Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jesus leaving the church?

Oberammergau, whose passion play has just started up again, is not far from Ettal, one of the sites of clergy abuse. An article in the Catholic Church's greatest fan, The New York Times, reports that the director Christian Stückl no longer attends mass. Frederik Mayet, one of the actors playing Jesus (above), has looked into leaving the church, though his reasons have more to do with the Pope's rehabilitation of renegade bishops, one of whom had denied the Holocaust:

“I didn’t want to be a member of a church that welcomed Holocaust deniers with open arms,” said Mr. Mayet, who with his sad eyes, beard and lank blond hair resembled Renaissance depictions of Jesus even in a hooded sweatshirt and jeans, adding that hearing church leaders condemn condoms and abortion while at the same time they were covering up child abuse was “personally disappointing.” “The leaders should think less about hierarchies and institutions and more about Jesus and how to reach the people again."

How tempting it is to imagine these villagers are more than just members of community theater, have some sort of mystical participation in the passion story, some deeper insight... (I thought I'd shared my mages from John Stoddard's account of the 1890 play; here's one.) Mary Magdalene marries Caiaphas the Elder! Joseph goes to war! Great for a headline, or maybe a play! Below: this year's expulsion from paradise.

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