Fr. Jonathan Morris: A Jesus Wife Wouldn't Change Catholic Theology Or Church Practice
In the wake of the lame reporting about a 4th century swath of papyrus that mentions Jesus talking about a wife (which is no more proof of anything than if I were to write it today), we had ourselves a fun discussion here at Ricochet - not about whether Jesus had a wife (he didn’t) - but what it would mean to Christianity if it were discovered that he did.
I took the position that it wouldn’t change a thing about scriptural interpretation and therefore would be insignificant (from a Catholic point of view).
To my surprise, the opposition to my thesis was so rough I was accused of damaging the very dignity of Ricochet (proving the old adage that religion shouldn’t be discussed in polite company, I guess).
Father Jonathan Morris is a contributor to FoxNews.com and frequent guest on Fox News television shows. He is the network’s go-to Catholic priest. I had the pleasure of being a guest on a web show hosted by him (the web show is where Fox tries you out to see if they want to bump you up to TV. Not getting the invite to the big show, I assume they decided I have a face for radio).
It appears Father Morris has damaged the dignity of Fox News, as he penned a piece that holds a wife of Jesus would have no effect on Catholic interpretation of scripture:
Christians have no reason to be scandalized by the thought of a married Jesus because there is nothing in Christian theology that would eliminate the possibility. Jesus was pro-woman and pro-marriage. He attended weddings and even did his first miracle at a wedding feast by turning water into wine. When asked about marriage and about men who wanted to divorce their wives, Jesus defended the marriage bond with no equivocation: "what God has joined, men shall not divide."
If Jesus chose not to marry--and the body of evidence, beginning with all of the Gospels and two thousand years of tradition, points overwhelmingly in that direction--it was only because he chose to give up something wonderful for the sake of his divine mission.
Father Morris went even further than I, by opining that a wife of Jesus would not change Church practices either:
Furthermore, Christians would have no reason to be nervous because proof of a married Jesus wouldn't change the practice of the Church in any way. The Church has learned from Jesus to treat women as equals to men in dignity and worth. Jesus was unafraid to break social norms to make sure all cultures, of all times, would understand this truth. He involved women in his ministry. He traveled with them. He had female friends. He honored his mother publicly. He invited women to be his disciples. And on the day of his Resurrection from the dead, he chose to appear first to several women even before he appeared to his twelve male apostles.
There is a great deal more to Father Morris’ article about the topic, which you can read here.
The very fact that I’m quoting Father Morris is proof that I’m over being jealous that he got bumped up to TV and I didn’t (I may have to go see him in the box Saturday morning about that last sentence).