February 15, 2012

"Albert Katterjohn" by Roger Martin

The Rev. Albert E. Katterjohn ministered at the Evangelical Church of Wright City, Mo., until his death in 1954, of a heart attack.  He was found lying on the floor of his bathroom, face half-shaven.
Wright City Cem., Wright City MO

We went to Oberammergau to see the Passion Play.  I expected it to be the climax of my trip to Europe but I must confess that it made but little impression on me.

I realize that the actors and the people of the community are good Christians; that is, as far as a Catholic can be a good Christian. And yet the play is doing more harm than good. Christ should be the central figure, but he was overshadowed by Judas especially, by Pilate, by John and others.  The man who played the part was not permitted to act and suffer as Christ must have.

He was scourged, the crown of thorns thrust upon his head, then he hung upon the cross. The nails seemed to pierce his hands and feet, a soldier pierced his side with the spear, the blood it seemed flowed out, it all seemed very real; and yet I knew that the man was not enduring pain and sorrow and it left me cold.

The resurrection scene was ridiculous. We read that a heavy stone was rolled before the opening of the tomb and that on the resurrection morn angels rolled the stone away.  But this did not occur in the play.  Instead Christ pushed the stone away himself.  It fell to the floor and one could realize by the sound it made it was only poster board. The ascension was not very good either. 

Anton Lang, the man who plays the part of Christ, put his signature to a postal card containing his photograph and you could have one for 12 cents.

The play may have impressed others in a different way from that in which it impressed me.  I am certain of one thing, and that is that if it is not proper or not right for these people to play, the Lord would put an end to it.