Europe 8 Comments, Farewells and another Critique of Passion Play
by Steve Ray on August 17, 2022
Our journey through Europe has come to an end. And what a wonderful pilgrimage it was! Today you will see a lot of folks sharing their thoughts, saying goodbye and reminiscing. Our final dinner together was a delightful time. And here’s a picture of our group earlier in the day in front of the cathedral Duomo in Milan.
Also at our final dinner the pilgrims asked me again to give my impressions of the Oberammergau Passion Play — so I did. (My first critique after our June viewing is here.)
After our second viewing of the play, reading every word of the script again, reading interviews and articles and taking many notes, I shared my thoughts. It’s not the whole critique but it’s the heart of it. I tried to be fair about all that was good but also about the disappointing portrayal of Jesus who is more a social justice warrior than a savior from sins — more a political martyr for the cause than the eternal Son of the Father come to redeem mankind from sin and open the doors of heaven. He is portrayed as a confrontational, non-conformist rabbi trying to right the social ills of the world.
The play has been very “protestantized” and secularized. In the director’s own words (and the Jesus actors) he attempts to show Jesus’ own inner conflicts and leaves it up to everyone in the audience to answer the question, “Who do you say that I am?” However, Jesus did not leave that as an open ended questions for a modern world. He was quite clear who he was, especially when Peter exclaimed, “You are the Christ the Son of the Living God!“ Jesus responded by saying, in effect, “Bingo!
wish I could’ve seen the play when it was distinctly Catholic 100 years ago and compared it with the script of today.
We are all glad that we came and saw this spectacular production with a 400 year history and one of those “bucket list” items people wanted to see. The acting, music, special effects, costumes and the choir were stunning. And all the other things we did through Germany Switzerland and Italy made for a marvelous time together.
We did take time to thank all of those who made this amazing trip possible, even with all the delays and hassles caused by covid hysteria. We especially wanted to think John Hale, Mark Slater and Bridget Yurko at Corporate Travel Services who did a magnificent job of navigating through all the mine fields to provide us with a marvelous pilgrimage and experience.
And thanks to all those 62 pilgrims who weathered the travel storms and stuck with us to the end. According to their own words it was worth every bit of the wait.