He says it better on Lauryn Hill

He says it better on Lauryn Hill

As usual Diogenes says it better than I do, in this case in relation to pop star Lauryn Hill’s scolding of bishops during the Vatican’s Christmas concert. In a sense the bishops brought this on themselves by their unseemly cozying up to pop stars and other worldly types.

It’s impossible to gauge the sincerity of Hill’s admonishment, but it’s clear that the publicity thereby gained will sell lots of albums and cost her zero customers. Moreover, a person engaged in the pop music business at any level is in an extraordinarily poor position to criticize others for sexual exploitation of youth. Ask yourself whether the entertainment industry helps teenagers make choices in favor of purity, rationality, sobriety, and thrift.

That said, there’s a sense in which Hill’s Vatican hosts got what was coming to them. I’m not referring to her reprimand on sexual abuse but to the ill-focused worldliness of senior clergy who wish to nuzzle up to the rich and famous of whatever stripe, including those who exult in contempt for Christianity.

  • “In a sense the bishops brought this on themselves by their unseemly cozying up to pop stars and other worldly types.”

    What exactly is the Big Tragedy here? That the Vatican got embarrassed (or, seemed to, according to—pardon me—“wordly” type reporters?)

    Jesus hung out with “wordly types” all the time and gee, if I recall correctly, the Pharisees thought it awfully “unseemly” of him to do so.

    I don’t see Hill’s snit as a really big story. Or even a medium-sized one.

    To me, the interesting story revolves around the commentators who find it easy to blame the ones who invited her.

  • Jesus hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors, not to glom on to the glamour of their chosen “professions” but to urge them to conversion. The Vatican Christmas concert tries to ignore what these pop stars did to get their superstar status in order to take advantage of such celebrity to aid in publicity for the concert. Like I said before, why not go with lesser known but much more outwardly Christian performers for the concert? Because they won’t have the draw.

  • For the record, I never indicated that I supported the, uh, entertainer. I just thought (and still do think) that it’s no big deal.

    Dom, your point is taken. And I plead complete ignorance regarding the ins and outs of Vatican party planners and fund raisers.


    “If abuse victims and Catholics generally applaud Ms. Hill, then I think she will have shown a degree of moral authority.”

    This “if/then” equation simply does not compute, because it presumes the equality of moral authority with mortal approval. Which is of course, a fallacy.

    That said, I’m wondering…is there any topic that isn’t doomed to turn into a VOTF debate?

  • Just because what you have to say is true doesn’t make it right to say it in any circumstance. For example, I wouldn’t countenance someone standing up in the middle of a speech by Bill Clinton to berate him for being an adulterer. There’s a time and a place for everything and that was neither the time nor the place.

    And you are assuming that the Vatican invites artists to the concerts based on the artists’ faith. They do not. There have been many people—how to say this charitably?—without that particular gift who have performed at Vatican concerts over the years. The main criterion seems to be willingness to lend some Hollywood glitter to a Vatican event.

    I don’t think Hill was wrong in finding fault with the way the Scandal was handled in the Church. I think she was wrong for her crass public actions.