Even though it is crumbling, the sight of the Colosseum is still remarkable. No picture fully conveys the power of the imposing size of the massive structure. The official name is the Flavian Amphitheatre — in ancient times, the Colosseum was a theatre, intended to entertain the people. The Roman emperors cannily used it as a political tool.
With tourists cycling in and out wearing tennis shoes and carrying their cameras, it’s hard to imagine tens of thousands of ancient Romans filing into the arena, climbing the steep steps in high spirits for a day of performances. The Emperor even provided the picnic so that they could settle in and enjoy the show. The sub-level labyrinths were full of exotic animals and famous gladiators whose purpose was to create an elaborate and entertaining play.
Some of that entertainment included fights to the death. And the martyrdom of Christians, mauled by wild lions.
All entertainment, set to the soundtrack of the cheers of the people.
With that history, the bustle of tourism that surrounds the Colosseum today cannot fully obscure a poignant and haunting spirit that seems to infuse the vast space. A simple, rustic cross planted in the center of the arena, provides a moral rebuke, bearing silent witness to a culture and time nearly impossible for the modern person to imagine.
How could they have cheered while people were slaughtered right in front of them? It seems barbaric.
And yet today we still have a modern amphitheatre of death. Every single day in our country, over 4,000 babies are killed in abortion clinics. Every day.
One of the exhibits at the Colosseum noted that the people eventually became bored with their gruesome entertainment. It is worth remembering that even a death pageant can become commonplace.
Similarly 50 million babies lost to abortion since Roe v. Wade is just a number. For the cynic, it is just a statistic, signifying nothing.
Nevertheless the abortionist is on the wrong side of history. Today it is the cross, not the sword, that speaks into the silence of the Colosseum.
And someday, the cheers will end for abortion too. This gruesome barbarism will join gladiatorial contests, and slavery, in the category of those things that are unimaginable.