the salient fact

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 14, 2006

Pope Benedict's homily on Holy Thursday was magnificent. The CWN story only scratches the surface, and the full text (when, at last, it's made available in English translation) will be worth the wait.

There were many different profound themes in this homily. How do you choose which one to highlight in a news story? A tough question. But one news service reached outside the Pope's homily for this interesting perspective:

Exactly a week after the National Geographic Society put the sympathetic Gospel of Judas on display, Pope Benedict reasserted the traditional Christian view that Judas betrayed his friend and Lord after the Last Supper.

Can you guess? Was this snippet drawn from a story by:

  • The New York Times, whose reporters read their own front page and know what the editors consider important.
  • Al Jazeera, whose reporters aren't acquainted with Christian teaching and don't know what's important.
  • Catholic News Service, whose reporters are paid by the US bishops.

You guessed? Come on! Did you peek?

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  • Posted by: - Apr. 22, 2006 10:18 AM ET USA

    Centurion, not according to the Church, which states in the CCC we have no idea as to Judas' fate. Or according to Pope JPII who said we do not know whether human souls are in hell. My problem here is with the theological mis-step of saying a person is "incapable" of repentance before their death. Judas free will made him capable of repentance, indeed, if he were truly not capable of it, he would also not be culpable for not repenting. Just a poorly chosen phrase I'm guessing.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 20, 2006 11:24 PM ET USA

    If Jesus said of Judas: Better that this man had never been born - reason suggests that no matter how despicable a per he was if finally he achieves salvation it is better that he was born. Only of someone who had no chance of salvation would that remark be true. Of no other human is such a remark made. Judas's fate looks rather clear.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 20, 2006 11:19 PM ET USA

    The Nat.Geographic is a lilltl short on Mariology. The perpetual virginity became a moot issue when it was promulgated by Pope St. Leo the Great. She was as she said to the angel when he informed her of her impending motherhood, a virgin. How can this be so? I know not man? But sex after the birth of Jesus and brothers and sisters for him also was ruled out. Some find it too hard to bear the thought that Mary and Joseph could agree to remain in a sexless relatioship.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 19, 2006 3:59 PM ET USA

    pinecone, if he is being accurately quoted he said Judas "became incapable of conversion" which of course none of us are, pre-death. But I think on reflection it was just an ill-chosen figure of speech, Pope Benedict knows perfectly well we can all repent and convert at any time during our lives.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 18, 2006 7:31 PM ET USA

    Louise, I'm not sure what you're referring to. Pope Benedict made no reference at all to Judas being in hell, only that he threw his life away.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 17, 2006 10:54 AM ET USA

    To be fair, CNS has another article on the Pope's homily that was also published on Holy Thursday (prior to the "off-the-record" above). It can be found here:

  • Posted by: - Apr. 17, 2006 8:04 AM ET USA

    Muuna Kea - I think the "purposefully ignoring the truth" is an adverbial phrase modifying "Judas" - not the Pope. CNS can be quite bad, but even they wouldn't go that far.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 16, 2006 1:14 PM ET USA

    This cannot be... it is against Catholic teaching that any human is incapable of repentace until the moment of death is upon him. Secifically the CCC states we have no idea where the soul of Judas is. I can't believe Pope Benedict would contradict this. Remember Pope JPII said that minus new revelation, we do not know "whether or which" human souls are in hell!

  • Posted by: NonSumDignus - Apr. 16, 2006 10:38 AM ET USA

    This really isn't fair. There are at least three stories on the CNS Web site regarding the Holy Father's sermons on Holy Thursday. One stresses the "magnificent" aspects your rightfully point out. The other two admittedly stress issues of particular interest here in the US: the Pope's reaffirmation of the traditional teaching regarding the betrayal of Judas and the selection of candidates for the Mandatum. Focus on real problems at USCCB not imaginary ones. Happy Easter!

  • Posted by: - Apr. 15, 2006 10:23 AM ET USA

    Make that "one of whose" (yes, I are a college graduate).

  • Posted by: - Apr. 15, 2006 8:09 AM ET USA

    Help me on this, please. Are you noting that they are suggesting a faith-equivalence, so to speak, between the two views? If they are suggesting that Jesus is a liar in scripture ("one of you will betray me"), then they are falling into a modernist trap. Perhaps they have been reading too much Bart Ehrman (one of whoms books was required reading for my son's New Testamant class at my alma mater, a Catholic university--though in fairness, his professor was highly critical of Ehrman in class)

  • Posted by: - Apr. 14, 2006 10:36 AM ET USA

    Perhaps they saw it as a "teaching moment"...and wanted to use his office instead of his words!?!?!? screwed up are we?

  • Posted by: Clorox - Apr. 14, 2006 10:29 AM ET USA

    When National Geographic questions the perpetual virginity of Mary next Advent, look for CNS to suggest that the Holy Father is responding to the media when he preaches on the glories of Mary on December 8. By following the lead of the Gospel and the liturgical season, the Holy Father has more in common with National Geographic than with CNS.