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.

  • Rose Lincoln

    Hmmmmmm. Ha!

  • Donna_Bethell

    They should have brought back the gestatoria and those ostrich plume fans.

  • Hotrod1962

    The curia circus lost a lot of steam when Vatican II banned elephants and its cause was hurt greatly when Cardinal Sarah tried to pet Pepino The Beloved lion and got gored. Pepino The Beloved had to be put down by the Swiss Guards. Pepino, according to the Curia, is on the “fast-track” for animal sainthood.

  • Mary Ann Andersen


  • Sr. Mary Brigid

    When all that was left was the Deutsche Bischofskonferenz Clown Cars, well, it really took the life out of the thing. Even the lively Eucharist Barkers in the stands fell flat. Sigh.

  • samton909

    I think that is Spadaro and Fernandez sitting on top of the elephants in the picture.

  • Wildgraywolf

    I’m not surprised; as the quality of the clown mass has been slipping in recent years and tap dancing in over-sized clown shoes has become problematic. Not to mention clowns unpacking themselves from the confessional isn’t as humorous as it used to be. I say: “good riddance to poor showmanship.”

  • Vince M Sr

    Just wondering of the circus side show held annually in Baltimore will continue? I understand Cardinal Dolan was going to invite Trump as a main attraction in the clown show next year.

    • sixlittlerabbits

      Aren’t you mistaken? As one of those “shepherded” by His M & Ms Dolan, I know Dolan won the Clown Show Prize. Just recall him wearing his cheese head before he came to New York or that he heads the Archdiocese of New York, which pays for the abortions of its workers in the 1199 Union.

  • sixlittlerabbits

    Francis’s puppet Masses are a poor substitute for the liturgy of the banished Catholics–uh, I mean “traditionalists.”