Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 26, 2004
Chase the bunny out of Easter, urges bishop
Fake symbol of life worries Bishop Lawrence Huculak
By WCR Staff
A photo of a large, inflated bunny in a local newspaper inspired Ukrainian Bishop Lawrence Huculak to meditate on how mass media can distort something as sacred as Easter.
Speaking to more than 200 delegates at the 82nd annual convention of the Edmonton diocesan council of the Catholic Women's League of Canada, Huculak referred to the front page of the Good Friday edition of the Edmonton Journal where the rabbit, along with a stained glass crucified Christ and an Iraqi hostage with a knife at his throat presented three puzzling yet connected images.
He asked the gathering which one did not belong. "Some readers might have said the hostage photograph, thinking why put such a terrible picture on the front page of the paper on such a holy day," Huculak said.
"Others might say throw out the picture of the crucified Christ because it is too religious. Put that photo in your church bulletin, they might think. That's pass‚ and no longer of a concern for society today. It's for fringe groups.
"Of course we all know which one doesn't belong. Get rid of the Easter bunny - chocolate, inflated or otherwise," Huculak said.
"The picture of the hostage in Iraq showed us the world today. As tragic and unfortunate as the picture is, it's real. It wasn't made up. It was agonizing to look at, but so much in our world is agonizing," he said.
" There is so much hardship and pain and war. Indeed, that hostage in Iraq was a symbol of all of us."
Huculak then reflected on the image of Jesus on the cross and asked "Didn't Jesus go through that same suffering and torture 2,000 years ago as the hostages are now going through in Iraq?" Christ as well was a hostage in his time to the powers of evil that would take a great person who had helped so many poor. He too was tortured and crucified.
So how is the Easter bunny tied in?
"I realized the Easter bunny is the one who keeps us hostage today," he said. "It is the symbol of how the world can take the truth of our faith and of Christ's light, message, burial and resurrection - the salvation that Jesus offers to the world - and distort it into the simple pleasures of an Easter bunny.
"To many people, both young and old, that is all Easter means to them. A fake symbol of life."
Huculak continued that in that sense, even as Christians, we so often are held hostage by Easter bunnies. They symbolize the degradation of the meaning of Easter.
"The holy father says that with the tremendous growth of communication, more and more people have access to the different means of the media. He says the good thing is that the forms of media give us an opportunity to enrich the lives of individuals and of the family unit.
"It is important for good Catholics and active Christians to be aware that what you are watching can portray negative values," he said.