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The Chosen: Navigating the portrayal of Jesus in modern media

In the 1970s and ’80s, young Catholics encountered a different version of Jesus in their religious classes, a friendly, approachable figure more akin to a buddy than the solemn, mysterious figure of tradition. This portrayal aimed to adapt to a changing world but inadvertently led to a loss of faith over the years as the real essence of Jesus became diluted. Fast forward to the present, where a new depiction of Jesus emerges in the popular TV series “The Chosen,” created by non-Catholics. This series, while entertaining millions and garnering immense devotion, presents a Jesus that strays from traditional Catholic teachings and injects fictional elements into the Gospel narratives. Despite concerns raised by Catholic critics regarding heresy and blasphemy, many fans of the show defend it, claiming it brings people closer to Christ, but it raises the question: which Christ?

The defense of “The Chosen” by some Catholics highlights a broader issue of compromising religious integrity for modern entertainment. While the series may evoke strong emotional responses, it risks distorting the true character of Jesus and misleading viewers, especially those unfamiliar with Catholic teachings. The show’s portrayal of Jesus engaging in improbable scenarios and interactions with historical figures diverges from established beliefs, yet its widespread influence, including use in Catholic education settings, poses a challenge to maintaining doctrinal purity. As Catholics navigate these spiritual challenges, it’s crucial to uphold the integrity of faith and resist the allure of a diluted, sensationalized portrayal of Jesus that deviates from centuries of sacred tradition.

Crisis Magazine:

Just when we thought we had blessedly stamped out the cartoon, CCD “Jesus,” a newer, slicker incarnation of this caricature has seeped back into the Catholic Church in the form of The Chosen—a wildly popular TV soap opera created by Mormons and Protestants who admit that it is a fictionalized Gospel with fictionalized characters. The show has infiltrated the imaginations of countless Catholics, many of whom should know better. This time, the open promotion of relatable, bro-Jesus is not fueled by “progressive,” dissenting Catholics only, but by faithful, traditional Catholics as well.

“If you don’t like it, just don’t watch it.”

That is wonderful advice, and it would work if we Catholics protested or ignored it, as we have done in the past with other problematic, fictional presentations of the Lord and His life. But in this case we are way past that. This ongoing, binge-watched series cannot simply be ignored. It is horrible to ponder, but The Chosen is already being used in countless Catholic schools and parishes as catechesis!

Read more here .


Image credit: Photo by Jonathan Dick, OSFS on Unsplash

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