Did the young Christ beg forgiveness from His parents?

templeFrom Christopher Ferrara at The Remnant:

For nearly three years, during his daily sermons at Casa Santa Marta, Francis has been providing the congregation, and the world, with his idiosyncratic readings of events in the Gospel. These are usually delivered off-the-cuff because Francis tends to view prepared texts with contempt. As we have seen again and again, Francis evidently believes it is more “pastoral” simply to say whatever he thinks without to regard to the doctrinal implications or the potential for scandal. The results have often been, to put it mildly, stupefying.

Readers will recall such memorable examples of homespun exegesis as the claim that the sinless and immaculate Mary “perhaps” felt tricked by God when she saw Her son on the Cross (“Lies! I was cheated!”), that Christ merely pretended to be angry with this disciples (“Jesus does not become angry, but pretends to”), and that Matthew clung to his money when Christ called him (“No, not me! No, this money is mine!”), rather than immediately heeding Our Lord’s call as the Gospel records (Matt. 9:9-13)­.

There was also this astonishing prayer intention in a sermon on the life of Jesus: “Lord grant us Christian identity, which You had.” To say that Jesus had a “Christian identity,” rather than that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the Living God,” as the first Pope recognized (cf. Matthew 16:16), is to suggest that he was not divine but merely a superlative man whose supreme Christian example we should emulate.

Indeed, in the same off-the-cuff sermon Francis opined: “The authority of Jesus­—and the authority of the Christian—comes from this ability to understand the things of the Spirit, to speak the language of the Spirit. It is from this anointing of the Holy Spirit…”­ The implication is that any Christian can be anointed in the unique manner that Jesus was (cf. Acts 10:38), or that Jesus had no authority by virtue of His own divinity but only that of any “anointed” Christian.

However inadvertent it may be, what emerges from such improvisations is an implicit reduction of the God-Man to a Messiah who is merely an exalted creature whose sublime teaching and moral example lead men to God the Father. This is the Enlightenment-bred view of Christ held by the Unitarians and John Locke, who studiously evaded any affirmation of the existence of the triune God or that Christ is the divine second Person of the Holy Trinity.

Francis’s latest improvisation in this regard only heightens the difficulty. Sermonizing on the Finding in the Temple, Francis had this to say:

Instead of returning home with his family, he stayed in Jerusalem, in the Temple, causing great distress to Mary and Joseph who were unable to find him. For this little “escapade”, Jesus probably had to beg forgiveness of his parents. The Gospel doesn’t say this, but I believe that we can presume it.

Any well-catechized child knows that Jesus, far from begging forgiveness, rebuked his parents in a manner that constituted an early revelation of His divinity: “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know, that I must be about my father’s business?” (Luke 2:49) Francis, however, blithely reduces this signal event to a childish escapade for which Jesus had to beg forgiveness. On this view, the very statement “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know, that I must be about my father’s business?” would be the worst sort of insolence and lack of respect for parental authority.

Now, one does not beg forgiveness from another unless one has wrongly offended the other, whereas Jesus, being divine, was incapable of committing a wrong against anyone, much less his own parents. Worse, to say that Jesus had to beg forgiveness for his behavior is to suggest that he had sinned against Mary and Joseph and was thus obliged to ask their pardon.

The question presents itself: Is Francis confused about the divinity of Christ? Does he see Christ as the God-Man whose sacrifice of Himself to the Father, being of infinite value, atoned for all the sins ever committed or to be committed? Or does he hold some lower conception of the Messiah, perhaps without even realizing that he does? I leave it to the commenters to suggest a reasonable explanation of this sermon that is consistent with Christ’s divinity and an orthodox reading of the Gospel.

Father Z has also posted on this

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14 Responses to Did the young Christ beg forgiveness from His parents?

  1. A friend e-mailed me:

    “I regret having to say it, but I long ago gave up reading anything this pope has said. I admire men like Christopher Ferrara because they’re able to continue doing that.

    “This pope gives the impression of believing that anything that pops into his head must be inspired by the Holy Spirit, simply because he’s the pope.

    “He seems to have forgotten what every school child learns: there is another, Darker Entity who is also quite capable of planting ideas in the minds of all human beings.”


  2. I agree with the above post. Satan is in the Vatican -and has been since the iniquitous second vatican council.God Bless.


  3. Michael says:

    There’s a couple of very good commentaries on this sermon at the Countercultural Father blog here:



    Also, I think the comment at wdtprs.com by kiwiinamerica (7:01pm on the 4th of January) on this sums up very well the frustration these sort of ‘off-the-cuff’ comments creates:



  4. kathleen says:

    @ Michael

    It’s a surprising coincidence, but that very same comment by ‘kiwiinamerica’ on Father Z’s blog was one I very nearly posted here myself!! And for the same reason you go on to explain – which is the “frustration”, plus confusion and disquiet of the faithful, such a demeaning of Our Lord’s Divinity makes with remarks of Pope Francis such as this one.

    Where does all this denigration of Our Blessed Lord’s Divine Nature come from? (And at the hands of the Pope, no less!) Could it simply be an Argentinian trait (e.g.,the typical use of irony, mockery, looking down on those considered inferior to oneself) as one Argentinian ex-patriot once explained to me? Or too much indulging in the heretical works of his fellow Jesuit, Teilhard de Chardin, perhaps?

    The end result of all this is that the True Nature of Christ is being constantly diminished under this papacy…. But as St John the Baptist announced: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
    Could someone please tell the Holy Father that!


  5. kathleen says:

    For those Catholics who, naturally, dislike criticising the person of the Holy Father, Chris Ferrara makes this very pertinent explanation to one such commenter on ‘The Remnant’ blog:

    “It is not merely “regrettable” when a Pope utters such blasphemies as Christ “begging forgiveness” for His “little escapade,” it is a public scandal that calls for public protest.

    We don’t expect the Pope to be a “perfect man,” but we do expect him to refrain from constantly uttering scandalous and blasphemous remarks, twisting Scripture again and again, and endlessly hurling crude insults at Catholics he does not like, including publicly denouncing a mother of eight for “tempting God” and being “irresponsible” because she had her children delivered by repeated C-sections.

    Nowhere does the Church teach that one must “refuse to criticize others” when criticism is warranted. Quite the contrary, criticism is obligatory when public scandal is given. The Pope is not immune from such criticism where it is warranted.

    Nor do we know only “half the story” in this case. We know the whole story because we have the whole sermon. And, just like Francis’s sermon on the Virgin Mary thinking “Lies! I was tricked!”—tricked by God!–this sermon on a Christ who offends his parents and “begs forgiveness” is a pure invention that corrupts the purity of the Gospel.

    Of course the Pope needs prayers. I pray for Francis with every Rosary. But the Pope also needs to hear the protests of the faithful when he causes scandal. That is why he himself thanked Gnocchi and Palmaro, a pair of laymen, for their very harsh critique of his pontificate, entitled “We Do Not Like This Pope.”

    Finally, this notion that we must “love the Pope” in some sentimental, mushy sense according to which we must never say or do anything about the antics that have won him the world’s endless praise is a perversion of the very notion of love. The entire tradition of the Church in this regard is summed up by Paul IV in Cum ex Apostolatus Officio: “the Roman Pontiff, who is the representative upon earth of God and our God and Lord Jesus Christ, who holds the fullness of power over peoples and kingdoms, who may judge all and be judged by none in this world, *may nonetheless be contradicted if he be found to have deviated from the Faith.”*”


  6. Robert says:

    100 years ago this Spring the Angel of Portugal appeared to the seers of Fatima and began to prepare them to meet Our Lady. With news of North Korea testing a hydrogen Bomb it seems to me that we are facing the consequences of Rebellion and Disobedience against Fatima as evidenced in 60’s by a Masonic Curia.
    Time to prepare Our Souls with contrition as we approach the 100 Anniversary of Fatima by following the same path Heaven chose for those seers! 2016 a year of reparation and contrition.


  7. Michael says:

    Kathleen @ 11:54:

    That is a coincidence indeed! It is frustrating isn’t it, and one major concern of mine is that Pope Francis’ odd appointments are not actually due to the liberal theology of the appointees primarily, but because he likes surrounding himself with people he likes personally, regardless of their fealty to Catholic teaching or no.

    The net result of this is that a.) he does indeed surround himself with theological liberals, because, let’s be honest, they have for a very long time been ‘playing the game’ in order to gain influence in the Vatican*; and b.) he is surrounded by people eager to please him, who will very rarely call him out on anything. Thus when he said a few months back that he was surprised at how confused people were by his public pronouncements, I wasn’t actually that surprised – he has nobody to tell him otherwise, because confusion is just what they want!

    As for the influence of his Argentine experience, I don’t know anything about national traits one way or the other, but I have seen a good few articles making the case that his experience of the Church in Argentina in general, and the Jesuit order there in particular, have had a great influence on the sort of priest he later became. The problem is, as I think I have said to you before, that he doesn’t seem to think that there is much difference between being a parish priest, where off-the-cuff statements might occasionally be appropriate in a one-to-one situation** and being pope, where the responsibilities of the office definitely exclude such a way of behaving.

    *And yes, I’m afraid I am suggesting that in general theological liberalism or cafeteria Catholicism (whatever one chooses to call it) does in the long run lead to dishonesty. How could it not? If someone is willing to convince themselves that x, y or z are compatible with being a faithful Catholic when they are plainly not, this is clearly an act of self-deception, and if entertained long enough, it would not be surprising if such an attitude spilled over into other areas too.

    **This being a reference to his ‘style’ in general, which has led to a lot of misunderstandings. I certainly wouldn’t want to suggest that statements such as the one in this sermon, which definitely cannot be explained away by bad media reporting or suchlike, would be appropriate in any situation.


  8. Michael says:

    P.S. Just in case it’s not clear enough from the above, I am certainly not claiming that all theological liberals are liars, or that all theological conservatives are always honest. I merely suggest that the necessary self-deception involved in theological liberalism per se will have an inevitable knock-on effect in many cases, and that it is therefore not surprising that so many theological liberals (e.g.; the Saint Gallen group) are willing to mislead, misrepresent and even outright deceive in order to gain influence within the Church.


  9. toadspittle says:

    I’ve posted my ideas regarding this topic on here, earlier. They were simply censored. (or so I must suppose) Why? Were they not answerable with a gentle smile, and an explanation?
    I get the impression that some of my comments are killed – simply because they raise ugly, unanswerable, questions. But, as nobody gets to consider them, there’s not much to be done about it.
    Am I right to think this, can anyone in authority tell me? If not, then why am I being consistently censored?
    I’ll slog stubbornly on, anyway. What else is there for me to do?

    Let’s have a bit of frank honesty on CP&S, for once.

    [A moderator replies: That is correct, your one comment on this subject was censored due to its profane language towards the Holy Family. Had you made your questions in another tone you might have gotten an answer.]


  10. toadspittle says:

    I did not wilfully use any “profane language” towards anyone. If you think I did. please repeat it while explaining why you are doing so, and thus distance yourselves from it – so others might judge for themselves.
    What is “profane” language, anyway? “Bad” words? What bad words did I use?
    If you have the courage run what I said, and the general feeling is that I was way out of line, I will deeply and sincerely apologise. I promise.


  11. Robert says:

    Toad quite correct honesty. But this means Truth. Face to Face with Truth. Why this takes Us to the God Incarnate Made Man. Face to Face with the Truth. St John’s Gospel starts with the Truth.
    We have been warned against rationalism and modernism and what are we seeing and reading here if not rationalism (human) being placed before revelation? That’s masonic pure masonry!

    St Pope Pius X (20 century Pope) and His Oath against modernism
    I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world….
    …sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport…
    …reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists…
    …declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition…”
    …firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way…
    …promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing…
    …Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God

    The Oath against Modernism was issued by the Roman Catholic Pope, Saint Pius X, on September 1, 1910, and mandated that “all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries” should swear to it.
    The oath continued to be taken until July 1967 when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith rescinded it.
    So we are back to mid 1960’s are we not?
    NOTE Rationalism.
    Now look at this “..off-the-cuff sermon Francis opined: “The authority of Jesus­—and the authority of the Christian—comes from this ability to understand the things of the Spirit, to speak the language of the Spirit. It is from this anointing of the Holy Spirit…”
    Absolute rubbish because the Word was made flesh!
    The Word second person of the Trinity.
    The Trinity = Creed. God the Father God the Son and God the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son. The language of the What Spirit? because we must test the Spirits!
    Francis will have no problem bowing to Mecca since in His Faith The Christ is just another Prophet and therefor subservient to Mohammed!


  12. kathleen says:

    Michael @ 16:11 & 16:56 yesterday

    Yes, I agree with your analysis on “theological liberalism”. To make any impact on their readers, those of this mindset have therefore to downplay Christ’s Divinity to exalt His Humanity above it. This is dangerous ground, with connotations reminiscent of the Arian heresy, besides being an insincere and twisted interpretation on the purity of the Scriptures.
    We can also see for ourselves the disastrous weakening of faith this has had on generations of post V2 Catholics who have been steeped in its errors.

    Concerning “Argentinian traits”… I must say that I have absolutely no wish to offend anyone by these words. This belittlement of others which an Argentinian himself told me laughingly was very typical of his compatriots (and could explain the attitude of Pope Francis in many of his speeches) can never be a generalisation of the whole people. The Argentinians I know who live and work out here are wonderful: very hard-working, with lots of initiative, somewhat flamboyant perhaps, but friendly and possessors of a great sense of humour.

    The image we all had last year (and the year before) of all those fine young Argentinian men praying in a circle surrounding the Cathedral of St John the Baptist to protect it from the evil, sacrilegious intentions of all those scantily-dressed, aggressive, spitting and screaming FEMEN groups, without any retaliation, is something so outstandingly heroic and chivalrous, it caught the admiration of the whole Catholic world.


  13. kathleen says:

    Toad @ 20:30 yesterday

    I’ve just looked in our ‘bin’ and seen your censored comment. I would call it “offensive” rather than “profane” maybe, but there is still no reason why we should print such rubbish on our Catholic blog.
    Besides, all the questions you pose have already been well and fully answered by the article on Father Z’s blog – and by his great commenters – if only you had bothered yourself to follow the link given in the article!

    In a nutshell: No. The young Christ had no need to “beg forgiveness” from his holy parents, for He had done no wrong! Now, go over and read it for yourself.


  14. Michael says:

    Kathleen @ 07:08:

    Yes, it is a slippery slope indeed! Chesterton writes beautifully about this in his Orthodoxy, describing how important it is to keep the correct balance between all the elements of the Faith, because although it is something harmonious and beautiful, it is also something precarious and delicate – an equilibrium liable to shift one way or the other with the slightest withdrawal or introduction of any given aspect. The harmony of orthodoxy is not that of the of straight lines and sharp corners of modern architecture, but more akin to the staggering vaults and near-impossible curvatures of the gothic cathedral. Hence the need for good catechesis and sound teaching from the hierarchy!

    Re Argentinian/Argentine (I never know which one of these to use!) traits, I know what you mean – from the very little I know, the people of Argentina (safer bet there) can be very self-deprecating, and manage to combine a certain amount of bravado with an ironic mocking of that very trait! It is a funny national make-up they have too, quite unique in Latin America, insofar as I believe they feel themselves to be more European than other American nations, and also combine both Spanish and Italian characteristics in quite a unique way.

    But yes, I certainly didn’t think you were meaning any offence – with the Holy Father being as difficult to work out as he is, examination of his roots is a worthwhile endeavour I think. And yes, despite religious observance being on the wane in Argentina to some extent, the witness of those men outside the Cathedral was really inspiring, and testimony to the fact that a great deal of love for the Church still exists there!

    Also, re your final paragraph at 12:03 on January 6th, I couldn’t agree more. I find it quite frustrating that whenever valid criticism of something Pope Francis has said or done is put forward, the old accusation of ‘oh you think you’re more Catholic than the Pope’ or suchlike comes out, as if he were beyond any criticism whatsoever, or valid critique of someone necessarily implies judgement of their whole person (a common conflation it seems!) It is of course particularly frustrating when it comes from people who thought nothing of attacking Pope Benedict’s person as well as his words, but is a phenomenon certainly not limited to those circles!


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