Conservative theologians accuse pope of spreading heresy

Pope Francis meets members of a children's choir from Mexico during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Sept. 20, 2017. The pontiff prayed for the victims of the 7.1-magnitude quake that hit Mexico on Tuesday, leaving several hundred dead, including children trapped under a collapsed school in Mexico City. (L'osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Several dozen tradition-minded Roman Catholic theologians, priests and academics have formally accused Pope Francis of spreading heresy with his 2016 opening to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics.

RELATED: Top 5 ‘heresies’ of 2016: ‘One God,’ Amoris Laetitia and more

In a 25-page letter delivered to Francis last month and provided Saturday (Sept. 23) to The Associated Press, the 62 signatories issued a “filial correction” to the pope — a measure they said hadn’t been employed since the 14th century.

The letter accused Francis of propagating seven heretical positions concerning marriage, moral life and the sacraments with his 2016 document “The Joy of Love” and subsequent “acts, words and omissions.”

The initiative follows another formal act by four tradition-minded cardinals who wrote Francis last year asking him to clarify a series of questions, or “dubia,” they had about his 2016 text.

Francis hasn’t responded to either initiative. The Vatican spokesman didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment late Saturday.

OPINION: Marriage and divorce: The limits of the Roman Catholic mind

None of the signatories of the new letter is a cardinal, and the highest-ranking churchman listed is actually someone whose organization has no legal standing in the Catholic Church: Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the breakaway Society of St. Pius X. Several other signatories are well-known admirers of the old Latin Mass, which Fellay’s followers celebrate.

But organizers said the initiative was nevertheless significant and a sign of the concern among a certain contingent of academics and pastors over Francis’ positions, which they said posed a danger to the faithful.

“There is a role for theologians and philosophers to explain to people the church’s teaching, to correct misunderstandings,” said Joseph Shaw, a spokesman for the initiative, signatory of the correction and senior research fellow in moral philosophy at Oxford University.

RELATED: The pope frustrates foes with silence, this priest nails them with tweets

When it was released in April 2016, “The Joy of Love” immediately sparked controversy because it opened the door to letting civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion. Church teaching holds that unless these Catholics obtain an annulment — a church decree that their first marriage was invalid — they cannot receive the sacraments, since they are seen as committing adultery.

Francis didn’t create a churchwide pass for these Catholics but suggested — in vague terms and strategically placed footnotes — that bishops and priests could do so on a case-by-case basis after accompanying them on a spiritual journey of discernment.

Subsequent comments and writings have made clear he intended such wiggle room, part of his belief that God’s mercy extends in particular to sinners and that the Eucharist isn’t a prize for the perfect but nourishment for the weak.

Shaw said none of the four cardinals involved in the initial “dubia” letter, nor any other cardinal, was involved in the “filial correction.”

Organizers said the last time such a correction was issued was to Pope John XXII in 1333 for errors that he later recanted.

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Nicole Winfield


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  • Conservative theologians say the pope is a heretic. I guess we now have an answer to the eternal question, “is the pope catholic?”

    Why do I suspect this has far more to do with power, money, and dominion than it does its theology?

  • Shame on any Catholic who criticized our beloved Pope Francis! It makes me sick to sit in mass and hear priests tout Donald Trump after Our Holy Father has made it clear to us Catholics that he is not a man of honor nor a man deserving our support and loyalty. I believe in my heart that any Catholic who voted for Donald Trump should be ex-communicated from the Catholic church, for you, like he, are no Christian.

  • Here we are AGAIN with another issue in the catholic church that could easily be rectified if everyone involved would address the concerns and speak clearly. Not the standard catholic double speak we are all too aware exists. Stop sending out others Francis and start explaining CLEARLY what the truth of the matter really is so people can openly discuss this like adults. We are not the sheep you take us for, and if it is sound doctrine then why won’t you address the issues.

  • I find the expression, ”…the Eucharist isn’t a prize for the perfect but nourishment for the weak,” to be an admirable sentiment affirmed by my own non-Catholic pastor. The interesting point of the article in my opinion is it notation of the fact that none of the signatories of the document is a cardinal. That may be important within the confines of Catholicism, but outside of it, biblically speaking, such emphasis on studied pre-eminence and hierarchicalism does not matter. Additionally, annulment is merely a legal fiction which declares that something that did in fact occur…did not.

  • Though power and dominion…and oftentimes money, has played a significant role in the past history of the RCC, it seems not the case here. I think this is more about both traditionalism and doctrine in that order as against Francis’s progressivism. The internecine squabbling appears to be on the rise within the Catholic community.

  • That’s the best you’ve got? Hmmm. I’m thinking you are one of those who should be ex-communicated.

  • I am not in fact a communicant of the RCC. I left that Church in my youth, and while I find much to admire in the Church, my theological understanding of the bible is in conflict with a number of its dogmas.

  • Ben,
    You and I may not agree on much, but I agree that my original post went a little too far in my critique of Pope Francis. I wish that Francis was more conservative and traditional in his Christian theology, yet he is the Pope and deserves respect, especially from common laity like myself. Let’s leave this matter in God’s hands. Peace be with you.

  • Francis isn’t a progressive, though compared to the last two, he might well be considered one.

    If this was about Unitarians, I would agree. but it’s about Catholics. Theological issues might be a part of it, but obviously, the dissidents don’t think that the pope is god’s vicar on earth, otherwise, they would all agree to live in peace.. It’s about, as far as I can tell, who gets to run the church, who gets to appoint the bishops and cardinals, who gets to say what god wants.

  • Re: “None of the signatories of the new letter is a cardinal, and the highest-ranking churchman listed is actually someone whose organization has no legal standing in the Catholic Church: Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior of the breakaway Society of St. Pius X.” 

    Isn’t the SSPX the home of “Bishop” Richard Williamson, an unapologetic Holocaust-denier? Why would anyone view anyone from that outfit as credible … regarding anything? 

  • Heresy from the Pope? These theologians are a bit late to the show. Martin Luther figured that out 500 years ago. Don’t let divorced people get married in the church?…Yeah, that’s going to stem the tide of ex-Catholics.

    This old altar boy from St. Rose of Lima parish does protest! I used to get good $$ tips from the families at Catholic wedding masses! Don’t let divorced Catholics re-marry…and you’re hitting the pockets of your altar boys — and girls now…see, Catholic church can change if it want too…Divorces and gays are waiting patiently for God to take these old traditionalists — a Catholic rapture is needed !!

  • Matthew 19:9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
    Mark 10:11 And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.”
    Luke 16:18 “Whoever puts away his wife, and marries another, commits adultery.”

  • So anyone who disagrees with an imbecile like you deserves excommunication?
    Gotta love that liberal tolerance and respect for diversity.

  • Ever wonder why so many people, starting at least with the Baby Boomers have left the Church and either found their own way, or help from another non-Catholic Church? It’s stupid stuff like this, plain and simple. Why shouldn’t the Pope reach out to this group, maybe those throwing stones should enter the 21st Century. Good luck in your future endeavors.

  • Traditionalism, yes; doctrine, no.

    The dubia rest on the assumption that Pope Francis is finding way to allow people remarried, after a valid marriage, back into full communion. Francis is talking about those people whose first union was not a valid marriage. It has ALWAYS been the case that an invalid marriage does not prohibit one from validly marrying and fully participating in the life of the Church. AL presents no new doctrine.

    By tradition, the manner in which invalidity was discerned was trough the annulment process. That, however, is purely a convention established to help discern invalidity. It is invalidity that is required not an annulment. The primacy of conscience has always been a component of Church teaching. Conscience that is formed and informed. Conscience does not have to conform. Who is better qualified to discern the validity of a marriage–a set of strangers trying to make sense of the dynamics of one’s life? Or the actual individuals, working with their pastor or spiritual director for the purpose of discerning the truth.

    Being able to officially designate something as invalid is an exercise in power. It is a clear example of a model of Church that is “top down,” that is to say, power trickles down from the top. There is a truth to that model but it is also true that those “in power” receive their commission to exercise their power from Jesus present in the church–that’s you and me. It is the dynamic relationship between these two models that make up the mystery that is the Church.

    For far too long we have been taught that the church is strictly that top down model. When Pope Francis to remind us that there is more to it than that; when he redistributes some of the “authority” that had been held tightly by those in power, people get threatened–they perceive their own power and authority as being diminished. But the only power and authority they had is that which was given to them; it wasn’t theirs to hold on to. You end up with people like Burke.

  • He did address the issue. In AL. Did you read it? Do not people remarried after an invalid union have the right to full participation in the Church? Didn’t he clearly articulate ways that could happen?

  • So is the prohibition against divorce absolute or is it qualified by “sexual immorality?” Is a woman who divorces her husband because he’s screwing around free to marry again in the Church because she is compliant with Mtt 19:9.

    What does Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well tell us about the pastoral implications? True, he wasn’t happy with her multiple marriages but, in the long run, did that exclude her from embracing the mystery of the dominion of G-D?

  • My only point was that those who disagree with Amoris Laeticia don’t deserve to be accused by the of “ legalism,” “closed hearts,” “blinkered viewpoints,” judging “sometimes with superiority and superficiality,” lacking “understanding,” unable to “discern,” cowardice in “burying their heads in the sand,’ “a nasty spirit in order to sow division,” and psychologically “born from something missing, from trying to hide one’s own sad dissatisfaction behind a kind of armor.” The pope warned that they are a “cancer of the Church” in pursuit of glory rooted in “the logic of ambition and power.”
    The pope should have invited discussion, an open forum, perhaps a council, for more dialogue on the issue.

  • These doctrines the Pope wrote about are man-made. They can be modified, substituted, or amended by those with the power to do so. This letter of protest simply assumes that amending a doctrine created by canon lawyers, popes, and cardinals in the past is not possible. They are wrong.

  • There really isn’t anything to discuss. The Pope reiterated the longstanding teaching of the Church. The full range of which had not been presented to the faithful for quite some time. The reaction to power hungry individuals is not to “discuss” or “dialogue”–that had been done in a lengthy process prior to issuing AL–the proper response would be to put them in their place and keep them from sowing confusion.

  • That’s not the popish way, or indeed, the way of anyone who speaks for god.

    The only purpose of any open forum for these God-doers is to instruct the ignorant and the lost about their ignorance and lostness.

  • I’m not Catholic so I’m sure I’m missing all sorts of subtleties that would be obvious to insiders, but to this outsider it looks like the Pope and his immediate supporters are aware that the position they are trying to advance violates the current theology of the Church. That rather than attempt to change the theology through debate and consensus of the theologians, they seek to create facts on the ground such that the theologians will find a justification for them because of the pain that not doing so would cause.

  • There is enough ambiguity in there to park the Queen Mary. They should clearly and openly address those with questions instead of ignoring them.

  • The questions are based on false assumptions. To address the questions is to acknowledge the assumptions. The scribes and pharisees tried to do the same thing with Jesus. Did you read it? What did you find to be ambiguous?

  • I take it, Nicole Winfield, that “heresies” are spiritually bad for everybody in the Catholic Church. Well now, since in this openended, she-says-he-says context, “the pope” and “the Vatican” are spiritually bad for them, aren’t the “cardinal, and … ranking churchman … bishops and priests”, even “the Society of St. Pius X”, too, then? So why not consider all “theologians, … academics … and philosophers” spiritually bad for them as well, as is “moral philosophy at Oxford University”? And the last time I checked with God and Jesus, being “divorced and civilly remarried” is spiritually bad for Catholics, but so are receiving “annulment” and “committing adultery”. Come to think of it, all 7 of “the sacraments are spiritually bad for them – and not just “the Eucharist”-ic and “marriage … sacraments”. At the end of the day, Judgment Day, that is, what difference do “heresies” – which were a literary invention of the Early Church Wolves I mean Fathers – make anyway?

  • “Why shouldn’t the Pope reach out to this group”? Because he was the former Argentinian Junta’s Priest, for one reason.

  • Oh yeah. I got it. No doubt. Religionism run amok. 

    Speaking of how far people will go in the name of their religions … I remembered something really weird about SSPX (beyond Williamson’s Holocaust-denial, which is quite bad enough). There’s an SSPX-sponsored movement to reject the heliocentric model of the solar system, along with Galileo who helped bolster it. They claim it leads to immorality. 

    Yes, immorality. Cardinal Bellarmine would be proud, I’m sure. 

    This is no joke. These people are real and believe themselves to be defenders of “true” Catholicism. I blogged about them back when I heard of them, about 6 years ago:

  • As professor Harold hill noted in another context…

    Medicinal wine from a teaspoon?
    THen beer from a bottle.
    The next thing you know your son
    Is playing for money in a pinch back suit.
    And listenting to some out-of-town jasper
    Come to talk about horse race gambling.
    Not a wholesome trotting race, No.
    But a race where the jockey is sitting right on the horse!
    Care to see some stuck up jockey boy
    Sittin’ on a damn patch?
    I say we got trouble…
    With a capital t and tha rhymes with P and that stands for POOOL!

    Was that showtunes reference too gay?

  • Re: “Was that showtunes reference too gay?” 

    In a word, no! Besides, Music Man is quite relevant here! But to be clear, and provide full disclosure: I’m a long-time amateur thespian and veteran of many a show, including many musicals. I know it’s a common trope, but for me, showtunes aren’t “gay.” 

    FWIW someday I’d like to be in Music Man … but the opportunity just hasn’t come around for me. Sigh. 

  • I loved broadway shows as s young child, even though I didn’t understand them. I can quote a lot of musicals. It was one of the earliest indications that I was a fort soldier of the homosexual menace

  • Any approach that improves the Church’s members growth in faith from biblical models seems appropriate to me. However, I would like to have some examples cited wherein the annulment process is applied. My argument is that any marriage performed by duly licensed clergy or magistrate is valid both in law and the eyes of God if the couple meets the natural requirements long established by the precedents set in the Word: i.e. heterosexual monogamy. If such a marriage is consummated sexually and legally, then biblically speaking there can be no basis for annulment with the exception of divorce provided for as a function of one partner’s adultery. If you can cite an example that biblically contravenes this argument, I would be most interested in seeing it.

  • I am not a Roman communicant presently, that was a condition of my childhood upbringing. I respect the Church, but have grave theological differences with reference to certain of her dogmas’ which need not be entered into here.

  • Your request rests on the assumption that all the elements of the praxis of our faith must be present in the Bible. The Bible itself does not set itself up as the ultimate and sole arbiter of truth.

    I believe example annulment cases can be found online if you are curious.

  • “Francis isn’t a progressive, though compared to the last two, he might well be considered one.” Depends on what issues you’re looking at.

    On doctrine and some social issues such as marriage, family, sex, etc he is traditional issues. On economic issues, international issues and interfaith issues he is fairly progressive. His stances against economic injustice for instance make Bernie Sanders sound like a Wallstreet billionare because of his embrace of liberation theology and in his stance on interfaith dialogue he has continued Vatican II and his the first Pope to reach out to agnostics, atheists and secular humanists.

    But you’re right though this isn’t so much about progressivism as it is about the Pope challenging clericalism and legalism in the Catholic Church. And he’s had the same clashes when he was Cardinal Bergoglio in Argentina. He denounced Catholic leaders for instance as being “hypocrites” for refusing to baptize the children of single mothers and he was almost defrocked by the right wing elements because he proposed the Church accept civil unions for gay couples in Argentina as a compromise. It got so bad the Vatican’s Papal nuncio had to step in.

  • I happen to agree that sin is subjective not objective. But you clearly have no idea how the bishops at the preceding synod voted and on what they voted for or against. FYI, “the longstanding teaching of the Church” has been that civilly remarried divorcees cannot receive communion. The pope stated his own view in AL in an ambiguous manner. Discussion and dialogues were requested about AL, not the preceding synod. Name-calling is NEVER the proper response.

  • Pope Francis did not say that sin was subjective. There is, however, a subjective element in discerning whether or not a marriage is valid. That subjectivity can exist in the context of a marriage tribunal or it can exist in the examination of one’s conscience done with the assistance of a trusted spiritual director.

    FYI the longstanding teaching of the church has not been that civilly remarried divorcees cannot receive communion. The longstanding teaching of the church is that a person validly married is not free to remarry and receive communion. The underlying issue has always been the validity of the first marriage, not civil remarriage. If the first marriage was valid then divorce and sacramental remarriage was not an option. If the first marriage was invalid, you have a different situation. That person is then free to have their marriage witnessed by the church and return to full communion.

    So, once again–did you read AL and if so, what did you find to be ambiguous? I found nothing ambiguous but I have many years of theology under my belt to provide a context. AL is the product of the preceding synod. I followed it quite closely; don’t assume to know what I do or do not know. There were no smoking guns and everything that Francis wrote was grounded in the teaching of the church. He has NEVER resorted to name calling despite the fact that his detractors are doing a good job at that.

    Given the comments you made here, is it remotely possible that the “ambiguity” that you experience is due to misunderstanding the underlying theology rather than AL?

  • No, he did not write “sin is subjective.” He wrote ““hence it can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.” That both implies subjectivity and is ambiguous by not stating under what circumstances this applies.
    “Civilly remarried” is the shorthand used by most journalists to mean that the validity of the first marriage was either affirmed or disregarded since the remarriage was not “witnessed by the church.”
    2015 Synod Section 84. “The first section on the divorced and remarried was adopted by a vote of 187-72. While not advocating that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics should receive Communion, the bishops nonetheless declared that the Church should figure out whether they can be included in any elements of Church life from which they are now excluded.”
    See “Pope, ending synod, excoriates bishops with ‘closed hearts'” and “Pope fires back at critics over ‘Amoris’, ecumenical outreach.”

  • No, that’s not what it implies. Some of those living in irregular situations are doing so after having been in an invalid marriage. Those people are free to be brought back into full communion with the church. Therefore, he is correct in stating that you cannot assume that ALL such people are living in a state of mortal sin AND deprived of sanctifying grace. It’s logic 101. Then there’s the additional theological question of whether or not it is possible for anyone to be deprived of sanctifying grace.

    Journalistic shorthand is not theological precision. The ultimate arbiter of whether or not a marriage is valid is G-D. A marriage tribunal is a tool to help discern what is in the mind of G-D. A marriage tribunal is not graced with the charism of infallibility. Thus, there always remains the possibility that they can be wrong. The remarriage was not witnessed by the church because of the action or absence of action of the tribunal. Therefore, the fact that it was not witnessed by the church is not clear and convincing evidence that the person is living in the state of mortal sin. The simple absence of the church witness is not sufficient for “mortal sin” because the person is bound by forces outside his or her control–a necessary prerequisite for mortal sin. Are other people who marry civilly considered to be living in mortal sin? We ask them to have their marriage witnessed by the church but do we say that until they do so, they are living in mortal sin until they do so? Given the fact that the couple is the agent of the sacrament, the answer to that question is not crystal clear. Given that sacraments are actions of the church, does being civilly married mean that there was no sacrament? Does the recognition of a civil marriage by one’s faith community (they treat you as married and consider you married) mean that your marriage is sacramental. Blessing or witnessing (or whatever the canonical term is) by the church grants “official” recognition of the sacrament but is the absence of such proof that there was no sacrament?

    Did that 187-72 vote address the issue of people civilly remarrying after an invalid first marriage? I don’t think so.

    Are you saying that there are no bishops with “closed hearts,” “rigid legalistic thinking,” “unjustly attacking any attempts at ecumenical outreach?” Pope Francis is not saying, “Raymond, You are a pompous ass.” Unlike these critics who are saying, “Pope Francis, you are a heretic.” If the shoes of general assessments that the Pope has articulated happen to fit an individual, perhaps they should seriously consider re-examining what they are wearing.

  • Thanks. To me, it’s obvious, especially as I read the vitriol thrown at the pope for not being their kind of Catholic. very much like the vitriol thrown at Christians by christians for not being the right sort of Christian.

  • In the latter case, he was being practical, somewhat on the Machiavellian sense. Preventing a “greater evil” by accepting the “lesser evil.” Not because he cared.

  • I do know that straight people like broadway shows as well. But every time I make a showtunes reference, someone starts a-thinkin’……….,

  • I can not deny the contentions within the overall scheme of Christianity, but my hope is that it is a groping toward a more complete understanding of the faith. Growth and maturity often come agonizingly slow at a painful cost. Leave us not fail to note the vitriol cast at Christians of all stripes by some very virulent individuals who are utterly disdainful of religious faith practiced by anyone.

  • I would politely disagree with your analysis, from the perspective of the text and the theology which rests on it. Be well.

  • ” If you can cite an example that biblically contravenes this argument, I would be most interested in seeing it.” What other analysis do you propose?

  • Technically, the SSPX *was* Williamson’s home, as they expelled him a few years ago. But not because of his Holocaust denial. They let that slide. No, they expelled him because — and this is truly, hilariously ironic — he administered sacraments without the authority of the SSPX.

  • Re: “They let [Williamson’s Holocaust denial] slide. No, they expelled him because — and this is truly, hilariously ironic — he administered sacraments without the authority of the SSPX.” 

    The stench of that irony is so overpowering, I may just pass out from it, right here! 😉 

    Seriously, though … it wasn’t only the SSPX that let Williamson’s Holocaust denial slide. The Vatican did, too. He’d made an agreement with them to revise his views and say so publicly — but never did. And the Vatican never disciplined him for it. 

  • Yeah, you’d think they would have given him a period of time to publically revise his statements or risk re-excommunication. Good thing he didn’t do anything truly scandalous like say women should be ordained..

  • Martin Luther from 1517 was old hat in the history of declaring the Pope a heretic. The Great Schism of 1054 and Jan Hus from the fourteenth century not to mention several others going back to ancient times.

  • My point is that where the bible provides direction and illumination, that should be our sole guide in Christian practice. The accretions of centuries of tradition and dogma not firmly grounded in scripture are not to be trusted. Such accretions are the work of men, who in their desire to clarify and amplify the text in order to instruct the faithful in proper practice often wander far afield in their ruminations. Within the New Testament, which is the believer’s primary guide, Both Jesus and His disciples emphasized that a marriage ceremony performed and thereafter consummated is essentially an eternal act. This is demonstrated fully in the symbolism of the Church as the Bride of Christ. As in the matter of Salvation, Infidelity is the only biblical basis for negating the relationship. This is the argument from scripture, not the traditions of men.

  • That’s a nice belief but it’s not scripturaly grounded.

    Those “accretions of centuries of tradition and dogma” are the product of a Church claiming the authority that Jesus gave to loosen and bind in His name. Claiming the promise of Jesus that He would be with his Church until the end of time. THAT is scripturaly based.

    The Bible also provides ambiguity. Did Jesus flatly prohibit divorce or did he allow it in the case of adultery? Was Paul justified in making his accommodations? Without a higher authority to provide structure, meaning, and sense to those scriptures, they are left to be interpreted by the individual under his or her own authority. And thus you have 30 thousand denominations of the protestant tradition.

  • My belief is precisely scripturally grounded, but as it is clear that we cannot agree, it is best that we not debate further. Our differences clearly lie in the arena of the conflicts between Catholicism and other Christian sects. Jesus clearly prohibited divorce, except in the case of adultery re: Matthew 5:31-32. Whereas this is a specific scriptural admonition, and I can find no such instruction regarding annulment, I am satisfied.

  • As long as we are clear that it is YOUR belief, there is no need for debate. If you are going to present your belief as the ultimate Truth–there is reason for debate. It is not as simple as Catholic vs Protestant as there are non Catholic scholars who do not treat scripture as the ultimate authority.

    In one Gospel Jesus clearly prohibited divorce–no exceptions. Either Matthew amended that for Jewish Christians or Mark restricted Jesus’ command for Gentile Christians.

    It is more than a little bit paradoxical that people who claim scripture as the ultimate authority can not support that claim with scripture. Whereas those who claim that ultimate authority (short of G-D, Her/His Self) is found in the Church, can support their claim with scripture.

  • You, who were not present at the time of the composition of the bible are making an inference in the absence of evidence (beyond the discredited methodology of higher criticism). In both texts cited, Matthew and Mark, the declaration is clear. Matthew, was an eyewitness to the ministry of our Lord, and Mark received his knowledge from Peter. Jesus’ closest disciples would not have edited the Lord. I think we are done. With all courtesy, let us at least agree that Jesus Christ is the one eternal Savior and Lord available to those who receive Him.

  • Form criticism, historical criticism, literary criticism, etc., has been discredited by whom? Most scholars agree (with minor variations) that Mark was the earliest gospel that we have copies of, and that Matthew and Luke used that and some, as of yet unidentified source, as source documents. You are welcome to google the subject if you don’t believe me.

    With all courtesy, let us agree that Jesus is the incarnation of G-D.