Faith is not something discussed frequently in Hollywood. In a world of progressive, secular values and free-thinking individuals, those with orthodox Christian opinions are rarely seen.
Mark Wahlberg is vocal about his Catholic faith, a sentiment that the large population of 61 million Catholics in the US may be delighted to hear.
On the Today show, February 22nd, commonly known as Ash Wednesday for Christians, the "Boogie Nights" actor discussed the challenge of balancing his private and professional life. He displayed an ash cross on his forehead to acknowledge the religious day.
The 51-year-old actor noted that it's a delicate balance. He doesn't want to push it on anyone, but he won't deny his faith either, as that would be an even worse sin. It's not a popular stance in his industry, but he feels it's important to share it with people. He respects and honors his friends from all spiritual and religious backgrounds.
He chooses to lead by example rather than by trying to push his four children to share his faith. “I don’t compel them,” he said. “But they realize that Dad can’t start the day without prayer, without reading his Bible or going to church. My wish is that instead of making them do it, they consider, ‘If Dad can do this, it must be worth trying,’ and come to it on their own.”
Father Flavin, a parish priest, has enabled Wahlberg to preserve his faith even while confronted by the pressures of the film industry. As a young man, he was a dropout from school and had numerous court cases, but Flavin has helped him to alter his life completely.
Wahlberg has been close to Flavin ever since he was 13. He officiated their marriage and baptized the actor's children. Apparently, Flavin also helps him pick out roles that honor his faith.
Stu, the actor in “Father Stu”, mentions that his spiritual belief has enabled him to build the self-control to be an outstanding actor.
He informed Today that discipline has always been a priority in his life. When he made the switch from music to movies, he came to understand the need for self-control, which has yielded many rewards. He desires to encourage others to seek out similar habits, be it through abstaining from certain items, exercising, or devoting more time to spiritual pursuits.
Wahlberg's commitment to living a life that follows his faith is remarkable in an industry which can often clash with one's values. Furthermore, he opts to lead by example instead of being didactic, and is tolerant to those with divergent beliefs.