Monday, November 10, 2008

God is Big! Real Big!

A 2004 book by an Australian priest who denies that Jesus is God recently made the news. In chapter 5, "Jesus the Avatar", of God is Big! Real Big! -- and yes, that is the actual title -- Fr. Peter Dresser insists that Jesus is not God and never considered himself to be God.

Fr. Z tackles the story as well.

This is the same place that had been (and possibly still is) baptizing invalidly, "in the name of the Creator, the Liberator, and the Sanctifier".

You can read the whole book online... but... why? Adding to my prayer intentions.

Update: The problem with ressourcement ("returning to the sources") is you must be careful which sources it is you are returning to! Are they orthodox or heterodox? As canonist Edward Peters puts it: "The more modernistic the liberal clerical cohort in Australia tries to become, the older are the heresies that they promote."

Update 2: Fr. Dresser has taken the book offline, and put the following message on his blog:
I can understand why the article in “The Australian” (October 29) has appalled so many people. It has caused scandal and anger, concern and anguish and has hurt me personally. It saddens me that such hysteria has erupted and I feel obliged as a Catholic priest to quell the tempest as best I can.

At the outset I want to reaffirm my belief in the Divinity of Jesus, the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection of Jesus. This affirmation is entirely unsolicited and comes from the heart of a person who has cherished his Catholic religion from childhood and has no reason to repudiate or disparage its core tenets.

The comments in the newspaper were taken from a manuscript I compiled prayerfully and reflectively over many years. In that document I attempted to go beyond doctrine and dogma and to discover God’s magnificence and friendship in the world of science and evolution and in the immensity of the universe. It was not an arrogant attempt to spurn or scorn my Catholic theology. It was more an attempt to personalise and retheologise my Catholic faith and so allow my religion to provide greater nourishment for me in my spiritual journey. It was also my intention to emphasise the human nature of Jesus and Mary. It was a very worthwhile and meaningful experience for me and for others with whom I shared it.

The manuscript is not easy to read and so I can readily appreciate that many people have found its content confusing and indeed even “heretical”. Unfortunately people have not appreciated that my explorative theology is not a credal statement. I also employed a jargon in the process which has made the document even more confusing for so many. My sole intention was to make our beautiful Catholic religion and its beliefs more meaningful in our contemporary world. I am distressed that I have caused pain and anguish instead.

With hindsight it would probably have been wise not to have allowed random access to the manuscript. I requested that the web site which hosted this document be closed down and this has happened. At this stage there is very little else I can do except to apologise to anyone who has been scandalised by what was meant to have been a prayerful, refreshing and invigorating document.
As sincere as he may be, his belief in the Divinity of Jesus, the Virgin Birth, and the Resurrection of Jesus are beliefs in names of dogmas with radically altered substance.

1 comment:

AussieApologist said...

Just to clarify, Fr. Dresser is from a different diocese than St Mary's Sth Brisbane that still is baptising invalidly. (Although it appears that the publication of his book was a joint effort between the two entities)

Australia is Big! Real Big!