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Life Arts    H4'ed 5/21/14

Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Bishops STINK -- as Did Lazarus in the Tomb!

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Duluth, Minnesota (OpEdNews) May 21, 2014: Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York says that Tradition should be capitalized for Roman Catholics today.

At least for the Roman Catholic bishops today, Tradition is capitalized. Those bishops have a hard time ever figuring out how to cast off ANYTHING from their Tradition of thought -- for example, slavery, burning supposed heretics at the stake, male chauvinism.

Now, T. S. Eliot wrote a famous essay about "Tradition and the Individual Talent." But of course T. S. Eliot was not a Roman Catholic. But the Roman Catholic bishops today tend to frown on the idea of individual talent, except when the individual talent is their pope -- in which case the other bishops stand and salute whatever the latest pope says as though he were making an infallible statement.

For the Roman Catholic bishops today, their Tradition of thought is their womb and life-support system -- and their tomb. Like Lazarus in the tomb (John 10:40-11:54), the bishops today are stinking dead. In plain English, they stink because they are dead and decomposing in their tomb of Tradition.


Tragically, the anti-Jew invective in the four canonical gospels inspired many Christians to persecute Jews over the centuries, as James Carroll has detailed in his book Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews: A History (2001). No doubt the Gospel According to John contains certain anti-Jew sentiments, including, I would suggest, the imagery of Lazarus in the tomb.

Lazarus in the tomb is stinking dead because the author used him as a symbol for all the supposedly stinking dead Jews of the time -- especially the ones who failed to jump on the Jesus bandwagon.

Remember that the ancient Jews had the custom of thinking in terms of themselves as the in-group supposedly favored by God and thinking of everybody else as the gentile out-group. So when the ancient Jews-for-Jesus Movement emerged historically, the followers of Jesus eventually constructed their own version of the in-group (themselves) and the out-group of pagans, including of course all other Jews who were not followers of Jesus. To catch the spirit of this kind of in-group versus out-group thinking, just think of the spirit of political correctness in academia today.

But I need to engage in a further step in my reasoning by analogy. Friedrich Nietzsche was the son of a Lutheran minister. In addition, both of his grandfathers were Lutheran ministers. Nietzsche of course famously declared that God is dead.

So if Nietzsche can declare that God is dead, I figure that an ancient Jewish woman could use the figure of Lazarus in the tomb to symbolize that all her fellow Jews who did not jump on to the Jesus bandwagon were stinking dead by portraying Lazarus in the tomb as stinking dead and showing the Jesus could bring a stinking dead Jew back to life.

Now, T. S. Eliot also famously wrote the poem "The Waste Land." In as much as we are not in union with the divine ground of being (also known as God), we live in the waste land that Eliot wrote about. But when we are in union with the immanent God within our human psyches, then we have worked out what C. G. Jung describes as the ego-Self axis (where the capitalized Self in the human psyche is distinct from the lower-case self of ego-consciousness).

For Christians, this kind of inner experience would be the equivalent of personally experiencing the Second Coming in one's own life here on earth.

In my estimate, the Roman Catholic bishops will probably be among the last Christians ever to experience this.

In the Roman Catholic Church today, the lay people who are most likely to experience this are women in religious orders.

More generally, women probably have a decided edge over men at experiencing this, especially men whose professional personas are as puffed up as the personas of Roman Catholic bishops and popes typically are.

Remember that Dante, perhaps understandably, comes close to apotheosizing the composite figure he refers to as Beatrice.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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