Putting the well-deserved spotlight on Irish dissident Fr. Tony Flannery

At this site Renew America the Australian author Eamonn Keane has done us a great service by summarizing many points concerning the Irish heretic Fr. Tony Flannery, who has been under scrutiny by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

This is important, because, so far, the press has allowed Flannery to control the story.  When you dig deeper, as Keane did, you see how duplicitous Flannery has been.  Keane read stuff by Flannery that Flannery hasn’t been sharing with the newsies.

Keane’s piece is long. The first part is a summary of what has happened. And then he pulls out some quotes from Flannery’s work. Let’s skip over the dopey women priest stuff. Cliché Here are some examples.

“I now have difficulty with an assumption that I made automatically for a great part of my life, that in terms of teaching, Christ and the church are one and the same. I no longer accept as automatically true that the church we have now is necessarily according to the plan of God” (Keeping the Faith, p. 25).

[...]

“The weight of evidence suggests that Jesus didn’t have anything as specific as a church in mind. He gave his followers a mission to go and preach the Kingdom of God, but he didn’t set up or outline any kind of structure” (Keeping the Faith, pp. 35-36).

[...]

In regard to homosexuality, Fr. Flannery says: “I honestly do not think it is either fair or realistic to expect all people of a homosexual orientation to remain celibate all their lives, and to refrain from any form of physical sexual expression. When this is made a condition for their belonging to the church, it is no wonder that so many walk sadly away. In the present regime, the church has taken an increasingly hard line on this” (Fragments, p.58).

[...]

Chastising the Catholic Church for its refusal to bless attempted second marriages by persons divorced from a living lawful spouse with whom their first marriage was valid, Fr. Flannery said: “The logic of this is that any form of blessing given to such a couple will be confused with the sacrament, and will serve to debase and devalue the church teaching on the sacredness of marriage. From a legal point of view this has certain logic, but I’m afraid that pastorally it is cruel and unnecessary” (Fragments, p.33).

[...]

Fr. Flannery entitled his own essay in RRP as Some Ideas on a New Approach to Catholic Sexual Teaching. He outlined what he believes are necessary “basic changes” the Church needs to make by saying: “So the first basis of a new theology of sexuality would be a positive acceptance of the beauty and goodness not just of our sexual nature but of sexual activity in relationships…It would take the church a long time to come around to really believing that sex is good and beautiful, part of the wonder of God’s creation…” (RRP, p. 165).

He continued by saying, “The second basic change would be to break the inherent connection, long part of traditional Catholic teaching, between sexual activity and marriage. To continue to hold that sex outside marriage is always sinful is in my view a mistake” (RRP, p. 165). He added: “Breaking away from the rigid connection between sexual activity and marriage would also give us a way out of the bind we find ourselves in with couples who are involved in second relationships. The failure of the church to respond to the many people who are getting married for the second time is scandalous” (RRP, p. 167). Later in the book, he repeats his call for the Church to “break the rigid connection between sexual activity and marriage, allowing for appropriate sexual relationships between people who are not married, when the quality of the relationship merits it” (RRP, p. 169).

The third change that Fr. Flannery calls upon the Church to adopt is that “we no longer teach that the use of artificial contraception in a loving relationship is sinful” (RRP, p. 169).

[...]

The CDF does not go after people by chance.

So far the story in the press is about what Flannery wrote that got him into trouble with CDF.  The story, so far, has been pretty much been determined by Flannery himself. He has controlled the story.  But Eamonn Keane read some of the Flannery’s writings which Flannery didn’t give to the press! These writings reveal doctrinal errors far more serious than even the ones Flannery has mentioned.

The Catholic press needs to get on top of this and get to the real issues.  Eamonn Keane did.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Liberals, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

83 Responses to Putting the well-deserved spotlight on Irish dissident Fr. Tony Flannery

  1. anilwang says:

    There’s actually only one heresy in his writings, namely “The weight of evidence suggests that Jesus didn’t have anything as specific as a church in mind….” (Keeping the Faith, pp. 35-36).

    Once you accept this, all Catholic teaching is up for grabs and many Catholic teachings really do appear cruel or arbitrary and “Non Servium” is reasonable. But if Christ established the Catholic Church, one must submit to it, anything that appears cruel or arbitrary must depend on mercy and providence and “Servium” is the only reasonable choice even before we understand the reasons.

  2. JacobWall says:

    A very interesting connection comes to light in Mr. Keane’s article; Fr. Flannery’s rejection of sexual morals is rooted in his rejection of St. Mary’s virginity, the Holy Trinity and the Divinity of Jesus Christ. Some more examples quoted there are:

    “The idea of Trinity as expressed in this sentence could not have been used by Jesus. It would have been completely foreign to Jewish belief and expression, and Jesus was a Jew. So it was clearly added much later to include and affirm the new teaching of the Trinity”

    “it raises the possibility that Jesus was born in the same way as any other human being, as a result of the loving relationship between Mary and Joseph.”

    His promotion of ordination of women and rejection of sexual morality are rooted in very deep-running doctrinal errors in the very basics of Christian belief. I don’t think this is a surprise in any way, but considering the quotations offered by Mr. Keane, it’s absurd for anyone to think that that the CDF’s actions are unfair or that he hasn’t been given a “fair chance” to explain himself; he’s explained himself very well. As Mr. Keane puts it, “His published works are his real ‘accusers.’ ”

    I’m just surprised it took the CDF this long …

  3. pmullane says:

    Fr Flannery appears to labour under the misapprehension that the same old heterodox boilerplate is new and insightful when it comes out of his mouth (or pen).

    Pride is a very thick wall to penetrate.

  4. Good Lord! This stuff has been floating along since at least the 60′s, and seems to be in accord with the Magisterium of Nuns, and other looney rooneys. Now they are getting around to confronting this mess. Long overdue, I would say!

  5. It is saddening and frightening that a priest, member of a religious order can get this far. Anyone can have doubts but the distance between where he is now and initial doubts is light years. When he first started having doubts, could he not share them with anyone? Did he not have friends among the members of his order; did he not have a spiritual director with whom he could have shared what he undoubtedly felt were honest and revolutionary thoughts (at least initially)? Once you get as far as writing books about heresy, it must be very difficult to come back to the fold. But how did he get so far? How was he allowed to get that far? And by this I don’t mean “why wasn’t he censored/disciplined earlier?” but rather: how could it happen that despite being a member of a religious order, and a priest, no one noticed that he was walking the deadly way of heresy? :(

  6. JacobWall says:

    I forgot to point out that Fr. Flannery himself draws a very close connection between these ideas of his and his rejection of the male priesthood and sexual morality. His idea is something like this: if St. Mary wasn’t a virgin, why should women uphold virginity as a virtue? If Jesus wasn’t divine, and he never intended to set up a male priesthood (by means of the Apostles,) why should we have male-only priest, or any respect for the priesthood whatsoever? For example:

    “Imagine the difference it would have made if the ordinary Catholic had believed that Mary was a married woman, having normal sexual relations with her husband”

    (I just wonder what he means by “normal sexual relations.” Considering his views, I doubt he means the Christian definition of “normal sexual relations.” In any case, he’s just so wrong.)

    Considering his determined adversity to renounce his views (and accept the Church’s teachings – “teachings that I could not accept,”) I suspect that the foundation crumbled out before the building collapsed; i.e. I suspect that he had rejected the Trinity and Divinity of Christ before he developed these views on sexual morality, and these came as a result of his distorted views on Christ, as he himself indicates. Without the foundation, what hope is there of fixing the building? I can’t see him going back on this stuff.

  7. JacobWall says:

    @anilwang,

    Actually, if you read Mr. Keane’s article, you will see that there are indeed a number of other heresies – all very basic and fundamental to Christian doctrine. The rejection of Christ’s Divinity and the Holy Trinity (both implied fairly explicitly in the idea that Jesus was unaware of the Trinity, which he calls a “new teaching” introduced much later on, as well as the idea that Jesus was the “result” of a sexual relationship between St Mary and St Joseph) are clearly heresies. And then, there’s the rejection of St. Mary’s perpetual virginity – I believe this would also count as a heresy…

    That makes at least 4 extremely fundamental heresies – I’m sure the count could get higher.

    But on the whole, you are right, anilwang; his other distorted ideas (acceptance of homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, women in the priesthood, etc.) stem from these basic heresies.

  8. JacobWall: If Jesus wasn’t divine, and he never intended to set up a male priesthood (by means of the Apostles,) why should we have male-only priest, or any respect for the priesthood whatsoever? If Jesus wasn’t God then there is no point at all in priesthood (male or any kind) since then Jesus’ death did not bring the forgiveness of sins -> none of the sacraments make sense -> the whole Church is meaningless and redundant.

  9. JacobWall says:

    @CatholicCoffee – very good point. I guess you could say it’s not that the foundation is rotten, it’s simply that the foundation isn’t there. And he wonders why the CDF is on his case.

  10. Bob B. says:

    And you know what other publication equivocates….(one clue, it’s Jesuit, of course)
    http://americamagazine.org/content/all-things/irish-priests-defiance-some-context

  11. Montenegro says:

    Maybe the National Catholic Register will get onto the story – if they stop trashing Michael Voris for five minutes…

  12. Shamrock says:

    @JacobWall…I doubt there’s much wonder at all in Father F’s soul? Nor about why the CDF
    is on his case. But to be in a state of wonder over this might sell more of his rotten books to the poor soulsout there who will drink the wine along with the arsenic not knowing the difference until they too become dead to The Word! Lord have mercy on his soul and all those he is leading down. The list of dissident “Catholic” writers names would fill the pages of a large city phonebook and someone would do us all a favor to publish such a list! I *tend* a small parish library made
    up of donated books and you would be appalled at the trash put into the donation box. I will
    give here one name that sends me up the wall everytime I come across his name and that is
    Fr Ronald Rolheiser…t’was of him I am sure Paul was speaking when he warned us about those
    false teachers who love to tickle the ears. Another poor soul for whom to offer your rosaries. How
    he gets away with it is the 8th wonder of the world. HIS bishop must be deaf in both ears as well as dumb ( in every sense) and blind!

  13. Supertradmum says:

    Wow, and my question is why did it take so long to stop this priest from the great damage he has done? Thank God, he is publicly being censored.

  14. catholicmidwest says:

    When he starts questioning the findings of the Nicene Council, which he’s doing when he’s talking about questioning the divinity of Christ, he’s really not Christian anymore. I don’t know what he is, and he probably doesn’t know either really. It’s time to give him the boot.

  15. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Slightly off topic (hope you don’t mind, Fr Z):

    Mr. Keane wrote an excellent book on the state of “religious education” that went on for decades in the U.S. and Australia.

    It is called “A Generation Betrayed.”

    It is rare, but it is well worth the effort to get a copy. (it is full of footnotes and has an excellent index)

    MSM

  16. anilwang says:

    JacobWall,

    You’re correct. I’d restate that the only real heresy is a reject of Christ’s Divinity or even knowledge about the nature of God or being sent by him, since everything else follows. If Jesus is not God and made things up, we might as well all become Jews or believe in the God of the Philosophers since Christianity is a sham and those are the only other two reasonable religions.

    I have an incredibly hard time understanding how someone can claim to be Christian, much less a Catholic priest, acting in conscious if his conscious tells him he is promoting a lie.

  17. jacobi says:

    His ideas range from the confused to the outright heretical. As such, he should go and join one of the thirty three thousand or so heretical bodies who call themselves churches. I’m sure he’ll find one to suit his particular selection of beliefs.

    What is clear is that, by his own choice, he is not a member of Christ’s Mystical body on Earth, the Catholic Church.

    Like all of his persuasion, he seems excessively pre-occupied with the first of the seven deadly sins where the Church’s rule is quite simple i.e., sex outside of a valid marriage between a man and a woman, is sinful.

  18. fvhale says:

    It is all the same dung ball that the “faithful dissenters” have been rolling around since the rejection of Humanae Vitae in 1968, and it all sticks together and emits a volatile stench that some of these folk call “The Spirit of Vatican II” (having nothing to do with anything actually produced by the Council).

    The connection of all these things, the “laundry list” of dissent that Flannery embraces, was mentioned by feminist theologian Rosemary Radford Ruether wrote in 1977:

    “In recent years a number of dramatic statements issued by the Vatican have pointedly refused to acknowledge new thinking on sexuality and have reaffirmed traditional teaching. Thus, in 1968 Pope Paul VI went against the majority of his own papal commission to affirm the immorality of artificial contraception. The 1975 Declaration on Sexual Ethics ignored contemporary developments and reiterated a severe condemnation of mas—-ation and hom—xuality. Intransigence on such issues as divorce, married clergy and the ordination of women are related, psychosocially, to these controversies over changing sexual mores.

    No longer is it possible to state dogmatically that any particular act — mas—-ation, adultery, premarital s-x, hom—-uality, etc. — is automatically and intrinsically immoral. Rather, all such acts must be judged in the context of their service to self…. This approach allows relative judgments that certain categories of acts are likely to be negative, but no absolutes. Not the act but the quality of life it serves is the standard of judgment.”

    That pretty much sums up the sort of thinking demonstrated in Flannery’s writings, thinking that came to the forefront in the late 1960′s, appeared dominant among many theologians (and several bishops) by the late 1970′s, and did not begin to wane until the 1980′s (when Bl. John Paul II was Pope, and Ratzinger was Prefect of the CDF).

    But some people will “keep the fires” burning of this hideous ball of dissent, moral relativism, and just awful theology born of the 1960′s, until their last breaths.

  19. maryh says:

    In the 60′s and 70′s we had “only” the Church’s word for it that Ruether wasn’t right.

    The contraceptive pill was perfect and scientific and would never fail, and everything else was going to be compassionate and assuage the pain of the very few people who were in failed marriages or pregnant out of wedlock or who were exclusively homosexual, without, of course, having any effect at all on any of those statistics.

    What idiots we were.

  20. maryh says:

    Correction: should have said: we thought we had “only” the Church’s word for it.

  21. PhilipNeri says:

    fvhale writes, “It is all the same dung ball that the ‘faithful dissenters’ have been rolling around since the rejection of Humanae Vitae in 1968. . .” Close but not quite. It’s the same dung ball Luther rolled around in the 16thc. The same dung ball various sects rolled around in the 13th and 14th centuries. In fact, it’s the same dung ball rolled around by every self-serving heretic since Judas first laid eyes on his 30 pieces of silver. There is absolutely nothing new or interesting in Flannery’s writings. For all practical purposes, his opus is just slightly warmed-over doodling, plagiarized from the Gnostics through the Protestants and right on up to and including the eco-Marxist-feminists-Gaians. Yawn.

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP

  22. Rank Heretic. That is all.

  23. anilwang says:

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP,

    Technically, its the same dunghill that goes back to Adam and Eve. Satan isn’t that creative, and sadly we keep falling for the same lie again and again, never realizing that we’ve been duped.

    But I do think Humanae Vitae is the most immediate cause of this descent since it established the “Magesterium of Theologians” that could “judge” and reinterpret anything coming out of the Vatican and cause many average Catholics to doubt the authority of the Church. Whatever the faults of Martin Luther, and other heretics were, at least they had the integrity to get out of the Church when it was clear the Church wasn’t buying what they were selling.

  24. Scott W. says:

    So his position is utterly indistinguishable from Episcopalianism.

  25. Athelstan says:

    “The second basic change would be to break the inherent connection, long part of traditional Catholic teaching, between sexual activity and marriage.”

    Ask the Episcopal Church how that’s working out for them, Fr. Flannery.

    Hello Fr. Z,

    The Catholic press needs to get on top of this and get to the real issues.

    Sad to say, for the more liberal precincts thereof, I fear that none of these positions would be disagreeable to them, either. Certainly not at the Fishwrap. Probably not at America, either, although they would be more cagey about couching their dissent.

    But it’s a fair bet that when a Catholics says that he or she doesn’t agree with the male priesthood or the Christological and apostolic origin of the priesthood, he or she disagrees with a whole host of other doctrines, too.

  26. Shamrock says:

    A good follow up read to this post is Scott Hahn’s A FATHER WHO KEEPS HIS PROMISES. It
    is the same dung ball that Satan hit Adam with that is still infecting hearts and minds today. It is a constant attack directed at marriage and the family, the basic building block of all decent socities. Strong families, strong society. Weak and dysfunctional families result in same kind of society. Another recommendation is a CD put out by Catholic Media Lighthouse: The History of Salvation, Monsgr. Daniel Deutsch. Fr Deutsch CD is based upon the book mostly.

  27. robtbrown says:

    Perhaps because of my American proclivities, it is hard for me the understand why Flannery would be so comfortable being a freaking phony. If he wants to be against Catholic doctrine, that’s his business, but he should be man enough to realize that the priesthood is not the place for him.

    His dishonesty makes the boys at ENRON look like Mother Teresa.

  28. Norah says:

    CatholicCoffee, you echo my thoughts on this sorry tale …how did it come to this? Were his religious superiors asleep at the switch or do they think as he does?

    For what seems like the zillinth time I post C.S. Lewis’ so apposite To Dissenting Priests.

  29. Jeannie_C says:

    My husband and I have read all of Scott Hahn’s books and highly recommend them. They get down to the bottom line pretty fast and provide plenty of ammunition for both defending against heresy and promoting the One True Faith. I don’t know what faith Fr. Flannery follows, but it isn’t the one passed on by the apostles. As a layperson even I can see the holes in his arguments.

  30. Norah says:

    I just found this re Tony Flannery on a Hall of Fame website:

    For the past thirty years he has been a preacher of missions, novenas and retreats, all over Ireland.

    Dear God in heaven! He has been permitted to spread this poison for thirty years! How many undercatecised has lost their Faith because of him?

  31. Patrick-K says:

    It’s interesting to observe the type of reasoning deployed by Fr. Flannery. For example, he says: “I honestly do not think it is either fair or realistic to expect all people of a homosexual orientation to remain celibate all their lives, and to refrain from any form of physical sexual expression. When this is made a condition for their belonging to the church, it is no wonder that so many walk sadly away. ”

    Reduced to its basic parts, the argument is: “Modern Westerners find this rule difficult, therefore we have to get rid it of.” There are so many things wrong with this. For one, it assumes a very low view of the level of motivation and self-discipline among the Western Church. More egregiously, it dispenses with the traditional view (that even most Protestants would probably agree with) that God’s laws are given by God and not subject to change because people find them too difficult. They’re kind of supposed to be difficult, indeed the NT itself has many examples of the rejection of Jesus’s teachings. Fr. Flannery is right that we are all failures in living up to the full calling of the Gospels. But that plainly doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try!

  32. jflare says:

    I also find Fr Flannery’s remarks about homosexuality and celibacy quite provocative. We consider that married people are called not to lust for each other, but to express their love sexually, but in a holy manner. Then we have the lot of unmarried persons like myself. WE are called to live chaste lives and give holy witness to others too.

    Strange that Fr Flannery would consider it so revolting for homosexual persons to have a need to control their sexual passions: All the rest of the faithful have desires too.

  33. Norah says:

    http://www.vincenttwomey.com/apps/profile/49229310/
    Eamonn Keanne wrote this in possibly 2009
    My wife and I have just returned from a three week trip back to Ireland. We had a great time catching up with friends and relatives. However, we were disheartened to see how easily theological dissidents are able to plant their published materials in parishes and other Catholic institutions. Fr Sean Fagan’s book ‘What Happened To Sin?’ (2008) is available for sale at Knock Shrine, while Fr Tony Flannery’s book ‘Responding to Ryan Report’ is available at Galway Cathedral (Fr Fegan’s. and Fr Flannery’s essays in this book attack Church teaching on marriage and sexuality). Fr Fegan’s book attacks the Church’s moral doctrine, especially that articulated in Humane Vitae and Veritatis Splendor. Fr Flannery has a monthly column in Rality Magazine where he often gives voice to his dissent. This magazine is targeted at Catholic families and was available for sale in all the churches we visited.

    Our Lady of Knock please intercede for Ireland that she may have holy priests and bishops who will lead the people back to the true Faith. Dear Mother please intercede for the priests who are leading the flock astray that they may return to the Catholic Faith.

  34. feargalmac says:

    Fr Flannery’s brother Frank, is an adviser to our Government party here in Ireland. This probably explains our prime ministers, Enda Kenny, attacks on the Vatican and the closure of our embassy there. Unfortunately, he is not alone here and the damage done by him through Reality magazine is immeasurable.

  35. Mariana says:

    “Jesus didn’t have anything as specific as a church in mind.”

    Then, logically, we should become Jews.

  36. jaykay says:

    Feargalmac: one of our Government parties – the (larger) one that has flagrantly broken its pre-election promise in regard to legislating for abortion.

    Fr. Flannery has of course been given carte blanche, porte ouverte, whatever, in the Irish Times and the broadcast media as the poor little put-upon-courageous-voice-speaking-truth-to power and all the usual hogwash that the “liberals” trot out on such occasions. And that is what one expects, it’s what they do. Sadly, however, I have yet to see (perhaps I’m wrong but I don’t think so) any rebuttal from our shepherds given equal prominence, and I don’t think that that’s a case of “censorship” by our media, bad and all as they are. In other words… silence. No wonder we’re drifting.

  37. Supertradmum says:

    But, these priests have support from a good number of the laity as well, as I found out when I was in Ireland for a total of six months last year. Do not think he is a one-off voice of dissent.

    No, he is the tip of the iceberg

  38. jaykay says:

    Supertradmum: yes, as you’ll have observed the default position for a lot of people here is to be “agin” authority (of whatever sort), as though they’re thereby continuing the noble fight of our forefathers for the last million years against oppression, blahdy-blahdy-blah. One of our more acerbic journalists dubbed this the “MOPE” syndrome (the Most Oppressed People Ever). It’s not a particularly likeable trait – whinging self-pity at worst, mild delusion at best. So Fr. F and his ilk will always have their supporters among people of this sort but they should beware – because such support is fickle and will run off to follow the next passing trend leaving them high and dry. Marrying the spirit of the age, and all that – although as others have pointed out above, Fr. F’s dissent is actually of a an age-old, stale-old variety.

    There’s also the national desire to be loved by everyone, all the time. So in many cases our clergy (and our other authority figures, let’s be honest) stopped speaking the hard words of truth and went for the softer, touchy-feely option, just to be “one of the lads” and to go along to get along. And look where that’s got them.

    That said, the Irish Redemptorists (of whom Fr. F is of course a member) have had an upsurge of vocations in the last few years and my local Redemptorist church has always maintained traditional deveotions, including a packed annual novena to St. Gerard and very extensive confessions on Saturdays, which any time I’ve been there I’ve noticed are well patronised, and not just by people of my age and upwards. There is some hope.

  39. The Masked Chicken says:

    “The weight of evidence suggests that Jesus didn’t have anything as specific as a church in mind. He gave his followers a mission to go and preach the Kingdom of God, but he didn’t set up or outline any kind of structure” (Keeping the Faith, pp. 35-36).”

    If this is what he thinks the weight of evidence suggests, may I suggest that he take his scales back to the factory for re-calibration.

    The word, “church, is used in the Gospels in exactly two places (Matt 16:18 and Matt 18:17) and it is used by exactly one man -Jesus: [Matt 16: 18]

    “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.”

    ???? ?? ??? ???? ??? ?? ?? ?????? ??? ??? ????? ?? ????? ?????????? ??? ??? ????????? ??? ????? ???? ?? ????????????? ?????

    The use of the word, “ekklesia,” is pretty specific.not once ekklesia, but (my) ekklesia – my Church, which specifies ownership.

    Matt 18:17:

    “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

    How can he tell it to the Church if the Church does not exist? If Jesus had been speaking of the Jewish leaders, he would have said, “priests,” or “Pharisees,” or “Temple.”

    In fact, the passage from Matthew 18 continues:

    “Mat 18:18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
    Mat 18:19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.
    Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

    Which is referencing a type of corporate prayer with a hierarchical structure, since only those authorized can bind. If each person had that authority, individually, then chaos would ensue, since one might bind a person an another loose him.

    I would really like to see this evidence of which he speaks. It sounds like the Protestant selective reading of history.

    The Chicken

  40. The Masked Chicken says:

    The question marks are the Greek original of Matt 16:18. They show up fine in the preview. A bug in WordPress programming?

    The Chicken

  41. The Masked Chicken says:

    Should read:

    The use of the word, “ekklesia,” is pretty specific.not only ekklesia, but (my) ekklesia – my Church, which specifies ownership.

  42. JacobWall says:

    @jaykay

    Thank you for your final, hopeful paragraph! We do need to see the hopeful side of things as well.

  43. jhayes says:

    “The use of the word, “ekklesia,” is pretty specific”

    Without questioning the existence of a hiearchical church, the quotes from Matthew may not be convincing proof. The argument about the correct translation of “ekklesia” has been going on for hundreds of years. It was the noun for what we here in New England still call our “Town Meeting” – the body of ctiizens who are called together to vote on actions the town. It’s argued that “ekklesia” should be tranlated as “group” or “congregation” rather than “church”.

    When King James authorized a translation of the Bible into English, he gave a list of 15 rules to follow in the translation. One rule required using “church” instead of “congregation”

  44. robtbrown says:

    Masked Chicken says,

    I would really like to see this evidence of which he speaks. It sounds like the Protestant selective reading of history.

    Actually, it’s the Protestant reading of Scripture (more specifically, the Protestant use of the Historical Critical method), which eliminates the validity of any text it doesn’t like by saying it’s a later addition.

  45. robtbrown says:

    jhayes says:

    “The use of the word, “ekklesia,” is pretty specific”

    Without questioning the existence of a hiearchical church, the quotes from Matthew may not be convincing proof. The argument about the correct translation of “ekklesia” has been going on for hundreds of years. It was the noun for what we here in New England still call our “Town Meeting” – the body of ctiizens who are called together to vote on actions the town. It’s argued that “ekklesia” should be tranlated as “group” or “congregation” rather than “church”.

    Of course, it certainly does refer to group or assembly. It is given its specific meaning (what we understand by “Church”) by Christ Himself, Who endows it with power transcending what it human and leaving the Apostles in authority.

  46. fvhale says:

    Dearest Chicken,

    Of course the text of the Gospel of Matthew did not exist when Jesus was speaking.
    But the text of the Septuagint did exist, and he was probably familiar with it.
    The noun “ekklesia” occurs over 100 times in the Septuagint,
    beginning with, I believe, six occurrences in Deuteronomy, and about 25 times in Chronicles.
    It always refers to the “assembly,” the people redeemed by the Lord out of Egypt, trained in the desert, and those who received and adhered to the revelation at Sinai, given through the hands of Moses, participating in the worship headed by Aaron and the high priests.

    “Ekklesia” in the Septuagint is not just some random “gather us in.” It is called by God, ordered by God, and directed to God. I suspect Jesus knew this.

    By the way, this is Septuagesima season, so I want to recommend the Septuagint for anyone interested in Greek! (That’s a bad linguistic joke, sort of.)

  47. jhayes says:

    Just for interest, here are the footnotes from the NAB on the USCCB website. As the first one indictates, we don’t know what Aramaic word Jesus used. The decision to render it in Greek as “ekklesia” ws made by Matthew.

    ” [16:18]…Church: this word (Greek ekkl?sia) occurs in the gospels only here and in Mt 18:17 (twice). There are several possibilities for an Aramaic original. Jesus’ church means the community that he will gather and that, like a building, will have Peter as its solid foundation….

    * [18:17] The church: the second of the only two instances of this word in the gospels; see note on Mt 16:18. Here it refers not to the entire church of Jesus, as in Mt 16:18, but to the local congregation.

  48. The Masked Chicken says:

    “There are several possibilities for an Aramaic original. Jesus’ church means the community that he will gather and that, like a building, will have Peter as its solid foundation….”

    This makes no sense. You don’t get to say that there are several possiblities for an original word and then choose one of the meanings to tell what the word means. If there are several possibilities, then the meaning is unclear. They should say so, if they want to be consistent. This is poor commentary.

    Simply put, Matthew, being an apostle who knew Jesus, would have known what Jesus meant and used the correct translation for the word from the Aramaic that most closely resembled Jesus’s thoughts. It’s either that or the apostles just got to make things up.

    As far as the LXX is concerned, ekklesia is used mostly in reference to Moses and the assembly. Since Christ is the new Moses, the parallel between Jesus and his followers as a distinctive assembly separated out from the other nations and delivered fom bondage (i.e., a church) is unmistakeable. That is why he used the term.

    The Chicken

    The Chicken

  49. jhayes says:

    The Chicken wrote; “Simply put, Matthew, being an apostle who knew Jesus, would have known what Jesus meant and used the correct translation for the word from the Aramaic that most closely resembled Jesus’s thoughts. It’s either that or the apostles just got to make things up.”

    There is no indication that Matthew the Evangelist ever met Jesus.

    Also fron the NAB:

    “The ancient tradition that the author was the disciple and apostle of Jesus named Matthew (see Mt 10:3) is untenable because the gospel is based, in large part, on the Gospel according to Mark (almost all the verses of that gospel have been utilized in this), and it is hardly likely that a companion of Jesus would have followed so extensively an account that came from one who admittedly never had such an association rather than rely on his own memories. The attribution of the gospel to the disciple Matthew may have been due to his having been responsible for some of the traditions found in it, but that is far from certain.

    The unknown author, whom we shall continue to call Matthew for the sake of convenience, drew not only upon the Gospel according to Mark but upon a large body of material (principally, sayings of Jesus) not found in Mark that corresponds, sometimes exactly, to material found also in the Gospel according to Luke. This material, called “Q” (probably from the first letter of the German word Quelle, meaning “source”), represents traditions, written and oral, used by both Matthew and Luke. Mark and Q are sources common to the two other synoptic gospels; hence the name the “Two-Source Theory” given to this explanation of the relation among the synoptics.

    In addition to what Matthew drew from Mark and Q, his gospel contains material that is found only there. This is often designated “M,” written or oral tradition…

    As for the place where the gospel was composed, a plausible suggestion is that it was Antioch, the capital of the Roman province of Syria. That large and important city had a mixed population of Greek-speaking Gentiles and Jews.

    http://www.usccb.org/bible/scripture.cfm?bk=Matthew&ch=

  50. albizzi says:

    I am tired to hear about these heretic priests.
    He was imprudent enough in being outspoken in sharing his heretic views and now he gets a well deserved investigation from the Vatican.
    The saddest is that he looks as if he had the support of his superiors in the Redemptorist Order.
    That means that the CDF too should investigate the head of the Order, if not the Order in full.
    What IMHO I bet will never happen… And the fruit will continue to rot.

  51. acardnal says:

    jhayes wrote, “There is no indication that Matthew the Evangelist ever met Jesus.”

    First, the NAB “notes and commentary” are not inspired scripture but the work of so called scripture scholars.

    Second, what we know about Matthew is admittedly sparse but Pope Benedict gave a series of Wednesday audiences on the Apostles and made the following biographical statements about Matthew as recorded in his book “The Apostles” published by Our Sunday Visitor; I prefer to give more credence to the Holy Father’s exegesis than to others:

    -”the information we have on him [Matthew] is sparse and fragmentary.” p. 89

    - ” he always appears in the lists of the Twelve chosen by Jesus.” p.89

    -”the first canonical Gospel, which goes under his name, presents him to us in the list of the Twelve, labeled very precisely: “the tax collector.” p.89

    -”Thus, Matthew is identified with the man sitting at the tax office whom Jesus calls to follow Him: ‘As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, “Follow me”. And he rose and followed him.’ Mark and Luke also tell of the calling of the man sitting at the tax office, but he call him ‘Levi’.” p.89

    - “A further biographical detail emerges from the Gospels: in the passage that immediately precedes the account of the call, a miracle that Jesus worked at Capernaum is mentioned and the proximity to the Sea of Galilee, that is the Lake of Tiberias. It is possible to deduce from this that Matthew exercised the function of tax collector at Capernaum, which was exactly located ‘by the sea,’ where Jesus was a permanent guest a Peter’s house. ” p.90

  52. Stephen D says:

    Fr Flannery has a confrere in his order, Bro. Marcel Van, who claimed apparitions of St Therese of Lisieux and gave his life in a Vietnamese Prison Camp in 1955 and offered up his suffering there ‘for priests’. I am sure that Fr. Flannery would benefit in a special way from our prayers to Bro. Van (a candidate for beatification) and his friend St Therese.

  53. maryh says:

    @jhayes, quoting the USCCB:
    “The ancient tradition that the author was the disciple and apostle of Jesus named Matthew (see Mt 10:3) is untenable because the gospel is based, in large part, on the Gospel according to Mark (almost all the verses of that gospel have been utilized in this)”

    Erm, a more obvious explanation, from this laywoman, is that the gospel of Mark, which by tradition was written AFTER Matthew, was an abridged version of Matthew.

    So I’m going with Pope Benedict too.

  54. JacobWall says:

    @acardnal, jhayes

    acardnal – Thank you for sharing that! While I know little about the topic, I sympathize with your point of view – “I prefer to give more credence to the Holy Father’s exegesis than to others.” Pope Benedict instructs with a clarity in truth that I don’t find to be very common these days.

    As for the “Matthew isn’t really Matthew” idea (and similar ones) shared so shamelessly on the USCCB website, unfortunately, I have heard the same stuff from the pulpit now and then. Even when it is well spelled out, I find it utterly unconvincing. The feeling I get when I hear it in a sermon (or read it on a site like UCSSB) is like Christians are jumping up and down like children looking for attention, saying “Look, we can be academically skeptic and talk about manuscript sources to disspell Tradition too! We’re smart Catholics.”

    For me there are 2 points which make it shameful that the USCCB would just put this up on their website:
    1) They don’t present an intelligent case for the possibility that it was in fact the apostle Matthew who wrote it, even though it’s quite accessible – e.g. the Holy Father’s exegesis shared by acardnal
    2) They present it as though it’s fact. Manuscript analysis is not factual in any final or authoritative way; these are theoretical conclusions based on academic theories (which can likewise not be proven finally one way or another) used to analyze known manuscripts. While certain theories could be strengthened or weakened by such studies, it is not possible to reach a hard and final conclusion like “The ancient tradition that the author was the disciple and apostle of Jesus named Matthew… is untenable.” These are events that happened 2000 years ago. It’s impossible to prove decisively, by manuscript analysis, that Matthew was copied from Mark and some other ghost source. Academics make such bold claims quite willingly, but they are made under the assumption that other academics will feel free to challenge and even discard their claim. However, when you go and post a highly speculative idea like this as “fact” on the UCSSB website, most readers are not going to understand how speculative it really is. They ought to be more careful.

  55. fvhale says:

    On the “Matthew” question, I recommend Pope Benedict XVI, General Audience, 30 Aug 2006.
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20060830_en.html
    I think this is included in book Jesus, the Apostles and the Early Church.

    From the audience:

    Continuing the series of portraits of the Twelve Apostles that we began a few weeks ago, let us reflect today on Matthew. To tell the truth, it is almost impossible to paint a complete picture of him because the information we have of him is scarce and fragmentary. What we can do, however, is to outline not so much his biography as, rather, the profile of him that the Gospel conveys.

    In the meantime, he always appears in the lists of the Twelve chosen by Jesus (cf. Mt 10: 3; Mk 3: 18; Lk 6: 15; Acts 1: 13).

    His name in Hebrew means “gift of God”. The first canonical Gospel, which goes under his name, presents him to us in the list of the Twelve, labelled very precisely: “the tax collector” (Mt 10: 3).

    Thus, Matthew is identified with the man sitting at the tax office whom Jesus calls to follow him: “As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, “Follow me’. And he rose and followed him” (Mt 9: 9). Mark (cf. 2: 13-17) and Luke (cf. 5: 27-30), also tell of the calling of the man sitting at the tax office, but they call him “Levi”.

    To imagine the scene described in Mt 9: 9, it suffices to recall Caravaggio’s magnificent canvas, kept here in Rome at the Church of St Louis of the French.

    ….

    It is possible to deduce from this that Matthew exercised the function of tax collector at Capernaum, which was exactly located “by the sea” (Mt 4: 13), where Jesus was a permanent guest at Peter’s house.
    ….

    Lastly, let us remember that the tradition of the ancient Church agrees in attributing to Matthew the paternity of the First Gospel. This had already begun with Bishop Papias of Hierapolis in Frisia, in about the year 130.

    He writes: “Matthew set down the words (of the Lord) in the Hebrew tongue and everyone interpreted them as best he could” (in Eusebius of Cesarea, Hist. Eccl. III, 39, 16).

    Eusebius, the historian, adds this piece of information: “When Matthew, who had first preached among the Jews, decided also to reach out to other peoples, he wrote down the Gospel he preached in his mother tongue; thus, he sought to put in writing, for those whom he was leaving, what they would be losing with his departure” (ibid., III, 24, 6).

    The Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew or Aramaic is no longer extant, but in the Greek Gospel that we possess we still continue to hear, in a certain way, the persuasive voice of the publican Matthew, who, having become an Apostle, continues to proclaim God’s saving mercy to us. And let us listen to St Matthew’s message, meditating upon it ever anew also to learn to stand up and follow Jesus with determination.

    I always place more importance and significance in the teaching of the Pope than in the teaching of historical-critical biblical scholars, many of whom, sadly, completely loose their faith after too much thinking of the Bible as a historical document rather than the Divine Revelation in and for the Church.

  56. aviva meriam says:

    Here’s one that left me speechless…..

    “The second basic change would be to break the inherent connection, long part of traditional Catholic teaching, between sexual activity and marriage. To continue to hold that sex outside marriage is always sinful is in my view a mistake”

    How on earth is his view consistent with anything Jesus taught on sexuality? What type of justification for his position does he possibly offer (beyond prevaling norms within our struggling culture)?

    How can anyone be surprised he’s under investigation?

    And why isn’t he honest enough to leave voluntarily?

  57. VexillaRegis says:

    He should make an appointment with the bishop of the Liberal Catholic Church. It sounds like a perfect match for this guy.

    Oh sorry, I just rememberd they wear maniples and so forth, so maybe not after all. However, he would be able to believe nearly anything he wants.

  58. acardnal says:

    fvhale, I think you repeated some of the same quote I used earlier from the Holy Father’s audience on the apostles. See my entry at 12:28 pm above.

    But more can be good some times. ;-)

  59. JacobWall says:

    @fvhale
    Your notes are very similar to those shared by acardnal; thanks for the link to the Vatican website! That makes this easy to share. We need to spread the word. Too many Christians these days simply take it for granted that the Gospels were written long after the deaths of the Apostles.

  60. jhayes says:

    Jacob Wall wrote: “It’s impossible to prove decisively, by manuscript analysis, that Matthew was copied from Mark and some other ghost source. Academics make such bold claims quite willingly, but they are made under the assumption that other academics will feel free to challenge and even discard their claim. However, when you go and post a highly speculative idea like this as “fact” on the UCSSB website, most readers are not going to understand how speculative it really is. They ought to be more careful.”

    The USCCB website simply reports in a few paragraphs the consensus of extensive scholarship. If you would like to understand the basis of the statements there, I recommend Raymond Brown’s “Introduction to the New Testament”, for a one-volume presentation and, beyond that, John Meier’s “A Marginal Jew”, in four volumes.

  61. fvhale says:

    jhayes wrote: “The USCCB website simply reports in a few paragraphs the consensus of extensive scholarship. If you would like to understand the basis of the statements there, I recommend Raymond Brown’s ‘Introduction to the New Testament’, for a one-volume presentation and, beyond that, John Meier’s ‘A Marginal Jew’, in four volumes.”

    Disclosure: After my parents divorce in 1970 I was in custody of my father who was determined to stamp out anything Catholic in me. So after an early adolescence involving religious science (very esoteric) and Buddhism, I became an evangelical Protestant in college, eventually being ordained by the laying on of hands of my local presbyterate. During a couple decades of (Protestant) ministry, I became very deep in Scripture and History, including teaching New Testament Greek, and spending much time in Textual Criticism. I studied paleography and I am very comfortable with manuscripts in Hebrew (e.g. Dead Sea), Greek and Latin. Due to endless denominational political struggles and divisions, I eventually returned to the Catholic Church in 1998. I am very familiar with textual criticism and modern Biblical Scholarship. Back in the day I had personal correspondence with Bart Ehrman, etc., was member of SBL, etc. I still count some active Protestant Bible scholars as friends. On the shelves behind me are BHS, NA27, Rahlfs LXX (I also have a first edition from a library), the Synopsis of the Four Gospels in Greek, etc. My MacBook is loaded with Verbum Capstone, etc. I routinely read Scripture in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, German and Spanish, as well as a bit of English (even Old English). End of disclosure.

    I do not like Raymond Brown’s scholarship, and I neither allow his books to occupy my shelf space, nor do I recommend them. Same for Meier.

    Why? Because even if you spend hours studying manuscripts of Scripture (as I have done), even if you use linguistic analysis methods to construct possible trees of relationships (as I have done), when you come down to the “hard” questions, there are no answers from manuscripts or other historical artifacts.

    You then have two choices: you can take the path of “scholarship” (especially since the advent of Modern Biblical Criticism), and end up with, “Well, we just don’t know. Make your best guess.” This is the way of all Protestant Bible Scholarship, even if you include the Church Fathers. You just cannot find historical evidence for everything, nor can you even find definitive historical evidence for choosing among alternate readings in some cases.

    Or, you can go with Tradition-with-Scripture. You go with the Church. This is the Catholic way.

    After all, as I often say to people, that the Bible did not just land in your local discount store one day, for you to buy and decide for yourself what it means. It is a product of the life of the Church, and it can only be understood, really, within the life of the Church, with the guidance of the Magisterium.

    In fact, I often recommend to people that rather than “buying a Bible and studying it,” (and I know too many Catholics that then end up attending Protestant Bible Studies–like the one’s I used to lead), that they should learn first the Scriptures presented to them in the Church’s liturgy, then move on to the Catechism (full of Scripture), then some of the writings of Pope Benedict, Pope John Paul II, and some saints who wrote commentaries. Learn first the Bible in the Church, in the life of faith, under the Magisterium. Read the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini. Read Dei Verbum from the Second Vatican Council. Read Divino Afflante Spiritu. Lean to pray Scripture before doing a technical dissection of the text.

    So much “extensive scholarship” is little more than academic speculation at best, and potentially damaging to the faith at the worst, especially for those who want to start to understand Scripture.

  62. JacobWall says:

    @fvhale

    Thank you. I greatly appreciate your recommendation on how to approach the Scripture. I have read that the original context of receiving the Scriptures was through the Liturgy. I believe that is the ideal way to start. I come from a Protestant background where the entire emphasis of Scripture was personal reading and understanding, and I am now approaching Scriptures from the perspective of “receiving” from the Church.

    The approach you describe reminds me very much of some things I’ve heard/read recently about receiving Faith and receiving the Eucharist; in one of his early books, “Introduction to Christianity,” Pope Benedict (then Fr. Joseph Ratzinger) emphasizes the point that we receive Faith from other people, namely the Church; this point is brought to light especially in the question-and-answer baptismal form of the Apostle’s Creed. In a recent homily, my priest emphasized the point that we receive communion, we do not “take” it. (Many Protestants, including the groups I grew up in, quite markedly “take” it. This is parallel to their approach to Scriptures.)

    This idea seems similar to me; we receive the Scriptures (from the Church, in the Liturgy) – we do not take it for ourselves. Of course, as you indicate, after receiving, we can study it further, but we need to start with the action of receiving.

    Returning to the topic at hand, I believe if more Catholics took the approach of seeing Scripture as something they first and foremost “receive” from the Church in the context of the Liturgy, ideas like Fr. Flannery’s would be much less wide-spread. His approach (as well as the “Matthew isn’t really Matthew” approach) are shining examples of “I’m taking this for myself and doing what I want with it.”

  63. MichaelJ says:

    fvhale, I’d say that there is nothing potential about the damage to the faith that such academic speculation can cause. When “the Church” (the USCCB) presents as fact that the Gospel of St. Matthew was not written by the Apostle Matthew but was instead cobbled together using bits and pieces of St. Luke and St. Mark the logical conclusion is that for hundreds of years, the Church presented a falsehood as truth (until, of course, thesewise scholars showed up). The next question, of course, is “What else did the Church get wrong?”

  64. JacobWall says:

    @MichaelJ,
    Exactly. And for anyone who starts asking that question, Fr. Flannery has all the answers …

  65. jhayes says:

    fvhale, I think it is a bigger problem for people whos start from a particular understanding of the “inerrancy” of the Bible.

    Bart Ehrman says that he lost his faith at Princeton when he struggled with Mark 2:25-26, in which Mark quotes Jesus as saying:

    “25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? 26 He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.”

    Abiathar wasn’t the high priest at that time and Ehrman couldn’t deal with it when his professor said “well maybe Mark just made a mistake”. His background at Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton didn’t allow him to accept that possibility.

    Those of us who don’t demand that kind of literal “inerrancy” (even in the original manuscripts, if they ever come to light) can rejoice in the inerrancy of the Bible in teaching us what God wants us to know in order to gain our salvation – regardless of the literary forms it uses to do that.

  66. jhayes says:

    fvhale writes: ” Read Dei Verbum from the Second Vatican Council”

    Quoting: “Dei Verbum”

    “12. However, since God speaks in Sacred Scripture through men in human fashion, the interpreter of Sacred Scripture, in order to see clearly what God wanted to communicate to us, should carefully investigate what meaning the sacred writers really intended, and what God wanted to manifest by means of their words.

    To search out the intention of the sacred writers, attention should be given, among other things, to “literary forms.” For truth is set forth and expressed differently in texts which are variously historical, prophetic, poetic, or of other forms of discourse. The interpreter must investigate what meaning the sacred writer intended to express and actually expressed in particular circumstances by using contemporary literary forms in accordance with the situation of his own time and culture. For the correct understanding of what the sacred author wanted to assert, due attention must be paid to the customary and characteristic styles of feeling, speaking and narrating which prevailed at the time of the sacred writer, and to the patterns men normally employed at that period in their everyday dealings with one another….

    The sacred authors wrote the four Gospels, selecting some things from the many which had been handed on by word of mouth or in writing, reducing some of them to a synthesis, explaining some things in view of the situation of their churches and preserving the form of proclamation but always in such fashion that they told us the honest truth about Jesus. For their intention in writing was that either from their own memory and recollections, or from the witness of those who “themselves from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word” we might know “the truth” concerning those matters about which we have been instructed (see Luke 1:2-4).”

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19651118_dei-verbum_en.html

  67. acardnal says:

    Some scripture scholars explain the apparent inaccuracy by comparing 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel references to the two key players: Abiathar and Ahimelech. Both High Priests at one time, and both father and son. However, the names are interchangeable.

    The apparent inaccuracy is resolved once it is realized that Abiathar and Ahimelech were names of both father and son. This can be seen by a comparison of the following passages:

    1 Samuel 14:3 – “And Ahiah, {mg. called Ahimelech} the son of Ahitub . . . ”
    1 Samuel 22:20 – “And one of the sons of Ahimelech the son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped, and fled after David.”
    2 Samuel 8:17 – “And Zadok the son of Ahitub, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, were the priests . . . ”
    1 Chronicles 18:16; 24:6 – same as 2 Samuel 8:17.

    The following diagram illustrates the point:(I hope the formatting comes out correctly when I post this.)
    Ahitub (1 Samuel 14:3) Ahitub (2 Samuel 8:17)
    father father
    of of
    Ahimelech (1 Samuel 14:3; 22:20) Abiathar (2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Chron. 18:16)
    father father
    of of
    Abiathar (1 Samuel 22:20) Ahimelech (2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Chron. 18:16; 24:6)

    Jesus and the account in Samuel refer to Ahimelech (or Abiathar, his other name), the son of Ahitub. There is, therefore, no inaccuracy. Jesus uses one name, and the Samuel account uses the other name, for the same individual.

  68. acardnal says:

    Formatting didn’t come out right but you should still be able to use the scripture citations to understand the argument.

    I am going to try and format the bottom section above one more time; if it doesn’t work I leave it to the Holy Spirit.

    The following diagram illustrates the point:

    Ahitub (1 Samuel 14:3) Ahitub (2 Samuel 8:17)
    father father
    of of
    Ahimelech (1 Samuel 14:3; 22:20) Abiathar (2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Chron. 18:16)
    father father
    of of
    Abiathar (1 Samuel 22:20) Ahimelech (2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Chron. 18:16; 24:6)

  69. acardnal says:

    Didn’t work.

  70. acardnal says:

    How ’bout this:

    1 Samuel version:
    Ahitub (1 Samuel 14:3) was the father of Ahimelech (1 Samuel 14:3; 22:20), father of Abiahar (1 Samuel 22:20).

    2 Samuel version:
    Ahitub (2 Samuel 8:17) was the father of Abiathar (2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Chron. 18:16), father of Ahimelech (2 Sam. 8:17; 1 Chron. 18:16; 24:6).

  71. jhayes says:

    acardnal, i have Ehrman’s book but rather than taking the time to find it and type in the text, i’ll quote an online review. You’ll see that he tried to find a way to reconcile the reference but his professor brushed that away.

    “While he was in the master’s program, he took a course on Mark’s Gospel from Professor Cullen Story. For his term paper, he wrote on the problem of Jesus speaking of David’s entry into the temple “when Abiathar was the high priest” (Mark 2.26). The well-known crux is problematic for inerrancy because, according to 1 Sam 21, the time when David entered the temple was actually when Abiathar’s father, Ahimelech, was priest. But Ehrman was determined to work around what looked to be the plain meaning of the text, in order to salvage inerrancy. Ehrman tells his readers, Professor Story’s comment on the paper “went straight through me. He wrote, ‘Maybe Mark just made a mistake.’”21 This was a decisive moment in Ehrman’s spiritual journey. When he concluded that Mark may have erred, “the floodgates opened.”22 He began to question the historical reliability of many other biblical texts, resulting in “a seismic change” in his understanding of the Bible. “The Bible,” Ehrman notes, “began to appear to me as a very human book… This was a human book from beginning to end.”23

    What strikes me as most remarkable in all this is how much Ehrman tied inerrancy to the general historical reliability of the Bible. It was an all-or-nothing proposition for him. He still seems to see things in black and white terms, for he concludes his testimony with these words: “It is a radical shift from reading the Bible as an inerrant blueprint for our faith, life, and future to seeing it as a very human book… This is the shift in my own thinking that I ended up making, and to which I am now fully committed.”24 There thus seems to be no middle ground in his view of the text. In short, Ehrman seems to have held to what I would call a ‘domino view of doctrine.’ When one falls down, they all fall down. ”

    http://bible.org/article/gospel-according-bart

    The name of the priest doesn’t affect the meaning of the story Jesus is telling.

  72. JacobWall says:

    @jhayes

    I find acardnal’s points sufficient on this doubt; likewise, as you suggest, I wouldn’t find this particular detail troubling. However, I think that the issue of the high priest’s name is extremely different from that of the authorship of the texts. The text you quote from Verbum Dei, and even the Princeton professor’s statement point to something very human about the authors of the Gospels. This is only reasonable – nothing more than the simple reality; the Gospels were written by real, living, breathing human beings, who had names and had received the Faith and the story of Christ either from experience or by means of the Apostles. The Holy Spirit works through humans and brings the Faith and God’s Word to humans by means of other humans.

    The approach of textual criticism does the opposite; it de-humanizes the authors. It reduces “Matthew” or “Mark” to an abstract concept. “Matthew” is no longer a real human who sat sweating and writing with ink on real paper with a wrist that got sore from holding the pen; he becomes a grouping of imaginary manuscripts defined by German scholar in Tubingen 150 years ago influenced by or copied from another group of manuscripts called “Mark,” (who was also apparently not a real human author) with additions from an “oral source” called “Q.” (As opposed to a human called “Jesus” or “Peter.”) I suspect that this de-humanizing approach to the authors of the Gospels is one that can take people off track much more acutely.

    Being told that Mark might have made a mistake in name wouldn’t bother me, if no evidence to the contrary were readily available. Mark was a human after all. Reducing “Matthew” from a real human author to a scholarly speculation of manuscript groupings does bother me. They are two very different ideas.

    (By the way, I have no idea if “Germany”, “Tuebingen” or “150 years ago” really have anything do with this, but I think the point is clear.)

  73. acardnal says:

    I have Erhman’s books, too. And some that refute his agnostic beliefs.

    You made the statement above, “There is no indication that Matthew the Evangelist ever met Jesus.” Here, you seemed to indicate by that Matthew was not an Apostle and that Jesus did not know him. The logic of Pope Benedict’s argument above refutes that and makes sense to me.

    Regarding your example you cited from Erhman: he seemed to indicate that there was error in scripture. I was simply pointing out that there is a reason to explain what Jesus said in Mark 2:25-26, i.e. that Ahimelech and Abiathar may have been the same person and, therefore, there is no error. The “name of the priest” does matter to Erhman.

  74. acardnal says:

    Above was a response to jhayes.

  75. jhayes says:

    acardnal wrote: “You made the statement above, “There is no indication that Matthew the Evangelist ever met Jesus.” Here, you seemed to indicate by that Matthew was not an Apostle and that Jesus did not know him. The logic of Pope Benedict’s argument above refutes that and makes sense to me.”

    There certainly was a Matthew who was an Apostle and that was the Matthew Benedict talked about. The opening paragraph of his general Audience speech that you cited was:

    “Continuing the series of portraits of the Twelve Apostles that we began a few weeks ago, let us reflect today on Matthew. To tell the truth, it is almost impossible to paint a complete picture of him because the information we have of him is scarce and fragmentary. What we can do, however, is to outline not so much his biography as, rather, the profile of him that the Gospel conveys.”

    Them he goes through the points you quoted, but they are all about Matthew the Apostle.

    The only time he touches on the question of Matthew the Evangelist is a the end of the talk where he quotes Eusebius of Caesarea:

    “Lastly, let us remember that the tradition of the ancient Church agrees in attributing to Matthew the paternity of the First Gospel. This had already begun with Bishop Papias of Hierapolis in Frisia, in about the year 130.

    He writes: “Matthew set down the words (of the Lord) in the Hebrew tongue and everyone interpreted them as best he could” (in Eusebius of Cesarea, Hist. Eccl. III, 39, 16).

    Eusebius, the historian, adds this piece of information: “When Matthew, who had first preached among the Jews, decided also to reach out to other peoples, he wrote down the Gospel he preached in his mother tongue; thus, he sought to put in writing, for those whom he was leaving, what they would be losing with his departure” (ibid., III, 24, 6).

    The Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew or Aramaic is no longer extant, but in the Greek Gospel that we possess we still continue to hear, in a certain way, the persuasive voice of the publican Matthew, who, having become an Apostle, continues to proclaim God’s saving mercy to us. And let us listen to St Matthew’s message, meditating upon it ever anew also to learn to stand up and follow Jesus with determination.”

    Papias and Eusbius were writing about 60 years after Matthew’s Gospel was written. They may have believed that Matthew the Apostle and Matthew the Evangelist were the same person, but the statement on the USCCB website:

    ““The ancient tradition that the author [of the Gospel] was the disciple and apostle of Jesus named Matthew (see Mt 10:3) is untenable”

    Is the current view of scripture scholars.

  76. acardnal says:

    jhayes wrote, “Papias and Eusbius (sic) were writing about 60 years after Matthew’s Gospel was written. They may have believed that Matthew the Apostle and Matthew the Evangelist were the same person, but the statement on the USCCB website:

    ““The ancient tradition that the author [of the Gospel] was the disciple and apostle of Jesus named Matthew (see Mt 10:3) is untenable”

    Is the current view of scripture scholars.

    The USCCB quotation is one point of view of some scholars but not all. Some of the late Fr. Raymond Brown’s positions have been very controversial and have been criticized in academia. He taught at a Protestant theological school for almost 30 years, and he was a proponent of the historical-critical analysis of scripture, which the Holy Father has said in his recent books on Jesus has been overly-emphasized by theologians.

    By quoting Eusebius, I believe the Holy Father is stating either explicitly or implicitly that the Evangelist and the Apostle are the same person. In fact, His Holiness states explicitly “let us remember that the tradition of the ancient Church agrees in attributing to Matthew the paternity of the First Gospel. This had already begun with Bishop Papias of Hierapolis in Frisia, in about the year 130.”

    And the Vicar of Christ goes on to say, “The Gospel of Matthew written in Hebrew or Aramaic is no longer extant, but in the Greek Gospel that we possess we still continue to hear, in a certain way, the persuasive voice of the publican Matthew [the tax collector], who, having become an Apostle, continues to proclaim God’s saving mercy to us [through his gospel]. ”

    As for myself, I generally prefer to give more credence to sources closer in time to the actual event(s) than those 2000 years later like Fr. Brown.

  77. robtbrown says:

    Is the current view of scripture scholars.

    The operative word is “current”. I recommend comparing the differences of the first JBC from the second.

    1. There are efforts at dating certain books of Scripture in the first JBC that disappear in the second. A good example is First Corinthians.

    2. In the 2d JBC Raymond Brown has an article in which he objects to the prior tendency to think: Early Christology = Low Christology; Later Christology = High Christology. He forgets to mention that he was a prominent member of the EC=LC crowd.

    3. The value of the Historical-Critical method depends on the criteria used. In its early life Protestant ideology dominated the criteria, whose foundation was an effort to reduce the figure of Jesus to just a product of pure Palestinian culture. And so, for example, anything that could to be attributed to Greek thought was considered a later addition that had little to do with His life.

    Hegelian thought dominated this approach: Simpler versions of a text are always considered to be earlier versions than more complex versions. Using this criterion, we “discover” that certain texts of St Thomas that we know were early works (Sententia) were actually written after texts that we know were later works.

  78. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Being told that Mark might have made a mistake in name wouldn’t bother me, if no evidence to the contrary were readily available. Mark was a human after all. Reducing “Matthew” from a real human author to a scholarly speculation of manuscript groupings does bother me. They are two very different ideas.”

    Does no one ever simply stop to think that the passage might simply be a scribal error? Good grief, we don’t have the original, you know. Simply put, there were so many Jews in Mark’s vicinity that they would have, most probably, caught this howler in the original manuscript, if it existed.

    “The ancient tradition that the author [of the Gospel] was the disciple and apostle of Jesus named Matthew (see Mt 10:3) is untenable”

    Is the current view of scripture scholars.”

    It was the current view of aeronautical engineers in 1910 that bumble bees should not be able to fly. Experts work from theory. If either the theory is incomplete (historical-critical method is most certainly incomplete, since linguistics is in its infancy) or empirical facts contradict the theory, then their conclusions can be wrong.

    Now, given that the proper use of ekklesia would be an important point to God, who is the Author of Scripture, it seems absurd that he would let such an word be incorrectly used for 2000 years until a committee of scholars corrected him.

    Fr. Flannery wishes to assert that the idea of a Church is wrong. Since Matthew is one warrant for the argument, even though Fr. Flannery does not use this argument, directly, all explicit warrants (reasons for believing) must be dismissed by him.

    Quoting scholarly opinion is one way to discredit a witness, but it presupposes that there is a preponderance of evidence. The evidence for or against Matthew-Apostle = Matthew-Evangelist is slim on both sides of the issue, so even if most scholars agreed, it would not be a strong conclusion. Given that, there is little incentive to overthrow a witnessed tradition that clear dates back, if not to Matthew, at least to St. Paul.

    I would, by the way, love to see this, “scholarly evidence.,” that most scholars agree on. It would be interesting to subject it to some rigorous testing of assumptions.

    The Chicken

  79. The Masked Chicken says:

    Even if the Gospel of Matthew were not written by a different Matthew than the apostle, my point remains. Either an arbitrary choice of several definitions were made that resulted in the original Aramaic being translated, “ekklesia,” or there was some specific reason why the author chose to translate the original word in this fashion. If the first case is correct, then the Bible is unreliable as to anything, because everything depends on the author’s choices. If the second case is true, then God has played a part, behind the scenes, to ensure that his will were done? What the heck was the purpose in sending Christ to teach, suffer, and die, if the reporting were of the same quality as the National Catholic Reporter? How could be be certain of anything?

    There are big issues at stake and God is no fool.

    The Chicken

  80. The Masked Chicken says:

    Should read:

    Even if the Gospel of Matthew were written by a different Matthew than the apostle…

    Hey, I’m getting better.

    The Chicken

  81. acardnal says:

    the statement on the USCCB website:
    “The ancient tradition that the author [of the Gospel] was the disciple and apostle of Jesus named Matthew (see Mt 10:3) is untenable”

    Is the current view of scripture scholars.

    In support of JacobWall’s position above, in my view it is irresponsible for the USCCB to post that statement on its website! It suggests to readers that it is a fact when it is not. It is speculation. (I often wish episcopal conferences would just go away. )

    Personally, I prefer to give more credence to those who lived closer to the actual person, place or event who believed that Matthew the Apostle was the same person who wrote the eponymous Gospel, e.g. Eusebius and St. Irenaeus in the 2nd C., Origen and Tertullian in the 3rd C., St. Jerome and St. John Chrysostom in the 4th C., and St. Augustine in the 5th C.

  82. St. Epaphras says:

    I didn’t have time to read all the comments above, so forgive me if someone already mentioned this. The notes in the NAB via introduction to the gospel of St. Matthew are v-e-r-r-y interesting, to say the least. The USCCB did not pull this authorship stuff out of a hat, of course. Personally I don’t read the NAB but do own a copy and I would not EVER accept at face value any of the notes. You don’t have to be a Scripture scholar to figure out where the thinking is coming from.

    Just to keep it very simple: reading over the NAB notes in the New Testament and assuming already they were all of them true, I’d be tempted to doubt just about everything. Oh gosh, the Church was wrong all that time!! About who wrote the books, to whom they were written, when they were written, and on and on. So when I heard my FORMER pastor make comments about how he thought such and such a passage may well have actually taken place (Gospels) — and from a point of view that just because something is in the Gospels doesn’t mean it happened but could have been just put there for reasons of the author’s own — I wasn’t overly shocked.

    If the Church was wrong for many centuries about all this stuff (and there is lots of it) that “modern scholars” are teaching, as several above have said: What else was/is She wrong about?? Any belief could be changed at any time just because some “scholar” says so.

    No!! Jesus got it right from the beginning. He taught the apostles right. They taught the next bishops (and lay people) right. Everything was carefully guarded. To deviate was to be a heretic. I’ll stay with Holy Tradition because I’m just that simple-minded. To trust it is to trust Our Lord.

    I do realize this may be slightly off-topic, but perhaps some don’t realize how wide-spread this “question what we’ve always believed” re. the Bible and anything else is. It isn’t just in the circles of the card-carrying heretics.