How long did the Passion last?
In the Stations of the Cross and in books of devotion one finds references to Our Lord's three hours on the Cross, Can it he possible that Verse 25 in the 15th chapter of St. Mark is no longer considered authentic, or
that the 3rd hour is not 9 a.m.? or HE. chronology of the Gospels K and particularly of the Passion presents many problems of which yours is only one, rather obvious, example. According to Saint John Jesus was condemned by Pilate at the sixth hour (midday) and died on the cross at the ninth hour (3 p.m.). Saint Mark says that Jesus was crucified at the third hour.
The authenticity of Mark 15, 25 has been called in question by scholars but others are not lacking in ideas for co-ordinating it with John's account even if it should prove to be authentic. Thus, both evangelists could be speaking loosely about the time without a flat contradiction of one another. Thus John may have meant "about" the sixth hour i.e. possibly a little before midday.
This would then technically fall within the scope of Mark's third
hour, for it has been suggested that the three-hour divisions were regarded as whole so that it would still be the third hour until the stroke of midday. The traditional three hours on the cross seems therefore to fit in best with all the available texts. On the other hand this interpretation does not "rob" Our Lord of any of his Passion. According to some recent studies it would seem that Our Lord's Passion (i.e. from the Last Supper to the Crucifixion) was spread over a considerably longer period than is suggested by Liturgical tradition.
Church and Party administration
Cardinal Godfrey and Mr. Gaitskell died about the same time. The Labour Party now has its new leader, but judging by recent form we shall hare to wait some time yet before we get a new Archbishop of Westminster. Why in this modern age is the Church so slow in making appointments and isn't it rather damaging to her cause?
THE fortuitous conjuction of the two vacancies should not tempt us into the mistake of thinking that there is any similarity between the two cases. The Labour Party has to find a new leader once in several years, but the Holy See is appointing bishops all the year round, Possibly the Vatican machinery is a little slow, but one wonders if the administration has grown up anything like as fast as the Church in recent decades; how many new sees to find bishops for as well as the old ones to keep supplied!
A political party depends, one might almost say, on the speed of its reaction to the day to day changes of the political situation. It is imperative for it that the leadership should be clearly defined all the time. The Church's problems are different; her experience in dealing with them has been maturing over many centuries and she has developed a machinery of government which can effectively tide over even quite protracted periods of vacancies.
Normally situations affecting the Church develop much less rapidly and in any case, if there is urgent need for someone to speak in the name of the Church there are always plenty of other bishops available to assume the responsibility. On the whole there is an advantage in not making too much haste over the new appointment.