Good Friday / Other Friday [NOT 7/4/23]

Easter celebration
Detail from: Easter boom / Charles Jay Taylor 1894 /


Even if you’re not a serious Christian, Easter Sunday can be fun, with egg hunts and chocolate and a nice ham dinner.

But Good Friday is a different deal. When I was a kid, my school bus went by a Catholic church with a permanent giant crucifix scene out front, complete with dead Jesus, weeping Mary, Roman soldiers, the whole deal.

I attribute part of my lack of interest in practicing any religion to that gory scene, which bugged me even before I knew the story of Good Friday. But I know different people have different points of view.

So where do you stand, readers? My wife grew up Catholic, and for her parents Good Friday was a big deal, with long church services and a dreary supper. But I honestly don’t know what different Protestant denominations do, if anything. Maybe it’s different for Congregationalists?

I went to a Catholic funeral as an adult where the priest actually spoke fairly affectingly about the crucifixion, in a non-dogmatic and human way, so I recognize it’s not necessarily about browbeating people. And the amazing artist Frans Masereel adapted the story of the Passion of Jesus to become a story about a working class man who leads a protest against capitalism.

Masereel Man's Passion

Excerpt from 25 Images of a Man’s Passion / Frans Masereel / 1918 / source:

Islam sees Jesus as a great prophet but believes he was rescued before crucifixion, Judaism acknowledges Jesus as a human guy but nothing more, and other religions (and atheism) don’t really consider Jesus at all, so of course for many people Good Friday isn’t any different from any other Friday.

Did you observe as a kid, or do you still observe in some way? Or were you like me and affected in a negative way by the whole story of the crucifixion? Or maybe it just doesn’t register at all?



  1. it means i get to walk to work passing a whole bunch of closed shops and thinking….. you motherfuckers!

    get a day off for this bullshit

    but i keep that shit to myself

    coz i do get the day off for easter

    figure its like the missus being vegetarian but eating fish

    if i mention it they may work out the hypocrisy and take fish off the menu too


        • I thought the Dutch were resolutely Protestant. Are there many Catholics there? One of my favorite pieces of American history arcana is that when the Pilgrims were driven out of England for being so crazy they first sought refuge in The Netherlands, in Leiden, but the Dutch soon got tired of them and they in turn became resentful of their Dutch hosts. They knew about this wild new place across the Atlantic and got some funding from an English company, a 17th-century version of a venture capital fund, and off they went.

          • we are a divided country….well…probably were religion is fading

            little village i grew up in had 2 churches…protestant and reformed catholic

            the catholic one is a proper churchy looking church too…with the spire and all the bells and whistles

            the protestant one is what you’d expect a country side church to look like

            a wooden shack painted white..with a bell….and a surprisingly large graveyard.

            anyways the point i was trying to get to is….. my little village had a population of about 120 people

      • As a child it must have been, but as an adult if you’re led through it like it’s a museum tour by a gifted, eloquent priest, it really is one of The Greatest Stories Ever Told. Veronica (and the Shroud of Turin), that alone is remarkable, but one of the least remarkable tings about The Passion.

        I’ve never been to Israel and I’ve wanted to go for decades. I’ve had the opportunity twice, through Better Half, but both plans fell through. The first time was to meet clients at an Israeli bank but they didn’t want to meet in Tel Aviv, they thought everyone should convene in the south of France, which, I’m always up for a visit to the south of France, but that fell through.

        The second time was also to go to Tel Aviv, and I did my research, so I thought I would take the handy buses to the beaches to the north for a couple of days and then go to Jerusalem for an overnighter to see the Via Dolorosa. That trip got cancelled because his company temporarily banned travel to Israel because the missiles were flying in from somewhere, Lebanon maybe, and it was deemed too dangerous to go. That week there was also a bus bombing on one of those beach buses (they’re also commuter services and not just for the vacationing tourists) that killed several people on board, so maybe it’s for the best that the trip was cancelled.

  2. That fucking dickbag judge in Texas suspected the FDA approval of the abortion pill. That asshole.

    Somebody better file paperwork ASAP to block boner pills and penicillin. Both have higher mortality rates than abortion pills.

    • A judge in Washington State has ruled the exact opposite.

      I pretty strongly suspect the Texas judge went nuts to provoke this response, and he’s deliberately putting the right wing nuts on the Supreme Court on the spot to try to force them to honor the machine that got them where they are.

      I put it about 60% they’re too smart to get boxed in, but that still leaves a good chance the craziness gets the votes.

      • Yeah, WA is not putting up w/ this shit!  We have the smartest AG around & you want to see him go states right on your ass?  The gov also just bought 4 years of abortion drugs so…come for the abortions & stay for the non-crazy people!

  3. Did you observe as a kid, or do you still observe in some way? Or were you like me and affected in a negative way by the whole story of the crucifixion? Or maybe it just doesn’t register at all?

    jesus died for all my sins?

    yeah fuck all that shit…..i own my own shit thank you very much.

    i was raised loosely christian

    and once me dad became seriously ill he became very christian

    and it was at that point i realized religion is a comfort story

    im fine with that btw….believe what you want to if it makes you happy

    me personally… im okay with taking my licks and then being gone

    • The whole “Jesus died for your sins” was such a foreign concept to me. Admittedly, I’m an atheist now so it’s all just literary analysis etc.

      Anyways, I remember early on in college one of the Missouri Baptist people in the dorm was like “what did Jesus die for???” and I just replied “duh to open the gates of heaven.” This clearly was the wrong answer  as Jesus died for our sins.

      I just… managed to go through 12 years of Catholic school with religion classes all the time and not get that ideology beat into my head. The Catechism explained that Jesus dying was necessary to open up heaven for everyone who had died before him (and since) which was like a way less morbid and depressing idea that Jesus died for my sins.

      • Brighter, like you, the version of “What did Jesus Die for?” I was raised with was the “Yes, And…” one.

        YES, “he died for our sins,” *and* he opened the gates of heaven, to get all the souls out of Purgatory, and send them on their way out of “the eternal waiting room” to their final destination/communing with God…

        Like you, also, I grew up in a place (although mine was a rural, Public school!) where we didn’t have “Spring Break Week,” we had Easter off, instead.

        Ours was always Friday & Monday off *for sure,* (our town was primarily Lutheran, then Catholic, then Methodist, church-wise, the rest drove elsewhere to their services–one Mormon family, a couple of Jehovah’s Witness families and a couple Baptists) some years we lost the “day off” on Thursday, if there had been too many snow days that winter…

        Conversely, if there weren’t *any* snow days that winter, we might get Wednesday off, as a “extra/bonus day” out of school–it just depended on the year & how that winters’ weather had been.😉

      • to open the gates of heaven?

        huh? yeah no… missed that part in my education…

        so…what? everyone before jc just got bounced?

        straight to hell with you motherfuckers! theres a fucking hoa in place here!

      • oh wait you said to open up the gates for all who wait before him…..

        sorry that makes more sense

        wonder how many just wandered off after thousands year of waiting…and where they went

      • come to think of it…… most of the good religious folk i know..know this shit falls apart if you think about it too much

        but they have faith and are kind to others

        muslims and christians alike

        and i dont have a problem with any of that

        really…..its politicians and extremists that ruin the whole deal

  4. Good Friday is very different for Congregationalists. My mother was one, although not really a believer, I don’t think.

    Did I ever tell you (all) that I once went to Santa Margherita Ligure, a quick bus ride up from Portofino, on the Italian Riviera. There, I discovered this:

    The reviews don’t mention this (or I didn’t read far enough) but I’m almost sure that this is where we saw multiple life-size Christ-on-the-Cross crucifixes. Apparently, as Italy becomes more and more secular and church attendance drops, churches are closing down left and right, so someone took it upon themselves to collect the crucifixes and gather them here. All the signage was in Italian so I had to do spot translations for Better Half, including “No Smoking” and “Monitored by Videocamera” but it was fascinating.

    Like a lot of disaffected C of E people (I’m not, and in fact Congregationalism is a modern descendant of Puritanism) I’m fascinated by Catholicism and for a while attended a church where they conducted Tridentine Masses, the traditional Roman Mass conducted in Latin. This was during the Pope Benedict XVI days, when he sort of encouraged this sort of thing, but Jesuit Pope Francis clamped down, so now they’re rare. I never took Communion, of course, because I was not in a state of grace, not having been to Confession, and not really believing any of it was true, but the rituality…it was like one of those off-off-off Broadway shows with audience participation. Sitting, standing, kneeling, all in Latin, the priest with his back to the congregation, the incense flying, the choir boys singing, the Consecration of the host, the extremely lurid depiction of the Passion, the statues of Mary and Joseph, the stations of the Cross on permanent display, which is what you’re supposed to do today, following along as the priest takes you from one to the next.

    I love the theatricality of pre-Vatican II Catholicism, the High Baroque, the Rococo, the almost pagan acceptance of several divine figures whom you can pray to for intercession because all the saints have assigned jobs. I have several friends who went to Catholic schools and one went to one called “Most Precious Blood,” and imagine being a middle schooler (it was a girls’ school) dealing with the onset of puberty, presided over by presumably chaste nuns, and getting your first period.

    If I were truly religious I would go big or go home. I would join Opus Dei and wear the Cilice. I would apply for membership in the Knights of Malta but probably get turned down, so I would have to content myself with membership in the Knights of Columbus or a local Hibernian Society. My high school boyfriend (my second one) had a mother who was very active in her Catholic Church and was a leader of the…I can’t remember what they were called. Something about Sodality. She was also a ferocious alcoholic, as was her husband, both of them were terrifying after 5 pm, but they gifted the world with my second boyfriend and six other siblings, one of whom was a very beautiful young woman who had a brief but very successful career as a print model (magazines, not runway) and was incredibly glamorous and married a very wealthy older Jewish guy. The entire family boycotted the wedding (there was more than a little anti-Semitism in that family, a drawback to ultramontane Catholicism) but I got wind of it and I went. It was lovely. It was more than lovely, it was over-the-top luxe, and it might as well have been held at Mar-a-Lago or in East Hampton. The huppa alone must have cost several thousands of dollars.

    Well, that’s it. If you’ve stayed with me through this entire comment you’ve done the equivalent of the Stations of the Cross, which is blasphemy, and to that I can only respond, “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.”

    • One thing I’ve gathered from accounts here and there is that a number of Catholics over the years were true believers and entered the more exacting situations, expecting to be in a community of other purists…

      …only to find they were they were surrounded with hypocrites. It was a miserable experience to find out the rest of the crew was just performing, or ambitious, or perverted, or stuck.

      I think it’s like a lot of athletes who get all the way to the NFL or NBA, only to find they’re on a team where the coach is a dummy, the assistant coaches are all looking for jobs on other teams, half the team is just cashing pay checks, most of the rest are there because of contracts or lack of options, and what’s more most of the rest of the teams in the league are the same way.

      • Agreed.

        We had a deacon at our parish church when I was a kid. (deacons are lay men when you’re catholic) who he and his wife were so into the faith that after they had their third kid, they swore a vow of chastity to strengthen their faith, since you know sex is only for making babies and they didn’t want any more babies. And they were openly discussing this in various church groups.

        Anyways, pretty sure everyone else in the parish either used condoms, birth control, or pull&pray. And were like huh that feels very unnecessary to be married and still have a vowo of chastity…

      • Oh, I’d be one of them. I don’t know how I’d explain the existence of Better Half (whose parents belonged to a Black Presbyterian church up in Boston, the oldest in a city that obsesses over history) but there would be a way. Weekly Confession, I suppose, or daily, this is possible. The forgiveness of sin.

        The real thing that stands in the way is my disbelief in an afterlife, and that’s the whole point, to join the Communion of Saints and enjoy a life everlasting, and not be cast into Hell. Also, the allegiance to a Pope, who supposedly is divinely appointed by God, and who has a special pipeline to Him, but in reality is selected by a very political process, the College of Cardinals, that makes the 2000 Florida recount seem like a smooth provincial Swiss cantonal election.

        I guess I will remain forevermore a fascinated outside observer, appreciating the best parts (the notionally Catholic countries that border the Mediterranean, the art, the architecture, the beauty to be found in the King James Bible circa 1880, although that was the Protestant Bible that came down to my family from the Congregationalists) and ignoring the worst parts, especially the self-loathing of the many, many closeted gay men who go on to abuse children. I just read recently that the Archdiocese of Albany is essentially bankrupt because they’ve been sued into oblivion by survivors of priestly sexual abuse. And Boston, well, I’m no fan of that city, but what went on up there for pretty much the entire 20th century? What were people thinking? The thing is they weren’t thinking, they were believing, two very different things.

        • I mean, at least until 1800 the music, architecture and art was unbelievable.

          If I was running PR for the latest Popes, I’d tell them to forget about appeasing the pedestrian tastes of the local bishops. Follow the example of the corrupt Popes in the 1500s and hire the best artists you can get and let them do whatever they want, no matter how blasphemous. The doctrine can catch up to the artists, don’t make the artists follow the doctrine.

    • Cousin Matty this part, “the almost pagan acceptance of several divine figures whom you can pray to for intercession because all the saints have assigned jobs…” made me giggle!😉

      Because growing up Catholic, the way The Church’s “Intercession” thing worked made so MUCH sense to me, as a kid!!!

      know other denominations think of praying to Saints, the Angels, Mary/the Holy Family, The Holy Spirit, the various Cannonized folks, and even Martyrs/other assorted “Good People” for assistance/intercession is “Blasphemous!”….

      Buuuuut, to *me* as a kid?

      It all made *perfect* sense!!!

      When a person goes to Target, Walmart, McDonald’s, or *any* other store/ restaurant/ corporation in America, they don’t expect that that company’s CEO–or *anyone* in the C-Suite, fwiw, is going to be checking them out at the cash register, or waiting on their table.

      That CEO is MUCH too busy, running the *overall* operation, and making sure that everything is being delegated appropriately–so that ALL the stuff that needs to happen actually happens.

      If you’re a customer  calling with a problem, you want the issue solved–but you don’t need the CEO to help you–you only need someone *knowledgeable* in that particular area, who can get *the thing* done.

      It could be a store manager, a clerk, or even the busboy/busgirl… as long as you get the assistance you needed–you don’t really CARE who helps!

      That’s sort of what the “Catholic Infrastructure Hirarchy” is like–you don’t *always* need The President of the United States to solve the problem with your Visa/Passport–PLENTY of times, that Intern or *maybe* a Paid Staffer at your Senator’s local office can get you the help you needed, MUCH faster& easier!😉😁🤗

      Catholic Hirarchy is basically like ^that!^

      You don’t always *need* God to help you get things done–the Big Guy’s busy overseeing *Everything*…

      Sometimes you just need a little bit of help–and someone *under* the C-Suite level can get it done faster than if you had to run stuff allllll the way up that corporate flagpole to get noticed!

      • When I was in high school I conned my parents into sending me abroad for a summer on an exchange program in Latin America. There, I became fluent in Spanish and lived with a fairly Catholic family. To this day I sometimes let loose with a “¡Santa María!” or a “¡Jesús María!” when I get frustrated. I don’t know why. One of Better Half’s many nicknames for me is Ricky Ricardo.

  5. I was raised Catholic, like CATHOLIC Catholic. You had to be on your deathbed to miss mass, first thing my father did on any vacation was call the local church to see what time mass was. That kind of Catholic. As a kid I liked the Lenten season best of the church calendar. The pageantry of Palm Sunday, the somberness of Ash Wednesday, Friday evening Stations of the Cross. And tenebrae service at the tail end of Holy Week. If you’ve never been to a tenebrae service I recommend it even though I’m no longer a subscriber. They are beautiful. I didn’t go to Catholic School but the area I lived in was predominantly Catholic so we all had Holy Thursday and Good Friday off. On Holy Thursday my grandmother and I baked Hot Cross buns and on Good Friday before mass my father or one of my uncles drove us around to deliver them to family and friends. But you couldn’t do anything fun or active between noon and 3 pm. It was all very solemn.
    I sort of miss observing Lent. I have in the past gone to Episcopal services. One local church puts glitter in the ashes on Ash Wednesday in a campy nod to inclusion, lol. But I haven’t found a local Episcopal church that holds tenebrae services and I refuse to support the Catholic Church in any way.

    • The idea of a season of reflection sounds great, which is why Lent or Ramadan has a little bit of appeal to me. I guess Dry January is a good secular equivalent. Not that I’ve observed any of them.

    • Shit I liked Lenten masses more than the rest of the year because Palm Sunday notwithstanding, they were the shortest masses of the year due to the solemnity of the season.

      I don’t know how people do it that go to services that last like 3 hours. I was ready to tap out at 50 minutes.

        • Oh I never went to one of those. Is it a night one?

          My parents were pretty unmotivated for going to mass so the specialty ones like that never happened because my mom figured why go take a seat from someone who actually wanted to be there. The parish would be standing room only on noon masses on Sundays pretty often (and had 6am, 7:30, 9, and 10:30 masses too on Sundays).

          • Yes, it’s traditionally held after sunset and it’s when everybody who went through RCIA is baptized into the church. So in addition to all the extra readings you have that too. In  a large church it can easily run 3 hours or more.

        • Ha!!!!😆😂🤣


          The length of your guys’ masses CRACKS me up!🤣🤣🤣

          It also makes me incredibly glad I grew up in Farm Country, when & where our parish shared a priest, and had Saturday Mass at 4 pm, with Sunday’s mass at 8:30am…

          *Dairy* farming-country…

          Where thd cows HAD to be milked twice a day–on the regular!!!

          Usually at 5:00 or 5:30 am, and again at 5:00 or 5:30 pm

          Which meant that Father got that Saturday afternoon mass DONE by 4:45–4:50 *tops,* because otherwise most of the Dads and/or kids weren’t gonna have time to make it back home & change clothes in time to get out to the barn & get the cows milked–which meant there’d be hardly *any* body in the pews, after a week or two!😉😆😂🤣

          My childhood priest “went LONG” (or the church was PACKED!) if a mass made it all the way to 40 minutes–most were a cool 30 minutes *tops*!😁


          • Interesting fact – according to canon law any mass held before sunset on a Saturday does not fill your Sunday obligation. So you’re all going to HELL! Just kidding, there is no hell, lol. But this is another thing that irritates me about the Catholic Church, it plays fast and loose with the rules as long as it keeps butts in the seat and coins in the collection plate.

        • I went to the Episcopal church for years, and my favourite services were the Easter Eve and Christmas Eve midnight masses. Candlelit services were beautiful and I loved the music.

      • Oh you’re missing the best part. I forget what these are called, a Solemn High Mass I think, and they can last for three hours. In Latin. I’ve been to a couple and it’s like seeing a double feature in a movie theater in the 1950s.

        This cultural exposure came in handy when a friend of mine and I motored up to Rhode Island to attend the wedding of one of our friends. He is an uber-WASP as is the friend, but for whatever reason she married a guy from a super-Catholic family. They insisted that their son get married in the Catholic Church that he/they belong/ed to. My friend had never been to something like this, he’s low church Episcopalian, verging on Unitarianism/heathenism. The minute we arrived I knew we were in for a good time. The church was a nouveau-riche wonder in a town that had been a WASPy stronghold up until about WWII, I think. The wedding Mass went on for at least three hours, and I loved every minute of it. Several people gave readings, and they were the usual 2 Corinthians and other passages from the New Testament, so that was a little tedious, and the Communion bit took a while, because it was a large wedding and seemingly everyone went except for me and my friend, but otherwise it was fabulous.

        During the Communion interlude my friend had questions, and whispered to me as if we were in prayer, “What the hell is that sculpture on the left?” “That’s the Madonna, Mary, the Mother of Christ, cradling her dead Son, but He’s not really dead, He’s just leaving his earthly form, and that’s not a sculpture, it a bas-relief. Pater Noster…” and I decided to recite the Lord’s prayer in Latin, just to fit in. Since we were kneeling we were right behind an elderly couple who had already made their way through the Communion line and done their own praying so we were within hearing distance. Later on, at the reception, which was kind of a grim affair, highly ritualized and presided over by Rhode Island’s worst DJ I think, although I did get propositioned by a couple of women while I was out on the dance floor, including this stunning Indian woman, which was surprising because she was there with her husband and I was dancing with one of the groom’s aunts…

        Where was I? Oh yes. So the elderly couple turned out to be family friends of the groom’s parents, and I bumped into them at one point during the reception, and they asked, “So you’re obviously a good Catholic but what about your friend? Is he Jewish?”

        I responded, “No,” and left it at that.

  6. My dad was raised Mormon but left the church at 18 & never looked back.  My mom was raised catholic but didn’t go to church much or push it until a point.  When she did, I got kicked out of catechism when my dad questioned the priest & he couldn’t give a good answer.  I hate the church & everything about it but liked catechism because our teacher owned a Mexican restaurant & fed us amazing food.  Couldn’t tell you anything about what I was supposed to learn.

  7. Grew up so Catholic that my 13th birthday happened to *also* be the day/year the Bishop came to our parish, and Confirmed all the 7th-10th graders…

    Thst wasn’t a fun Birthday🙄🙄🙄

    Buuuuut, because I was in the group of kids Confirmed as 7th graders, not Sophomores, it did mean I was considered “now an Adult!” in The Church, annnnnd I didn’t *have* to go to mass every Sunday, anymore, if I didn’t want to….

    (With ALL the hypocrisy I saw, I suuuuuuure didn’t!!!)

    Our Priest back then was 180° in theological views, from the kindly inclusive man who was our priest during my younger years–sooooo between *his* hypocrisy, the pedophilia scandals, annnnnd the general BS & hypocrisy *everywhere* throughout Catholic hierarchy, I’d pretty much walked away by the time I graduated high school.

    love the tradition & solemnity of the Post-Vatican-II era mass–Especially the higher-level Holy Days mentioned by many of the others–the smell of the incense, the sense of community, and history…

    BUT there’s just too much sleaze in *THE CHURCH* (the institution version of “The Church,”) annnnd *not* enough “Communion”–in that “Co” plus “Union” way, for my personal taste.

    (This type of “communion”; )


  8. In other Good Friday news–a much less contentious Good Friday agreement… or at least a temporary agreement that will most likely be ratified Tuesday, took place in the MSP-metro region at right around 1:00am Friday morning;

    An 18.5% pay increase isn’t too shabby😉

    The new contract offers part-timers a dollar raise that’ll start about 2 weeks after ratification, and then the part-time folk get a fifty-cent bump up every 6 months of work, through the life of this contract (a $3.00/hr pay increase total, over 2 years).

    Full timers get $2.00 more per hour during the first year of the contract, and a $1.50/hr raise the second year.

    Apparently UNFI called the Union’s negotiating team back to the table at around 10pm yesterday, after Corporate realized the absolute cluster that a strike was gonna end up becoming, if they didn’t get a deal!😈🤣🤗

  9. I went to a Presbyterian church as a kid/teen. Mom dragged my sisters and I to church every Sunday while dad, the non believer, got to stay home and watch Sunday morning TV (not the Stooges, but the MSM stooges.) The reason we went Presbyterian was due to the fact my parents had an elderly couple (very WASPy) family friends who insisted we go to their church (to be fair, they were the closest thing I had to grandparents growing up so they were almost family… I miss them.)

    We never went to any Good Friday services. Just the Easter Sunday one where I usually got volunteered for something due to the my propensity for getting sick after March Break (and before Xmas.) Had to read the Easter message twice which was terrifying to a shy kid. To be honest, that experience broke my fear of public speaking so I can’t whine about it (I don’t enjoy it, but I can speak without wetting my pants in fear.)

    The Easter service usually dragged on. When I was 10 or so, I got smacked up the side of my head by mom because I passed out during the Easter sermon.

    Note: I was trying to write this comment and then passed out.

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