"Correct me if I am wrong: was it not a Roman Emperor that sentenced Christ to death on Calvary? Now for the serious question: if I am correct, which I may not be, but if I am, then would that not make the Emperor an Italian? Now, why are they making such a positive thing about the head of the church, which is an offshoot of the old Roman Empire, with headquarters in Rome, being here celebrating the death of the Lord? I know that the Lord rose from the dead and is alive according to gospel, but all the same they are the ones who sentenced him to death, and now they make themselves out the lord of lords. Just seems strange to me that they can celebrate the Pope this way and still preach the very word that the man they sentenced to death preached. Did you ever think of it? Would shed a whole new light on the religion, wouldn't it?"There's a lot going on in this argument, so let's take it one thing at a time.
The first error I see is in attributing Christ's death solely to the Roman emperor, when in fact many people had a role to play in the death of Jesus. For one, certain religious leaders of the Jews were involved:
Mt 26:3-4 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Ca'iaphas, 4 and took counsel together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.
Jn 11:47-50 So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council, and said, "What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. 48 If we let him go on thus, every one will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation." 49 But one of them, Ca'iaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all; 50 you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish."
Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator or governor (not the "emperor") was the one who actually declared the death sentence (cf. Mt 27:2; Lk 3:1; Mk 15:15; Lk 23:24). Of course, Judas played his part, when he betrayed Jesus with a kiss for only 30 peices of silver (cf. Mt 26:14-16,47-49). St. Peter implicates Herod and the Gentiles as well (cf. Acts 4:27-28).
But, ultimately, if we're going to point the finger at anyone, we should point it at ourselves. It is because of the sin of all mankind (not just a select few) that Jesus had to suffer and die on the Cross. I suggest that any person who attempts to place blame for the death of Jesus should first take a hard look at himself.
If that weren't enough, we also have a case of "guilt by association." Here is the logic involved:
- The Roman Emperor killed Jesus
- The Catholic Church is Roman
- Therefore, the Catholic Church killed Jesus
First of all, even if the Church were "Roman" (I will show here shortly why She is not), this would not make Her guilty of the death of Christ. The Roman Emperor and the "Roman Catholic Church" are two very different things. You can't apply the guilt of one upon the other simply because both are Roman. That's like saying all of the Apostles betrayed Jesus because Judas was an Apostle and he betrayed Jesus. See what I mean?
Of course, this syllogism also breaks apart because the Catholic Church is not "Roman." Instead, it is UNIVERSAL. The Church is worldwide, and that's just the Church on earth! There's also the "Church Suffering" in Purgatory and the "Church Triumphant" in heaven. So, to say that the Church is simply "Roman" betrays an ignorance of the makeup of the Church.
Secondly, even as far as the Church on earth is concerned, there is more to Her than simply the Roman Rite. There are also several other Catholic Rites that fall under the Antiochian, Byzantine, and Alexandrian family of liturgical rites (cf. Catholic Rites and Churches). I dare say an Eastern Catholic would be offended if you said he was "Roman Catholic" because he would see that as a blindness to his own rich, liturgical traditions.
Finally, this argument is ahistorical because the "Catholic Church" did not even exist when Jesus was put to death. The Church did not form until Jesus poured his Spirit upon his disciples at Pentecost. This, of course, was long after he had been condemned to suffer the death that God had planned from the beginning.
That last point is an important one. When we attempt to assign guilt for the death of Jesus, we have to keep in mind that Jesus went willingly to the Cross, in accordance with God's divine plan. No one forced Him to do anything against His Will, especially not the Catholic Church.