CatholicScout Responds – Approach to Catholic Fashion 3: clothes and ideology

The LMS Chairman Blog occasionally gets my comments, which I repeat here. In the latest series, a guest blogger Queen of Puddings, has been submitting a series on Approach to Catholic Fashion. They are very well written, however I have finally got round to taking Queen of Puddings to task. I wanted to do this from the first post that she did, but I have been busy – apologies.

You can read the original post here: http://www.lmschairman.org/2014/07/approach-to-catholic-fashion-3-clothes.html

Please not that I didn’t add emphases in the original, any emphases have been added subsquently

Approach to Catholic Fashion 3: clothes and ideology

Many Catholics, some visible in the combox in other posts in this series, take modesty in clothing seriously to the point that they no longer think anything else worthy of consideration in choosing clothes: one commenter, in particular, said there was no reason why a Catholic should not wear the Muslim hijab in one of the pictures. I doubt, however, that any Catholic would ever do so, and I think that the reason would be an instinctive fear of appropriating not only the clothes but their ideological underpinning as well. This post will discuss the way in which clothes express the ideology of the person wearing them (or at any rate that of the designer), and in doing so, I hope, demonstrate the paramount importance of making informed choices about what we as Catholics wear…[continues]

My response:

“Thank you Queen of Puddings, for your thoughts.

The Divine Redeemer, however, said that “You cannot serve God and mammon.” In the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 6:24-34), the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity explicitly said “be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment?”. He equates such considerations as being the service of mammon (ref: Mt 6:24).

The Incarnate Word goes on to rebuke those that are solicitous about raiment, calling them “of little faith“, and further “Be not solicitous therefore, saying, What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek.”

But seeing that the Messiah, the Son of the living God, is well not really “with it”, let’s just ignore what he said.

So let’s turn to Tradition. In the first four centuries, Christians adopted the local custom of clothing, as long as it was chaste. Hebrew Catholics (Jews that convert to the Catholic Faith), can still wear traditional ritual clothing like kippot, tallitot, tefillin, in accordance with the Law. Exactly the same as an Orthodox Jew. All Catholics in the beginning would have adopted the Jewish custom of clothing, which was later poached by Islam.

One should be very careful in saying that Islam has the monopoly on chaste clothing, that wearing a hijab equates with professing that Mohammed is the Great Prophet. It is highly incorrect and probably highly offensive, especially to the Iraqi Catholics, who are dying in droves at the moment.

The hijab, like many traditional items of clothing are far more ancient than any erroneous beliefs that have claimed them for their own.

The Catholic Faith has always in her Tradition held that local customs, such as dress, should continue in the lay faithful. Examples exist throughout the Catholic history, such as in Japan, China, India, Africa and on and on.

21st Century Britain is a melting pot of people and cultures. In a truly multi-cultural society such as Britian, surely a Catholic is free to not be solicitous in choice of clothing, even if it was a hijab or a kimono? It would be perfectly within their right to wear such clothing if they wished, and to be well respected.

I think there is a real risk of a “reverse dictatorship of fashion”. We all know that modern clothing is dictated by the media and it’s indentured slave – the Fashion Houses. Well, let’s not get trapped into reacting the exact opposite and reimposing Canon 68 of the 4th Lateran council – imposing a difference between “us” and “them”. There is a third path; Do not be solicitous. Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven.”


My comment provoked a response from Dr Shaw:

Catholic Scout: you place an interpretation of the notion of being over-solicitous which is incompatible with scripture, tradition, and common sense. Our Lord had a seamless garment. Tradition tells us this was woven for Him by Our Lady. Whoever made it, it must have taken many hours of loving work. Is this an example of being ‘solicitous’? Shouldn’t he have just worn a bit of sacking roughly stitched together? Why go to the trouble of making a garment whose value was recognised even by the Roman soldiers deputed to kill Him, if clothing is just something of no importance?

The point of this post is that what we wear communicates something to the people who see us; many types of clothing express clear, anti-Catholic ideologies. I see you have nothing to say about the detailed points. If you have no counter-arguments, then I suggest you do a bit more thinking on this topic before criticising others.

To which I responded (anything in square brackets is subsequent corrections):

“Dr Shaw, thank you for your response.

My comments are never intended as “ad hominem”.

In this case, I was addressing an important point, that thus far (as far as I can tell) was not present in any of the considerations of the Queen of Puddings. So far in three articles, nothing has been mentioned of what the Incarnate Divine Logos actually said.

Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, gave explicit and forceful teachings regarding this subject. Since He is the Divine Lawgiver, surely what He instructs is of paramount importance to His followers? “He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. But he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Mt 5:[19][given at] the end of the Sermon on the mount, where He gives instructions regarding clothing.

I am at a loss to see any “interpretation” of scripture in what I said, since, I am just quoting directly from it. I cannot, for the life of me, find any thing in Sacred Scripture or Tradition that contradicts what I said. I can only find confirmation. I appreciate critical analysis of my comments, but I would be most grateful if you can spare a moment to back it up with something more than brow-beating.

Your argument concerning the garment, that Tradition rightly says was made by the Blessed Virgin Mary, does not hold as being evidence against Christ’s own teaching (that would make Him a hypocrite). It was a gift from His Blessed Mother, He didn’t make it for Himself, or go buy it. Sacred Scripture actually points to something quite the opposite.
Holy Gospel according to Luke 7:24 – “But what went you out to see? a man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are in costly apparel and live delicately, are in the houses of kings”.

As to your questions
“Is [many hours of loving work] an example of being ‘solicitous’?” – no.

“Shouldn’t he have just worn a bit of sacking roughly stitched together?” – I doubt that the Son of God would spurn a gift from His Blessed Mother. Plus a seamless garment was necessary for the fulfilment of Sacred Scripture “They have parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they have cast lots” – Ps 21:19.

“Why go to the trouble of making a garment whose value was recognised even by the Roman soldiers deputed to kill Him, if clothing is just something of no importance?” – I think that here there is an interpretation of the Calvary that is not supported by Sacred Scripture, nor Tradition, I am not aware of anything that supports the view that the Roman soldiers disputed over the garment because they recognised it’s [implied – *great*] value. It does, however, figure that the garment was made for the fulfilment of Scripture. That’s all. It’s not a fashion statement. The Divine Redeemer didn’t go to Calvary with a “BVM-exclusive label” in the seamless work – God forbid.

Wikipedia has an interesting article on the Seamless robe of Jesus, which supports my points, rather than yours. Especially pointing out that the robe was worn underneath outer garments (hence hidden from view).

I was hoping that everything which I have said, precisely relates to the detailed points. We battle the world, the devil and self. But we can’t fight it with it’s own weapons. Christ showed us the way. It doesn’t mean we walk around in sack-cloth (ad ignominiam). It just means what it says “be not solicitous about what you shall wear”.

I feel that the main objection against my comment is one that was lodged directly to Christ in His own time – “Many therefore of his disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it?” Jn 6:61. It’s not easy to follow what Christ said, but that is what we as Catholics must do and preach it [too], as love knows how [ref: Hymn, Faith of our Fathers].

Respectfully,
Catholic Scout.”


Dr Shaw responded –

Catholic Scout. I have addressed your Scriptural argument. Since it would indeed be absurd to say Our Lord is a hypocrite, it is obviously your interpretation of His words which is problematic.

On what you have said now, it would appear that Our Lady was at fault in making the seamless garment.

The making of this garment would have taken, as I said, many hours. It was a thing of value. My point is that – obviously – making and giving and wearing this garment does not represent what Our Lord meant by being ‘solicitous’.

Indeed, since he said we should not be solicitous about what we are to eat or where we are to live, your interpretation has created a wider problem. Does this mean we can’t take out insurance? Should we not exercise prudence? No, it does not mean that.

As you know, our philosophy of clothing in these posts can be summarised as the exercise of prudence about clothing. Our Lord did not condemn that.

To which I responded:

Dear Dr Shaw,
From the Commentary of St John Chrysostom on the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 6, Mt 6:28-29

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Having spoken of our necessary food, and having signified that not even for this should we take thought, He passes on in what follows to that which is more easy. For raiment is not so necessary as food.

Why then did He not make use here also of the same example, that of the birds, neither mention to us the peacock, and the swan, and the sheep? For surely there were many such examples to take from thence. Because He would point out how very far the argument may be carried both ways: both from the vileness of the things that partake of such elegance, and from the munificence vouchsafed to the lilies, in respect of their adorning. For this cause, when He has decked them out, He does not so much as call them lilies any more, but “grass of the field”.

And He is not satisfied even with this name, but again adds another circumstance of vileness, saying, “which today is”. And He said not, “and tomorrow is not”, but what is much baser yet, “is cast into the oven”. And He said not, “clothe”, but “so clothe”.

Do you see everywhere how He abounds in amplifications and intensities? And this He does, that He may touch them home: and therefore He has also added, “shall He not much more clothe you?” For this too has much emphasis: the force of the word, “you”, being no other than to indicate covertly the great value set upon our race, and the concern shown for it; as though He had said, “you, to whom He gave a soul, for whom He fashioned a body, for whose sake He made all the things that are seen, for whose sake He sent prophets, and gave the law, and wrought those innumerable good works; for whose sake He gave up His only begotten Son.”

And not till He has made His proof clear, does He proceed also to rebuke them, saying, “O you of little faith”. For this is the quality of an adviser: He does not admonish only, but reproves also, that He may awaken men the more to the persuasive power of His words.”

The commentary goes on with wondrous clarity and charity, I do recommend it to you and all your readers.

The Catena Aurea on Matthew (chapter 6) lists quite a few Fathers, who comment on the particular words of the Divine Redeemer that I refer to, please refer me to one that disagrees with my position (which apparently you “have addressed” – I missed that, were you meaning the glib remark that my “interpretation of His words is problematic”? – please remember what I said about John 6:61).

I do not dispute for a moment that the Divine Redeemer requires prudence of us. But here the Fathers say that the Incarnate Word of God “teaches us not only to take no thought, but not even to be dazzled at the costliness of men’s apparel”.

My point is that the arguments put forth by the Queen of Puddings are not entirely in agreement with the teachings of the Founder of our religion, nor the traditional interpretations of the records of His teaching.

I take offense at being accused of finding fault with Our Lady. As St John Chrysostom points out “And as in saying, they sow not, it was not the sowing that He did away with, but the anxious thought; so in saying, they toil not, neither do they spin, He put an end not to the work, but to the care.”

The Immaculate Conception was *never* mired by “fault”. She freely and perfectly obeyed *all* of the Lords commands. It is not a base and redundant thing to fulfil Scripture. After all, fulfilment of Scripture brought about the Salvation of the human race, which I pray will one day include you and I (please God)!

St John Chrysostom continues “After this He instructs us, not to aim at all at such ornament. See at least the end thereof; after its triumph “it is cast into the oven”: and if of things mean, and worthless, and of no great use, God has displayed so great care, how shall He give up you, of all living creatures the most important?

Wherefore then did He make them so beautiful? That He might display His own wisdom and the excellency of His power; that from everything we might learn His glory. For not “the Heavens only declare the glory of God”, but the earth too; and this David declared when he said, “Praise the Lord, you fruitful trees, and all cedars”. For some by their fruits, some by their greatness, some by their beauty, send up praise to Him who made them: this too being a sign of great excellency of wisdom, when even upon things that are very vile (and what can be viler than that which today is, and tomorrow is not?) He pours out such great beauty. If then to the grass He has given that which it needs not (for what does the beauty thereof help to the feeding of the fire?) how shall He not give unto you that which you need? If that which is the vilest of all things, He has lavishly adorned, and that as doing it not for need, but for munificence, how much more will He honour you, the most honourable of all things, in matters which are of necessity.

Now when, as you see, He had demonstrated the greatness of God’s providential care, and they were in what follows to be rebuked also, even in this He was sparing, laying to their charge not want, but poverty, of faith. Thus, “if God”, says He, “so clothe the grass of the field, much more you, O you of little faith”.”

We’re not perfect, Dr Shaw, and while we cooperate with God to receive the Supernatural Grace and Theological virtue of Faith in “the greatness of God’s providential care”, then, of course, the natural and cardinal virtue of Prudence will be the least that we could do. But what we must teach and preach, is the Gospel Truth and not only to preach the lowest common denominator.

Respectfully,
CatholicScout


To which he responded

Please note that you lessen the chance of anyone reading your comments if you make them at absurd length.

If you don’t want to think about it, fine. I’d rather you didn’t refuse to think about it at such length on my blog.

It comes down to what Our Lord and the Fathers meant by ‘solicitous’. You are wrong to attribute an absurd and extreme meaning to that term, for the reasons I have already set out. Now go away.

The argument is closed all the same, I shan’t pursue it any further, bless him.

Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence – Day 20

FAST FOOD: Twentieth Helping

To repeat from Helping Eighteen:

It is deeply moving to see the unbelievable sensitivity with which Jesus listens to the Fourth Song of the Suffering Servant (Is 52:13-53:12) among the many voices, and used it to interpret the true rule of God and His own life. He used no violence at all. He took the sword from Peter’s hand. He preferred being a victim to using violence. And, by that very fact He initiated in the world an unexpected and ongoing influence.

-Gerhard Lohfink, S.J., Catholic Biblical Scholar
Jesus of Nazareth (2012)

“The theme of the Servant of [The LORD], the Suffering Servant [42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-9; 52:13-53:12] is as deeply imbedded in the Gospels as anything else; to repeat what we have said in other connections, if this theme is not the work of Jesus himself then we know nothing about his words or person. It is the peak of faith in the Old Testament, the supreme affirmation of the power of God and the weakness of man. When we meet the theme of the Suffering Servant in the New Testament, we are at the very heart of the Christian revolution.”

-John L. McKenzie, S.J, Catholic Biblical Scholar
THE POWER AND THE WISDOM, 1966, Imprimatur

“There is no evidence that Jesus himself openly advocated violent action. But he was certainly not a pacifist…Jesus was not a fool. He understood what every claimant to the mantle of messiah understood: God’s sovereignty could not be established except through force.”

-Reza Aslan, ZEALOT, Published July 16, 2013, page 121ff

ZEALOT, a book published only four days ago that portrays Jesus as a Zealot, has received more mass media attention in that time than all the volumes of Biblical scholarship on the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels by John L. McKenzie, John Howard Yoder, Richard Hayes, Gerhard Lohfink, Raymund Schwager, Martin Hengel and Joseph Klausner combined. Yet, the book contains little to nothing that has not been investigated thoroughly in the world of biblical scholarship over the last hundred and fifty years.
So, why this spontaneous tidal wave of media hype for a book written by an Associate Professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside? From whence did it originate? Why is it worth tens of millions of dollars of free mass media exposure time to learn that Jesus was one hundred per cent Jewish, that he lived in turbulent political time, that he was a peasant, that Rome was involved in His murder by crucifixion, etc.?
The political, economic, ethnic and religious atmosphere into which one is born and/or lives may determine what one encounters and has to deal with. But, it does not determine how one analyzes and interprets it or how one deals with it. The assumption that it does is the logical Achilles’ heal in the story of a violence endorsing Jesus that Aslan has composed.

When big time corporate media goes full throttle in advertising a book about Jesus, watch out! When corporate media begins a gratis PR blitz for a book that has as its theme that Jesus was a spiritual comrade of violent terrorists such as the Maccabees, the Zealots, Simon bar Kochba, the Stern Gang and the Irgun Levi Leumi, we are in the corporate media dynamic of “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction! Iraq has weapons of mass destruction! We can’t wait for a mushroom cloud to appear in our backyard!”
A falsehood repeated often enough on a large enough scale becomes the “truth.” In whose interest is it to manufacture the re-packaging and the re-distribution of the falsehood of Jesus the Zealot via contemporary corporate mass media? The thesis of Jesus the Zealot was debunked by Biblical scholars over forty five years ago when the British academician S.G. F. Brandon published his book,JESUS AND THE ZEALOTS; a book which contains most of what Aslan employs to create his story of Jesus as a violence endorsing Zealot. Why run it up the flag pole again?

The Christian Churches are certainly doing all they can to propagate a violence approving Jesus. Why is any more needed? Is it possible that the mere continuing existence and presentation, of the Nonviolent Jesus and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, is so terrifying to some segment of humanity, or to some pitch black dark spirit that possesses some segment of humanity, that every consciousness altering tool presently at the disposal of human beings must be utilized by it to Orwellianize, once and for all, the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels into a violent terrorist?


RELATED ARTICLES

FAST FOOD: Nineteenth Helping

Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence – Day 19

FAST FOOD: Nineteenth Helping

Was the reign of God that Jesus proclaimed a utopia? Most certainly it was not. Jesus proclamation and practice of the reign of God is more radical than any utopia. It is more realistic. It is more critical. It knows more about human beings. It is the only hope for the wounds and sickness of our planet. Jesus was well aware of the “impossibility” of God’s cause in the world, but He knew that God’s possibilities are infinitely greater than all human possibilities (Mk 10:27).

Gerhard Lohfink, S. J., Catholic Biblical Scholar
Jesus of Nazareth (2012


RELATED ARTICLES

FAST FOOD: Eighteenth Helping

Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence – Day 18

FAST FOOD: Eighteenth Helping

It is deeply moving to see the unbelievable sensitivity with which Jesus listens to the Fourth Song of the Suffering Servant (Is 52:13-53:12) among the many voices, and used it to interpret the true rule of God and His own life. He used no violence at all. He took the sword from Peter’s hand. He preferred being a victim to using violence. And, by that very fact He initiated in the world an unexpected and ongoing influence. It still goes on, and no one can say where it may yet lead.

Gerhard Lohfink, S.J., Catholic Biblical Scholar
Jesus of Nazareth (2012)


RELATED ARTICLES

FAST FOOD: Seventeenth Helping

Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence – Day 11

FAST FOOD: Eleventh Helping

Among police organizations in the U.S. there is the infamous blue wall, the code of silence, the unwritten rule not to report a colleague’s error, misconduct or crime, if it occurred while on duty. In any official legal inquiry under oath the officer being questioned would claim ignorance of the wrongdoing or try to push blame onto someone other than the police officer. It is called testilying. Testifying against other cops is considered betrayal—with consequences.

This is mentioned not to expose police per se, but to make the point that once an association, organization or institution is formed where power, money prestige, status and/or a self-identity are tied intimately to it, choices are forced upon people and made by them that they never would have considered making outside of affiliation with the organization. The Mafia’s omerta is but a form of the snitch and you’re in trouble dynamic that is part of the security/survival mechanism of all groups that give people access to power, money, prestige, status and/or a self-identity. There are more ways to destroy the life of a person, of course, then by forcing his hand into a fish tank of piranhas.

There is no reason in logic or history to exempt groups of religious elites from the blue wall phenomenon, any more that there is a reason to exempt doctors, lawyers, butchers, bakers or candle stick makers. Once a self-enhancing association, alliance, league, syndicate or institution is formed or entered into then principles and practices not previously in play, come into play in a person’s life and in his or her decision making processes. So that, once a person, implicitly or explicitly, takes his or her oath of loyalty to the there is no turning back and he or she must become the organization’s man or woman—or else. Because, once a person is admitted to playing ball with a team that helps him or her ascend in their minds above the status of just average Joes, and once he or she has learned of and participated in all the tricks of its trade, not playing ball with the rest of the team for some reason, or quitting the team, is always a choice that carries with it very negative consequences.

However, the person’s self identity and survival at many levels becomes so entangled with the identity of the particular institution that the “or else” moments seldom occur. After all a team or an organization or an institution is a tool, much as a hammer is a tool. The human being is free to select the tool, that is, choose the means he or she desires to use to make his or her life be all that it can be, as the saying goes. But, once the tool is chosen the person is bound by the logic of the tool, whether it be a hammer or an institution. One cannot use a hammer as if it were a saw, and one cannot, for example, use an institution that supports, justifies and employs violence to build a nonviolent self or nonviolent group. Whatever the team’s identity is, it will become part of the identity of the person. The premises and logic and acts of the institution will become the premises and logic and acts of the team player. The team’s sense of truth and the team’s sense of right and wrong will symbiotically merge with the person’s sense of truth, right and wrong, so that an attack on the team is experienced as an attack on the person, and vice versa. Said another way, anything that tries to bring the team’s or institution’s status down to being just another bunch of averages Joes, i.e., less than it pretends to be, or anything that tries to bring a member’s status down to the level of some average Joe, i.e., less than he or she pretends to be, is interpreted as a called to battle to defend my and my team’s place, status, stature, power, prestige and identity in the world.

Is it any wonder then why the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels, who teaches a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies as God’s will, explicitly told His disciples to stay completely away from that type of elite leadership that takes the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues, that wants to be called Rabbi, Father and Master in the marketplace and wear long flowing robes, widen phylacteries and lengthen tassels, that lords it over people and makes it authority felt (Mt 20:25, MK 10:43, Lk 22:25, Mt 12:14, Jn11: 53, Mt 26:59, Lk 22:2, Mk14: 1, Jn 7:32, Mk 3:6, Mt 26:4, Mk 11:18, Jn 7:25)?

Are not violence and deceit the sine qua non for leadership by an elite or for an organization that chronically generates and perpetuates such a leadership? Is such a leadership about to be truthful concerning the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies? Is such an elite religious leadership about to embrace and employ its vast educational and communications channels to proclaim the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Nonviolent Way?

Or, would personal and institutional survival-motivations, vigorously push a sacral aristocracy to minimize and quash, to the degree possible, any mention of the Nonviolent Jesus and His Nonviolent Way in all areas it had under its control? Is it not a five star fantasy to believe that the elite leaders of religious institutions would ever proclaim that violence is not the Christian Way, violence is not the Apostolic Way, violence is not the Way of Jesus, without having ready an Orwellian interpretation of those words that would render them nugatory. After all, if the very words of Jesus, the Suffering Servant Messiah, that command, “Put up your sword,” and “Love your enemies,” can be Orwellianized by the sacral elite to justify in His name every murderous activity from abortion to atomic war, then no communication is beyond their distorting reach.

An institutional sacral aristocracy of religious elites requires violence and the divinization and justification of violence to exist. The renunciation of violence, as Jesus renounced violence, and the proclamation by word and deed, by lips and life, of the Nonviolent Jesus and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies would require that the institutional sacral aristocracy die to its present false self.


RELATED ARTICLES

FAST FOOD: Tenth Helping

Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence – Day 9

FAST FOOD: Ninth Helping

Who murdered Jesus?

 In the last two FAST FOOD Helpings in response to the above questions I wrote that Jesus was murdered by “a minuscule number of Jews and Romans, spiritually and psychologically disordered as a consequence of the Fall—as are human beings universally in various ways.” In yesterday’s FAST FOOD Helping I identified the “minuscule number of Jews and Romans” as the religious elites,  “the upper echelon of a professional religious cabal” in Jerusalem at that time. I also noted that they had the assistance, maybe begrudging assistance, but nevertheless assistance of their elite counterpart in the secular domain, namely, Pilate.

The English scholar of comparative religions, the late S.G.F Brandon, authored some books dedicated to proving that Jesus was a Zealot, a member of a violent revolutionary Jewish group that wanted to remove Rome from Palestine, by whatever method or degree of violence and deceit it required. The preeminent American Catholic Biblical scholar at the time, the late Rev. John L. McKenzie, reviewed Brandon’s works along these lines and concluded, “Brandon has convinced almost none of our colleagues…and despite the paraphernalia of scholarship this is essentially a work of fiction.” I raise this in response to the position, still held by some, that it was primarily Rome that wanted Jesus dead, because He was a violent revolutionary who threatened Rome’s rule in Palestine. But as McKenzie notes, “If Jesus was a violent revolutionary, he was the most inept violent revolutionary known to history.”  The fact that only Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane and then not by Roman soldiers but by the armed servant of the High Priest, Caiaphas, is pretty solid evidence that the Romans did not perceive Jesus as a threat and were not plotting to kill Him or interested in killing Him, until after He was turned over to them by the sacral aristocracy of Jerusalem.

But, why did the religious elite, who had all the power, glory, prestige, money and connections with the secular elite that come with being the religious elite, lust to destroy the Nonviolent Jesus, who healed a few people and taught a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies to a few more? What threat did the Nonviolent Jesus pose to the professional holy men of Jerusalem that was so life and death serious, that He had to be done away with? Why were the doors of the dark side of their psyches thrown so completely open over and over again by what the Nonviolent Jesus said and did? Why the ongoing, near compulsive, irrational, red-hot, murderous rage toward a person who had neither arms nor army that could harm them?  And why by men whose lives were spent in the domain of religious thought and ritual, indeed, who were the local experts on correct religious thought and ritual? Is there something hidden in a sacral aristocracy qua sacral aristocracy that is being revealed by the murder of Jesus? Something important, of which human beings must become aware, because it is important for the peace and salvation of each human being and for all humanity?


RELATED ARTICLES

FAST FOOD: Eighth Helping

Annual forty day fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence – Day 8

FAST FOOD: Eighth Helping

Who murdered Jesus?

 Jesus did not die in bed of cancer. Nor, was Jesus murdered by assassination. Jesus was murdered via two prestigious legal systems, the Roman and the Hebrew. All the required legalities in both systems were met, and then He was murdered. An assassination can be, but does not have to be, the work of single person acting alone. But murder via the religious and secular legal systems demands not only more than one person but people with religious and secular clout. The everyday man in the street or woman in the pew has zero ability to employ a secular or religious legal system to do his or her killing for them.

In yesterday’s FAST FOOD, to the question, “Who murdered Jesus,” I responded that “a minuscule number of Jews and Romans, spiritually and psychologically disordered as a consequence of the Fall—as are human beings universally in various ways—murdered Jesus.” I now suggest that an important religious truth may open up to us if we ask the question, “Who were the “minuscule number of Jews and Romans” whom orchestrated the murder of Jesus?”

The following passages from the Gospels seem to pin point the answer rather clearly: Mt 12:14, Jn11: 53, Mt 26:59, Lk 22:2, Mk14: 1, Jn 7:32, Mk 3:6, Mt 26:4, Mk 11:18, Jn 7:25, etc. Now you may or may not want to spend the time to look up these citations, but in case you don’t, what they communicate is that Pilate and the Romans come on the scene late in the drama of Jesus’ murder. In fact they are not on stage until Good Friday. But, long, long before Good Friday the religious elites of Jerusalem were plotting His murder and waiting for the right time to execute it. The upper echelon of a professional religious cabal in Jerusalem planned the murder of Jesus and rigged the Hebrew judicial apparatus to accomplish their desire to be rid of Him permanently. And, while Pilate order Jesus’ death and physically carried it out—apparently under serious political arm twisting from the religious elite, there is no record of Pilate previously desiring or plotting to kill Jesus.


RELATED ARTICLES

FAST FOOD: Seventh Helping