Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I was raised in the Catholic faith. Got splashed on the head with the Jesus water. Got to wear the white suit and eat the cardboard wafer. Got to go to confession at the age of 8(?). Got to shake hands with whomever was sitting next to me for some reason I still don't quite understand. The Whole (Holy) Nine Yards.
To be honest, however, we were kind of 'Catholic Lite' at home. My family wasn't especially religious, but we went through the motions, because it was expected. We were liturgical mimes. Plus, my parents wanted me to attend a private Catholic school to get a good education, so attending mass once in a while looked good to the nuns.*
If you were a Catholic growing up in the 70's or 80's, you probably watched two things on TV; Davey and Goliath (if you were raised in the Philadelphia area, D&G were part of a Sunday morning ritual...Captain Noah and His Magical Ark.) and an odd little show called Insight.
Each week, the show would present a different morality play. Some were deadly serious, others funny and even a few were fantasy-oriented. Insight has been called the 'Catholic Twilight Zone' and for good reason. There was something kind of creepy about it. Something a bit off. The production values were very low, but they got the best actors to star in each half-hour episode. Martin Sheen, Carol Burnett, Walter Matthau, Bob Newhart, Ron Howard and Gene Hackman were among those who performed on the show. I found out later that they are/were all Catholics who offered their services for scale.
According to Wikipedia, the show was produced by the Paulists, a Roman Catholic Order of Priests whose brethren tend to be of a more liberal bent. The show reflected this philosophy by trying to be relevant and by staying away from preachy moralizing. It was a great show and deserves to be seen again. Unfortunately, there's been no word of any DVD release in the near future. That's a shame.
I really don't consider myself to be Catholic anymore. At least, not a very good one. As a child, I never felt any real connection with the church. As an adult, I have my share of gripes with the way they handle their 'business.'
But, I sure loved Insight...
If you've got a little time, check it out:
*My years of Catholic school will be the subject of another post. I don't have the energy to get into THAT right now.