The Last Show: The Priests Open Their Big Mouths

black and white photo of a priest delivering a sermon to leather clad bikers

From Internationale Situationniste #9 (August 1964).

Submitted by Fozzie on February 14, 2023

The Church, having fought for so long against "spectacles" even as it maintained monopoly on the social spectacle based on the divine otherworld, is struggling today for a place — limited but still important — within the spectacle of the century. It makes useful concessions, puts its pope-stars on center stage, and recuperates the lost architects of abandoned experiments in concentration-camp primitivism. The Priests' International is capable of making itself heard everywhere and in every sort of tone, be it as survivors of the inquisition or as parachutists into the wilderness of youth. This International also produces the frightening thalidomide thinkers of "red Christianity," Teilhardian mutants who can only live in incubators under a glass bell in the super-vacuum of contemporary leftist thought (see the examples in the sections "Words and Those Who Use Them"1 and "Critique in Shreds"2 ). It is surely obvious that there cannot have been any nonorthodox Christians since the end of those centuries during which the critique of the world had to be posed primarily in religious terms. Even before its ecumenical unification, all of Christianity is already unified on a theoretical level. The renunciation of the critique of religion is necessarily the culmination of the renunciation of all critique.

According to Mr. Simon Wiesenthal (the former director of the Documentation Center of the Association of Jews Persecuted by the Nazis) currently attending the Auschwitz trial, "the constructor of the cremation ovens in the camps is still alive in Austria and has recently built a church."

Le Monde, 7-3-64.

Burger met a guy in a bar who offered him a drink and got him to talk about problems in his life. When he finally discovered that he had been duped by a priest dressed to look like a normal person, Robert Burger killed him on the spot. The police are still puzzled as to the possible meaning of this exemplary act.

New York, 11-8-63.

It was a big surprise when the pope announced on 4 December 1963, during the closing ceremonies of the second session of Vatican II, that he planned to travel to Palestine . . . Some Catholic circles and the entire Protestant world deplored the fact that this trip had had, here and there, some unexpected and annoying aspects. Could it not have been possible to avoid the many disorderly demonstrations and the excessive American-style publicity campaign? And even if one acknowledges the importance of structuring the festivities in a popular fashion, could these not have been protected from the barrage of publicity technology? Too many photographers, too many filmmakers.

Le Monde, 20-6-64.

Ermanno Olmi plans to make a film about Pope John XXIII. The filming is set to start at the end of the summer. To show the pope, the director plans to use images from documentaries as he is reluctant to confide the role to an actor.

A.F.P., Rome, 9-5-64.

In France, the churches are careful to delay the religious services on Sundays so as not to overlap with the horse races . . . since between 10 and 12 a.m. three million Frenchmen are holding their betting tickets in hand.

Week-End, 22-2-64.

"God, who created our beaches, did not intend for them to become sites of orgies, where half-naked men and women in bikinis, lacking both morality and prudery, offend our children's innocent gaze, igniting the flames of their sexual instinct." So writes the Honorable Antonio, the bishop of the Canary Islands, in a thundering pastoral letter.

France-Soir, 10-5-62.

One of the nuns of the Holy Family who witnessed the massacre of the three oblate monks in the Kilembe mission arrived in Léopoldville Friday during the course of the afternoon. It was with tears in her eyes that she responded to the questions posed to her. "The villagers of Kilembe attacked the mission, armed with machetes, knives and guns. Some of them wore helmets painted red like those worn in Stanleyville by the Gizenguist forces. The monks were killed with the machetes. Following the departure of the villagers, we buried their remains."

Le Soir, 26-1-64.

Time is pressing . . . there are 142 churches to be built. This immense project is due solely to the generosity of the Parisians. May everyone also boldly add their efforts to those of our "church builders." Who could refuse to carry their stone to the cardinal's construction sites?

Appeal by Cardinal Feltin, on 23-4-64.

In numerous cities in central England and in the suburbs of London there were renewed skirmishes Saturday between the two rival gangs of English thugs: the "Mods" and the "Rockers." Nearly 100 arrests were made. On the other hand, the "Rockers" helped a pastor dressed in a leather jacket and motorcycle gear to distribute posters for the campaign against hunger; on Trafalgar square they received the blessing of brother Austen Williams, the vicar of the local church.

France-Soir, 26-5-64.

Translated by Thomas Y. Levin. From