The Decollation of the Forerunner

Can anyone help me think of a good example to help the red-wearing Cardinals to understand the proper response to someone in power (or seemingly in power), an antipope, and possibly the False Prophet Forerunner of the Antichrist, who chooses to abuse the moral law; specifically, the moral laws regarding marriage, divorce, “remarriage,” etc?

It’d be great if there were something biblical. Some example where a man was willing to be jailed, and ultimately murdered, for standing up to the immorality.

It would also be great if there were something strikingly visual about it. Something that could be framed and hung in the chancery or the halls of the rectory.

Can anyone think of anything?

Here, let me start:

847px-Salome_with_the_Head_of_John_the_Baptist-Caravaggio_(1610)
Salome with the Head of Saint John the Baptist, Caravaggio, 1610

Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

4 thoughts on “The Decollation of the Forerunner

  1. I just read an example this morning. II Machabees 6, 7.

    Greek King Antiochus compelled the Jews to defile themselves and forsake all the Jewish Laws. Honor the feast of Bacchus. Sabbaths and Solemn Days were prohibited. The Holy Temple, filled with prostitution. Whichever Jew was not willing to act like the Greeks should be put to death.

    Two women (6:10) circumcised their children – thrown over the wall with their children.

    Others, keeping the Sabbath in caves, burnt with fire (6:11).

    The narrative subtext between these and other further examples, the author of Machabees explains the good grace and reward that comes through faithfulness to God.

    Further examples …

    Eleazer, Chief Of The Scribes, forced to eat swine’s flesh but refused (6:18 – 31). Extended discussion of not only his refusal out of principle, but his refusal to even *appear* to eat swine flesh (pretend) for the sake of escaping the punishment. He refused even this for the sake of his age, honor and his countrymen’s conscience.

    And then the famous chapter 7. A mother and her seven children were forced to eat swine flesh, but also refused. They were scalped and their extremities (tongue, hands, feet) cut off, one by one, thrown onto a frying pan (!) alive while the others watched. One by one they refused. Until only the mother remained. She, like them, bravely offered herself to torture rather than disobey God.

    Why? “This life is from God. God gave us Commandments through Moses. We go to eternal life. You who torture is go to eternal death. We choose God. We choose life”.

    And after these great sacrifices in front of the watching Jewish people? Then comes Judas Machabeus, his brothers and his small band of fighting men unleashed out of the surrounding mountains against these Greeks. Brings them to their knees.

    God has his vengeance. In His own way and in His own time. Our job: be faithful in the moment. The victory is certain and it always, only, belongs to God. That is the point of Machabees I and II. Wonderful books of Scripture, directly preceding the Advent of Jesus Christ. Who saves *only* those who give up everything for His sake, enter through the narrow gate, and follow Him … including the Cross which we must carry every day to the end. We must die to this life like the Machibean Jews, sometimes literally, if we wish to win heaven.

  2. The best example is my favorite Bishop, Cardinal John Fisher.

    Personal friend of King Henry VIII, he took the side of Catherine of Aragon, first wife of the King. This began his separation from friendship and ultimately separation from his head. He took her side in Court against the King, saying he could think of no more cause more glorious to die for than the cause of marriage.

    For supporting the cause of the King’s Lawful wife, and for opposing the King’s subsequent usurpation of Church authority as head of the Church of England, Cardinal Fisher was beheaded for defending God’s Law against a tyrant.

    What a difference from those who take a more “pastoral” approach and allow, even encourage divorce and re-marriage. So much wiser than the Pharisee St. John Cardinal Fisher. We shall see. God judge between them.

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