Radioclip en texto sin audio grabado.

“please, just call me jesus”

Holinesses, Monsignori, Excellencies,
Eminences, Most Reverends….


RACHEL We’re on the air again with our enthusiastic and faithful audience of Emisoras Latinas. Some of you have called us to express your disapproval of the way we’re handling this special coverage of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Specifically, Jesus, they are criticizing us for the way we’re treating you. They say we’re not respectful enough to you as a person.

JESUS And why do they say that, Rachel?

RACHEL Well, you know how I myself, out of respect for your dignity, was at first calling you “Master”, but you corrected me and asked me to call you simply Jesus.

JESUS Because I think that nobody is Master. Only God.

RACHEL Today we’re going to open up a citizens’ forum so that all of our listeners can give their opinions about the title we should use when addressing Jesus Christ. Our telephone number is 714-4000, seven-one-four-four thousand, and we’re awaiting your calls…. Hello? The first call is from Santiago, Chile.

CHILEAN If they call the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church, “Your Holiness”, then they should call the one who’s over the Pope “Three Times Holy”. That’s my opinion.

RACHEL And what is yours, Jesus Christ?

JESUS Well, I think that business of calling a man “Your Holiness” is…, it’s an insult to God. Because only God is holy. Nobody on earth should be addressed that way.

RACHEL We have another call… Yes, we can hear you…. This time they’re calling from Argentina.

ARGENTINIAN Respect preserves respect. If we bow and genuflect before religious authorities, then I say, madam reporter, we should do so with both knees before Jesus Christ.

RACHEL What do you think about that, Jesus?

JESUS I don’t like that idea, not at all. They told me that once my friend Peter entered a city and a centurion saw him and threw himself at his feet. And Peter, as boastful as he was, told the man, “Get up, I am a man just like you. Why should you kneel before me?”

RACHEL So you don’t approve of kissing people’s rings and hands and all that?

JESUS In my time that kind of pomp was what the emperors demanded, because they thought themselves to be gods. But what I’m seeing right now is that some people, who think they’re emperors, are still indulging in the same nonsense.

RACHEL Another call! Havana, Cuba? Go ahead, friend.

CUBAN My idea is that if Christ’s successor is called the Pope, then the title that best befits Christ himself is Super-Pope.

RACHEL Super-Pope? What do you think of that, Jesus?

JESUS Pope is just another word for “papa”, and that’s what I used to call God, because of the confidence I had in him. But nobody should assume that name for himself, because there is only one Father, the one in heaven. I said that quite clearly in one of my discourses.

RACHEL I don’t know if you’re aware that Catholic priests call themselves “father”, and that some nuns are called “mother”.

JESUS Fathers and mothers? But don’t they claim they have no children?

RACHEL Another call’s coming in….

WOMAN What about monsignor? Could he be called monsignor?

RACHEL Monsignor is an Italian word, meaning “my lord”. That’s what the bishops and the cardinals like to be called.

JESUS And would you like to be somebody’s slave and call him your lord?

RACHEL Some text messages are arriving with other suggestions your excellency, your most reverend eminence … How do you like those?

JESUS I think God will take all those flowery titles and will burn them with a fire that never dies.

RACHEL So what title does that leave us with?

JESUS With none at all, Rachel. Brothers and Sisters. That’s what we are.

RACHEL And for addressing you?

JESUS Jesus. That’s who I am.

RACHEL In this rather… drastic manner we close out our citizens’ forum, even though our telephones are still ringing. On the road between Jerusalem and Jericho, for Emisoras Latinas, this is Rachel Perez reporting.


ANNOUNCER Another God is Possible. Exclusive interviews with Jesus Christ in his second coming to Earth. A production of María and José Ignacio López Vigil, with the support of the Syd Forum and Christian Aid.

*More information about this polemical topic…*

The word “Pope”
The word “Pope” comes from the Latin “papas”, and this comes from the Greek “pappas”, which is an affectionate word for “father”. It means simply “papa” or “daddy”. In the East this was a title of respect given to bishops and presbyters, and starting in the third century it was used in the West for bishops.   The first bishop to have himself called Pope was Siricius, who was bishop of Rome from 384 to 399. He was also the first to describe the decisions he made as “apostolic”.
Using this title of Pope, the church of Rome gradually imposed itself on all the other churches. Starting in the fifth century the title was used especially for the bishop of Rome, and in the eighth century the title became exclusively his: “Papas Urbis Romae”. In the twelfth century Pope Gregory XI officially ordered that this title be used solely for the bishops of Rome.
The title of Pope is sometimes also taken as an acronym for the Latin words “Petri Apostoli Potestatem Accipiens”  (the one receiving the power of the Apostle Peter). In the eleventh century Pope Urban II proposed this title for the bishops of Rome on the basis of another acronym: “Petrus Apostolus, Pontifex Augustus” (“Peter Apostle [one sent], Pontiff [bridge builder], August [consecrated]” = PAPA). Still another explanation is that Pope [Papa] comes from joining the first syllables of the Latin words Pater [father] and Pastor [shepherd].

Extreme arrogance
Whatever their origin, there is obviously much arrogance and vanity in the titles and formalities that are used to address Catholic hierarchs (and that even they themselves use). This is a retrograde custom that betrays the express command of Jesus himself (Matthew 23,4-11).
The Catholic hierarchs also bestow titles of preeminence on their friends. According to the German historian Horst Herrmann, the Vatican sells titles of nobility with ecclesiastical origins, and those who wish to sport such a title can buy one for as much as 150 thousand euros. There are extreme cases. One of the nearly 500 “saints” canonized by Pope John Paul II was the Spanish priest José María Escrivá de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei, a Catholic organization which has enormous financial resources and a membership of some 80 thousand men and women dedicated to promoting an elitist, opulent and sectarian kind of Catholicism, in imitation of their founding father. Escrivá was a man from a humble rural background, but for reasons of vanity he purchased (though not from the Vatican) the title of “Marquis of Peralta” in order to boast of noble rank.
The followers of this new “saint” and his organization devoutly visit a bunker on Bruno Buozzi Street in Rome, where they descend a staircase that leads to a luxurious crypt containing the remains of Escrivá, located in front of an altar. After the death of Escrivá in 1975, the members of Opus Dei made it known that their founder had programmed everything so that this cult to him would begin right after he died: he specified the velvet cushion that should used to display his corpse, the names of the those who should embalm his body and make his death-mask, the lock of hair that should be put on display for his devotees, and the marble commemorative plaque that should be placed in the crypt. On the plaque were to be engraved only the words: “The Father”. It would be difficult to find any other “saint” who indulged in such unevangelical arrogance.

Jesus was not in agreement
Jesus expressly prohibited calling anybody Master, Father, or Teacher (Matthew 23,8-12). The story of Peter and the Roman centurion Cornelius, which Jesus mentions to the reporter Rachel, appears in the Acts of the Apostles (10,24-26). The whole of Jesus’ message and his way of dealing with people entailed a complete rejection of the arrogance and superiority that are expressed not only in words, but in all the external formalities demanded by the powerful in order to appear important and assure their subordinates’ submission and obedience. Even though this business of titles might seem to be an irrelevant or trifling matter, that is not the case. Hierarchical language, formal protocols, and elaborate ceremonies are all very real expressions of the kind of power that understands itself as imposition, and not as service.

The more hierarchy, the more ceremony
Formalities, whether they take the form of language, behavior or attitudes, always say much about the use and abuse of power. One of the reasons that contemporary societies have enormous difficulties in achieving a democratic consciousness among their citizens is that public events – political, social, academic, both right-wing and left-wing – are rife with protocols, stereotyped behaviors, and high-sounding words. There is a shocking lack of simplicity and spontaneity in public life. Getting rid of a lot of the customary ceremonial behavior would do a lot to encourage genuine sentiments of equality. All formalism – especially the most extravagant kind – is a manner of asserting hierarchy, and consequently a way of leaving no doubt about who holds the power, who must be obeyed.
The Peruvian sociologist and psychoanalyst Guillermo Nugent has made a study of the obsession with paraphernalia demonstrated by Latin American military officers and Catholic ecclesiastical bigwigs. He concludes: The more hierarchy there is, the more important is the ceremonial aspect. It would be a serious error in judgment to think that the problem is reducible to a conflict between formality and informality, since it is precisely the ceremonial events that are the principal means for recognizing and affirming identities.
The leadership of the Christian churches has not been faithful to the egalitarian and “democratic” message of Jesus and, with the exception of certain historical Protestant churches and a few atypical Catholic figures, the hierarchies cultivate in their churches and in their leaders a pompous ostentation that is quite contrary to the gospels.