Would you be shocked to hear that seminarians at our Redemptoris Mater seminary were being taught that Christianity has been “contaminated” by archaic religious systems?
Don’t be. It’s a deeply held belief of men who have taught at the seminary here and they have committed themselves to teaching it.
Let me explain.
I recently posted a piece on a team of Neocatechumenal academics, including several men who have taught at Redemptoris Mater seminaries around the world, including ours. They have set up a research group called “Xiphias Gladius” to explore and disseminate the thought of the philosopher/anthropologist Rene Girard. Click here to read that piece.
We have recently found the “mission statement”, which they call the “Resumen Del Proyecto” (“Project Summary”) of that group, and you can click here or here to read it in Spanish. The professors are deeply concerned about violence and about the relationship between violence and religion.
Near the end of the document, as they are wrapping things up, is something that should raise your eyebrows.
First in Spanish:
Desde antes de la fundación del mundo, YHVH estaba mostrando un camino al hombre para protegerle de su autodestrucción, la que preanuncia el apocalipsis. Ese camino fue lo religioso, como intento primario, por medio del sacrificio, de controlar la violencia arbitraria de los hombres. Tras el intento fallido, vino el cristianismo y, contaminado por los sistemas religiosos arcaicos mostró dos caras, pero siempre presentó claramente la faz del rostro alternativa, la de Cristo. (emphasis added)
Now translated into English:
Since before the Foundation of the world, YHVH was showing a path to man to protect him from self-destruction , which foreshadows the apocalypse, that possibility that God could not avoid without dehumanizing us. The first attempt was the path of religion, through sacrifice, to control the arbitrary violence of men. After that failed attempt , came Christianity, and while it has been contaminated by archaic religious systems and showed two faces, it always clearly presented the alternative face, that of Christ. (emphasis added)
“Christianity has been contaminated by archaic religious systems.” “Contaminado” may also be rendered “polluted.” Think about that for a moment. What could the professors possibly mean by that?
At first glance, one might think that they are joining the protestant reformers, who made a similar charge against the Catholic Church. But no, we only need to turn to Rene Girard and Kiko Arguello, their mentors.
In his 1978 book, “Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World,” Girard says:
“If we rid ourselves of the vestiges of the sacrificial mentality that soil and darken the recesses of our minds, we see that we now have all the elements to (sic) hand for understanding that the death of Jesus takes place for reasons that have nothing to do with sacrifice.” p. 205
And later in the same book, he is asked by a psychologist,
“If I follow you correctly, this revelation consistently makes the sacrificial Christians play a role like that of the Pharisees confronted with the first preaching of the Kingdom of God.”
“Yes, indeed. The task is to show that the Christian sons have repeated, even aggravated, all the errors of their Judaic fathers…In a remarkable paradox, but one that accords well with the sacrificial course of mankind, the sacrificial reading (that is, the logic of the violent Logos) refashions the mechanism that has been revealed and thus of necessity annihilated – if the revelation were genuinely accepted – into a kind of sacrificial cultural foundation. This is the foundation that both “Christianity” and the modern world have rested upon, right up to our own time.”
So the “contamination” they are referring to is the notion that Jesus’s death was a sacrifice. Click here to see how this contradicts Sacred Scripture and at least two Ecumenical Church Councils.
These men are also Neocatechumenal, so in addition to following the teachings of Rene Girard, they follow the teachings of Kiko Arguello, the founder of the Neocatechumenal Way. Click here to read my post about Kiko and his antipathy toward natural religion, which for him is the tendency for people to hold priests, altars, sacrifice, and sacred places as important in their faith. In the first volume of the Neocatechumenal Way’s “Guidelines for Teams of Catechists” (Catechetical Directory), Kiko Arguello states, “Natural religiosity has infiltrated Christianity.”
On page 361 of that volume, Kiko elaborates,
Carmen has explained how the pagan sacrificial ideas that Israel had had and had left behind, then crept back again into the Christian Eucharist. Was it that God, like a kind of Moloch, was placated and satisfied with the sacrifice, with the blood of his Son? If so, what sort of God have we made for ourselves? We have arrived at thinking that God, like the pagan gods, satisfies his anger with the sacrifice of his Son. This is why it is normal for the atheists to say: what kind of God is this who discharges his anger against his Son on the cross? And what could we answer? Certain juridical and clumsy rationalizations of the theology of expiation and the Eucharist have brought us to these deformations, to believing in a God whose ruthless justice would have demanded a human sacrifice, the immolation of his own Son.
This is a complete mischaracterization of authentic Catholic teaching. Have you ever heard the sacrifice of Christ portrayed this way from the pulpit? Of course not. Have you ever read such a thing in the Catechism of the Catholic Church? Of course not. Did any of the Doctors of the Church teach this? No. Kiko is protraying a caricature of Catholic teaching here, one that he can easily knock down. You see, the members of the Xiphias Gladius team all ascribe to Rene Girard’s idea that religion, with its ritual, sacrifices, prohibitions, and myths, had its origin in violence, and it seems that Kiko believes this too. In any event, we can be sure that that they are teaching it to our seminarians.
Xiphias Gladius Team Members
* D. Ángel J. Barahona Plaza, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria (SP), NCW Member
* David Atienza, University of Guam (USA), NCW Member
* Desiderio Parrilla, U. Católica S. Antonio de Murcia (SP), NCW Member
* David García-Ramos, U. Católica San Vicente Mártir (SP), NCW Member
* Carlos Romero, NCW Membership undetermined.
* Francisco Bueno Pimenta, NCW Membership undetermined.
Editorial Board of Revista Xiphias Gladius (“Xiphias Gladius Review”)
* Bosco Corrales Trillo, Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores Catholic theological Institute (Guam) NCW Member
* Eduardo Ortiz, U. Católica San Vicente Mártir (SP) NCW Member
* Clara Bonet Ponce, U. Católica San Vicente Mártir (SP), NCW Membership undetermined
* James Alison, Independent Research (Brasil), an unincardinated Catholic priest, openly gay former Dominican.
* Pierpaolo Antonello, University of Cambridge (England), NCW Membership undetermined
* William T. Cavanaugh, De Paul University (USA)
* Alexandre Coello de la Rosa, Universitat Pompeu i Fabra (SP), NCW Membership undetermined
* Charo González Bianchi, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
* Domingo González, Universidad San Pablo CEU
* Amalia Quevedo, Universidad de la Sabana (Colombia), NCW Membership undetermined
* Roberto Solarte, Pontificia U. Javeriana (Colombia), NCW Membership undetermined
* Stéphane Vinolo, Regent’s Gollege of London (England), Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Quito (Ecuador), NCW Membership undetermined
Tags: Camino Neocatecumenal, Cammino Neocatecumenale