Week in Review

The Best of the Web: March for Life, Fatima and comedy

March for Life UK (Catholic Herald)

Marching for Life and a positive future

On the letters page of the Financial Times, John Green took issue with another letter-writer, Barbara Rogers, who claimed that Catholics now reject the Church’s teaching on contraception. Green said that his family “and others in our parish have been delighted to welcome children, seven in our case”.

“We are not alone either,” Green wrote, saying that he would be at the March for Life “together with thousands of others who have a much more optimistic view that our children have the potential to protect our environment and do great good for others.”

The marchers, Green wrote, rejected the view “that the next generation is nothing other than a drain on resources”.

A papal vision that reflected Fatima

At Aleteia, Philip Kosloski related a story about Pius XII. In 1950, he was discerning whether God was calling him to make an infallible declaration of the dogma of the Assumption of Mary into heaven.

According to a Zenit article from 10 years ago, there was something which convinced the Pope – as he later recorded in a note.

While Pius prayed in the Vatican Gardens, he saw the sun surrounded by a luminous circle. The sun, which could easily be looked at with the naked eye, “moved outward slightly, either spinning, or moving from left to right and vice versa. But within the sphere, you could see marked movements with total clarity and without interruption.” It was reminiscent of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima in 1917.

Having seen the same phenomenon on three more occasions, he saw it as an extra confirmation from God that the dogma should be proclaimed.

Why Catholics are an easy target for comics

In an age of political correctness, it’s hard for comedians to find someone to mock, said Terry Mattingly at Get Religion. But one group you can always laugh at with impunity is Catholics.

TV comedians such as Bill Maher, Trevor Noah and the cast of Saturday Night Live never miss a chance to “take a shot at the Catholic Church” – especially the priesthood. Last month, for instance, Noah joked: “Why doesn’t France ask for the Catholic Church to pay for the repairs? A billion dollars is nothing to them. It’s like three child abuse settlements.”

Why do they attack the Church? “It’s easy,” Mattingly wrote, “and these writers know mainstream news outlets won’t bother to cover the ‘outrage’, especially if it is relegated to political conservatives and the Catholic press.”

Off-colour jokes risk offending people on social media, which can then be written up as “Twitter exploded over…” But Catholics are a safe target.

Unfortunately, the media take their lead from “Twitter outrage”. They forget that Twitter is very unrepresentative. Just 10 per cent of users are responsible for 80 per cent of tweets: so those who shout loudest are heard disproportionately.

“It seems that Twitter is really no microcosm of what most Americans think. If anything, it is a very small, elite group often living in large urban areas on the coasts.”