At least one prominent Christian journal regretfully concedes that "authentic presentation of Christ crucified is necessarily a stumbling-block to Jews, and foolishness to Gentiles." 1 Still the villagers in Oberammergau persist in the delusion that their Passion is "a hymn of reconciliation." 2 So declared Anton Lang, the Christ of 1910 and 1920, Alois Lang, who played Jesus in 1930 and 1934, and village historian Hermine Diemer. As late as 1970, Dr. Karl Ipser wrote in his foreword to the playbook that the villagers "erect the cross against hate, for the sake of peace and reconciliation." 3
The theme of reconciliation was at the heart of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's sermon in Oberammergau before the premiere on May 18, 1980. "Passion plays must be an event of penance and reconciliation," said the cardinal whose archbishopric includes Oberammergau, "for Christ has died to reconcile us with God and men." Cardinal Ratzinger reminded his listeners that none should seek to assign responsibility or guilt for the death of Christ, since such questions were anachronistic. Apart from original sin, Christianity knows no concept of collective guilt. Moreover, the Catechismus Romanus
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Publication information: Book title: The Oberammergau Passion Play:A Lance against Civilization. Contributors: Saul S. Friedman - Author. Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press. Place of publication: Carbondale, IL. Publication year: 1984. Page number: 80.
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