Ship of Fools

Commentary by Gordon Nary



This film was on TCM recently and I remember why I enjoyed it so much when I first saw it about 50 years ago. The story takes place in the summer of 1931, on board a cruise ship bound for Germany. The passenger list includes a Spanish noblewoman, a drunken German lawyer, an American divorcee, a pair of Mexican Catholic priests, a heroin addict, a pro-Nazi advocate, a violent pimp. and a host of others. I recommend that parishes who may show films consider showing Ship of Fools and discussing it afterwards since much of the dialogue are exactly what some people are saying today about racism, Semitism, white supremacy. the KKK, violence again women, heroin addiction, and even animal cruelty. The people on this ship fail to speak out against these incidents and statements. This is why all of the passengers are fools on a ship of fools.


At Mass we day the Act of Contrition with a critical statement in red that I wonder if we understand the meaning of?


I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.


I remember a discussion in the 6th grade by a Dominical nun who explained what a sin of omission was. So I question, is it a sin of omission when we personally fail to speak out on racism when we live in a racist society?

is it a sin of omission when we personally fail to speak out on AntiSemitism whenever it occurs?