Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week. The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen, Hristov Shopov, Telly Savalas, Frank Thring, Stephen Russell, Greg Hicks and Cyril Ritchard may be viewed here, here, here, here here , here, here, here and here.
One of the earliest screen portrayals of Pilate was by Hungarian actor Vincent Varconi in Cecil B. DeMille’s silent screen epic King of Kings (1927). We first see Pilate enthroned as the embodiment of Roman power before a huge imperial eagle. Initially bored by the attempt by Caiaphas to have him execute Jesus, he refuses to look at a document that Caiaphas has prepared laying out the charges against Jesus, after he talks to Jesus he feels the power of the words and presence of Christ, and seeks to satisfy Caiaphas and his mob by having Jesus beaten. Continue reading
The late great Jeff MacNelly reminds us above of just how much joy it is making our way through a maze of arcane tax regulations to determine just how much of our money BigGov will generously allow us to retain. We can all console ourselves that in just six more days we will observe Tax Freedom Day, which comes three days later than last year. The average member of the middle class in this country shells out one out of three dollars for taxes of all types. Oliver Wendell Holmes once said that taxes are the price of civilization. He should have added a coda: over taxation is often a sign of civilizations in decline. Continue reading
Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week. The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen, Hristov Shopov, Telly Savalas, Frank Thring, Stephen Russell and Greg Hicks may be viewed here, here, here, here here , here, here and here.
Cyril Ritchard had quite a career as an actor. He was also a devout Catholic, his funeral mass in 1977 being said by Archbishop Fulton Sheen. It is therefore interesting that his portrayal of Pilate in the Studio One television play Pontius Pilate (1952) is one of the more cynical and overtly political. He and Caiaphas discuss the fate of Jesus privately as two seasoned pols who might as well be arguing over the division of spoils. After the execution of Christ he is shaken by the death of Jesus under the influence of his wife, but remains convinced that he has made the right decision. Procula leaves him and years later he finds her among a group of Christians that he must judge. He condemns her and the other Christians, but later orders them to be released, he being unable to have the wife he still loves condemned to crucifixion. The play ends with Pilate unsheathing his sword and telling himself that the sword is the answer to Christ’s query of “What is Truth” with the implication that Pilate will use the sword to commit suicide, having betrayed his belief in Rome out of love for his wife. Continue reading
Father Z gives us the grisly details about this exercise in sacrilege-by-puppet at the horribly misnamed St. Joan of Arc
Actors and musicians presented Palm Sunday Family Mass with In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre [apt mane] at Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Community in Minneapolis. Christians around the world celebrated Palm Sunday with the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, when the crowds waved palm branches.
“Celebrant”? in costume? Who knows. It could be anyone.
Yep, at least the tabernacle is in the center of the … wildlife sanctuary!
It’s the raccoon that does it. No? Continue reading
Note: once again, this is a guest post by Stephen Herreid, not Bonchamps.
“Well, it turns out our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes.” – President Barack Obama
“…America was never well-founded, so either needs to be differently re-founded or at least endured, even survived.” – Patrick Deneen
Faced with the historic government overreach that is the HHS mandate, it ought to be easier than ever for Christians to know who their enemies are. One would hope that in this desperate time conservatives and Christians would unite against the enemies of the Church, and defend the religious liberty that has already been half-robbed from us. Unlike in many other countries, where Christians are already third class citizens and some are killed and violated by the thousands, America is the home of a long-standing Constitutional Republic, a Rule of Law tradition that explicitly protects and honors our religious liberty. The army of the Left is united in its effort to topple that grand tradition and the Church that it protects. Appallingly, the army of the Right is not so united in their defense.
Continuing our series on screen portrayals of Pilate that I began in 2011 during Holy Week. The posts on portrayals of Pilate by Rod Steiger, Richard Boone, Barry Dennen, Hristov Shopov, Telly Savalas, Frank Thring and Stephen Russell may be viewed here, here, here, here here , here and here.
Greg Hicks portrays Pilate in the movie Son of God (2014) as concerned above all at protecting his position. If he does not execute Jesus Caiaphas can tell Tiberius through his agents that Pilate is coddling a rebel against Rome and that would lead to the ending of Pilate’s procuratorship and perhaps his life. That is more than enough reason for him to deny the request for mercy for Christ from his wife Procula, disturbed by her dream of Christ. Continue reading
Rest assured that most of the media will ignore this statement of Pope Francis:
The pope thanked the Movimento per la Vita, one of Italy’s leading political pro-life groups, for their work, urging them to continue “with courage and love” for life “in all its phases.”
“It is therefore necessary to reiterate the strongest opposition to any direct attack on life, especially innocent and defenseless, and her unborn child in the womb is the innocent par excellence,” the pope told the gathering of politicians and pro-life activists at the Vatican today.
“If you look at life as something that is consumed,” the pope said, “it will also be something that sooner or later you can throw away, with abortion to begin with.”
Human life, however, is “a gift from God” and if it is accepted as such, “then you have before you a valuable and intangible asset, to be protected by all means and not to be discarded.”
In a different tack from previous popes, Pope Francis took the opportunity to link the pro-life message of the Church to his critique of the global economy, a major theme of this pontificate. “This economy kills. It considers the human being in himself as a commodity; a commodity that you can use and then throw away.” He added, quoting his own recent document Evangelii Gaudium, “We started the culture of ‘waste’ that, indeed, is promoted” through abortion in which “even life is discarded.”
One of the “most serious risks” of the modern world, he said, “is the divorce between economics and morality.” In a world offering “a market equipped with every technological innovation, elementary ethical standards of human nature [are] more and more neglected.”
In his brief address, Pope Francis quoted the document Gaudium et Spes of the Second Vatican Council, that says, “Life once conceived, must be protected with the utmost care; abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.” He encouraged pro-life workers to fight for life “with a style of closeness” to women so that “every woman feels regarded as a person, heard, accepted, accompanied.”
In a speech on Friday to the International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE), the pope also spoke of the need to reaffirm the rights of parents to decide “the moral and religious education of their children” and reject all forms of “educational experimentation with children and young people.” Continue reading
This is too brilliant! By Vecchio di Londra in the comboxes of Father Z:
Dr Caiaphas, the Judaean Head Shul Co-ordinator, apologized today for the unfortunate course the seminar had taken. “It was entirely unforseen. This speaker has a motivational track record, with his popular message of peace and love, and his relaxed and forgiving attitude to multi-choice personal lifestyles. But today mid-lecture he astonished us all with a stream of irrelevant social theory about divorce and remarriage, repeatedly using judgmental words such as ‘fornication’ and ‘sin’ and ‘adultery’: then he came out with that obscure remark about ‘making oneself a eunuch for the kingdom of heaven’ which was of course deeply offensive to all our many, many transgendered and undecided-gender students…
I should have stopped him when I sensed things were going badly, after his initial non-inclusive reference to ‘male and female’. It was all most un-Christian. I even had some students coming up to me afterwards asking me to explain what fornication was – obviously, they’d never heard of it before, and why should they: ‘Sin’ is an optional senior course at this college.
Many of our sophomores were in floods of tears, some were utterly traumatized. We have requested Jesus of Nazareth to take a sabbatical while we sort out his future speaking engagements. I’m sorry to say he has refused, rather intemperately flinging around terms such as ‘vipers’, ‘whited’ and ‘sepulchres’. We take particular objection to the word ‘whited’, as in this college we are proud that everyone may, regardless of race, as well as of sexual orientation or gender identification or indeed none at all, may expect an education that is supportive and above all totally without any tendency to discriminate… “ Continue reading
(This is my regular post for Palm Sunday which I repost each year. Have a happy and blessed Palm Sunday and Holy Week.)
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: BEHOLD THY KING will come to thee, the just and saviour: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 10 And I will destroy the chariot out of Ephraim, and the horse out of Jerusalem, and the bow for war shall be broken: and he shall speak peace to the Gentiles, and his power shall be from sea to sea, and from the rivers even to the end of the earth.
Thus did the prophet Zechariah, writing half a millennium before, predict the entry of Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. How many such glorious entrances into cities have there been over the ages? Every civilization I am aware of has such ceremonies, either parades in peace time or entrances of conquest or liberation in war time. The Romans turned this into an art form with their triumphs, with the reminder of the slave to the imperator of fleeting human mortality: “Respice post te, hominem memento te”.
Few such triumphs have turned into utter disaster as quickly as that of Jesus: Jerusalem at His feet on Sunday, and Christ dead on a Roman Cross before the sun had set on Friday. Small wonder that no contemporary historian or chronicler at the time took note. However some sort of official report probably was filed after the crucifixion. Writing circa 116 AD, and relying heavily on official records for his history, in regard to the great fire at Rome under Emperor Nero Tacitus states:
“15.44.2. But, despite kindly influence, despite the leader’s generous handouts, despite appeasing the gods, the scandal did not subside, rather the blaze came to be believed to be an official act. So, in order to quash the rumour, Nero blamed it on, and applied the cruelest punishments to, those sinners, whom ordinary people call Christians, hating them for their shameful behaviour. 15.44.3. The originator of this name, Christ, was sentenced to torture by Procurator Pontius Pilate, during the reign of Tiberius, but although checked for a moment, the deadly cult erupted again, not just in Judaea, the source of its evil, but even in Rome, where all the sins and scandals of the world gather and are glorified.”
Tacitus, clearly hostile to the Christians, points his finger at one of the great mysteries of history. In human terms the Jesus movement was nipped in the bud at its inception. Yet in less than three centuries the Roman emperor bowed before the cross. The triumph of Palm Sunday led only to disaster, and the humiliation and death of the cross led to triumph in eternity and here on Earth.
For we Catholics, and for all other Christians, no explanation of this paradoxical outcome is needed. However there is much here to ponder for non-believers and non-Christians. In purely human terms the followers of Christ had no chance to accomplish anything: no powerful supporters, no homeland embracing their faith, cultures, both Jewish and Gentile, which were hostile to the preaching of the Gospels, other religions which were well-established, the list of disadvantages could go on at considerable length. We take the victory of Christianity for granted because it happened. We forget how very improbable such a victory was. Even more improbable is that what began on Palm Sunday, the triumph of Jesus, has continued till today in spite of all challenges that two thousand years of human folly could cast up. How very peculiar in mortal terms!
Let us give the last word to the patron saint of paradox G. K. Chesterton: Continue reading
Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here , here ,here , here, here and here to read the first six posts in the series, we come to the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Looked at in purely human terms Palm Sunday was the height of the career of Christ, His moment in the sun when he was acclaimed by crowds as he entered Jerusalem, causing enough commotion that Caiaphas decided that He must die to prevent his followers from alarming Rome sufficiently to start a war. Cold political calculation began its work on Palm Sunday and led to the swift death of Christ on a cross by Good Friday. How many, many movements throughout history have died still-born as a result of the leader swiftly being put to death! Saint Augustine reminds of us why this did not happen to the Christian “movement”: Continue reading
Hattip to commenter Phillip. Well, I think we can now say that a pattern has been established in regard to how Catholics who have the temerity to preach Catholic doctrine on sex and marriage at ostensibly Catholic schools are going to be treated by the forces of tolerance and the cowards who run the schools. Father Z gives us the details:
Another ‘c’atholic High School blows up when they hear the truth about Catholic teaching.
Yah… I want to be part of a Church in which high school students determine our morality.
First, look at The Prout School.
Prout principal will not resign after controversial assembly
SOUTH KINGSTOWN — Kathleen Schlenz of Peace Dale knew something was wrong when her daughter, Anna, arrived home from school Friday.
The Rev. Francis “Rocky” Hoffman, a priest of Opus Dei, [I know him.] an orthodox division of the Roman Catholic Church, and executive director and radio host of Relevant Radio, a Catholic radio network that broadcasts on 33 stations in 13 states and online, had spoken to a school-wide assembly at The Prout School, where Anna is a junior. The speech was being taped to be broadcast on Relevant Radio at a later date. “She was most upset about the divisive and offensive language regarding divorce, homosexuality and even adoption,” Kathleen Schlenz [Follow her doings all through the piece. She's really something.] said. “None of the parents or faculty knew it was being taped to be aired. They were essentially held hostage and told to clap after this man’s responses to questions, even when they didn’t agree with them.” Father Hoffman was on retreat and unavailable for comment before the Independent went to press Wednesday. On April 10, parents received a letter of apology from Principal David Carradini since Friday. [sigh] In the new letter, Carradini announced he would not resign.
“Many have questioned why I did not stop Fr. Hoffman when I sensed things were going badly,” Carradini wrote. “I have offered three explanations to various audiences; the truth is I do not know why I did not stop him:. Though I sensed, and shared, the distress of your daughters and sons, and of the faculty, [and Gaia] I did not see its depth, as I was in the front of the auditorium. I desperately hoped that things might right-end themselves, [?!? Really? Who writes public letters like that? ] and in that hope I did not stop him. ['Cause that wouldn't have added chum to the waters.] Parents who are crisis management professionals have instructed me after the fact in what I ought to have done. I am grateful for their guidance.” [He makes this sound like a school shooting. Were psychologists called into the school to help students deal with the trauma?]
Students discussed staging protests and pickets in response to the speech. On Monday, fliers that read “Homosexuals are bullied because of apathy. [Good grief. WHO'S being bullied?] Divorced people are bullied because of apathy. Adoptive children are bullied because of apathy. Are you apathetic?” appeared around the school. [What the heck did my old friend Fr. Hoffman say? Did he use... I can hardly bring myself to type this... The 'S' Word™?] Several Prout students and alumni tweeted about the matter. “Prout is now an unvibrant uncatholic community,” one said. [They are figuring that out?] “All the good things built up by The Prout School today just came crashing down around us with that assembly,” read another. [The party's over, it seems. It all came crashing down. Was what Fr. Hoffman said as divisive and as bullying as this? Rom. 1:26-28, "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper."] Posts to Hoffman’s Facebook page appeared briefly, but were removed. In an email to Carradini, Kathleen Schlenz characterized Hoffman’s comments as “cruel, condemnatory, and wholly un-Christian.” [Could he have been harsher than the Bible? Lev 20:13: "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination." I'm just saying...] Beginning Friday, a number of parents, including Schlenz, went to Carradini with questions: Why was Hoffman asked to speak? Who approved it? Was he paid? Would the speech be aired? [Could his talk have been more challenging than Matthew 5:32 "But I say to you that every one who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."] Carradini referred a request for comment to the Diocese of Providence. [This is Bp. Tobin's diocese, thanks be to God.] Friday evening, parents received an email from the school. “My intention in inviting him here was to have a priest articulate Church teaching in a manner that was pastorally appropriate, doctrinally sound, and deeply respectful of the trust the students showed in bringing these questions forward for answer. My prior knowledge of Fr. Hoffman and his program gave every reason to expect this outcome,” Carradini wrote. “My expectations, and those of the faculty and staff, were not met, and for that I am deeply sorry. Several of the answers provided were not entirely representative of the full breadth of Church teaching on a number of complex and sensitive issues. [Oh? What did he omit?] Several members of the student body, faculty, and staff – including me – were personally offended by his manner of presentation.” [It may be that the little darlings heard it for the first time and had a reaction.] In the email, Carradini said he would “address these matters with the entire school and to apologize for the offenses caused.” [What did Fr. Hoffman say that was so horrible? Was it anything like what St. Paul said? 1 Cor 6:9-10: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God."] That occurred Monday, in another school-wide assembly, during which school chaplain Rev. Joseph Upton, offered an address with a more welcoming message. [?] “You can imagine how very upset I was on Friday morning as I watched and heard Fr. Rocky’s presentation unfold,” [I am still waiting for a quote... in or out of context... so that we can know what happened?] Upton said, according to an email regarding Hoffman’s address sent to parents. “We know that many young people in particular struggle with participation in the life of the Church. And now a presentation seemed to provide more of a reason to give up on the Church? I was angry and I was sad.” [Oooooo.] Approximately 50 parents appeared at the assembly uninvited and met with Carradini after it finished. Schlenz was among them. When she reached Carradini by phone Saturday, she asked what he was doing to ensure the speech would not be broadcast and was told he had spoken to a board member of Relevant Radio. [So that no one can know what Father really said? What does that sound like to you? She doesn't want people to know the truth.]
[...] Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
VATICAN–The focus of the conversation when President Barack Obama met with Pope Francis on Thursday was expected to be the gap between the rich and the poor. Obama has called income inequality “the defining challenge of our time,” and said as much to Pope Francis before the Holy Father, mesmerized with a black teleprompter Obama was using to discuss the plight of the poor, politely asked the President to stop what he was saying and to explain what “that black thingy” was behind him.
The former community organizer and pitchman, Obama, appeared more than willing to put a halt to his discussion about the poor, and to switch topics to the benefits of his teleprompter made by Autocue, saying, “Well, I’m glad you asked. Now if you don’t mind, let me ask you a few questions.”
“The President asked Pope Francis if he had ever had that awkward moment when he was giving a talk and lost his train of thought and had to revert to off-the-cuff remarks,” a Vatican insider told EOTT. “His Holiness nodded, and then Obama asked if he [Francis] was sick and tired of being misrepresented, or for suffering attacks from some Catholics about his sometimes suspect comments about gay marriage, abortion, and the potential of divorced Catholics receiving communion. Again Francis nodded.”
“Then boy are you in for a treat,” Obama reportedly told Francis. “Behold the all-new Autocue. Autocue is the world’s leading teleprompting solutions provider, with an unmatched heritage and the largest installed base. Autocue introduced the first teleprompters in 1955 and have led innovation in the industry ever since. Quite simply, Autocue is the household name in teleprompting. Just write out what you want to say, have someone take a look at it to make sure it can’t be misrepresented, and then just read off of it. No more off-the-cuff comments that’ll lead to scrutiny by some orthodox Catholics. Simply read off the teleprompter, bless everyone, and walk away. Continue reading
Northern casualties were more than 63 percent, and the number of black soldiers killed was disproportionately high. There is no doubt there was a massacre of some kind. But I think he (Forrest) did everything he could to stop it. Next day, when the Federals came in and shelled the place, he sent a captured Union captain and a Confederate soldier back with a white flag to tell ‘em to stop shootin’ their own wounded men because that’s all that was left at the fort.
Civil War historian Shelby Foote on Fort Pillow
Easily the most controversial engagement of the Civil War, the storming of Fort Pillow by forces under Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest and what happened in the aftermath have been hotly contested for the past one hundred and fifty years. Fort Pillow was a Union fort on the Mississippi 40 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee. It was garrisoned by around 600 Union troops, equally divided between blacks and whites. The black units were the 6th United States Regiment Heavy Artillery and the 2nd United States Colored Light Artillery. The whites were recent recruits of the 14th Tennessee Cavalry consisting of Tennessee Unionists. Both groups had every reason to fear falling into Confederate hands.
Forrest, commanding about 1500 men, summoned the garrison to surrender at 3:30 PM:
“The conduct of the officers and men garrisoning Fort Pillow has been such as to entitle them to being treated a prisoners of war. I demand the unconditional surrender of the entire garrison, promising that you shall be treated as prisoners of war. My men have just received a fresh supply of ammunition, and from their present position can easily assault and capture the fort. Should my demand be refused, I cannot be responsible for the fate of your command.”
This was a typical demand for surrender by Forrest, promising good treatment if the force surrendered and indicating that he could not guarantee good treatment if the fort was taken by storm. This was common practice, with commanders understanding that if a fort was taken by storm it was not unusual for the storming force, maddened by sustaining what they usually perceived as unnecessary casualties, exacting vengeance upon the garrison. The Union commander refused, and the fort was taken by storm about 5:00 PM. Continue reading
Something for the weekend. One of the most powerful depictions of Christ on film from the movie Ben Hur (1959). A wonderful melding of music and dialogue as Christ goes silently to the aid of Ben Hur and gives him water. The wordless encounter between Christ and the Centurion was amazing, as the Centurion’s face registers bewilderment, shame and curiosity as he has a totally unexpected encounter with the Divine. Whatever the actor who played the Centurion was earning that day, it wasn’t nearly enough.
PopeWatch has long believed that one of the keys to understanding Pope Francis is that he is an Argentinian, a very unique country whose tempestuous history has been dominated by outsized personalities. Here is an intriguing comment about the leadership style of Pope Francis by Nicolás Tereschuk which appeared in The Buenos Aires Herald:
As a bishop in Buenos Aires, Jorge Bergoglio pursued a conservative agenda critical of the “leftist” turn made by Néstor and Cristina Kirchner. But known for his “Peronist-style” leadership the priest’s strategy cannot be understood only in terms of the “right or left” spectrum. The question a man like Bergoglio asks himself is more like “how do I get to lead this organization?”, and not “how do I impose my own views in full to this organization?” In other words, with an institution without a real left for so many years — the last dictatorship and John Paul II views did the work — the biggest threat to Bergoglio was on the far right — an elitist conservative right. Behaving like quite a fierce challenger of the “red” Kirchners allowed Bergoglio to lead the Argentine Church and become papabile.
Now as Peter’s successor, the pendulum of power has swayed again for Bergoglio. To my own surprise — not everybody’s I must admit— it moved to the left. He does not seem that worried now about the conservative agenda he pushed in Buenos Aires, and his words sound more Latin American, younger, more progressive. Again, this should not be taken into account without noting the main fact. Bergoglio is now at the top of the organization he’s belonged to his entire life. He can neutralize his internal enemies best with this “liberal” shift than by being more conservative. It is also important to keep in mind that his former fellow cardinals gave him a task: get the Church out of a financial and political crisis, and clean its image as a first step to prepare it for the next two thousand years to come. Continue reading