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Total Loss File: A Prominent Episcopal Leader Denies the Need for the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus

April 3, 2013 139 Comments

040313It was sad to read the public comments of the Episcopal Bishop of Washington denying the importance, or need for the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus from the dead,  going so far as to imply this teaching was “outlandish. ” More on that in a moment, but first some background.

Some time ago I brought a former Episcopalian into the Catholic Church who, after the Rite of Reception gave a great sigh of relief and said, “I know the Catholic Church is not without problems, but at least I know the Bishops actually hold the Christian faith. It is such a relief to be in the harbor of truth.”

I remember at the time wondering with him if that wasn’t a bit of an exaggeration of how bad things were in the Episcopalian denomination (this was about 1990). But he showed me a scrapbook of article after article of dozens of Episcopal “Bishops” denying quite publicly the divinity of Christ, the Virgin birth, the miracles of Jesus, that there was any inherent conflict between Christianity and Unitarianism, etc., not to mention a plethora aberrant moral stances.

Most notable among them, but not at all alone, is now retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong who still freely roams the halls of Episcopal parishes and openly calling the Nicene Creed “a radical distortion of the Gospel of John” and declaring that Jesus Christ did not die to redeem humanity from its sins, even going so far to say that we are not sinners at all [*], in outright contradiction to Scripture (e.g. 1 John 1:10) and, frankly, common sense.

The scrapbook was quite thick with painful articles of Episcopal bishops and clergy saying and doing the most incredible things, outright denying basic dogmas. Indeed, when a Christian leader publicly denies the divinity of Christ, or the Trinity, of the redemptive power of Jesus’ death he/she is no longer a Christian at all.

All these memories came back to me when a priest-friend sent me a link to the “Easter” Statement of the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, Mariann Budde, who quite plainly states that it wouldn’t bother her a bit if the tomb with the bones of Jesus were found.

Well, pardon me for being a bit old fashioned and “stuck” in biblical categories, But Rev. Budde, it darn well ought to bother you. And further, even to brook the notion that such a tomb could be found and then add it wouldn’t bother you is a pretty explicit denial of the faith . Here is what the bishop says in her own words, (pardon a few Red remarks from me). These are excerpts, the full remarks of Bishop Budde are here: Bishop Mariann’s blog

To say that resurrection is essential doesn’t mean that if someone were to discover a tomb with Jesus’ remains in it that the entire enterprise would come crashing down. The truth is that we don’t know what happened to Jesus after his death, [But we DO know what happened!] anymore than we can know what will happen to us [Here too I am puzzled, Scripture is actually quite clear as to what will happen after we die: death, judgement, heaven or hell, (likely a pit stop for some purgation for the saved)]. What we do know from the stories handed down is how Jesus’ followers experienced his resurrection. What we know is how we experience resurrection ourselves. [So their “experience wasn’t necessarily real? Then what was it? And if nothing necessarily or actually happened, then how do we “experience” a non-event or a dubious one? What is there to experience?]

That experience is the beginning of faith, not in the sense of intellectual acceptance of an outlandish proposition, but of being touched by something so powerful that it changes you, or so gentle that it gives you courage to persevere when life is crushingly hard…… [Ok, so, the most fundamental Christian dogma, the Resurrection of Jesus, is and “outlandish proposition” which apparently requires no “intellectual acceptance.” Yet despite this, it somehow has the power somehow to change our life. The logic is as mystifying as the denial of the faith is deep].

Well, it doesn’t get much worse than this. In fact, let us call this what it is, a total loss.

For one who denies the Bodily resurrection of Christ (and there is no kind of resurrection other than a bodily resurrection) such a person  really even qualify for the charge of heresy, one has to be a Christian to be a heretic.

Of a great tragic loss of faith like this, St. Paul says,

If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead….And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is in vain; you are still in your sins….[and] we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep!  1 Cor 15:12-20

Of the historicity of the Bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ the Catholic Catechism has this to say:

The faith of the first community of believers is based on the witness of concrete men known to the Christians and for the most part still living among them. Peter and the Twelve are the primary “witnesses to his Resurrection”, but they are not the only ones – Paul speaks clearly of more than five hundred persons to whom Jesus appeared on a single occasion and also of James and of all the apostles (1 Cor 15:5).

Given all these testimonies, Christ’s Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact.

It is clear from the facts that the disciples’ faith was drastically put to the test by their master’s Passion and death on the cross, which he had foretold. The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection. Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized (“looking sad”) and frightened. For they had not believed the holy women returning from the tomb and had regarded their words as an “idle tale”. When Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, “he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.”

Even when faced with the reality of the risen Jesus the disciples are still doubtful, so impossible did the thing seem: they thought they were seeing a ghost. “In their joy they were still disbelieving and still wondering.” Thomas will also experience the test of doubt and St. Matthew relates that during the risen Lord’s last appearance in Galilee “some doubted.”

Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles’ faith (or credulity) will not hold up. On the contrary their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.

(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 642-643).

Thanks be to God for the pure water of faith as expressed by Scripture and the Catechism. Indeed, as my convert friend from years ago said, it is such a relief to be in the harbor of truth.

Do pray for the kindly episcopal bishop of Washington. Pray too for good Episcopalians of Washington. May the truth one day reunite us all that there may be according to Christ’s will, one flock and one shepherd (John 10:16).

Careful with the comments. This is a great sadness, a tragedy really. Pray before submitting comments.

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  1. Convert Journal — Elsewhere: the Episcopal experiment | May 28, 2013
  1. Brian says:

    Oh man, a woman bishop with my last name. With such a poor grasp of Christianity. I am embarrassed for my name. I do hope we are not related.

  2. workingclass artist says:

    How does a person like this rationalize her behavior?

    They confuse and divide their flock.

    • Repent and Believe the Gospel ! says:

      If she is going to preach her nonsense, then why even have a church? Her church becomes nothing but a social club that collect fees. Then people at her church can commit sins all they want yet still feel SPIRITUAL!
      Oh I forgot, that’s the new fashion!

  3. Harold Koenig says:

    I too am someone who came into full communion from the Episcopal Church. Indeed, I was a cleric in that ecclesial assembly. Still, this re-opens wounds in my heart.

    If we are to hold that bishops are successors to the Apostles, then we rightly expect apostolic performance from them. And an apostle is someone who comes with words and authority from him who sent him.

    What then shall we think when someone claiming that role says that the one who sent him (or her) wasn’t really all that authoritative and that his words are that we should hope without some particular truth in which to place our hope? Is the Vanquisher of death rightly represented by someone who says, “Well, it doesn’t matter if he’s still dead?” Is the charge given to the Apostles and their successors a command to encourage people to have or to recall an “experience”?

    The foundational account has two elements: (1) An empty tomb with angels; (2) Appearances of a palpable risen Lord who even eats a bit of food. But the bishop evidently wants us to celebrate and to aspire to an “experience” without believing in the thing experienced, a recollection of something that need not have occurred

    Yes, although every springtime, every clump of rich grass over a new grave, every relationship made stronger by a forgiven offense testifies to the victory of Love over death, we Christians nonetheless tell a story so extraordinary, so hard to believe that belief itself is a divine gift. Very well then: do not believe it and, if you are so moved, pray for the grace and gift of faith. But, please, do not reduce it to something that anyone can either believe or disbelieve because it is little more than a suggestion that it is good to hope for the best in tough times.

    The startling and swelling joy of the resurrection is such a gift that we should, we must, pray that more people are given it, that even the Episcopal Bishop of Washington may one day know the irrupting Gospel than blows away the mist of prevarication and shines with the light of the Son. But oh! May she keep silence until then!

  4. John says:

    I became a catholic a week ago. Thank God (literally) that I will never have to confront this sort of stuff ever again!

  5. Nick says:

    Key difference is we got a Magisterium. Bad Bishops can’t change that.

  6. David F says:

    I don’t get this behavior at all. If you have no faith in Christ how can you call yourself a Christian let alone a Bishop? She’s a fraud, but by self delusion rather than intent. What is the Church then if not the body of Christ? a club for “nice people”? This is really odd to me. Better to be an honest agnostic than in this confused state. May God have mercy on her and open her eyes and may God open my eyes to any of my own self delusions.

  7. Nathan says:

    It certainly is sad for Ms. Budde, but this kind of behavior could very well lead to many Episcopalians ‘swimming the Tiber’ like your friend with the scrapbook. This may be a great blessing for an untold number of Episcopalians. Does anyone know if the Ordinariate has a presence in Washington?

  8. Michael says:

    I remember just a little while ago being surprised and disappointed when the rector of the National Cathedral announced that he was proud to hold same sex weddings there. How has the Episcopalian church gotten so lost?

  9. Maureen says:

    This is why many of us Episcopalians have already swum the Tiber. I did in 2001. Hope does spring eternal if the Holy Spirit is involved. I am proof of that. I was confirmed by Spong in the Episcopal church in 1976; went to a women’s college in the 1980’s where a sub community espoused political lesbianism (you could only be a true feminist by being a lesbian), was a member of a Episcopal parish in DC in the 1990s and watched my gay male friends die from Aids. One day one of those friends – raised catholic- was crawling around in front of the altar eating the breadcrumbs from communion off of the floor (the parish used home made bread). I asked the Parish’s assistant pastor what the heck is he doing? She then explained the concept of transubstantiation that some Episcopalians believe. All I could think was”Dear Lord what have you just done to me?” Since I knew the minute she said it it was true. Since the Real Presence is not official doctrine in the Episcopal church, I became a Catholic and my cradle Catholic husband returned to the church after a 20yr absence. So never lose hope and have faith in the overwhelming power of the Holy Spirit.

  10. Dismas says:

    This is a total loss squared, not only first, that Jesus chose to ordain only men as Bishops (the Apostles) but second that Jesus chose women to be the first to accept and believe the good news at the tomb that Jesus has bodily risen and deliver the news to the Apostles.

    Not only does Ms. Budde redound to the Anglican Ordinariate, but perhaps she could also unwittingly be spokeswoman for a new campaign by Catholics Come Home titled Christians Come Home or maybe Children of God Come Home?

    • Mr. M. Savage says:

      Well said, Dismas. Not only is our priestess undermining the priesthood, she is embaressing women in general.

      St. Mary Magdalene, first to see the risen Lord, the initiator of ‘washing feet’, who never denied Our Lord before men, faithful attendant at the Cross, repentant par exellance, pray for thy namesake Mariann, pray for womenfolk, pray for us.

  11. Maureen says:

    Ps. In that DC Episcopal parish we used to joke that a standard Episcopal prayer was “Oh my God, if there is a God, save my soul, if I have a soul.” The Episcopal church in DC as far back as the 1990’s prided itself on being all things to all people. This in my view is why it is dying out in the U.S.

  12. Allan says:

    Well, at least they have folks like NT Wright to help balance things out with books like the Resurrection of the Son of God

    • C Jordan says:

      An absolutely amazing book. I am teaching through his oberservations of the various Resurrection accounts in Scripture (the 4 Gospels and 1 Corinthians 15) with our small group through Eastertide. Growing up and living in the South, the only response to Spong, et.al. would be “nu-uh” but Wright provides a reasonable articulate response to their objections to the Scriptural narratives on their own terms.

    • Tom K. says:

      Of course, Bp. Wright — or Tom, as he’s called by those of us who once received a “Reply All” email from him about fifteen years ago — is an Anglican, and the Episcopal Church’s position on the sense in which the Resurrection is “true” is as plain as a lead pipe compared to its position on the sense in which the Anglican Communion is a “communion.”

  13. I Like The Church Fathers says:

    I hope Msgr. Pope will allow me this slight digression.

    I’ve noticed that many Catholic churches in North America lately have been using “Lift High The Cross” as the opening hymn. The hymn was written by Anglicans and it certainly has a strong flavor of High Church Anglicanism of about 100 years ago. Personally, I don’t think it’s appropriate for this hymn to be heard so often in Catholic Churches [except, of course, in Anglican Ordinariates] because it is so much a product of Anglican Church culture, not Catholic Church culture. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

    • I think the hymnody of the Anglican denomination is a great treasure. There may be an occasional text that is problematic and cannot be used. But generally the hymns, many of them fine translations of ancient Latin texts, a solid and date from before the time when the Anglicans (Episcopalians) descended into such darkness. I am not aware of any theological problems in the hymn you cite, it is fine music and I think it is the Catholic practice to affirm whatever is good true and beautiful form other traditions and cultures.

      • I Like The Church Fathers says:

        Fair enough, Monsignor. Thanks for this.

        For me, the music and style of “Lift High The Cross” obscure the words. It fills my head with images not of the Cross but of grand Anglican ceremonials like the coronation of Elizabeth II. Maybe it’s just me who has this problem.

        • BHG says:

          I think there is some merit in your squeamishness. It implies a closeness that is not real. I have the same response with many of the hymns of Protestant origin. Great for other places, like retreats or conferences, but I do not like hearing them in mass. (PS In my humble opinion, one reason we have such a confusion in the understanding of the Eucharist is that for more than a generation, since Vatican II, so many Eucharistic hymns–even ones written by Catholics–are so vague that they can be–and are–used in Protestant services. SInging is a great tool for strong catechesis; we need to use it more effectively.

        • RichardC says:

          I have never actually heard “Lift High the Cross”, but I understand what you are talking about.

      • Maureen says:

        The hardest part about leaving the Episcopal church is leaving the great music. The music at most Catholic masses I have attended is mediocre at best. This is the one area the US Catholics could learn a lot from the Anglican/Episcopal tradition. Absent a major intervention by the Holy Spirit, I think it may take a couple of generations to fix the problem. I am at the point that I would love to find a parish that only uses Gregorian chant at masses. Now that we have our wonderful new Holy Father in Pope Francis, who appears to be a Franciscan in Jesuit clothing, maybe we can finally rid ourselves of the music written by the Jesuit affiliated Dan Schutte and Marty Haugen who is not even Catholic!

        • Cynthia BC says:

          @ Maureen – Amen!

          In my more charitable moods I recognize that no genre of music is to everyone’s taste, and that the traditional music that is dear to my heart is stodgy and/or boring to others.

          Although I am not such a curmudeoness that I dislike ALL of the contemporary music used at Catholic Mass, on the whole I find it insipid – and I don’t just mean the music. The texts tend to focus more on warm-fuzzies rather than any serious catechesis. The texts of hymns used as pro- or recessionals often are further weakened because only the first one or two verses are used – as soon as the priest reaches the front or the back of the church, done! Even if it means omitting the verse about the Holy Spirit on Holy Trinity Sunday!!

        • RichardC says:

          I understand what you are talking about also.

        • I Like The Church Fathers says:

          “I am at the point that I would love to find a parish that only uses Gregorian chant at masses.”

          Indeed Maureen. There are many who would agree with you. Saint Pius X issued a motu proprio in 1903 on Church music. He asserted that Gregorian chant and Renaissance polyphony by the likes of Palestrina and Lassus are the most appropriate forms of Catholic Church music [although he did not exclude all other forms]. For better or worse, the Church subsequently strayed from Pius X’s instruction on music.

        • JMeeder says:

          Maureen,

          The great thing about the Catholic Church is that we have something for everyone. All forms of music that are harmonious and not in discord with the teachings of the Magisterium are good and holy. They all deserve a place SOMEWHERE in the Church.

          The local culture also plays a large role in what type of music is played at mass. Have you spoken to your music director or pastor about your distaste in the music? (In a loving and respectful manner of course) There may be others that share your desire for more chant at mass. Maybe you could propose a chant mass once a month. I live in Southern Maryland, where there is a large African-American population, and we have a Gospel choir every 3rd Sunday of the month at the 11:30 mass. I do not particularly care for that type of music, but it is a way to meet the tastes of the local culture.

          • Maureen says:

            The pastor defers to the music director. I did make a tactful suggestion to the music director when the revised mass translation came out. She was not open to change and pushing the issue would only result in hurt feelings. It is what it is. There is a parish that does parts of the mass in Latin, but I always feel like I’ve been to a Mozart concert, as beautiful as the music is. I just found out that a parish that does the Tridentine mass only does Gregorian chant, but my husband prefers the mass in English. Nothing is perfect, so I have decided just not to be so fussy about it. It really will not be fixed until music directors understand the important role the propers play at the beginning of the mass and are willing to restore them — and the 70s through 90s hymns and mass settings are merely a distant memory.

    • Bob Corr says:

      I am a cradle Catholic, and I love many of the Anglican prayers, and beautiful churches. They have a rich history and beautiful traditions. Years ago I bought a copy of their “Book Of Common Prayer”, which is similar to our Catholic Missal. If you get a chance to visit an Episcopal church, take a few minutes to look it over. If there is nothing in their prayers or Hymns that are contrary to Catholic teaching, I believe we should use them if we like them. One such beautiful prayer is called “A Morning Resolve” written by Bishop Charles Henry Brent (Cincinnati, OH). In just a few lines it is a beautiful way to start your day. Google it. You will be amazed.

      Thr problem is that the Episcopal Church in America is busy trying to change according to the times rather than keeping the eternal truth of God. In so doing, they are shrinking at an ever increasing rate. In 1960 there were 24 million members, in 2010 it was 20 million, and now it is under 18 million, even though the general population has doubled. They no longer stand or anything, while they try to stand for everything. It is sad, but yet it is leading to Christian unity as their members leave for the Catholic Church. But even more sad, is that many of their members are just leaving to stay home.

      How will their leadership answer God on their last day?

      • Maureen says:

        The U.S. Episcopal church membership peaked at approximately 3.6 million in the 1960s. The current number I have seen is 1.9 million, and dropping. Perhaps your figures represent the worldwide Anglican communion?

  14. Loreen Lee says:

    On reading this article my first reaction was, ‘Good Grief, I’m an episcopalian’. I further confess that I constantly have difficulties in my ‘return to the faith’. Perhaps I shouldn’t do this, – after all they are mysteries – but with my background in philosophy I keep attempting to ‘figure out’ not only the resurrection, but the virgin birth, etc. etc. I do feel however, that I have been given a ‘gift of faith’, but I don’t know what that ‘means’ either. When I was a child I sometimes felt guilt on going to communion, after the reading that says’ say but the word, and I shall be healed’. I have now overcome that childhood sense of unworthiness, by feeling that yes indeed I too shall be held accountable for my sins. But the liturgy also says or warns, that taking communion unworthily can be a source of ‘condemnation’, but we pray will not be the case. So I’m fine with the reality of communion, and thank you for previously pointing out the comparison with the incarnation, as real: i.e. as the mystical body of Christ. I also deal with the ‘reality’ party by personal experience that even the illusions of a psychosis are ‘real’, and that Jesus’ resurrection was a ‘glorified’ body, not the body known to me and you in our day to day encounters. Thus I feel that it is even a ‘scientific’ possibility, for even the cosmologists, hypothesize on a ‘scientific faith’, I believe. Anything is ‘possible’. I also understand the difference to some extent between an intellectualization as with philosophy, and a ‘real experience’ as with the mystical. My difficulty is that I can’t seem to just accept on faith alone,but continue to attempt to ‘work it all out’. What is the difference between ‘blind faith’ and ‘reasoned faith’. Could this distinction save me? Does my philosophical doubting Thomas attitude make me an Episcopalian?

    • Loreen Lee says:

      It’s OK. M. Pope. I’m not making the distinction between faith and belief. I can even go so far as to say the ‘bodily resurrection’ an ‘outlandish’ BELIEF. I’m sure I hold many erroneous ‘beliefs’. Faith is a ‘theological virtue, and therefore another ‘mystery’. I’m not going to judge the Episcopalians, therefore, because THEIR ‘outlandish’ beliefs may be errors on the way to ‘faith’. Indeed, perhaps even our actions, etc. cannot reveal to others whether or not we have ‘faith’. But faith grows, even to love, as you pointed out in that wonderful series on Paul’s Corinthians 13. If we could indeed get to the place where we would no longer be seeing through the glass darkly, the groping for faith through our erroneous beliefs, would no longer be ‘necessarily a ‘sin”. If we were striving to be perfect, i.e. complete, or holy, we would be able to discern ‘all of our sins’, and attempt to see ourselves as God sees us. But I also know ‘presumption’ is deemed to be a ‘sin’ against the Holy Ghost. Judge not lest you be judged?????? Let us all pray for more ‘faith’ to overcome all of our erroneous ‘beliefs’……and when it comes to mysteries we, in our fallen state, cannot without grace, avoid the ‘erroneous’…Thanks goodness we have the Magisterium. .In a sense, we can look at sin, as a state of struggle to know the truth, rather than a state of guilt and shame, (in today’s vocabulary – mental illness) which may be the point that the Episcopalians are attempting to make, although the beliefs may be confused and erroneously expressed. Can we discern within their jargon an attempt to develop towards faith? (I understand that faith is a gift’) A regression in vocabulary based on ‘belief’, not faith, could develop into a more compassionate expression as to what constitutes ‘sin’. We only know their behaviors, their words, their thoughts as stated, as they attempt perhaps to come to terms with the mysteries. We do not know whether it is a question of belief or lack of faith. Life is for me a constant state of transformation, sometimes going through states of sin, in order to come to the point of ‘seeing’ the error, and thus being able to overcome one’s own weaknesses. It can be very difficult to see one’s own shortcomings, rather than seeing them in someone else. It is very difficult to be a ‘Catholic’. Thanks again.

      • It’s not okay Lauren. Your analysis is too vague, there are in fact some, indeed many things, that are certain because they revealed definitively by God. I don’t have to judge, God has already done the judging. I was quoting St. Paul, who says if you don’t accept the resurrection, just go home. We are dealing here with a total loss, and this is stated in God’s own word. This is God’s judgment not mine. The bodily resurrection of Jesus is to be definitively held by all the faithful.

        • Loreen Lee says:

          Thanks for the correction M. Pope. There is justification as to why my daughter has called me a people pleaser. I have just got off the phone with a woman who two weeks ago expressed enthusiasm about attending the liturgy of Easter. I wanted to tell her that I did not want to evangelize her because of my belief of her insincerity, etc. etc. and especially ‘using’ me to/or her own purpose. She ‘boasts’ of her understanding, (of God and scripture) and I no sooner got on the phone when she started upbraiding the Catholic Church for not being for the poor and liberation theology etc. etc. I attempted to argue with her, and I did the best I could. She was not listening. I hope though that I was not as vague as my comments here appear to be. I thought I was mainly speaking about the concept of ‘sin’, not the resurrection, in a lot of my comments. But I have much to learn even here. My analysis of sin came out of a sense of guilt and shame which I carried for many years based on experiences of childhood. I will continue my attempts to ‘understand’ scripture and theological questions. I find your blog most helpful. Thank you..

          • Loreen Lee says:

            P.S. I can firmly believe in the ‘truth’ of the Nicene Creed.

          • Loreen Lee says:

            P.P.S. On another Catholic blog, the argument for the Resurrection of Christ was established purely on rational grounds, by a Jesuit Priest, Shaun, or something. He cited the death of Socrates and Jesus as both exemplifications of injustice perpetrated by ‘good men’ by the ‘city’. Although Plato/Aristotle he argued established immortality philosophically as ‘real ideals’ this applied to the soul alone. From a rational perspective alone this would not constitute the ‘whole/holy/complete’ person, and we as humans are both body mind and spirit/soul. (There is much confusion even in philosophic literature on the meaning of soul/spirit…..!!!!) Therefore Christ established the necessity of the resurrection of the whole human person. I still ‘believe’ that Christ appeared, (theologically) in his ‘glorified body’, which I tentatively also believe is related to his transfiguration on the mountain. For me at least there is consistency, coherence, what not in this ‘belief’. The priest gave a homily at the time at mass saying that Christ did this to prepare his apostles for what was to come. The priest asked. Did it work? (He actually said this) because of course all but John ‘deserted’. They also ‘slept’ in the garden of Gesthemene. I say this because a cursory reading of John’s gospel was a ‘horrific experience’ for me. You may ascertain from these remarks that I do indeed find exegesis/hermeneutics an even more difficult challenge when it comes to scripture, than the philosophers demonstrate in their constant re-interpretation and mutual contradiction of philosophic texts. There is really no alternative but to believe (have faith even natural faith) that some day we shall be whole and complete.
            This is a philosophical position. I may as an individual not understand the significance of the resurrection even in philosophical terms, (as per the honored Jesuit) and yet I may have the belief based on need that for some reason, I cannot say I am ‘whole’ (complete, holy). Could then I have faith based on the belief that this is a possibility even if I am not formally a ‘Catholic’. In a certain sense the ‘church'(no capital) with all its difficulties surely cannot be considered resurrected in the sense of being whole and complete. (The Blessed Virgin has yet to crush the head of the snake????!!!!) But surely I can still believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, note the capital letters, which like He (capitals) for Christ exemplifies for me a theological reality, despite the scandals etc. in this mundane world.. I don’t expect you to publish this. It is merely my attempt to distinguish Reason from Faith within the confines of what I have come to through my struggles with ‘atheist’ philosophy. Please understand that I am very ‘critical’ of philosophies in this regard, and always hope when reading,l (what I can understand) that I shall be given insight that will be congruent with the Faith. Thank you.. (Well I’m now going to push the submit button. I pray this does not offend.)

          • Loreen Lee says:

            Father James Schall. He has another article just posted. A must read. Thanks.

    • Loreen Lee says:

      It’s OK. M. Pope. I’m not making the distinction between faith and belief. I can even go so far as to say the ‘bodily resurrection’ an ‘outlandish’ BELIEF. I’m sure I hold many erroneous ‘beliefs’. Faith is a ‘theological virtue, and therefore another ‘mystery’. I’m not going to judge the Episcopalians, therefore, because THEIR ‘outlandish’ beliefs may be errors on the way to ‘faith’. Indeed, perhaps even our actions, etc. cannot reveal to others whether or not we have ‘faith’. But faith grows, even to love, as you pointed out in that wonderful series on Paul’s Corinthians 13. If we could indeed get to the place where we would no longer be seeing through the glass darkly, the groping for faith through our erroneous beliefs, would no longer be ‘necessarily a ‘sin”. WE WOULD ‘KNOW’ LOVE. If we were striving to be perfect, i.e. complete, or holy, we would be able to discern ‘all of our sins’, and attempt to see ourselves as God sees us. But I also know ‘presumption’ is deemed to be a ‘sin’ against the Holy Ghost. Judge not lest you be judged?????? Let us all pray for more ‘faith’ to overcome all of our erroneous ‘beliefs’……and when it comes to mysteries we, in our fallen state, cannot without grace, avoid the ‘erroneous’…Thanks goodness we have the Magisterium. .In a sense, we can look at ‘SOME’ sin, as a state of struggle to know the truth, rather than a state of guilt and shame, (in today’s vocabulary – mental illness) which may be the point that the Episcopalians are attempting to make, although the beliefs may be confused and erroneously expressed. Can we discern within their jargon an attempt to develop towards faith? (I understand that faith is a gift’) A regression in vocabulary based on ‘belief’, not faith, could develop into a more compassionate expression as to what constitutes ‘sin’. We only know their behaviors, their words, their thoughts as stated, as they attempt perhaps to come to terms with the mysteries. We do not know whether it is a question of belief or lack of faith. Life is for me a constant state of transformation, sometimes going through states of sin, in order to come to the point of ‘seeing’ the error, and thus being able to overcome one’s own weaknesses. It can be very difficult to see one’s own shortcomings, rather than seeing them in someone else. It is very difficult to be a ‘Catholic’. Thanks again.

  15. Bill Michie says:

    “What we do know from the stories handed down is how Jesus’ followers experienced his resurrection. What we know is how we experience resurrection ourselves.”

    How sad to see such surrender to moral relativism (Each of us creates our own reality…). I have some dear friends who are Episcopalian and I have watched them struggle and suffer as beliefs in which they were raised are thrown aside. Of course we Catholics are not immune from such attempts (sometimes by clergy) but in my lifetime we have been blessed with wonderful papal leadership and remarkable unity among our bishops. This surely is a favorable comment on the working of the Holy Spirit in our church.

    I pray to a merciful risen Christ to help our wayward brothers and sisters and to receive those of good heart into his loving arms.

    P.S. I am grateful for many of the hymns we use that are of protestant origin. We should celebrate those areas in which we have unity.

  16. Justin says:

    Epsicopalians are have no grace in their sacraments because they have no valid holy orders…schismatics and heretics eventually lose their faith or find the True Church. Indeed let us pray for those lost sheep wandering around the graceless halls of the Episcopal, that they may be brought into the True Church.

  17. J says:

    We ought to pray for the bishops, not only of heretical or schismatic Christian groups, but also of our own, who neglect their duties to affirm the entirety of the Gospel. For in failing in their teaching duties they incur the punishments of that justice which they deny by their silence.

    • Greg Cook says:

      I was thinking along these lines too, J: while it is certainly true many of our problems in the Catholic Church can be blamed on culture, etc., if we had more courageous bishops we’d be in a lot better situation right now. As I read through the conciliar and post-conciliar documents of Vatican II I keep asking myself “how did the bishops let this mis-interpretation happen?!” Thank goodness in the past few years here in the US we’ve been getting some top-notch men as bishops.

  18. Robbie says:

    Each man, clergy or not, is free to say what he believes, but hardly can he be noted as having any particular inpact on what is defined as “truth,” a fixed moral objective laid down by Christ as well as the historical documentation of same. This is one reason that we have over 25,000 different denominations, non-Catholic, existing today with their own set of beliefs, largely influenced by what their pastor believes. This is just one reasons that after 60 years of “Protestantism,” I became a Catholic.

  19. Cynthia BC says:

    Seems like the US Episcopal Church is veering toward Arianism (link re Arianism below)

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01707c.htm

    • Loreen Lee says:

      Cynthia. I read the link on Arianism, wondering whether my intellectual speculations could be considered such.
      One of the thoughts that crossed my mind is the extent to which these challenges of ‘intellect’ occur within the history of the faith. They are not obviously a product of modern ‘rationalism’ alone, although I have on many occasions, as with some thoughts of the New Age philosophies, found them to be repetitions of heresies deemed to be so in ancient times. So I will trust, (have faith) that I must always be aware that my ‘rationalisms’ are just that, attempts to come to a rational understanding of the ‘[mysteries'; although I must not be so arrogant to presume that I can ‘understand completely, what is a mystery. I must ever be on the alert to conform these intellectual beliefs with what has been credited as ‘dogma’ by the magisterium, who themselves are faced with the problematic of rational explanation, acceptance of ‘worthy belief’, and avoidance and adjudication of what is heretical. But even, as a woman, I must have the ‘belief’, (faith?) that I have the ability to ‘think’, that the church deems that the use of reason is a means to a deeper faith. I read on another Catholic blog that what you need to do to pray (It’s called Beginning to Pray) is to breathe, think, struggle, and love. That has personal meaning for me.

  20. davegadnn says:

    A few years ago I was researching how the Episcopal had changed from a mainline church to a church of, well, questionable doctrine..
    I found a web page that showed, on one chart, the amount of money the church took in, and the number of members they had.
    Church membership was declining. Bigtime. It was steeply dropping year after year. But amount of money was growing. Bigtime. It was going up and up and up.
    How could this happen? If you are losing members, then money coming in should be declining too.
    I could not account for this. It made no sense. The only answer that I could come up with is that some very well heeled people were sort of buying themselves a church. It could be that the few who were left were just richer. But I doubt they were that much richer.

    • Jim Carpenter says:

      There is a by now well established correlation in the Episcopal “Church” reflecting this phenomenon. It is usually explained by donations deliberately being increased to offset departers – see accounts on web sites such as Stand Firm. There is necessarily a limit on the trend you note.

  21. RichardC says:

    One thing that strengthens my faith in the Resurrection is by comparing the witness of the Apostles to Jesus’ Resurrection to the witnesses to the Book of Mormon. Most or all of the witnesses to the angel and/or the golden plates had credibility problems of what sort or another.–unlike almost all of the Apostles. I am confident of one thing: if I had been one of the Apostles and if the Resurrection was a fraud, then I would have gone public about it.–and since none of the Apostles were alive at the time of the Resurrection ever recanted, even unto death, I accept their testimony.

  22. Deacon John M. Bresnahan says:

    In the name of ecumenism we, as Catholics, have to be polite and respectful to non-Catholic Christians. But sometimes I think we overdo it by not, at least, be willing to state the truth when it is called for. Instead, I have seen too many situations when a non-Catholic– like Episcopal bishop Shelby Spong regularly does– trash authentic orthodox Christian teachings–and Catholics remain mute. Not even a polite rejoinder given.
    My mother was a Methodist all her life and my father a Catholic. And at family get togethers we would sometimes have some good powerful debates. And when all was said and done, everyone raised their beers in loving friendship no matter how vibrant the debates had been.
    In otherwords strong defense of one’s faith can be an act of love. But, sometimes I think we Catholics–out of a false sense of ecumenism– have adopted the idiotic modern attitude that disagreement means lack of love and that the only way to show love is to never strongly disagree with someone, even though you are certain they have it all wrong.

    • I Like The Church Fathers says:

      John, this reminds me of a story about a Catholic priest many years ago who was having a discussion with an Anglican clergyman about Church authority. In exasperation, the priest told the clergyman, “of course you’re free to worship God in your own way; I’ll worship Him in His”. Can you imagine a Catholic priest nowadays speaking with a Protestant clergyman in such a politically incorrect way?

    • Bob Corr says:

      Deacon, you are correct, but the problem is that few Catholics know enough about their faith to defend it. The Church stopped teaching Apologetics 50 years ago.

      • Loreen Lee says:

        I came back. Dialogue in the Socratic sense of dialectic, is I feel, still often the ‘best’ way to learn. I had to come back because I was wondering whether I was being sinful in not following the dictum, Resist not evil. I called up a friend, and told her many things, mainly that I would defend the faith to the best of my ability. I have spent the last couple of hours reading up on Liberation Theology on the net. I was (seldom am) informed enough to counter arguments as well as I would like. I also said other things, like I was glad of the Magisterium, because I have to admit my inadequacies in understanding. (A counter to one of her arguments and to what I consider (my interpretation) her ‘pride’ when it comes to the value of her opinion/understanding). The point of this comment is that I really do find it difficult to discern often what is and what is not ‘sinful’. I don’t always want to be in a situation of ignorance battling ignorance, but merely on intuition I very often cannot accept what this woman says. I read yesterday that Jesus said -even- to Peter. “Get behind me Satan” the blog remarking that this is possible the ‘sternest’ thing said in the New Testament. I post this to assure you of the benefits to me of your argument . My thanks. I have really worked myself up today. I’m going now to take some medication, and hopefully that will put me to sleep. Goodnight.

      • RichardC says:

        For anyone interested in learning about Catholic apologetics, I recommend John Martignoni’s website, http://www.biblechristiansociety.com . There is a lot of free apologetics material there and in his talks he mentions other Catholic apologists that people can also look into.

  23. Jeanne Marie says:

    Our Lord warned us of FALSE TEACHERS. Clearly she is one. Praying for her & the HS to do His work!

    God Bless

    • Loreen Lee says:

      I’ve come back for a ‘day after re-read’. Consolidation. I trust your comment Jeanne Marie is directed to my struggle with this woman. Jesus was upbraided by the pharisees for going to the poor and the sinful. I understand this as a indication of some correctness in a former comment, that people of this nature are often the very ones who are aware of their lack of ‘wholeness’ and thus are the most ‘open’ to faith, even if that faith is a natural phenomenon rather than a theological virtue. I interpret it as pastoral care. But I also note that Jesus told his disciples that in the event that people do not ‘listen’, that the Apostles should brush the sand/dirt? from their sandals and walk away. He also I believe said, that all are with you who are not ‘against you’. I find with this woman such fluctuation and lack of ‘integrity’ in the philosophical sense, that with respect to my own shortcomings, I fear ‘sin’ in the sense of proximity to evil (not the correct term) ah! occasion for sin, that in my own defense I feel I must be ‘careful’. I worried about this all day yesterday, and am still concerned today on how to handle it, because of the deception and deceit I ‘feel’ is involved, and yet realistically I do not see ways to completely ‘walk’ away. So thank you for saying to leave it to the Holy Ghost. I just understood today coming from the cafe, that the gifts of the holy ghost, such as understanding, knowledge, are theological gifts, and not the knowledge as in science that we must struggle in empirical study to achieve. I also read about the Holy Ghost, that if you stay within your ‘inner spirit’, you will succeed in speaking ‘only’ on the prompting of the Holy Ghost. But this for me, is difficult. Thanks for your encouragement.

      • Loreen Lee says:

        But yes, if thinking can indeed (Beginning to Pray) be a form of prayer, I may indeed be praying for her. Actually last night before bed I said a couple of Hail Mary’s. She doesn’t ‘like’ anything, from Descartes, to the Blessed Virgin. It is hard to ‘discuss’ with someone who is constantly ‘right. But I did remind her of the verse yesterday that speaking about the ‘mote’ in one’s eye. You know the one. Thanks again.

  24. Greg says:

    So why do we bother with “ecumenical relations” with Episcopalians? Tell me why does Bishop Loverde go to prayer services with the Lutheran and Episcopal “bishops”?

    • I don’t know, maybe in hopes of conversion, something about staying in the conversation. It’s a credential judgment, Jesus continue to meet with opponents, and certainly hung out with sinners.

      • Dismas says:

        credential or prudential?

        • Deacon John M. Bresnahan says:

          Lines need to be drawn, but sometimes it is hard to decide just where to draw the line. I represent our parish at local ecumenical clergy luncheons. But I do not volunteer to take part in common worship services that are sometimes held (like Easter sunrise services). As time goes by I am really questioning whether to go to the luncheons since I have come to believe that meetings like these are part of what is promoting our Catholics to think there are no real differences between the churches.

  25. Magdalene says:

    One of our local Episcopal churches is next to the “planned parenthood” abortion facility. Some of the staff of that killing center parks in their lot, with permission. The lesbian pastor says they are ‘pro-life’ being an ‘all inclusive’ church and everything but that they are okay with abortion too (??).

    The Episcopal church also has a infamous gay ‘bishop’ here in the US. Basically anything goes and there is little truth left in many of these ecclesial communities and others that still call themselves Christian. A local pastor of an independent church complained to me that many of his brother pastors no longer believe nor preach the Resurrection or the Divinity of Christ. Nothing new under the sun; these heresies have been with us since the beginning.

    And the episcopal ‘bishops’ are NOT successors of the apostles! There are no valid orders and there is no sacrifice nor real presence. For goodness sake, they vote on what is their ‘truth’ from time to time like it changes with the years or the culture.

    My husband grew up in that denomination. Demonination—a part of the whole. Now he has come to the whole, to the fullness fo faith which is the Catholic Church. Granted, many Catholics do not live their faith and cause scandal but the truth does not change with their heretical views.

  26. Patrick says:

    I hope and pray for all the fallen sheep and their shepherds whose secular relativism can and does such harm to the Church and its members whose beliefs are constantly under attack by the father of all lies ,satan ,who it lseems has convinced many that sin doesn’t exist.Hell is a place that noone will want to spend eternity and Eternity is forever and ever.Jesus I trust in You.

  27. James says:

    Msgr. Pope (and everyone),

    I think the reading of her piece is actually somewhat uncharitable, at least in terms of understanding her meaning, and I suspect jumping to conclusions about her position based solely upon this short piece (and without reference to anything else she’s said or done…or even asking her directly). I read some ambiguity in the nature of the question presented to her in the first place, and perhaps there was a conversation thereafter which would shed more light into her presentation.

    I’ll admit, would I like to see something like, “The Resurrection is literally real and the foundation of Christianity, without which it would crumble.” Yes. Do I think she’s going so far as to actually deny the whole thing? No. In fact, she affirms its necessity, and focuses upon the experience of resurrection. Is the contrast between reason and affect a little too dichotomous? I think so, but then again, she could also be drawing on the Gospel tradition: the idea of resurrection was outlandish to the Apostles and the women too, but their encounter with the Risen transformed them. I take her argument to be this: that the intellectual difficulty we can feel towards this fact (a fact that we have to accept by faith) is overcome by our experience of the Risen Christ. In fact, the latter part of her statement is about the work of the Risen Christ in our pilgrimage of faith, which, even given the ambiguity at the beginning of the piece, suggests she believes in the necessity of the resurrection.

    • I wonder, if you have read the comments on her own blog, to which I refer. Your benign reading of her remarks Is not shared Even by her own readers, and flock. By the way, for the record I indicated posted she implies the teaching is outlandish, I do not say that she states this directly. Her remarks are ambiguous, the pie be ambiguous when it comes to the resurrection? What she is not ambiguous about is that she Brookstan notion that a tomb could be found with his bones and that this would not trouble her. But the sacred text clearly states to Jesus rose in his body, was not a ghost, had flesh and bones, could be touched, etc. The doctor the resurrection is not some mystical notion, it is a rocksolid reality, one that can be touched.

      • James says:

        Before I reply to you, I’m wondering in what world a priest would consider Jennifer’s statement below to be charitable or helpful to discussion in any manner, and in any way worth allowing on the blog.

        • Probably sipped thru. Im on the road and cant read well on my phone i dont remember jennifers comment

          • James says:

            I apologize: I worded my concern a bit too strongly above. Jennifer’s comment is the bit about the “butch woman in a Roman collar” made at 1:41 pm, after Rev. Rodriguez’s comment.

          • OK, I’ll check it out, though to delete it now might lose a whole thread of other commenters. Sorry if there was offense, sometimes I have to moderate on the fly and things slip through.

    • Kim says:

      James, it is exactly as Msgr. Pope says. I was in a “progressive protestant” seminary for two years, and this type of thinking is what is indoctrinated. Courses like “constructive theology” (finding your own theology), “feminist approaches to biblical interpretation”, “reimagining Christianity” were all common. Not an orthodox course to be found; in fact, if one really believed that Jesus died and rose for our sins, he would be chasitsed, belittled, and mocked by the students and faculty. I was one who did the mocking, until I committed the one unpardonable sin of the progressive movement: I was pregnant with a THIRD child, thus not supporting “zero population growth.” It really is that bad. Thank God for His true Church on earth.

      • Repent and believe the GospeI! says:

        Sorry, Kim I’m piggy back riding on you,

        This is directed toward the Rev. Joshua Rodriguez (see below),

        You can believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, however, Jesus is not there in the Anglican/Episcopal Churches.
        You can believe that Bill Clinton is your daddy, however, he is not.
        You can believe that your are the reincarnation of Napoleon, however, you are not.

        To get back to the Holy Eucharist, the Anglican and the Episcopal churches DO NOT have Apostolic succession
        thus, they don’t have the power to confect the Eucharist! Thus, Jesus is not presence in your Wonder Bread!

  28. The Rev. Joshua Rodriguez says:

    With all due respect, Msgr. Pope, the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus Christ (and in deed, the doctrine of our own bodily resurrections) is unreasonable and outlandish. It flies in the face of human logic, it confounds our reason, and it stymies our intellect. And that is why faith is a theological virtue and the free gift of God, rather than a faculty of our intellect.

    Your reading of Bishop Budde’s comments was the most uncharitable possible. As I read her blog post, I noticed that she was describing her pastoral response to an individual pastoral situation and illustrating how it might be helpful for others, not doing systematic theology. And while I wish that she might have written for greater length on this topic, I find nothing what she says wrong. Ultimately, we cannot know that the tomb was found empty on Easter Sunday. This is not to discount the Gospels, but it is to recognize that the evangelists were not interested in meeting our own rational, post-Enlightenment standards of proof. We must take them on faith, as Bishop Budde says. We only have experience to go on–the experience of the witnesses of the resurrection, recorded for us in Scripture; the experience of those saints who have gone before us in the terms of tradition; the experience of the Risen Christ in our own lives in the form of reason. And, by the grace of God, this is enough.

    To say this is not to deny the resurrection, but to take it seriously.

    One of the greatest Archbishops of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, wrote in _The Gospel and the Catholic Church_ that we Christians will find unity only through walking the hard road of the cross and dying to ourselves and our own traditions and rising with Christ. Doing so requires, above all else, charity and a willingness to see one another in the best possible light, rather than the worst. As an Episcopal priest who takes Christ’s prayer that we all might be one seriously, I am saddened by the lack of charity I have seen in this blog post and in the comments. By all accounts, Bishop Budde is a woman of deep and sincere faith who believes in the bodily resurrection of Our Lord. With this as a starting point, her blog post is an affirmation of the Christian hope, and not a denial. As we are all aware, there are many things that prevent reconciliation between Anglicans and Roman Catholics. Let us not add more reasons for our sad state of division.

    Finally, as a minor side note, I’d like to point out an error in some of the earlier comments. Episcopalians do affirm the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. As our Catechism states, “[T]he Eucharist, the Church’s sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, is the way by which the sacrifice of Christ is made present, and in which he unites us to his one offering of himself.” And again, “The inward and spiritual grace in the Holly Communion is the Body and Blood of Christ given to his people, and received by faith.” (Both quotations are from page 859 of the Book of Common Prayer, 1979). It is true, of course, that many Episcopalians do not affirm transubstantiation, but it is categorically incorrect to state that we do not believe in the Real Presence of Christ. As the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission has repeatedly noted, our two traditions share a large degree of common belief about the sacrament of Our Lord’s body and blood.

    • Res ipsa loquitur. The comments on her own blog demonstrate that many understand her words to mean exactly what they say, but the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is not a doctrine that we need to take too seriously. If your own Labrant reinterpretation of her remarks Is any basis in fact, she should at the very least to clarify her remarks. But it is hard to understand how one can hold to the teaching of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and then state that would be fine if we found the tomb with his bones

      Further, you set up a false dichotomy between systematic theology and pastoral theology.

      • Maureen says:

        I was using the phrase Real Presence in the manner understood by Catholics as part of transubstantiation. You are correct, some Episcopalians believe in the Real Presence but the theology of the concept is different from Catholic theology. It does get confusing.

      • By the way father you say that the virtue of faith is needed in order to accept the resurrection, and you are very right. But it seems to me that the good bishop Strist to resolve the tension between human experience and what faith supplies I reworking and redefining the resurrection is something that is not outlandish, it’s just sort of mystical dream. And in This manner say this set-aside. The truth of the resurrection is made palatable. It would also seem that she rejects the testimony of faith, when she says that we do not know what happened to Jesus after he died. But of course we do! The sacred text in which we are called to have faith tells us exactly what happened, but he descended to the dead, and rose on the third day, and was seen by many and touched by them and shared meals with them etc. This testimony, faith demands that we accept, we do in fact know exactly what happened to Jesus after he died, he rose

        • The Rev. Joshua Rodriguez says:

          Msgr. Pope,

          I’d say that what Bishop Budde is describing is something more than a mystical dream. Especially in our own time, what is more outlandish than forgiveness? It flies in the face of everything that our culture praises, since receiving Christ’s forgiveness means that we must admit that we are wrong. I can’t speak from personal experience, since I’ve never met her, but from other things that she’s written, I think some of your disagreements with the bishop’s blog are in terms of the terminology she chose to use, rather than what she intended to say (this, by the way, is one of the problems with blogs; they encourage a much shorter, much less fully fleshed out form of writing than a sermon or pastoral letter).

          What I interpret her as saying, although not in these words, is something about the difference between faith and knowledge. You are correct, of course, that the testimony of Scripture is trustworthy, and in this sense we do know what happened to Jesus. At the same time, however, we take this knowledge on faith, rather than on evidence. We can’t prove that the resurrection happened–and this, I think is Bishop Budde’s point in saying that finding Jesus’ remains wouldn’t be important. How could we ever prove that they were (or were not) Jesus Christ’s? Ultimately our knowledge, which is sure and certain, comes from faith, by which we are made certain of those things which we have not seen (to paraphrase the words of the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews). From an Enlightenment, rationalistic standpoint, this isn’t knowledge at all. It’s something else, and I read Bishop Budde as using language as it would be understood by the average member of American society (who has been thoroughly formed by Enlightenment rationalism). This is all a sort of round about way of getting back to the words of the Creed. We don’t say, “I know that Jesus Christ was raised bodily from the dead.” We say, “We believe in Jesus Christ…” And within such a framework, belief is in many ways more certain than knowledge, and one can say, “I don’t know what happened to Jesus after he died, but I do believe in the experiences of those who saw him resurrected.”

          Your comments about not drawing two sharp a distinction between pastoral and systematic theology are, of course, correct. That wasn’t exactly what I was trying to do. I was trying to acknowledge that these are different genres, if you will, with their own idioms. The way I address a parishioner who asks a question at coffee hour after the sermon is different from the way that I wrote my ordination exam on systematic theology. They are both ways that attempt to communicate the same Truth, but we shouldn’t expect them to look the same.

          • Sarah in WA says:

            I find this unnecessarily obfuscatory. The faith statements “Jesus rose from the dead on the third day” and “I believe in the resurrection of the body” may not be logically reconciled with the statement “we might find Jesus’s remains.” If such remains were purportedly found, they *could not* actually be Jesus’s remains. If they were His remains, then our faith claims about resurrection are false. Period. Mutually exclusive statements cannot be simultaneously called “true” unless logic is suspended.

          • Loreen Lee says:

            And Jesus said something like ‘Do not ‘touch me’? as I have not yet risen to the Father. to Mary Magdalene. My paraphrase. He is ‘I believe’ risen, but it is not comparable to the rising from the dead of Lazarus, I believe. I now ‘entirely’ understand your ‘argument’ M. Pope, and I assure you I have never had a theological conflict with your position, not even in my ‘vague’ statements. They will ‘never’ find the body of Christ who seek not for it in the transubstantiation of the Eucharist. We receive, as in Buddhist scripture, only what we are ‘equal’ to receive. Thus the Buddhists, like Christ, do not ‘tell’ all to all people. This was my horror in reading the Gospel of John a few weeks ago. A friend today is going to send me a You tube video of this very gospel. Perhaps that will clear things up for me. We receive that which we are ‘prepared to receive’. Also I ‘believe’ that although there are definite judgments made by Paul concerning this, as far as the resurrection goes this is dependent as well on both judgement at physical death, and the last judgment. In this respect, like Christ’s descent into Hell, it is a problematic to me that my understanding of the Eastern Orthodox religion is that ‘all’ will be saved. ‘All’ is consequently a difficult ‘concept’. We cannot like some Protestants assume that once saved we shall always be saved. Being a Catholic I repeat is very ‘difficult’.

      • Loreen Lee says:

        P.S. I can firmly believe in the ‘truth’ of the Nicene Creed. I said this. So certain beliefs are required for faith in the Catholic Church. Can I not hold these (transcendental truths) to be a mark of theological virtue? Something I strive towards? Can I not hold that my ‘intellectual beliefs’, as in a comment above are indeed inadequate. Does the Nicene Creed demand intellectual belief rather than belief based on faith. Do I believe to have faith or do I strive for faith so that I believe. I am now further confused. Also what is the difference between systematic theology and pastoral theology. (The church apostolic and the church of Peter or the pastoral church as I understand it.) Was I then speaking from the pastoral perspective based on my limitations of understanding and the specific dilemmas of my life experience, rather than my words being a systematic expression according to the standards of theological dogma. When I say the Creed at mass I pay particular attention to each utterance, always searching for meaning. I have no doubt that for many of the faithful the words are/can be said almost by rote without even the attempt at intellectual understanding, or the attempt to develop a higher form of faith. But that is my presumption based on self-analysis of my past. Perhaps as one commenter said, the remarks of the Episcopalian were directed to pastoral needs. I don’t know. I am in constant dilemmas with respect to the need to find coherence between philosophy/modern rationalism and faith. Yet I have the belief, or is it faith, that a reconciliation can be made between The Catholic Church and the Modern World..I believe, I have faith, that many modern dilemmas can be re-interpreted and like many pagan beliefs in the Roman period, like the detachment of Stoicism,can be brought into conformity with dogma. I agree with you that there are limits however, and as one commenter said in a recent blog, Protestantism in many forms as well as elements of liberation theology can/should be considered a ‘heresy’. Pray for me. I have had no formal schooling in theology, and my attempts to ‘get an education’ were turned down as I was refused admittance to lectures by Opus Dei, etc. I merely ‘struggle’ on my own. I feel I have no choice in the matter. Thank you.

    • Steve M says:

      Rev. Rodriguez:
      The Bishop may have had the best of intentions in her message but do you honestly not see the confusion that her remarks create? If we had a set of bones that we were convinced were the Lord then was the Resurrection simply imagined? MSgr. Pope on the commentors here and on the Bishop’s post may all have taken an uncharitable view of her writing but you I believe are being too nice. I read the post. She of course had the best intentions but this does not mean that what she wrote is automaticaly fine. I was raised Episcopalian and converted in my 30’s. The Real Presence in the Catholic Church is so much richer and complete than what I was taught at St. Andrew’s. Christ is not present by faith but by his Love and His sacrifice. The Episcopalian view I was taught which is consistent with the Bishop’s post give people some power over God. Christ said “This is My Body” not “if you think about it enough and have faith it is My Body”. I understand Episcopalianism and joined the Catholic Church because of teaching just like the Bishop’s post.

      • Loreen Lee says:

        That is the ‘attitude’ I am faced with. You see ‘rereading’ rewriting’ does bring further insight.

  29. Jennifer says:

    I was at the cafeteria of the local Catholic cathedral and I saw what a I thought was a priest. But no! It was a very butch looking woman in a Roman collar. She must have been from the nearby Episcopal Church. I was horrified!

    If people want female priests and homosexual approval, just become an Episcopalian.

    • James says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      I don’t see what this comment adds to the conversation, expect a note of pettiness and uncharitably. It is one thing to disagree with the theological and ideological position of a denomination, to argue against it with vigor and logic, and another to descend into juvenile humor and mock horror. I sincerely doubt this this is the sort of response in love that we’re called to give.

    • Steve M says:

      Not very charitable. There are real issues with the Episcopal Church but this isn’t the way to address it. Better to ignore them.

      • Repent and believe the GospeI! says:

        There is nothing wrong with Jennifer’s comment. She is pointing out the truth. There are women who want to be just like men. They are not content with God’s plan nor His design. Jennifer is speaking the truth. Jennifer is pointing out the disorder and this is not “juvenile” at all. What is “juvenile” is a group of people changing the definition of marriage so that they can pretend to be marry. Now that’s JUVENILE!

  30. Sarah in WA says:

    It seems bishop Mariann is one part atheist scientist (the bodily resurrection of Jesus is “outlandish”), one part therapist (finding “resurrection ourselves”), shake and garnish with a twist of New Age spiritualism. I think this is why G. K. Chesterton et al were such staunch advocates for orthodoxy. If orthodoxy and tradition are thrown out, it’s too tempting to take the cultural prejudices du jour as a reference for what is “reasonable,” and then make Christianity into an impotent, illogical hash of warm fuzzy nonsense. Unorthodox personalized Christianity presents an easy target for the likes of Richard Dawkins. It is totally illogical to say that the Scriptures contain a true Divine revelation, and yet those same Scriptures are non-binding. This level of cognitive dissonance hurts the brain.

    When I was confronted with scientific atheism in engineering school, I came to believe that orthodoxy was the only defensible way to practice Christianity. Squishy spiritualism just does not cut it in an argument with a non-believer. I’ve see many of my peers (Millennials) reach the same conclusion: they find personalized Christianity indefensible. So, they’re either becoming more orthodox, or abandoning religion altogether.

    While it is tragic that many people are falling away, I think the resurgence of orthodoxy is a very good thing. In my personal case, new life came from my embrace of orthodoxy — aside from the renewal of faith that came from it, there are also the lives of the children I’ve had because my husband and I embraced orthodox Catholic teachings about marriage and sexuality even though they seemed hard. This is proof that God brings goodness and new life even out of the tragic mess that is modern society.

    Thank you for continuing to explain and defend authentic Catholic teaching. People like me want to understand and practice it. I am thankful for people like you.

  31. Nathan says:

    Monsignor, you state the case well. What may not be so evident is that, in direct contradiction to Mr. Spong’s thesis that churches had to change beliefs in order to survive, those groups that do so, at least in the U.S. context, wither away.

    An Anglican blogger, David Virtue, published an analysis (http://www.virtueonline.org/portal/modules/news/article.php?storyid=14783#.UV3M3FFx7po) of the Episcopal Church’s (TEC) own public statistics, which showed that:

    –in 2009, more than one third of all 6825 Episcopal parishes in the U.S. have an average Sunday attendance (ASA) of 40 or less.
    –Seven Episcopal dioceses have a total Average Sunday Attendance of less than 1,000.
    –Seven Episcopal dioceses have an ASA of 1,000 – 1,999.
    –Thirteen Episcopal dioceses have an ASA of between 2,000 -2,999.
    –Only two Episcopal dioceses have an ASA of 20,000. Ms. Budde’s Washington diocese has an ASA of 15,072.

    I don’t have the Catholic numbers, but I’m fairly confident at a number of parishes in both the dioceses of Arlington and Washington, the average Sunday Mass attendance at a single parish exceeds that of at least 14 Episcopalian dioceses!

    Those who seek to change an unchangeable teaching seem to not realize that most people reason: if a church doesn’t teach what the Truth which has been handed down since the time of Christ, why bother to go?

    In Christ,

    • Jake in Pittsburgh says:

      Nathan–

      My father, wife, and children (9 total) went to noon Mass today, a Mass offered for my mother.

      There were more than 40 people at noon on a Thursday!

      God bless, and pray for us, mom.

  32. Bender says:

    In addition to my day job, these last few months I was asked to teach RCIA. Our most recent class was on Tuesday and I was surprised to see a brand new person show up. I said to myself – “Either she is really late or she is really early” since it was only three days earlier that the current crop of catechumens and candidates were initiated into the Church.

    Anyway, she said she was Episcopalian. This being her first time, I did not want to put her on the spot and ask why she had been drawn to the Catholic Church and/or disaffected from the Episcopalian church. Instead, I had a couple of our brand new Catholic sisters tell of their backgrounds and experiences at the Easter Vigil.

    But for my part, as we begin “mystagogy,” I thought I would tell everyone of this really spectacular thing that I had heard about, some really wonderful, mindblowing good news. Essentially that news that I wanted to share with them was about this teacher who had said some really beautiful things about loving one another, about how we are brothers and sisters, and we shouldn’t judge, but do unto others what we would want done to us. But because he was saying these things, he was thought to be dangerous. So he was arrested and they killed him. And now he’s dead. But even though he’s dead, he still had these lovely teachings, so isn’t that great news?

    Needless to say, my students were left wanting. Something was missing. And if that was all there was to the story, then big deal. You can get that kind of stuff watching Oprah. And here is a good time to apply Flannery O’Connor’s famous quote that she said about the Eucharist.

  33. D.A.Howard says:

    Sad thing is…no schism happens without sin according to the Catechism. Why do these people abandon their faith. They should pray fifteen decades of the rosary everyday, it will defeat heresies and over schisms. It has in my life. Thank God for the Blessed Virgin’s intercession.

    Be Christ to Others!

  34. Adroit says:

    What do you call an ignorant farmer? Catholic
    What do you call an educated Catholic? Protestant
    What do you call an educated Protestant? Atheist
    What do you call an educated Atheist? Bishop Mariann Budde

    • Sarah in WA says:

      The first part is true enough. The ignorant farmer does what he should — he works for his food without wasting a bunch of energy and time questioning whether God’s prescription makes sense or not (ref: Gen 3:17-19). Jesus was betrayed by an educated scholar, not a farmer.

      But, what do you call an educated atheist? The correct answer is “Catholic.” An educated atheist would laugh at Mariann Budde. It’s exactly her kind of squishy, “be all things to all people” new age theology that makes cut-and-dried atheism seem appealing by comparison.

  35. Susan S says:

    People innately know they need God. When they are unwillingly to let go of what keeps them separate from God, then it becomes necessary to construct a “god” that conforms to their personal wishes and desires. In truth, they are really only worshipping themselves and their desire for love will never be realized or arrested.

  36. chris awo says:

    Great quote:
    one has to be a Christian to be a heretic !

  37. John says:

    do you wanna hear something scary? there is an undercurrent of Catholic priests and deacons teaching this very thing to laity within the diocese near me. They use Spong’s books as study guides and if you raise objections to it, you are ridiculed and thought of as no more than a “Flat-Earther”

  38. Scott W. says:

    Well, Fr. Ken Overberg (who sometimes writes those Catholic Update articles) at Bellermine chapel at Xavier University routinely denies Christ’s atoning sacrifice.

  39. Lagos1 says:

    I find it particularly odd that she finds the idea of the empty tomb “unreasonable”. Of course, it is perfectly reasonable if you believe in God and have read the Jewish scriptures.

    Faith and Reason are not necessarily in conflict and one of the things that disturbs me about many Christians, and seems quite pronounced in the Episcopal Church, is the way they retreat into a modern day form of Fideism.

    I have encountered this type of watering down of the Gospel resurrection narratives before; I always wonder how well the Gospels would have been received if the apostles were similarly wishy washy in their preaching. I have a feeling this blog wouldn`t exist if they were.

    • I Like The Church Fathers says:

      Good point. If you don’t believe in the Gospel accounts of the empty tomb and the resurrection, then just about anything in the Gospels can be discarded.

      Even looking at it “logically”, it’s hard not to believe in the empty tomb. All the Gospels refer to it. The version in John’s Gospel [that Monsignor Pope wrote about a few days ago] is likely based on an actually eyewitness account – probably John himself. Significantly, it refers to both the linen wrappings for the body and the soudarion that covered the head, both of which were lying separately in the tomb. The idea that the disciples [reeling from the crucifixion] would have had the motivation to go in the night to roll away the heavy stone door while the tomb was guarded and then remove the body while leaving the linen wrappings and the soudarion behind is preposterous.

      I would also note that, although the Church has not been dogmatic about this, what John is actually referring to when he refers to the linen wrappings and the soudarion are the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo.

      Most people are unaware of the current exciting state of Shroud research. A widely held view in Shroud research today is that the image on the Shroud was created by radiation generated by the body [i.e. the image on the Shroud is a miraculous artifact of the resurrection itself]. There is no other logical way to explain how the image was created. No medieval forger would have had the genius to create it because even scientists today who have tried have been unable to come anywhere close to duplicating the Shroud with sophisticated modern techniques. Research also suggests that the blood patterns on the Sudarium of Oviedo match those on the Shroud. There is no image on the Sudarium because it was removed at the time of the burial. This lends support to John’s Gospel account that it was lying separate from the linen wrappings.

      The point of all this is that, even when we apply rigorous modern methods, there is strong evidence of the resurrection. It is not an article of Faith alone.

    • Loreen Lee says:

      FiFideFideism is an epistemological theory which maintains that faith is independent of reason, or that reason and faith are hostile to each other and faith is superior at arriving at particular truths (see natural theology). The word fideism comes from fides, the Latin word for faith, and literally means “faith-ism.”[1]

      Theologians and philosophers have responded in various ways to the place of faith and reason in determining the truth of metaphysical ideas, morality, and religious beliefs. The term fideist, one who argues for fideism, is very rarely self-applied. Support of fideism is most commonly ascribed to four philosophers: Pascal, Kierkegaard, William James, and Wittgenstein; with fideism being a label applied in a negative sense by their opponents, but which is not supported by their own ideas and works or followers.[2] There are a number of different forms of fideism.[3]ism is an epistemological theory which maintains that faith is independent of reason, or that reason and faith are hostile to each other and faith is superior at arriving at particular truths (see natural theology). The word fideism comes from fides, the Latin word for faith, and literally means “faith-ism.”[1]
      It is articles like this(from Wikipedia) that give me some support in my attempts to understand the relation of Rationalism/Empiricism, especially Kant, at all to Christian dogma. Before I read this I searched with the conviction that on reading Wittgenstein I personally could not consider him a Fideist I concluded that he was not a man of ‘Faith’ capital letters, and I came back to Catholicism yet again when I finally understood the meaning the Kant attempted to reduce the golden rule, (Faith) to reason and ‘natural religion’. You see if I can see ‘hope for me’, then possible you too can see some hope in the pursuit of intellectual knowledge in the purpose of understanding the dilemmas of our age. The slow ascent from what specific heresy??????

  40. TomD says:

    I am beginning to believe that to cite Scripture to refute those who teach against God’s Word is futile. They probably do not read or study the Bible, view it as archaic ancient literature, written by men whose views no longer apply to the enlightened, modern mind. They do not regard Scripture as the inspired word of God, therefore are free to interject their own notions of philosophy and morality into their version of “theology.”

  41. Jay says:

    Even Henry VIII is rolling in his grave. To quote a baptist preacher, she outta get an honest job picking peaches or changing tires. To stay behind as a “shepherd” in an organization you don’t believe in is dishonest.

  42. Elizabeth says:

    If Jesus did not rise form the dead, if he is just another dead man, there is no Trinity. If there is no Holy Spirit, then the Church is not the Body of Christ. A dead man cannot do all that. The Budde/Spong theology makes a liar out of every priest – of any denomination – who uses the present tense to give the Eucharist to laity. To give someone the Eucharist, and say the words, “The Body of Christ” does not mean “This is the memory of the Body of Christ.” It means just what it says, “Christ is alive, and this is his body, NOW.” Without the Resurrection, there are no saving graces, and the sacraments become pretty little rituals to make us temporarily feel good. But, by all means, “Keep those dollars coming in, thank you, so we can have our cushy jobs, hob-nobbing around with all these VIPs here at the National Cathedral.” That is what Budde means when she says it will not hurt HER faith if Jesus is dead. Of course it will not. She has a plush job, and she would like to keep it. It’s pretty cool to hang with the elites. “I am a success!” But her rationale is full of holes. The Christian faith is not about success in the world. This is why we can totally believe him when Pope Francis says that his ministry, and the ministry of the Catholic Church, is about serving the poor. Under a perverted theology of Resurrection-denial, the Church becomes just one more massive, multi-layered, job-producing bureaucracy the laity are asked to support.

  43. Jim says:

    I am being dead serious here… no joke even though it is wicked strange.

    Here in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts the state church (Episcopalianism) actually has had prominent clergy (again this is no joke) write books expounding the thesis that the senator from Illinois is the Christ.

    This senator is now president. No joke. You can find the books on Amazon. They were written at the Weston Jesuit House of Studies. No joke.

  44. vincent apisa says:

    Scene: Washington Post news room. Cub reporter to city editor.

    Reporter: “Chief, chief. Look at this sermon. Great story, huh? ‘Washington Episcopal Bishop Denies The Resurrection.'”

    Blank stare.

    Editor: “So, like, what’s your point?”

  45. FM says:

    Denying the reality of the Resurrection means we can pack our bags and quit.

    As 1 Corinthians 15, 14-19 states:

    “”[I]f Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.””

  46. Peter Wolczuk says:

    The statement about an “outlandish proposition” which is used reminds me of the many, many times I’ve heard someone shout down rational discussion by screaming out things like that. Usually less intellectual like, “that’s stupid” “that’s ridiculous” or some such. Then, in the incidents when someone else speaks up with a call for facts, figures or data, the screamer just gets more hostile as if (fear based?) emotional outbursts were counter data.
    The scary part is that there seem to be so many who are willing to buy into an “easier, softer way” – Alcoholics Anonymous Basic Text page 58 – This is an organization which has hard data to show that facing. uncomfortable truths are are a way out of a living hell that is probably more agonizing than anyone who has not been there is capable of imagining. Yet, there are still those preaching an easy soft way to deal with that which humanity can’t understand; namely reject it and persuade others to do the same. I became free of living hell and am not much interested in buying into an eternal one, nor am I interesting in denying the existance of that hell just because I probably can’t understand it don’t want to believe in it.

  47. fRED says:

    My comment is intended in the spirit of goodwill and honest, fruitful discussion.

    For many years I was a loyal, active Catholic (altar boy, Eucharistic Minister, Reader, Choir member). Since I wanted to know God and love God and serve God, I wanted to have an authentic and committed relationship. As I studied Catholicism and the Bible, I realized that the concept of an historic Jesus didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Of course, I understood its place in the orthodoxy but an historic Jesus seemed to be extraordinarily arbitrary and completely contrary to what the Israelites believed (especially Dt 5:7-9). On the other hand, I would expect that God to be able to beat Death (otherwise he wouldn’t be omnipotent).

    If there was a real flesh and blood Jesus and his apostles and disciples had trouble accepting the Resurrection even after encountering the “risen” Jesus, how can there be a reasonable expectation for us centuries later? They saw the dead raised, the multitudes fed, people healed and cured, the Transfiguration, and Jesus walk on water and calm the storm but still were skeptical. It seemed that the Holy Ghost on Pentecost was the tipping point where their doubts were resolved.

    Paul was a similar case: Jesus had to literally knock him over to change his mind. And that took some time also.

    I’m sure God has His reasons for not performing similar dramatic actions with the rest of us. But like Job, I am inclined to wonder why. I wonder what the bet is this time.

    Some will probably raise the issue of (blind) faith in response. Sure, I could fake it and go along with it but I would be lying. And it wouldn’t fool God.

    Anyway, faith is not blind nor ignorant; It is built on more than hope. I have faith in things like gravity because I experience all the time. I have faith in my car working as long it works. When it starts to break down, my faith in it logically starts to diminish.

    Jesus said he is always with us (Mt 28:20) but I don’t see him, etc. The angels told the apostles that Jesus would return (Acts 1:11) but it’s been nearly 2000 years and there is no sign of him. Moses said (Dt 18:21-22) that if an oracle is not fulfilled it is an oracle which the Lord did not speak. 2,000 years seems like more than a reasonable amount of time to wait. I also have not seen or heard too many cases of demons being driven out and the sick healed and speaking new languages (Mk 16:17-18) at least by Catholics – mostly Protestants.

    The best way that I have been able to come to grips with things like the above is consider that scripture is meant to be taken figuratively (transcendentally or something). When I don’t have to line up things literally/historically I find a lot more things fall into place logically and make more sense.

    Finally, I am disappointed with so many self-righteous and harsh comments against Bishops Budde and Spong. I would expect good Catholics to have a strong desire save souls. So much prayer and repentance (for the forgiveness of sins [Lk 24:47]) is needed today. Jesus is coming-get busy.

    • What do you think of St. Paul’s concerns of 1 Cor 15?

      I am sorry you don’t see miracles or Jesus (I do, all the time), but even if you don’t that doesn’t make the Bodily Resurrection of Jesus an allegory.

      Finally, what you call “self-righteous” may actually be a valid concern that the kind bishop has jettisoned the absolute key to the whole operation and made a ship-wreck of the faith (to use the Biblical image). There are real concerns here fRED. I am sorry for your self-description since it seems you have struggled to access the reality of faith. But faith is real, and about real things. Thus when you say, Jesus is coming, I suppose you mean an allegory of Jesus is coming? But I actually think he IS coming and that it doesn’t help when prominent clergy gainsay the faith and set aside critical doctrine. That’s no way to get ready or help others to do so. To my mind, it is far more “self-righteous” (to use your term), to make light of reveled dogma and it seems more humble to insist on it since we do not have the power to overrule God or treat lightly of what God has revealed. “Harshness” is not the worse thing in the world, error and gainsaying the truth is far worse.

      • Peter Wolczuk says:

        In fRED’s response, he seems to speak in favour of more tolerance toward Bishops Budde and Spong and to their comments however, a person with such a title (and the authourity which goes with it) tends to have a much greater influence that a person like myself, who is basically just another poster on a ‘blog. As such, they will likely draw a greater criticism, similar to the “peer review” process of science, which can end up proving the statements of an influential person – if that person has done well to get their intellectual “ducks in a row’
        As to the seeming discord between the New Testament and the older beliefs of the Israelites, when I have parts of the real facts then those parts can seem in discord but, once I have them all, everything falls into place.
        For instance, almost 2000 years and still no second coming and, if God is at work, why was death not just done away with. Well, there’s partial examples – such as the people in the tombs who arose on Good Friday, and other processes falling sequentially into place. The entire set of lessons reminds me of the sequential twelve years of public school, that took me thirteen years to complete. The students of the first century Anno Domini saw some quick miracles that got attention however they, and the rest of us, seem (to me) to be taught these incredible things through a long, and necessary process.

  48. Tom K. says:

    My own impression of Christians who are blithely indifferent to the bodily resurrection of Jesus is that, behind their words about experiencing resurrection and what-not lies delight at the sophistication of their own thought.

    Look! They’ve devised a nonfalsifiable system that allows them to lay claim to whatever portions of historical Christianity they like *and* not be particularly despised by the world that hates Christ. They can’t be proven wrong because they assert no fact except their own experience. Facts might, in principle, overthrow the faith preached by the Apostles, but if so that just means the Apostles’ faith was a crude attempt to understand a mystery, making their own understanding, their own faith, superior to that of the Apostles.

    They can, then, agree with everything the cultured despisers of religion (to use an expression of Schleiermacher that I just learned) charge Christianity with, even as they look down on those despisers as not quite sophisticated enough in their thinking. (Well of *course* the Ascension is nonsense; our friends the enemies of Christ are smart enough to figure that much out, but not quite smart enough to figure out that an ascension is just the way that benighted first (or possibly second) generation of Christians chose to describe a transcendent experience that we, too, have experienced.)

    And even the lovers of sophistication who do believe in Jesus’ bodily resurrection and ascension are free to do so, secure in the knowledge that they have a sophisticated escape route if it should prove necessary, and generally admire the improvements they’ve made to the substance and nature of the Christian faith.

  49. fRED says:

    Msgr Pope-
    Regarding 1Cor15, I observe (in my NAB) that most of the reference is to Christ rather than Jesus. The word “Jesus” is used only a couple times and only as part of “Christ Jesus.” Some have suggested that this is indicative of a more spiritual sense of resurrection than an actual physical, historical event. To me, the discussion on 1Cor15 involves a deeper sense than a past historical event. One of the drawbacks of speaking of a historical Jesus is that such an approach can stall a person in ignoring the deeper meaning within the text.

    • This is the usual fare from your camp, squishy and vague notions, a kind of “everything is up for grabs notion” about a text that is actually very clear and crisp in its meaning. The fact is that the good bishop says we don’t know what happened to Jesus after he died. But we DO know what happened to him and it is clearly set forth in the sacred text. Further she says there’d be no problem with finding the bones of Jesus. But there WOULD be a problem, first because it denies the bodily resurrection to say that, and Jesus demonstrated that he was not a ghost and had flesh an bones, secondly to even brook the possibility that the bones could be found is an outright denial of what the sacred text offers,namely that the tomb was empty and that Jesus in his appearances clearly had his bones with him. fRED its just not unclear. It is fine if yo want to say that the Resurrection is more than an historical event. But in saying this we cannot thereby mean it is NOT and historical event, which it is clear that Bishop Budde asserts by outright setting aside the clear historical claims of the scriptures. There is no transhistorical if there isn’t an historical. And if it didn’t really happen, I don’t care what it means. There has to be something there to go deeper.

  50. Alice C. Linsley says:

    God bless you, Msgr Pope, for speaking the truth.

    As a former Episcopalian I watched that “church” descend into heresy and apostasy over 35 years. I saw a Wiccan couple ordained in PA, a Moslem woman ordained a “priest” in Washington, a “bishop” give communion to Hindus in the Episcopal cathedral in Los Angeles, and much more. James Pike consulted mediums. The present presiding “bishop” says that Jesus Christ is one of various ways to God. Today being an Episcopalian can mean anything but Christian. Most would be content in the Unitarian-Universalist “church.”

    • Peter Wolczuk says:

      This, and so many other attempts to put the Trinity into a pantheism reminds me of Matthew 6:24 Luke 16 where we are told that we cannot serve two masters. The text doesn’t say “musn’t” “don’t” “it’s a sin to” It says clearly that it can’t be done and that it won’t work.
      Then, there’s the earlier roots or foundation, of the First Commandment which tells us not to have other gods before the “I Am” Even if some sort of attempt to adress this tries to declare Him as a sort of chairperson there are even more than two masters. This new, so called “tolerance” that seems to be passing through the (seemingly) fading persecution reminds me of a second wave of troops passing through the first wave as they carry on the same attack.

  51. diffal says:

    Some Catholic universities teach that kind of nonsense today, albeit in a much milder form. For example, a friend told me of a former Christology professor in the Gregorian university in Rome who taught that the Resurrection was a real event just not a historical one(I still have know idea what that is supposed to mean) he only retired last year. thankfully while our tide is returning to orthodoxy the same can’t be said of the Episcopalians.

    • JOHN M GRONDELSKI says:

      If you are referring to Gerry O’Collins, then it is unfair to suggest he is unorthodox — see my review of his latest book in the Easter issue of National Catholic Register — O’Collins has vigorously defended the reality of resurrection. What he means is that the “history” of Jesus is not like our experience of “history” (any more than our pre-resurrection body has the same experience as Jesus’ post-resurrection body–they are the same “but”) …. The Gospels clearly say that Jesus was not limited by space or time (he appeared and disappeared in ways on Easter that he never did on, say, Holy Thursday). In that sense, Jesus’ Resurrection is “real,” it happened, it involved his body — Gerry O’Collins is not denying that — but it is not “historical” in the sense that it fits into our space-and-time-bound-history as we understand it. Illustration: when you have Mass celebrated for a deceased relative, the Mass is celebrated at a specific moment in space and time, but does that mean that God (and the deceased soul), who is beyond time, has to “wait” around for a couple of years until the Mass is celebrated in our temporal human condition for its benefits to be applied? That’s what O’Cillins is getting at.

  52. Katherine says:

    I left the Episcopal Church for the Catholic Church in 1983 after a dear, beloved priest-friend asked me to sit with a woman he had advised to have a late term abortion as a “lesser evil” than allowing her deformed child its full but very short span of life.

    I grew up in an Episcopal rectory. My grandfather, great-grandfather and three first cousins also were/are Episcopal priests. I loved the Episcopal Church and it’s wonderful liturgy and history, especially when the Roman Catholic liturgy and music became so very pedestrian. It didn’t matter. Truth always trumps beauty.

    There was simply no way to stay and remain a faithful follower of our Lord Jesus Christ. It isn’t a Christian church anymore, no matter how much its leaders and members shout that it is. And it is unbearably sad.

  53. eddie too says:

    i wonder what motive an episcopalian bishop has for claiming that the gospel accounts of people touching, eating with, hearing and seeing Jesus were all imaginary or made up and not factual?

  54. Frank Hermann says:

    Though sad, this is nothing new. Rudolf Bultmann said virtually the same thing more than half a century ago. Of course, he was Lutheran, not Anglican, but it just goes to show that once people separate themselves from historic Christianity, there is no telling where the bandwagon will take them.

  55. eddie too says:

    even people condemned to hell will have an incorruptible body.

  56. Scott says:

    Katherine I agree and unbearably sad is exactly right! I grew up in the Episcopal Church and my parents have been involved in their little parish their whole lives. I converted to the Catholic Church in 1990. I have watched in disbelief and sadness as the Episcopal Church continues down the road to self induced oblivion. My parents little church broke away along with the entire diocese of Ft. Worth and now they are involved in protracted litigation. Now near the end of their lives they may be left with literally no church to call home. I can’t tell you how angry I get at the pompous, arrogant, and ultimately non-christian bishops and priests that have led the Episcopal Church down this road to nowhere.

  57. Mark says:

    As a former Anglican bishop who was received into the loving arms of the Catholic Church this past Easter Sunday, all I can say is, Thank you my Lord Jesus Christ. The Episcopal Church is a lost cause and Anglicanism is not far behind it. Many of the so-called “orthodox Anglicans” still want to hold to women’s ordination as priests and even bishops. The priestess of Washington DC is a perfect example of what happens ultimately when heresy is allowed to run its logical course.

  58. George McHenry says:

    When the Episcopal (Anglican) Church was founded, it was on the basis of adultery. Therefore, nothing should surprise us about the opinions of their members.

  59. Isabel says:

    You got that right, George! So sorry for the impoverished state of these precious souls.

  60. R.C. says:

    It is indeed sad.

    What, really, must folk like C.S.Lewis and Oswald Chambers think?

    I grant that in all likelihood, Lewis is either busy “having the tooth out” and waiting for the dentist to finish rinsing; or else he’s past that bit and is having a grand time and has far too many adventures to enjoy to spend much time thinking about the Anglican church. And I expect he’s had a good-natured ribbing from his friend Tolkien.

    But if he has had a moment to spare for the sad goings-on in his former communion, what must he think? “I told them it wasn’t a good idea, having priestesses in the church” would be perfectly just, but I think Lewis was a bit too gracious to say it, even on this side of the veil.

    Speaking of purgatory, do you ever wonder if Henry VIII’s (and Luther’s, and Calvin’s) stays in purgatory — assuming for the sake of generosity they made it to purgatory — consist solely of having to listen to the thoughts and words of the heretical clergy employed their schismatic groups as those clergy said increasingly asinine and inexcusable things over the centuries?

  61. AlfromFl says:

    It is, indeed, a sad journey that many follow these days. It is with a heavy heart that I watch the decline in this country as we stray from our Judeo-Christian principles. Many seem not able to discern the difference between social justice and Marxism as they follow those who want to replace our constitutional republic with a secular socialist form of gov’t. Our discourse has become coarse, trite and lacking in reason and common sense – selfish and only interested in one’s own gain. The Catholic Church and good Christians stand in the way of these miscreants but too many are silent. Pray for our country and for these poor souls that would lead us astray.

  62. Bryan Hunter says:

    Anticipating that the Church would become his physical body on earth through the reality of sacramental living, Jesus said, “Whatever you do to these least of these children you do unto me.” I mean what I am about to say without any bone of malice or contention, rather with a great degree of sadness, but a church that has allowed the system-wide sexual abuse of its children by its clergy and then to have those in the highest ranks of ordained ministry sweep the whole thing under the rug until they were literally forced to acknowledge the elephant in the room should approach criticism of ANY other denomination with the deepest degree of humility. “Whatever you do to my children, you do to me.” Ask yourselves, “What has the Catholic Church done to the body of Christ?” before casting dispersion on others.

    • For the record, I have never abused children. I have been a Celibate cleric for 25 years now and I have never strayed outside this, not even once. And this is the experience of most of my brother priests too. Further, I am not “the Church…criticizing another denomination” I am a Catholic cleric raising concerns about a very serious, pivotal and doctrinal error of a fellow cleric from another denomination.

      Your topic has been discussed here before and there is no need to answer you, I have spoken well enough before on this. But your raising it is a red herring, and an attempted personal attack. But this article is about an issue, and a significant one at that.

      I will not be silenced by your attempt to shame me for something I have never done. Neither will I be silenced by your recitation of the crimes and lapses of other clergy. If you want to trot out the mud, there’s plenty in every denomination, and also among unbelievers at that.

      Now as for you Bryan, to use your own standard, if there is even one sin in your past or in your denomination, I hereby dismiss your right to ever speak on “ANY” topic ever again unless you first present a lengthy litany of humility and have any and all lapses, sins, or any blots fully rehearsed, followed by a long list of mea culpas and promises never to sin again. I note that you have not done that here. Hence you have broken your own rule, hence you ought not comment again, until you fulfill the requirement you have set for others.

    • Brian says:

      It is not the Church that abused these children, but man/men, who have given their soul over to the weakness of the flesh. They chose to abuse, but it is not for us to judge them but for God to judge them, we must learn to be compassionate for those who were abused but also for the abusers. When we talk about the faith we have we must be strong enough to forgive we may never forget but through faith and prayer Christ will help us, God will give us strength and the Holy Spirit will guard us. Peace in Christ

  63. Undergroundpewster says:

    As a cradle to tomb Episcopalian who has been outspoken about the heresy rampant in the denomination, I am not offended at all by this excellent analysis of Bishop Budde’s message. I remain hesitant to cross denominational lines at times, but in the presence of such blatant false teaching, the alarm must be sounded, if for anything but to protect your own flock from following the same path when it pops up, as it and all heresies will.

  64. Bryan Hunter says:

    Msgr. Pope,

    I never accused you of abusing children. It appears we’re both guilty of red herrings. Full disclosure: I am an orthodox Anglican in the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, which recently took the courageous stance of disaffiliating with The Episcopal Church because we could no longer remain in communion with a body that not only tolerates, but encourages and promotes, heretical teaching. Furthermore, I serve in a leadership position in my local parish. As such, decisions I have made based on my stance for biblical orthodoxy has exposed me and my family, along with my parish, to expensive litigation at the hands of the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. Furthermore, I have been a constant critic of the sort of heterodoxy characterized by Budde’s “Easter” sermon. I did not claim that such assertions should not be exposed by the light of the Gospel, from whatever corner of the church it may come, nor did I claim that Roman Catholic brothers and sisters should not join the communion of saints in decrying the sort of heterodox teaching that comes from way too many quarters in The Episcopal Church. What I was trying to point out (obviously unsuccessfully, and for that I apologize) is the sort of smug criticism exhibited by more than a few Roman Catholics on this string.

    For example:

    “When the Episcopal (Anglican) Church was founded, it was on the basis of adultery. Therefore, nothing should surprise us about the opinions of their members”; and

    “… do you ever wonder if Henry VIII’s (and Luther’s, and Calvin’s) stays in purgatory — assuming for the sake of generosity they made it to purgatory — consist solely of having to listen to the thoughts and words of the heretical clergy employed their schismatic groups as those clergy said increasingly asinine and inexcusable things over the centuries?”; and

    “So sorry for the impoverished state of these precious souls [i.e., Anglicans]; and

    “Many of the so-called ‘orthodox Anglicans’ still want to hold to women’s ordination as priests and even bishops.”

    I was not trying to shame you. That was never the intention of my post. I was merely trying to point out, as I clearly stated, that the Roman Catholic Church is not without its serious warts, and Roman Catholics would do well to keep this in mind, which should engender a sense of humility, rather than the type of smug holier-than-thou attitude exhibited by too many who comment on this post. I was merely suggesting that a little self-reflection about one’s own denomination is in order before one goes about criticizing another. I apologize for not taking a dose of my own medicine, which only goes to demonstrate how exceedingly wicked the human heart truly is.

    I appreciate you shining the light on Bishop Budde’s “vain imaginations.” Furthermore, I appreciate the Roman Catholic Church’s continued courageous stance for orthodox teaching against the tide of secularism that is creeping into to many corners of the church. I pray daily that God will sustain the Roman Catholic Church in its renunciation of the world, the flesh, and the devil. But I would remind your Roman Catholic readers that Anglicanism is NOT simply the Church of England or The Episcopal Church. Those two are an evermore-smaller drop in the bucket compared to the millions of Anglicans around the world, particularly in the Global South, who insist on holding fast to the faith once delivered to the apostles, often at great personal cost.

    I pray God’s blessings on you,

    Bryan Hunter
    Charleston, South Carolina

    • So perhaps you could have engaged individual commenters. Like it or not, blogs are places of lively discussion. I cannot moderate all all the comments but I dont thereby agree with them all in tone or content

      • Bryan Hunter says:

        Fair enough criticism. I trust I made it clear with my follow-own comment that my original post was not directed at you, rather towards a prevailing chorus I detected in the comments. Perhaps I was being defensive and oversensitive–although I’m not so sure considering that as a Protestant one is being stereotyped as a schismatic who is bound for (at best) purgatory. I do hope I made it clear (if I didn’t, I find again I must apologize) that I appreciate and laud your much-needed post. I will be following your site with great interest in the future.

        God’s peace.

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