Can I be a participant on a reality show like Jersey Shore as a Catholic?

No matter what your profession, you can’t leave your moral obligations at the door when you report for work. You have to strive to do what is right, whether no one ever sees you or whether you’re dogged by cameras 24/7. And anyone in the public eye has an extra responsibility to avoid causing another person to stumble (that’s the literal meaning of the word “scandal”: a stumbling block.) Catholics must never give the impression that what they are doing is right if in fact it’s not, lest others imitate them and end up sinning by ignorance. So you’ll want to ask yourself carefully what might be required of you as an actor on a reality show. Will you be pressured to be disrespectful or exploit others? How will you respond if you’re asked to do something that isn’t right? What can you do if your behavior is distorted by editors who know that vice brings higher ratings than virtue? These are difficult questions, and it would be wise to reflect on them carefully before the casting call. But if acting on TV is your dream, then good luck. Remember that if you do get selected, you can use your celebrity as a positive force. Strive to make news not by miring yourself in scandal but because of the good that you do.

Neela Kale

Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.