Ringling Bros. Circus And Its Subsidiary The Vatican To Shut Down In May

January 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Vatican



After  more than 140 years, the curtain is coming down on “The Greatest Show on Earth,” Roman Curia and Ringling Bros. Circus and Barnum & Bailey Circus board member Bishop Antonio Scarlatti said early Monday morning.

The iconic Roman spectacle and its principle Ringling Bros. Circus explained that declining attendance combined with high payroll for most members of the clergy in the curia contributed to its fall.

“There isn’t any one thing,” said chairman and CEO Ken Fields. “Actually, yes there is. The amount we pay for the curia is outrageous. But there is nothing we could do about it because they truly are the greatest show on earth.”

Ringling Bros. has two touring circuses this season and will perform 30 shows between now and May, while the Vatican has one stationary circus performing every day through May.

The Vatican, with its exotic bishops, less-than-flashy vestments, and death-defying theology, has been a staple of entertainment in the Catholic Church for decades, wowing parishioners with its sheer scale of entertainment. But several lawsuits over its treatment of traditionalists led to public scrutiny of the Curia in the past few years.

After a long and costly legal battle in 2016, the Vatican removed liturgical traditionalists from its shows and sent them to Malta to live on a conservation farm.

“We know now that one of the major reasons people came to the Vatican was getting to see traditionalists,” board director Denise Lempke said. “We stand by the decision to get rid of them. But it hurt us, and we admit that.”

Lempke says their existing traditionalists will go to suitable homes and that the Vatican will continue operating the Center for Traditionalist Conservation.