Sunday, March 23

Repudiating broad brushes.

While my mom and I were sitting in church on Good Friday, she noticed something in her missalette, a note printed at the bottom of the page where the Passion started. I don't know whether this is a new thing for the Catholic church, or whether they've been doing this for a while and we just didn't notice it, but here's what the note said:

The message of this liturgy in proclaiming the passion narratives in full is to enable the assembly to see vividly the love of Christ for each person, despite their sins, a love that even death could not vanquish. The crimes during the Passion of Christ cannot be attributed indiscriminately to all Jews of that time, nor to Jews today. The Jewish people should not be referred to as though rejected or cursed, as if this view followed from Scripture. The Church ever keeps in mind that Jesus, his mother Mary, and the Apostles all were Jewish. As the Church has aways held, Christ freely suffered his passion and death because of the sins of all, that all might be saved.

-- Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs

That sounds like the kind of thing that might have been laid down in response to the controversy over the film "The Passion of the Christ" and what some interpreted as a tone of anti-Semitism, but whatever the Church's reason for including it, I think it's a good thing -- particularly coming from an institution that was responsible for, you know, that Inquisition thing from a while back.

And if the Catholic Church can issue a decree like this one, maybe it would do all of us some good this Easter season to issue some decrees of our own regarding blanket condemnations of large groups of people for the sins of a few -- f'rinstance, that we won't blame all Muslims for 9/11, and we won't blame all white people for slavery and racial injustice, to name just a couple of examples that have been in the news lately.

Too much to ask? I don't think so.


Anonymous said...

As a Catholic since birth - and I'll just say that goes back to before Vatican II - it is a pretty recent statement in cosmic Church time - we are talking about roughly 2000 years. But the principle has been stated for some time now. Still, I haven't seen it actually printed in a Missalette. Now I am going to check and see if it was in ours.

But, the broader point is completely valid: Virtually all the horrors humanity has been able to foist upon one another stems from painting with a very sloppy and broad brush.

Universal Remonster said...

Mel Gibson must have sent out an addendum to all Catholic churches.

Anonymous said...

Mel Gibson isn't the Pope; he just thinks he is.

Anonymous said...

I stop by the Democratic Underground every couple of days when I need a chuckle. The broad brushes I can usually count on are no matter what the story in the news is about, it's GWB's fault and if it has anything to do with the military, they're all murdering rapists or about to be, and anything bad that happens to them they deserve.

Today for example. Some bastard in Iowa kills his wife and kids and then himself as he's about to go on trial for embezzling a ton of money from the bank he worked for to feed his cocaine habit. 5th post is it's more Bushitler victims.

Bikers rally in support of Marine recruiting office in Berkeley. You had to wait for the 6th post to get the double whammy of the bikers are KKK operating under the blessing of the Bush cartel. Post 7 is they are Brownshirts of the Republican Party. It takes a few more posts before we get to the military are murdering thugs.

I thought only lunatic right-wingers were so blind. On a redeeming note, there are always a few brave souls who point out the errors of the broad brushes.

holly said...

there is a guy, mike evans, a minister/writer that works in Israel, who went to the screening of the Passion and suggested to mel gibson that he add a statement at the end of the film regarding the Jews. mel said it was a good idea, but then the statement did not appear.
i'm glad he made the movie, but sad that he was recorded making the comments he made. when you rewatch it in light of the tenets of his branch of catholicism, you'll notice that the women's dress, for instance, is decidely nunnish..not exactly in keeping with the middle eastern garb of the time. or at least mary's for sure. and the worshipful view of her, which is not found in the gospels. just my ten cents.