A longtime lecturer in Dogmatic Theology at Maynooth, Fr Martin Henry has described the Infancy Narratives of the Gospels as fictions.
The longtime lecturer in Maynooth Pontifical University has, I believe been bamboozeling students for years with Japanese poetry and references to Neitzche.
I see, very appropriately that one of his books are entitled, 'On not understanding God (1997) and another is
Tangents: Essays and Reflections ( 2008).
Very appropriate. In my opinion, Fr Henry is an agnostic who does not believe very much of what the Catholic Church believes. It is a scandal that such a lecturer has been allowed to teach at Maynooth for years.
When people seek why Maynooth turns out such a stream of theological illiterates, they won't have to look far past Fr Henry for an answer.
Madam, - I wonder if Prof Brian Arkins is missing the point of the Nativity stories in the Gospels? The facts he states are not in dispute. But what may be in dispute is his interpretation of the Gospels as a literary genre.
I find Morna Hooker's book Beginnings: Keys that Open the Gospelsmore enlightening than Prof Arkins's array of petits faits vrais on the point of Matthew's and Luke's opening narratives. Of course they are fictions - what else do you expect religious poetry to be? But being fiction isn't the same thing as being fraudulent, false or meaningless - or, worse still, well-meaning. Nor need fictions be without allusion to "real" places and events, though that is not their "point".
The 18th-century champions of the European Enlightenment were reluctant to go beyond the "hard facts" of history - as, curiously enough, are contemporary fundamentalists. Prof Arkins is certainly doing his bit to try to drag little Ireland, kicking and screaming, into the 18th century. But who wants to live in the 18th century? - Yours, etc,
Lecturer in Dogmatic Theology,
St Patrick's College,
Maynooth, Co Kildare.
Irish Times Thursday 24th Dec 08.