Looking through my RSS feeds I spotted the headline “Was There a Mrs. Christ? Probably Not”.
Then I saw the article was from Father James Martin S.J. at America Magazine. My first charitable thought was that maybe this was headline editing and didn’t match the story. No in his article he states:
But does this mean that Jesus was married? Probably not.
Though maybe a “probably not” is as strong of a defense we can expect from some quarters. He follows this up with another muscular statement:
It is more likely that Jesus was celibate.
He then engages in a little scriptural apologetics in regards to the question.
And what do the Gospels say? For one thing, the Gospel of Mark describes Jesus, who had settled in the town of Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee, as receiving a surprise visit from his family, who had come from his hometown, Nazareth. “A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.’ ” Why no mention of a wife?
Not bad, but it isn’t like this is the only example you could give. The total lack of a mention of a wife in the New Testament or any subsequent mention in historical texts from the Church Fathers and others just might be a clue. Please Father put the Dan Brown novel down and come up with a defense for this ridiculous assertion stronger than “probably not.”
Now I am no hater of Fr. Martin as I actually enjoyed a couple of his books, but this is not even his first apologetic fail. An article he did last year on Five myths of Christmas also was a weak-tea defense of the faith and even stated that it was a myth that Jesus was an only child. While you could nuance that statement to some extent relying on Joseph having been previously married – he only added to the confusion.