John Carr

David Carr funeral story: A blunt priest, an A-list congregation and a strangely (still) anonymous brother

David Carr funeral story: A blunt priest, an A-list congregation and a strangely (still) anonymous brother

It's a simple fact of life, when reading news coverage of celebrity funerals, that the list of famous people who attended is going to be a higher priority than the state of the soul of the deceased.

So, to get to the important stuff, actress Lena Dunham did attend the funeral Mass of superstar media scribe David Carr of The New York Times. I do not know how she dressed for the occasion. Stephen Colbert was there too and lots of other folks who were included in a list in the second paragraph of the New York Times report.

However, I thought the high point of the story came much later, when the go-to priest in mass media today -- Jesuit Father James Martin -- addressed the elephant in the sanctuary, which was that Carr had lived a complex life (including his time as a drug addict, before evolving into a suburban dad) and had a complicated relationship to the Catholic church. Readers were told:

In the homily, the Rev. James Martin said Mr. Carr was “a complicated man” who had had faith as well as doubts. But he said he did not want to “claim him as a kind of prize for the church, or trumpet his faith, or even point to him as the model Catholic or the model Christian; he wasn’t.”
“But, then again, no one is,” Father Martin continued. “All of us are imperfect, flawed, even sinful.”
“And more to the point, all of us have been addicted in our own ways to different things. If it’s not alcohol, it may be status. If it’s not drugs, it may be power. If it’s not crack, it may be money. But we are also, all of us, beloved children of God, loved by God in spite of our failings -- maybe loved even more for them, much as a parent loves a child more intensely when he or she is in trouble.”

How in the world do you run that last quote lower than the celebrity list?

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RIP David Carr: A struggling Catholic voice at The New York Times is gone

RIP David Carr: A struggling Catholic voice at The New York Times is gone

If you closely followed the career of media critic David Carr, then you knew that he was a practicing Catholic, yet he also made it clear that he wasn't sure if he was a faithful Catholic. For many readers -- fans and critics -- this made him the perfect New York Times Catholic.

Former GetReligionista Sarah Pulliam Bailey wrote about some of this in a GetReligion post back in 2011 and, in one of her first bylines at The Washington Post, she produced a quick piece on the religion-angle in Carr's death. Try to ignore this, from the new Post piece:

New York Times journalist David Carr, who died Thursday, had a complicated relationship with religion. In his 2009 book “The Night of the Gun,” Carr wrote about his father’s faith compared with his own.
“My father is a man who swears frequently goes to church every day, and lives his towering faith,” Carr wrote. “I am a man who swears frequently, goes to church every Sunday, and lives in search of faith. He is a man who believes that I am not dead because nuns prayed for me. I am a man who believes that is as good an explanation as any.”

A kind of brass-tacks, but vague, faith shows up again in the most famous passage from that book, in which Carr rips into his own life, exposing a man so hooked on drugs that he would place his own children at risk. How many of you have already seen a piece today in which the following passage -- with good cause -- is featured?

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