On the morning of the last day of his life, that of the Passion, where everything is accomplished, Don Fiorentino began it by turning off the radio halfway through the nine o’clock news, when the speaker reported yet another speech by the Supreme Pontiff on relativism, and observed that someone or something had to be blamed for the evils of the world. He had heard that several episodes of sexual violence against minors had occurred within the Church, and that the Vicar of Christ, who had assumed the candid name of Benedict at the time of his election to the Chair of Peter, knew about it. something.

Then, he leafed through, rather absentmindedly, the previous day’s copy of the newspaper “Avvenire” (the next day’s copy would never have reached his hands), by dwelling for quite a long time on the image of a girl with large eyes and long black hair, with a band on the forehead, which had disappeared almost forty years earlier from the Vatican and of which nothing was heard again. The accompanying journalistic article reported the interview with one of her relatives, and Don Fiorentino quickly scanned it with his eyes. He was well aware of who that family member was, a man who had fought like a wounded lion for the truth, but who had only gained gray hair and premature old age.

Benedetto must have known something about that case too. However, he always spoke only of relativism, always keeping his hands clasped and moving like an automaton. Not even the gesture mattered anymore in the Church. That gesture that his predecessor had also made his own even when the illness was getting the better of his movements and the secrets that he would shortly take to his grave.

He took a couple of puffs of his last remaining butt and had to admit that not even his cigars tasted the same anymore. Or, at least, they no longer had any for him.

He began to reread his last letters and concentrated on the final goodbyes. “Yours” he wrote. He determined, not too late, that possessive adjectives can cause harm to those who use them. “Mine,” “yours”… declarations of ownership and belonging too big for anyone to bear. Words that break your shoulders and make you bend to the ground.

Holy Friday is the day of vigil, or rather, vigil, a night spent without sleeping. During that time he had observed it with punctuality and devotion, while for the faithful it was a lean day, if not even a day of fasting. Someone must have quickly cooked a dish based on cod or stockfish, because, distracting him from the appointment he had in store with his traitorous God, the grateful smell that reached him had stunned his senses, making him remember when Donna Angela prepared those delicacies, sometimes generously with tomato sauce and garlic, just enough so that her and her sister’s hungry mouths could dip the bread in them, sometimes with onions and potatoes, to hide the small quantity of desalted or dried fish that was you had to fish it out while it was floating in the sauce. Therefore, bread was needed. And He, who was the Bread of life, had now turned His back on him.

He carefully prepared all the details of the Via Crucis ceremony. He had the colored plaster statue of the dead Christ transported bulk to the altar, so that everyone could worship and kiss it.

This was what they wanted, to be deceived, and he, Don Fiorentino, the man with the big bones, saw no reason to deny them that consolation of deception for which they longed so much. For the procession he had prepared sheets of colored tissue paper with which the catechists would wrap the candles, as a rudimentary torch. And he thought about the children, who would certainly have made them catch fire, by extinguishing the feeble light that was still kept alive on the dark night of his existence.

He did not see the point in celebrating Easter, and he stopped to stifle a muffled smile that came naturally when he realized that he too was doing it out of spite. Then, he sat down in a corner and, taking the scriptures in his hands, he decided to concentrate on the passages of the Gospel according to John which concerned the passion and death of Jesus. Johann Sebastian Bach had set them to music, and he had a good vinyl edition of them which had always remained burdensome to him. Bach was a good man. Excellent father, exemplary husband, ingenious builder, attentive and scrupulous teacher and theorist. However, he really did not know how to do composition, so he was convinced. His music was imbued with fatness like his body, nothing to do with his Lully, who one day, in the heat of conducting, stuck his stick in his foot and died of gangrene. Then, he recovered.

Then, Jesus, knowing everything that was to happen to him, came forward and said to them: «Whom are you looking for?». They answered him: «Jesus, the Nazarene». Jesus said to them: «It is I!». Judas was also with them , the traitor.”

Betrayal is always with us, he reflected. It accompanies us, it stays close to us, we considered it a friend of our days. It is our executioner, but we fall in love with it, day by day. We say “It’s me!” affirming our most authentic essence, the one that is imposed on us with the name, and it follows us, ready to seduce us with the last kiss. Yet we continue to fall in love with those who have us in their grip, with our jailer. Stockholm syndrome, he thought he had read en passant somewhere.

«I have spoken to the world openly; I have always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, where all the Jews gather, and I have never said anything in secret. Why are you questioning me? Question those who heard what I said to them; behold, they know what I said».

Here is the blame. The real sin, the indelible one. The disobedience of Adam and Eve was in the origin, but the fault is that of speaking openly and not hiding anything. I love you, Lord, here I am, I am here, it is me. Not only do they know, but you know, and even knowing you deny me. He chased away the thought of God’s wickedness that had occurred to him, but he did not put it aside. Maybe someone, after him, would have found it and made it their own.

«If I have spoken badly, show me where the evil is. However, if I have spoken well, why do you strike me?»

Evil is demonstrated, it is not taken for granted a priori. How many people are beaten because they cannot demonstrate where their evil lies? Or why cannot we admit that there is no evil in how we act, speak, listen or even love?

He should have written it to Carofiglio, but that letter too was finished, like almost everything, by now. The bell tower slowly struck eight, and he still had an hour left before accompanying the procession to the final Calvary, his, that of Don Fiorentino.

However, Peter stopped outside, near the door.”

The door! The door closed. The same one that the guardian of the law closes in Joseph K.’s face, the one that had been opened just for him. The denier stays out. He even calls himself out of it. «Aren’t you also one of this man’s disciples? I’m not – he replied -»

Pilate says to him: What is truth?

The truth is fear. It is everything that man puts aside to pursue his path in lies, hypocrisy and self-denial. Repression, Freud would have called it. All we need to do is put our selfishness before us and the truth no longer exists. How many people had seen and known Don Fiorentino, who continued to substitute with painstaking patience their pride and even their opinions for the truth, for reality, going so far as to deny horrendous crimes like the Holocaust! All for what? In order to deny their own crimes, to refuse the many civilian deaths they have created with their foolish stubbornness. Everyone, in condemning others, protects themselves. And there is no greater crime than abandonment to darkness.

«Eloì, Eloì, lemà sabactàni?», which means: «My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?»

However, the Gospel of John does not report this. The last words of Christ on the cross, for him are “It is performed!” With abandonment everything is accomplished, it ends. Forever. The sense of belonging, the love, the devotion. He had just begun to reflect on the fact that the Nazarene, a Greek-speaking Jew, had ended his earthly life, or just his life, speaking in Aramaic. However, he was distracted from the last of his questions by a song that suddenly came to him:

I beg you,

oh good Jesus,

for your passion

give us forgiveness.”

It’s the right time,” he said simply, because resignation to abandonment had no complicated expressions or philosophical explanations. Moreover, he headed off to lead the procession, under the rain that never stopped beating.