Under the Roman Big Top

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. Continue Reading
Kristallnacht Remembered

A lifetime has passed since Kristallnacht. Seventy seven years is long enough to empty popular memory of the scale and nature of events in Germany on November 9, 1938. To a generation that has forgotten—or one that never learned—the Night of Broken Glass seems not so different than Ferguson, Missouri, or any other urban riot within living memory. Even the name that has come down to us suggests broken shop windows, nothing more lethal than glass on the sidewalk. But there was more. Continue Reading
When Non-Violence is Vanity

Several letters that came in response to the previous post approved of Bishop Barron’s post-Paris insistence on a non-violent stance. They accepted that posture as the sole moral “formula for peace.” One quoted Gandhi as “a benediction” on a fallen world. Another refused to believe that Gandhi had recommended satyagraha to German Jews. It would be good, then, to look at Gandhi’s own words in relation to the situation of Jews in Nazi German. On November 20, 1938, eleven days after Kristallnacht, the barbarous wave of pogroms organized by Goebbels across Germany, Gandhi addressed Zionism and the Jews. Continue Reading

Our bishops are public figures. All are creatures of the media in varying degrees. In the manner of secular counterparts, they hire public relations staffs to manage not only the image of the institution they represent but—just as critical—their own. None is more media savvy than Robert Barron, host of EWTN’s global ministry Word on Fire. (Media is the bishop’s family business, so to speak. His brother, John Barron, former publisher and senior V.P. of Sun-Times Media Group, became general manager last year of the Tribune Content Agency, a growing syndicate that sells content to publications around the world.) Continue Reading
Spare Parts, Mortality & Planned Parenthood

Doctor, Doctor, will I die? Yes, my child, And so shall I. (Anonymous rhyme) Forgive me for withdrawing from the outrage over recent videos released by the Center for Medical Progress. Do not think I am not repulsed by them. Absolutely, I am. But what inhibits me from declaring my own revulsion is a disquieting belief that whether Planned Parenthood is defunded evades the true issue. Our righteous censure attends mainly to the symptoms of a disease we are loathe to cure. Continue Reading