Why did the chicken cross the road? We posed this all-important, age-old existential question to some of Christianity’s greatest figures, past and present, and here’s what they came up with. By the way, this an updated version of a post that originally appeared several years ago at the Ironic Catholic.
Ignatius of Loyola
For the spiritual exercise.
Teilhard de Chardin
The chicken was pursuing a teleological upsurge toward final consummation in the Omega Point of Divine Love.
As the chicken crossed the road, the farmer’s truck descended on it like the Holy Spirit, fierce and blue, and in that moment, the chicken was borne away by the beautiful violence of grace. I prefer peacocks anyway.
After a life of fowl debauchery, ignoring his chickenly restlessness and turning away from the peaceful goodness that is God alone, the chicken received the grace to convert, turning and walking the other way—thereby crossing the road of life versus death, praise be to God.
Whether the chicken crossed the road?
Objection: It seems that the chicken did not cross the road, for chickens are accustomed to the farmyards that are the source of their food, and the hen house that is the source of their rest.
On the contrary, “And God said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, and take with you . . . seven pairs of birds of the air. . . .” — which could not have been accomplished had the chickens not crossed the road to the ark.
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
We’re not sure, but if it was trying to reach across the road to hold hands with another chicken during the Lord’s Prayer, we may have to butcher it.
Your Confirmation preparation students
We don’t know, we don’t care, and we covered this last year anyway.
St. Lawrence of Rome
Run, chicken, run! Run from the rotisserie!
St. Joan of Arc:
He was called to lead a cock-fight against British fish and chips.
I remember that loud-mouth chicken. After it crowed three times I chased it across the road to keep it quiet. Too bad it wasn’t run over by a chariot! I still get teary-eyed just thinking about it. (h/t Dave)
Let’s just hope that the chicken had a life-changing encounter with the risen Christ along the way.
All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Chicken, whose feathered yet flightless wings are so tasty accompanied by a zesty barbecue sauce. (Sorry, it’s a secret weakness of mine.)
So, what can we say about these road-crossing chickens, eh? They embody the missionary church, not staying cooped up behind fences where it is safe and warm, no! But leaving the chicken coop, leaving the farmyard, crossing the road to be in solidarity with the people of God; in fact, to smell more like the chickens. This is the Church we want, the Church of bold, road-crossing chickens!
The road-crossing of the chicken was a prophetic action symbolizing the DOOM of the farmyard! DOOM, I say!
Pope St, John Paul II, author of The Acting Chicken
The chicken crossed the road because it is only in acting that the chicken realizes its connection to being, and therefore to the mystery of love and beauty.
Book of Exodus
And the angel of the Lord went before the chicken, and there was a strong wind, and the traffic parted before the chicken, so that it was able to go into the midst of the road, with the traffic forming a wall on the left and a wall on the right, so that the chicken crossed the road safely. The farmer pursued the chicken into the midst of the road, and the angel of the Lord looked down on the chicken, and the traffic closed in on the farmer, so that the chicken did prevail with the help of the Lord.
Well, if it was a Ninevite chicken, it was probably crossing the road to don sackcloth and ashes as part of the general conversion of the city, darn it all. Now excuse me while I go back to sulking.
Father Daniel Berrigan
Clearly, the chicken crossed the road as a nonviolent protest of the road’s implication in the military-industrial complex.
Um. I didn’t know Brother Chicken had a mind’s road to God.
The Catholic Worker
We’re going to have to discuss the question as a community ad nauseum until we reach a consensus answer…we’ll get back to you in a few weeks.
The Book of Job
Job: …and while we’re getting into it, why did the chicken cross the road, anyway?
God: Who is this who dares darken counsel by asking why the chicken crossed the road? Gird your loins like a man; I will question you, and you will answer me: Where were you when I made the chicken, with its ineffectual yet tasty wings? Did you give the chicken its cluck? Is it by your wisdom that the chicken runs, flapping its wings toward the distant horizon? Did you set the foundations of the earth upon which the road runneth? Answer, for surely you are great in years!
Job: Of what account am I? See, I will lay my hand on my mouth, and ask no more why the chicken crossed the road.
“O chicken, why cross the road when you can get under my wings! How often I have longed for it and you would not! Please come to me . . . I know you have free will, but . . . come back, please. . . Hey, look out for that car!” (h/t Lori)