YouTuber Tibo Inshape’s unexpected trust in Famille Chrétienne

Interview – The famous YouTuber Tibo Inshape has published several videos with priests and nuns in the last few months. After the last publication at the end of March alongside an exorcist priest, he tells the Famille Chrétienne why he addresses Catholic issues on his channel.

Almost no college or high school student in France escapes his name. On his YouTube channel, which now has more than 8 million subscribers, Tibo Inshape first won over internet users with his videos on sports, fitness and bodybuilding. From now on, sport is no longer the only topic of communication for the young thirty-year-old, who has just appeared on the famous Beijing Express show with his companion Juju Fitcats. In search of original personalities and professions, in the last few months he has published some unexpected videos in presbyteries or monasteries that have had an amazing success. Tibo has agreed to come back for the Famille Chrétienne for the reasons that led him to tackle these issues.

As it should be, the 30-year-old YouTuber asserts in a relaxed tone: We know him!

From a weight room to the fence of a Cistercian abbey, there’s a definite milestone to cross. Why did you switch from sports to much broader video topics?

Because even if sport remains my passion, I was frustrated to confine myself to this single field. Being very curious by nature, I wanted to discover new worlds, firstly to enrich myself personally, but also to arouse the curiosity of internet users and teach them in a fun way.

Within a few months you published a video with Father Aymar, then with the Sisters of Boulaur, Sister André, the Dean of France, and finally last March with an exorcist priest… What has made you so passionate about the Church lately to interest?

It is partly connected to my personal history. I am a former altar boy raised Catholic by my parents Marc and Valérie. My father is very religious, he still goes to mass every week, he teaches cat classes… Growing up, I met all the criteria. I went to church every Sunday, got baptized, made my profession of faith, took my confirmation and even drove to Taizé, Lourdes and the roads to Compostela! Now all I have to do is get married in a church or become a priest and the list is complete [rires]. But I have to say that when I was young I was bored every time I went to mass. And I think that’s why a lot of Catholics don’t go to church anymore. That’s why I wanted to bring a second wind and a new look at the Church with these videos. I don’t claim to change the Catholic Church with new impulses, but I just wanted to get people interested in my small space who might have broken away from Catholicism a little or who had questions and didn’t dare to ask them.

So is it also an opportunity to create a dialogue between the Church and the rest of society?

I agree. I love to ask blunt questions, I did that with Father Aymar, but also with the Sisters of Boulaur or Father Laurent, exorcist. My goal is not to trap them or judge them or denigrate anyone, but on the contrary, to better understand the choices and lives of those I interview. In these videos I tried to ask questions that many people ask themselves, for example: “Does a priest always look at a woman in the street? How does he react? How does he stay true to chastity? » Father Aymar also responded very well. This sincerity and this sympathy that he exudes in the video allow people to get a new image of the priest to better understand his vocation. And also to recognize that, despite their radical decision, priests are human beings like everyone else and that they remain accessible when we can ask them questions.

How do you identify the questions people are asking and would like to ask you?

Sometimes I put a story on Instagram saying: I will meet such a person, do not hesitate to share your questions with me. But I don’t do it systematically because it breaks the tension of the subject of the videos a bit! Most of the time I go on the internet, I walk around, I search forums and things like that and I look at what questions come up, even ones that people never dared to ask, for example about a priest or about sisters. I pick twenty. I often send them to my interlocutors in advance so that they can reflect.

Your channel is massively attracting young people. Does she seem interested in topics related to the Catholic religion?

Yes, and not only the youth! These topics continue to fascinate, just look at the number of views of YouTube videos. That of the exorcist priest, the sisters of Boulaur and Father Aymar all had more than a million views in one week. I don’t think we can say that religions are dead, there is still a strong interest in them. And these videos are also there to update important topics!

Have you been criticized for making these videos with Catholics?

No, more than 99.9% of the comments are positive, if not 100%. After the video with Father Aymar, many Jews and Muslims thanked me. At the end of the video we sent a message of peace. Also, I don’t just make videos with Catholics. A few days ago I was visiting a Muslim family celebrating Ramadan. The topic was not so much religion as fasting, to also draw a parallel to Lent. I am happy that these videos can please communities and that they allow internet users to discover certain aspects of them.

Has the Church in general responded enthusiastically to these video proposals? We can easily contrast the world of Youtube and social networks with the world of monasteries and presbyteries…

Each time I was very pleasantly surprised. The video with Father Aymar was very easy to organize, as was the one with the Boulaur nuns. Organizing the one with the exorcist priest in particular was much more difficult for me because it’s not easy to find one who is also willing to appear on video. I was very fortunate to benefit from the support of the Archbishop of Albi, Mgr. Legrez. He is over 70 years old and yet he understood very well the inserts and the codes of youtube, he really trusted me and encouraged me to make this video. It was he who turned to Father Laurent and assured him that there was no risk in taking part in this shooting with me.

Well, it seems you’re planning to do a video with the Pope?

Yes I’m working on it, it would be a great experience! After all, it took me four or five months to make the video with an exorcist priest. This project with the Pope is always in the same dynamic of bringing the word of the Church to a younger community, and far from it. Because my YouTube community is by no means predominantly made up of Catholics.

Can we say that you do evangelism with your videos?

It’s not my goal as such, but if people are affected by watching one of the videos, that’s awesome! My goal is to captivate first, and then everyone receives these videos in different ways. For some it’s just entertainment, for others general culture, for still others an opportunity to revive their buried faith.

In your videos there is often an alternation between humor and very serious and profound questions. Is it the secret that such topics are of interest?

yes, somehow I look at my videos a bit like a lesson at school: we’ve all had a teacher at some point who had a sense of humor and even if we didn’t like the subject matter, we were interested in what he said because laughter made things that were a little indigestible much easier to pass. I’ve always tried to cultivate that in my videos. And that bright side also has to do with the fact that at thirty I’m still a big kid who likes to have fun! [rires]. But I recognize that humor helps convey important messages.

Have these videos taken you on a journey in your own life of faith?

In any case, I really enjoyed filming them, they were always the occasion for very interesting encounters. From there until I come back for Mass every Sunday I wouldn’t go that far to be completely honest but I think you should always believe in some corner of your head or your heart. I try to do good around me first… maybe it’s a way of living my faith without realizing it. And I continue to go to Mass, at least at Christmas. Who knows ? Maybe one day I’ll come back to it more often!

Camille Lecut

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