Creative Minority Report links to a piece
by Fr. McBrien in the L.A. Tidings with a post on the art of dissent.
Joseph, however, disappears from the
Testament after the family’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem (Luke 2:42-52). He
probably died sometime before Jesus began his public ministry.
Because of the biographical gaps, a number of apocryphal writings
attempted to fill in the blanks. The Protoevangelium, or Infancy
Gospel, of James claimed that Joseph was already an aged widower with
children when he married Mary. How else to explain the many references
to Jesus’ brothers and sisters in Mark 3:31; 6:3; Matthew 12:46; 13:55;
Luke 8:19; John 7:3-5; 1 Corinthians 9:5; and Galatians 1:19?
New Testament scholar Jerome Neyrey, S.J., however, discounts the
various traditional explanations. The evidence for “stepbrother,” he
writes, is “merely legendary” (referring again to the Infancy Gospel of
James 9:2 and 17:1).
On the other hand, the linguistic evidence for “brother” meaning
“cousin” is “very thin.” We have but one example in the whole Old
Testament where a cousin might be called a “brother” (1 Chronicles
23:22). [See Father Neyrey’s “brothers of Jesus,” The HarperCollins
Encyclopedia of Catholicism, pp. 198-99.]
Patrick writes some good commentary and
Fr. Peter Phan is a hack because he got
caught. Professionals like McBrien know that the truly great dissenters
are like thieves in the night. You never even know they were there
until you discover your faith is missing.
Can we play let’s count the heresies? The fun game that you can play
along at home. First off there is not only one example in the
Old Testament since right off I can think of Abraham and Lot
(Gen. 11:26-28, 29:15). In Hebrew there was just no separate
words used to make a distinction between brothers, cousins, uncle, and
even non-relatives. There are plenty of examples of the same word being
used for kinsmen. (Deut. 23:7; Neh. 5:7; Jer. 34:9), as in the
reference to the forty-two “brethren” of King Azariah (2 Kgs.
10:13�14). Even in the New Testament the general
term ” adelphoi” covers the same broad categories and certainly the 120
“brothers” in Acts 1:15 did not have the same mother.
Then he throws in the references to
Protoevangelium to James
as a red herring as if this discounts and throws into question
anything. The only issues that this apocryphal writing makes
is the Joseph had been previously married and so Jesus might have had
step-brothers. Apologist in general hold this up as a
possibility, but certainly not as the primary explanation to explain
references to Jesus brothers. Especially since all of the
people mentioned as Jesus’ brothers are mentioned as sons of a
different mother in other parts of the Gospel for example James is
elsewhere (Matt. 10:3) described as the son of Alphaeus, which would
mean this Mary, whoever she was, was the wife of both Clopas and
So besides Fr. Richard McBrien being a
who can’t even take the time to check up on his facts he is also doing
something quite sinful in trying to slip this in while discussing St.
Joseph’s feast day. He is doing his best to cast doubt on the
perpetual virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary something that must be
believed in by all catholics with divine and Catholic faith.
This is not an area of discussion, but a dogma of the Church.
The Fifth Ecumenical Council held at Constantinople in 553
refer to Mary as aeiparthenos (i.e. ever-virgin). The
Lateran Council of 649 also affirmed this and condemned those who did
not hold it.
This I think also makes Fr. McBrian a
heretic (not exactly a
surprise to many)
Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal
denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and
faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the
+1. With due regard for can.
194, +1, n. 2, an apostate from the faith, a heretic or a schismatic
automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication and if a cleric,
also be punished by the penalties
mentioned in can. 1336, +1,
nn. 1, 2, and 3. +2. If long lasting
contumacy or the seriousness of
scandal warrants it, other penalties can be added including
dismissal from the clerical state.
While I don’t play a Canon lawyer either
on my blog or on
television I would think that there could be some case to make that Fr.
McBrien has committed heresy in his column, though I am sure there is
some quibbling in the matter of whether this is obstinate doubt.
But to undermine a dogma of the faith in a column published
by a diocesan newspaper surely incur some serious action.
That the diocese would be willing to print this is not
surprising in the case of the Diocese of Los Angeles, but I think this
is not a case of Fr. McBrien tip-toeing around the line, I think he has
formally crossed it this time with an article that sounds like it was
written by a Protestant.
Please pray for Fr. McBrien.