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[hocna] ECUMENISM AND THE DEATH OF GOD

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  • Peter Carras
    The heresy of Ecumenism has but one goal - to lead people to believe there is no God. The following article brings out the fact that many Roman Catholic
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 4, 1999
      The heresy of Ecumenism has but one goal - to lead people to believe
      there is no God. The following article brings out the fact that many
      Roman Catholic clergy do not believe that our Lord and Saviour
      resurrected physically from the tomb. It is taken directly from the
      Roman Catholic periodical (Weekend Australia, October 22-23, 1988). It
      was taken from "The Orthodox Christian Witness" published by Fr. Neketas
      Palassis of St. Nectarios Church in Seattle. Fr. Neketas appended the
      following comment which I bekieve is very appropriate:
      "World Orthodoxy's clergy are presently endeavoring to change the
      Church's Paschalion in order to celebrate Christ's Resurrection with
      people who no longer believe in Christ's physical Resurrection."

      Did Christ Really Rise from the Dead?
      By GREG SHERIDAN

      This is a story about the Roman Catholic Church, and whether it any
      longer has any beliefs which are sacred. It is a story about
      allegations of heresy and counter-allegations of a witch-hunt, about the
      mechanisms of Roman Catholic discipline and about the disintegration of
      belief, even of coherence and identity, within the oldest and largest
      Christian institution [sic].
      Specifically it is about belief in the bodily resurrection of Christ,
      generally regarded as the most central doctrine of the Christian faith.
      It is about the widespread acceptance among Roman Catholicism's
      theologians and priests in Australia of the belief that Christ's
      resurrection somehow did not involve his physical body, a view radically
      at odds with the official Church position, and which contradicts
      traditional Catholic belief over 2000 years.
      The story centers on Dr. David Coffey, head of systematic theology
      at St. Patrick's Seminary at Manly in Sydney. St. Patrick's is the
      oldest and most important Roman Catholic seminary in Australia.
      Dr. Coffey by all accounts is a brilliant and devout man. Born in
      Mildura and raised in Sydney, he studied for the priesthood at Manly and
      was ordained in the late 1950s. Since the early 1960s, with a couple of
      years break for further study overseas, he has been an academic at the
      Manly seminary.
      In 1960, he wrote an essay called "The Resurrection of Jesus and
      Catholic Orthodoxy." Dr. Coffey argued that a position which held that
      "the resurrection is an event not involving in any way the corpse of
      Jesus... is, or should be, acceptable to Catholic orthodoxy".
      In the same article he argued that the empty tomb of Christ "had nothing
      to do with the resurrection as such. . . "
      He speculated that there could be any number of explanations for the
      empty tomb: "One would be that despite the attention of the women (which
      may not be historical) the tomb was not the right one. Perhaps, as a
      result of the community's faith in the resurrection, an empty tomb was
      produced. and the story of the women created to authenticate it. . ."
      Interestingly, Dr. Coffey himself acknowledges at the end of his
      article that if or when Rome comes to accept a view of the resurrection
      which does not involve Christ's physical remains, "a daunting pastoral
      problem will remain. However, it must not be assumed that official
      acceptance of such a position will automatically result in widespread
      loss of faith. . . "
      Here Dr. Coffey seems to acknowledge that his beliefs on the
      resurrection run counter to those held by the great mass of Catholics
      over two millennia.
      The Sydney Church authorities were apparently completely relaxed
      about Dr. Coffey's views. They took no action on the matter, made no
      public attempt to defend Orthodox Catholic doctrine and Dr. Coffey
      remained, as he does today, in good standing as a senior academic at
      Manly.
      However, others were not so sanguine. A group of Roman Catholics in
      Sydney, including lay people and clerics, and including one of Dr.
      Coffey's then students at Manly, Brian Harrison, wrote to Rome
      complaining about Dr. Coffey's teachings. Eventually the Roman
      authorities sent Archbishop Clancy, the Archbishop of Sydney and the man
      ultimately responsible for the Manly seminary, a "please explain".
      Archbishop Claney twice passed on to Dr. Coffey requests that he
      respond to certain questions which the official Roman body, the
      Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had about his work.
      Dr. Coffey made two replies to Rome, forwarded through Archbishop
      Clancy. Last year, when the process had become somewhat public, the
      majority of the academic staff at Manly wrote to The Bulletin saying
      they fully supported Dr.Coffey.
      Finally, a couple of weeks ago, Cardinal Clancy issued a statement:
      "It is widely known that some of the theological views of the Reverend
      Dr. David Coffey, of the Catholic Institute of Sydney, have been subject
      to study by Church authorities. . . The views in question concern the
      nature of the bodily resurrection of Christ. The matter is complex.
      "The issues being sufficiently clarified, I have advised Dr. Coffey
      to align his teaching with that of the Magisterium of the Church, which
      is that the physical remains of Jesus, placed in the tomb after his
      death, were raised in His resurrection. Hence, the empty tomb. This,
      Dr. Coffey has readily undertaken to do."
      Dr. Coffey confirmed that from now on in any public statements he
      made on the resurrection he would be obliged publicly to support the
      Cardinal's line on the resurrection.
      Did that line have his private assent?
      "That is a question no one has the right to ask me and I certainly
      won't answer," he said.
      But while he hoped his public role in the matter would be at an end, he
      signalled that the controversy over his views would rage on. "This
      statement made by the Archbishop will itself be the subject of debate. .
      ."
      Dr. Coffey alerted me to a letter from the president of the
      Australian Catholic Theological Association, Dr. Michael Putney, which
      will appear in The Catholic Weekly, Sydney's official Roman Catholic
      newspaper, on sale in Sydney's Roman Catholic churches tomorrow. That
      letter supports Dr. Coffey's position of 1960 and seems to flatly reject
      the Cardinal's Statement.
      These new statements of Dr. Coffey's, combined with the Catholic
      Weekly letter, and the earlier letter of Dr. Coffey's colleagues to The
      Bulletin supporting him, surely pose a new and profound problem for
      Cardinal Clancy.
      On the basis of this evidence, many - perhaps most - Roman Catholic
      priests do not believe in the physical resurrection of Christ, the
      central defining doctrine of the Church.
      The questions are begged: What will the cardinal do about this?
      Does he care that many priests apparently do not believe in the physical
      resurrection of Christ? How far is the Australian Catholic Church also
      part of the Roman Catholic Church? If Dr. Coffey is required to fall
      into line publicly with Rome, what about the Australian Catholic
      Theological Association?
      Many Australian Roman Catholics believe that if [their denomination]
      will not stand up and defend the physical resurrection of Christ, there
      must be precious little it will stand up and defend.
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