Aging Modernist ‘corrects’ Son of God…
Jesuit Tom Reese: ‘Actually, Jesus is Wrong’
Smarty-pants ‘Fr.’ Tom Reese, S.J., thinks he knows better than the Word Incarnate
Just the other day the American Jesuit ‘Fr.’ Thomas Reese (b. 1945), who was once editor-in-chief of the Jesuit publication America, candidly declared his rejection of defined Catholic dogma when he said: “I do not believe in Transubstantiation…”.
By manifesting this heresy, he made clear that he does not hold the Catholic Faith, for one cannot accept the Faith in parts or in degrees: “Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: ‘This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved’ (Athanas. Creed)” (Pope Benedict XV, Encyclical Ad Beatissimi, n. 24).
As a manifest heretic, Reese is not a member of the Catholic Church:
Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed.
…For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy.
(Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, nn. 22, 23; underlining added.)
Alas, as great an evil as heresy is, Reese has managed to go further still. Now he has “upgraded” from heresy to blasphemy by directly attacking the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, God Incarnate, Jesus Christ.
Reese accuses Jesus Christ of Error
In a piece published today by the misnamed National Catholic Reporter, Reese writes in all seriousness: “Actually, Jesus is wrong.” This is not a joke!
As any child who has made his First Holy Communion would know, God cannot be wrong. So, what was Reese saying? What is the context in which he was speaking?
Let’s take a look.
Commenting on some of the Lord Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount, based on the Scripture readings for the Novus Ordo ‘Mass’ of Feb. 19, 2023, Reese writes:
Jesus continues his commentary by commenting on the commandment, “You shall love your neighbor, but hate your enemy.” Actually, Jesus is wrong. There is no Old Testament injunction to hate your enemies. Leviticus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself” and makes no reference to enemies.
What Jesus is criticizing here is the common narrow definition of neighbor as only one’s friends or countrymen. This narrow interpretation is alive and well all over the world.
(Thomas Reese, “What does it mean to be holy?”, National Catholic Reporter, Mar. 1, 2023; underlining added.)
Clearly, the Son of God did not have the erudition of Smartypants Tom Reese, so we can be relieved that the former America editor has now set Him straight!
The title of the article, by the way, adds insult to injury: “What does it mean to be holy?” For starters, how about it means not blaspheming God Incarnate? There are other things to criticize in the essay as well, but we’ll limit ourselves to the Jesuit’s intolerable blasphemy and sacrilege against the Son of Man.
God knows All Things – obviously!
That “the Lord is a God of all knowledge” (1 Kgs 2:3) is, of course, part of divine revelation. However, it can also be known from reason alone that God cannot make a mistake, nor can He be deceived. As the Perfect Eternal Being from whom all created perfections derive, God knows all things, and it could not be otherwise. In fact, God’s intelligence is His very essence, as St. Thomas Aquinas proves in his Summa contra Gentiles (Book I, Ch. 45). Such is also taught very plainly in the works of rigid Catholic philosophy and apologetics that people like Reese had to suffer under before Vatican II.
The Catholic magisterium, too, has spoken on the issue, sometimes more, sometimes less directly.
For example, in a letter to the Patriarch of Alexandria, Pope St. Gregory the Great (r. 590-604) asked rhetorically: “For with what purpose can he, who confesses that the Wisdom itself of God is incarnate, say that there is anything which the Wisdom of God does not know?” (Epistle Sicut Aqua; Denz. 248).
Questioning the infallible knowledge of Jesus Christ has long been a symptom of Modernism. The following three propositions were condemned as Modernist by Pope St. Pius X (r. 1903-14) in 1907:
32. It is impossible to reconcile the natural sense of the Gospel texts with the sense taught by our theologians concerning the conscience and the infallible knowledge of Jesus Christ.
33. Everyone who is not led by preconceived opinions can readily see that either Jesus professed an error concerning the immediate Messianic coming or the greater part of His doctrine as contained in the Gospels is destitute of authenticity.
34. The critics can ascribe to Christ a knowledge without limits only on a hypothesis which cannot be historically conceived and which is repugnant to the moral sense. That hypothesis is that Christ as man possessed the knowledge of God and yet was unwilling to communicate the knowledge of a great many things to His disciples and posterity.
(Pope St. Pius X, Decree Lamentabili Sane, Errors 32-34)
Although all these passages speak directly about ignorance rather than error, they are even more applicable to error, which is a greater evil than ignorance: “From what has been said it is clear how much more Catholic sensitivity shrinks from admitting in Christ any errors, when it refused to admit any ignorance” (Fathers Iesu Solano and J.A. de Aldama, Sacrae Theologiae Summa IIIA: On the Incarnate Word, p. 164, n. 360; italics given. Note: Purchase through Amazon link benefits Novus Ordo Watch.)
“With [God] is strength and wisdom: he knoweth both the deceiver, and him that is deceived”, holy Job says (12:16). Which of these applies to Reese? Is he the deceiver, or he that is deceived? Given the available evidence, the answer is not difficult, just disturbing.
Which raises another question: Is ‘Fr.’ Reese meaning to teach the heresy of Arianism perhaps, which denies the divinity of Jesus Christ? Pope St. Pius X described the Modernists quite accurately when he lamented that they “assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the Person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious audacity, they degrade to the condition of a simple and ordinary man” (Encyclical Pascendi Dominici, n. 2).
The Error is Reese’s, Not Christ’s
Apart from reproving the audacity of accusing our Blessed Lord of error, however, we must also answer Reese’s charge. To do that, let’s first look at what Jesus Christ actually said in the Sermon on the Mount that the Modernist presbyter has a problem with:
You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thy enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust.
Reese’s accusation is: “There is no Old Testament injunction to hate your enemies. Leviticus says, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ and makes no reference to enemies.”
It is true that Leviticus says nothing about hating your enemies, but then Christ never claimed that it did. Rather, our Lord said, “You have heard that it hath been said….” He did not say, “You know that it is written….”
Instead of stupidly and blasphemously accusing the Son of God of making a mistake or of being misinformed, Reese could simply have checked a Bible commentary — what a concept! — such as the excellent work by Fr. Cornelius à Lapidé (1567-1637), himself a Jesuit but from a time when the Jesuits were Catholic:
Verse 43. You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thy enemy. First, it says, love thy neighbor, at Leviticus 19:18, but then where is it said, Thou shalt hate thine enemy? Maldonatus replies, in Deuteronomy 25:19, Thou shalt blot out his name from under heaven. See thou forget it not. God had commanded Josue and the Hebrews utterly to destroy the impious Canaanites, and to occupy their land. Christ therefore corrects, not the scribes here, but the law itself, when He commands us to love our enemies. But the law bade only the Canaanites to be slain, not other nations, and even then, not out of hatred: just as a judge might order a guilty person to be put to death, not because he hated him, but even one whom he loved. For his concern is that he make amends for his guilt and the scandal he has caused, for which he is making satisfaction to God and to the republic. Thus a soldier in a just war kills the enemy but does not hate him. For he carries out the commands of his leader, as though of a judge. The old law commanded not only love of friends but also love of enemies, as is plain in Exodus 23:3 and Leviticus 19. For the natural law commands love of one’s enemies.
I maintain, therefore, that this saying was not in the law, but was said by the scribes who interpreted the law. For they, because they found in Leviticus 19:18, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, or as the Vulgate translates, thy friend …, inferred “thou shalt hate thine enemy.” By “friend” or “neighbor” they understood a person of the same locality or nation, i.e., a Jew descended like them from Abraham and Jacob, as though only Jews should be loved by the Jews, while other nations, especially the Canaanites, should be hated, which is obviously wrong. Therefore Christ corrects this interpretation, and explains the law: by neighbor or friend is meant every man, even a foreigner, a gentile, and an enemy. For all men are neighbors, through their first forefather, Adam, and as his descendants are thus brethren. We are also brethren through our second father, Christ, through whom we have been born again, and, as it were, created anew in the likeness of God, and called to the common inheritance of God, our Father in heaven. So S. Jerome, S. Augustine, Theophylact, and others.
(The Great Commentary of Cornelius à Lapide: The Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew, vol. I, trans. by Thomas W. Mossman, rev. and compl. by Michael J. Miller [Fitzwilliam, NH: Loreto Publications, 2008], pp. 282-283; italics given; underlining added. Alternate edition available here.)
And thus is resolved this entire conundrum. Now we know why Christ noted that it had been said to hate your enemy. It was not in the Old Law given by God. It was a false interpretation of the law the scribes had taught to the people, perhaps similar to how Tom Reese in our day is giving a false interpretation of the Gospel.
All this has not been terribly difficult to find out about or understand. It only took reason, Faith, some good will, and just a little bit of research to understand why Christ said what He said.
Although it may come as a shock to Modernists, then, it turns out that Jesus Christ is not wrong.
Tom Reese is.
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License: fair use