Vatican should crack down on liturgical abuses, not petty trademark cases

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | May 03, 2016

Dunno about you, but I can't get too worked up about the merchants who sell trinkets bearing an image of Pope Francis without authorization from the Vatican. Sure, it's a trademark infringement. Sure, the Vatican loses money (did I touch on a sore spot there?) when the merchants don't pay the licensing fee. But in the grand scheme of things, life doesn't change very much when a kiosk outside St. Peter's Square sells bogus Vatican flags.

Life does change, however, when the faithful don't have access to the sacraments (What are the times for Confessions in your parish? From 3:05 to 3:07 on alternate Saturdays?), or when pleas of the laity for reverent liturgy are ignored. 

Given my preferences, I'd like the Vatican to crack down on liturgical abuses, and let the vendors in Rome make a few more tainted dollars. It's the Year of Mercy, remember? 

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: rjbennett1294 - May. 04, 2016 3:35 AM ET USA

    Phil Lawler is absolutely right, and little more can be said, sadly, except that the liturgical abuses are bound to continue at least until the end of this pontificate. Copyright infringement, though, will be severely punished.

  • Posted by: Comares - May. 04, 2016 3:34 AM ET USA

    In my previous Parish in the UK, Confessions were once a month before the only Mass on a Sunday at 10.00am. Here in my Parish in Spain, Confessions are available 6 days a week before all Masses. In a neighbouring Parish the Priest there hears/is available for Confessions 7 days a week, before the Morning Masses and at 20.00pm every evening. The at Priest is my Confessor and it is obvious why I would choose him. He is a remarkable humble, holy and sensitive person. He is a wonderful man!

  • Posted by: BlaiseA - May. 03, 2016 10:52 PM ET USA

    Harder to get to daily mass because: 1) time changed to suit the Pastor (probably reasonable?) 2) When I struggle to get there on time, it is 'finished' in 20 minutes and not much pause for reverence or prayerful participation. Confessions are pretty good here; offered twice a week at consistent times.

  • Posted by: MatJohn - May. 03, 2016 9:40 PM ET USA

    Phil, focusing on abuses affecting the bottom line rather than those affecting the liturgical innards of the Faith is a shameful act of twisted priorities. Thank you for not giving the Vatican a pass on this.

  • Posted by: ElizabethD - May. 03, 2016 3:38 PM ET USA

    Of course the things you mention are of the highest kind of importance. But one thing I can think of is that protecting copyrights establishes a right to protect also against people making inappropriate/sacrilegious type souvenirs with the Papal insignia on it, and selling them in the vicinity of the Vatican... besides the problem of people printing and selling fake Papal blessings, which is outright fraud.