Monday, November 19, 2012

Questions on the Title "Unnatural Law?"

There is only so much you can explain in a six minute video.  Given the fact that the average YouTube viewer leaves a video after 87 seconds of viewing, we already knew our video was pushing it.  I wanted to take some time to answer a few questions that have arisen.

1) "The title "Unnatural Law?" is off-putting and/or offensive"

The title was chosen so as to attempt to DRAW people in who might be hostile to the Church on this topic.  Please note that the question mark is a VERY important piece of the title.  The term "Natural Law" is one that offends many people living with same sex attraction, so when people see the title who are in that camp, we're hoping they might say..."hmm, this is interesting, is this a film that is saying the Natural Law argument is it saying the laws in the 47 U.S. states are wrong?  Is it saying that the laws in the states that just redefined marriage are unnatural???  What's going on here?"  Then, when the documentary starts with people who LIVE WITH same sex attraction talking about that AND their Catholic Faith, we're hoping they'll watch some more.

If you don't like the title though, leave a comment on the blog here or on our Facebook page and let us know what it SHOULD be called, and we'll take a new title into consideration if it does a better job of drawing people in than our current one.

2)  "Is the film going to be compassionate or judgmental and harsh?"

This is the question that frankly upsets me a bit.  The whole point of this project is to explain to people what we ACTUALLY believe as Catholics; that our teachings are NOT the same as the religious right, that our teachings are true, but also compassionate, backed up by sound science, inviting and that they speak to LOTS of people who live with same sex attraction.

The whole point of the documentary is to stand up and say "we don't teach that a person living with same sex attraction ought to be sent off to a reeducation camp."

The point of this film is to put something out there that will hopefully correct the faulty stereotype that is put out there by people who THINK they understand the Church's teachings (but don't), and who are out there telling everyone else what we believe, and are doing so quite effectively with little clarification from Catholics - a problem arising because most Catholics don't know what we believe either!  

We are hopeful that some prominent Church leaders in the U.S. will grant us an interview for the film.  In fact we are in the early dialogue process already (we don't want to put too much in place if the film doesn't get funded).  Does anyone think that ANY bishop would let us put something out there with their name on it that was angry, demeaning, intimidating, off-putting, offensive?  Would any bishop approve of a project that was going to be anything other than attempt to reach out to people and speak to their situation and life, hoping to show them compassionately what the Church has to offer?

3) "Fr. Hollowell is a rigid and angry conservative, and he sometimes wears a cassock...I hope the documentary doesn't have him in it."

No, the documentary will not have me in it.  I am simply working with Blackstone as a consultant on the project, frankly more on the artistic end and answering basic questions for the producers/crew as they arise.  The film is being released by the Studio.  I will not be interviewed for the project, so if you find me angry or offensive, you can donate and rest easy.


  1. In the vein of the last comment "Fr is rigid"... Every Catholic priest that loves the Church is 'rigid' to many people.

    But many people know much about what they've heard about the Church and her priests. Fewer actually know them.

  2. Father is not rigid, Father is pastoral! A lot of people I know, including myself would be exremely happy to see more priests in cassocks!

  3. I love the idea, but I am wondering why it has to be $70,000 and why does it have to be raised in only 30 days? If the project is something that needs to be done, then why put a time limit on it?

    1. The money needs to be raised in that amount of time because raising money takes time and I can't keep this going for months. Also, more importantly, Blackstone Films can't keep pumping this for months either, especially not knowing if it is even going to happen. Blackstone Films have mouths to feed and rent to pay, and so they need to know if they will be working on this project for the next 6 months or if they need to go out and get other projects lined up.

      We are putting this out there and saying, "okay, if American Catholics want this project to happen, it will. If they don't it won't."

      The 70,000 is actually pretty much dirt cheap in terms of documentaries. Most cost 10,000 or more per minute. We're less than half that...which is why we're hoping we'll actually get MORE than 70,000, but we'll see what happens. Thanks for the questions.

  4. Wow - I would like to protest #3 and proclaim the exact opposite, with the exception of the cassock - that could stay! So, I'm in for $10 so far - not that I'm letting 9 of the 2,793 friends on Fr. John's FB @ $1 each off the hook... C'mon y'all!

  5. "Is the film going to be compassionate or judgmental and harsh?" I think this question shows very large problem in the world--the conflation of tact and mercy.

    Quite simply, sometimes people--myself include,in fact myself most especially--do not need tact, they need confronted. The least compassionate thing I can think of is to let someone slide into Perdition, for an eternity of torment and separation from God! Reprove the Sinner is a Spiritual Act of Mercy, as is Instruct the Ignorant. Reproval sometimes doesn't work if it's done in all nice words and warm and fuzzies, and sometime lessons need to be harsh. This is why excommunication is considered a medicinal remedy, not a punishment.

    My two cents worth, and I'm likely overpaid.

    1. I don't know how many readers of this blog would be familiar with Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson), but he recently launched a campaign called "Feel Free to Insult Me." In the UK there are some frightening laws against "hate speech". (I do so hate the phrase "hate speech".) People need much thicker skins.

      No doubt a false compassion, with the deliberate omission of truth, is not really charity at all. So-called "ministries" or "support groups" or "alliances" for those who struggle with same-sex attraction and their friends that do nothing but try to make everyone feel good, without any mention of chastity, are not, in actuality, loving those they purport to serve.

      "Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality." (Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate)

      But, it is possible to speak clear truth without any compromise, and at the same time speak with respect, humility, and charity. It doesn't have to be either-or. The Church Militant's greatest weapons are love and truth. Truth without love might win an argument, but it doesn't win hearts and souls.

      God bless you Fr. Hollowell with the perfect union of your heart and mind with those of Christ as you embark in a more and more public way in this critically needed work in a mission field where casualties are inevitable. You're on my priest prayer list for sure! You need an army of intercessors, willing to offer real sacrifices, backing you.

  6. Whatever you do with the video, don't offend the anti-cassockists! ;)

  7. Thank you, Fr. Hollowell, for attempting this. I have been looking for resources that lay out a convincing argument for the Catholic Church's teaching on so-called same-sex marriage. Such an argument needs to:
    - be addressed to non-believers or poorly catechized people of faith;
    - compassionately lay out the argument initially based on reason/science and natural law, aimed at opening the minds of skeptics and opponents;
    - be brief and to-the-point, or at least open with concise bullets of truth that are fleshed out later.

    Most of what I have read, seen or heard has instead been addressed to "the choir" and/or opens with a long-winded explanation of religious beliefs on the subject.

    May God be with you on this project.