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Giles Fraser is wrong to say that evangelicals miss the point of the Cross

Dr Giles Fraser is mistaken when he suggests that celebrating the triumph of the Cross is theologically illiterate

By on Monday, 25 March 2013

Dr Giles Fraser Photo: PA

Dr Giles Fraser Photo: PA

Dr Giles Fraser, over at the Guardian, in his latest article, which can be read in its entirety here, implies that evangelicals miss the point of the Cross of Jesus.

Every Christian, if they are to be worthy of the name, has, at some point in life, to encounter the Cross. At some moment our faith will be tested, and if it is true, it will pass the test. On Good Friday, as Dr Fraser mentions, all the disciples failed the test; they ran away; they could not face the Cross. But, and this is an important but, later on they passed the test: each one of them eventually embraced the Cross from which they had earlier fled: St Peter was crucified, so was St Andrew, and so on.

Did I say all? In fact not all – Saint John stood by the foot of the Cross as did Our Blessed Lady. Such was the maturity of their faith! And others stood at a distance, looking on (see Mark 15:40) – their faith presumably was not as perfect as that of the Blessed Virgin or Saint John, though stronger than that of the absent disciples.

But this range of responses to the Cross should not surprise us; the Cross is difficult to face; but one day face it we must, and through God’s grace, we will. At some point all of us will realise that the Cross is not something we look at, it is something we participate in, and that our suffering and that of the Lord somehow become one. This is one of the great themes of St Augustine who at several points says of Christ transfiguravit se in nobis – He transfigured Himself into us; in other words on the Cross He suffered for us what we suffer now. Or in the words of the prophet Isaiah: ‘Ours were the sufferings he bore’ (Isaiah 53:4).

As we make the identification between ourselves and the suffering Christ, our faith matures. But this is the work of a lifetime. St Peter only embraced the Cross fully as an old man.

Speaking of evangelicals and the Cross, Dr Fraser has this to say:

“Welby, however, does have one important inoculation against Cheesus. He has personal experience of tragedy and Cheesus cannot deal with tragedy. Which is why, for the worst sort of Cheesus-loving evangelicals, the cross of Good Friday is actually celebrated as a moment of triumph. This is theologically illiterate. Next week, in the run up to Easter, Christianity goes into existential crisis. It fails.

“The disciples run away, unable to cope with the impossible demands placed upon them. The hero they gave up everything to follow is exposed to public ridicule and handed over to Roman execution. And the broken man on the cross begins to fear that God is no longer present.

“The fact that this is not the end of the story does not take away from the fact that tragedy will always be folded into the experience of faith. Even the resurrected Jesus bears the scars of his suffering. A man who has been through something like that will never smile that cheesy smile or think of faith as some sunny suburban upspeak.”

Well, yes, one sees what he is saying, but…If Dr Fraser thinks that there are supposed Christians who have abandoned the faith and replaced it with some sort of self-help doctrine, then there might be some point to what he says. However, the concept of the Triumph of the Cross is by no means theologically illiterate. This Triumph is celebrated in East and West on September 14. Its extremely nuanced theology is expressed in the Anglo-Saxon poem The Dream of the Rood.

Good Friday is a triumph for on this day our salvation is accomplished. Far from failing –though it looks that way – Jesus succeeds. Regnavit a ligno Deus, to quote an ancient Christian hymn, the Vexilla Regis: God ruled from a tree.

Dr Fraser then goes on to make a specific charge, not just against evangelicals in general but one lot of evangelicals in particular:

“Justin Welby is the theological product of Holy Trinity Brompton, the Old Etonian-run church next to Harrods that brought the world the Alpha Course and doubles up as a posh dating agency for west London singles. They are brilliant at PR and have pots of money. And if Christianity is all about success, then you have it hand it to them. But the problem with PR Christianity is that it can easily transform Jesus into Cheesus, which is a form of Jesus-lite, a romantic infatuation, a Mills & Boon theology that makes you feel all warm inside. The Gospels, however, tell an altogether more disturbing story. And there is no PR agency in the world that could sell the message of a man who told his followers that they too would have to go the way of the cross. That’s the problem with Cheesus. He won’t really suffer and he doesn’t ever die.”

The serious charge here – there are others, but they are too silly to pause over – is that the Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) gospel is one where Jesus’ suffering and death are played down, even denied. One can refute this quite easily. The teaching that comes out of HTB is clear and coherent on the great questions of Christian morality. In other words, when facing temptation, people are not told that these things do not really matter, or that there is no point in resisting their sinful impulses, which are perfectly ‘natural’; they are told, relying on the grace of God, to fight the good fight, and to sacrifice their desires on the altar of the Cross.

This is the crunch moment for all who call themselves Christian. Do we make sacrifices, in our desire to live moral lives? Do we, in other words, believe in the Cross? The trajectory of liberal Christianity (if that is not too great an oxymoron) is to deny sin, and in so doing, to deny the necessity of the Cross. Indeed, as John Paul II observed in his great letter on morality, Veritatis Splendor, to abandon traditional Christian morality is tantamount to emptying the Cross of its power (see I Cor 1:17 and Veritatis Splendor 83). For if we say that the struggle to live the moral life is useless or simply doomed to failure, we are also saying that Christ on His Cross did not win for us the grace by which we conquer our temptations. But the message from HTB is a clear one, I have noticed: you can overcome your faults, through the grace of God, because Jesus has won the victory through His Cross.

This is not just the message from HTB. It is (or should be) the message of every Catholic preacher as well. And that is why, in case you were wondering, I feel called to defend HTB on this matter. HTB shares a denominational allegiance with Dr Fraser; but on this matter Catholics and evangelicals stand together. Where, I wonder, does Dr Fraser stand?

  • ed77

    ‘The trajectory of liberal Christianity (if that is not too great an oxymoron) is to deny sin, and in so doing, to deny the necessity of the Cross.’ Precisely! Giles Fraser and his Guardianista ‘Christians’ do exactly this, which is why it is such hypocrisy to attack Holy Trinity Brompton in the way that he does.

  • Chiggs

    The comments about Giles Fraser are interesting. More interesting, however, is that Fr Lucie-Smith chooses him as his subject in the Catholic Herald. Perhaps I’ve missed something but surely there is a new Pope to comment on or celebrate? And is it not the beginning of Holy Week. And in any case, why should an RC priest be so concerned about the theology of an Anglican former canon of St Paul’s?

    For the record, as a former HTB-er I can vouch that it is VERY much “Cheesus-lite”. Coming from a regular churchgoing background at the Catholic end of the CofE spectrum I was frequently surprised (gobsmacked would be more accurate) at some of the pronouncements that came from the Alpha bunnies. As for HTB sharing a “denominational allegiance” my experience was that they were closest to Baptists.

    As for whether or not there is a “triumph” of the cross: debatable – I’m more inclined to the Fraser view than the revisionism of Fr Lucie-Smith. As for quoting St John, he was there to support St Mary, NOT to support his Lord. Whether or not other disciples were at Calvary we don’t know – just because there is no mention doesn’t mean they weren’t: perhaps if the ancient church had been less keen to prune the scriptures down to the 4 “approved” gospels we might have a better idea.

  • Peter Bridgman

    @Chiggs – “Perhaps if the ancient church had been less keen to prune the scriptures down to the 4 “approved” gospels we might have a better idea.”

    I’m sorry but this is Dan Brown nonsense. The 4 canonical gospels were all written in the 1st century. Apocryphal gospels date from at least the 2nd century, when any eye-witnesses to the gospel events were long dead. Yes, there were books considered canonical by early Christians that never made it into the NT canon (The Shepherd of Hermas, Epistle of Barnabas, 1 Clement, etc) but none of these docs were biographies of Jesus. Early Christians very quickly accepted Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as authoritative; subsequent generations defended this decision.

  • Hamish Redux

    Now don’t mock poor Giles Fraser. He has to write things which are consistent with the secular (BBC, Guardian) world he lives in, even if they are a complete travesty of Christian belief.

    When it comes to the crunch, there will be a final battle between, on the one hand, Christ, Catholics, and Evangelical Christians, and, on the other, the Devil with his secularist allies.

  • Benedict Carter

    I think that, as far as the Evngelicals are concerned, he is spot on.

    We Catholics know that no Resurrection is possible without the horrendous death on the Cross.

    Evangelicals and Pentecostalists emphasise the Resurrection, which diminishes the suffering of the Cross, the need for our redemption, sin and finally Original Sin itself.

    It is EXACTLY this mistake that many in the modern Catholic Church make too.

  • paulpriest

    No Giles Fraser is – incredibly – NOT wrong on this occasion…
    But Fr ALS – irrespective of what HTB think – their ‘overcoming faults by the cross of Christ’ is no counter to Giles’s argument regarding the cross nor does it have anything to do with our Scandal & Triumph of the Cross.
    I’m afraid you’re resorting to pure amphiboly. And it’s a bit naughty to pretend anyone is arguing against anyone rather than across them…

    Kant’s critique of practical reason reminds us – two contradictions can only be both true or both false if the predicates of the premise are antinomial.

    or as Linus from Peanuts says “There can be a time when 2 plus 2 does not equal 4 – when you’re stupid!”

    …as for the rest of this?
    Facing cross rather than taking it up and following?

    As if we’re enduring some pelagian self-intervention or it’s a matrix ‘blue/red pill event’?
    St Peter only facing his cross in old age? REALLY???!!
    Identifying oneself with Christ? rather than humbly Imitating?

    The only way Catholics and Evangelicals can stand together is to politely request that Fr ALS stops misrepresenting everyone involved and kindly….well?

    Stops telling people they’re wrong for the wrong reasons

    and stops telling people they’re right [when they're not] for the wrong reasons

    and stops telling us we’re right [when we already know we are] for all the wrong reasons with explanations which have little if anything to do with ‘why we are actually right’ and are somewhat offensively pelagian and ill-considered when placed within a correct soteriological context.

  • teigitur

    Giles Fraser is wrong about a great many things. The BBC seem to love him as he is never off the airways.No surprises.

  • James Moriarty

    Perhaps you’d like to rewrite this when you’re feeling less confused.

  • paulpriest

    Maybe address that to Fr ALS..not me…

  • andHarry

    ‘Perhaps you’d like to rewrite this when you’re feeling less confused.’

    That would clarify it for this ‘little one’. It’s the difference between the the church of the wise and learned, and the church of the ‘little children’ who are led by the Holy Spirit.

    Luke 10:21. At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit,
    said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have
    hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to
    little children (or ‘little ones’). Yes, Father, for this is what you
    were pleased to do.”

  • $27740841

    And the Novus Ordo Mass diminishes the propitiatory character of the Sacrifice. Christ’s Suffering and Death paid the debt to Divine Justice incurred by human sin, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass continues to pay the debt caused by human beings continuing to sin. Traditionally, propitiation is one of the four ends of the Mass, but this is played right down in the modern Catholic Church.

  • anglicanus

    Giles Fraser comes from an Anglo-Catholic (albeit liberal) tradition and his faith is incarnational. The essence of the Sacrum Triduum is the passage through death into life. I don’t think HTB types understand this at all – in fact, I think their focus on Jesus reduces the importance of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. Let’s face it, they are puritans in the Cromwell tradition and it is a grave mistake to assume much common ground with the Catholic faith.

  • James M

    “Every Christian, if they are to be worthy of the name, has, at some point in life, to encounter the Cross.”

    ## “Every Christian” is a distributive singular. “[I]f they”, which is apposition to “Every Christian”, is a phrase containing the pronoun in the plural number, not the singular. Suggestion: change “they are” to “he is”.

    “This is the crunch moment for all who call themselves Christian”

    ## The use of “crunch” as an adjective is a dysphemism, like “claw back”, or “have sex”

    “The trajectory of liberal Christianity (if that is not too great an oxymoron) is to deny sin”

    ## “Trajectory” is the wrong word; it is is too specific. The use of “trajectory” instead of “tendency” arises from attempting to vary one’s vocabulary, and failing by ever so little to hit the mark – a fault to which journalists & politicians seem especially liable. Metaphors, idioms, fairy-tales, proverbs, and parables live because they deal in common nouns – they avoid excessive specificity. To write well is gracious – it is considerate, and that helps the Body of Christ. Jargon-laden effusions that veil meaning do not.

    As for “liberal Christianity” – that phrase is becoming as over-used & meaningless as “relativism”, “conservative”, “liberal”, “Christian”, “human rights”. The problem with adjectives – like “liberal” – is they have no fixed denotation. Unlike nouns, which denote particular entities – man, cow, bishop, elephant, yacht, newspaper, cheese – their meaning is apt to be obscured by lack of context. Is the antonym of “liberal Christianity” “illiberal Christianity”, “liberal atheism”, “Whig Christianity”, “Fascist Christianity”, “dogmatic Christianity”, “Tractarian Christianity”, “mainstream Christianity”, “Ultramontanism”, or what ? What Pius IX understood by liberalism is not what W. E. Gladstone understood by it. And what Newman meant by liberalism in 1826 is far closer to strict Fundamentalism than to either Catholic Biblical exegesis today, or Protestant Biblical study in 1900. Undiscriminating attacks on “liberals” are better left to Fundamentalists. What they call “liberalism” is defined for them by their polemical over-simplification of the variety of Christian thought – to see this corrupting the CC as well, with not a voice raised in protest, is appalling. STM the Church is losing the will and ability to think clearly. No wonder it can’t write well.

  • paulpriest

    Ok
    Giles accused HTB of basically removing Good Friday from Christianity

    Fr ALS has retorted that they haven’t as they appeal to the Cross of Christ their Victor in whom they can overcome their faults

    Fr ALS has appealed to our tradition of exalting the Triumph of the Cross [as if we don't also repeat GF's exact words on occasion when we refer to the Scandal of the Cross?!!!] & Bl JP2′s VS denouncing the removal of Christ from the cross.

    Basically Fr ALS is arguing

    a] it would be wrong for HTB to do what GF accuses
    b] That HTB appeals to the Cross – and we too don’t hold such a negative approach to the Cross – as our tradition of X, Y etc indicates
    c] Therefore GF is wrong

    But it doesn’t work like that – Evangelicals DO take Christ off the Cross and prefer Salvation by this ineffable God-washing process to Conversion, Repentance & Metanoia and Redemption through the Cross

    An Evangelical appealing to the Cross IS NOT the same as Our Understanding of it from either Scandal or Triumph perspectives…
    …and it is mere word-play to imply there is a congruency

    Especially when using it as ‘evidence’ to prove Giles Fraser is ‘wrong’ – [and ironically on an occasion where GF isn't so very far off the mark - for a change!!]

    [also bear in mind - does Fr ALS mean GF is [objectively intellectually] incorrect or [morally] guilty of some misdemeanour when he uses the word ‘wrong’?]

    …it proves no such thing

    …and sending out a rallying call for union with the evangelicals in this regard is..
    to be honest?
    .. as embarrassing as it is misconceived.

    Other concerns related to

    ‘facing the cross’ rather than actually taking it up, carrying it and following Christ

    - it’s a really ‘Protestant’ notion of a single cathartic rebirth through facing reality..you must have heard of the born-agains speaking of ‘being washed in the blood of Christ’ and unable to sin again?
    …rather than a whole post-baptismal life aspiring to perfection with its falls and recuperations?

    St Peter only fully embracing the cross in old age?
    SAYS WHO???!!!

    and the biggie – “identifying ourselves with Christ”
    We don’t do that

    because we can’t do that..
    We imitate, we emulate, we follow…

    It’s awkwardly inappropriate to use such an analogy

    …better?

  • James M

    The books excluded themselves – the Church did not arbitrarily throw them out; it recognised, sooner or later, that certain books did not reflect its Faith. Have those who claim the Church threw books out, bothered to read the NT Apocrypha ? The notion that the Bible has often been rewritten is equally baseless.

    BTW, some of Dan Brown’s fake information can be traced to one source in particular – a stridently anti-Catholic book written in the mid-19th century found all over the Net among persons of a certain outlook, which has been sold & popularised by Jack Chick, decanted into some of his tracts, and turned into a comic book by him. So some of the bilge in that praeternaturally boring film is of 1850s vintage: and is fiction, mistaken by God knows how many for fact. Unfortunately, a big lie is always credible – as Hitler knew. Nothing is so monstrous or defamatory that millions will not believe it. Moral: people are idiots.

    As for the revd. gentleman: the Two Minute Hate-athon is in danger of forgetting that even a stopped clock is right three times a day (not two – three).

  • James M

    Christianity has 0 to do with Christians’ being right – & everything to do with God & Christ being right/righteous. To make human rightness the foundation, is to build the Church on human self-righteousness: the very thing we need to be shot of. This is where the wrong kind of triumphalism, the “Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church” kind, comes from. To make us the centre of attention and not Christ, is to turn Catholicism into a form of self-adoration.

  • James M

    I know little of HTB, but that little doesn’t suggest they have much in common with the Puritans.

    “The essence of the Sacrum Triduum is the passage through death into life.” That’s far too vague – life purely as such can get stuffed: it’s a useless abstraction. Christians have to do with the God revealed in Christ – not with abstractions. Christians are supposed to be obsessed with Christ, not with life. To choose the gifts over the Giver is to invert priorities. One of the worst flaws of Christianity today is its tendency to leave out Christ, and to woffle on about abstractions, such as ideas. Ideas cannot save – Christ alone saves.

    “Giles Fraser comes from an Anglo-Catholic (albeit liberal) tradition and his faith is incarnational.”

    ## That needed saying. Ten to one most English Catholics don’t know a thing about liberal Anglo-Catholicism. If they did, they would understood their own intellectual history better.

  • paulpriest

    Whoops I made a mistake – how unevangelical of me!
    I shall correct it forthwith – after all restitution and reparation is the Christian thing to do…
    I’m sorry I just have a tendency to forget people’s names.

    Luckily I’m not like those who are apt to forget their own name.

  • paulpriest

    No – The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ – in which Truth – the very Person of Christ – subsists…there is no vanity or narcissism in ‘Boasting in the Lord’

  • Caroline Farrow

    Holy Week is a good time to be thinking about reparation, certainly. Never advisable to make comments and forget all about them. I saw someone had done that recently on a Catholic biblical evidence blog (Socrates58) about Newman. A little unfortunate.

    Back to the point, a good piece by Fr ALS, although that’s rather the point of Giles Fraser, he doesn’t believe in a cross-based theology.

    His Guardian piece was more to do with flaunting his prejudice towards Evangelicals and disassociating himself from any Ned Flanders stereotypes.

    It’s important that all of us are focussing on the cross this week.

  • paulpriest

    I’ve met Giles Fraser, drank with him, smoked with him, conversed at length with him, argued theology and theodicy with him – had a stand-up blazing row with him…

    I am fully aware that most of the time his brain, heart and mouth are slightly distant from the right place.

    But what I do know is that if he’s wrong he’s sincerely wrong, even if he’s self-contradicting or changing the position of his argument mid-sentence he is doing it with a sincerity that is rare in your average utilitarian sophist.

    It might be battered about a bit and misshapen – but Giles does have a conscience.

    He’s not very bright, he’s rarely right and regrettably there often seems to be an encroaching partisanship which may blinker his objectivity.

    But just like the proverbial stopped clock he’s not always wrong and on this rare occasion irrespective of the ostensibly bitter antagonism towards uncle Justin – he just happens to be right about what’s wrong with evangelical homoeopathic Christianity..and to dismiss and denounce him for it would be both unfair and contra-doctrinal.

    Oh I’ve forgotten well over 99.9% of what I’ve written…it’s all significantly less than straw in the wind..and virtually everything else is so much more important…hardly unfortunate..more a blessing to forget…and given I spent nearly a decade writing nothing when my children were young I am fully aware of its ephemeral irrelevance.
    .

  • Caroline Farrow

    Is anyone suggesting Giles Fraser doesn’t have a conscience?

    Did the Internet and smartphones exist 18 years ago? They enable people to dip in and out of online debate, in a way that was impossible even say 6 years ago without disrupting routines or neglecting responsibilities,

    But yes, so much on the internet, is ephemeral. What matters is real-life relationships, like marriages and most importantly one’s relationship with God.

    This piece is a good lead into Holy Week, helping us all to focus on what’s important, namely Christ’s passion and resurrection. All else is blether, including Giles’ reflections, having a pint with his window-cleaner’s aunt and most of all a bit of fun in the comms boxes. :-)

  • paulpriest

    Oh some people have less conscience and more fun in comms boxes but Giles made some valid pertinent points which can’t be merely equivocated away; despite his predilection to be on the wrong side of an argument or the right side for all the wrong reasons – he is, after all, the one bothering to remind the reader of the scandal of the cross…This piece is rather regrettably grounded upon a false premise regarding the evangelical approach with some questionable obfuscating asides

    Oh 18 years ago I was genuinely studying Theology, politically and parochially active and deeply involved in Pro-Lfe issues trying to bring God to the foreground and centre…but throwing it all in to care for a family was a cherishable undeserved grace..
    How Giles Fraser or indeed any of us spend or waste our time is our own affair – we’ll all ultimately answer to God for it.

    We should be grateful beyond all imagining when Our Lord and Saviour declared

    “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do…”
    How precious it is during Holy Week to embrace and respond to the source of the Sacraments.

  • Caroline Farrow

    Oh good. Coms boxes rantings are always ugly and rooted in vanity.

    Re sacraments, I heartily recommend marriage as being a great thing when thinking about one’s responsibilities towards a young family.

  • paulpriest

    Well having children all of marrying age who lived and loved with their regrettably unmarried parents I have always been the most vociferous ardent supporter of marriage
    and, even though somewhat hypocritically; have always strongly
    expressed my opposition to anything that might jeopardise it like easy
    divorce and civil partnerships.

    Lent is a time for penance and making amends – and as Pope Francis said
    recently there can be no real peace without truth – and we need to
    concede the truth about ourselves and do something about it.

  • Caroline Farrow

    Pope Francis is correct, there can be no peace without truth. I do hope you find the truth one day and find it within yourself to take the appropriate action.

    God Bless.

  • paulpriest

    It must be so comforting to be a universalist…but thank God I’m not.

  • Patrick Gray

    ‘And the broken man on the cross begins to fear that God is no longer present’

    Sorry, that is heresy. Hans Urs von Balthasar, one of the most infamous Modernists of the last century, did indeed blasphemously go against the Common Doctor and all the Faith by saying Our Lord did not perpetually have the beatific vision, rather, He lost it on the cross. To actually go as far as that is gross heresy.

  • $23419086

    As a charismatic evangelical Anglican I can assure you that we don’t diminish the suffering of the cross. It is liberals like Giles Fraser who tend to baulk at the cross and start diminishing its significance (as other commentators here have already said)

    Giles Fraser often speaks from his own negative reactions to other Christian groups – and that probably tickles the ears of his liberal publishers in the Grauniad/Independent/BBC group…

    But his comments often reflect badly on his level of knowledge of what we actually believe and do!

  • Tridentinus

    Dr Fraser writes, “And the broken man on the cross begins to fear that God is no longer present.”

    Presumably he is referring to Our Lord from the Cross crying out :-

    ‘O God my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins. O my God, I shall cry by day, and thou wilt not hear: and by night, and it shall not be reputed as folly in me.’ (Psalm 21(22): v1).

    I used to think it strange that Our Lord, given that He was the Son of God, would appeal in despair to the Father. That is until I read the Psalm in full.

    Psalm 21(22) is prophetic. It asks the rhetorical question, why have you forsaken me? Then it answers :-

    ‘But thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Israel. In thee have our fathers hoped: they have hoped, and thou hast delivered them. They cried to thee, and they were saved: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.’

    Here is the evidence that God has not forsaken either Him or His people.

    Subsequent verses describe the agony He endured:-

    ‘But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people. All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head.
    I am poured out like water; and all my bones are scattered. My heart is become like wax melting in the midst of my bowels.
    My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue hath cleaved to my
    jaws: and thou hast brought me down into the dust of death.
    For many dogs have encompassed me: the council of the malignant hath besieged me. They have dug my hands and feet.
    They have numbered all my bones. And they have looked and stared upon me.
    They parted my garments amongst them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.’

    The final verses are triumphant :-

    ‘I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the church will I praise thee.
    Ye that fear the Lord, praise him: all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him.

    …Neither hath he turned away his face from me: and when I cried to him he heard me.

    With thee is my praise in a great church: I will pay my vows in the sight of them that fear him….

    All the ends of the earth shall remember, and shall be converted to the
    Lord: And all the kindreds of the Gentiles shall adore in his sight.

    For the kingdom is the Lord’s; and he shall have dominion over the nations…..

    There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come: and the heavens
    shall shew forth his justice to a people that shall be born, which the
    Lord hath made.’

    The fact that the Gospels only record the first words of this Psalm does not mean that Christ crucified as God the Son would have reproached His Father in heaven from the Cross. The concept is inconceivable, impossible on account of the dogma of the Trinity. The probality is that Jesus would have recited this Psalm in its entirety from the gibbet, He would have known it, of course, off by heart.

    This Psalm will be read in all Catholic Churches tomorrow and many others, read it in full and absorb its meaning. It is no coincidence that it has been part of the Good Friday Liturgy for centuries.

  • Brenndan O’ Leary

    Why are WE setting the agenda, instead of God ? The drama of Holy week is His agenda.Every single Christian worth his or her salt knows that THE CROSS looms large over our lives. Jesus showed us how to deal with it to the end where we come out renewed in Christ how reigned supreme in every heart on that first Easter. Metanoia is complete when that happens in every one who follows the TRUTH. The key to that state is sincere repentance – Saint Peter came to that realisation early on – so can every living person who lives in the TRUTH. Has modern man forgotten that great truth ?