Fr. McBrien and his book "Catholicism"


#1

Is anyone familiar with this work or the author? If so, is is sound teaching?
Thanks


#2

It is most definitely NOT sound teaching – steer clear at all costs.

'thann


#3

With all due respect to Fr. McBrien, his views are entirely his own and reflect his increasingly outdated and irrelevant liberal ideas of what the Church should be. I would not recommend any of his writings and especially not this particular book as a source to learn about Catholicism.


#4

Fr. McBrien, in his boom “Catholicism” states that the Catholic Church allows for the belief in the idea that Christ could have sinned. This is not only untrue, it is heresy to maintain that he sinned.

As indicated above, steer clear of ANY of his writings - at all costs!

“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ” - St. Jerome


#5

[quote=belero]Is anyone familiar with this work or the author? If so, is is sound teaching?
Thanks
[/quote]

That book is not the way to learn about Catholicism. It would likely lead a learner down the wrong path. It is not designed to form sound doctrine in the reader’s mind. Avoid it.

If your grasp of doctrine is already sound, I still suggest it is a waste of time to read it for most purposes.


#6

Fr. Vincent Serpa Catholic Answers Apologist

Re: Do you have info on Fr. Richard McBrien?
Dear b,

He is problematic and so is his book. Here is a review of it by a committee of the United States Conference of Bishops in 1996:http://www.cin.org/users/james/files/mcbrien.htm

Here is an article from the Catholic News Agency regarding his attack on pro-life bishops:http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=2741

Keep him in your prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

Pretty clear and concise to me. Fr. Serpa ROCKS!
Pax vobiscum,


#7

Fr. Vincent Serpa Catholic Answers Apologist

Re: Do you have info on Fr. Richard McBrien?
Dear b,

He is problematic and so is his book. Here is a review of it by a committee of the United States Conference of Bishops in 1996:cin.org/users/james/files/mcbrien.htm

Here is an article from the Catholic News Agency regarding his attack on pro-life bishops:catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=2741

Keep him in your prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

Pretty clear and concise to me. Fr. Serpa ROCKS!
Pax vobiscum,


#8

[quote=elvisman]Fr. McBrien, in his boom “Catholicism” states that the Catholic Church allows for the belief in the idea that Christ could have sinned. This is not only untrue, it is heresy to maintain that he sinned.

As indicated above, steer clear of ANY of his writings - at all costs!

“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ” - St. Jerome
[/quote]

First I want to note that I agree with you. Father McBrien’s heterodoxy bothers me.

I just want to clear up one ambiguity from your post. McBrien does not say that Christ could have sinned meaning “maybe he sinned”. McBrien rightly holds that Christ in fact never did sin.

What Father McBrien gets wrong is that he says that Christ was capable of sin, and yet he never did sin. It is not true that Christ was capable of sin, and Father McBrien is clearly wrong on this point.


#9

[quote=belero]Is anyone familiar with this work or the author? If so, is is sound teaching?
Thanks
[/quote]

It is his theological opinion at best. I have read parts of the book and found it not worth the time or the energy required to carry it around.


#10

Well, OK, I’ll take the bait.

I’ve read Fr McBrien’s book. It does not pretend to be a book about teaching the Catholic faith to Catholics. It does not pretend to be theology. It does not pretend or aspire to be normative.

I think it just wants to describe in terms understandable to both Catholics and non-Catholics what differentiates Catholicism form other Christian demoninations.

I don’t see anything wrong with Catholics reading as widely as possible about their faith.

The book is not perfect, but I recommend it.

Now I’ll just duck and await my whippin. :wink:

Best wishes.


#11

Wasn’t Fr. McBrien on that biased PBS program on “The DaVinci Code”, stating that it was no big deal if Jesus indeed was married and had children?


#12

[quote=mtr01]Wasn’t Fr. McBrien on that biased PBS program on “The DaVinci Code”, stating that it was no big deal if Jesus indeed was married and had children?
[/quote]

I don’t know. I thought the original question was about McBrien’s book, “Catholicism.”

Although I’ve never read “The DaVinci Code” I understand it from reviews and friends to be a work of popular and not very intelligent fiction.

If Fr McBrien said what you say he said on PBS that is indeed regrettable (to put it mildly), but not a reflection on his book “Catholicism.” It’s also possible that his words were “taken out of context” (to use a common phrase) and/or edited by PBS for their purposes. Didn’t see it, so can’t say.

Best.


#13

[quote=CharlesT]Well, OK, I’ll take the bait.

I’ve read Fr McBrien’s book. It does not pretend to be a book about teaching the Catholic faith to Catholics. It does not pretend to be theology. It does not pretend or aspire to be normative.

I think it just wants to describe in terms understandable to both Catholics and non-Catholics what differentiates Catholicism form other Christian demoninations.
[/quote]

The audience that the book itself says it wishes to reach is Catholics. It mentions Catholics who are younger (totally post Vatican2) who are confused by the turmoil or conflict between the old and the new. It wants to bridge between the old Catholic and the new. I don’t recall it particularly saying it wanted to explain things to non-Catholics about how denominations differ. It wants to cover its topic from a historical perspective, however. It totally claims to be theology. It says in the into or preface or whatnot that it is trying to be that. Not “controversial theology” (I may not agree with this claim of his) but a “constructive” theology.

Are we talking about the same book, “Catholicism”?


#14

[quote=belero]Is anyone familiar with this work or the author? If so, is is sound teaching?
Thanks
[/quote]

Always look for the “Imprimatur” and “Nihil Obstat”

If it has then it is sound teaching, if not then refer to the Cathecism of the Catholic Church.


#15

[quote=Aris]Always look for the “Imprimatur” and “Nihil Obstat”

If it has then it is sound teaching, if not then refer to the Cathecism of the Catholic Church.
[/quote]

I wish that were the case about the Impimatur, which is only as good as the bishop who gives it. Remember the RCIA book from the 80’s “Christ Among Us”? It had an Imprimatur, but was eventually taken out of use for RCIA because it was hopelessly ridden with errors.

An Imprimatur is only one thing you should look for. Also the reputation and trustworthiness of the writer and/or the publisher, and a quick glance through the contents. This takes some experience to master; until then, get the advice of a trusted and orthodox Catholic.


#16

[quote=mtr01]Wasn’t Fr. McBrien on that biased PBS program on “The DaVinci Code”, stating that it was no big deal if Jesus indeed was married and had children?
[/quote]

Yes the heretic was on the show and he really did say that!:banghead:
He went on and on how the church has warped view of sexuality and if this were true this would solve the church’s hangup on sexuality.

How would this change anything besides celibacy for priests?
WHich I think is what really bothers him as he probably a priest who has problems with celibacy so he rebels theologically to justify his actions.
Anyway would this cause the church to reverse its teaching on contraception, sex before marriage, homosexality, abortion, no all of these teachings would be the same if such a thing were to happen. So MacBriens’s theology is more flawed even when you give his thesis the benefit of the doubt.


#17

I’ve seen a number of Public libraries (including a Metropolitan one I used to work for) that seem to equate McBrien’s CATHOLICISM
with the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.


#18

[quote=Pug]The audience that the book itself says it wishes to reach is Catholics. It mentions Catholics who are younger (totally post Vatican2) who are confused by the turmoil or conflict between the old and the new. It wants to bridge between the old Catholic and the new. I don’t recall it particularly saying it wanted to explain things to non-Catholics about how denominations differ. It wants to cover its topic from a historical perspective, however. It totally claims to be theology. It says in the into or preface or whatnot that it is trying to be that. Not “controversial theology” (I may not agree with this claim of his) but a “constructive” theology.

Are we talking about the same book, “Catholicism”?
[/quote]

Pug,

It had been a long while since I read the book, so I dug out my copy to look.

You are largely right.

The edition I have is the 1981 Study Edition, although I had earlier read the two volume edition.

The book is indeed aimed at Catholics and seeks to reconcile “pre-Vatican II folks” with “post-Vatican II folks.” I stand corrected. Thanks for pointing out my error (or maybe just bad memory).

All I can say in my defense is that I was not Catholic at the time I read it, but I found it to be fascinating and informative. Maybe that’s why I thought it was meant to describe what was going on in the Church at the time to non-Catholics as well as Catholics.

I still, though, don’t see the work as theologically normative as much as descriptive.

BTW, my edition has an introduction by Fr McBrien’s bishop explaining why even though the censor had granted a nihil obstat (free from moral or doctrinal error) the bishop declined to grant an imprimatur (permission to publish for teaching purposes). Very interesting and intelligent commentary.

It still wouldn’t hurt anyone to read the book, especially with the bishop’s comments as an introduction.

Best wishes.


#19

[quote=belero]Is anyone familiar with this work or the author? If so, is is sound teaching?
Thanks
[/quote]

Haven’t read the book but am somewhat familiar with McBrien.

The most troubling issue for me is that he is very outspoken against the Ex Corde document. This is the requirement that teachers of theology in Catholic Universities not teach anything that is contrary to the faith. It only applies to theology teachers. Other “Catholic” professors can teach anything they want. Sounds logical, right? Not to McBrien. He is (or was) on the faculty at Notre Dame and is one of the main reasons why the most well-know “Catholic” university in the US is not in compliance with Ex Corde.


#20

My Relgious Education instructor who teaches RCIA at my Pauline Mass Parish referred to Fr. Richard McBrien as “almost a heretic”


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