Cleansing Fire

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Supper at Emmaus Triptych at Lourdes

October 7th, 2011, Promulgated by Bernie

"The Resurrection", Dick Kane; Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Brighton

(Clik on photos to see larger versions) 

Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Brighton

Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Brighton, has replaced the decorative art on the back wall of the chancel with a triptych of the “Resurrection.” While I put together my own critique that I will share later, I thought that perhaps you might like to weigh-in with your own reactions, first. I encourage everyone to share, both positive or negative reactions. I only ask that we try to explain our reasons; try to offer a reasoned critique. Try to answer the question “WHY do I like it?” or “WHY not?” “WHY is it a good liturgical work of art?”; “WHY not?”

Have a go at it!

It’s not often we get to critique a new (and local) work of liturgical art.

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34 Responses to “Supper at Emmaus Triptych at Lourdes”

  1. avatar SAA says:

    I do not like these pictures. They remind me of the religious books I used to read to my children when they were in preschool.

  2. avatar Mary-Kathleen says:

    These pictures seem amateurish and not at all uplifting.

    Despite the halo, the hapless (meant to portray happy, I’m sure) expression on Jesus’ face makes Him look like just “one of the guys” instead of the Savior.

  3. avatar Gen says:

    If these were in some sort of religious education room, or something along those lines, I wouldn’t have much of a problem with them at all. They’re “cute” – but we shouldn’t be moved to thinking thoughts of “cuteness” at Mass.

  4. avatar snowshoes says:

    Thank you, Bernie!

    These days, any realistic representation of the life of Our Lord is worthy of praise, even if it doesn’t appear to meet the artistic rules set forth by the Church, which you have so carefully described in your recent posts.

    They certainly seem to be misplaced, and the shape they make remind me of a newsroom with a bunch of monitors on the wall, or the TV section of your local Walmart… Where is Our Lord Jesus truly present in the Tabernacle? A picture is nice, but I’d rather the Real Thing… Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

  5. avatar Hopefull says:

    I don’t like this at all for a Sanctuary. Seems too cartoonish.

  6. avatar anne says:

    I agree Hopefull – looks a comic strip.

  7. avatar anne says:

    left out a word – looks like a comic strip

  8. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    It doesn’t inspire in me a sense of the sacred.

  9. avatar Persis says:

    OK, to borrow a phrase from REM- “it’s the end of the world as we know it…” 😉
    Gen, I agree with you 100%! 😀

    Bernie, do you have a “before” picture?

    I can’t imagine that these pictures do anything at all to enhance the space,
    I think I would prefer an empty wall.

  10. avatar Jim says:

    Jim M. here: Oh wonderful! It looks like they hung up the second grade CCD “color-by-number” pictures out of their textbooks!

  11. avatar Hopefull says:

    The more I look at this, the more awful it seems. Who is this Dick Kane? Is he Catholic? Christian? What portfolio of religous art does he have to have received this commission? How much was it? Was it put out for bid? Who paid for it? How come Christ doesn’t have any wounds in His Hands? Why does he look cross-eyed at the table? Why isn’t Mary Magdelene on her knees holding onto Christ instead of looking like she’s in a comedy skit with Him? Who is the blond at table at His right hand, with the dirty chin? Is it supposed to be a woman? Why are so many teeth showing in all the scenes? Shouldn’t Emmaus be getting dark? Who’s the short guy who looks like he’s carrying a sack of potatoes? If I had to look at this every Sunday, I would definitely find a different church. Is that the idea? I really would like to find some “redeeming spiritual value” and I hope Bernie will alert us to it. Otherwise, I think it’s got merit for one of the kindergarten classrooms. Meanwhile, it seems to me that a Catholic Church run by someone with an agenda is perhaps one of the few remaining havens for genuine bad taste in art.

  12. avatar Hopefull says:

    My comment didn’t post, so I’ll try again:

    The more I look at this, the more awful it seems. Who is this guy Kane? Is he Catholic? Christian? What portfolio of religous art does he have to have received this commission? How much was it? Was it put out for bid? Who paid for it? How come Christ doesn’t have any wounds in His Hands? Why does he look cross-eyed at the table? Why isn’t Mary Magdelene on her knees holding onto Christ instead of looking like she’s in a comedy skit with Him? Who is the blond at table at His right hand, with the dirty chin? Is it supposed to be a woman? Why are so many teeth showing in all the scenes? Shouldn’t Emmaus be getting dark? Who’s the short guy who looks like he’s carrying a sack of potatoes? If I had to look at this every Sunday, I would definitely find a different church. Is that the idea? I really would like to find some “redeeming spiritual value” and I hope Bernie will alert us to it. Otherwise, I think it’s got merit for one of the kindergarten classrooms. Meanwhile, it seems to me that a Catholic Church run by someone with an agenda is perhaps one of the few remaining havens for genuine bad taste in art.

  13. avatar Persis says:

    Think it may be this guy- http://mag.rochester.edu/creativeworkshop/dick-kane/.

    Maybe he is a parishoner who donated them??

  14. avatar Raymond F. Rice says:

    In the middle painting of The Road to Emmaus”, maybe it’s a gay couple with Jesus, one effeminate and one “macho”!!??

    lol

  15. avatar LC says:

    Overall, I don’t like it. In the attempt to be charitable, I like the way the surrounding environment looks – it is light, almost dawn-like. Full of hope and wonder. It would be appropriate in a children’s classroom.

    But, mostly, this just feels a bit ridiculous – like a mockery of our sacred Gospel. There are a lot of teeth in those paintings! And Christ with Mary (panel 1) looks like they have been caught up in quoting old material from “Seinfeld.” In panel 2, Jesus looks intoxicated. In panel 3, his arms are disproportionately long and large. I find it distracting, to say the least. It feels like a joke.

  16. avatar annonymouse says:

    Two comments:

    1. I am appalled that this so-called “art” adorns the wall behind the sanctuary at a Catholic Church. Is this the best that OLOL? Amateurish doesn’t quite do this work justice. And I am not usually one to be so harsh. Hang it up by all means, but someplace else, PLEASE!?

    2. Bernie – you have no basis to conclude that the two disciples from the Emmaus story were both men. Nor do you have any basis to say that “almost certainly” both were men. Only one is named. And Jesus without question had many female disciples. I can think of another gospel journey or two which involved a man and a woman (the trip to Bethlehem, the flight into Egypt). Obviously, a couple traveling together was not implausible.

    So bad as the middle artwork is, it’s simply not accurate to criticize its inclusion of a woman.

  17. avatar Dr. K says:

    Did you bother to read Bernie’s explanation for why he believes it was two men?

    “Furthermore, if one of the disciples was a woman, why did Luke say “And they said to him (Jesus)…”? In first century Palestine, women did not converse with men in public, certainly not with strangers even if the husbands were present.”

  18. avatar militia says:

    I don’t think that bag is big enough to hold 153 fish (so many that it couldn’t be hauled into the boat.) And if Peter was lightly clad why is he wearing a hat? Oh, and why is the wind blowing the sail to the south, but the smoke of the fire is drifting to the north? Seems sloppy.

  19. avatar Kevin says:

    Wow. And to think I was baptized there.

  20. avatar annonymouse says:

    Dr. K – yes, I read Bernie’s explanation and I find it unconvincing. The fact is that the Bible makes no reference to the second disciple’s name. Intentionally, I would assert. And the biblical accounts do not seem to bear out Bernie’s claim that a woman would not have spoken to a man (a stranger).

    Bernie (and others here) seems perhaps to have a woman problem. Jesus clearly did not. He broke all sorts of cultural barriers in relating to women. Now I am not arguing for women priests (Jesus only selected male Apostles despite his brazen openness with women) but we should not look for exclusion where there is no evidence that there was any.

    At the end of the day, WHO THE HECK CARES WHETHER THE SECOND DISCIPLE WAS A WOMAN?? Why would someone get all in a tither about that?

    The one piece of evidence that would seem to support Bernie’s assertion (that both were men) is this – any female disciple of Jesus would probably have recognized Him much sooner!! And I say this as a man! Jesus appeared first to a woman after all, the “Apostle to the Apostles,” Saint Mary Magdalene!

    All this said, the artwork is awful and oughtn’t be in a Catholic sanctuary. I think we can all agree on this.

  21. avatar Bernie says:

    annonymouse: I suggest you go back and read my post (the second post) again, and again, and again. I spent a considerable amount of time researching and composing the post. The least you could do, dear reader, is read carefully!

  22. avatar Giovanni says:

    I figure I all know your biases against those running this parish and most of you know mine… That being said it surprises me very little to learn that this artwork isn’t your cup of tea… can’t please everyone. When it comes to art this isn’t my taste either. However, being a parishoner at OLOL I know that many like it a great deal and they see hope and love in the faces of our Lord in it. I know you might be saying that’s all good and well but this art just isn’t appropriate… Who knows perhaps some of the greatest pieces we have today were not as readily accepted when they were first created (no I don’t think this will be a classic I’m just trying to make a point). If these images speak to the people of Lourdes then they shall and should remain (because they are accomplishing what liturgical art should accomplish)… if not they will fade with time. Live and let live. This issue is ‘small potatoes.’And as far as that beinga woman on the side of Jesus at Emmaus… who cares… and what difference does it make… no really how does that being a man or a woman change anything? I don’t think it does and scripture doesn’t make it clear either.

  23. avatar Bernie says:

    Giovanni (and annonymouse: READ WHAT I WROTE, including the title of the post, and this paragraph that begins “The concern, of course, is that INNOVATIVE IMAGRY in the liturgy COULD BE a strategy of deception…” (Now, it so happens that I think there is an agenda or deception at work and I tried to hint at why I think so.)

    It should be obvious to you that I don’t care whether the good folks at OLOL absolutely love the triptych. That is not the point. It is what the Second Vatican Council said about the requirements for sacred liturgical art that I care about.

    I am offering a determination as to the suitablility of the work as a LITURGICAL work of art on the basis of the work’s orthodoxy. Is the work ORTHODOX according to the tradition of the Church and the Church’s tradition of visual art? NO IT ISN’T!

    Would it matter if the second disciple HAD BEEN a woman? No it wouldn’t. BUT THAT IS NOT THE ULTIMATE POINT I am trying to make. “FIRST, CONSIDER ORTHODOXY”

    Stray from orthodoxy and everthing is fair game. Is that what you want?

  24. avatar Ben Anderson says:

    Bernie! +1. well-said.

  25. avatar Dr. K says:

    “However, being a parishoner at OLOL I know that many like it a great deal and they see hope and love in the faces of our Lord in it.”

    Why don’t you ask the 200+ people who have left since Sr. Sobala arrived?

    Couldn’t resist.

  26. avatar annonymouse says:

    Bernie,

    I’m afraid I do not understand how showing the unnamed disciple from the Emmaus passage as a woman is connected to Orthodoxy. Enlighten me please.

    Please elaborate on how you envision Mr. Kane’s inclusion of a woman relates to a hidden ecclesiastical agenda. Might you be reading too much into it?

    Far more than half of all Catholics are female. Couldn’t the motivation have been just to give some recognition to that fact? The Emmaus passage, it seems to me, is focused on recognition of JESUS in the breaking of the bread. As such, the two disciples are only playing a supporting role – proxies for everyman (and perhaps everywoman?). That is how I take Mr. Kane’s inclusiveness. You, sir, seem to be bending over backwards to EXCLUDE the possibility that the disciple was female. Why is that?

  27. avatar Bernie says:

    I’m sorry annonymouse, but this is getting tedious. Go back and read the post and my last comment. Then, let’s just call it quits.

  28. avatar annonymouse says:

    Bernie, I read your post and I read it again. You seem to want to connect Sister Joan’s advocacy of women’s ordination with this artwork which depicts one of the Emmaus disciples as a woman. But you say nothing about that connection. Instead, you draw many inferences to show that both Emmaus disciples were PROBABLY men (male). It would be good if you could connect the dots you’re seeing with a bit broader brush. Do you have anything other than the following: “Sister Joan commissioned this work. Sister Joan is a women-priest advocate. There is a woman in the painting. There probably wasn’t a woman in this particular gospel passage. Therefore it is not orthodox.” Logical – not.

    Maybe I’m dense (I’m not, actually) but I just don’t see a very clear connection there. Now if it showed Jesus portrayed as a woman, then I could see your point. But we’re looking at disciples, one of whom could be a woman and it still be “orthodox” without any problem. It seems to me that you are grasping at straws here, as you have on a number of other occasions. You are seeing a female conspiracy where I really don’t think there is one. It’s bordering on unhealthy paranoia.

    It seems to me that you lose credibility with such judgments. The artwork is awful, but not because one of the disciples is depicted as female.

  29. avatar annonymouse says:

    P.S. I have no idea whether Sister Joan “commissioned” the work, but since it’s hanging in a church that she “administers” I have no doubt that Sister at least approves of it. That by itself doesn’t make it un-orthodox.

  30. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Hello Annonymouse,

    I have several points I’d like to make, and will mostly stick to the scriptural. First, however, in your answers to Bernie it seems that you haven’t answered his “Cleopas” arguments at all, and in case you are having trouble finding the words, and for others reading, I’d like to repeat them right here: (sorry I can’t figure out how to do the little grey box thingy, so it’s in bold:

    However, the identity of Cleopas’ traveling companion is not known. There have been various guesses: Some suppose him to have been Peter; it was also, early on, a very common opinion that it was Luke, and that the Evangelist, through modesty, did not mention his own name. Others even make Cleopas to actually have been Alphaeus, making the second disciple -the companion- the apostle, James, Alphaeus’ son.

    And, yes, there have even been some people who have guessed that the second disciple was Mary, the wife of Cleopas. John 19:25 does mention “Mary the wife of Cleopas” that was at the foot of the cross of Christ. It is reasonable, they say, to suppose that the companion to Cleopas on the road to Emmaus was his wife. But, there is a big problem with this interpretation. Luke had previously mentioned “Mary” in Luke 24:10 as being among the women at the empty tomb that reported what they had seen and heard to the apostles and, in Luke 24:32 Cleopas said that “certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher”. If the companion on the road to Emmaus was Cleopas’ wife, he would have said, “My wife and other women…” or “Mary and other women…” or “The woman (Mary) and other women…”

    Furthermore, if one of the disciples was a woman, why did Luke say “And they said to him (Jesus)…”? In first century Palestine, women did not converse with men in public, certainly not with strangers even if the husbands were present. The second disciple could not have been a woman. By employing “they” Luke is telling us that there is a conversation involving three men. Nowhere is there any hint that Cleopas’ traveling companion on the road to Emmaus –the second disciple- was the wife of Cleopas.

    I think, to be fair in making your assertions, you need to reply to Bernie’s point. Now I’d like to add a bit. First, I want to strongly disagree with your words: “two disciples are only playing a supporting role.” There is no basis for something as important as the Emmaus event having two irrelevant people in “supporting” roles. No, I believe they were far more than that — they were WITNESSES. What Christ was doing was to convey both scripture (His revelations and expounding Scripture and its fulfillment during the walk,) and the Eucharistic Liturgy at the table. It is exactly the way 2000 years of the Mass has come down to us — Liturgy of the Word, and the Unbloody Sacrifice.

    What was Christ trying to do, then? It seems likely that one of the witnesses recognized Him in the “Breaking of the Bread,” and that one would very likely have been someone at the Last Supper (there weren’t any other Masses after the Last Supper until Emmaus), hence His recognition would likely be by someone do the consecration a second time! But the other person could well have been outside of the inner circle of priests (Apostles) and a new departure from the Old Law of only a priest being able to enter the Holy of Holies. It thus seems likely that the event at Emmaus was to emphasize the repetition (and representation) of the Sacrament, and admission to the Sacrament of others who were not present at the Last Supper. That argues for an apostle and a non-apostle.

    Now what Christ was doing was very important in choosing who that person would be, and we already know it was Clopas (or Cleopas depending on which Gospel is read.) Yes, the Greek is similar but slightly different, but as he is presented without introduction it seems unlikely to be disputed as two differnt “Cleopases.”

    No, if Clopas was there, and an apostle, there is no room for yet another person to be present, and no need. Yes, the only woman whom anyone could argue to have been present would have been Clopas’s wife as it would have been highly improper for him to travel with another woman. But there is yet another reason for two men to be present, because in first century Judea and Palestine, women were not accepted as witnesses. And to have an event accepted as truth, there had to be a minimum of two witnesses. It was the lying of two witnesses which convicted Christ. Witnesses are to the truth, whether for a crime of for something better (although less often an issue if it is a witness to good.) Here are some of the scriptural texts which show how absolute and necessary is the testimony of TWO witnesses, who had to be male: (For a death sentence 3 might have been sought, but having only two lead to Christ’s death shows again how paltry was the evidence against him.)

    Deu 17:6
    On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses he that is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.

    Deu 19:15
    “A single witness shall not prevail against a man for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed; only on the evidence of two witnesses, or of three witnesses, shall a charge be sustained.

    Rev 11:3
    And I will grant my two witnesses power to prophesy for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”

    Here are the remaining matches.

    Mat 18:16
    But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses

    Mat 26:60-61 but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days

    2Cr 13:1
    This is the third time I am coming to you. Any charge must be sustained by the evidence of two or three witnesses

    1Ti 5:19
    Never admit any charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses

    Hbr 10:28
    A man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses

    We might also remember in the Old Testament how Susanna was about to be executed on the word of two false witnesses.

    So, in my opinion, this is not a mere chance encounter on the road to Emmaus; Christ had something very specific He wanted to accomplish, and to leave no doubt about it He had two witnesses.

    There is yet another point I’d like to make and that is how Luke often couples male parables and female parables. He seems to have had the desire to show that Christ had mercy for all, that He died for all. But in this Emmaus parable it is not coupled, and surely if there had been a woman there, Luke would have said so out of his great desire to write to the Gentiles where women had more stature and expectations. But he did not do so about Emmaus, nor could the Holy Spirit let him do so.

    For 2000 years, this point of two men with Jesus in Emmaus has been unchallenged by the most reputable scholars of the church. That means something too. I don’t think it is only Sister Joan Sobola’s agenda, because others clamor and follow too. Fundamental to the movement to ordain women is to place them where they are not permitted to be. It doesn’t surprise me that others see such an agenda. But it also seems that the artist did little research and either stumbled into his display or was told to do so to advance an inappropriate gender agenda. Of course I can’t say; I wasn’t there, but it is a departure from tradition that seems to be without sound reason.

    Finally, no one seems to have commented on the blond hair which seems quite out of place in the Semitic culture. What is that about? If it is being claimed to be an angel, I would have as much trouble with that interpretation as saying it is a woman.

  31. avatar annonymouse says:

    I’ve read what Bernie wrote, and now I’ve read it again. And I’ve read what you’ve written. I’m not going to say (nor have I said) that you’re wrong, only that these arguments are unconvincing, and that whether the second disciple was male or female we cannot know or prove. For 2000 years, there has been no official position of the Church on whether the second disciple was male or female.

    You are making a huge leap to say that the other disciple must have been an apostle (there was no other Mass in between). Your assumption is that the only way one would recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread is from previous experience – a specious assumption. You also assume that there were only the twelve male apostles present at the Last Supper – also questionable. Cleopas recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread and the gospels make no mention of his presence on Thursday night. Who’s to say who else might have been there (we know who was, but who’s to say that was an exhaustive list, especially since the Gospels were written 30-50 years after the Resurrection)?

    With respect to your assertion that “surely if there had been a woman there, Luke would have said so” again, mere conjecture on your part.

    My point is, and neither you nor Bernie has addressed it: WHAT DOES IT MATTER? The two disciples were, indeed, WITNESSES, with this I agree. If the two disciples are “symbolic,” as witnesses, of and to all of us, then WHY NOT portray them as male and female? It cannot be proved to be “inaccurate” or “wrong” or “outside of Church teaching or tradition” and if it helps the far-greater-than-50% of us who are women, I say WHY NOT!

    Moreover, why the hostility toward the POSSIBILITY that the second disciple was female? Huh?

    I agree on the blonde hair – and didn’t I mention that was ridiculous in one of my posts?

  32. avatar annonymouse says:

    With respect to your point about two or three witnesses, Diane, I point you to the Gospel account of the Resurrection – first “witnessed” by Mary Magdalene.

    Also, why would the Gospel writer (and Holy Spirit) mention Cleopas’ name but not the other disciple’s? Perhaps to leave it open to our imaginations!? Perhaps so each of us could envision our own journey with Christ, and our own sitting down to supper with Him?

    Now that I think of it – it appears in your world (and Bernie’s) that Jesus only made His Body and Blood available to men (Last Supper, Emmaus). Shouldn’t our Church continue in that practice?

    Or mightn’t there have been some (unnamed) women at both events?

  33. avatar Bernie says:

    Before leaving this post, I would like to restate what is, I think, my most basic point: It is unwise to innovate when it comes to the content of a liturgical work of art. To do so is to risk the hijacking of the liturgy for social, political, trendy, or even heretical purposes. Content must be solidly traditional/orthodox. No matter how innocent the innovation might actually be it is too dangerous to stray from tradition by allowing it. There are plenty of opportunities for the opening-up of scripture and teaching of this or that article of faith or doctine in the homily, the Sunday bulletin, and other venues. But, liturgical art is like the holy scriptures, there are official translations and we find them in our venerable tradition of litugical art.

  34. avatar Diane Harris says:

    And to paraphrase Bernie, I would like to say “It is unwise to innovate when it comes to the content of Sacred Scripture.” To fog the mirror is then to see nothing clearly. What we should be most about is truth, and we can agree that not all of it is revealed, although error is never the aim or product of Scripture. When something is consistently taught and interpreted for 2000 years, it would seem the burden is on the innovator to “prove” and not on tradition to “defend.” This is indeed a core point. To me it makes no sense to argue from the viewpoint that Scripture doesn’t exclude a possibility; after all, it excludes many possibilities. Rather, the burden to prove is on the one who tries to teach what is not clearly included.

    Annonymouse says: “For 2000 years, there has been no official position of the Church on whether the second disciple was male or female.” There does not need to be. There is also no official position on what the questions were which Jesus discussed with the elders in the Temple, and whether any of them were female. Quite frankly there does not need to be. But to begin drawing those elders as female certainly goes against tradition and the expectations of the time and our understanding since then. Why would anyone want to be divisive and begin, after two millennia, to argue that some of them COULD have been female? Or, for that matter, that one of the thieves on the Cross was female? Or that soldiers guarding the tomb were female? Or any of hundreds of other possibilities? Why even open such a door?

    Annonymouse also writes: “You also assume that there were only the twelve male apostles present at the Last Supper – also questionable….and the gospels make no mention of his (Cleopas’s)presence on Thursday night. Who’s to say who else might have been there … (we know who was, but who’s to say that was an exhaustive list, especially since the Gospels were written 30-50 years after the Resurrection)?”

    Annonymouse, aren’t you teetering on the edge of arguing that the Sacred Scripture isn’t Divinely inspired and that maybe the Holy Spirit was becoming senile and forgot what had happened after some years went by? In Luke’s Gospel, to whom is Jesus speaking at the Last Supper when he tells them that they shall sit upon 12 thrones and judge the 12 tribes of Israel? Was he talking to 35 people? Why would Jesus send two apostles to prepare the meal if others are available (especially women in that culture? Even the sign of a man carrying a water jar symbolizes the absence of women in this part of the story. How should people react if “art” now appears with 35 people aroud the table when the Eucharist is instituted, including women as well as men? This is the danger, especially to weaker brothers and sisters, who stumble over the assumption of such license in interpretation, and have their faith put at risk.

    Annonymouse said: “Cleopas recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread” you say.” Rather, doesn’t it say “they” recognized Jesus? From the boat, wasn’t it only the Apostle John who recognized Jesus on the shore, yet on his word didn’t they all come to see and recognize Jesus?

    Annonymouse also said: “With respect to your assertion that “surely if there had been a woman there, Luke would have said so” again, mere conjecture on your part.” I disagree. It may well be conjecture regarding any writer other than Luke but Luke made an incredible effort for gender balance when he wrote. The others did not do so.

    Anonymouse says: “My point is, and neither you nor Bernie has addressed it: WHAT DOES IT MATTER?” The answer is “Because Truth matters.” Distortion of truth, no matter for how good a purpose, is wrong. It can’t achieve a good end if it is a lie. It can only mislead and foment disunity. We are well warned against the father of all lies, even if we can’t always figure out why it would be so wrong.

    Annonymouse also asks: “Moreover, why the hostility toward the POSSIBILITY that the second disciple was female? Huh?” I can’t speak for others, only for myself in saying that we are warned against any distortion of the words of scripture. There is a clear warning in Revelation:

    Rev 22:18 I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,

    Rev 22:19 and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. The question isn’t “why the hostility to a differnet interpretation after 2000 years. Rather, the question is “What is the motive in trying to find a different interpretation in a gender-loaded hostile, secular culture?

    I agree with Bernie that it is time to end this discussion. Pope Benedict has clearly warned against using and abusing scripture for personal purposes, and has called on scripture scholars to use and be used by Scripture for deepening of our faith. To prolong this any further dilutes the real plumbing of Scripture to better understand our faith, rather than to reinterpet or misinterpret it. Ultimately, none of us but the Holy Spirit Himself gives the enlightenment needed to undertand the Truth He presents to us. Let us pray.


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