"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on John 20:1-9 for Easter Sunday

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 3, 2012

John 20:1 And on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalen cometh early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre: and she saw the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

On the first day of the week. Literally, of the Sabbath, the week being called the Sabbath, after its principal day, or the day of the Pasch. (see on Matt 28:1)

Mary Magdalene cometh. The other gospels speak of the other women but she only is mentioned here, as being their leader, and more zealous and active than the rest.

When it was yet dark. In the early dawn (profundo diluculo), says S. Luke. Note here her activity, watchfulness, and ardour. She seeks Christ in the dawn, and hence she is the first to see Him as the rising sun. As S. Ambrose says on the title of Ps. 55, “For the morning undertaking.” This morning undertaking we can ascribe to Mary Magdalene, who went very early in the morning to watch at the tomb, and first greeted the resurrection of the Lord, and as the sunlight grew brighter, she only, and before the rest, recognised the rising of the Sun of righteousness, and as by this morning greeting she rejoiced at the return of daylight, so did she rejoice the more that Christ was raised from the dead, and in her was fulfilled the prophecy, In the evening weeping will tarry (see vulg.) (heaviness may endure for the night, E. V.) but at morning is joy (Ps 30:6).

Unto the sepulchre. To anoint the Body of Jesus, says Nonnus.

She saw the stone taken away. And the Angels, who said that Christ had risen, but the Magdalene did not believe it, and ran to Peter and John, saying, “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.” See notes on S. Matt 28:8. S. Jerome remarks (Ep. cl. Hedibiam), Her error was connected with piety—piety in longing to see Him whose Majesty she knew, but her mistake was in what she said.

John 20:2 She ran therefore and cometh to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved and saith to them: They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre: and we know not where they have laid him.

She ran therefore and cometh to Simon Peter, as the Chief Apostle, and as designated by Christ as His Vicar and successor, (Matt 16), and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, i.e., S. John, who would be more diligent than the rest in searching for the Body of Christ.

John 20:3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple: and they came to the sepulchre.
John 20:4 And they both ran together: and that other disciple did outrun Peter and came first to the sepulchre.

And they both ran together. Before the rest, as loving Him above the rest, says S. Gregory.

And that other disciple did outrun Peter, as the younger and more active, and moreover as more desirous of seeing that Body which he had just before seen marred on the cross.

John 20:5 And when he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying: but yet he went not in.

And when he stooped down, to look into the tomb, saw the linen clothes with which the Body of Christ had been wrapped. Yet went he not in, paying deference to Peter, as his senior and more worthy, says Lyranus, or else hindered by fear, or seized with a kind of sacred dread at the Body of Christ which was buried there.

John 20:6 Then cometh Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre: and saw the linen cloths lying,
John 20:7 And the napkin that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up into one place.

Then cometh Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre. Peter (says S. Chrysostom) entered with ardour, and carefully inspected everything. For the soldiers who guarded the tomb, when they saw the angel and the earthquake, ran away through fear. See also S. Jerome, Quæst. vi. ad Hedib. And saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin that had been about his head (covering His face, as is generally done to the dead, for the sake of seemliness), not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up into one place. “This,” says S. Chrysostom, “was a sign of His Resurrection, for if they had removed the body they would not have stripped it, and if they had stolen it, they would not have been so careful to fold up the napkin, and put it aside by itself; for John had said before that He was buried with myrrh, which makes linen clothes cling close to the body, so that no one would be deceived by those who said that It was stolen away; for what thief would trouble himself so much about an unnecessary matter?”

John 20:8 Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulchre: and he saw and believed.

Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulchre.

Tropologically: Toletus says that by John are signified all Christians, but by Peter the Pontiffs, Vicars of Christ. Peter then entered the tomb first as the highest in dignity, as the Vicar of Christ; but John came last, because it is possible that he who is first in rank, is behind others in desert and holiness.

And he saw and believed. Both of them, that is, believed that what Mary Magdalene said was true, namely, that the Body of Christ had been taken away. So says S. Augustine, Theophylact, and Jansen. S. Cyril, Chrysostom, Euthymius, and Nyssen add that both believed that Christ had risen. But this word “believed” more clearly and correctly applies only to S. John, who remembered the words of Christ, that He would rise on the third day. But Peter, on account of the strangeness of a Resurrection, and from His earnest desire to see Him alive again, was more slow to believe that Christ had risen. Whence the Angel significantly said to the women, “Go, tell His disciples and Peter.” (Mark 16:7.)

John 20:9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

For although He had solemnly assured them that He would rise, yet on account of its strange and wonderful nature they believed it not, but thought that He spoke in a figure and parable, as He was wont to do

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Guéranger: The History of the Holy Sepulchre

Ars orandi: the Art and Beauty of Traditional Catholicism


Posted by David Werling

St. Bonaventure Receives the Banner of St. Sepluchre 
by Francesco Solimena, 1710

From The Liturgical Year by Dom Guéranger, O.S.B.

The sight of this sepulchre is insufferable to Satan's pride, for it is the trophy of the defeat of death, the offspring of sin. He flatters himself on having succeeded, when Jerusalem is destroyed by the Roman legions, and on her ruins there rises up a new pagan city, called Ælia. But no! neither the name of Jerusalem, nor the glory of the holy sepulchre, shall perish. The pagans cover it with a mound of earth, on which they build a temple to Jupiter; it is the same spirit that dictated their raising an altar to Venus on Calvary, and another to Adonis over the cave of Bethlehem. But all these sacrilegious efforts only serve to tell the Christians the exact site of these several sacred places. The pagans think by this artifice to turn the respect and homage of the Christians from Jesus to their false gods; here again they fail. The Christians abstain from visiting the holy places, as long as they are desecrated by the presence of the these idols; but they keep their eye fixed on what their Redeemer has endeared to them, and wait in patience for the time when it shall please the eternal Father again to glorify his Son.

The Vision of St. Helen by Paulo Veronese, circa 1580

The time comes. God sends to Jerusalem a Christian empress, mother of a Christian emperor: she is to restore the holy places, the scenes of our Redeemer's love. Like Magdalen and her companions, Helen hastens to the sepulchre. God would have it so--woman's privilege in all that happens on the great morning of the Resurrection is to be continued now. Magdalen and her companions sought Jesus; Helen, who adores him as her risen Lord, only seeks his sepulchre; but their love is one and the same. The pious empress orders the temple of Jupiter to be pulled down, and the mound of earth to be removed; which done, the trophy of Jesus' defeat of death is again proclaimed by this resurrection of the glorious sepulchre. A magnificent temple is built at the expense of the imperial treasury, and is called the basilica of the Resurrection. The whole world is excited by the news of such a triumph; the already tottering structure of paganism receives a shock which hastens its destruction; and pilgrimages to the holy sepulchre are begun by Christian people throughout the world, forming a procession of universal homage which is to continue to the end of time.

Godfrey de Bouillon

During the three centuries following, Jerusalem was the holy and free city, and the sepulchre Jesus reflected its glory upon her; but the East became a very hot-bed of heresies, and God, in his justice, sent her the chastisement of slavery. The Saracen hordes inundated the land of prodigy. If the torrent of invasion was checked, it was for a brief period, and the waters returned with redoubled power. Meanwhile, what becomes of the holy sepulchre? Let us not fear: it is safe. The Saracens themselves look upon it with awe, for it is, they say, the tomb of a great Prophet. True, a tax is imposed on the Christians who visit it; but the sepulchre is safe. One of the caliphs presented the keys of the venerable sanctuary to the emperor Charlemagne, hereby evincing, not only the respect he had for this greatest of Christian monarchs, but, moreover, the veneration wherein he held the sacred grotto. Thus did our Lord's sepulchre continue to be glorified even in the midst of dangers which, humanly, would have wrought its utter destruction.

Its glory shone out still more brightly, when, at the call of the Father of Christendom, the western nations rose up in arms, and marched, under the banner of the Cross, to the deliverance of Jerusalem. The love of the holy sepulchre was in every heart, its name on every tongue. The first engagement drove back the Saracen, and left the city in possession of the crusaders. A sublime spectacle was then witnessed in the church of the holy sepulchre; the pious Godfrey of Bouillon was consecrated king of Jerusalem, and the holy mysteries were celebrated, for the first time in the language and ritual of Rome, under the oriental dome of St. Helen's basilica. But the reign of Japheth in the tents of Sem was of short duration, owing partly to the short-sighted policy of the western sovereigns, which kept them from appreciating the importance of such a conquest; and partly to the treachery of the Greek Empire, which betrayed the defenceless Jerusalem once more into the hands of the Sarcens. Still, the period of the Latin kingdom in the holy city was one of the glories of the Jesus' sepulchre, foretold by Isaias.

Greek and Armenian Schismatics fight with each other at the Holy Sepulchre.

What are to be its future glories? At present, it is profaned by the sacrifices which are offered, in its basilica, by schismatical and heretical priests; it is entrusted, for a few hours each year, to the Catholics of Jerusalem, and during that brief interval it receives the fervent homage of the true spouse of Jesus. When will the holy sepulchre be reinstated in its honour? Will the nations of the West return to the fervour of faith, the emulate the holy chivalry of the crusaders of old? Or will the East renounce the schism, which has cost her her liberty; stretch out her hand to the mother and mistress of all churches; and, on the rock of the Resurrection, sign the covenant of a union, which would be the death-warrant of Islamism? Only God knows: but this much he has revealed to us in sacred Scripture, that before the end of the world, Israel will return to the Messias he despised and crucified, and that the glory of Jerusalem is to be restored by the Jews who shall be converted.

Then will the sepulchre of the Son of Jesse be at the height of its glory, and soon will this Son of Jesse himself appear. Our bodies will then be on the eve of the general resurrection; and thus the final result of the Pasch will be simultaneous with the last and greatest glory of the holy sepulchre. As we rise from our graves, we shall fix our eyes upon our Jesus' tomb, and love it as the origin and source of the immortality we shall then have. Until the time of our death comes, when our bodies must be laid in the temporary prison of the grave, let us love the sepulchre of our dear Saviour; let us be zealous for its honour; and, imitating our forefathers in that earnest faith which made them its defenders and soldiers, let us get well into us that portion of the Easter spirit, which consists in understanding and loving the glories of Jesus' sepulchre.

The Dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Have we entered an age of a new gnosticism?

There is an adage: Qui bene distinguit, bene docet, that is, someone who makes distinctions well, teaches well.
Distinguished canonist Ed Peters makes good distinctions about the Holy Father’s disregard for the Church’s duly promulgated law when he chose to wash the feet of women on Holy Thursday.  Myemphases and comments.
Retrospectives on the Mandatum rite controversies
March 29, 2013
It’s a very big Church and there are many issues competing for the pope’s attention. Let me address just that issue I know something about, namely, ecclesiastical law, and try to talk sensibly about it. I’ll leave to finer minds the task of situating legal concerns in the wider ecclesial context.
For starters, perhaps Fr. Lombardi was misquoted or taken out of context when he apparently said, “the pope’s decision [to wash the feet of women on Holy Thursday] was‘absolutely licit’ for a rite that is not a church sacrament.” That remark isconfusing because it implies that liceity is a concept that applies only to sacraments; but of course, liceity is an assessment of any action’s consistency with applicable law (canon, liturgical, sacramental, etc). One would never limit questions of Mass liceity to, say, the matter used for the Eucharist or the words of institution (that is, the sacrament at Mass) [NB]as if all other rubrics were merely optional. No one understands liceity so narrowly, [ehem... I think some people do.] and so, as I say, we are probably dealing with an incomplete answer.
In any case, I think some conclusions can be drawn about the foot-washing incident already.
[Here is an obvious point that must be made to help liberals sober up a little.] 1. If liturgical law permitted the washing of women’s feet at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, [then] no one would have noticed the pope’s doing it. What was newsworthy (apparently, massively newsworthy) is that, precisely because liturgical law does not authorize it, the pope’s performance of the action was huge news.
2. I and many others have long been open to revising the Mandatum rite so as to permit the washing of women’s feet [I am not among them.  However, Peters is making a different point...] although I understand that strong symbolic elements are in play and I might be under-appreciating arguments for the retention of the rite as promulgated by Rome. I take no position on that larger issue, it being ultimately a question for experts in other disciplines. My focus is on the law as issued by Rome (c. 838).
[We get to the crux of the canonical issue...] 3. Few people seem able to articulatewhen a pope is bound by canon law (e.g., when canon law legislates matters of divine or natural law) and when he may ignore it (e.g., c. 378 § 1 on determining the suitability of candidates for the episcopate or appointing an excessive number of papal electors contrary to UDG 33). Those are not hard cases. Most Church laws, however, fall between these two poles and require careful thinking lest confusion for—nay, dissension among—the faithful arise. Exactly as happened here[In spades!]Now, even in that discussion, the question is not usually whether the pope is bound to comply with the law (he probably is not so bound), but rather [pay attention...]how he can act contrary to the law without implying, especially for others who remain bound by the law but who might well find it equally inconvenient, that inconvenient laws may simply be ignored because, well, because the pope did it.  [That, ladies and gents, is the problem.  Liberals are going to claim that because of what Francis did, they can do whatever they wish.  Indeed, they will claim that others who uphold the clearly written law arewrong to up hold the law.  They will, like gnostics, appeal to some vague super-principle which trumps all law (and reason).]
4. A pope’s ignoring of a law is not an abrogation of the law but, especially where his action reverberated around the world, it seems to render the law moot.[moot - "doubtful, theoretical, meaningless, debatable"] For the sake of good order, then [Peters' own recommendation...], the Mandatum rubrics should be modified to permit the washing of women’s feet or, perhaps upon the advice of Scriptural and theological experts, the symbolism of apostolic ministry asserted by some to be contained in the rite should be articulated and the rule reiterated. What is not good is to leave a crystal clear law on the books but show no intention of expecting anyone to follow it. That damages the effectiveness of law across the board.
Get that last point?
What is not good is to leave a crystal clear law on the books but show no intention of expecting anyone to follow it. That damages the effectiveness of law across the board.
This is a huge problem.
Liberals such as Michael Sean Winters, who does not in this matter seem to make distinctions at all, think that Peters and I are “obsessively focused on whether or not a bishop or priest can/should wash the feet of women during the Mandatum Rite in the Mass of the Lord’s Supper”. He is wrong.  That’s just your usual liberal misappropriation of the situation.
Peters and I are actually concerned about the good order of the Church. A canonist and a man in Holy Orders ought to be. Winters, on the other hand, writes for the paper of record for dissenters and antinomians.
What this foot washing issue does is reveal how vast the gulf is now that divides those who maintain that order, law and reason are necessary in the Church and society and those who, like gnostics who possess secret powers of interpretation of even more secret teachings, apply super-principles which trump lesser matters such as reason, law and order.
The new gnostics (liberals) call upon “fairness” and feelings. There can be no valid response possible by argument or reason or precedent.
For a long time I have argued that we need a level of liturgical  celebration which brings about an encounter with the transcendent, which cuts beyond our (by now) useless linear arguments.  People today can’t follow a linear argument.  You get to the end and they conclude, “That might be true for you…”.   Now, however, we may be seeing more clearly, in reactions to what Francis is doing (not necessarily in what Francis is doing), the exaltation of the golden calf of immanence.
Have we entered an age of a new gnosticism, wherein only those who feel a certain way are the true authoritative interpreters?

The Mark of the Beast

      On This Rock

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Father John Hollowell at 9:50 PM

I just want you to know that if this is your sign then you are actively supporting my persecution, torture, imprisonment, etc. Perhaps you know that already, and perhaps that warms your heart, but I wanted to make sure we're all on the same page here.

The French didn't wake up one morning and say "Hey, let's kill tens of thousands of Catholics"...it happened over time. It was a process.

And HERE...WE...GO. The volcano, simmering under the surface for so long, showing little eruptions here and there, being forcasted for decades by people with "eyes to see and ears to hear," people who have been pointing out that long ago we stopped using logic and reason, people who've noted words don't mean anything anymore, who've noticed an exponentially growing distaste for Truth, who've noticed that only charisma sways opinions anymore...

Of course nothing can defend homosexual sex. When homosexual sex is described to people using proper anatomical terms, and when a discussion is had as to the fluids exchanged and so forth, most people are repulsed.

Of course nothing can defend "gay marriage". The severely flawed argument is:
1) they love each other
2) they aren't hurting you

Of course that "marriage test" could apply to the following
1) a man and his cousin
2) a woman and three other men
3) a man and his daughter

And that is, of course, assuming that we still assume marriage is between PEOPLE (why, you ask, would it still be between people...because "it's ALWAYS been that way" screams the gay marriage activists...but where else have I heard that argument before...oh, I know, it is the same argument for keeping marriage between a man and a woman...)

"Slippery slope argument!!!" screams the liberal arts freshman, fully invigorated from his communications course on logical fallacies. "Not so", however, because it isn't a slippery slope when there is NO SLOPE. If Dave can marry Bill, Dave can marry Bill and Steve and Heidi and his cousin.

It is almost a line out of Animal Farm, but the motto in the U.S. is fast becoming "We are intolerant only of the intolerant" and it will soon get very bad indeed for those who are labeled "intolerant."

Interesting that the "=" sign today turned red and went viral because the symbol for the movement was blue with a yellow = before today. It's as if the "redefining marriage" movement is now out for blood, and I believe they will soon begin seeking to slake their thirst.

The Church will get its act together, but it will be too late. Priests and bishops will rally together and preach what needs to be preached with renewed vigor and unity, but it will be too late. And that's okay because any Catholic who has read two minutes of Church history knows that persecution has always cleaned up the Body of Christ like nothing else.

My comfort in this showdown:

1) "If the world hates you know that it hated me first" - Jesus Christ
2) "The blood of the martyrs is the seedbed of the Church" - Tertullian

And why not finish it off with a little ditty from Revelation?

"A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice, “Anyone who worships the beast or its image, or accepts its mark on forehead or hand, will also drink the wine of God’s fury poured full strength into the cup of his wrath, and will be tormented in burning sulfur before the holy angels and before the Lamb. The smoke of the fire that torments them will rise forever and ever, and there will be no relief day or night for those who worship the beast or its image or accept the mark of its name." Here is what sustains the holy ones who keep God’s commandments and their faith in Jesus I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” said the Spirit, “let them find rest from their labors, for their works accompany them.”

Revelation 14:9-12

Friday, March 29, 2013

“Satanism is about destroying the Church”

Catholic World Report

March 25, 2013

From Satanism to the Occult and back to the Catholic Church, one woman found hope and healing through Christ and the sacraments.

Jim Graves

Satanic messages are seen spray-painted on a statue of Christ June 6, 2006 at the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians in Erin, Wisconsin. (CNS photo/Stephen Olszewski, Catholic Herald)

Editor's note (March 26, 2013): Deborah and the editors understand that readers can click through the links and see Deborah's last name. However, Deborah requested that her last name not be used in this article, so we have honored her request.

The world of Satanism is a secretive one, often vulgar and sometimes dangerous, or so says ex-Satanist and Catholic “revert.” Fifty-one-year-old Deborah [who requested her last name not be used in this article] said that although the beliefs of Satanists vary tremendously, they center on indulgence of the appetites and a mockery of Christianity. Additionally, you’d be surprised to discover that seemingly respectable citizens in your community are members of Satanic covens. As she explained, “They’re people you meet on the street.”

Since memberships in covens are so secretive—with the threat of death for members who share details of their participation, according to Deborah—it is rare to find ex-Satanists willing to share their experiences.

Deborah was born in 1961 and grew up in Salem, Massachusetts. She attended both Catholic and public schools. As a teen, she got involved in Satanism. She returned to the Catholic Church in 2009. Today, she is married and lives on a farm in Maine.

Deborah shared details of her experiences in her book A Message of Hope, Confessions of an Ex-Satanist: How to Protect Yourself from Evil. She is also a featured speaker at the Spiritual Warfare Conference, held at the Ontario DoubleTree Hotel in Ontario, California on May 4 and 5, 2013. Deborah recently spoke to CWR.

CWR: Tell me a little about your background and how you first got involved in Satanism.

Deborah: First off, as an adult, I was diagnosed as a high-functioning autistic. [Autism is a neurological disorder that can adversely affect a person’s ability to communicate and establish friendships with peers. It is often manifested in children through a variety of atypical behaviors, such as the ones Deborah describes here.] When I was a child I was undiagnosed, and I exhibited a lot of autistic symptoms. These included rocking, hand-flapping, and humming. I also argued with my teachers, and didn’t want to socialize with my peers. Today, I’m still unable to live independently.

Additionally, my mom was a German in an anti-German, Jewish neighborhood. (My father abandoned the family when I was young.) The other kids in school would make fun of me, steal my toys, and call me a “retard.” I was also beat up physically every day. I begged my mom to let me stay home from school. I was hurt, angry, and wanted to be by myself. I isolated myself from others.

I attended a Catholic school from grades 7-10. I went to the nuns who ran the school for help. Because of my behavior, I was unpopular with them and they suggested I deserved the treatment I received. I was angry at the nuns, so, as a joke and to get even, I started coming to school wearing the pentagram. I would also draw it on my homework assignments. They asked me to leave the school.

Now, these were the pre-Internet days, so I began reading about Satanism in books, and then began talking with Satanists.

CWR: Did you attend Black Masses?

Deborah: Yes. They were absolutely disgusting…the Eucharist is defiled…statues and crucifixes were turned upside down; anything to mock Christianity. It is depravity at its worst. Satanism is about indulgence, and destroying the Church and traditional morality.

I stopped attending the Black Masses and went off and formed my own group. Keep in mind there are different types of Satanism, and they vary in level [of] intensity. It is all very secretive and dangerous; you’re threatened with death if you try to leave a coven [a Satanic group of 13 members]. The world of Satanism is very secret. If you’re involved, you don’t want your members spilling these secrets. If you’re a blabbermouth, they will come after you. Some of what they do is so hideous they don’t want it exposed.

CWR: Did you see people hurt?

Deborah: Yes.

CWR: Children?

Deborah: No, they were consenting adults.

CWR: How far did you go as a Satanist?

Deborah: You couldn’t go any deeper. I made a blood pact with Satan.

CWR: Do many Satanists leave their covens and find Christ?

Deborah: No. Most end up killing themselves.

CWR: If I’d known you when you were a Satanist, what would I have observed about you?

Deborah: If you were nice to me, I would have been nice to you. If you were mean to me, I would have gotten even. I might have sent a demon after you.

You would have been uncomfortable around me, as I could have given you some hateful looks, and found me very manipulative. You would have been surprised that at a young age I had accumulated tremendous wealth, even though I was only working part-time.

CWR: Satan was rewarding you for following him?

Deborah: Yes. It seemed that wherever I was, material things just fell into my lap.

CWR: And how long were you involved with Satanism?

Deborah: I was involved seven years, and 30 years in the Occult. While in the Occult, I was involved in conjuring up demons, and experienced all the things you see in the Hollywood horror movies, including physical manifestations and apparitions. I don’t like to share specific details. In my book, Message of Hope, I focus on how the demons operate and how we can effectively battle them.

CWR: And how do the demons enter into our lives?

Deborah: The most common way is that we invite them in. We open portals. You can make use of Ouija boards, go to a psychic, attend a séance, or try to communicate with ghosts. We can also invite them in when we let ourselves be consumed with anger and refuse to forgive.

Demons have the ability to tamper with our thoughts, and lead us into addictions.

CWR: Give me an example of where you see the work of the demonic in our society.

Deborah: I see it in the violence manifested in video games and in movies about killing.

CWR: What about the slaughter of innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut?

Deborah: Yes, I believe that the shooter was demonically influenced. However, demons cannot coerce us. We have free will. We have to choose to follow their suggestions.

CWR: What made you decide to leave Satanism?

Deborah: It was difficult. The demons were terrorizing me. They came to collect my soul or wanted full possession (even though full possession is rare in our society). I had a dream where an angel came to rescue me. I got up the next morning and decided, “I’m going to be Catholic again.”

I went to see a Catholic priest, and he threw me out of the church. He didn’t believe me. I ended up joining a religious cult for 18 years. I drifted from occult practice to occult practice. One day, I prayed, “God, I don’t know if you exist, but if you do, send me a nun to bring me back to the Catholic Church.” A few months later, He did. She introduced me to some priests with experience in dealing with the demonic, including one who lives in Maine. I returned to the Catholic Church in 2009.

CWR: And how are things now?

Deborah: I love the Church, and have dedicated my life to Her. I want to serve the Church, and I’m in the process of becoming a Third Order Dominican.

Our Lady has had an incredible role in my life, too. I’ve seen great miracles happen through Mary.

CWR: How would you advise the faithful to keep the devil out of their lives?

Deborah: First of all, in this life he’s always going to be in your life and close by. So, you have to protect yourself by going to Mass and receiving the Eucharist. It’s powerful protection. Holy water is extremely effective. I call it “industrial-strength spiritual Lysol.” I keep it in my home and regularly bless myself.

The sacrament of confession is important. One of the fastest ways for the demon to enter our lives is through unconfessed sin. I freely tell people, Catholic or not, that the Catholic Church is the only church that has the tools to deal effectively with the demonic. That includes devotion to the Blessed Mother.

Also, be careful about your hobbies and entertainment. The drinking, partying, carousing lifestyle can create an opening for the devil to come in; I also recommend people avoid slasher movies.

CWR: Tell us about Our Lady of the Light Ministry.

Deborah: It is a ministry I founded to help people involved in the Occult to break free. As part of the ministry, I also investigate claims of demonic hauntings and offer spiritual help. I do not expel demons; my role is to assess and assist people with finding the resources they need. I always do my work in consultation with a priest.

I introduce people to prayer, the sacraments and Our Lady, even though most of the people I help are Protestants or pagans. Even though I do not advertise my services, people contact me through my website and I have from 10 to 15 clients at a time. I never charge for my services.Whether in this ministry or in my public speaking about this topic, it is my goal to share with people a message of hope (from my book’s title). I want people to know God’s great mercy. If you’re ashamed of your sins, I tell them you haven’t really sinned until you’ve worshipped the devil! I’ve dedicated my life to Christ and His Church, and I want to cooperate in the work of saving souls.

About the Author
Jim Graves

Jim Graves is a Catholic writer living in Newport Beach, California.

The Passion of Jesus Christ According To St. John - Commentary By Donald Senior, C.P.

The Passion of Jesus Christ

The Arrest
John 18:1-11

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it. Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.

So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, "Who is it you want?" "Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "I am he," Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)

When Jesus said, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, "Who is it you want?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth." "I told you that I am he," Jesus answered. "If you are looking for me, then let these men go." This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: "I have not lost one of those you gave me."

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.) Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"

Commentary by Donald Senior, C.P.

The opening scene of John's account sets the mood for the entire passion story. On one level, it is a tale of terror--betrayal by a friend, a violent nighttime arrest of an innocent person, the abuse of power by armed authorities. This is a chilling scene -- very familiar and very contemporary for Christians in many parts of the world.

But there is another level to this scene--Jesus freely choosing to place himself before his enemies; the overwhelming authority of his sacred person hurling the powers of darkness to the ground; Jesus in command even at the moment of his arrest.

So it is with John's entire passion story: the tragedy of violent death is overwhelmed by the power of redemptive love. For John, Jesus is the Word made flesh, sent to reveal the abiding love of God for the world. The most compelling statement of that love is, paradoxically, the death of Jesus. In giving his life "for his friends" (15:13)--the most noble of human actions--Jesus reveals God's overwhelming love for the world. From the perspective of faith, the death of Jesus is a word of life.

John's passion begins abruptly in comparison to the Synoptic gospels. There is no reference to the plot against Jesus, no anointing at Bethany and no account of the last supper, nor does Jesus pray his anguished prayer in Gethsamene before the moment of the arrest. To some degree John has taken care of these events or their equivalents earlier in his Gospel. Once Jesus has completed his long farewell discourse with the disciples (chs. 13-17), he leads them across the Kidron valley to a garden and the drama of the passion will begin (18:1).

John's account does not flinch before the terrible reality of death. It first appears in the guise of Judas, the disciple who betrays Jesus. In John's perspective, "Satan"--the very personification of evil--induces Judas to betray Jesus (13:2). Allied with Judas are Roman soldiers (only John mentions this) and guards from the priests and the Pharisees (18:3). The whole spectrum of power is arrayed against Jesus: Jew and Gentile; secular and religious.

But this phalanx of oppressive and even demonic power does not make Jesus a helpless victim. Earlier in the Gospel, the Johannine Jesus had stated his freedom in the face of death: "This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father." (10:17-18).

Jesus confronts the powers with his sacred name: "I am"--the divine name which Jesus the Word reveals to the world. In the face of this, the powers of death wilt and fall to the ground--not once but twice. Jesus, not death, is in command here. He lets his disciples leave (18:8 - they do not flee as in Mark and Matthew's accounts) and he restrains Peter from any violence on his behalf.

Jesus will freely and willingly "drink the cup" of the passion because in so doing he fulfills his mission of revealing God's love for the world.

In the Courtyard of the High Priest
John 18:12-27

Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest's courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in. "You are not one of his disciples, are you?" the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, "I am not." It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.

Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. "I have spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said."

When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. "Is this the way you answer the high priest?" he demanded. "If I said something wrong," Jesus replied, "testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?" Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.

As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, "You are not one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it, saying, "I am not." One of the high priest's servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, "Didn't I see you with him in the olive grove?" Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.

Commentary by Donald Senior, C.P.

The scene now changes from the Garden across the Kidron valley to the courtyard of the High Priest. In John's version of the story Jesus is taken first to Annas, the father-in-law of the reigning high priest Caiaphas. Presumably Annas who had been deposed by the Romans remained a powerful figure. Jesus will be interrogated by the religious authorities in preparation for his formal trial before Pilate.

But for John the deeper motif of this scene remains one of contrasts: between Jesus and his opponents and between Jesus and Peter.

As in the arrest scene Jesus boldly confronts his opponents. In words reminiscent of chapter 8 of the Gospel, John presents Jesus as the embodiment of "truth"--the ultimate truth of God's love for the world. Jesus has openly proclaimed this truth in his words and actions (18:20). In John's theology, truth has an inherently "public" character. Those who speak the truth or seek to discover it, are not afraid to come into the light (3:19-21) but those whose lives are built on falsehood or who shy from the truth prefer to live in darkness and to operate in secret. Thus Judas and his armed band had come to arrest Jesus in the darkness (ironically, carrying lanterns and torches...18:3). And so, too, the High Priest fails to recognize the Truth of God that stands before him bound as a prisoner.

John also tells the story of Peter's denial. Here the contrast is between the fearless public witness that Jesus gives before his captors and the weakness of the disciple who denies his discipleship when confronted with the question of a maidservant. Peter had boldly affirmed that he would lay down his life for Jesus and insisted that he would follow Jesus wherever he would go (13:36-38). But he had underestimated the power of darkness and the cost of discipleship. In the crisis of the passion he fails.

But the Gospel does not abandon Peter. He will witness the empty tomb and ponders its meaning (20:6-9) and finally, in the exquisite story of the breakfast on the shore of the lake (ch, 21), the Risen Christ will heal Peter's broken discipleship with a threefold confession of love and entrust him with the mission of serving the community.

John also introduces a new element into this story. Peter is able to enter the courtyard because of "another disciple" known to the High Priest (20:15). This is most likely the "beloved disciple"--that mysterious figure in John's Gospel who represents authentic discipleship. He, along with the Mother of Jesus, will be the witnesses to Jesus' death (19:26,35-36).

John's sense of contrast and irony continue to add deep levels of meaning to the passion story: truth and falsehood, strength and weakness are revealed in the crisis moment of suffering.

Jesus before Pilate
John 18:28-40

Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and asked, "What charges are you bringing against this man?" "If he were not a criminal," they replied, "we would not have handed him over to you."

Pilate said, "Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law."

"But we have no right to execute anyone," the Jews objected. This happened so that the words Jesus had spoken indicating the kind of death he was going to die would be fulfilled. Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"

"Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?"

"Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?"

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

"You are a king, then!" said Pilate.

Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."

"What is truth?" Pilate asked.

With this he went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release 'the king of the Jews'?"

They shouted back, "No, not him! Give us Barabbas!" Now Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion.

Commentary by Donald Senior, C.P.

The trial of Jesus by the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate dominates the Johannine passion story. The evangelist organizes the trial into a series of vignettes, alternately staged inside the praetorium and outside in full view of the crowds. The scenes mount in intensity, beginning with Pilate's seemingly bored discussion with the religious leaders, through his increasing mystification with his prisoner, and climaxing with his attempt to free Jesus that is rejected by the crowd.

John once again injects irony into his narrative. In the first scene the religious leaders are concerned with maintaining ritual purity but they are engaged in handing over the Son of God to the Romans. They are concerned to be ready for the feast of Passover (18:28) yet the true Passover Lamb is about to be sacrificed. Their jousting with the Roman procurator about legal rights leads ironically to Jesus being crucified--the very manner of death which the Johannine Jesus had predicted he would undergo, being "lifted up" for the life of the world (see 3:14-15; 12:32-33).

A potent symbol of the whole trial is that of kingship, a theme that emerges as Pilate begins to interrogate Jesus (18:33-38). Pilate represents political might symbolized in the emperor's crown. But Jesus' sovereignty is not "of this world," that is, it represents a very different sort of power--one that gives life. As the prologue of the Gospel had already proclaimed in poetic fashion (1:1-18) Jesus came into the world to proclaim the ultimate truth of God's love--those who hear the voice of Jesus know God's truth and live it out in their lives (8:47). The truth of God's love--and not brute, oppressive force--is the source of Jesus' power. Pilate, like the religious leaders, is incapable of recognizing this truth (18:37).

Even though he cannot understand Jesus, Pilate is convinced of his innocence and he goes outside to inform the leaders of his decision. To assuage them, he offers to release Jesus as a gesture on the occasion of the Passover (18:39). But the "Jews" demand that Barabbas be released instead. The Gospel simply notes that Barabbas was a "revolutionary" (18:40). Is John's irony at work again? Does the evangelist imply for the reader that the crowds are blind to the fact that the most profound revolution is the one inaugurated by Jesus himself? [Note that at this point John has subtly moved from identifying Jesus' opponents as the religious leaders to calling them in generic fashion, "the Jews"--the Christian reader must be careful not to draw the conclusion that all Jews are somehow guilty for the death of Jesus. This cannot be John's point: Mary, the Beloved Disciple, and Jesus himself were Jews!]

Jesus the Crucified King
John 19:1-16

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him."

When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!"

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!"

But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him." The Jews insisted, We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God."

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. "Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"

Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."

From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar."

When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge's seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. "Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "

Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked.

"We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered. Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

Commentary by Donald Senior, C.P.

The motif of Kingship intensifies in the concluding scenes. When the crowd selects Barabbas to be freed, Pilate has Jesus scourged (19:1-3). The soldiers perform a cruel coronation parody: after being beaten, Jesus is crowned with thorns, robed in purple and offered mock homage: "Hail, King of the Jews!". The mockery is punctuated with further violence as the soldiers strike him "repeatedly".

All of this prepares for the bizarre scene that follows as Pilate leads his beaten prisoner, robed in his mock royal trappings out to the crowds. Pilate hopes this will quench their desire to have Jesus destroyed.

For Pilate and the characters in the drama, this is a complete humiliation of this royal pretender. Jesus is a buffoon, without power or following, garbed in mock symbols of royalty. But for the reader of the Gospel there is another truth. Jesus truly is "king"; he is God's royal Son. What is being mocked here is not Jesus but any crown whose power is based on violence and falsehood. Pilate presents Jesus as a pitiful "man" but the eye of faith knows that this human being is the Word made flesh, the "Son of Man" who came down from heaven to reveal God's love for the world.

Again irony courses through John's narrative: Jesus must die, his opponents shout, "because he made himself the Son of God" (19:7). John's Gospel has proclaimed that Jesus will die precisely because he is God's Son who gives his life for the world.

Stung by the crowd's rejection of Jesus and still seeking a way to release this mysterious prisoner, Pilate again interrogates Jesus. Pilate's claim to power is brushed aside: the only power is that which God gives (19:11).

When Pilate once again pleads with the crowd on behalf of Jesus, they threaten to accuse him of disloyalty to Caesar (19:12). Once more irony drips from the words: "Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar"--just so, the reader of the Gospel can say. Jesus is a king and the nature of his kingship is diametrically opposed to the abusive power that takes life from the innocent.

The scene ends with the crowds demanding Jesus be crucified. The symbolism is very strong. Pilate leads Jesus out and sits on the judgment seat. "Behold your king," he says to taunt the crowds, but they reply: "we have no king but Caesar." From the perspective of John's Gospel, Pilate is right and the Jerusalem crowds could make no more terrible choice.

The Lifting Up of the Son of Man
John 19:17-30

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others--one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.

The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews."

Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written." When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. "Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it." This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, "They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." So this is what the soldiers did.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 

Commentary by Donald Senior, C.P.

The climax of the passion comes on Golgotha where Jesus is crucified. John's emphasis on the triumphant initiative of Jesus even in the darkest moment of the passion continues. There is no Simon of Cyrene impounded to carry the cross; the Johannine Jesus takes it up himself.

The moment of crucifixion is an enthronement: Jesus is crucified, surrounded by an improbable retinue of two others who die in the same way. Over the cross emblazoned in Hebrew, Latin and Greek is the title: "Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews." Even though the chief priests protest, Pilate is adamant--this will be the title of the Crucified Jesus.

Using the haunting symbolism of the bronze serpent from the story of Moses in Number 14:21 (see John 3:14), John's Gospel presented the crucifixion as a "lifting up"--not just the lifting up of the crucified body of Jesus in the torment of death, but through that death, a "lifting up" that is a triumphant exaltation as the Word Made Flesh completes his mission of love and returns to the Father (13:1).

John fills this climactic scene with other potent symbols. The seamless tunic of Jesus (reminiscent of the high priest's garment? or of the unity Jesus came to create?) is not torn (19:23-24). At the brink of death, Jesus "thirsts," recalling his words to Peter in the garden: "Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?" (18:11).

One other final action involves the mother of Jesus and his beloved disciple (19:25-27). The precise meaning of this incident is difficult to determine. Does it mean that the beloved disciple is now a member of Jesus' household or community ("Son, behold your mother")? Does the mother of Jesus symbolize Judaism and now she "gives birth" to a new community symbolized by Jesus' disciple, while at the same time, the Christian community must be respectful of its parentage in Judaism? Or does the Mother of Jesus represent that great faith of Israel whose pangs of childbirth are now complete in the community of faith that begins with the death and resurrection of Jesus (see this image used in Jesus' farewell discourse, 16:21-22).

So often John's Gospel tantalizes the reader and does not dictate which range of meaning one must draw from the text.

John describes the death of Jesus in brief and bold strokes. Jesus' final words are: "It is finished" (19:30). They ring with Johannine spirit. The Greek verb used here, teleo, connotes "completion," "arriving at the intended goal," Jesus had set out to do the will of the Father, to love his own "until the end" (13:1, the same root word, telos, is used). Bowing his head in a graceful and composed manner, Jesus the Word made Flesh, hands over his life spirit to God. There is a magnificent sense of serenity and strength as the Johannine Jesus meets death. His death is no play acting (John will make that point in the spear thrust that follows) but the terror of death has been defused by love.

John 19: 31-42

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.

The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken," and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced."

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus' body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs.

At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Commentary by Donald Senior, C.P.

John's passion story concludes with two brutal acts in the ritual of crucifixion that are given entirely new meaning by the Gospel.

The executioners come to break the legs of the crucified in order to hasten death before the Sabbath eve begins. But they do not break Jesus' legs; unwittingly they fulfill the words of Scripture in reference to the passover lamb (see, for example, Exodus 12:46). In the testimony of the Baptist earlier in the Gospel, Jesus is the "lamb of God" who has come to take away the sins of the world (1:29,36).

To make sure Jesus is dead, one of the soldiers drives a lance into his side. Blood and water stream from the body of Jesus. Once again, a brutal act takes on new meaning in the eye of the Gospel. The Gospel cites Zechariah 12:10, a haunting text that speaks of the inhabitants of Jerusalem repenting and receiving God's forgiveness when they look on one "whom they have pierced." Water and blood have rich meaning in John's Gospel. In chapter 7 Jesus used the symbol of water to refer to the Spirit that would course into the world through his life-giving death (see 7:37-39). And in the bread of life discourse, Jesus had spoken of his blood that gives life to those who partake of it (6:53,54,55-56).

All of these signs confirm the redemptive power of Jesus' death in John's Gospel and for this reason the evangelist emphasizes the decisive testimony of the "witness" at the cross (19:35)--presumably the Beloved Disciple who was the key link between the original community of Jesus and the Johannine church.

The finale is reached as Jesus' crucified body is taken from the cross for burial. Already the effects of Jesus' mission are evident. Joseph of Arimathea who out of fear had been a disciple only in secret now takes courage and comes to claim the body. He is joined by Nicodemus, a Pharisee who had first come to Jesus "at night" (3:1) and whose faith had been tentative (7:50-52). He brings an enormous amount of spices--enough for a royal burial!

Both men lay aside their fear and openly pay homage to the crucified Jesus. Those in the darkness are now coming out into the light. God's Word of love has triumphed over death.

Good Friday and the Victory of the Cross

The Integrated Catholic Life

March 29, 2013

Photography © by Andy Coan

The terror of crucifixion

Terrorism is nothing new. It’s probably as old as the human race.

In fact the cradle of civilization, now Iraq, was the home of the most infamous terrorists of antiquity, the Assyrians. Their goal was to conquer their neighbors in a way that would minimize initial resistance and subsequent rebellion. To do this, they knew fear would be their greatest weapon. Simple threat of death for those who resisted was not enough because many would prefer death to slavery. So the Assyrians developed the technology to produce the maximum amount of pain for the longest amount of time prior to death. It was called crucifixion. This ingenious procedure proved to be very effective terror tactic indeed.

It was the policy of the Roman Empire to adopt from conquered peoples whatever appeared useful. They found crucifixion an excellent tool of intimidation. The humiliation of being stripped naked to die in a public spectacle was particularly loathsome to Jews for whom public nudity was an abomination. Incidentally, crucifixion was deemed so horrible that Roman law forbade that it be carried out on a Roman citizen, even a traitor. It was reserved only for slaves and conquered peoples.

The Cross is the Tree of Life

Non-Christians have often asked a very good question – why do Christians adorn their churches, homes, and necks with a symbol of abasement, terror, and torture? Why build an entire religion around the cross?

St. Anselm (12th century) explained it this way. Our first parent’s sin was all about pride, disobedience, and self-love. Deceived by the serpent, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in defiance of God because they wanted to exalt themselves as His equal. The results were catastrophic – loss of communion with God, each other, and the created universe. The history of the human race has been a story in which each one of us, weakened by the impact of this sin on our nature, have followed its pattern, proudly refusing to obey God and love our neighbor.

Anselm pointed out sin constitutes an infinite offense against the goodness and honor of God. Having been created free and responsible, bound by the law of justice, our race is obliged to offer acts of love, humility and obedience to God powerful enough to cancel out the long legacy of disobedience, pride, and absence of love; and restore our friendship with him.

The problem is, our wounded race could not begin to attempt such a task. So the Father sent His Eternal Word to become man and accomplish the task in our place, to substitute for us. For the immortal, infinite God to empty himself and unite himself to a limited, vulnerable human nature was already a feat of unimaginable love and humility. But for redemption to be complete, the hero would have to withstand the greatest fury that hell and fallen humanity could hurl against him – the cross.

Surely, after the crowds he had healed and fed cried “Crucify him!” and his own apostles fled, Jesus would realize it wasn’t worth it. Surely he would curse the ingrates and use his divine power to free himself as many suggested in their taunts. But no. His was love to the end, love to the max (John 13:1). His death was the clear and undeniable manifestation of the triumph of obedience over disobedience, love over selfishness, humility over pride.

Good Friday was the D-Day of the human race. Since Pentecost, the power of Christ’s obedient, humble, unstoppable love has been made available to all who are willing to share it, producing martyrs and saints in every generation, down to the Maximilian Kolbe’s and Mother Teresa’s of our own era.

So the cross is not only victorious, it is fruitful. It bore the fruit of salvation in the loving act of Christ but has kept bearing new fruit throughout the ages. That’s why, if you go to the Church of San Clemente in Rome, you’ll see one of the most stunning mosaics in the Eternal City. The ancient instrument of subjection and death, wrapped with verdant vines supporting fruit of every shape and size, the triumphant cross become the tree of life.

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio writes from Texas. For his resources on parenting and family life or information on his pilgrimages to Rome and the Holy Land, visit www.crossroadsinitiative.com or call 1.800.803.0118. This article originally appeared in Our Sunday Visitor and is reproduced here by permission of the author.

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The Crucifixion of Jesus in Excruciating Detail

The Crucifixion in Excruciating Detail
1 Corinthians 1:18-25 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
To ask a Gentile to believe in a Savior who had been crucified was absolute foolishness at the time of Paul. Crucifixion was considered so obscene that no one spoke of it. If a relative had been crucified for his crimes, you would be too ashamed to mention it. A Crucified Savior was unheard of! It was foolishness to the “wisdom” of the Gentiles. It was a stumbling block to the Jews, who looked for a Kingly Messiah, not a Crucified commoner.
Death was designed for maximum pain with minimal blood loss, thereby extending the pain and suffering by days. Crucifixion was, in every sense of the word, excruciating (Latin,excruciatus, or “out of the cross”). In order to understand the obscenity and shame of the crucifixion, and to know the depths of the Love of our Savior,  we need to understand the horrors to which our Savior willingly submitted Himself.

The Scourging

Preparations for Jesus’ scourging were carried out at Caesar’s orders. The prisoner was stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. The Roman legionnairestepped forward with the flagrum, or flagellum, in his hand. This was a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip was brought down with full force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back, and legs. At first the weighted thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continued, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles.
The small balls of lead first produced large deep bruises that were broken open by subsequent blows. Finally, the skin of the back was hanging in long ribbons, and the entire area was an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it was determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner was near death, the beating was finally stopped.

The Humiliation

The half-fainting Jesus was then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with his own blood. The Roman soldiers saw a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be a king. They threw a robe across His shoulders and placed a stick in His hand for a scepter. They still needed a crown to make their travesty complete. Small flexible branches covered with long thorns, commonly used for kindling fires in the charcoal braziers in the courtyard, were plaited into the shape of a crude crown. The crown was pressed into his scalp and again there was copious bleeding as the thorns pierced the very vascular tissue. After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers took the stick from His hand and struck Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, they tired of their sadistic sport and tore the robe from His back. The robe had already become adherent to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, caused excruciating pain. The wounds again began to bleed.
Jesus had not drank since the night before, so the combination of the beatings, the crown of thorns, and the scourging would have set into motion an irreversible process of severe dehydration and cardio respiratory failure. All of this was done so that the prophecies would be fulfilled:
  • I can count all my bones: they look and stare upon me. Psalm 22:17
  • I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting. Isaiah 50:6
  • As many were astonished at you— his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind. Isaiah 52:14
  • Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

Behold the Man!

The Crown of Thorns and the Robe

The significance of the scarlet robe and crown of thorns is to emphasize Jesus’ taking the sins of the world upon His body. The Bible describes sin by the color of scarlet and that thorns first appeared after the fall, as a sign of the curse. Thus, the articles that He wore are symbols to show that Jesus took on the sins (and the curse) of the world upon Himself.
  • Genesis 3:17-18: “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
  • “Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD.”Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”  


Crucifixion was invented by the Persians approximately 300-400 B.C. It was “perfected” by the Romans in the first century B.C. It is arguably the most painful death ever invented by man and is where we get our term “excruciating.” It was reserved primarily for the most vicious of criminals, as well as conquered foes.
Victims of crucifixion were typically stripped naked and their clothing divided by the Roman guards. In Jesus’ case this was done in fulfillment of Psalm 22:18, “They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”
It was customary for the condemned man to carry his own cross from the flogging post to the site of crucifixion outside the city walls. He was usually naked, unless this was prohibited by local customs. Since the weight of the entire cross was probably well over 300 lb., only the crossbar was carried. The heavy patibulum of the cross, (weighing 75 to 125 lb.) was placed across the nape of the victim’s neck and balanced along both shoulders. Usually, the outstretched arms were tied to the crossbar. The procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves, and the execution detail of Roman soldiers headed by a centurion began its slow journey along the route which we know today as the Via Dolorosa.
In spite of Jesus’ efforts to walk erect, the weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious loss of blood, was too much. He stumbled and fell. The rough wood of the beam gouged into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders. He tried to rise, but human muscles had been pushed beyond their endurance. The centurion, anxious to proceed with the crucifixion, selected a stalwart North African onlooker, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross. Jesus followed, still bleeding and sweating the cold, clammy sweat of shock. The 650-yard journey from the Fortress Antonia to Golgotha was finally completed.
Outside the city walls were permanently located the heavy upright wooden stipes, on which the patibulum would be secured. At the site of execution, by law, the victim was given a bitter drink of wine mixed with myrrh (gall) as a mild analgesic. Even though Jesus was severely dehydrated through blood and fluid loss, He refused this drink. He chose to face death in full control of His senses. Edersheim writes:
“It was a merciful Jewish practice to give to those led to execution a draught of strong wine mixed with myrrh so as to deaden consciousness” (Mass Sem 2.9; Bemid. R. 10). The draught was offered to Jesus when He reached Golgotha. But having tasted it….He would not drink it. ….He would meet Death, even in his sternest and fiercest mood, and conquer by submitting to the full…. (p.880).
Jesus refused this drink. The criminal was then thrown to the ground on his back, with his arms outstretched along the patibulum. The hands could be nailed or tied to the crossbar, but nailing apparently was preferred by the Romans. The archaeological remains of a crucified body, found in an ossuary near Jerusalem and dating from the time of Christ, indicate that the nails were tapered iron spikes approximately 5 to 7 in (13 to 18 cm) long with a square shaft 3/8 in (1 cm) across. Furthermore, ossuary findings and the Shroud of Turin have documented that the nails commonly were driven through the wrists rather than the palms.
After both arms were fixed to the crossbar, the patibulum and the victim, together, were lifted onto the stipes. On the low cross, four soldiers could accomplish this relatively easily. However, on the tall cross, the soldiers used either wooden forks or ladders.
Next, the feet were fixed to the cross, either by nails or ropes. Ossuary findings and the Shroud of Turin suggest that nailing was the preferred Roman practice. Although the feet could be fixed to the sides of the stipes or to a wooden footrest, they usually were nailed directly to the front of the stipes. To accomplish this, flexion of the knees may have been quite prominent, and the bent legs may have been rotated laterally. The left foot was pressed backward against the right foot. With both feet extended, toes down, a nail was driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. The victim was now crucified.
When the nailing was completed, the titulus was attached to the cross, by nails or cords, just above the victim’s head. The soldiers and the civilian crowd often taunted and jeered the condemned man, and the soldiers customarily divided up his clothes among themselves.
To add to the horror, insects would light upon or burrow into the open wounds or the eyes, ears, and nose of the dying and helpless victim, and birds of prey would tear at these sites. Moreover, it was customary to leave the corpse on the cross to be devoured by predatory animals. However, by Roman law, the family of the condemned could take the body for burial, after obtaining permission from the Roman judge.
Since no one was intended to survive crucifixions the body was not released to the family until the soldiers were sure that the victim was dead. By custom, one of the Roman guards would pierce the body with a sword or lance. Traditionally, this was a spear wound to the heart through the right side of the chest — a fatal wound probably taught to most Roman soldiers. The Shroud of Turin documents this form of injury. Moreover, the standard infantry spear, which was 5 to 6 ft long, could easily have reached the chest of a man crucified on the customary low cross.”

On the Cross

As Jesus slowly sagged down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shot along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain. The nails in the wrists were putting pressure on the median nerve, large nerve trunks which traverse the mid-wrist and hand. As He pushed himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, He placed His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there was searing agony as the nail tore through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of His feet.
At this point, another phenomenon occurred. As the arms fatigued, great waves of cramps swept over the muscles, knotting them in deep relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps came the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by the arm, the pectoral muscles, the large muscles of the chest, were paralyzed and the intercostal muscles, the small muscles between the ribs, were unable to act. Air could be drawn into the lungs, but could not be exhaled. Jesus fought to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, the carbon dioxide level increased in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subsided.

Forces of Darkness

While He was on the cross, darkness covered the land (noon to three p.m.). Jesus, in Luke 22:53, associates those who arrested Him with the power of darkness. Where were the evil forces while Jesus was on the cross? The verses below from Psalm 22 seem out of place when first read. There seems to be no mention of “bulls” and “lions” around the cross. The verses, however, have a deeper meaning. Bashan was an area to the east of the Jordan River which was famous for its fertility. There cattle were raised which grew to enormous sizes. The people there worshipped demon spirits (associated with Baal) within the cattle.1 Pet 5:8 describes Satan as “a roaring lion…seeking those who he may devour” These verses are thus suggestive of the spiritual activity of Satan and his demons, celebrating as Jesus was suffering on the cross.
Psalm 22:12-13: “Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me.”

Medical Aspects of Crucifixion

After forced to carry his cross to the site, the victim was then placed on his back, arms stretched out and nailed to the cross bar. The nails, which were generally about 7-9 inches long, were placed between the bones of the forearm (the radius and ulna) and the small bones of the hands (the carpal bones).
The placement of the nail at this point had several effects. First it ensured that the victim would indeed hang there until dead. Secondly, a nail placed at this point would sever the largest nerve in the hand called the median nerve.
The severing of this nerve is a medical catastrophe. In addition to severe burning pain the destruction of this nerve causes permanent paralysis of the hand. Furthermore, by nailing the victim at this point in the wrist, there would be minimal bleeding and there would be no bones broken! Thus scriptures were fulfilled:
  • He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. Psalm 34:20
The positioning of the feet is probably the most critical part of the mechanics of crucifixion. First the knees were flexed about 45 degrees and the feet were flexed (bent downward) an additional 45 degrees until they were parallel the vertical pole. An iron nail about 7-9 inches long was driven through the feet between the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal bones. In this position the nail would sever the dorsal pedal artery of the foot, but the resultant bleeding would be insufficient to cause death.
The scourging prior to crucifixion served to weaken the condemned man and, if blood loss was considerable, to produce orthostatic hypotension[1] and even hypovolemic[2] shock. When the victim was thrown to the ground on his back, in preparation for transfixion of the hands, his scourging wounds most likely would become torn open again and contaminated with dirt. Furthermore, with each respiration, the painful scourging wounds would be scraped against the rough wood of the stipes. As a result, blood loss from the back probably would continue throughout the crucifixion ordeal.
With arms outstretched but not taut, the wrists were nailed to the patibulum. It has been shown that the ligaments and bones of the wrist can support the weight of a body hanging from them, but the palms cannot. Accordingly, the iron spikes probably were driven between the radius and the carpals or between the two rows of carpal bones, either proximal to or through the strong band like flexor retinaculum and the various intercarpal ligaments. Although a nail in either location in the wrist might pass between the bony elements and thereby produce no fractures, the likelihood of painful periosteal injury would seem great. Furthermore, the driven nail would crush or sever the rather large median nerve. The stimulated nerve would produce excruciating bolts of fiery pain in both arms. Although the severed median nerve would result in paralysis of a portion of the hand, ischemic contracture and impalement of various ligaments by the iron spike might produce a claw like grasp.
Most commonly, the feet were fixed to the front of the stipes by means of an iron spike driven through the first or second inter metatarsal space, just distal to the tarsometatarsal joint. It is likely that the deep peroneal nerve and branches of the medial and lateral plantar nerves would have been injured by the nails. Although scourging may have resulted in considerable blood loss, crucifixion per se was a relatively bloodless procedure, since no major arteries, other than perhaps the deep plantar arch, pass through the favored anatomic sites of transfixion.

Tetanic Spasm
The major effect of crucifixion, beyond the excruciating pain, was a marked interference with normal respiration, particularly exhalation. The weight of the body, pulling down on the outstretched arms and shoulders, would tend to fix the intercostal[3] muscles in an inhalation state and thereby hinder passive exhalation.  Accordingly, exhalation was primarily diaphragmatic, and breathing was shallow. It is likely that this form of respiration would not suffice and that hypercapnia[4] would soon result. The onset of muscle cramps or tetanic spasms[5], due to fatigue and hypercapnia, would hinder respiration even further.
The resulting position on the cross sets up a horrific sequence of events which results in a slow, painful death. Having been pinned to the cross, the victim now has an impossible position to maintain.
With the knees flexed at about 45 degrees, the victim must bear his weight with the muscles of the thigh. However, this is an almost impossible task-try to stand with your knees flexed at 45 degrees for 5 minutes. As the strength of the legs gives out, the weight of the body must now be borne by the arms and shoulders. The result is that within a few minutes of being placed on the cross, the shoulders will become dislocated. Minutes later the elbows and wrists become dislocated. The result of these dislocations is that the arms are as much as 6-9 inches longer than normal.
With the arms dislocated, considerable body weight is transferred to the chest, causing the rib cage to be elevated in a state of perpetual inhalation. Consequently, in order to exhale the victim must push down on his feet to allow the rib muscles to relax. The problem is that the victim cannot push very long because the legs are extremely fatigued. As time goes on, the victim is less and less able to bear weight on the legs, causing further dislocation of the arms and further rising of the chest wall, making breathing more and more difficult.
  • …all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; Psalm 22:14
The result of this process is a series of catastrophic physiological effects. Because the victim cannot maintain adequate ventilation of the lungs, the blood oxygen level begins to diminish and the blood carbon dioxide (CO2) level begins to rise. This process sets up a vicious cycle of increasing oxygen demand-which cannot be met-followed by an ever increasing heart rate. The rising CO2 level stimulates the heart to beat faster in order to increase the delivery of oxygen and the removal of CO2. Due to the shallow breathing, the victim’s lungs begin to collapse in small areas, causing hypoxia and hypercapnia. A respiratory acidosis[6], with lack of compensation by the kidneys due to the loss of blood from the numerous beatings, resulted in an increased strain on the heart, which beats faster to compensate. After several hours the heart begins to fail, the lungs collapse and fill up with fluid, which further decreases oxygen delivery to the tissues. The blood loss and hyperventilation combines to cause severe dehydration. Over a period of several hours the combination of collapsing lungs, a failing heart, dehydration, and the inability to get adequate oxygen supplies to the tissues cause the eventual death of the victim. The victim, in effect, cannot breath properly and slowly suffocates to death. In cases of severe cardiac stress, such as crucifixion, a victim’s heart can even burst. This process is called “Cardiac Rupture.”
The actual cause of death by crucifixion was multifactorial and varied somewhat with each case, but the two most prominent causes probably were hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Other possible contributing factors included dehydration, stress-induced arrhythmias, and congestive heart failure with the rapid accumulation of pericardial and perhaps pleural effusions. Crucifracture (breaking the legs below the knees), if performed, led to death from asphyxia within minutes.

His Last Words

Spasmodically, Jesus was able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen. It was undoubtedly during these periods that He uttered the seven short sentences that are recorded.
He suffered hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, and searing pain as tissue was torn from His lacerated back from His movement up and down against the rough timbers of the cross. Then another agony began: a deep crushing pain in the chest as the pericardium, the sac surrounding the heart, slowly filled with serum and began to compress the heart.
The prophecy in Psalm 22:14 was being fulfilled: “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint, my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.”
The end was rapidly approaching. The loss of tissue fluids had reached a critical level; the compressed heart was struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood to the tissues, and the tortured lungs were making a frantic effort to inhale small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues sent their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasped His fifth cry: “I thirst.” Again we read in the prophetic psalm: “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou has brought me into the dust of death” (Psalm 22:15 KJV).
Jesus was offered a second drink, which He accepted. It is ‘pocsa’, a sour wine popular at that time. Jesus accepted this drink because of two important images. The drink was given on the “stalk of a hyssop plant”. Remember that these events occurred at the Feast of the Passover. During this feast, hyssop was used to apply the blood of the Passover lamb to the wooden doorposts of the Jews. It is interesting the end of this hyssop stalk pointed to the blood of the Perfect Lamb which was applied to the wooden cross for the salvation of all mankind.
In addition, the wine vinegar is a product of fermentation, which is made from grape juice and yeast. The word literally means “that which is soured” and is related to the Hebrew term for “that which is leavened”. (Holmans) Yeast or leaven, is a Biblical symbol of sin. When Jesus took this drink, (i.e. a drink which was “leavened”) it is thus symbolic of His taking the sins of the world into His body.
After this last drink, His body was now in extremis, and He could feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. This realization brought forth His sixth word, possibly little more than a tortured whisper: “It is finished.” His mission of atonement had been completed. Finally, He could allow His body to die. With one last surge of strength, He once again pressed His torn feet against the nail, straightened His legs, took a deeper breath, and uttered His seventh and last cry: “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”
While the crucifixion is horrible to our physical senses, we will never understand the spiritual agony of Hell that Jesus experienced for us upon the cross. There is no graphic display that can impress upon our senses the wrath of God upon Jesus Christ. He drank of God’s Wrath against our sin! Wrath that was meant for us, to be experienced in an eternity of Hell, Jesus experienced in a moment. God experienced Hell for you and me! That is love that cannot be defined, only experienced! Do you know His Love? Has He changed your life?
This is a Compilation from the following Sources:
Dr. C Truman David, “The Crucifixion”,, New Wine Magazine, April 1982. Originally published in Arizona Medicine, March 1965, Arizona Medical Association.
Medical Aspects of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Compiled by David Terasaka, M.D. ©1996.

[1] Orthostatic hypotension is a form of hypotension in which a person’s blood pressure suddenly falls when standing up or stretching. The symptom is caused by blood pooling in the lower extremities upon a change in body position. It is quite common and can occur briefly in anyone, although it is particularly prevalent among the elderly, and those with low blood pressure.
[2] Hypovolemic shock refers to a medical or surgical condition in which rapid fluid loss results in multiple organ failure due to inadequate circulating volume and subsequent inadequate perfusion.
[3] Intercostal muscles are several groups of muscles that run between the ribs, and help form and move the chest wall. The intercostal muscles are mainly involved in the mechanical aspect of breathing. These muscles help expand and shrink the size of the chest cavity when you breathe.
[4] Hypercapnia (or hypercarbia) is generally defined as an abnormally high level of carbon dioxide (e.g., more than 45 mm Hg) in the arterial blood.
[5] a state of sustained muscular contraction without periods of relaxation caused by repetitive stimulation of the motor nerve trunk at frequencies so high that individual muscle twitches are fused and cannot be distinguished from one another
[6] Respiratory acidosis develops when there is too much carbon dioxide (an acid) in the body. This type of acidosis is usually caused when the body is unable to remove enough carbon dioxide through breathing.