Celebrity Death Roll at the Golden Globes: Why Do We Mourn?

Celebrity Death Roll at the Golden Globes: Why Do We Mourn? January 8, 2017


Tonight, Sunday, Jan. 8, is the Golden Globe Awards, and you know there will be a long, sad roll of celebrities who passed away in 2016.

Over at the Faith & Family Media Blog, I take a look at the recent spate of celebrity deaths, and then talk to Family Theater Productions’ Head of Production, Holy Cross priest Father David Guffey, about why these hit people so hard.

Here’s a taste of what he had to say:

Asked what advice he would give to someone hit hard by a celebrity death, Father Guffey said:

I would try to ask them to pray about “What did this person mean to you? What is it that makes the loss of this person so sad? What role did they play in your life?” At that point, the celebrity has become not a real person, but a symbol of something bigger or greater. So, it’s worth looking at that, whether it’s a good thing.

Maybe people grieved Princess Diana because they grieved for the loss of someone that they perceived as good. Or it could be something more personal, like grieving the loss of youth because Carrie Fisher died at 60, and I’m 55 years old. But it’s worth reflecting on what’s the underlying cause of the grief.

For a community to grieve the loss of a leader or the loss of a hero, that can be appropriate. It’s always possible to go overboard with grieving, and not living, or not putting things in perspective, because ultimately as Christians we should be rejoicing for them, or praying for their soul as they go before God.

Click here to read the rest.

Raymond Arroyo of EWTN also mused on the same topic at LifeZette.com. I quote a bit at the FFB, but here’s another salient point:

It is always tragic when a person encounters an untimely or sudden death — and one prays that these individuals were ready. But for the most part — looking past the Arnold Palmers, Mother Angelicas, and Florence Hendersons, who reached a ripe age — the shocking deaths that occurred this year were mostly drug-related.

Prince and George Michael were both addicted to substances, and Carrie Fisher’s battles with sobriety no doubt weakened her body. For these figures, we mourn not only their absence but what might have been.

These talented people still had much to offer, more to give us. Their passing is a cautionary tale.

So, let’s ask ourselves if we feel closer to celebrities than real people in our lives — and what we can do about that. Frankly, the celebs had friends and family, and with rare exceptions, fans are neither.

But if you find yourself tearing up during the Golden Globes’ death roll tonight, maybe it’s not about the celebrity after all.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Don’t miss a thing: head over to my other home at Family Theater Productions; also like the Patheos Catholic FB page to see what my colleagues have to say.

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