Msgr. Loftus: Are you a scrub?

From His Hermeneuticalness:

Fr Michael Clifton, long time pastor of the faithful, former archivist of Southwark, learned historian, kindly teacher of schoolboys (including me, nearly 40 years ago) cricket coach, model railway enthusiast, and warm friend and mentor of younger clergy now feels that he must close his blog because he has been threatened with legal action by Monsignor Basil Loftus who writes a weekly column for the Catholic Times.

Fr. Clifton, whom I have met, is a gentleman.

If Msgr. Loftus threatened Fr. Clifton in that way, then Loftus is a scrub.

UPDATE: 20 Oct   0048 GMT

At issue, apparently is Msgr. Loftus’ understanding of the physical resurrection of the Lord.

Were someone Christian to deny that Christ had His physical Body after the resurrection, he would be a heretic.

Fr. Finigan ably teased out some of the details of what Msgr. Loftus’ position is.

In a recent article for the Catholic Times, Mgr Loftus speculated on the nature of Christ’s risen body. He quoted St Paul’s talk of a “spiritual body” after the resurrection and then quite wrongly drew the conclusion that Christ “was not physically present when he appeared to the disciples after the resurrection.

Fr. Finigan makes some observations about what Christians believe:

The idea that Christ’s risen body was not physical was refuted as long ago as the second century by St Irenaeus. (Adversus Haereses 5.7.1)

The 4th Lateran Council (1215) states succinctly in its profession of faith:

He descended in the soul, rose in the flesh, and ascended in both.

Were someone to suggest that Christ did not have a physical body after the resurrection, well…  he would be a heretic.

If he refused to be corrected, he would be an obstinate heretic.  He would perhaps even incur the ecclesiastical penalty of excommunication.

Were such a person to make statements in public, he must in justice correct his error in public.

A priest broadcasting such errors in public would cause serious scandal.  He would need to make amends.

Am I wrong?  Did I get this wrong?

Some other links
St Mary Magdalen’s Brighton: Fr Michael Clifton’s last post?
That the Bones you have crushed may thrill: Litigious Priests
Bara Brith: Very Sorry
The Muniment Room: Support Fr Mildew
Mulier Fortis: Sad …
Porta Caeli: From Lofty heights
Stella Maris: Fr Clifton’s blog closes
Australia Incognita: The word we are not allowed to use: heresy

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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28 Responses to Msgr. Loftus: Are you a scrub?

  1. AnAmericanMother says:

    Guess we can assume, if this is true, that Msgr. Loftus has never read his Bible, particularly not 1st Corinthians 6:1-8.

  2. This is very sad and quite mean. I do not see anything wrong with what Father Clifton wrote. In fact, he makes very good points. Regardless, he made the effort to remove anything that could be considered an offense and offered his apology. That was not good enough, he had to be hurt by forcing the closure of his blog. Very mean.

  3. MLivingston says:

    Is “scrub” a British word (obviously meaning something else than vigorous cleaning)? How does it translate (roughly) into American? C. S. Lewis used it, I remember, and I wondered then what it meant.

  4. Scott W. says:

    Someone offer him a guest contributer spot on their blog?

  5. Henry Edwards says:

    Well, of course, we here at WDTPRS have been onto this Msgr. Basil Loftus for some time:

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/09/catholic-times-uk-paul-vi-bugnini-no-one-more-pastorally-sensitive-about-tlm/

    “The recent number of The Catholic Times, (21 Sept, p. 9) an English weekly, has one of the dumbest articles about Pope Benedict’s Summorum Pontificum I have read to date.”

    One of Father Z’s better jobs in search of what’s good and true. Inquiring minds should check it out.

  6. iudicame says:

    On Fr. Clifton’s blog – a few entries down, he attacks Fr. Gruner, the Fatima crusader. I find Gruner et al’s arguements re the 3rd Secret pretty convincing. Clifton may very well be a grand fellow but…

    m

  7. The Cobbler says:

    Bishops suing priests! And people wonder why atheists want to sue the Pope. Because if you think someone’s wrong, the correct reaction is — drag him to court and penalize him! I guess it beats lynching and/or the ol’ pagan vengeance circle, but sheesh. If somebody does something criminal, drag him to court by all means; but using court, civil or Church (but especially civil; I understand both to be called upon in this case) as a weapon in intra-Catholicism squabbles…

  8. Charivari Rob says:

    “Is “scrub” a British word (obviously meaning something else than vigorous cleaning)? How does it translate (roughly) into American? C. S. Lewis used it, I remember, and I wondered then what it meant.”

    Besides any meanings related to cleaning, I only knew the sports slang – someone who is second string (really – someone who is the lowest on the depth chart, who only gets put in the game (a) when it’s so out of hand one way or the other that it can’t make a difference; or (b) when there’s no other alternative.

    A quick check of dictionary.com suggests – a domestic animal of mixed or inferior breeding; a small or insignificant person; anything undersized or inferior…

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/scrub

  9. AnAmericanMother says:

    ‘Scrub’ is straggling, undersized plant growth, worth nothing but to burn, and used to refer to a person, it means someone who is likewise undersized, mean, and worthless.

    “There was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

    - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

  10. Elizabeth D says:

    Fr Nicholas Gruner clearly IS in error about Fatima, particularly

    [Noooo.... that's a rabbit hole. This isn't about Gruner. So, I'll just cut some of this.]

  11. Stvsmith2009 says:

    I wonder if the Msgr. ever read The Gospel of Saint John. When Thomas put his fingers into the nail wounds, and again his hand into the Lord’s side, I would tend to believe that it was Christ’s physical body Thomas touched and not His spiritual body (John 20: 24-29). Then again, what do I know. I have this tendency to believe the words of men who were willing to die for what they wrote, as opposed to men who seek the world’s approval for what they write.

  12. Charles E Flynn says:

    For those of you who are not convinced by Thomas’ finger insertion test, there is the baked fish incident (Luke 24:36-53) :

    http://www.catholic.org/clife/lent/appearances.php

  13. Ah yes, the old “baked fish incident”.

    Eating something was one of the ways the Lord demonstrated that He was real and physical and not just there in spirit or that He was merely an apparition.

  14. Martial Artist says:

    No, Father, you did not “get this wrong!” If Christ had not been physically present how could Thomas have been presented with the (very) physical evidence of being able to put his fingers in the wounds in Christ’s hands and sides. Does this alleged priest, i.e., Fr, Loftus, actually know his Scripture? What seminary did he graduate from and how was it determined that he should be ordained? Or did his unscriptural opinions arise subsequent to his ordination?

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  15. AJP says:

    a priest spouting heresy is bad enough, but a priest threatening to sue another priest takes the scandal to a whole new level. Is this even allowed by canon law?

  16. C. says:

    Mildew should stand his ground and counter-sue in the church court.

    [Easy for you to say. Are you ready to pony up the money so that he can do such a thing? Also, change your username. I am not in favor of single letter user names.]

  17. shadowlands says:

    The devil didn’t like (hated) the mere thought of God becoming flesh, so the thought of man becoming part of God’s flesh through the resurrection and Holy Communion must be even worse and something he would seek to dispel belief in, at all costs surely? he just wouldn’t be able to face it, and the best he would cling to is that God’s own priests/Bishops would deny the truth of this fact as well, because then the Church would be useless on earth.
    That’s my four penneth worth.

    I have been praying for both men, who are ( apparently) of maturer years and therefore require our compassion as upsets can affect people more deeply as we age.

  18. Random Friar says:

    This situation is quite sad and scandalous. Humility means receiving fraternal correction and dialogue, not threatening to sue the pants off someone. There may be a time when the discussion has to end, but not this way.

  19. Magpie says:

    This is ridiculous. If somebody spouts heresy, he should be corrected. This priest blogger has done nothing wrong. It is a pity that he feels unable to continue his blog. The bully should not not be yielded to. He obviously doesn’t understand this new reality that is the blogosphere. I emailed the editor of the Catholic Times to complain.

  20. albizzi says:

    Another test regarding the Christ physically resurrected is the “Noli me Tangere” warning to Mary Magadalene: Of course it is impossible to touch a ghost or a virtual entity.
    How is this possible that some clerics are so ignorant?
    In my opinion, such ignorance looks like pride, the pride of men who boast to KNOW their truth according to their twisted minds, and are considering as incorrigible ignorants the millions people who pondered the issue for 20 centuries and believed in the same Truth as the Church.
    But certainly such priests as Mgr Loftus lack reading the whole Bible (not only a few excerpts they consider to push in the way they wish) and UPON ALL, they lack PRAYING.

  21. AndyMo says:

    In the US, you can’t be responsible for libel if what you said is, you know, the truth. Isn’t this true in England?

    Someone who denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus is a heretic. There. I said it. Sue me.

  22. Gail F says:

    I have to wonder if St. Augustine and St. Jerome would sue each other if they lived today. Even the greatest of the saints can get testy — of course, they are saints in spite of that, not because of it, and we shouldn’t emulate that part of their actions. I find this situation very sad, but the state of both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion in England right now are so volatile that perhaps nuttiness abounds. It is possible to hold unorthodox views without being a heretic. It is less possible to teach unorthodox views without being a heretic — but it happens in my diocese all the time, especially from certain Sisters who at least are not accused of the “H word” no matter what they do.

    “Fr. Mildew” may be perfectly within his rights by British law, but I don’t know for certain — British law is a lot less protective of free speech than American law. Either way, he may simply have been advised that a lawsuit would cost him big time.

  23. Supertradmum says:

    Sad, and I heard the ND version from Father McBrien from the pulpit on Easter Sunday at the Basilica years ago. Heretic the priests are, indeed, and should be remembered in our prayers. They should be corrected publicly.

    As to suing, I thought this was not to be done by priests or religious, as it is, in some cases, considered non-Christian, non-fraternal behavior. I have been seriously, unjustly treated by clergy in power over me in jobs, but I have not sued, even though I had cause, as these men were priests, and I thought it would be wrong to sue a priest, or an order, even if the cause was just. I cannot understand one priest suing another, especially in these circumstances.

  24. robtbrown says:

    Msgr Loftus seems to be unfamiliar with 1 Cor 44: It is sown a natural body (???? ???????) it is raised a spiritual body (???? ???????????). If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

    Note that “body” is used in two different ways. The first a natural body, the second a body that has been spiritualized, i.e., endowed with certain spiritual qualities (often known as the qualities of the Resurrected Body). It is, nevertheless, a body.

    It is sad to see people like Msgr Loftus confused about such an important tenet of the Church. He seems to have forgotten how to tie his theological shoes.

  25. robtbrown says:

    The words in parentheses were in Greek–soma psychikon and soma pneumatikon.

    They showed up in the preview but not in the posted message.

  26. robtbrown says:

    Msgr Loftus seems to be unfamiliar with 1 Cor 44: It is sown a natural body (soma psychikon) it is raised a spiritual body (soma pneumatikon). If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

    Note that “body” is used in two different ways. The first a natural body, the second a body that has been spiritualized, i.e., endowed with certain spiritual qualities (often known as the qualities of the Resurrected Body). It is, nevertheless, a body.

    It is sad to see people like Msgr Loftus confused about such an important tenet of the Church. He seems to have forgotten how to tie his theological shoes.

  27. Supertradmum says:

    May I add that the physical Resurrection of Our Lord is part of the Incarnation? In the very old days, Christmas Eve was the Feast of Adam and Eve, and the”happy fault, necessary sin of Adam” phrase, said in Holy Week was part of, I think, the Gradual for December 24th. I may be corrected on where it actually was said or sung. Belief in the bodily Resurrection of Christ is part and parcel of belief in the Incarnation. But, then, I know priests who deny the Incarnation as well, not believing that Christ is truly God and Man.

  28. Martial Artist says:

    As to libel under British Law, I am not knowledgeable enough to know any differences. However, I do know that the so-called “British rule” in civil cases is that the loser pays the legal expenses of the winner, which is a significant deterrent to filing suit. One doesn’t prudently sue unless either (a) one is very confident of winning, or (b) one has sufficient wealth that the legal costs which might be imposed on him/her are inconsequential relative to his/her financial resources.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer