What is the role of major-league sports team owners?

Who owns a sports team? That is clear enough: the owner who bought it. He can do with it whatever he likes in accord with the policies of the league — i.e., the rules that all the owners establish together.

But to whom does a team belong? A team belongs to more than just its owner. It belongs in a sense to its supporters, most especially those who buy the tickets and, increasingly, the taxpayers who provide lavish subsidies for the team’s facilities. It belongs to the wider community, too. No one throws a parade when ABC Widget Company has a record year; but entire cities celebrate sports championships. Continue reading

Dull roar of toothless lions

With the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council less than two weeks away (Oct. 11), the old lions of the council are getting ready to roar once again.

As a young priest, Pope Benedict XVI was at the council as a theological advisor, or peritus. As Pope he has made the proper interpretation of the council a key part of his teaching, and declared a Year of Faith to begin on Oct. 11, asking the Church to rediscover the riches of the council in light of the demands of the new evangelization. Continue reading

U.S. embassy attacks show a country in decline

Mark Steyn, as National Post readers have long known, gets to the point rather more devilishly than most. Apropos of the violent attacks on various American embassies across the Muslim world, he asked, “O say, does that star spangled banner yet wave?”

Not in Tunis, Steyn observed, where the mob entered the embassy, lowered the American flag, burned it and ran the Islamic shahada flag up the pole instead. Francis Scott Key wrote his lines about the stars and stripes being glimpsed by the rocket’s red glare during the Battle of Baltimore, on Sept. 14, 1814; there was proof through the night that the flag was still there. Last Friday — 198 years to the day later — the shahada flag was flying o’er the ramparts of the Tunisian compound. Continue reading

In heaven, the sound of Easter laughter resounds

That Stephen Colbert tells jokes is not news — he is a late-night TV comedian. That Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York loves a good laugh is even less news — he is, after all, Timothy Dolan.

That they told jokes together, and reflected upon humour in the life of Catholic disciples, was news. They did so before 3,000 enthusiastic students at Fordham, the Jesuit university in the Bronx. The Sept. 14 encounter was not recorded or broadcast because Stephen Colbert never appears on stage outside of his eponymous character, who is both a satirical wit and a self-aggrandizing buffoon. But for this occasion, Colbert appeared as himself, and commented upon the role of humour in the life of faith. By all accounts, the two brought the house down in a dramatic refutation of what Billy Joel sang almost 40 years ago, namely that he would rather “laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.” Continue reading

The struggle goes on

- in Washington, D.C. –
On Tuesday, the American ambassador to Libya was killed, along with three colleagues, by a mob aggrieved by the West’s treatment of Islam. The proximate cause this time was a film. Six years ago yesterday the cause was Pope Benedict’s courageous address at Regensburg. Eleven years ago, on the original 9/11, it was American troops in Saudi Arabia, or the loss of Andalusia in 1492. Continue reading