What are some priests thinking?

What are some priests thinking? September 17, 2013

A reader writes:

John Dominic Crossan IS scheduled to speak at my parish next month and he appears to be quite controversial in his theology. Please share your thoughts and insights.

He’s poison.  Says the body of Jesus was eaten by wild dogs.  Avoid him like the plague.  What on earth is your parish or bishop thinking?  He is a very smart and rhetorically skilled enemy of the gospel. I’d contact your bishop immediately and find out if he knows this is happening. I’d also find another parish if your priest is reckless enough to let this guy have the pulpit for the evening to poison people against the gospel.

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  • Laura Lowder

    I can’t figure out some priests/bishops. One of the Medjugorje “seers” came and addressed two parishes in our diocese a couple years ago – neighboring bishop found out about it, prohibited his appearance in a parish of the Diocese and said “seer” ended up speaking at a Presbyterian church. The lack of discernment or willful disobedience is heartbreaking.

  • The Deuce

    Unbelievable. I’m not Catholic, and I know what that guy is. He an atheist who founded the Jesus Seminar, and he’s infamous for believing that Jesus was just a man, that the Resurrection never happened, and that our faith is in vain. There’s no way that whoever invited him doesn’t know that, and the only explanation for why someone would do so is that they’re sympathetic to those views, but are afraid to say so outright and so are instead trying to slyly destroy the faith of the congregation by proxy.

  • DeaconsBench

    What Mark said. Need more?

    From Wikipedia: “Crossan asserts that many of the gospel stories of Jesus are not factual, including his “nature miracles”, the virgin birth, and the raising of Lazarus. While pointing out the meager attestation and apparent belatedness of the miracles’ appearance in the trajectory of the canon, Crossan takes the opposite view, that Jesus was known during earliest Christianity as a powerful magician, which was “a very problematic and controversial phenomenon not only for his enemies but even for his friends,” who began washing miracles out of the tradition early on.

    Crossan maintains the Gospels were never intended to be taken literally by their authors. He argues that the meaning of the story is the real issue, not whether a particular story about Jesus is history or parable.[citation needed] He proposes that it is historically probable that, like all but one known victim of crucifixion, Jesus’ body was scavenged by animals rather than being placed in a tomb.

    Crossan believes in vision hypothesis “resurrection” by faith but holds that bodily resuscitation was never contemplated by early Christians.

  • GodsGadfly

    First time I heard of him, I said his name sounded like a C. S. Lewis villain.

  • Bren R

    I’ve never heard of Crossan although I have heard of the Jesus Seminar in general. Our parish is hosting someone who is a regular visitor to Medugorje and an expert in all things therein. Should I be concerned?

    • Dave

      You can be concerned, but it’s not even close to being at the same level. Crossan is a heretic and an apostate. Heck, I don’t think it would be unfair to call him an atheist. In many ways, he’s worse than an atheist, as he can skillfully destroy the faith of many without them even realizing it is being destroyed. If you look up “wolf in sheep’s clothing” in the idiom manual, you’d find a picture of Crossan. He should set off warning bells like a five-alarm fire.

      Someone who believes in Medjugorje, on the other hand, is very likely an orthodox Catholic, who at worst is mistaken in their belief in an unapproved private revelation.

      • emiliani

        He took off the wolf’s clothing when he was defrocked or left the priesthood; now he’s just a plane old wolf.

  • moseynon

    Crossan makes the news every once in a while. Quoting from a CNN article:

    Crossan says Jesus was an exploited “peasant with an attitude” who
    didn’t perform many miracles, physically rise from the dead or die as
    punishment for humanity’s sins. Jesus was extraordinary because of how he lived, not died…

    …”I cannot imagine a more miraculous life than nonviolent resistance to
    violence,” Crossan says. “I cannot imagine a bigger miracle than a man
    standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square.”

    Although I support the principle of academic freedom, I wonder if a Catholic parish is the appropriate venue for a man who opposes fundamental Church doctrine.

    • Pelagius redivivus. How nice.

    • emiliani

      Well, I can think of something a bit more miraculous than that, but, of course, I lack the intellectual credentials of “Mr.” Cursin’: dude in front of the tank rises from the dead three days after the Chinese kill him for standing in front of the tank, and 2000 years later people are still worshiping him, eating his body, and giving him credit for modern miracles. …I’m just saying.

  • Bill

    This viper will be speaking at Gonzaga on the 3rd of October and St. Pius X Catholic Church in Coeur d’Alene on the 4th. Bishop for Spokane is +Blaise Cupich and for Idaho is +Michael Driscoll.


    • moseynon

      heh…. Crossan is scheduled to speak in the Faith Formation Building. How is that for irony?

  • Bill

    Oh, and Crossan is a former Servite priest turned atheist. A wonderful speaker for a Catholic College and a parish named after one of our greatest popes.

  • FrMichael

    “Pelagius redivivus. How nice.” Pelagius was a heretic, but his beliefs were never malevolent as Crossan’s. Heck, Crossan makes Arius look good.

  • Fatherharry Graham Potter

    The scriptures warn against such deceivers. Have nothing to do with them.

  • Tom

    I hope some good Parishioners will debate him vigorously when he visits.

    • emiliani

      …and I really hope a lot of parishioners really debate the Antichrist when he finally decides to sit on the throne and declare himself Messiah. I mean, that would be the reasonable, sporting thing to do, right, ole chap? We don’t want to pre-judge him now, do we? Why, we’re so magnanimous that we’ll let the rapist and murderer right into our house so he can talk about how stupid and illogical WE are. Just make sure you put your daughter closest to him, ok?

      • Athelstane

        Fellows like Crossan make me start to miss the Index.

        • emiliani

          Nice. Non-Catholics have no idea what you’re talking about right now. I’d love to see the Index for the Internet, too. Nothing like returning responsible government and business dealings to this world.

    • scragsma

      Better yet, I hope the Catholic and other Christian communities involved get wind of who and what he is, and nobody comes to hear him.

  • Melody

    I wasn’t familiar with this guy. I have come across a few scholars who go all humbug on the infancy narratives, and decided not to read them. Not that I felt they would take my faith away, but they would certainly ruin my enjoyment of Advent and Christmas, not to mention the Joyful Mysteries. But it sounds like Crossan goes quite a bit farther than, there weren’t any wise men and there wasn’t a manger in a stable. If you deny the existence of God independent of the human mind, really what is left?
    When one recalls all of the commencement speakers who have been uninvited to speak at Catholic colleges, for a great deal less than this, it is hard to understand how he flies under the radar. If he advocated for women’s ordination or gay rights I’m pretty sure he would be persona non grata as a speaker at most Catholic venues.

  • Michael Lynch

    My problem isn’t just with Crossan’s deviation from orthodoxy, although I certainly disagree with his theology. My problem is that he’s spectacularly inept at using documents to reconstruct ancient history. He is to NT scholarship what Anna Kournikova is to tennis: somebody who gets lots of press, but when you get right down to it isn’t very good at what he does.

  • kenofken

    I’ve read a lot of variations on what people though who/what Christ was, how he died and what became of Him after. I have to say “the dingoes ate him” is original! This guy sounds like enough of a whack job that I may have to go see him just for literary amusement! I miss Hunter Thompson and this guy might just fill that gap!

  • emiliani

    I’m sure St Peter himself, in an effort to give a more balanced picture, would have been more than glad to give Caiaphas (while in Jerusalem) or Nero (when in Rome) the pulpit for a Sunday or two so that they could make their case for why Jesus was a fraud. This isn’t an honest mistake, if true. This is by malevolent design…this is a conspiracy of diabolical hate by someone inside the parish to undermine the faith and integrity of the Church; perhaps the parish priest is from Nigeria or Vietnam and has no idea who this guy is, but whoever picked up the phone and inquired about his availability most certainly does know!! That Cursin’ accepted the offer to speak tells you all you need to know — he sees an opportunity for a bit of a jam down on the Church, and is surely planning on taking full advantage.

  • George Albinson

    Check out Father George Rutler’s classic essay “Remembering the Jesus Seminar” on the “Crisis” magazine website. It is funny as well as scholarly. If Crossan could read it, he might throw himself to the dogs.

  • Julie Peitz Nickell

    He was the “visiting scholar” for a lecture at a local Presbyterian church. So, I take it he’s not really Catholic.

    • moseynon

      According to his website, in 2013 Crossan has been presenting lectures at a variety of churches across the US. Most of the churches seem to be Episcopalian or Lutheran, but there are a few outliers.

      The only scheduled presentations at Catholic sites are at Gonzaga Univ. and at St. Pius X Catholic Church in nearby Coeur d’Alene.

      • Julie Peitz Nickell

        When I was in graduate school, I noticed that many “scholars” seem to come up with crazy or outlandish ideas and theories in order to get published. I wonder how much of this goes on in the Christian world. In any case, false teachers can create a lot of damage.

  • Julie Peitz Nickell

    Reading the comments, I am wondering why ANY church hosts him other than UU’s and UCC’s. He’s a wolf in wolf’s clothing.

  • debodykes

    John Dominic Crossan, Joan Chittister, OSB, and Marcus Borg will be speaking at Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, TX, Oct. 18th and 19th, on “Does Christianity Have a Future? Schism, Scandal, and Loss of the Sacred!” See information at http://www.faithandreason.org. Crossan also has an new adult curriculum, “The Challenge of Jesus.” http://www.challengeofjesus.com

    • Athelstane

      And before anyone gets excited and starts firing off angry missives to Cardinal DiNardo, please note that Christ Church is the cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas – that is to say, this will be taking place in an Episcopalian temple, not a Catholic church.

      And somehow, that seems appropriate.

      And to provide the short answer to their burning question: “No, it won’t if your lot get in charge of it.”

    • emiliani

      Except for the hairline, they look like triplets. These dudes are going to have to figure out where their loyalties lie!!!

  • CathyLouise

    FYI, Christ Church in Houston Texas is an Episcopal Church.

  • emiliani

    Last thing: somewhere in Church history St John is quoted to have said about some heresiarch when he noticed they were in the same place, “Let’s get out of here before the building collapses on us!”

  • Actxiom

    I look forward to listening to Borg, Crossan and all others who attempt to dissect the history of Christianity. These scholars help put a chronological background to events that occurred two thousand years ago.