Read the daily quote from Pope Francis


2016 DF 35

Dear Friends,

Sometimes I write about things that come up in the news like the final straw that media says will destroy the Church.  Often the media will splash sensational things and then when a story turns out the opposite, you’re the last to know.

You might have caught in 2014 a story that was a headliner in lots of newsprint and the web that proof had been found that Jesus had been married.  The Harvard Theological Review printed a dramatic account of how an ancient papyrus fragment was found where Jesus is quoted as saying, “My wife…” 

Harvard professor Karen L. King was certain that this was going to rock the Catholic Church and the belief in celibacy.  She said the reference of Christ to his wife was so clear that it could not mean anything else.  King went on to say that any tests on the papyrus would prove supportive of her claim and be little more than “the cherry on the cake.”

The Atlantic magazine did its own investigative report on the papyrus and the previous owner, Walter Fritz, and concluded that Fritz was a fraud and so was his evidence.  Catholic League Bill Donohue from the very start smelled a rat.  “We know nothing about when the scrap [of papyrus] was discovered.  We know nothing about where it was discovered.  We know nothing about how it was discovered. We know nothing about the context in which the words were written.  And we know nothing about the owner.”

The lack of professional investigation did not stop King from announcing that her work would cast doubt “on the whole Catholic claim of a celibate priesthood based on Jesus’ celibacy.  They always say, ‘This is the tradition, this is the tradition.’ Now we see that this alternative tradition has been silenced.”

The Vatican from the beginning was not fooled.  It labeled her papyrus proof as an inept forgery and dismissed the claim as a fake.

In fact the papyrus has been proven now to be a forgery.  The man, Walter Fritz, has been exposed as a shady character, involved in launching a series of pornographic sites.  King herself has signaled defeat.

It’s sad that in today’s world there is an aggressive attack on the Church and Catholic teaching that never seems to let up.  Secular leaders find it hard to believe too much in God.  There is a wave, a modest reverence to Him but never a heartfelt call to listening, loving and following Him.  Outrageous claims and accusations are made in the media that 15 years ago would never have been printed or webbed.  It’s the world we live in!  Don’t be surprised by more sensational news in the future about Christ and the Church.  But let’s be cautious and put all claims to the test.  Before we believe anything let’ make sure our homework is done and we know all the facts.

Probably a lot of people who first heard that proof had been found about the wife of Christ never heard that it was false.  That’s too bad for them, for us and sad for Christ.

Fr Al