UPDATE 30 Oct 08 13:56:
The fine canonist Ed Peter’s on his canon law blog digs into the issue of the heretic Fr. Dresser.
A concerned reader sent me this story from The Australian. Read it and weep.
As a preamble, let us review what I have called my quintessential old-style ICEL prayer.
you are so big.
Help us to be big
Read on now, gentle reader, with my emphases and comments.
Church row escalates as priest denies Jesus was God
Tess Livingstone | October 29, 2008
THE controversy surrounding one of Australia’s most radical Catholic churches, St Mary’s South Brisbane, has escalated into a wider debate over bedrock Christian beliefs.
On the line for parishioners of St Mary’s and several other parishes in Queensland and NSW are fundamental church doctrines such as who can celebrate Mass, [and even more fundamental] whether Jesus Christ was God, whether Mary had as many as six children, the bodily Resurrection, and the need for sacramental celebrations for same-sex marriages. [The poor reporter maybe isn’t seeing that these are not equivalent issues. Some of them, like the resurrection and above all divinity of Christ are more important than the others.]
In a booklet being sold for $20, [Okay… so there is a written, published proof.] a NSW priest, Peter Dresser of Coonamble in the Diocese of Bathurst, insists Jesus was not God and did not think he was God. The booklet is on sale at two Brisbane parishes: St Mary’s and the Wooloowin/Windsor/Kalinga Parish of outspoken Brisbane priest Richard Pascoe. [Okay… so… where is the bishop and the CDF? WHY. IS. THIS. GUY. STILL. THERE?]
In God is Big. Real Big! [You know… you just can’t make things up fast enough.] Father Dresser — who prefers to be known as Peter — says: "This whole matter regarding Jesus being God … not only does violence to my own intelligence, but must be a sticking point for millions of people trying to make some kind of sense of the Christian religion … No human being can ever be God, and Jesus was a human being. It is as simple as that." [This is heresy. Folks, if you were ever looking for a heretic, this guy’s it. Furthermore, he seems to be a rather thick heretic. If there is anything to be said about the mystery of the two natures of Christ, it is not "simple".]
Father Dresser said he found his own rural flock "very conservative" [i.e., they believed Jesus is God?] and admitted that many of them found his theology difficult to accept. [LOL! That’s not hard to imagine. Picture it: A congregation of rural Aussies… maybe farmers, ranchers, I don’t know, with perhaps some permanent dirt in the callouses of their worn hands and lot’s of sun-deeped laugh lines listening to "Just-Call-Me-Pete" in the pulpit saying that Jesus isn’t God.] He said he had rethought his approach after taking an interest in science. "I’m delighted they’re opening up the debate at St Mary’s," he said. [I would be delighted to know what the date of his removal will be.]
In his book, Father Dresser claims Mary had as many as six children, Joseph was the father of Jesus and the bodily Resurrection is not to be taken literally. ["And if Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain: and your faith is also vain." 1 Cor 15:14]
Sydney lecturer in church history, Anthony Robbie, said Father Dresser’s claims defied all scriptural evidence.
"What a breathtaking know-all, [I have other words.] to claim he knows the mind of Christ contrary to scripture and tradition. His words rob Christianity entirely of its meaning and purpose," Father Robbie said.
"The Council of Nicaea settled the question that Christ was God in 325, so he is 1700 years out of date. The rest is a regurgitation of every discredited 19th-century liberal Protestant German cliche in the book." [Worse than a Bultmaniac, perhaps.]
Recently, the priests at St Mary’s — Peter Kennedy and Terry Fitzpatrick — also canvassed the idea of Catholics celebrating the Eucharist in their homes, without a priest.
A discussion paper handed to parishioners [Another written proof.] by Father Kennedy and written by Charles Kelliher said the lack of priests in the 21st century should prompt the faithful to look back to the first 200 years of the church, before the priesthood and the church hierarchy came into existence.
"Like the house church of the first 200 years, it is the community of believers who can concelebrate and bring about the presence of Christ in the eucharistic celebration. [Sounds like Schillebeeckx. Actually… this is all sounding familiar to me personally. More on that later.] Let us embark on the journey as a community of believers in the modern day house church.
"The community of believers would call forth one of its members to preside at this memorial service. This person could be either man or woman, married or single … with no special designation except being chosen or called forth to leadership by the community." [Yep. Schillebeeckx.]
The director of adult education in the Archdiocese of Sydney, Opus Dei priest John Flader, said the earliest celebrants of the Eucharist were called presbyters, a Greek word meaning elders, but they had been appointed by the laying-on of hands by a bishop, and there was no evidence that women took such roles. "Even as early as around 100AD, Pope Clement I wrote to the church in Corinth setting out the authority of Rome over the local church, including the presbyters," Father Flader said. "Suggesting that lay people gather in homes today and pick someone to celebrate the Eucharist is absurd. [even stupid] It would never be valid."
St Mary’s has continued with eucharistic prayers celebrated by the congregation with women leading much of the mass. Recent preachers have included "community jester" and activist Tony Robertson.
While some argue that St Mary’s should be closed, some priests say this would drive the teachers who attend the church towards informal services at home, which could influence the children they teach. "They say they regard themselves as Catholic so it would be better to ensure they conform to the Church’s teachings and practice. These are not optional," said one.
All this from a guy who is stupid enough to put his name on something called God is Big. Real Big! and then actually give it to people.
When I was in the then very sad bastion of wierdness, the seminary I went to in the USA, this was the sort of crap we were manured in day in and day out. Pure Schillebeeckx for anything having to do with Eucharist and Orders. Old Protestant Christology. Completely wacky liturgical creativity which still gives me shudders. All this was poured over us with the tenderest of intentions on the part of the faculty, most of whom probably did their field training at Lubyanka before coming to the seminary. Very few were the moments of sanity. The rest was a nightmare.
I remember clearly one day walking out of a Christology class during our second year. One guy behind me said to another, "That whole thing about Christ having two natures is a pretty interesting idea."
First, note the eloquent reduction of this dogma and mystery of faith to "thing", like the deep thinker "Just-Call-Me-Peter", above. Second, note that the two natures "thing" came as a surprise. In second year major seminary, he hadn’t ever heard of this dogma before. Third, this "interesting things" remained at the level of an idea. In sum, an even slightly informed Christian Christology formed no part of his life, his spirituality. No part of his priestly formation.
You cannot be a priest, alter Christus, if you have screwy ideas about Christ.
What damage would a man like that do?
Just look to Brisbane for the answer.