Report to the Emperor-First Draft

Friday, April 3, AD 2015

Ecce Homo 2

 

(I post this each year on Good Friday at The American Catholic.  Have a blessed Good Friday and Easter.)

I thank you Marcus for taking on the onerous task of acting as my secretary, in addition to your regular duties as my aide, in regard to this portion of the report.  The Greek, Aristides, is competent, and like most Greek secretaries his Latin is quite graceful, but also like most Greek secretaries he does not know when to keep his mouth shut.  I want him kept away from this work, and I want you to observe the strictest security.  Caiaphas was playing a nefarious game, and I do not think we are out of the woods yet.  I do not want his spies finding out what I am telling the Imperator and Caiaphas altering the tales his agents are now, no doubt, spreading in Rome.  Let us take the Jew by surprise for once!

 

Your first effort on this matter is rather good, but I think we can improve upon it.  Incidentally, tell the Greek in his portion of the report to work in a subtle reference to one of Tiberius’ victories with the legions.  Tiberius claims to despise flattery.  The old fraud, he loves flattery if it isn’t obvious, and I want him in a good mood when he is reading this report, probably the most important report of my career.

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Report to the Emperor-First Draft

Friday, April 18, AD 2014

(I post this each year on Good Friday at The American Catholic.  Have a blessed Good Friday and Easter.)

I thank you Marcus for taking on the onerous task of acting as my secretary, in addition to your regular duties as my aide, in regard to this portion of the report.  The Greek, Aristides, is competent, and like most Greek secretaries his Latin is quite graceful, but also like most Greek secretaries he does not know when to keep his mouth shut.  I want him kept away from this work, and I want you to observe the strictest security.  Caiaphas was playing a nefarious game, and I do not think we are out of the woods yet.  I do not want his spies finding out what I am telling the Imperator and Caiaphas altering the tales his agents are now, no doubt, spreading in Rome.  Let us take the Jew by surprise for once!

 

Your first effort on this matter is rather good, but I think we can improve upon it.  Incidentally, tell the Greek in his portion of the report to work in a subtle reference to one of Tiberius’ victories with the legions.  Tiberius claims to despise flattery.  The old fraud, he loves flattery if it isn’t obvious, and I want him in a good mood when he is reading this report, probably the most important report of my career.

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5 Responses to Report to the Emperor-First Draft

  • A Blessed Easter to you and yours, Donald McClary. One Hail Mary

  • “Perfect! No changes needed.”

    Thank you Mr.McClarey for adding more perspectives for my contemplation.
    Last night at Holy Mass the veil between heaven and earth was so very thin.
    What a GREAT GIFT we have in Him who was slain for our offences. God is SO GOOD to us. Happy Easter and blessings to your family as well.

  • And to you and yours Philip. Holy Week reminds us of ultimate realities that too many of us, and I put myself firmly in that category, blithely ignore for most of the rest of the year.

  • Pilate wants out of politics to enjoy a quiet life in Rome, but that ’empty tomb business’, his wife’s dream, and his rationale about that life saving many others will probably not allow it.
    We probably are graced with enough of a lifespan to figure out the direction of our hearts and consciences if we try .
    Politics every which way from Holy Week to Holy Week – I think your posts and the comments steadily keep the backdrop of the ‘ultimate realities’ and appreciate them. Thank you. Happy Easter season to all.

Google Worships Their God

Monday, April 22, AD 2013

Faithful readers will recall the post, here, where I noted that Google observed the birthday of Cesar Chavez on Easter.  Today Google is observing Earth Day.  I find Earth Day to be a banal, politicized event, redolent of the fuzziest thinking of the Sixties, but if Google wants to observe it, fine by me.  I would not have said the same back in 2011 when Earth Day fell on Good Friday and Google decided to observe Earth Day.  Google defenders usually state that Google has a policy of not observing religious events.  Indeed?  Anyone who has not noted that environmentalism has become a huge substitute religion over the past four decades simply hasn’t been paying attention.

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7 Responses to Google Worships Their God

  • “Anyone who has not noted that environmentalism has become a huge substitute religion over the past four decades simply hasn’t been paying attention.”

    Complete with human sacrifice:

    http://gizmodo.com/5995197/the-dark-history-behind-earth-days-murderous-girlfriend+composting-co+founder

    P.S. Its also Lenin’s Birthday. Coincidence?

  • …which is why I stopped using google as a search engine a long time ago!

  • Pingback: Vatican Approves Miracle to Make John Paul II a Saint - Big Pulpit
  • God gave us stewardship of the earth and all that dwelt therein back in the Book of Genesis, Pope Benedict XVI was/is very environmentally conscious and Pope Francis (If anything.) is even MORE so (Taking the bus, smaller living quarters – the list goes on.). As I have pointed out to a Wiccan who is near and dear to my, they are making the mistake of worshiping the “created” rather than the “Creator”.
    Might I suggest that we praise what is good in the Environmentalist Movement while lovingly pointing out where they are going astray? My personal opinion is that such an approach would be at least, if not more, effective than boycotting their products (A tactic I do support for those who companies who contribute to abortion providers.).

  • Benedict XVI was/is very environmentally conscious and Pope Francis (If anything.) is even MORE so (Taking the bus, smaller living quarters – the list goes on.). As I have pointed out to a Wiccan who is near and dear to my, they are making the mistake of worshiping the “created” rather than the “Creator”.

    Who is “they” in the second sentence. It doesn’t seem to follow from anything in the first sentence.

  • A false dilemma Joe. No one is denying the need to be good stewards of the Earth. We are pointing out the broad proclamation of Earth Day while omitting any mention of Easter (or placing Earth Day ahead of Good Friday as Don notes.)

    This isn’t the stewardship of Benedict, Francis or the Church. It is false worship.

The Cross: Sign of God’s Life

Friday, March 29, AD 2013

A Good Friday meditation on the Cross by commenter Greg Mockeridge.

Out of all Christian symbols, the sign of the Cross is by far the most significant. In the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faiths, the blessings given by priests, which are believed to convey actual grace, are given with the sign of the Cross.


The Cross also symbolizes one of the cruelest forms of capital punishment ever inflicted in human history. So it should be no surprise that this “sign of contradiction” is seen by many as the largest “stumbling block” of the Christian faith.


Such reaction, while superficially understandable, ignores a foundational truth of human experience large and small as attested to by history: the greatest of life’s triumphs and successes have always come on the heels of the worst failures and horrors.


This truth finds it fulfillment in the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Our Lord.


While believing firmly in the truth of this great paradox, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the Cross symbolized something more than just a paradox, a deeply profound paradox though it may be.


In reading what then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now pope emeritus Benedict XVI) had to say regarding the sign of the cross in his book Spirit of the Liturgy, I believe my hunch was vindicated. The sign of the Cross is the sign of God’s mark on creation prior to being a sign of crucifixion.
He states:

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7 Responses to The Cross: Sign of God’s Life

Good Friday and Me

Friday, April 6, AD 2012

When the creation of man was first mooted and when, even at that stage, the Enemy freely confessed that he foresaw a certain episode about a cross, Our Father very naturally sought an interview and asked for an explanation. The Enemy gave no reply except to produce the cock-and-bull story about disinterested love which He has been circulating ever since. This Our Father naturally could not accept. He implored the Enemy to lay His cards on the table, and gave Him every opportunity. He admitted that he felt a real anxiety to know the secret; the Enemy replied “I wish with all my heart that you did”.

Screwtape Letters, CS Lewis

Christ died for me.  The death of Christ on Calvary has immense theological significance:   the salvation of all mankind, the redemption from sin and the opening of the gates of Heaven.  I understand all of that on an intellectual level.  However, on Good Friday the fact that the Creator of All died for me, one of His creations, always hits me like an emotional freight train.  All of my life I have been fascinated by courage, especially sacrificial courage where men die to protect others.  We are such a flawed species, but capable of the heights of nobility when love and courage combine.  Then we put aside the great fear of death, and truly understand why we are here:  to love.

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Report to the Emperor-First Draft

Friday, April 6, AD 2012

ecce-homo

(I post this each year on Good Friday.)

I thank you Marcus for taking on the onerous task of acting as my secretary, in addition to your regular duties as my aide, in regard to this portion of the report.  The Greek, Aristides, is competent, and like most Greek secretaries his Latin is quite graceful, but also like most Greek secretaries he does not know when to keep his mouth shut.  I want him kept away from this work, and I want you to observe the strictest security.  Caiaphas was playing a nefarious game, and I do not think we are out of the woods yet.  I do not want his spies finding out what I am telling the Imperator and Caiaphas altering the tales his agents are now, no doubt, spreading in Rome.  Let us take the Jew by surprise for once!

Continue reading...

21 Responses to Report to the Emperor-First Draft

  • This is very moving. You said you post it every Good Friday, so I assume you did not write it. Who did?

  • No, it’s my own composition George; I simply re-post each year. Thank you for your kind words.

  • I have read this for the last couple years and have enjoyed it each time. Very well done.

  • My first time reading it….most excellent as it makes the politics of the Crucifixtion both real and topical. I am curious how you came up with the idea and I can see where your love of history was sated by the effort.

  • Thank you cthemfly25. Whenever I am studying a period of history I will try to put myself in the shoes of historical actors and see the world as they saw it. I find this enhances my understanding of both them and the times in which they lived.

  • This is the first time I read this post, Donald. It is now shared on facebook and Goggle blogger. Thanks. I hope my Pentecostal brothers and my sister read it – they know nothing of the historical circumstances surrounding the Crucifixion and I think that this gives excellent background on how Pontius Pilate may have wanted to be careful in his characterization of this event to Tiberius Caesar in the wake of Sejanus’ death, and Caiaphas’ intrigue. It’s too bad real history isn’t taught in public school any longer!

  • This is the first time I read this all the way through, and realized that you wrote it, Don! This is really great — it ought to be more widely published.

  • ” I, Donatus Marclarius, hereby confirm that I witnessed this instruction given by Pontius Pilatus to his secretary Marcus, and swear by the God Jovis that it transpired as he has wriiten.
    May the gods give long life to our illustrious Imperator Maximus Tiberius Caesar.”

    🙂

  • “It’s too bad real history isn’t taught in public school any longer!”

    Too often the life is sucked out of the history taught in schools Paul and replaced with politicized drek. Blogs I think can help to redress the balance and restore history to its central role for any educated man or woman.

  • “This is really great — it ought to be more widely published.”

    If it were possible for me to blush Elaine after 30 years in the law mines I would be!

  • ” I, Donatus Marclarius, hereby confirm that I witnessed this instruction given by Pontius Pilatus to his secretary Marcus, and swear by the God Jovis that it transpired as he has wriiten.
    May the gods give long life to our illustrious Imperator Maximus Tiberius Caesar.”

    No doubt one of my ancestors Don journied from Hibernia to teach the Roman legions how to fight. (Taken from what my great uncle William Barry said as he joined the Royal Army in 1939: “Someone has to show the Limies how to fight!”).

  • If it were possible for me to blush Elaine after 30 years in the law mines I would be!

    Ah Don………Too much cutting dulls even the sharpest blade.

    Dunno who said that, but I’m sure it was someone much more illustrious than me.

  • This is an excellent post, Don. Thank you.

    How intriguing it is that 300 years after the Crucifixion, it was the Roman Empire that was converted to Christ and the ancient pagan religions of Rome faded away.

    How amazing is it that after the Western Roman Empire faded away, the Catholic Church remained where Rome once ruled, to fight off and defeat the Muslim invaders, discover the New World and evangelize most of the Western Hemisphere.

  • All of the above. Perhaps it will become a script for a documentary. I would like to see that happen. I had little idea of the political intrigue involved and always assumed that anybody who wanted Jesus dead had absolutely no humanity.
    Don the Kiwi: Donald is not “dull”. Donald knows when he ought to blush and why he does not. Donald may be saving his blushes for heaven. Donald’s response to Elaine is precious.
    Elaine:I have always enjoyed your response to postings, but this one, from Donald, I would save.

  • Donald McClarey: Your great uncle was William Barry. Are you related to Commodore John Barry, Father of the American Navy, whose wife was Mary Clary (or Cleary)? and who was born in Ireland?

  • Penguin Fan, thank you for your kind words. A non-Catholic English historian Lord Macaulay said it best more than a century and a half ago about the Church and History:

    “There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The history of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilisation. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigour. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the farthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustin, and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which she confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age. Her acquisitions in the New World have more than compensated for what she has lost in the Old. Her spiritual ascendency extends over the vast countries which lie between the plains of the Missouri and Cape Horn, countries which a century hence, may not improbably contain a population as large as that which now inhabits Europe. The members of her communion are certainly not fewer than a hundred and fifty millions; and it will be difficult to show that all other Christian sects united amount to a hundred and twenty millions. Nor do we see any sign which indicates that the term of her long dominion is approaching. She saw the commencement of all the governments and of all the ecclesiastical establishments that now exist in the world; and we feel no assurance that she is not destined to see the end of them all. She was great and respected before the Saxon had set foot on Britain, before the Frank had passed the Rhine, when Grecian eloquence still flourished at Antioch, when idols were still worshipped in the temple of Mecca. And she may still exist in undiminished vigour when some traveller from New Zealand shall, in the midst of a vast solitude, take his stand on a broken arch of London Bridge to sketch the ruins of St. Paul’s.”

  • “Are you related to Commodore John Barry”

    Alas no Mary. My great great grandfather Barry came over from Ireland and settled in Newfoundland in circa 1870. He was a tough old bird. According to my mother he regarded pews and kneelers as Protestant innovations, and at Mass he would stand in the back of the church and kneel on the stone floor. When my mother in her childhood observed this, he was in his eighties. I am sorry that I never got to meet him.

    Here is a post I wrote about Commodore Barry:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2009/03/25/father-of-the-united-states-navy/

  • Donald: It would appear that your great, great grandfather Barry and John Barry were related in spirit.

  • I am also a first timer…but ended up reading this several times; (which I recommend BTW…easy to miss stuff the first read).
    Sent to my scripture study group after it came up as a discussion on the political aspect of Pilate and the Pharisees.

Stand To: Good Friday Morning

Friday, April 2, AD 2010

Stand-To: Good Friday Morning

I’d been on duty from two till four.
I went and stared at the dug-out door.
Down in the frowst I heard them snore.
‘Stand to!’ Somebody grunted and swore.
Dawn was misty; the skies were still;
Larks were singing, discordant, shrill;
They seemed happy; but I felt ill.
Deep in water I splashed my way
Up the trench to our bogged front line.
Rain had fallen the whole damned night.
O Jesus, send me a wound to-day,
And I’ll believe in Your bread and wine,
And get my bloody old sins washed white!

Siegfried Sassoon

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2 Responses to Stand To: Good Friday Morning

  • I.ve heard that Sassoon sffered from PTSD as a result of his war experiances. I’m happy to hear he took the faith in the latter years of his life. Since he was from the Jewish Sassoon family he probably payed a high price for his converison.

  • More things I didn’t know! Thank you!

Father Zuhlsdorf Rants About Sand in Holy Water Fonts

Tuesday, March 2, AD 2010

The abuse of removing Holy Water from fonts during the season of Lent is a manifestation of the Spirit of Vatican II.  Well meaning priests misinterpreted or altogether made up their own discipline by removing Holy Water.  Father John Zuhlsdorf has followed this up during the course of Lent 2010 with his most recent posting clarifying why Holy Water should never be removed during the season of Lent except for Good Friday and Holy Saturday:

To all the priests out there still… unbelievably still putting sand in holy water fonts during Lent…

KNOCK IT OFF!

And if you go into a church where you see this sort of idiocy… for the love of God, DON’T bless yourself with SAND.

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9 Responses to Father Zuhlsdorf Rants About Sand in Holy Water Fonts

  • Our parish moved the holy water to containers in urns in the aisles and filled the holy water fonts with vinegar.

  • Our “holy” water usually has mossy/seaweed-looking debris floating in it. There’s a penance for you.

  • I think Father’s idea of sneaking fast growing seeds and a little water into the “Holy Sand” is fabulous.

  • Must be a Northern Hemisphere thing.

    Never seen it of even heard of it Downunder.

    Why not a font full of salt? More appropriate than sand. 🙂

  • Don,

    You are very fortunate to be in a parish or diocese that has a low threshold of dissident Catholics.

    You are truly blessed!

    🙂

  • Sand in the holy water fount means rocks in the collection plate. I forget who suggested it , but think its quite brilliant. Also it’s in keeping with the Lenten theme. All the whackado personal symbolism has got to stop. Just contribute less money to buy all that sand.

  • I’ve never seen or heard of sand in the holy water fonts before. I’m glad we’re behind the times when it comes to this particular innovation.

    These days, I wouldn’t be surprised if they started filling the fonts with hand sanitizer. And considering that I have a rare talent for sitting next to the kid who wipes his nose on his hand or the lady with the bad cold who coughs and sneezes all the way through Mass and then wants to hold my hand during the Our Father, well, hey, a little hand sanitizer would be welcome…

  • Hehe, I now appreciate the literal holy-water-fountain (not as bad as it sounds…OK, the little wading-pool it pours into is kinda eyebrow-raising…) at my church.

  • I buried some rubber tarantulas in the sand that was placed in the holy water founts a few years ago. We haven’t seen sand since.

Who Killed Christ

Friday, April 10, AD 2009

When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out instead, he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. Look to it yourselves.”

And the whole people said in reply, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.”

Then he released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified.
Matthew 27:24-27

These short lines have, through the fallen nature of humanity, caused their fair share of trouble over the centuries. The gospel message, through primarily one of hope and redemption, contains one dark undertone: Christ died for our sins. The one truly perfect being suffered horrifically because of our too clear imperfection.

It is in our nature to shy away from that which is unpleasant, and so it is perhaps no surprise that throughout history some Christians have attempted to assuage their own consciences by pointing the finger of blame at an obvious target: the Jews.

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7 Responses to Who Killed Christ

  • Mirrors are always good when asking the question who killed Christ. They are also good when asking the question who can be saved by Christ.

  • The real answer to the question, “Who killed Christ?” is: We did.

    More correctly: I did.

    “anti-Semitic one.

    At the same time, one can acknowledge the historical fact that Jewish leaders and individuals are directly responsible for the historical crucifixion, without being “anti-Semitic”. The New Testament is full of references to the “Jews” persecuting Christ, would that mean the author was anti-Semitic?

  • At the same time, one can acknowledge the historical fact that Jewish leaders and individuals are directly responsible for the historical crucifixion, without being “anti-Semitic”. The New Testament is full of references to the “Jews” persecuting Christ, would that mean the author was anti-Semitic?

    Not at all. The sense in which I wanted to refer to an “anti-Semitic” interpretation would be if one is saying, “The Jews, those people over there, certainly no one like me, they were the one’s who killed Christ.”

    As a historical matter, it was clearly the Jewish leaders and mob who called for Christ’s death.

  • DC,

    thanks for clarifying, you are of course quite right.

  • More correctly: I did.

    Why is this “more correct” than “we did”? Can you explain? Are you some kind of liberal individualist?

  • Pontius Pilot, personally believing in Our Lord’s innocence, did not want to impose his views upon the masses. He, thus, washed his hands of guilt.

    Much as we do when we remain silent in defense of the unborn!

    Primary Principle: Thou Shalt Not Kill Innocent Human Life! Silence is complicity!

Passion Narrative

Friday, April 10, AD 2009

Paraclete Press has done us all the service of making available for free listening on Good Friday a recording of the passion narrative from the Gospel of St. John in beautiful chant tones.

Paraclete invites you to take part in a Good Friday tradition that dates back to the eighth century, with the chanting of the Passion Narrative according to Saint John. Take half an hour apart from the events of the day, and listen to these sacred words, chanted by monastic members of the Gloriae Dei Cantores Schola, in Latin, in Gregorian chant.

[Click the small “Play Passion Narrative” or “download music” links in the top header of the page — they can be a little hard to find.]

fra_angelico_crucifixion

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