On October 1, The CatholicTV Network launched a new show called “Repent & Submit” which focuses on engaging millennial Catholics in new forms of media, inspired by the desires of the Catholic community present on Twitter. CatholicTV is an international television network based out of Watertown, MA, and the new show features Tommy Tighe (@theghissilent) and Steve the Missionary (@stevemissionary).
Airing every Wednesday night at 8PM EST, Repent & Submit is a modern, enthusiastic take on a Catholic talk show. Segments vary from “Saint vs. Saint,” where Steve and Tommy don paper saint masks and discuss the pious and humorous lives of saints, “Ridiculous Argument of the Day” in which absurd opinions and Catholic apologetics come to play, and “The Catholic Internet,” where modern Catholic media resources are shared. Overall, the show brings together casual, comedic banter in the setting of a bar-inspired environment, with authentic Catholic experience and discussion.
Repent & Submit Producer, Adam Stone, explained “The idea for the show came, one-hundred percent, from Tommy and Steve,” both of whom were already behind popular Catholic Twitter accounts used to promote youthful Catholicism. On Twitter, Tighe expressed his desire for Catholic media to reflect the needs and desires of young people, and simultaneously, CatholicTV was considering how better to serve the younger generation of the Church. Tighe’s tweets of honest criticism of Catholic media caught the attention of CatholicTV (@CatholicTV), and as Stone recounted, “Tommy was clearly tweeting on the topic from a place of love, he really was trying to help all of us in Catholic media to understand his point of view, and he wanted all of us to improve. We were very taken with that, and so we reached out to him and asked him if he would be interested in pitching some content ideas. At that point, he brought Steve in, and together they came up with Repent & Submit.”
Over the past few years, young Catholics have taken to Twitter and created a vibrant online community of lay and religious, often referred to as #CatholicTwitter. As Repent & Submit was born out of that community, Tommy and Steve’s followers were heavily involved in brainstorming, asking questions, and proposing ideas for the content of the new show. As Stone described, “There would be no show without Twitter. From the beginning, the goal Tommy and Steve had set was to make sure the people that interacted with them on Twitter felt represented, and felt that the conversations they were having online had translated to this new medium.” Currently, the ideas and subject matter on air are compiled from over seventy discussion threads with their followers. In addition to being a place of community, the ability for Steve and Tommy to converse online allows for the discussion of topics that faithful might feel are “too critical or too trivial” to bring up with a pastor or parish leader, “but to tweet that same thought at some funny guys who are genuinely curious to discuss it is a lot less pressure.” The goal is to foster dialogue that engages us in faith and intellect, but is also a reminder of the joy and fun of our faith.
Past episodes of Repent & Submit can be found online at CatholicTV.org or on the CatholicTV app, and the antics of Steve and Tommy can be watched live on the site or on cable. Repent & Submit can be found on Twitter @RepentSumbitCTV, which is a much-needed opportunity for young people of the church to engage in shaping and sharing our faith in a way that is effective and unique to our generation. Producer Stone affirms this, saying, “One of the main points you’ll see Tommy and Steve articulating is that the Church needs young people. My hope is that the show can mobilize anyone who maybe thought they were being sidelined because of their youth to get more involved in their local Catholic community and share that necessary perspective. The more young people feel comfortable getting involved, the better it will be for all of us.”