Is there something wrong with this mans theology?

I watched this program and just found myself thinking that there is something very wrong with this. I felt as though this studied man just tried to tell me that I should look at the Gospel of Matthew and see what it “really means”. Whenever I hear this kind of talk I think that someone is trying to water down the Gospel, to turn in into some kind of nice story about a man named Jesus who we should try to be like. His discussion about what the earthquake was and what does the opening of graves “mean” was very troubling. Every time I here the word “meaning” in the context of a Gospel event, I get the feeling that it’s code, some kind of relativistic euphemism for Gospel as allegory. I’m not good with what this man is saying and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. In 5 years of watching EWTN, I have never encountered anyone speaking of the Gospels like this.

Seeing a “meaning” in Scripture is not at all something that should make you uncomfortable. Seeing aspects of it as allegorical is also not a problem–what do you think Jesus was doing when he told parables? Was he telling stories of real people he had encountered? Possibly, but most likely not. Rather, he was using these stories–which were allegorical–to make some kind of point. St. Thomas Aquinas points out the different levels of understanding Scripture. Check this out:


I think Matthew by far would be the most allegorical so to speak of the Gospels as Matthew mainly addresses the Jewish people rather than the Gentiles. Therefore in many cases the allegory is back to the OT. It is in knowing our Jewish roots that we can learn to respect our Jewish forefathers very much like Pope Benedict XVI has spoken about in his latest book. God bless.

I see no problem. He is “associate professor of sacred Scripture at Pontifical College Josephinum School of Theology”, and so has certainly passed muster for hiring and retention, as well as undergoing continuous scrutiny at several levels, including the management of the college as well as the TV station itself. I would imagine that the Bishop is also well aware of, not only his teaching, but the presentations of the TV channel as well.

You noted that you are keying in on phrases in the Doctor’s speech pattern. Do not let these possibly repetitious patterns concern you, since we all subconsciously exhibit them. Rather, examine the content of what he is saying. In cultural and historical context, I see no problem with what he is teaching. No neck hairs raised at all.

I watched it all … wouldn’t usually do that. I can’t say if you’ll find too many members who’ll give almost ½ an hour’s attention to that video. It gets a little stale as you go.

What I usually try to do is to make a note of the things that irked me the most - write them down and at what point in the video they appeared.

I didn’t like the idea that he seemed to have a problem with the earthquake. Other than that, there was one passage I don’t agree with. But their website says they train seminarians for the priesthood for dioceses who don’t have their own seminaries. They say, "The degree requirements are listed below, and include the personal, vocational, spiritual, and academic formation of the student."

I would guess that he was focusing solely on the academic portion. It isn’t unusual in philosophy and theology at seminaries for the teachers to metaphorically take your brain out and kick it around a bit, stretch it, slap it then put it back in an effort to try and make it stronger, and Judaism is a good backround to have if you’re going to study sacred scripture. I believe the target audience would be , people looking to earn their Master of Divinity degree… judging from all the books he was trying to promote around the final 6 minutes or so.

Here’s something said in the video that irked me a bit :

*“You can be very scholarly and not be very spiritual… on the other hand, if you’re really spiritual and haven’t read enough, you can be very dangerous too .” *[Location: 21:39- 21:52]

We each need both, but in the measure right for us. They are two different things and to try and pit one against the other, the spiritual against the academic, doesn’t make sense to me personally. We’re supposed to invoke the Holy Spirit before we read sacred scripture as well.

I don’t want to say anything bad woodland poet, but I found the ads a little funny too, you know…when Father would interject with something in between parts of the lecture (we should remember it was a lecture not a sermon). I can’t put my finger on it …:shrug:… so I don’t want to say too much.

:hmmm:Maybe it isn’t what’s there…maybe it’s what isn’t there.

Give me the Rosary first any day. Then, like Matthew, I’ll have the advantage of our Blessed Mother’s help to understand what the Scriptures mean in my life.

… Not my cup of tea. EWTN on the other hand I can seem to watch anytime.

… only my opinion.

I watched, then listened to the vid to the end. Nothing really perked my ears up. I’m guessing that it’s a matter of style that caught the OP’s attention.

My take on this was that he zeroed in on Matthew’s writing as a Jew for Jewish converts, and that the earthquakes were unique features of his Gospel, just as the other Gospels, being from particular vantage points, also had their peculiarities. One point that calls all text into question is total or unusually high agreement on details. This makes many writings suspect, since the human mind captures even large incidents differently from that of others, let alone the small.

I believe that he might have been addressing those who feel lead by the Holy Spirit, but have not tested that spirit for genuineness. A very prime example is a “bible” Christian who is not well-read or studied, but makes proclamations about prophecy based not upon scholarly opinion, but on private interpretation. I see this as his use of oppositional contrast, and possibly a bit of hyperbole to emphasize his point, He did say “can be” and not “will be” or “are”.

Again, I think he was using extremes to illustrate his point. As to the Holy Spirit, man’s problem is that he loves to follow, but loathe to test spirits, as we are counseled to do. The evil one emulates the Holy Spirit constantly, but cannot produce the good fruits of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit always produces unity, while the evil one produces division.

And mine as well.

You’re right, and I didn’t find any fault there, but when I looked at it again under the microscope: …

*“You can be very scholarly and not be very spiritual… on the other hand, if you’re really spiritual and haven’t read enough, you can be very dangerous too *.” [Location: 21:39- 21:52]

… It’s subtle, but it’s there. Although he did use "can be " for both of his examples,( let’s call the examples A and B) :

A: You can be very scholarly and not be very spiritual

B: if you’re really spiritual and haven’t read enough, you can be very dangerous

Does anyone notice the subtlety ? For the sake of emphasis, I word it this way : He hasn’t called *scholarly and not very spiritual *“dangerous”, but if you’re spiritual and haven’t read enough, you are dangerous. That is extremely poor wording. I’m finding myself having to do all sorts of mental gymnastics trying to believe that a person who prays regularly would say that.

The incongruency with the can be’s is here:

A can be scholarly
B can be dangerous

They aren’t equal. they are saying two different things.

The way that particular wording stands, ( regardless of whether it was either intended or inadvertent) , it doesn’t speak favourably for being spiritual.

Two days ago, here at St. Joseph’s Oratory , I had the opportunity of attending an evening Mass in honour of our newest Saint - St. André Bessette, commonly known as Brother André, in the very Oratory he founded. His apostolate towards the sick, the afflicted and the poor was marked frequently by miracles … almost daily when it was in full swing … except, according to the biography, when the curious showed up.

Notable also in that biography is the fact that (Saint) Brother André was almost illiterate, and it was only with the greatest difficulty that he could struggle through reading the Gospels.


He’s an academician, so the subtle bias will probably always be there. But, dangerous scholarly types are typified by those who formed the “Jesus Seminar” in the 1980s. They are no more than neo-Arians (worse actually), who use reductionism to produce such travesties as the “sharing of hidden food” amongst the 4,000 and the 5,000. They make Jesus into a really cool guy, and nothing more. There is a term for them, but I shall not use it here.

Quite right. Well it is that we remember “It is the Spirit that gives life. The flesh avails nothing” And, as with the Gnostics, the intellect is of the flesh. What an academe may forget is that Don diego is a Saint, and had zero formal education - rather only pure faith.

What a blessing! As usual, once the word of Andre’s healings began to appear, the hierarchy became immediately suspicious of him (as they were of Padre Pio). When he had been finally (and hesitantly) admitted, they “honoured” Andre by making him doorkeeper. Just as with the prophets, “they did with him as they pleased” And, of such are Saints made.

The gentleman say that Matthews account is a presentation… he says that the dead haunt Jerusalem, as though were ghosts, not real resurrected persons as a recult of what Christ has done; does this imply that Jesus is also a “ghost”, haunting as the other dead do? Jesus was not a ghost and neither is there any reason to think that that dead who proceeded from their graves were ghosts. He emphasizes the word “appears” to the women as though Jesus were an apparition. He also calls Matthews account a dark portrayaI rather than an authentic portrayal of a dark event. The crucifixion after all is an execution; man killing God. That part of the Gospel is very dark only in contrast to the brightness of Christ’s victory over death on the first day of the week. I find this troubling as this is all in the introduction to the program itself.

Here is this idea that Matthew portrayed thunder as an earthquake; but no, that can’t be the case. He then says that the earthquake is actually a literary tool, to tell us something entirely different. This kind of thinking leads to the idea that the events that we read of, like the darkening of the sun, are just literary tools to tell us something more important.

He also very clearly implies that the raising of the dead, like is Ezekial, does not mean a literal physical reversal of death, like we see in Lazurus. Was the man born blind simply visually impaired? Was the cripple simply lazy? Was Lazurus simply in a coma? Was the leper simply dirty?

I don’t like this sort of Biblical scholarship that implies that the Gospel is one sort of literature written one way to tell something entirely different a different way. This is all very subtle and maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I don’t think so. When you begin watering down Sacred Scripture, where do you stop? The first 25 pages of Pope Benedict’s book Jesus of Nazereth warns and talks about just such things. Should we not heed his warning?

Where did I find the kink to this America Catholic TV network? Where else, but on my own diocese’s webpage. Evidentally Mother Angelica’s Network is for everyone but this new network is just for “American Catholics”.

Good point ! :thumbsup: St. Augustine who held his own quite well intellectually said , “Faith precedes knowledge.”

Of course, St. Joseph of Cupertino is one who* wasn’t *so intellectually endowed who comes to mind. If you ever have/had the chance to see the film made about him - The Reluctant Saint , I’d suggest not passing it up. It’s quite an enjoyable movie based on his life.

And, who can forget the patron Saint of all parish priests - St. John Vianney ? …Here’s an excerpt from his bio ( BTW I thought you guys might be able to find it in your hearts to forgive me for taking it from EWTN…:D] )

“…Soon the young man returned to the Presbytery of Ecully: On May 28th, 1811, he received the Tonsure. M. Balley deeming it essential that his pupil should go through a regular course of studies, sent him to the Petit Seminaire of Verrieres. Here young Vianney suffered and toiled much but never shone as a philosopher. In October, 1813, he entered the Grand Seminaire of Lyons. His inadequate acquaintance with Latin made it impossible for him either to grasp what the lecturers said or to reply to questions put to him in that learned tongue. At the end of his first term he was asked to leave. His grief and disappointment were indescribable. For a while he toyed with the idea of joining one of the many congregations of Brothers. Once again M. Balley came to the rescue and studies were privately resumed at Ecully. But the student failed at the examination preceding ordination. A private examination at the presbytery proved more satisfactory and was deemed sufficient—his moral qualities being rightly judged to outweigh by far any deficiencies in his academic equipment.”

Go figure… !..:slight_smile:

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