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Question 31.

Dear Fr Christopher,
Greetings in Christ.
Some people claim that certain professions (e.g. actor, singer, lawyer etc.) are not compatible with Christian life and spirituality. Is this view acceptable or not?
With love in Christ our Lord,
Constantine
 

 

Answer to Question 31

Dear Constantine,

Good to hear from you again.

True some professions are not totally compatible with the Christian life, but which ones are? If we take a fanatical look at all professions then the only ones that offer a person spirituality are holy orders and those that are connected to the church or charitable institutions. In a society there must be people of all professions to serve the many needs of community life. Christian life does not mean that one must be cut off from society and social activities, but one can take part in most things as long as they are done within certain Christian standards. When publicans (tax collectors) asked St. John the Baptist “what shall we do?” he did not tell them to change their profession but replied: “Exact no more than that which is appointed you.” Again when the soldiers asked him “And what shall we do?” he said unto them, “Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.” (Luke 3:10-14)

But let’s take the examples that you mention (e.g. actor, singer, lawyer etc.)

An actor can refuse roles that would degrade him and humanity in general, in other words he can be an actor with Christian standards.  Of course that means that he will not have as many roles to play and probably won’t be as famous as he would like to be, but standing up for your beliefs does involve a few sacrifices. A singer can choose the type of songs he/she sings. They do not have to act crazy and sing songs that are blasphemous to be successful; they do not have to appear on stage half naked or do degrading movements and they don’t have to get into the drug scene because everyone else is. A lawyer can do his duty without lying and cheating and can offer some of his time helping people who can’t afford a lawyer with legal matters.

Now let’s take things from a different angle. All those people who claim that certain professions are not compatible with Christian life and spirituality- what is their profession? Does it allow them to live saintly lives? They condemn an actor’s life, so does that mean that they never watch TV or a film? What? They do! And they enjoy watching these actors playing out their roles. They buy or rent DVDs.  Oh! that means that they are partakers of unchristian behaviour and helping these actors to live a life of impiety. Do they listen to non Christian songs, in other words pop, rock and whatever other music is fashionable on the radio or TV, do they buy CD? What? They do! On the one hand they condemn the lives of singers as unchristian but on the other they support them by buying their CDs. Do they never have a need of a lawyer’s professional advice or service? What? They do! And what if they were accused wrongfully and had to go to court to defend themselves? Wouldn’t they expect their lawyers to help them in everyway possible – even lie to keep them out of prison?

I hope you understand where I’m going. It is not the profession that is at fault, but the person. If someone wants to live by Christian standards he can do this in most professions as long as he is faithful to what he believes and doesn’t cross the barrier for the sake of ambition, wealth, fame and fortune. There are of course certain professions that are definitely not compatible with the Christian life that degrade the person and humanity on the whole, but I don’t think you need me to mention them as I’m sure you know which ones I mean.  

 

With love in Christ

Fr. Christopher