Fr. George Rutler: Feast Your Eyes on the Spectacle

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By Fr. George Rutler, Church Militant, February 2, 2020

Father George W. Rutler is pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Church in the archdiocese of New York. His Sunday homilies are archived. He has authored multiple books, including Calm in Chaos: Catholic Wisdom in Anxious Times and his latest, Grace and Truth. Individuals may donate to his parish.

Super Bowl reminds us of what men find edifying

The feast of the Presentation recalls the old man Simeon chanting thanks for having lived to see the Messiah. His “Nunc Dimittis“—”Let thy servant depart in peace”—is part of the Church’s evening prayers. In 542 in Constantinople, the Emperor Justinian placed it into the Eastern liturgy.


Simeon the Godreceiver by Alexei Yegorov

This year the feast falls on Super Bowl Sunday. Human nature instinctively finds entertainment more compelling than edification, but like all things ephemeral, games pass away while the songs of saints will endure until the end of time.

Few today remember the Isthmian games of the Greeks, or the cheers in the Roman circus. But those games also warn thinking people of the dangers in giving sports a cultic status. When the amateur is overwhelmed by professionals who are paid mind-boggling salaries, inflating the cost of tickets, and whose lives and deaths distract from the great events of the day, a culture’s perspective becomes irrational.

Add to this the “ad verecundium fallacy” by which people accept the unqualified opinions of individuals simply because of their celebrity. This applies to sports figures and Hollywood starlets who turn entertainment into political theater.  ….

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