On Toppling Statues and Reading the Riot Act, by Dr. Jeff Mirus

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Statue of Christ the Good Shepherd after attack Tuesday night. Credit: Archdiocese of Miami

By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, Jul 17, 2020

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

I find myself ambivalent on the subject of tearing down statues erected to honor famous persons. But then I am ambivalent on the subject of erecting statues as well. I am not referring to religious statuary in churches and shrines, but I am sufficiently cynical not only to fear but to expect that the most famous of men and women only rarely deserve to be singled out among all others in the civil order, and my own admittedly narrow preference would be to establish no statue to anyone until he or she is canonized by the Catholic Church. But take warning: Even the lives of the saints are only very rarely so free of blame that nothing can be said against them.

The truth is that I dislike civic ceremony, both the kind that erects monuments and the kind that tears them down. I prefer a noble restraint when it comes to eulogies, memorials and the deliberate orchestration of civic pride, which ought to come naturally or not at all. However, I think most people, with many good reasons on their side, would disagree. The main problem for all of us is that we must be careful what we wish for.  …

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