It appears that most of the teenagers in this video are from a Catholic high school near Covington, Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. They mock a serious, frail-looking older man and gloat in their momentary role as Roman soldiers to his Christ. “Bullying” is a worn-out word and doesn’t convey the full extent of the evil on display here.
For some of us, the gospel stories of Jesus’s passion and death are so familiar we no longer hear them. The evangelists are terse in their descriptions of the humiliations heaped on Jesus in the final hours before his crucifixion, the consummate humiliation. Read the accounts again or, if you’d rather not, watch the video. The human capacity for sadism is too great.
Evil. Sadism. Those are strong charges, even if they've been pulled down. But Frankovich had one more observation to make:
In any case, keeping in mind the parable of the proper priests and the Good Samaritan, whose religious practice Jesus’s listeners thought was wrong, listen to Phillips reflect on his experience on the Mall. Decide for yourself who is more pleasing to Christ, Phillips or his mockers. As for the putatively Catholic students from Covington, they might as well have just spit on the cross and got it over with.
National Review has a piece up on their site now excoriating people for jumping to conclusions. Kyle Smith describes what happened properly:
If you insult someone, and that person insults you back, you don’t get to cry, “Oh my gosh, for no reason whatsoever I’ve just been insulted!” The Christian thing to do is of course turn the other cheek, but if we’re being honest, people do tend to take the bait when they’re being baited, and teens are less likely than others to turn away from outright provocation. Nathan Phillips went out seeking to create an incident, and he fooled the New York Times and the Washington Post into accepting his false version of it.All right and proper. But as of this writing, we've not heard a word from NR, or Frankovich, about the calumnies they heaped upon the Covington kids in believing the false version of events. If apologies are in order, it would seem that the apologies from that particular glass house are well overdue as well.
Update (Monday evening): Nicholas Frankovich of NR has issued an apology, but only to his readers:
Early Sunday morning, I posted a “strongly worded” (Rich Lowry’s description) condemnation of the conduct, seen far and wide on video, of a group of high-school students at the conclusion of the March for Life on Friday afternoon. I was preachy and rhetorically excessive, and I regret it. The overheated post I wrote has been taken down. Let this apology stand in its stead, both here on the Corner and in the memory of readers who justifiably objected to my high-handedness.Does Frankovich still object to the "conduct" of the students? It's tough to say, but his avoidance of the topic suggests he still hasn't come to grips with the real meaning of what he said. I would argue his words were a little more than high-handed. I hope he gives it more thought.
Still, there is a larger apology that needs to happen. That would be from the Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School, which still had a denunciation of the students on its website. Here is a screenshot:
|Under the bus|
As of this evening, the site is currently in maintenance mode, which suggests the Diocese is taking down the comment and replacing it with something else, perhaps something that's a little less, uh, high-handed. As an aside, I don't know how you condemn first and investigate second, unless the Inquisition is back in town. I sent a note to the Diocese asking them to consider retracting this statement. I'll let you know if they respond.