Jesuit at Fishwrap: “Jesus was wrong.”

At Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) we read the insights of Jesuit Thomas Reese, disgraced former editor of Amerika, who wins our Oaf For A Day Award.  HERE

Jesus continues his commentary by commenting on the commandment, “You shall love your neighbor, but hate your enemy.” Actually, Jesus is wrong. There is no Old Testament injunction to hate your enemies. Leviticus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself” and makes no reference to enemies.

Well!  There it is.  Implicit in this is: “Since Jesus was wrong about this, then maybe He was wrong about other things too… and so is the Church.”

In Matthew 5 the Lord talks about personal relationships.  He introduces His teachings with contrasts, beginning with the phrase:

Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις … “You have heard that it was said to the men of old,… (v.21)

And variations of this, repeated: “You have heard that it was said,…” (vv. 31, 33, 38, 43).

Christ makes reference to what people have said, not necessary what was in their Scriptures.

Jesus is NOT wrong about what they have heard was said.

But… Jesuit… Jesuita, non Jesu ita.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. TheCavalierHatherly says:

    The pharisees taught out of the “halakot,”a large, or increasingly large, collection of oral interpretation of the Law. These eventually make their way into such compilations as the Mishnah and Talmud. Our Lord’s method of commentary is similar, except he speaks with authority. That he is rejecting the teaching of previous rabbis is very significant.

    He would know this, and other sundry things, if he was a real Jesuit, in the vein of Cornelius á Lapide, and not a cheap knockoff cardboard cut out Jesuit.

  2. TheCavalierHatherly says:

    I hit post before consulting the master himself! For shame!

    Cornelius a Lapide:

    “It has been asked, where is it said, “Thou shalt hate thine enemy?” Maldonatus replies, in Deut. xxv. 19, “Thou shalt blot out his name from under heaven.” God had commanded Joshua and the Hebrews utterly to destroy the impious Canaanites, and to seize their land. But the Law bade only the Canaanites to be slain, not other nations, and even them, not out of hatred: just as a judge might order a guilty person to be put to death, not because he hated him, but even one whom he loved.

    I Maintain, therefore, that this saying was not in the Law, but was said by the Scribes who interpreted the Law. For they, because they found in Lev. xix. 18, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour,” or “thy friend,” as the Vulgate translates, inferred from thence that they should hate their enemies. Wherefore Christ here corrects this interpretation of theirs, and explains the Law, that by neighbour or friend every man is meant, even a foreigner, a Gentile, and an enemy. For all men are neighbours, through their first forefather, Adam, and brethren one of another. We are also brethren through our second Father, Christ, through whom we have been born again, and, as it were, created anew in the likeness of God, and called to the common inheritance of God, our Father in heaven. So S. Jerome, Augustine, Theophylact, and others.”

  3. CSSML says:

    Saying ‘Jesus is wrong’ doesn’t even further the point he’s making. I think he just wanted to say it.
    Contemplate the hubris in being an ordained priest, and taking pleasure in publishing “God is Wong”

  4. Geoffrey says:

    How can any Christian (Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant) even think to ever utter that phrase? I am mindboggled. Ora pro eo.

  5. David Spaulding says:

    Exactly, CSSML!

    “Actually, Jesus is wrong” is outrageous.

  6. Gaetano says:

    So one of the rare times that Reese & Company deign to actually quote Scripture, he does it improperly & commits error.

    As the quote from Billy Madison goes:

    “[W]hat you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.

    At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought.

    Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.

    I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

  7. Maximillian says:

    I think Fr Reese should have the grace to apologize. Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said,…” Jesus never said there was a commandment here.

    I agree with others. Fr Reese in his vanity just wanted to say ‘Jesus is wrong’.

  8. j stark says:

    Thank goodness, Reese must be cutting edge; one of the greatest; he saw something that 2000 years of the Church’s brightest and most gifted theologians completely missed. It changes everything; just like the last 60 years.

  9. Fr. Reader says:

    I suppose that when a priest writes – -this is, a priest of Jesus Christ–, and especially when he writes about Him, he does it in the presence of God.
    Somehow I don’t feel this is the case. He seems to be writing more coram populo than coram Deo.

  10. Ariseyedead says:

    Why do I have the certain feeling that Reese’s final words at his particular judgement will be, “No, you’re wrong!”
    Very sad.

  11. redneckpride4ever says:

    During this Lent I have decided to not allow my frustration, even when justified, to get me riled up. Well, I’m trying to not allow it…I won’t lie, its a work in progress.

    With that, I will pray for Fr. Reese.

  12. robtbrown says:

    The last few lines of the 136th Psalm (Super Flumina Babylonis) are enlightening:

    Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones
    Against the rock,

    Hardly lines that are an invitation to joining a friendship club.

    The Reese comments along with previous similar comments by Fr James Martin SJ (that Scripture could be wrong) suggest a different unveiling that is usually anticipated. This unveiling is like seeing the snakes that are seen when a rock (pun intended) is overturned

  13. APX says:

    Jesus is God. How can God be wrong?

  14. Orual says:

    This reminds me of those who say Jesus was being racist for calling the Canaanite woman a ‘dog’, even though the word ‘dog’ is not an accurate translation. It makes me wonder if people like Fr. Reese actually believe that Jesus is God.

  15. Benedict Joseph says:

    Having endured the full effect of then unconventional clergy during the sixties it is disheartening to observe the likes of Reese, Martin, et al., persisting in the pose of clerical provocateurs. Stuck in the sixties — their act has no sting to it any more. Reese is surely a victim of those times given his age. Martin merely proves that the disorder is communicable. It has all the edge of katholic vaudeville.
    Pull the curtain.

  16. mysticalrose says:

    It’s not that shocking when you consider that these people do not believe in the divinity of Our Lord. THAT’s the shocking part.

  17. The Vicar says:

    APX: “Jesus is God. How can God be wrong?”

    The Peanut Gallery: “Just wait for the book.”

  18. TNCath says:

    If Jesus is wrong, then way to go, Jesus!

    Jesus! I hope some bishop takes this nonsense on as well!

  19. The Masked Chicken says:

    I don’t know what to make of this (from the article):

    “ Responding to violence with violence is an admission of defeat, not a sign of strength. Force should not be the first response to force, rather it can only be the last resort when all else fails. First, we must seek reconciliation.”

    This is a straw man argument. Whoever thinks that force should be the first response to anything? Jesus said to approach your opponent privately, then, if that doesn’t work, bring witnesses, then, if that doesn’t work, refer that matter to the Church.

    I have news for Fr. Reese, sometimes reconciliation doesn’t work. What heresy has ever been reconciled to the Church, even if an occasional heretic has been? Getting rid of heresy by force is not a defeat on the part of the Church; it is an acceptance of the stubbornness of the heretics. Even Christ could not be reconciled to the Pharisees. Would Fr. Reese just want the heretics to run over the Church? Jesus was nonviolent, but He fought for the truth to the end.

    I think Fr. Reese misunderstands the difference between Christ and the Church. I have to be careful how I say this, but Jesus had a mission to die; the Church has a mission to endure. Evidence of this fact is that Christ would not let any of his apostles be arrested with him.

    We would all like peace, but Fr. Reese should define exactly what this term means. Peace is the tranquility that flows from God’s right order. If your opponent will not accept God’s right order, how can there be peace? How can there be reconciliation? Should we just be willing to accept an uneasy stalemate? Should we just accept the mantra seen on bumper stickers, “Co-exist”?

    The rising of a mush-mash culture, an increase in social entropy, the development of a society of little individual “personal truths” will be no society at all, but that, indeed, is where we in the West are heading.

    Although Christ said to turn the other cheek, he also said (Matthew 10:34-39):

    34“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

    35For I have come to set a man against his father,
    and a daughter against her mother,
    and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
    36and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

    37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

    What does turning the other cheek mean? It does not mean turning to another truth. It does not mean to deny the hit. We should not resist evil in others, but we must resist evil within ourselves. Pacifism doesn’t work. It is a holding pattern until those in power can effect change. The pacifism of the early Christians did not convert Roman society. It held the line until Constantine became emperor.

    Gandhi’s absolute pacifism, for all that it is ballyhooed simply does not work. Is one supposed to meet an aggressive cancer with silence? Likewise, sometimes, love of neighbor or family propels one to action. G. E. M. Anscombe, the famous Catholic philosopher, pointed out that the Doctrine of Double Effect sometimes allows for the use of violence if it is not the primary effect, much as an incidental abortion (violence against the unborn) may result while saving the life of a mother.

    What, then, do we make of turning the other cheek? How, indeed, is this connected to reconciliation? What does it mean to love your enemy?

    These are the subjects of a long night’s conversation or of many books. What I do know is that Fr. Reese is simply wrong when he writes:

    “ Ethnic and nationalistic politics stir up hatred toward outsiders, not love and forgiveness. Racism, antisemitism, Christian nationalism, Islamophobia, homophobia, tribalism, sexism, bullying, partisanship — all are used to set people against each other.”

    Some of these are not the result of ethnic or national policies. Shame on Fr. Reese. Some of these are mortal sins. He lumps too many unrelated things together. Some of these things on his list are not used to set people against each other, but in “reconciling” to them according to his idea is really tantamount to setting a man against his God.

    The first rule of moral theology is that one may not do evil that good may come of it. Making a false peace with things that God Himself defines as sins has no part in reconciliation and, indeed, we are called, as an act of charity, to admonish the sinner.

    It was the attempt of many bishops to be “reconciled” with the homosexuality of some of their priests which led to the abuse crisis in the 1970s and 1980s. Some things you don’t reconcile to. One may be kind, where possible, knowing we all must stand judgment, but one must never deny the truth. That way lies madness and confusion.

    Alas, Fr. Reese, stand up for the Church’s perennial teachings. You know, Vatican II condemned a “false irenicism.” Are you trying to make peace with the world while thinking you are making peace with Christ? Just something to ponder.

    The Chicken

  20. Kathleen10 says:

    What kind of appalling arrogance shall we see next…they’ll be changing the words of the Lord’s Prayer! Oh wait….

  21. JPaulZ says:

    This is troubling. The only explanation I can think of for this is, God permits Reese and his accomplices to exist, so we have enemies to love. It is difficult, but I pray for them.

  22. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: turning the other cheek — Chicken, check Lamentations 3:30, and of course the surrounding context. Notice the yoke also.

    And then, check the description of the stuff that happened on the way to the Passion.

    Slapping Jesus’ cheeks, making Jesus walk a couple cumulative miles with them, taking away his robe and then taking his tunic too… it’s prophetic.

    So any examination of the moral meaning of “turn the other cheek” has to be rooted in what historically happened, and in what Lamentations said was the context of it.

    (Yup, just thought about this today and posted on Reddit under another handle. I do need to check Cornelius a Lapide, too, because I’m sure this isn’t anything new, just new to me.)

  23. Ms. M-S says:

    This reminds me of the helpful advice of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden.

  24. aam says:

    When did the Jesuits turn? I know that by the 1970s, for instance, my Jesuit high was lost to the winds (though there were older Jesuits present there who I believe were sound). Interestingly, my current diocese has brought on board a Jesuit who is reportedly orthodox. The joke is that “He’s the only conservative Jesuit”.

    [When did they turn? 16th century?]

  25. JonPatrick says:

    Fr. John Hardon SJ must be spinning in his grave seeing what has happened to the once orthodox order that he belonged to.

  26. TonyO says:

    The joke is that “He’s the only conservative Jesuit”.

    There are still a tiny number out there. At my college, there was a priest named Fr. Thomas Aquinas McGovern, a Jesuit, who constantly taught from Aquinas from the pulpit (as well as teaching Aquinas in theology class), and was as straight-up sound and orthodox as you could ask for. Of course, he died 35 years ago, but that was long after the rot had taken over the Jesuits. At the same college, a sound and loved Jesuit just retired last year, at over 90, who was fearless in teaching the truth, and seemed to love working and not being sent to some Jesuit pit.

    It’s not that shocking when you consider that these people do not believe in the divinity of Our Lord. THAT’s the shocking part.

    Right, that’s shocking. But it has been going on for quite a while. There is the foolish crowd that insist that Jesus didn’t KNOW he was God early in his ministry, and only came to it late, e.g. at the crucifixion. That’s silly enough. Then there is this whole ‘nother level of stupid, in not even believing Jesus Christ is God at all, and yet still insisting on calling themselves Christ-ians and pretending that they believe in the Church. Why? Well, because they cannot see that if Christ is not God, their faith is in vain. I suppose that it isn’t really faith anymore, it is just a set of well-worn pathways in their mental structure that is LIKE faith, in that they want to be called Christians, but is empty of life. I doubt any power on earth can break through their hardened shell of pretense.

  27. jhogan says:

    I recently have been struggling with my faith. I and those like me do not need to hear “Jesus was wrong”. He appears to be telling us that our struggles are for nought. My immediate reaction was to recall a Scripture passage where Jesus did indeed talk about “millstones” and “the sea”. Perhaps Fr. Reese should reread that passage and ponder his situation.

  28. Grant M says:

    When did the Jesuits turn? I once read a book which, rightly or wrongly, placed much of the blame on Arrupe (Superior General of the Society from 1965 to 1983) – who, as it happens, was living on the outskirts of Hiroshima on 6th August 1945. It’s tempting to wish he had gone downtown on an errand that morning, but it might be a sin to wish that.

    If any Catholic professes belief in God but denies that Jesus is God – just a great prophet- then here in Indonesia we have a widespread religion which should suit that person perfectly.

    The title of this post reminded me of the story of the Catholic arguing with the Baptist about the lawfulness of consuming alcohol:

    Catholic: But Jesus turned water into wine for a wedding party…
    Baptist: Yes, but he shouldn’t have!

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