exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
I grew up Catholic, and I remember wondering,
why is the Church not so fond of Jesus?
return to main-page of the "Jesus" article
audacious and cocky
As a young boy, I recall my perplexity as some of those around me asserted: "We are not Christians! We are Catholic!"
faux invincibility and the divine numen
In the sister-article on "Satan," I speak of "going mad in herds"; how members of dysfunctional groups, under the "divine numen," an approving nod of a father-figure leader, as Freud well explained, can take to themselves an aura of irrational invincibility.
The afterlife-reports indicate that Catholics, more than other groups, have been damaged by this flight into existential hubris. They've been taught that they're very special -- the law of moral cause-and-effect doesn't apply to them, as an at-the-ready magic hand-sign will save them.
We see this diseased spirit of "irrational invincibility" even in the RCC founding-father Constantine, with his defiant deathbed baptism; in effect, proclaiming to the universe:
"I can live as I want, I can harm and hurt whomever I want, I can defy any aspect of moral law - and God will be forced to forgive me under the aegis of a magic ritual!"
Constantine represents the classic case of "believing your own propaganda." As a boy, however, I witnessed this same delusional mind-set among many who presumed to cavalierly engage in any vile viewpoint and then simply accost the local priest and have it all washed away. No one ever thought to ask, what kind of venal person would God need to be to condone this kind of low-spiritedness, this barbarity?
All this sounds very strange to me now, though I grew up in that environment. But I have come to understand that while one remains and lives in that unreal world, it can all seem very logical and respectable; and very difficult to break away from.
they made him a god, but they're not so fond of him
Why would the Church not be so fond of Jesus? Has it not built around that august figure an impenetrable maze of doctrines, centering in the "holy mass," a commemoration of the great blood sacrifice? Even some Catholics will be puzzled, as I was, by this odd non sequitur reaction!
To understand the Church's strategically-placed emphasis on Jesus, or the lack of it, one must have a good working knowledge of the Small Ego; especially, collective-ego institutions.
The Small Ego has no friends, no lovers - only accomplices and co-conspirators. If the ego feels threatened by any person, thing, or idea, it will seek to destroy or minimize the competition - even if it's Jesus! - and even if it has built up a fortress of doctrines around him as purported philosophical core.
the Small Ego will never fully endorse anything that it cannot control
This is a very important point, and highly instructive to us. Collective-ego institutions are run by Dear Leaders. Above all, they seek for power and control over others - the antithesis of true spirituality, as Elizabeth Fry instructs. The Church has grown rich - but not spiritually - by appropriating the magical and prestigious name of Jesus with its talismanic effect, as it modestly claims to be his representative on Earth.
- Editor's note: The very concept of "representative" here misrepresents reality. Jesus, and untold millions of other Spirit-helpers, today, work directly with all people, leading and influencing them toward maturity.
But the egoic-Church is unwilling to go too far in the direction of honoring Jesus. The Catholic leadership will never tell its members to simply live the life Jesus did; to follow his example, imbibing of his "Christ Consciousness," as a sufficiency. The hierarchy is not unmindful of the severe power-diminishment to be suffered if “the sheep” were simply handed over to the care of Jesus.
Editor's note: The RCC prefers to worship Mary, far more than Jesus. As I teen, I recall a heated discussion with my father about the idolatry of Mary. His response well captures the essential argument of many who offer fealty to the Goddess of Heaven:
"God is angry. We can't approach him. He's not that nice. We need a kind and merciful Mother to get on his good side, to pray for us, to influence him. That's how we get into heaven."
As we've learned -- common knowledge among scholars -- many doctrines, including Mary-worship, were directly plucked from paganism, injected into Church law many hundreds of years after the time of Jesus, to appeal to the cultishly-minded masses. The "virgin goddess" is a most familiar icon of ancient religions going back thousands of years - as familiar as the "suffering savior-god."
Kenneth Clark's Civilisation comments (see the entire discussion via the provided link):
"... only in the twelfth century did the cult of the Virgin appeal to the popular imagination... The earliest cult figure [artwork] of the Virgin and Child of any size is a painted wooden statue in St Denis which must date from about 1130."
The early NT Church of Paul or James, and even the early Roman Church, knew nothing of Mary-worship. This was added much later in church history. "Mary" would need to wait more than a thousand years after the time of Jesus to be promoted to the popular status of "Queen of Heaven."
Psychologically, from the viewpoint of the Small Ego, Mary as "intermediate god" - indeed, as alternate "savior-god" - is far more palatable to RCC hierarchy than the super-hero Jesus, with whom they cannot compete toe-to-toe; better to minimize him, and deal with the threat to their prestige that way.
"Jesus is only number 6 on a list of saints that Catholics pray to!"
Father Reginald Foster
Biographical information from Wikipedia:
Father Reginald Foster O.C.D. is an American Catholic priest, an expert in Latin literature, especially Cicero. After spending more than 40 years in Rome, he returned to the U.S. in 2009. He suffers health complications resulting from a fall in 2008.
In 2008, outside the Vatican, Father Foster was interviewed by Bill Maher in the documentary-film Religulous.
Father Foster comments on a survey revealing that, in times of trouble, Catholics pray to Jesus only as number six on a list of saints!
CLICK HERE to view a Youtube excerpt of the interview.
Two things immediately struck me about Father Foster as I watched the Maher-interview:
(1) He is extremely affable, congenial, a true human being, not unlike my near-relative, Father John Kuhn.
(2) Father Foster is no politician, speaks the truth plainly, and sounds very much like Father Robert Hugh Benson.
There is little doubt in my mind that, during my troubled teen-years, a time of confrontation with the Church, if I had been counseled by a humanistic spirit of a Father Foster, I would not have separated myself from the Church, but would have worked within the system, as did Reginald and John, to effect change and to promote the truth.
Editor's last word:
Jesus in the gospels informs us that the Dark Realms are inhabited by two primary maladjusted attitudes: (1) “weeping and wailing,” and (2) “gnashing of teeth.” In modern English – (1) the victim-mentality, and (2) the arrogant-defiant.
The Small Ego vacillates between these extremes, as it connives and manipulates to get what it wants: (1) If it is childish, puerile, in its view, it will become a boot-licking “true believer,” hoping to gain protection from, linking its identity with, a powerful father-figure. But if, in its delusions, (2) it fancies itself to be a power-source, then, it will self-centeredly fight to maintain turf and territory against all-comers.
These two polar-opposites describe well the insanity of the Small Ego’s reaction to Jesus: (1) The victim-mentality will be found espousing, “Jesus loves you; praise Jesus; we’re saved by the Blood; what would Jesus do; I love Jesus, honk if you love Jesus”; and other expressions of self-loathing, disgusting maudlin sentiment. However, at the other end, we see (2) a virtual despising, an audacious disdain, of Jesus; a recalcitrant, in-your-face hubris and insolence, of the sort Constantine exhibited.
Both of these views of life are dysfunctional, well removed from the “Christ Consciousness”; both of these extinguish the light of one’s spirit - a condition to be carried into the next world, earning for oneself time in dark detention.