Here’s what’s been in the media for the past week:
First, the “gospel” that isn’t, and which wasn’t written by Judas in the first place:
The “Gospel” of Judas was unearthed in Egypt three decades ago and there are serious questions as to its provenance, yet last Saturday the NYT had Elaine Pagels describe it in her article The Gospel Truth as
What is clear is that the Gospel of Judas has joined the other spectacular discoveries that are exploding the myth of a monolithic Christianity and showing how diverse and fascinating the early Christian movement really was.
Gnostic gospels are fascinating, but yet the fact remains that New Testament canon is what Christians around the world recognize. The document in question, however, was written nearly 200 years after Jesus’s and Judas’s deaths by one or more of those diverse Christians.
On Palm Sunday, the National Geographic channel presented a documentary on the Gospel of Judas, a document that has not been subjected to scholarly analysis. The Anchoress has been posting on the subject. You can read the translation at the National Geographic website, and do bear in mind, as Leo Wong put it, that
At least everyone agrees that the Gospel of Judas was not written by Judas, or any disciple of Judas, except perhaps, in the form of its “dramatic recreation,” the National Geographic Society.
One can’t help but notice the irony of the timing of the NGS’s program to make a buck on Judas on Palm Sunday.
If you’re into Gnostic gospel hooey you probably believed every word of the Da Vinci Code as if it were, well, Gospel, but it’s just a book and movie, at a screen near you next week, along with a heck of a lot of hype, such as statements in the NYT’s op-ed pages on “spectacular discoveries that are exploding the myth of a monolithic Christianity”. Yeah, yeah, the DaVinci Code deals with Mary Magdalen, but no doubt a thriller based on the Judas manuscript’s already in the works.
Then there’s the defecating Jesus on Comedy Central
Comedy Central could have taken a stand on freedom of expression and shown the Mohammed cartoons, but chose not to, and instead showed a defecating Jesus two days ago.
Before you email me trying to explain the point of that, please know that I watched the program and fully understand the episode. And Comedy Central’s cowardice and hypocrisy are evident, thank you. To quote a much wiser woman than I,
Well, CC is a very liberal outfit, so itÂs a good guess that pooping on Jesus, Bush and the flag is much less offensive to them than any PC consideration, or you know, the threat of violence by Muslim extremists. They KNOW they can pick on the rest without fear. How brave. How edgy of Comedy Central.
And let’s not forget MTV,
which, like Comedy Central, is also owned by Viacom, having a gaggle of laughs with Popetown, “a cartoon lampooning the pope and Vatican hierarchy.”
MTV said the series was satire and should be treated as a work of art. It planned to go ahead with showing it in Germany, Austria and Switzerland as scheduled early next month.
At least we have that to look forward to. Too bad Madonna’s into Kabbalah now, or she’d have had a new video ready for Easter (with obligatory sneak previews starting on Good Friday) demonstrating her art along with a lot of skin.
However, there’s a new Pope:
Vulgar and offensive as all of the above are, there are much larger issues at hand.
As Daniel Henninger says,
My guess is that on this Easter Pope Benedict XVI, the new leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, feels he has larger fish to fry than the marital status of Jesus.
Henninger’s article, The Pope’s Easter: Benedict XVI takes on the excesses of secularization and radical Islam explains,
“Attention has rightly been drawn to the danger of a clash of civilizations,” said Benedict. “The danger is made more acute by organized terrorism, which has already spread over the whole planet. Its causes are many and complex, not least those to do with political ideology, combined with aberrant religious ideas. Terrorism does not hesitate to strike defenseless people, without discrimination, or to impose inhuman blackmail, causing panic among entire populations, in order to force political leaders to support the designs of the terrorists. No situation can justify such criminal activity, which covers the perpetrators with infamy, and it is all the more deplorable when it hides behind religion, thereby bringing the pure truth of God down to the level of the terrorists’ own blindness and moral perversion.”
Pope Benedict has to face other political tensions: For instance,
the EU’s Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights (their real name, not an Orwellian satire) ruled Slovakia in violation of its EU “obligations.” Translation: Tell those Catholic docs to do abortions or we will hammer you financially. The political tensions split Slovakia’s government, and in February it fell,
Read the rest of the article. The estimated eight million Catholics in China’s persecuted underground church will derive more solace from the Pope’s Easter message than from any over-hyped new “gospels”.
As The Anchoress says,
the Holy Spirit uses things to His own advantage. This may be one of those times.
What is needed, in this secular age of self-intoxication, is a Saint who will remit our sins of betrayal; who will by his very existence sanctify treason. And who better fits this role than the man who betrayed the greatest love for the smallest change, Judas?
The worshipers of the Church of the Self need Judas today more than they need Christ, and they need Christ more than they can know. They need Him so much that they are compelled to reject Him utterly lest their shabby Church be seen as it is, a hovel made of mud and wattle, of empty objects, shabby dreams and promises broken. A statue of Judas would blend right into the niche above their television; a household god whose only requirement is an offering of silver, from time to time, or a shopping spree at the mall to secure his love and blessing; our “Saint Judas of Perpetual Extortion.”
Betrayal is a common catechism in the Church of the Self. Hymns to Me are the hosannas it hurls at an empty heaven. The politics of such a church require as First Things a rejection of all things not of, by, and for the self. A religion or a country of the people, by the people, and for the people is high on the list of things to be abhorred since it requires an allegiance that is other than to the self. The Church of the Self effectively mandates treason, and we see it now manifested daily in the bright robes of “unstiffled dissent” which shroud an increasingly vicious anti-Americanism that has its roots, not in reasoned criticism, but in unreasoned hate. We hear the hate but what we have not been allowed to see is the treason behind it.
That is now “changed, changed utterly.”
Now our traitors to God and Country have found a sheaf of rags that “prove” that the greatest treason was really “all good;” that Judas was really the greatest friend Jesus ever had and was, with a kiss, doing him the greatest favor ever done.
Treason, done with the kiss of “my personal freedom,” proves that you do not really hate your country, you love it. You are, in the final analysis, your country’s best friend. In these “new” old tales about Jesus we read that Judas betrayed the Son of God because Jesus told him to do it. Really? Or did his betrayal come, not from any request that may or may not have been made, but from humanity’s persistant lust to sin freely and without even the thin penalty of remorse? Was this final treason done because this sin had been secretly blessed by God, or for the sheer dark thrill of asserting the self at the expense of life in the light?