I watched a video with scenes from the war in Iraq which the Bush administration did not want us to see. Children, women, non-combatants, U.S. soldiers – ripped to pieces by bombs, blood, guts and body parts blown everywhere. The horribly maimed in hospitals, knowing that even if they survived they would suffer as mental and physical cripples for the rest of their lives. Hundreds of thousands of doomed and desperate Iraqis in refugee camps or left in cities with no food, running water, electricity, employment.
My revulsion at our government quickly turned to rage that this is precisely what our Catholic bishops in their incessant drumbeat for the Republican Party continue to support.
How could men who claimed to be the sole interpreters of God’s will on earth do this? Well, why not. Wasn’t it the chief priests who had delivered Jesus to the secular government to be tortured and crucified?
So I would like to suggest that every October during an election year, progressive Catholics hold our own passion play with a dark-skinned child cast as Jesus and Judas played by a Bill Donohue impersonator. (Personally, I’d prefer the slippery and supercilious George Weigel.)
The child would be arrested and brought to appear before the Sanhedrin dressed as our bishops. Annas and Caiaphas could be portrayed as the easily-identifiable cardinals Dolan and Burke.
They would hand Jesus over to Pilate, a man with a Bush mask in front and a Romney mask in back since Bush’s foreign advisors are now part of the Romney team – although that’s probably a disservice to the morally-conflicted Roman governor. But this is showbiz.
The crowd shouting “Crucify him!” was directed and encouraged by the bishops/chief priests so I cast men in suits with high and tight haircuts and women with mantillas.
I would end the play with the last exchange between the chief priests and Pilate in the last (John’s) Gospel: “Pilate said to them, ‘Shall I crucify your king?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.’ Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.”
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