
Raymond Arroyo quoted Elia Kazan saying something along the lines of laying a sugar trail so (the audience) will swallow the horse pill they don’t want to swallow.
That was an instructive statement for me as I’ve dabbled in fiction.
Pain and Suffering
The quote also served to transition into the next section about pain and suffering.
Mother Angelica said that being sick all the time kept her dependent on the Lord. “Pain was a gift; I couldn’t give myself credit. … It was a grace to be treated the same way the Father treated his Son.”
I missed segue to Raymond Arroyos saying: “Why not help them offer up their pain and suffering?” Newsflash: God is better at Life than you are. Let God take the reins.
After speaking a little about his trip to the Holy Land, Raymond Arroyo then spoke about how Pope John Paul II showed us how to offer up sacrifice. He spoke about so many people converging on Rome for the pope’s funeral and the amazing fact that there was no crime in Rome during that week.
Show them a different way.
Raymond Arroyo spoke (with very funny examples) of Stella Adler, one of his acting teachers. If my notes are correct, she said, “”They grow weary of life. We must show them a different way.” Then there is something along the lines that “you have the riches of two millenia inside of you. You are the time capsule.”
Flannery O’Connor, self-described “Catholic writing for a hostile audience.
(either O’Connor or Arroyo): “Because I’m Catholic, I can’t afford to be (unreadable). We have to be better than the competition.”
After something about “pit stops of grace” (similar to racing car pit stops), Raymond Arroyo said that if you’re living your faith, it’s not work, it will just come out of you.”
Recapping his talk, Arroyo again mentioned the importantce of humor and sacrifice.
You are Christ’s eyes, ears, mouth.
Be willing to sacrifice for those we love.
If it costs your good name and reputation that’s fine; that’s surrender.
Politics will not change the world, but the Arts (film, etc.) will.
Pius XI: Reclaim all things for Christ.
Raymond Arroyo recalled meeting Dean Martin shortly before Martin died, and said, “Legends fall … what’s important is the legacy left behind of good acts, children.”