At that time, in Roman occupied Judea, there were now two contrasting strategies for dealing with your neighbours.

The strategy of the Caesars of Rome had always been to CONQUER YOUR NEIGHBOUR. This Roman strategy was made famous by the words of Julius Caesar, “Veni. Vidi. Vinci”.

Then, during the reign of Tiberius Caesar (14 AD to 37 AD), Jesus of Nazareth preached a contrasting strategy of LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR. Jesus best explained this strategy in his famous story of the Good Samaritan after which he instructed his followers to “go and do the same”.

And, did they?

In the two millenia since the days of Jesus and the Caesars there have been a wide variety of neighbours for Roman Catholics to deal with – Jews, Protestants, Albigensians, Muslims, Greeks, Incas and Tutsis, to name an historical few.

Roman Catholics have, of course, also had to deal with sub-groups of their neighbours ranging from Spanish homosexuals and Irish single mothers to African slaves, Italian scientists and left-handed Australian school-children etc etc.

It is interesting to look back on the history of the Roman Catholic Church taking account of when it has prosecuted the Roman strategy of CONQUER compared to when it has followed the Nazarene strategy of LOVE.

Thought Experiment:

• How do you think Tiberius Caesar would rate the scores so far?

• How do you think Jesus Christ would rate the scores so far?