Even in our degraded, secular world, the story of Good Friday still resonates. Christ alone, beneath the agonising weight of the Cross, walking to his death. For two thousand years that image has lived within us, defined us and we still struggle with the reality of it.
So, suitably for Easter Weekend, the latest edition of the Synodal Times is marked by death, of the Church, of Hope, of the synodal process. But those deaths are made bearable by the hope of resurrection.
Garry O’Sullivan, punchy as ever, reckons the Catholic Church has been dying since we spilt with the Orthodox.
This Church lost one of its lungs when the Eastern Church split and left, the Eastern mind/ mystical mind of the Church was gone. On one lung the Church survived – but the oxygen levels going to the brain weren’t so good and the Reformation happened and robbed half of the remaining lung – then the Protestants ran away with the Bible and we ran off with the Blessed Sacrament.
As a one paragraph history of Christianity it’s memorable, and truer than many tomes on the subject.
Now if you’re wanting to consider an entirely unorthodox Easter story, Peter Keenan has you covered. In this extract from his book ‘The Death of Jesus the Jew’ he suggests an alternative fate for Judas.
Rolling Stone Magazine once championed Judas’ innocence. It had a point – Judas probably died in his bed.
Diarmuid O’Murchu, member of the Sacred Heart Missionary Order and a social psychologist is also ruminating on death, in this case that of Catholicism itself. He finds many culprits, including the ordinary Catholic in the pews.
Almost inevitably people began to internalise a tyrannical demanding God who could never be satisfied, a God that would never give the graces necessary for salvation unless we bombarded him day and night.
But as night follows day, Easter Sunday follows Good Friday. And while the church may appear to be headed for the exits in Europe, in Africa it’s a different story. It may well be that a global Church dominated by Africans rather than Europeans may be a happier and healthier place. Our report from the recent deliberations of the African Synodal process keeps that flame of hope alive.
During our Continental Synodal Assembly, we journeyed with the women who were active participants in the process of listening, dialogue and discernment. We have learned from them how to be a Synodal Church. African women hold the Church together; they are the majority. African women are the backbone of the Church. To journey together as a Synodal Church means recognising their giftedness, talents, charisms and contributions. For women in Africa and across the world, synodality is an opportunity for ‘full and equal participation’ in the life of the Church. Women are a gift to the Church. There is no way true synodality can happen in the Church if women are not considered equal.
May you have a happy and Holy Easter, and feel the weight of the Cross broken by the hope of the resurrection.