January 14, 2005I hope this letter is not offensive but may be a charitable means to correct some serious catechetical problems in some homilies. I sat on it for 3 weeks, trying to get it right.
Dear Fr. xxxxxxxxxx:
May God’s blessings be upon you and all of your family and friends!
I am writing you this letter to address an issue which could be a source of confusion for most Catholics who receive their knowledge of Church teaching primarily from the homily, and who rely on priests to faithfully hand on the teaching of the Church. The issue to which I refer is that concerning Jesus’ human knowledge – a subject which you discussed in your homily at the 4:00p.m. Christmas Vigil Mass in the Chapel on Dec. 24, 2004.
With respect to your homily, I would be remiss in my obligation as a confirmed Catholic to defend the faith if I did not address what you said about Christ and His knowledge of His Divinity. This letter is not meant as a criticism but more as an effort to help you pass on a proper understanding of Christ’s knowledge to the faithful in the future, lest they become even more confused and bewildered than they are now in these times of rampant and widespread confusion. Because of the complexity of the subject and the theological pitfalls into which one can easily fall, it would seem that the discussion of this subject during a short homily should be limited in scope and at the very least, be in conformity with the Catechism and the teachings of the Church.
You indicated, or at least suggested, that Jesus only gradually became aware that He was God. Your discussion with the children (and the rest of the faithful) that Jesus learned different things just as they learn different things while growing up, was, at best, ambiguous and confusing, and bordered on the precipice of previously condemned propositions. Catholics have a fundamental right to the truth as revealed by God and defined by the Church. This subject matter touches on an aspect of Catholic theology that MUST be approached with due care and deliberation lest one inadvertently lead the faithful into an area of neo-Nestorianism or some other confusing beliefs incompatible with the faith.
I hope that you would reacquaint yourself with faithful, orthodox explanations on this subject so as to avoid leading Catholics into error or the proximity to error in the future when discussing this subject. To assist you in this matter, I have attached an easy-to-read article concerning Christ and His knowledge. The article is “The Human Knowledge of Christ” from the magazine, “The Catholic Faith”, a venture started by the eminent Jesuit catechist and theologian, Fr. John Hardon.
I genuinely request that you prayerfully consider the above. I am certain that you, being the kind and generous priest that you are, a priest who is devoted to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, will want to do all you can to faithfully pass on the fullness of truth as taught by the Church.
Sincerely in Christ,
Any criticism is welcomed.