Vatican Paper Says ‘Jesus’ Wife’ Scrap Is Fake

The Huffington Post reports:

Vatican City – The Vatican newspaper has added to the doubts surrounding Harvard University’s claim that a 4th century Coptic papyrus fragment showed that some early Christians believed that Jesus was married, declaring it a “fake.”

The newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, published an article Thursday by leading Coptic scholar Alberto Camplani and an accompanying editorial by the newspaper’s editor, Giovanni Maria Vian, an expert in early Christianity. They both cited concerns expressed by other scholars about the fragment’s authenticity and the fact that it was purchased on the market without a known archaeological provenance.

“At any rate, a fake,” Vian entitled his editorial, which criticized Harvard for creating a “clamorous” media frenzy over the fragment by handing the scoop to two U.S. newspapers only to see “specialists immediately question it.”

Karen King, a professor of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School, announced the finding last week at an international congress on Coptic studies in Rome. The text, written in Coptic and probably translated from a 2nd century Greek text, contains a dialogue in which Jesus refers to “my wife,” whom he identifies as Mary.

The issue has had resonance since Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was unmarried, and any evidence to the contrary would fuel current debates about celibacy for priests and the role of women in the church.

As such, it’s not surprising that the Vatican would challenge the claim.

King has said the fragment doesn’t prove Jesus was married, only that some early Christians thought he was. She has acknowledged the doubts raised by her colleagues and says the fragment’s ink will be tested to help determine when it was written.

Some scholars attending the conference questioned the authenticity of the fragment, noting its form and grammar looked unconvincing and suspicious. Others said it was impossible to deduce the meaning of it given the fragmented nature of the script.

Camplani, a professor at Rome’s La Sapienza university who helped organize the conference, cited those concerns and added his own, specifically over King’s interpretation of the text – assuming it is real.

Rather than taking the reference to a wife literally, he wrote, scholars routinely take such references in primitive Christian and biblical literature metaphorically, to symbolize the spiritual union between Jesus and his disciples.

The absence of any reference to Jesus being married in historic documents “seems more significant than the literal interpretation of a few expressions from the new text, which by my reading should be understood purely in a symbolic sense,” he wrote.

Camplani nevertheless praised King’s academic paper on the subject as scientific and objective…

Read on here.



The Failure of the Ordinariate?

Mr Christian Clay Columba Campbell after giving up The Anglo Catholic blog has a new blog. Sadly, his sentiments and tone remains unchanged:

From a recent comment by Fr. Phillips of Our Lady of the Atonement on Rorate Cæli:

When our parish was established a little over twenty-nine years ago, it was the first of the “Anglican Use” parishes. Although we would like to be part of the Ordinariate in this country, we will be waiting until it is more closely conformed to Pope Benedict’s vision. Speaking for myself, I’m not interested in returning to a form of Episcopalianism, even if it is in communion with the Holy See.

This is exactly what I said at the inauguration of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The Ordinariate, as it is evolving, is not, according to the letter or its spirit, a faithful reflection of the Holy Father’s express will in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum cœtibus. I am not happy to have been the first to make the observation that the purpose of this Ordinariate seemed to be to recreate The Episcopal Church circa 1990, simply without women — or (at least openly) homosexual — bishops. The Ordinary seems a thorough Modernist and is an avowed enemy of Catholic Tradition. While the Rorate Cæli post suggests that Cardinal Wuerl is pulling the strings, I am certain that the Ordinary need not have been unduly pressured to adopt the same positions. After all, it should not be forgotten that Monsignor Steenson is on record as saying that it was only possible for him to become Catholic because of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council!

He rambles on here.



Some Reflexions on the Status Quo of the TAC

Over at Ordinariate Expats:

Now that the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Orlando, Florida, has joined the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, and that The Traditional Anglican Church in the UK has presentged a new website listing the few remaining parishes, the time has obviously come for an intermediate status quo.

The “Catholic Left” blog has posted first a list of TAC parishes and then a list of TAC clergy who have so far joined the Ordinariates worldwide and in Fr. Stephen Smuts’ and Deborah Gyapong’s blog postings of yesterday, 27th September, there is a sometimes very emotional debate in progress about the current state of the “rump” TAC.

I think we can fairly say that the first and major wave of TAC receptions into the Catholic Church is coming to a close. The current number of former Anglican Communion bishops (Monsignori Newton, Burnham, Broadhurst, Barnes and Silk) and former TAC bishops (Fr. Entwistle, Mgr. Mercer, Messrs. Reid, Wilkinson and Campese) who have joined Rome since Anglicanorum Coetibus has now reached a par at 5 to 5 (Msgr. Steenson from the Anglican Communion swam the Tiber several years previously). Bishop David Robarts (TAC) of Tasmania is still expected to join the Australian Ordinariate in the not too distant future.

Two of the former TAC bishops and current Catholic laymen (Carl Reid and Peter Wilkinson) in Canada are expected to be ordained Catholic priest on December 8th.

Two 0f the most prominent TAC bishops who have not decided to seek reception (Archbishop Hepworth and Bishop Moyer) have both been refused ordination in the Catholic Church because of clerical and marital irregularities. The case of Archbishop Falk, however, seems to remain a mystery. His former Vicar to the Ordinary, Tom Cairns, has been received into the Church but not yet as a member of the Ordinariate – he too is among those who have been refused ordination.