Sometimes there is no explanation for some actions. It can’t be a question of ignorance. It can’t be a mistake in judgment.
It’s plain wrong, and the person does it anyway.
Such is the case of Prof. Tat-Siong Benny Liew. He is chair of New Testament Studies at the Jesuit-run College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.
An article by Elinor Reilly ’18, on pages 5-7 of the March 2018 issue of The Fenwick Review, quotes Prof. Liew writing that Our Lord Jesus Christ was a “drag king,” a “cross-dresser,” and a man with “queer desires.” He eroticizes the relations among the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity, Our Lord’s miraculous healing of the Centurion’s servant, His washing of the Apostles’ feet, and the Crucifixion.
Throughout, Prof. Liew uses unrepeatable language that he certainly knowingly offends God and devout Catholics. And yet he does it anyway.
It is impossible for this scholar not to know what has always been taught about Our Lord. He is a man of studies; one who has been fully exposed to the New Testament and Church teaching on the Gospels. He has to know that his position is a direct challenge to the Church’s official interpretation of Scripture and traditional beliefs on the Redeemer. Nevertheless, he presents his position without fear of reprisal. He makes no effort to hide his unorthodox beliefs.
On March 30, 2018, Worcester Bishop Robert MacManus declared these Gospel interpretations to be “false,” “perverse,” and “blasphemous.”
It appears that Prof. Liew has not disavowed these blasphemous writings or shown any remorse for them.
It is part of the frenetic intemperance of the educational establishment that there are no standards which cannot be overthrown in the name of academic license (please don’t call it freedom). For these academic license-worshippers, neither truth nor error exists. One is free to present the most outrageous thoughts and make believe they are worthy of serious consideration. There is no Church authority, not even a bishop, who can restrain such offensive imaginings. And anyone who feels wounded in his Faith is labeled intolerant, a rigid bigot, and is academically excommunicated and damned.
In this manifestation of extreme individualism, the academic license-worshipper sets himself up as the standard of all things. Everything and everyone must adapt to him. Yet he bows before no one; no, not even God.
However, there are other tragic conclusions to take.
If Prof. Liew speaks without fear of dismissal from a Jesuit college, it is because he knows there are many others in Catholic academia who think similarly. He knows there is collusion for his academic license. He knows his colleagues harbor sympathy for his ability to show off his outlandish beliefs. He knows that he is not shunned or ostracized by his academic peers for his unorthodox views. He knows that he continues tranquilly to chair his New Testament Studies department at a Jesuit-run university.
Also, he knows there are administrators who certainly have heard of his offensive positions and activities. And he knows they do not fire him or remove him from his rostrum of influence over the souls and salvation of young Catholics.
No, Prof. Liew is not alone in his heretical views on Jesus. His training and education must have had those of similar mind who encouraged him in his research and writing. He quotes others with equally twisted interpretations of Scripture. It is impossible not to conclude that significant sectors of the Catholic teaching establishment have long been undermined by those holding and openly espousing unorthodox positions. Things now have reached a point where once hidden views are unashamedly promoted.
Similar considerations can be made about others associated with the theological formation that Prof. Liew today imparts including those bishops and priests that gave free reign to such licentious and false studies. The same goes for the theologians who develop these perverse doctrines hoping to subvert Catholic theology into homosexual ideology.
All of this is a reflection of a great crisis that has long festered inside the Church, destroying morals and Faith. Indeed, already fifty years ago Pope Paul VI mentioned that “the Church finds herself in an hour … of self-destruction.” Forty-six years ago he said that “the smoke of Satan has entered into the temple of God through some crack.”
Today, this “self-destruction” rules at all levels.
That is why it is important that faithful Catholics protest when unorthodox views are presented openly. Their prayerful voices can be a cry of alert that denounces error and forces the other side to rethink. Above all, their prayers serve as needed public reparation for the unspeakable blasphemy against Our Lord. They also implore God to intervene and set this wayward world aright.
John Horvat II is a scholar, researcher, educator, international speaker, and author of the book Return to Order, as well as the author of hundreds of published articles. He lives in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania where he is the vice president of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property.