Pastoral Letter from Joseph Caiaphas

POSTED BY Joseph Caiaphas (???)

“His Eminence Joseph ben Caiaphas the High Priest writes:

I apologise for having to trouble you in this way, as we approach the sacred festivities. Regrettably, we are experiencing considerable difficulty with some of the more recent members of the Sacred Sanhedrin, who seem determined to take an undesirably stringent approach as regards some of the complex moral issues in the Torah. I am not sure how they became members of the Sacred Council of the Seventy. One suspects one may have been impeded from attending the meeting considering their candidature.

One or two of these new members of the Holy Sanhedrin seem not to appreciate adequately that we are obliged to maintain good relations with the powers that be, with the Procurator’s court. If we annoy Governor Pontius Pilate with undiplomatic comments about the exposure of infants, porcine stock-raising, the mercy killing of the chronically sick, or the sexual variations common in Greek culture, we will simply alienate him and his administration.

His officials may then take the unfortunate path of removing the tax exemptions we enjoy on our Temple gold reserves, making it difficult to run our rabbinical schools by carrying out excessive inspections, or levying taxes upon supplies for religious worship and animals for sacrifice. This would be most regrettable, especially considering the immense efforts which have gone in to promoting mutual understanding and cooperation between his administration and the Temple Establishment.

The Romans run a vast multi-cultural and multi-ethnic empire, and have to allow for all tastes and practices in both sexual and medical matters. For many years the Sanhedrin has unanimously agreed that  we should cooperate with their attempts to build a broad-based and tolerant society, helping to promote the common good.

The Jewish synagogue is a broad synagogue. It does not require of its adherents a close obedience to the Torah in political matters. We are pleased, nay, delighted, that members of our Holy Faith have become trusted representatives who contribute to the counsels of Pilate and even  – one hears from Rome – of Caesar himself. In this way they advance our holy religion and its influence among the Gentiles. In sharp contrast, the narrow-minded acts of the Zealots, or of Sanhedrin members who are influenced by hot-headed separatism, can be very damaging to our public image, and the way Rome perceives us.

If one member of the Sanhedrin, an inexperienced one, it must be said, or some self-appointed prophet, speaks out of line, then of course it is the task of our scribes and Pharisees to correct him. That is why we employ them. They are experts in the interpretation of the Torah, which is so often uncertain in its details and difficult of true understanding.

Public displays of disunity within the Sanhedrin must be prevented at all costs. They undermine the confidence of all the chosen people. The best way to prevent this is for all Sanhedrin members to allow the functionnaires at  Temple Square to do all the public explaining of controversial and difficult issues for them.

Their lives, all our lives, will be much easier if they allow the advisers and scribal assistants to draw up all necessary public statements for us all. They are not being muzzled, they are just being asked to maintain a show of unity on troublesome questions.

For instance, the idea of excluding from the Passover celebrations some of our brothers who have advised the Romans on loving relationships between persons of the same sex is certainly not the path we would wish to go down.

We would urge Sanhedrin members to maintain a dignified silence on this and other similar matters. Otherwise, in order to protect the unity of Israel, one might be placed in the unfortunate position of having to take special disciplinary measures against any disruptive or disloyal members of the Sanhedrin this Passover. It could prove very unpleasant, but as always, it is better that irrational zealots be penalised rather than that our Holy Faith be politically jeopardised or, the Lord forbid, even the whole Temple be destroyed.

With paternal best wishes Trusting in your most faithful and dutiful cooperation

His Eminence Joseph ben Caiaphas High Priest of the Yerushalayim Temple”


M Donnelly:  Thank you – Guess this is not your real name

8 comments to Pastoral Letter from Joseph Caiaphas

  • ConofChi

    I like it…a lot.

  • iggy o'donovan

    Is Joseph Caiphas for real? If not lets call a halt. Things are becoming ridiculous.

    • BJC

      Fr. Iggy

      Liberals are renowned for having no sense of humour. You rather prove the point.

      Hint: It’s a satire about “liberal”/”conservative” catholics and their grab for power inside the church. You are one of people who are being criticised.

  • Kinga Gray - Grzeczynska LLB

    ‘Joseph ben Caiaphas’

    Well done Sir.

    A scholar and gentleman, I think.

    I wonder which school you went to?

    Thank you.

    Kinga Grzeczynska

  • John Vasc

    Brilliant! And hilarious – or at least, it would be if it were not so uncomfortably close to the truth…
    I loved the reference to ‘an inexperienced member of the Sanhedrin’.
    Laughter is not only the best medicine, but one of the most effective forms of criticism. I only wish the the ‘functionnaires at Temple Square’ had enough common sense to understand the application to themselves.

    I hope everyone has written to Bishop Egan to offer him support and prayer. (His email address is on the Diocese of Portsmouth website.)

  • Lynda

    Point made. (Perhaps, a little long though which obscures the message somewhat.)

  • Kinga Gray - Grzeczynska LLB


    ‘… for all Sanhedrin members to allow functionnaires at Temple Square…’

    Just enough space left to put a two digit number there – and what’s that number – one below forty? Oh yes that’s it — Steps. Full of intrigue, danger and confusion. Fits the bill perfectly!

    Joseph have you got a sister called Lucy? Just wondering!!

    Kinga Grzeczynska

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