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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

  • The blog header depicts an important and yet mis-understood New Testament scene, Jesus flogging the money-changers out of the temple. I selected it because the faith that gives us consolation can also make us very uncomfortable. Both Divine Mercy and Divine Justice meet in Jesus. Priests are ministers of reconciliation, but never at the cost of truth. In or out of season, we must be courageous in preaching and living out the Gospel of Life. The title of my blog is a play on words, not Flogger Priest but Blogger Priest.

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Women & The Priesthood

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Given that women are excluded from the sacrament of Holy Orders, does this mean that in the Catholic Church there are seven sacraments for men and only six for women?  How is this fair? What are we to tell young women who feel a calling to ministry?

While some critics contend that Jesus only selected men as his apostles given the prejudices and chauvinistic conventions of his times, there are many instances where Jesus raised up the dignity of women and highlighted their call to witness and service.  How could Jesus extend spiritual liberation to us if he were not free to do as he pleased?  Indeed, the fact that he is a sign of contradiction that is betrayed and murdered is a testimonial of his freedom.  He would do what is right and is not subject to coercion.  He shows us the way to true freedom.  When it comes to his dealings with women, he cherishes them as disciples and prophets, but not as apostles or priests.

The first relationship that comes to mind is with his Mother.  She is a strong and courageous woman, who self-proclaims herself as the handmaid of the Lord.  If the tradition be true then she is learned of her faith due to her service as a child-servant in the temple.  Mary is present at the most important moments of salvation history:  at the annunciation, at the presentation in the temple, at the start of Christ’s public ministry in Cana, at his passion and death upon the Cross on Calvary and as a witness of the risen Lord among the eleven in the Upper Room.  There are also the two faithful sisters of Lazarus, Martha and Mary.  There is the repentant and faithful Mary Magdalene.  Indeed, there is the exceptional Samaritan woman who encounters Jesus at the well and then testifies about him to her people.  Nevertheless, while Jesus is willing to break with the conventions of his day; he still only selects men to be his apostles or his first bishop-priests.  This is a pattern that would remain unbroken.  Indeed, the early councils (as at Nicea) would forbid the “laying on of hands” or ordination of women.

The Gnostic heretics ordained women but they also denied the incarnation.  They taught that Jesus only pretended to be a man and as one subject to death.  Since matter and the body were given a negative value, they did not perceive an issue with priestesses as an alternative to priests.  Catholic Christianity has always insisted that matter is not inherently evil and that it cannot be subtracted or ignored in the equation of redemption.  Our Lord joined himself to humanity in a male body.  This flesh was integral to his identity.  Indeed, we are promised restoration as ensouled bodies.

Gender is not an accidental to who we are.  We are not angels or pure spirits.  This truth is discerned in all the sacraments which are signified by form and matter.  Baptism requires water (matter) and the words that invoke the name of the Trinity (form).  The Eucharist requires bread and wine (matter)along with the words of consecration (form).  Ordination requires the intention to ordain priests with the laying on of hands (form) upon men (matter) called to ministry.  One could not baptize with beer.  One could not celebrate the Mass with milk and cookies.  One could not ordain a woman substituted for a man.

The pattern established by Jesus brought no derision upon the dignity of women but neither was it a pattern that the Church felt free to alter in any manner.  Given that our faith is in the person of Jesus Christ, then we must acknowledge that he knew what he was doing and that it served his purposes. Pope St. John Paul II in his 1994 encyclical Ordonatio Sacerdotalis, infallibly taught, once and for all, that the Catholic Church has no power whatsoever to ordain women to the priesthood. Many churchmen may very much want to ordain women.  But the Church is faithful to Christ, even if there should be matters we do not fully understand.  If we violated the pattern given by Christ, then the whole Church would be jeopardized.  The Episcopalians or Anglicans may be in this situation.  Orders in the Anglican Church were deemed null-and-void given a change in their prayer book after the break with Rome.  About a century passed where the intention to ordain priests who make sacrifice was edited from their rituals.  Apostolic succession was lost.  Some have argued that it might be partially restored today through the participation of former Catholics in their ranks and Orthodox bishops at their ordinations.  Unfortunately, even if there should be a partial restoration, it is further jeopardized by the presence of women presbyters and bishops.  If their ordination is counter to the will of Christ, then all the Anglicans are doing is playing dress up.  There are no true women priests (or rather, priestesses) in Christianity.  If the Catholic Church were to follow suit and attempt to ordain women, it would place the sacraments at stake.  If the priest is a sham then the Mass and absolution for sins would be forfeited as well.  The equation is simple:  no priesthood = no Eucharist = no Church.

The pattern of Jesus in selecting men and not women for the priesthood is normative for all ages.  Any change would require a new revelation from the Lord. Not even the pope has the authority to change this teaching and practice.

The one who would extend the Holy Spirit to the Church is himself filled with the Spirit.  His every step is aligned with divine providence.  His miraculous works and signs are enabled by the Spirit of God.  The Holy Spirit preserves the Church in the truth, especially about those most essential elements of faith.  The apostles are made the first of his ministers of a long-line throughout history, extending his proclamation of the Good News and realizing his saving works in the sacraments he instituted.  The male-only priesthood emerges as part of his plan for the legacy and life of the Church.  God does not fumble or make mistakes, even when the men chosen are sometimes less than saintly.

The first apostles were Jews but later Jews and Gentiles would be chosen.  Some of those chosen were married, but there was a growing emphasis upon celibacy from the beginning.  However, while the apostles and priests were married and single, Jew and Gentile, not one of the successors chosen would ever be a woman.  This is the case all the way to the present day.  This two-thousand-year consistency speaks volumes about the will of Christ upon the matter of ordination.  The tradition is clear and uninterrupted, century after century.

The Church also makes use of the bridal analogy that we see in Scripture, especially in the writings of St. Paul.  The substitution of a woman would destroy this ancient analogy and wrongly signify a lesbian relationship of a bride to a bride.  The priest stands at the altar “in the person of Christ” the groom and head of his bride, the Church.  The priest is a living and breathing icon or image of Christ.  Certain religious traditions demand that the priest have a beard, an “accidental” that makes self-evident the “substantial” element of his maleness which he shares with Jesus Christ.

Years ago I recall an interview where certain women who had undertaken theological training and had a background of church service, demanded that they be ordained priests.  They were angry and claimed the Church was deaf to their cries.  They said that they deserved to be priests— that they had earned it.  But such an attitude is counter to the truth about the priesthood.  Even men with such a mentality would probably best not be ordained.

The priesthood is not something that one might earn as in a social justice agenda.  The underlying meaning comes out at the foot washing by Jesus of his apostles.  Those who would lead the faith community must become the servants of all.  The priesthood is a gift that must be exploited in giving.  The priest lives for others.  He preaches God’s Word, not his own.  His very reason for living is the forgiveness of sins.  He makes present the Lord, both in his sacramental presence and in his saving activity.  Never in the history of the world had God given such authority to men as he did with his priesthood.  And yet, ironically, the priesthood is not about personal power and prestige.  It is about being the servant of all, literally a slave to honor God and to serve the needs of God’s people.  His servanthood is a fundamental imitation of Christ (Mark 10:45).

It would be wrong to say that there are seven sacraments for men and only six for women.  Most men and all women will never be ordained priests.  However, all the laity, men and women, are summoned to participate with their priest at Mass.  The celebrant makes possible the offering of the congregants at the liturgy.  Along with the gifts of bread and wine, believers join themselves to Christ— as grafted to him— as one oblation within the Lamb of God and accepted by the heavenly Father.  We pray, not only that bread and wine will become the flesh and blood of Christ, but that all of us may be transformed by grace into the likeness of Christ.  It is in this sense that the priesthood enables our own faith and our own oblations.  We are united in the Mass and the priest’s absolution insures our growth in holiness.  Our universal and most essential vocation is not to the priesthood but to holiness.  All of us are called to be saints.

Jesús Luis de Jesus Miranda, Anti-Christ or Demented?

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This discussion was posted back in 2008.  The word was out that the followers of Miranda were planning to disrupt the Masses and visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States.  They did not even make a blip on the news radar.  Back in 2012, Miranda predicted that his followers would be transformed with the ability to walk through walls and to go through fire unscathed.  The day came and went with no change.  Other cults were predicting the end of the world and the final judgment.  But we are still here.  While he claims to be Jesus (qualified as “the man”), in 2007, he also claimed to be the Antichrist.  He defines this in terms of a demarcation between the Jesus of Scripture and his authority in this new manifestation.  His followers mark their bodies with a 666 tattoo.  It is all very peculiar. 

FATHER JOE:

He says the lie begins in Rome, but he attacks all religions.  It is almost unbelievable to me that people would worship this man and mark themselves with the sign of the beast.  Their tactics are aggression and screaming.  He is now setting his eyes on the growing Hispanic population in the U.S.   He denies the name “Jesus of Nazareth” and yet it is this is the saving name.  He denies great signs and wonders, as well as miracles:  such would cater to a strange occult version of atheism and impugn the efficacy of the sacraments.  He claims to be the fulfillment of all prophecies, making him the final term of all human history; this usurps the true Lord of his place as the eternal Word through whom all things came to be and by whom all will be consummated and judged.  He denies exorcism by asserting that the devil was destroyed and demons do not exist; such a ploy would allow the devils to remain active in hiding with no saving name of Jesus to cast them out.  Arguing that there is no sin, his teachings are absolutely sinister.  This collapse of any notion of sin, leaving souls powerless and in bondage would make for a brilliant demonic battle plan.  He redefines the number of the beast, 666, as the number for himself, a false Christ, and condemns traditional Christians as apostates.  He contends that the number 666 means wisdom and prosperity.  He associates it with worldly treasure.  There is certainly nothing in his teachings about building up treasure for us in the kingdom to come.

Followers mark themselves with 666 / SSS:

The self-proclaimed Son of God:

The cult is spreading around the United States:

ALENA:

¡Jose Luis de Jesús Miranda es dios!  Los sacerdotes son rapists.  ¡El papa es un mentiroso!  Usted no tiene ninguna derecha de hablar contra él.  Protestaremos a papa y proclamaremos la verdad.  ¡No hay diablo!  ¡No hay pecado!  Jesús mató al diablo y ha vencido pecado.  Hay infierno no a pagar.  Podemos tener placer y hacer lo que deseamos.  Predestined a la vida eterna.  El resto de las religiones deben ser destruidas.  ¡Quémese sus catechisms!  ¡Siga a Jesús el hombre!

FATHER JOE:

You are very mistaken. He is not God. The devil is defeated but still spiteful. Priests are good and bad, but mostly good. They bring us God’s mercy and the Eucharist. The commandments are still in force. How we live out our discipleship matters. We should avoid sin and do what is right. There is a hell for those who are God’s enemies.  You should live in peace with others, despite differences.  The Pope is Christ’s vicar, but unlike your Mister Miranda, he does not claim to be God.  How can people be so foolish to join the cults? Here it is [the modern world] and people are worshipping a man like the Romans did the emperor in the time of Christ.  Your religious leader is not Jesus.  You have all been fooled.

PADRE STEVE:

Wow that man needs a lot of prayers… and so do all those who follow him. So many false saviors… very sad! You do a great job with the blog; keep up the good work! God bless!

MISTER 666:

Well, unlike you, MY GOD HAS BLESSED ME WITH EVERY BLESSING (Ephesians 1:3), and also TOOK sin away at the cross (Hebrews 9:26) and is back now with NO RELATION TO SIN (Hebrews 9:28)… He came, to you, LIKE A THEIF IN THE NIGHT because He´s back and you, like Pharisees, don´t see it (or maybe don´t want for it to be seen… since He´s uncovering all the hidden intentions of your heart!).

IT´S A FACT… Not subject to discussion: JOSE LUIS DE JESUS MIRANDA IS THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST!!!! And, no matter whether you like it or not, WILL destroy your religious system with the SPIRIT OF HIS MOUTH aka with His preaching!!! (2 Thessalonians 2:8) is the gospel of Paul now… “too dangerous” for you?  Well… to bad!

FATHER JOE:

You call yourself by the number of the beast, 666? You are the one who is judging good priests with a false verdict. You are the hypocritical Pharisee. Now I see that you are a follower of the cult leader Jesús Miranda? Well, that explains it. He and all his disciples have made the sign of the beast their own. You have been very much deceived. Your soul is in great peril.

CORINNE:

Anyone who feels they have to submit to anyone outside of themselves to gain access to God is fooling themselves unknowingly and standing on shaky ground.

God lives within the heart of man. They will not find God by looking for him in the hearts of others, nor will they find God by looking for him in religions. The heart is the True Church, there is no other.

The only way people are going to realize their mistakes however are by first making them….

Why others feel they have to seek their own divinity in God outside of themselves through others I will never be able to grasp, but they are being taken advantage of unknowingly and will soon find this out on their own. They will soon learn that this too is yet another detour leading them away from God. God talks with all his children, not just some….

FATHER JOE:

The notion that divinity can only be found within the individual person is a heretical teaching. We possess the divine spark but such does not exhaust the reality of God. Further, while there are false messiahs, Catholicism has no problem with mediation: in terms of a teaching authority and in worship. None of us come to God alone. As for the Church, the Catholic Church is the community of faith and the great sacrament of salvation established by Christ.

CORINNE:

Also, anytime someone looks to someone over and above God and worships them, it is a cult and its idolatry.

TRADITIONAL CATHOLIC:

As far as this man, God have mercy on his souls and convert him from his evil ways because he is just paving a path directly to Hell for millions of people. How can you be so blind? I don’t get it.

Pius XII claimed that “the sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin.” And he is correct as of yet.

CORINNE:

I see the comments here are being taken out of context so I will be moving on and will comment no further. Regarding individual divinity, you’ve twisted my words. We are each a unique individual in God and divine.  Take care.

UNKNOWN:

Hey poor idiots— this guy is merely a joke.  He gives a disgrace to the name of the Anti-Christ.  The Anti-Christ is someone who is powerful and a man full of wisdom.  This guy is a filthy scum.  It is nice knowing he will burn in hell.

FATHER JOE:

If the title anti-Christ belongs to men other than Nero, then it is a label for any who oppose Christ. If it should also belong to a singular person at the end of human history, then I suspect that…

  • He, himself, will emerge from a contradictory religious background where selective toleration is preached, applauding one’s own but castigating others and deriding the noble values of our founding fathers;
  • He will be brilliant and applauded as an orator able to excite and inspire the masses to accept his mission of change;
  • He will be a person who has forfeited saving grace, redefining sin, not as a violation of God’s will but of one’s own principles;
  • He will seemingly come out of nowhere;
  • His rise to power will happen as if overnight;
  • His fame will far surpass any genuine acts of heroism or virtue;
  • He will not so much have supporters as worshippers who will chant his name;
  • Weak people generally regarded as nominally moral will support him even though he will espouse a narcissistic faith and will be explicitly tagged with a 100% pro-abortion and pro-gay rating;
  • He will be hailed as an icon for a people who were oppressed and will exert a mesmerizing power over the minds and judgments of others;
  • He will be hailed directly by infidels as the Messiah and indirectly so by fallen-away Christians;
  • He will come at a time of national unrest and global financial crisis;
  • He will come at a time when the children of Israel are militarily engaged with those around them and the blood of many innocent people will be spilt;
  • The whole world will rejoice at his coming and readily accept his authority over them;
  • He will suffer a grave wound from which he will miraculously recover, albeit through demonic power;
  • And then, things really get bad!

PEDRO:

If the people of this con-man actually knew the Bible, they would not be so easily brainwashed.

1. For one, in the Bible it states that the numbers 666 will be the mark IN their head or IN their right forehand not the arm. So why does Jose have it on his arm and not encouraging his followers to do what it says in the Bible… maybe because he doesn’t know the Bible?  (Revelation 13:16)

2. The Bible also says that the anti-Christ will have a blow to the head. So where is the blow to the head that this man has— nowhere?  (Revelation 13:3)

3. The anti-Christ is able to perform miracles. What ones has Jose done— none?  (Revelation 13:13-14)

4. And finally, what happens if this con-man dies, what will his followers think?

In the Bible, Jesus states not to follow those who claim to be Christ and that he has said it ahead of time to know not to be deceived (Luke 21:8). Jose first claimed to be Jesus, and now the anti-Christ. Well, this guy is clearly mental. How sad for those who are brainwashed by him. It reminds me of a multi-level marketing company. All I can do is pray for his salvation and to repent before the King comes back.

BOB:

All this talk about Anti-Christ! Doesn’t anybody care about Uncle Apocalypse?

JOLENE:

This man is very dangerous and needs to be stopped! How pathetic that he thinks he’s Jesus Christ? What he needs is to be hospitalized in a mental institution! He could possibly be the Anti-Christ! Being Hispanic, I am very disappointed in the thousands of Hispanic Communities that have chosen to listen to his CR-P! Stop being so ignorant and weak, because that is what you are doing… being WEAK and IGNORANT! Every Christian out there needs to start praying very hard to God and asking him to rid of this insane man! No sin? C’mon now? I cannot be too sure of it… but I am almost positive that this man’s mother did not raise him like this! I am sure she is very, very, disappointed! He has brainwashed thousands of people and has ruined families, marriages, and even spoken bad about our Pope? Anybody that has to say follow me because I’m Jesus is Crazy, Insane, and Ignorant.  The people who follow him are just as ignorant as he is!

DALIA:

I REALY WISH THAT THIS GUY CAN PROVE TO ME ABOUT EVERYTHING HE SAYS AND I REALY HOPE THAT HE AND HIS READERS READ THIS AND I HOPE THAT ONE DAY I CAN MEET THIS MAN AND TELL HIM ABOUT THE REAL JESUS CHRIST AND PROVE TO HIM THAT WHAT HE SAID IS WRONG AND TELL HIM ABOUT THE REAL GOD AND THE REAL TURTH AND ABOUT HIS LOVE AND WHO HE REALLY IS.

THIS IS REALY SAD CUZ ITS PEOPLE LIKE THIS THAT MAKES US REAL CHRISTAINS LOOK LIKE A JOKE!

I JUST HOPE THAT HE CAN BE STOPPED BUT NO ONE CAN.  ONLY GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF THAT AND ONE DAY WILL REVEAL EVEYTHING HE THINKS HE’S HIDING AND EVERY LIE HE’S BEEN SAYING TO PEOPLE.

I JUST HOPE HE FINDS THAT REAL GOD AND REPENTS FOR EVEYTHING HE’S BEEN SAYING AND DOING CUZ WHEN HE GETS JUDGED BY THE REAL GOD IN HEAVEN HE WILL GO STRAIT TO HELL AND BE BURNED FOR ETERNATY… AND THE PEOPLE THAT FOLLOWED HIM AND KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING IS WRONG!

I WILL PRAY FOR U GUYS AND I TELL U THERE IS NO ONE OUT THERE OR GREATER AND MORE POWERFUL THEN THE GOD IN HEAVEN.   THANK U AND GOD BLESS U.

DAN:

I suspect that the guy attracts followers because they want an excuse for continuing in their sins. I doubt if he will attract too much attention & followers.

YASMIN:

To start with, if God would come to earth none of us would be here. And I believe his followers are so blind because they don’t read or understand the bible, this man is putting the bible in his own words and the people that don’t read or understand falls in his lies. If they only knew that all this that’s happening is written in the true word of God! And what’s sad about it is that all of them would be joining him in hell because of their ignorance. This man is just living off of people’s money, if he was the true God he would not need people to offer him cars, companies and their money, because God is the owner of all there is on earth because he made it and he also has the power to rule it whenever he feels like it.

LEEROY:

I’m a shamed to be a human being, knowing that I live in a time that people still believe in idiots like this guy. If you belong to this cult you are the dumbest of the dumb, the weakest of the weak minded and you are slowing down the intellectual evolution of the world. I hope the end is soon so all of these morons can be killed. Maybe the next race will get it right and abolish religion all together. No one represents God, not the pope, or any preacher and especially not this sick man.

FATHER JOE:

Sounds like there is plenty of sickness to go around. You have a very strange hope, indeed. Apart from the rejection of faith, in your anger is there not a terminal hatred of humanity itself? Further, if the race of man should run its course on this planet, why should we think that the intelligent termites (if evolution should dictate) that follow us will fare any better?

DON:

Besides, the number is 616, not 666. It is the number for Nero, and original scrolls have been found at Oxyrinchus showing the number as 6 1 6.

FATHER JOE:

Actually, the number is debated. Certain manuscripts read 616 (3rd century) in reference to the Book of Revelation. It is possible that this is original although most texts give 666. I believe the Latin Vulgate, which is the official Bible of the Catholic Church, gives 666. Some researchers think that the numerology differs because 666 is a code for the Emperor Nero while 616 points to Caligula. Both were certainly anti-Christs in their own right.

JORDYS:

I totally agree with what you guys are saying. This is man is insane, and he uses reverse psychology, and plays around with the Bible’s words to mess with people’s minds. Unfortunately, some people are actually fooled by his clear tricks. However, there must be some action taken soon. This issue will continue to increase, and people will continue following him, leading to the Apocalypse, thus, Armageddon. This man is insane, and it is almost as if he would do exactly anything and everything possible to get what he wants.

BILL:

I would give more credibility to someone who displayed a fraction of the humility set by the example of someone ….say ….like St. Francis. Maybe if we let God deal with this man… he will go away?

MOO:

“The Pope is Christ’s vicar, but unlike your Mister Miranda, he does not claim to be God.”  The Catholic Church is claiming that the Pope is unmistaken though, isn’t it?

BRITTANY:

Let us remember the tragedy at Jones Town. 30 years later those images still haunt me. Those people then and these people now are victims. These people are vulnerable and brainwashed; it is only a matter of time before something really bad happens. It is already evident that these people will do anything for their “God” Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda. Let us not forget the horrendous power of an organized cult.

JOSE ARTURO:

Alena….la que escribió el 1er mensaje en este foro.  Maldita loca…. Tu si que esta pérdida. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, es un loco con inteligencia que se esta aprovechando de la situación, ya que en la política no se puede por que es bastante cerrada, pero el tipo es un loco y se aprovecha de las mentes débiles como la de Alena. Que pendejada esta, un tipo que te dice a ti que no hay pecado, que te drogues y hagas orgías con tu tía y abuela. Que pendejada. Todavía hay Indios en America.

FATHER JOE:

Certainly she is deceived about Miranda. He is as you say, a smart fellow who is deliberately taking advantage of others, particularly the gullible. As to the sexual immorality, I do not know much about this element; what troubles me is that Catholics could be so easily led astray.

ALEX RIVERA:

The “Holy Spirit” which we all know is basically the presence of “God” himself which is everywhere at the same time 2 or 3 people congregate in his name to worship “Him” to better explain it; would have left the earth so would death, according to the bible people would suffer such agony and terror that they will seek death and not find it, if he were the “Jesus” or “Anti-Christ” he claims to be then according to “Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda” “God is a liar…My opinion is he has committed Blasphemy against the “Holy Spirit” in which according to the “Bible” is a sin without forgiveness. So with this being Blogged let’s let these things come to pass so that the word of “God” is fulfilled and keep this man and his followers in our prayers so that “God” may have mercy on their souls. May God bless us all, Amen!

FATHER JOE:

Father Joe: I will try to parse what you wrote. (1) The divine presence is indeed omnipresent. That is true, not simply about the Holy Spirit, but about the Triune God. (2) It is Jesus who tells us that he is present when we gather with others to pray. (3) This passage you write makes no sense: “…would have left the earth so would death, according to the bible people would suffer such agony and terror that they will seek death and not find it…” The clauses do not link up in a coherent manner. I have no idea what you are trying to say. (4) You are right that Miranda is not the Christ although he may be a minor antichrist. God is not a liar; about this your insight is also correct. Miranda’s claims are blasphemous and erroneous. (5) There has been much conjecture about the unforgivable sin. Many churchmen have regarded it as suicide. But if one condemns the works of the Holy Spirit as demonic it would logically be very difficult, if not impossible, to embrace the mercy from that same Spirit. (6) We can pray for the repentance and conversion to true faith of this man and his followers.

ALEX RIVERA:

Just wanted to add the fact that the “Anti-Christ” comes after the second coming of “Jesus” so he has the order in which they happen correctly but that’s all he has.

FATHER JOE:

Throughout history there have been many antichrists. It refers to any and all who reject and oppose Christ and his Church. The term also signifies a false Christ or counterfeit messiah. This is not to deny the possibility of a singular apocalyptic antichrist; however, many authorities suggest that this pointed to the Emperor Nero or possibly another tyrant of pagan Rome who persecuted the early Church.

ALEX RIVERA:

Pentecostal Christian church is how I congregate and I’ve seen the “Holy Spirit” in action so he must be fibbing, how do I know it’s the “Holy Spirit” and not some person looking silly jumping up & down screaming gibberish? Come to a Spanish speaking Pentecostal Christian Church and find out for yourself.

FATHER JOE:

While I have known Pentecostals in love with the Lord, it is traditionally regarded as a cult itself. As a Catholic priest I could never encourage others to join its ranks, but at least they do not worship a contemporary man as Jesus Christ. However, there is the Catholic Charismatic Renewal which expresses many of the lesser gifts without neglecting the greater gifts of the Spirit in our Christian faith and in the sacraments.

ALEX RIVERA:

No I’m not saying it’s the real religion or the best church or the only way to feel the “Holy Spirit” but it’s the only place I’ve experienced it many times so I can guarantee it. Definition for Church: The body of all Christians.  May God bless us all, Amen!

FATHER JOE:

God bless you!

MATTHEW RANGEL:

As many of you know Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is not Christ. The time for the real one draws near. This will happen in our life time. The earth is getting ready for a new beginning. In the near future, horrible things are to come. Always remember who you serve and that there is a plan of action that must happen. So whatever happens— DO NOT lose your faith. Remember, if you lose someone close to you that individual will be in a better place, so don’t get mad at God. The path will soon be set for the second coming, so you all should be ready now. Go fourth and teach the Lord’s teachings to others so that they too will be saved. Be strong with the Lord and do what he asks. In the coming years great events will soon unfold. Always do what is right; that is if it will please God, do it, if it won’t, then don’t. Never lose hope for God will ALWAYS be there.

Another Anti-Catholic Pays a Visit

The following is my response to Steve Thompson who posted comments against the Priesthood, the Church, and Mary.

STEVE:  Joe, you are NOT my father.

FATHER JOE:  I certainly hope not because I do not know your mother.

STEVE:  Jesus said to “…call no man father except Father who is in heaven.”

FATHER JOE:  Yes, and he also said to call no man your teacher, but we have many teachers.  We also have biological fathers.  Saint Paul even spoke about himself as a spiritual father.  Priests are also spiritual fathers.  Jesus uses Hebraic hyperbole so as to make an emphatic statement or emphasis.  It is the Jewish way of adding an exclamation point, by making an outrageous claim.  Our fatherhood should amplify and make clear the reality of God as our Father.  God cares about us.  Similarly, genuine teachers teach in conformity to the truths revealed by God.  Anything else is forbidden.

STEVE:  The Catholic church is full of pedophile priests.

FATHER JOE:  Actually, it is not.  There were as many sick men as in the general population and we have made a real effort to remove them from ministry and to enact policies to protect our children.  But let us be honest, you are not so concerned about the issues and answers as you are eager to pounce on the Catholic Church (large ‘C’).

STEVE:  Jesus Christ is our high priest, and the pastoral epistles (Timothy I & II, Titus) outline the church offices, whereby you will not find monks, nuns, cardinals and popes.

FATHER JOE:   Cardinals are the electors for Popes.  The Church at one time selected the Bishop of Rome in other ways.  Most Cardinals are bishops or at least priests.  Your mistake is a failure to discern that the titles or labels attached to ministries and sacraments have changed over time.  Everything that the Church is today is planted by Christ and grew up during the apostolic period.  Ministers are called pastors, a name originally associated with shepherds.  Our bishops to this very day carry the shepherd’s staff or crozier as a sign of their office.  Men are ordained, elders (presbyters) are appointed and the qualifications for bishops (episcopoi) are detailed.  Deacons are selected to care for the Greek widows and they preach the Good News.  St. John would become a part of an ascetic community.  The desert fathers would trace their piety to him.  Early Christian monastic communities would model themselves on the Jewish communities as at Qumran.  Like St. Paul, many would embrace a celibate way of love and life.  While the title was not always used, all the Popes are successors of St. Peter.  The charge given him by Christ is also given to them.  “You are Rock!  Feed my sheep!  I give to you the keys of the kingdom.”

STEVE:  Christians do not need human priests, popes, nor the “mother of God,” since God has no mother.

FATHER JOE:

The unique mediation of Christ as our great High Priest does not preclude the extension of Christ’s ministry through his priests.  Indeed, the Bible makes this point.  Our Lord told his apostles to perpetuate the Eucharist (Lord’s Supper) in remembrance of him.  He gave Peter universal jurisdiction over the Church.  He gave his priests the awesome power to forgive sins.  Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-21:  “Brothers and sisters: The love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died. He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh; even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him so no longer.  So whoever is in Christ is A NEW CREATION: the old things have passed away; behold new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ AND GIVEN US THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION, namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them AND ENTRUSTING TO US THE MESSAGE OF RECONCILIATION.  SO WE ARE AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST, AS IF GOD WERE APPEALING THROUGH US.  We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.”

As for the title MOTHER OF GOD given to Mary, it is the language or communication through idioms.  What are you, a heretical Nestorian?  Mary’s title defends the divine identity of her Son.  Mary is a blessed creature preserved from sin and chosen by God to be the vehicle through which the Messiah and Lord would enter our world.  Your rebuke against her is most foul and unbefitting a Christian.  But are you a Christian?  Do you believe in the Trinity?  Do you believe that Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity made incarnate by the power of the Holy Spirit?  Do you believe that he is the eternal Word made man?  Those who argued that Mary was only the mother of the man were interpreted as denying that Jesus was a divine Person.

STEVE:  Catholic Jesuits endorsed the Inquisitions, and their banana republic nations in South America reflect what this religion is really all about.

FATHER JOE:  Jesuits, Franciscans and Dominicans were involved with numerous Church courts.  Many of these functioned as civil courts do today, seeking to preserve public order.  Various nations misused particular inquisitional authority, but in some kingdoms the efforts were very mild.  Protestant and Catholic nations both sometimes misused religion.  The numbers of people wronged are often exaggerated, some pushing from a few thousand to other critics ridiculously suggesting millions (which would have emptied Europe of any and all population).  People also suffered in the ancient prisons from poor health conditions.  You wrong the Jesuits who died to bring the faith back to England.  Priests have also suffered torture and execution in Mexico, Central, Latin and South America from the very tyrants with whom you associate them.

STEVE:  Catholics/Popery signed a Concordat with Adolf Hitler during World War II.

FATHER JOE: 

The Concordat was signed in 1933, a number of years before World War II.  Hitler’s Germany would break such agreements just as it would with France, Russia and other nations.  The Concordat was to protect the status and work of the Church in a totalitarian fascist state.  The Church was very much at odds with Hitler and was seeking breathing room.  The Church wanted to insure the spiritual care of 20 million German Catholics.  It was not approval for a Socialist state that was philosophically antithetical to Catholic faith and values.   Pope Pius XI issued the encyclical Mit brennender Sorge in 1937.  It was drafted by Pope Pius XII and read in all the Catholic churches.   It criticized Hitler, National Socialism, and the persecution underway.  Catholics were warned that Nazism was incompatible with Catholic Christianity.

Your insinuations or perjury to the contrary is a gross violation of the commandment against false witness.  This was one of the strongest condemnations ever offered by the Vatican!

STEVE:  Furthermore, your Maryolatry is based on the pagan “Queen of Heaven” cult going back to Nimrod/Semiramis, Venus, Diana, Isis and Aphrodite. Get yourself a copy of the Two Babylons by Alexsander Hislop and you will learn what I already know about your religion.

FATHER JOE:  I have a first edition hardback copy on my anti-Catholic bigotry shelf.  The book Two Babylons by Alexsander Hislop is a joke and represents the worst of twisted logic and poor scholarship.  Only anti-Catholic bigots take it seriously because it fuels their hatred against Catholicism.  He equates similarities with an absent historical progression.  It is up there with spurious works like Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Däniken, although his fancy are ancient alien astronauts.

STEVE:  The Catholic Church is all about the Babylonian religion, priestcraft and sacraments (Your so called 7 saving sacraments could not save anyone from anything).

FATHER JOE:  The Catholic Church is the most authentic and original form of Christianity.  The apostles were the first bishop-priests.  The sacraments or as they were once called, the divine mysteries, are sacred signs instituted by Christ to give grace.  They enter us into the Paschal Mystery of Christ.  It is because of this that they have saving value.  The priests of the Church participate in the one priesthood of Jesus Christ.  Jesus offers the Eucharist.  Jesus forgives sins.  There is no contradiction.

STEVE:  Anyone can have access to Jesus Christ directly without your pagan plumbing, including but not limited to Maryolatry, Popery and your priestcraft.

FATHER JOE: 

The Church encourages both a personal and a corporate faith in Jesus Christ.  You would shortchange others just as you do to yourself.  Separated from the Church, believers are liable to lose their way just as you have.  We do not come to God alone.  You are deceiving yourself if you think otherwise.  Without the Church, you would have neither a Bible nor someone to translate and pass it on.  The Holy Spirit watches over the Pope and bishops to insure the faithful transmission of the deposit of faith.  As for Mary, precious biblical prophecy is preserved in Catholicism that you out-rightly reject:

Prayers and Intercession of Mary

Luke 2: 33-35:  “The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) SO THAT THE THOUGHTS OF MANY HEARTS MAY BE REVEALED.’”

Honoring Mary

Luke 1: 46-49:  “And Mary said:  ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.  For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness; BEHOLD, FROM NOW ON WILL ALL AGES CALL ME BLESSED.  The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. ’”

STEVE:  Peter was married and there was no “pope” for 300 years.

FATHER JOE:  The Church began with many married ministers but later decided that celibate love was more desirable for our Christian shepherds.  So what?  But there were indeed Bishops of Rome or Popes, extending from Christ to the present day.  Clement of Rome wrote an epistle or papal letter to the Corinthians in 96 AD!  The Popes and the Church was proclaiming the Gospel even though the New Testament had not been completely written and the biblical canon had yet to be formed.

STEVE:  Your religion is mostly man made.

FATHER JOE:  Sorry, but such is the charge that convicts you.  You have made yourself into the great authority of the divine and arbiter of truth.  You oppose the Pope by making yourself a false Pope.  You strip Christianity of its richness and truths.  Yours is a religion of hate and bigotry.  You define your faith by what you oppose and offer little of lasting value.  You poison the mix.

STEVE:  You killed people during the Middle Ages for owning a Bible or part of one, and read the services in Latin so no one could understand them.

FATHER JOE: 

Me?  Actually I was not born until the last century.

Your charges do not stick against the Church, either.  Disagreements I can understand, but I am always challenged to keep my cool in the face of bigoted ignorance.  Before the printing press, bibles took years to make and churches preserved them so that all might benefit.  Many people could not even read which is why bible stories were told with images in stained-glass windows (something else I suspect you hate).  Latin was originally used as the language of the people.  Church language transitioned from Aramaic/Hebrew to Greek to Latin.  Modern English did not even exist as a language.  The languages of man changed over time and the Romance languages grew from Latin:  Italian, French and Spanish.  Latin was preserved as the language of the Church reflecting the changeless quality of faith.  Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Today the liturgy is translated into the vernacular.

STEVE:  I was blessed by God to have never been born into this religious institution.

FATHER JOE: 

People are not born into the Church as through nature; rather, they are reborn into the Church through faith and baptism.  Some as children and others as adults are initiated.  Parents and sponsors witness for a child and we trust that the same baptismal promises will be personally professed in Confirmation.  We become temples of the Holy Spirit, members of a priestly people and a holy nation.  We are fashioned by grace into the likeness of Christ.  We become adopted sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.  Jesus who is our King becomes our elder brother and Mary is the Queen Mother.  The saints are our spiritual brothers and sisters.  We become members of Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church.  We become inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.

We are the ones truly blessed and we would pray that you might know such blessing!

[527] Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Zep 3:14-18 / Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6 / Lk 1:39-56

Mary is viewed by believers as a figure for the Church, particularly as the New Jerusalem. What God did for her we hope to see realized in us: filled with grace and holiness, handmaid of the Lord, and raised or restored body-and-soul to life in heaven. Israel of old wandered through the desert and was given stewardship of the Ark of the Covenant. Mary, as also a daughter Zion would travel the desert to visit her cousin Elizabeth. There she would fulfill the command found in Zephaniah, “Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exalt with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!” Indeed, her canticle wonderfully parallels the prophetic words of restitution and mercy from God. Indeed, the prophetic words are realized in a way that the prophet could never have imagined, “Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged! The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior.” The encounter between these women was not between two persons but four. Hidden but present was John the Baptizer in the womb and, more importantly, the unborn Christ. The responsorial uses Isaiah’s words which point even more directly to the feast we celebrate today: “Among you is the great and Holy One of Israel. God indeed is my savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the LORD.”

Speaking for myself, a personal connection is made with the words, “With joy you will draw water at the fountain of salvation.” I visited the site of the Visitation on two occasions, and there is a well at the bottom of the hill from where the encounter took place. There is now a Catholic church that marks the site. There is a quaint legend about the hell. Supposedly, during the time when the elder Herod had his soldiers out search to kill the Christ Child, Elizabeth and Zechariah placed the baby John in a bucket and lowered him into the well so as to hide him. Otherwise, his death would have been added to the many Holy Innocents who died. When we next encounter John, note that he would again be in the water, albeit baptizing for repentance sake in the Jordan.

The Visitation scene is remarkable on many levels. When Mary entered the house we are told that John leaped in the womb. Even here he is the prophet of the Lord, announcing the presence of the Christ. I recall an artist’s modern “symbolic” depiction which showed a cut-away of Christ shining with brilliant Light in the womb and with John smiling and jumping. Today, especially, there is a powerful pro-life message to this event. Jesus was Lord even in the womb and John was his prophet. Such celebrations make the proponents of abortion very uncomfortable. Every child, inside or outside the womb, is a living person distinct from his or her parents. Every person is precious and irreplaceable. Every child is a reflection of the Christ Child. The mystery of the Incarnation brings home the fact that there is no such thing as a pro-abortion Christianity. This makes abortion and all those who permit or enable it to happen into accomplices to murder, indeed, more than this, a form of attempted deicide. Having already received the greeting associated with the Hail Mary prayer from the angel, we now hear the Spirit-moved addition from Elizabeth, a daughter of Israel: “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” The Church will add the rest. Mary responds with her Magnificat that is used every day in the Liturgy of the Hours: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.” Mary here becomes a prophetess. Note that she says that God is her Savior, not that he “will be,” an indication toward the mystery of her holiness as the Immaculate Conception. She also foretells her continuing role and the devotion of the Church toward her. God has remembered his promise and has sent the Savior or Messiah. The damage caused by sin will be healed. Nothing will ever be the same again.

The Holy Spirit & Magisterium Say No to Priestesses

While some conservative critics would disparage all forms of feminism, I am of the opinion that a distinction can be made between a Christian and Catholic feminism and the more radical or liberal or Marxist variety. The days are long gone when women were denied the vote and found the doors to academia and business closed to them. I think most sensible people believe in equal pay and benefits for men and women doing the same job. I would also contend that men and women should be held to the same moral standard. Of course, I would raise the bar for men instead of lowering it for women. The many sins that afflict our culture are no step forward. Further, the rights of women who become mothers should not be deemed as automatically cancelling out the rights of fathers or of the children they carry in the womb. There are also occupations that are gender specific. Men might enter the field of dance but all eyes are upon the graceful ballerina. Motherhood and fatherhood are distinct. Various occupations and vocations may share similarities but they are not the same. Women can enter religious life as nuns or sisters. Men can become monks or priests. It is the contention of Catholicism that priesthood is gender specific.

Some critics of a male-only priesthood might argue that they are not in league with the radical feminists; and yet, their basic assumptions are embraced to get to the revisionist conclusions. Freedom of choice, equal rights in all things, unencumbered self-possession and self-determination, an indeterminate sexual nature, an arrogant presumption of the will of God as identified with their own narcissistic goals, pragmatic reasoning from utility that disregards ontic questions of reality, interchangeable gender, avoidance or reinterpretation of unsupportive data, anger and belligerence– all these are elements in their opposition to the status-quo, be it regarding women’s ordination or any other topic.

The late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II writes in his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope:

“I think that a certain contemporary feminism finds its roots in the absence of true respect for woman. Revealed truth teaches us something different. Respect for woman, amazement at the mystery of womanhood, and finally the nuptial love of God Himself and of Christ, as expressed in the Redemption, are all elements that have never been completely absent in the faith and life of the Church. This can be seen in a rich tradition of customs and practices that, regrettably, is nowadays being eroded. In our civilization woman has become, before all else, an object of pleasure” (p. 217).

Do we see the irony in all this? Remove the unique significance of gender and its all important difference to our personhood and we begin to make impersonal objects of one another. The radical feminists, by their calculated destruction of structures and customs deemed as sexist, have created a situation in which the truly feminine is disfigured and the woman is knocked from the pedestal of the sacred to be profaned as but a source of transitory pleasure. Objects can be interchangeable, human persons cannot. There was a time when good women called forth what was best in men. Now that things have been reduced to mathematical equality, we are worse off than cattle. We can see the gender differentiation on the level of genitalia but refuse to admit that such distinction goes any deeper. Our technological world has, in a sense, reduced the human to identical mechanical parts. Such runs contrary to the Christian teaching that everyone is irreplaceable and precious. A woman is desired for her flesh, not for her soul. This should not be. To some extent, the same derogation of our nature can be seen in many women’s preoccupation with men’s back-sides and hairy chests. The radical feminists talk about personhood, but they have essentially redefined it. For them the person is not who you are but what you want.

These feminists of the wrong kind must displace the marriage analogy of Christ the groom to the Church his bride in both the Mass and in the way we understand ecclesial structure and dynamics. This runs contrary to revelation and tradition. If signifying Christ’s full identity, including his maleness, is not important in the Mass then gender is logically qualified as insignificant. This is the contention of moral separatists who acknowledge a role for the two genders in mutual physical “recreational” stimulation; but, who disavow that it signifies any communication of core identity. Capitulation on this issue, allowing priestesses, would be the most controversial change in Church teaching since her foundation two millennium ago. More than a new reformation, it would signify the beginning of a new faith and a new cultus.

In May of 2011, Pope Benedict XVI removed Australian Bishop William M. Morris from office for suggesting that women should be ordained priests. Not only would such ordinations go against 2,000 years of sacred tradition, guided by the protective hand of the Holy Spirit; the bishop entirely dismissed the solemn declaration of Pope John Paul II. The late Pope said as universal teacher that the Church does not have the authority to change the priesthood by opening it up to women. Indeed, the current Pope spoke about the teaching as settled and infallible. The case is closed.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful” (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis).

Mary is Called the Mother of God

ANTI-CATHOLIC ASSERTION

Mary is only the mother of the mortal or human Jesus, not God. Jesus, as God, pre-exists, even before creation (note John 1:1). God has no beginning– no mother.

He allowed himself “for a little while” to be “made lower than the angels,” that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone (Hebrews 2:9).

If Mary was actually God’s mother— giving birth to God himself— she would be God:

You are my witnesses, says the Lord, my servants whom I have chosen to know and believe in me and understand that it is I. Before me no god was formed, and after me there shall be none (Isaiah 43:10).

Your throne stands firm from of old; you are from everlasting, Lord (Psalm 93:2).

But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah, too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; whose origin is from of old, from ancient times (Micah 5:1).

Who [Christ Jesus], though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance … (Philippians 2:6-7).

CATHOLIC TRUTH

The anti-Catholic who made this argument against the title Mother of God did not do his homework. He failed to properly define the title; he failed to appreciate the Catholic position regarding Christ as divine; and he fell into an ancient heresy against the identity of Christ. It is a perfect example of the old cliché, “Those who do not know the past are doomed to repeat it.” A response is problematical, because it is hard to take such a stab against Catholic faith regarding Mary seriously. Catholic school children could see the holes here. The heresy espoused here is known as Nestorianism after Bishop Nestorius who rejected the term Theotokos or God-bearer (Mother of God) for Mary. He argued that she was only the bearer or mother of Christ’s human nature. To his credit, Nestorius was concerned that the title was too similar to that which had belonged to goddesses, like Isis, Demeter and Hera as “mother of the gods.” Ultimately, what was at stake was more than an honor for Mary. The real issue was who is Jesus? Yes, he was God and yes, he was a man. However, the position of Nestorius tended to divide Jesus into two sons. The unity of Christ was endangered. Never did the title Mother of God imply that she was divine or a goddess. Mary was and always will be purely a human creature. This is the Catholic position. The title Mother of God does not have ontological properties regarding her identity. Christ is the pre-existent Logos, the Word, and author of life. This is the Catholic understanding, often lost in the drivel of ignorant and bigoted anti-Catholics. According to Roman usage, the title Mother of God represents a particular form of speech known as communicatio idiomata– the communication or exchange of idioms. Another example would be the expression that in Jesus, “God died on the cross.” Obviously, as a perfect Spirit, God as God cannot die. However, because of the inseparable identity of Christ as the God-Man, his death by virtue of his human nature can be ascribed to him according to his ultimate identity– the Son of God. Similarly, while the Lord only takes his human nature from Mary, she, like all mothers, is the mother of the whole identity of her child. The only difference is that her child happens to be God. The anti-Catholic posits a metaphysical meaning to the title Mother of God which the Catholic Church had never given it. This title protects the unity between the divine and human natures of Christ, one divine person.

Elizabeth’s greeting:

“And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43).  {See also John 2:1; 19:25; Matthew 13:55}

Unity in Christ:

For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily … (Colossians 2:9).

Mary Remained a Perpetual Virgin

ANTI-CATHOLIC ASSERTION

The critic argues that Mary and Joseph had children, the brothers and sisters of Jesus.

“‘Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary, and his brethren James and Joseph and Simon and Jude? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Then where did he get all this?’” (Matthew 13:55-56).

“‘Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, Joses, Jude, and Simon? And are not also his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him” (Mark 6:3).

CATHOLIC TRUTH

Mathew’s quoted text itself intimates that the people speaking do not know what they are talking about. They cannot fathom where Jesus has received his special authority and wisdom; indeed, by designating him as “the carpenter’s son,” they are even in the dark about his virgin birth as the incarnate Son of God. If they can be wrong about St. Joseph being the biological father of Jesus, then a cursory reading of these Scriptures may lead us into a similar error regarding Mary and the other family members. Note that they are listed as kin to Christ, cousins perhaps? Nothing more can be certainly determined from the Oriental custom of calling all such, “brothers and sisters.” Not once is Mary called “their” mother. Actually, the phrasing is quite careful to separate Mary, as the mother of Jesus, from these other brethren. Another point of interest is that Jesus on the Cross entrusts Mary to his apostle John, rather than to these kin. If they were actually half brothers and sisters, such would have been understood as a great insult to the family. It just was not done. Another point of correction is the presence of Mary as the beloved matriarch of the early Church. She was protected and cherished by the believing community. This same family of faith, who knew Mary so intimately, would transmit as part of our living sacred tradition the truth that Mary remained a perpetual virgin. Also, such virginity was befitting the dignity of Jesus Christ as the unique God-Man and Savior. Looking at the Scriptural citations, there are certain practical problems to the use of these bible passages in the anti-Catholic’s arsenal. Look at the names of the brethren here; Mark 15:40 informs us that James the younger and Joses (Joseph) were the sons of another Mary who was related to the Virgin Mary. As for the others, they may have been cousins, or if a second century work entitled The Protevangelium of James is to be trusted, the children of Joseph from a previous marriage. The image of a widower would collaborate the tradition that Joseph was much older than Mary. Such a view was also supported by other ancient authorities: Origen, Eusebius, Gregory of Nyssa, and Epiphanius. St. Jerome, knowledgeable in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, argued that they were cousins. He asserted that Mary (a sister to the Virgin Mary?), the wife of Clopas (also known as Alphaeus), was the actual mother of the brothers and sisters of Christ.

Two of the brethren of Christ are listed as children of another Mary:

And some women were also there, looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses (Joseph), and Salome. They used to accompany him and minister to him when he was in Galilee — besides many other women who had come with him to Jerusalem (Mark 15:40-41).

Semitic usage of brother and sister applied also to nephews, nieces, cousins, and others:

He recovered all the possessions, besides bringing back his kinsman [BROTHER] Lot and his possessions, along with the women and the other captives (Genesis 14:16).

Laban said to him: “Should you serve me for nothing just because you are a relative [BROTHER] of mine?” (Genesis 29:15).

Then Moses summoned Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Aaron’s uncle Uzziel, with the order, “Come, remove your kinsmen [BROTHERS] from the sanctuary and carry them to a place outside the camp” (Leviticus 10:4).