The descent of my Church into spectacle is a sorrow to behold. Nothing is more unedifying—repellent, really—than the lust of this pontificate for circus. We are under the Roman big top now, led by the Man in White and his retinue of jiggling dromedaries on the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. One menagerie follows another, with Cardinal Ravasi’s Pontifical Council for Culture having rehearsed at last year’s Venice Biennale. It is show time in Rome.
The elephantine extravaganza of our Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy debuts tomorrow evening, December 8, with a sensory blitz in service to the Vatican’s own image of itself as the nonpareil of human kindness and meteorological savvy. A light show sponsored by the World Bank Group, including Connect4Climate and affiliates, will project onto the façade and dome of St. Peter’s Basilica flickering photographic tableaux. “Fiat Lux: Illuminating Our Common Home” is a lambent herky-jerky inspired by inflamed but nonverbal impressions of mercy and its putative bond with climate change. The spectacle intends “to focus global attention on the pressing need for action on climate change.”
What kind of action? Do not ask. A light show in this instance is intentionally propagandistic. It is not discursive, makes no appeal to rationality. It exists to work on feelings, to stir emotion. Agitate. It manipulates; it does not inform. It does not want to:
To an audience of millions, the message will go out that the Pope, the World Bank and other agencies, foundations, the private sector, governments, and ordinary citizens have moved beyond debate and blame to demanding action.
The powerful images and the coalition that created them are clear evidence that climate change is the lynchpin for progress in protecting the poor and the environment, transcending all borders, races, and religions.. . . .
It is of special significance to have the images displayed at St Peter’s, where a new Pope has launched his own global drive to improve lives through acts of kindness and by strengthening the ties that bind our shared humanity.
Pope Francis’s emphasis on healing and forgiveness aligns perfectly with the goals of C4C [Connect4Climate] and those of the wider global coalition seeking action on climate change on behalf of all people.
Accompanying the light show, is fanfare about opening the Holy Doors in all the cathedrals of the world. As a symbolic stunt, it calls to mind the crowd-pleasing performance of the Clintons ringing the Liberty Bell when Bill came to DC for his first inauguration. Liberty had been in chains before Clinton’s presidency, you see. Just so, mercy has been held captive by a pitiless Church all these centuries. Pope Francis, like President Clinton, is here to break the chains.
Ponder the result, sweet reader, of a pope who disdains reality. One who assumes you do, too.
In the vacuum of a cohesive argument for its climate agenda, the Vatican degrades into one more secular special interest dependent on the promotional devices of consumer culture. It joins ranks with demagogues, self-serving bureaucrats, malcontents, utopian provocateurs, crackpots, and tenure-track academics to market an agenda that insures its own acceptance among leftist elites. No matter that its contrived, delusional syllabus will diminish the West, eliminate our own middle class, and insure the poverty of the Third World. It will allay the status anxiety of a clerical caste that writhes with bitterness over its loss of significance on the world stage.
Who are these creatures of the Vatican? What kind of men are these who harbor, nourish, and promote the illusion that geopolitics is a carrier of the Gospels? Made from the dust of the planet like you and me, they resent the leveling. They will not serve as pilgrims in the world. They prefer to stand among those who master it.