The Church defines the “Octave of Easter” as Easter and all the days up to and including the Sunday following Easter Sunday. Each day within the Octave is considered a solemnity.
Undoubtedly, the very first Octave of Easter–occurring as it did before there was a formal Easter holiday, or even a Church–was a tumultuous time.
During the Roman occupation of Jewish territories, festival times (Passover in this case) were always prone to riots, rebellion, and general mischief. That is why Pontius Pilate and his army, normally stationed in the predominantly Gentile city of Caesarea, happened to be in Jerusalem. They would come to this city, which they did not at all care for, only to ensure peace during the pilgrimage festivals: Passover, Weeks (Shabuoth), and Booths (Sukkoth).
Sadly enough, our current Octave of Easter can lay serious claim to surpassing that first one for mayhem, controversy, and just plain tragedy.
We note first, the escalating battle between the Israeli Defense Forces and Palestinians. Notched into high gear by the recent wave of suicide bombings, the IDF embarked on a mission to flush out terrorist (or “militant”) strongholds. In an ironic twist, hundreds of armed Palestinians were holed up in Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, presumably daring the IDF to damage this ancient structure. How interesting that an endless and bitter ethnic war, that invokes religion merely as a convenience, would still instinctively gravitate to the real Prince of Peace, for a respite in its awful proceedings.
How pathetic, as well, that refugee camps, more than 50 years old, housing a race of people that no one seems to want to take in EXCEPT the Israelis, are still being subsidized by that vomitus mass, known as the United Nations.
Finally, just who is this mysterious Egyptian Arafat, he of rumored questionable sexual preference, who would take on this desperate people as his own, and advance them not one iota, while building his own miserable world standing?
Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles, our already beleaguered Cardinal Roger Mahony had to deal with two more scandals. For those not familiar with ecclesiastical politics in the nation’s largest archdiocese, it came as a surprise to many when Mahony, an imperious, egotistical, and not particularly well-liked cleric, became archbishop.
In the first scandal, Mahony is accused of molesting a high school girl in Fresno, where he was a priest, in 1970. In the second, certain e-mails were leaked to a local radio station that discussed his “biggest mistake” in the current pedophilia matter as not notifying the police earlier, and describing how to craft statements to reveal as little of the truth as possible. In fairness to the Cardinal, he was questioning previously received legal advice, but it was still his decision not to fully cooperate in the first place.
Other e-mails cover where to place a priest newly accused of molesting children; whether a victims’ support group should be started; how to anticipate and counteract media accusations; how to give “instruction” in child-abuse law to Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard C. Parks, and how to measure the number of weeks or months before a “healing” process begins in the church.
My take is that the e-mails were leaked to the media by an employee inside the Chancery, who is none too pleased with the way the Cardinal and company are running things, and I’m sure his displeasure started well before the pedophilia revelations.
For his part, the Cardinal has promoted an egregiously overpriced new cathedral, when repairs to the earthquake-damaged St. Vibiana’s would have been far more prudent. He has also engaged in the most annoying changes to the liturgy, including insistence on inclusive language to a degree that is almost laughable, and processing for communion from the rear, that even some of his biggest toady priests haven’t followed.
He has surrounded himself with liberals and functional atheists, and now seems to be very much reaping what he sowed.
One wonders what will happen next.