The Great Restructuring
By Steven J. Grisafi, PhD.
Catholicism has long prepared for this moment. Catholicism is prepared for this moment. Imagine yourself as the current pope, Father Francis. How do you respond to the revelation that for more than seventeen centuries Christians have misread the New Testament? The wise Father Francis will recognize that his predecessors have long prepared for this moment. Catholic theologians have long anticipated the moment when it was to be revealed that Jesus was only mortal. Through the guidance of the Prophet Muhammad the theology of Islam built upon the teachings of Jesus and his predecessors without the need to assert the divinity of Christ. Equally true, Catholic theologians have long built a more liberal and humane theology compatible with, but not requiring, the notion that Jesus was divine. Father Francis’s predecessors have identified and confirmed the blessed works of numerous mortals recognized as satisfying the conditions of sainthood. The clergy has guided their parishioners and those parishioners have risen to the standards asked of them by their God. All this was built with no requirement placed upon the mortality of Jesus. Catholicism has no more need of Jesus than what the Prophet Muhammad recognized as valid.
At this junction of thought most persons would exclaim: “But, of course, we recognize the value of the teachings of Jesus. We need not assert his divinity. We need only recognize his prophesies.” This the Prophet Muhammad did and built further upon them with his own. But there is a snag. It was this snag that confused the Council of Nicaea leading them astray so as to develop their misreading of the New Testament asserting that Jesus was the Son of God. The New Testament asserts that Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish Messiah. The snag is that the Jews disagreed. Jews believed that their Messiah, a mortal man who was to serve as their leader, would be sent to them by their Father to lead them out of bondage and all tyranny imposed upon them by others. The Jews did not accept Jesus as their leader. Who has the right to say whom is the leader of a people? The Messiah of Jews was to be a leader welcomed by Jews. That leader was not Jesus.
We need to understand that the Council of Nicaea was held in the Roman province of Anatolia. In that region of the Empire the common language of the people was usually some dialect of Greek. Latin was only used as the language of official government proceedings and its documents. Saint Jerome wrote the Vulgate in the vernacular known to him. Saint Jerome lived in North Africa. The Vulgate was not written in the proper Latin expected on official documents. The vernacular understood by members of the Council of Nicaea would have been some dialect of Greek, not Latin. The Vulgate was not something they would readily understand. But the Vulgate was a document that the Prophet Muhammad would readily understand. The Prophet Muhammad traveled extensively throughout North Africa and was most likely familiar with the vernacular of the region.
Although able to recognize the correct meaning provided by Saint Jerome within the Vulgate, the Prophet Muhammad still confronted the dilemma that the Jews of Jerusalem refused to recognize Jesus as their Messiah. The solution of the Prophet was to assert that the adherents of Islam are the true chosen people of God. Rather than embark upon an argument regarding the identity of a chosen people, it becomes incumbent upon Father Francis to recognize that God has no chosen people and the Messiah of the Jews is only a leader of Jews. It is incumbent upon Father Francis to recognize the good works of all men of faith but with special attention to those good works performed under the guidance of the Church. Father Francis leads the body of current parishioners in an understanding of a set of values developed through the good works of past parishioners so as to propagate further good works. This is the Great Restructuring.