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Passion Predictions
Question from Matt on 9/1/2004:

Fr. Echert, Before I start with my question, I'd like to thank you for the work you do in this forum. In fact, this forum is one of the big reasons why this 21 year old has left his life long home in Protestantism, and is now joining the Catholic Church. On to my question, in my Catholic Study Bible (New American Bible), which I was required to buy for a class, it says, in regard to Matthew 16:21-23, "Neither this nor the two later passion predictions can be taken as sayings that, as they stand, go back to Jesus himself. However, it is probable that he forsaw that his mission would entail suffering and perhaps death, but was confident that he would ultimately be vindicated by God." Father, is this really what the Catholic Church teaches? This Bible has an Imprimatur's approval and, on the back, a reccomendation by a Cardinal (Joseph Bernardin), otherwise I would imagine it were simply a bunch of liberals distorting the Gospel.

The blessing of Christ be with you,

Matt

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 9/18/2004:

That statement is heretical, at face value, and contrary to the explicit statement of even the most recent Council, Vatican II, which affirms the historicity of the Gospels:

19. Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historicity the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven (see Acts 1:1). Indeed, after the Ascension of the Lord the Apostles handed on to their hearers what He had said and done. This they did with that clearer understanding which they enjoyed (3) after they had been instructed by the glorious events of Christ's life and taught by the light of the Spirit of truth. (2) The sacred authors wrote the four Gospels, selecting some things from the many which had been handed on by word of mouth or in writing, reducing some of them to a synthesis, explaining some things in view of the situation of their churches and preserving the form of proclamation but always in such fashion that they told us the honest truth about Jesus.(4) For their intention in writing was that either from their own memory and recollections, or from the witness of those who "themselves from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word" we might know "the truth" concerning those matters about which we have been instructed (see Luke 1:2-4).

I am so pleased that you have become Catholic and regret deeply that you and lifelong Catholics are subject to such lies.

Hang in there, Matt, and stay with solid sources,

Father Echert

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