Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Those Harleys again

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jun 17, 2013

Yesterday was “Evangelium Vitae Day” at the Vatican: a day when Pope Francis, surrounded by pro-lifers, sent the world a much-needed message about the Gospel of Life.

Yesterday was also the day of the Harley-Davidson motorcade to St. Peter’s Square: a nice commercial plug for a motorcycle manufacturer. A harmless event, but one that did nothing to advance Catholic teaching.

If you search the web today, you might find a story in the secular press about the Pope’s exhortation on the Gospel of Life. But you’ll find dozens of stories about the Harleys. If a media outlet carried one story from the Vatican, it was about motorcycles, not about the right to life.

Don’t blame the Harley manufacturers. They’re just doing their job, looking for publicity. But someone at the Vatican cooperated to set up that stunt, and that someone should have noticed that an offbeat story was going to drown out an important message. It's a good idea to dedicate a special day to the pro-life message. It may be—I'm not so sure about this—a good idea to host a motorcycle jamboree. But not on the same day.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach five million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our April expenses ($17,705 to go):
$35,000.00 $17,295.48
51% 49%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: mario.f.leblanc5598 - Jun. 18, 2013 8:57 PM ET USA

    I was more impressed by hearing one of the participants say something like 'we love bikes but we are first and foremost Christian'. The pope knows what he does, and keeps asking the Holy Spirit for counsel. Let's do the same!

  • Posted by: garedawg - Jun. 18, 2013 11:36 AM ET USA

    I'll be impressed when I see the Holy Father astride one of those machines, burning rubber and doing donuts in St. Peter's Square.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jun. 17, 2013 8:52 PM ET USA

    I have nothing against Harley or any other bike, but the pope should not be lending himself to publicity of any kind. I see him getting a lot of "gifts" in the near future, a Smith&Wesson pearl-handled revolver here, a Dell special-papal-edition computer there. There may be no end to this and it demeans the office in my mind. Of course, I know someone is out there selling papal cologne already, not Francis' brand, but that of Pius X I believe! So the idea isn't totally new.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Jun. 17, 2013 3:53 PM ET USA

    I'm not so sure that the Harley stunt didn't do a lot to show our wonderful Holy Father as an "ordinary Joe" to millions of guys who wouldn't darken the door of a church, but would crawl on hot coals for a mile to see a Harley. God bless the monster machines.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Round Trip to the present moment: a Catholic jazz artist's latest offering April 22
Easter with the Pope April 21
Smaller Church, Bigger Faith, 3: Ecclesiastical Discipline April 17
The Holy Spirit and Evangelization: A Primer April 16
Journey to the Sun: A Strange Biography of Junípero Serra April 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Easter Vigil homily (full text) CWN - April 20
Pope Francis's Easter Message 'Urbi et Orbi' (To the City and the World): full text, link to video CWN - April 20