“An evangelical and a Catholic walk into a basilica” is the witty name of a video recently uploaded to YouTube.
In it, Jonathan Roumie, the Catholic actor playing Jesus in the awarded series The Chosen, and the director of the series, Evangelical Dallas Jenkins, share their different perspectives on the role art plays in spiritual life.
As they walk into the very heart of Western Catholicism, the Basilica of St. Peter, an insightful exchange on how both Christian traditions (Protestant and Catholic, that is) have informed their personal approach to holy places, art, and worship, ensues.
Far from watering down the centuries-long differences separating both traditions, Roumie and Jenkins speak from their respective Christian identities. By so doing, they manage to share sincere, heartfelt (and hence, deep) questions that address some fundamental tenets of Christian worship (and life):
Why and how is the place where Peter’s bones rest any more holy than the place our own parents (for example) are buried?
Why is it that Catholics touch objects with veneration and respect?
How are these magnificent churches holy places?
Have Protestants sometimes gone too far in their skepticism with regard to art and imagery?
What are the limits separating idolatry from being dismissive of history and the apostolic tradition?
Perhaps the best part of the video are the more than 1,500 comments from viewers, both Evangelical and Catholic, all pointing to the commonalities between both traditions, and to the unity of all believers.