One of the things I love about our Catholic Church is that it is in the business of making Saints – not celebrities.
As Catholics, we have a central authority and structured organization that unifies us. It is a saint-making machine.
Unfortunately, many non-Catholic Christians have no such unifying mechanism leaving them “belonging” to various preachers or leaders within a very divided Christianity. St. Paul warns against this type of division:
“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment.
For it hath been signified unto me, my brethren, of you, by them that are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollo; and I am of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul then crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I give God thanks, that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Caius; Lest any should say that you were baptized in my name.” – 1 Corinthians 1:10-16
Christ didn’t just leave us this high expectation of being “perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment” without also giving us a way to achieve it. He left us an authoritative, organized, visible Church to do just that. Without such a mechanism, any community is doomed to division.
That’s not to say, however, that we Catholics don’t fall prey to this type of division all the time. We do. But we shouldn’t, because we have the teaching authority of the Church. So we don’t need a particular celebrity leader, writer, speaker, or theologian to unite around. We don’t need celebrities at all. What we do need are saints. We do need saintly leaders who unify us as the Church…not as something separate from it.
A celebrity has followers. A saint is a follower.
Does this mean that some Catholics should not be more “public,” prominent, well-known or popular? Of course not. That is what some are called to be. That is their function in the Body of Christ.
But we have to remember that each and every single member of the Body of Christ serves an important purpose. We should never promote one part of the body as more important than the other. That’s celebrity for the few. But it is good to help each part of the body function to its full potential. That’s sainthood for all.