A Scripture Scholar's Blasphemy
And Other Falsehoods

The Catholic Catechism defines blasphemy as follows:

Blasphemy is directly opposed to the 2nd Commandment. It consists in uttering against God – inwardly or outwardly – words of hatred, reproach, or defiance in speaking of God; in failing in respect toward Him in one's speech; in misusing God's name. St. James condemns those who blaspheme that honorable name (of Jesus) by which you are called' (James 2:7). The prohibition of blasphemy extends to language against Christ's Church, the saints, and sacred things.... Blasphemy is in itself a grave sin.
(CCC, 2148)

To demean and denigrate the Mother of God in her privileges and prerogatives is to strike directly at the Divine Son of God who predestined her from all eternity to participate in the Redemption of the human race. It is to engage in a form of blasphemy inconceivable to believing Catholics.

What then to think of Fr. Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, O.P.'s views concerning Scripture, our Savior, and the Mother of Our Lord contained in "U.S. Catholic", December 1996? His article "Do the Gospels paint a clear picture of Jesus?" is introduced with an account of his credentials (together with photos displaying the Dominican in his suit and tie):

Murphy-O'Connor is recognized the world over for his scholarship on St. Paul and other New Testament texts. His many books include "Becoming Human Together" (Liturgical Press, 1982); "St. Paul's Corinth Guide" (Oxford University Press, 1992); and his latest "Paul: A Critical life" (Oxford University Press, 1996). Murphy-O'Connor is not shy about saying what he thinks. Mary, he says, considered Jesus an embarrassment to the family until after His crucifixion when she came to believe in Him.

Murphy O-Connor is nothing if not "definite" in his expressions of neo-Modernist biblical revisionism. "I'm always definite. I think I owe that to people. I certainly owe it to students." Thus, he is "definite" about the following:

  1. There are contradictions and inconsistencies and mythical embellishments in the written Word of God.
  2. St. Luke was mistaken in writing about a decree by Caesar Augustus for a census (Lk 2:2-3)
  3. Jesus did not always know His vocation and mission.
  4. Jesus was a disciple of John the Baptist and only when He stopped being John's disciple did He "start thinking about Himself as the Messiah".
  5. Jesus began to think He was the Messiah "when He started to work miracles" (indicating that He had God's approval).
  6. "Jesus didn't know where His power to heal came from at first."
  7. St. Paul "had no concept of the divinity of Jesus".
  8. "Mary did not believe in Jesus' Mission during His lifetime... Jesus was obviously an embarrassment to the family... She became a disciple only after the Passion, as the brothers of Jesus did... Mary was not at the foot of the Cross... Her absence had become such a scandal that She had to be inserted into (St. John's) narrative."
  9. "I see Mary as a model of faith, but a model of faith through great anguish and despair (and doubts) at certain moments. Then She comes to believe."

Fr. Murphy-O'Connor's bizarre views contradict the Faith of the Church on many points:

  • the inerrancy of Scripture,
  • Christ's knowledge of His divinity and messianic mission,
  • the Blessed Virgin's faith and trust in Her Divine Son.

He not only demeans Our Blessed Lord but detracts from the veneration due the all-holy and sinless Mother of God whose faith in Her Divine Son never failed. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church professes:

...Espousing the divine will for salvation whole-heartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of the redemption with him and dependent on him, by God's grace.

...Thus the Blessed Virgin Mary advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan...

By her complete adherence to the Father's will, to her Son's redemptive work, and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church's model of faith and charity.

This motherhood in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect.
(CCC, § 494; 964; 967; 969)

Murphy-O'Connor's blasphemy and falsehoods appear, not surprisingly, in "U.S. Catholic", a long-time trumpeter of Liberal Catholicism and persistent organ of dissent from Magisterial teaching. The same publication has often presented the "biblical scholarship" of such worthies as: Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, Raymond Brown, Monika Hellwig, and Pheme Perkins. It has revelled in the "higher biblical criticism" and the misuse of the "critical historical method" characterizing the work of neo-Modernist biblicists who do not hesitate to subvert Catholic doctrine, piety, and devotion.

Murphy-O'Connor declares himself an unabashed critic of what he calls "fundamentalism". He says:

"We should be afraid of the fundamentalist approach" to Scripture which, [to his mind,] refuses to admit that "the different accounts (in the Gospels) don't match up".

Would that he were afraid of the blasphemies and heresies committed by neo-Modernists who re-write Holy Scripture to suit themselves!

The Jesus and Mary of Fr. Jerome Murphy-O'Connor are not the Jesus and Mary of the Catholic Church.

About James Likoudis
James Likoudis is an expert in Catholic apologetics. He is the author of several books dealing with Catholic-Eastern Orthodox relations, including his most recent "The Divine Primacy of the Bishop of Rome and Modern Eastern Orthodoxy: Letters to a Greek Orthodox on the Unity of the Church." He has written many articles published by various religious papers and magazines.
He can be reached at:  jlikoudis@cuf.org, or visit  Mr. James Likoudis' Homepage

Dissent from the Magisterium.... is not compatible with being a "good Catholic".
- Pope John Paul II -