Friday, April 03, 2015
Who killed Jesus?
Who killed Jesus? They did!
So, being more nuanced Politicians did it.
The Gospels are careful to note the interplay of power and fear, of popularity and rabble raising, threats and the machinations of disciple, principally Judas but also Peter, the 'Jews' and Romans,
The two crowds; the Galileans who wave palm branches in victory and greet Jesus with cries of 'Hosanna' in expectation of the Kingdom are not the same as the metropolitan elite who cry 'Crucify him'. The former support Christ the latter the anti-Chist, supporters Bar-Abbas, the other 'Son of the Father'. To prevent a clash between these two parties is why Pilate and his force is in Jerusalem, they are on high alert and expect trouble.
The Jerusalem clergy are politicised, intent on holding onto power, trying to score points off the local Roman governor, Pilate, Josephus tells of their complaints to Rome, so their words about Pilate not being a friend of Caesar's are full of menace. The High Priest's words, "It is better for one man to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed" are rich in theology but Caiaphas is more concerned for himself and his priestly or courtly faction than for the salvation of the nation.
It is on this altar that the Jesus the Lamb is sacrificed. St John whose major theme in his Gospel is 'Truth' has Pilate ask Jesus, Truth himself, 'What is truth?', and then almost immediately wash his hands of truth, preferring expediency and realpolitik to truth. Yet Pilate really seems to be a victim along with Jesus, though he is willing to sacrifice his integrity, he like Herod, who killed the Baptist, has a fascination with the truth, he seeks the truth in the abstract, though he, ultimately like Herod, destroys what fascinates him.
The real villains of the Crucifixion are the clergy, who manipulate the Sanhedrin and the politicians, they have lost sight of their true vocation, they cling to power and influence and are concerned about their own faction's advancement, God simply does not figure in their thinking, except as another weapon in their armoury.
I spoke recently to a priest who was ordained a decade or so ago. He discerned his vocation in the full maelstrom of the abuse crisis, many of his family and friends thought him either mad or a pederast, they couldn't understand why a decent lad like him would feel a vocation to an organisation which was being daily exposed as a source of corruption and depravity, with leaders who were themselves either corrupt or facilitated and covered-up the wickedness of others. 'In those days being a young practicing Catholic was bad enough', he said, 'wanting to be a priest was for many of friends incomprehensible'.
Older clergy and even younger clergy from the non-English speaking world perhaps do not realise how much the Church has moved on from the post Concillior period. One serious danger is that senior bishops still think of themselves in terms of guarding the polis of the Church by trying to 'tame' the truth or manipulate it rather than letting it loose and allowing it to defend itself. We saw this in the child abuse crisis, we see it repeated again in the antics of those involved in the Synod.
I know the Holy Father says about prayer being preferable to gossip about the Synod. I presume he is not suggesting that there should be no talk about Cardinals intercepting books sent to Synod delegates or Archbishops 'pre-writing' the Relatio or trying to rig the voting or manipulate discussion, to me some 'gossip', if it is that, seems very healthy: 'sunlight being the best disinfectant', comes to mind. The Truth is like a Lion,.. let it loose and it will defend itself.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake