Bishop of San Jose Denies Historicity of Gospels in Response to “Passion” Film

McGrath criticized by local Catholics for supporting pro-homosexual organizations
Mon Feb 23, 2004 - 12:15 pm EST

SAN JOSE February 23, 2004 ( - The Roman Catholic bishop of San Jose California has written an editorial for the local paper in which he denies the historical truth of the Gospels. In response to the accusations of anti-semitism which have been made against the film, “The Passion of the Christ,” Bishop Patrick J. McGrath wrote in The Mercury News on February 18, that the charge of anti-Semitism cannot be leveled against Catholicism since Catholics do not adhere to the literal, historical truth of Scripture.  Without commenting directly on the film, which he says he has not seen, the bishop wrote, “While the primary source material of the film is attributed to the four gospels, these sacred books are not historical accounts of the historical events that they narrate. They are theological reflections upon the events that form the core of Christian faith and belief.”

However Bishop McGrath’s statement that the Gospel accounts of the Passion of Christ are mere “theological reflections” contradicts Church teaching.  For example, the Second Vatican Council document Dei Verbum states, “Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels…whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught…”  Bishop McGrath has been criticized by local Catholic groups for his support of pro-homosexual organizations and his exclusion of the Christian group Courage, a support group for homosexuals who try to live according to Christian morality.  Bishop McGrath’s editorial:

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