Friday, November 24, 2023

Is Jesus a Black Male?

Thanks to Martin Luther, the father of Protestantism, we now have numerous sects and denominations presenting their own takes and beliefs on Christ and Christianity.  The Catholic Church solely is linked to Jesus as her founder compiled the Bible and is the sole interpreter of Scripture. However, thanks to Luther, we now have massive confusion. One biblical verse can produce hundreds of interpretations. This distorts Scripture and invalidates Christianity.  If Jesus is the Truth and the Word of God and this Word of God manifests in Scripture, why do we have so many interpretations of the Sacred Pages?  The answer is clear: people take and interpret the Scripture privately using their schema as a bias to develop paradigms of what they believe are authentic interpretations of Scripture.  Ignorance and pride are the root.  Today we will focus on one of these absurd takes on Scripture.  

For the past few years, we have seen cults develop around the United States. One, in particular, is a group of African Americans who call themselves "Black Israelites." They claim that African Americans, Black Caribbean, Africans, and some Latinos are direct descendants of the 12 Tribes of Judea.  This group claims that ethnic Jews are not real Jews. To them, they are "white devils" who usurped the Jewish religion and oppressed so-called "people of color." They are extremely hostile and obstinate in debates believing they are right and everyone else is wrong.  These people target Christians, in particular Catholics, and claim that Catholics push the white image of Jesus on humanity and say Jesus is really black citing Revelation 1:14-15 Revelation 2:18 Daniel 10:6.   Let us take a look at this claim and see what this is all about.  

Is Jesus white or black?  

Revelation 1:14-15 and Daniel 10:6 are Apocalyptic literature which is defined by Britannica encyclopedias as "characteristically pseudonymous; it takes narrative form, employs esoteric language, expresses a pessimistic view of the present, and treats the final events as imminent."  The literature uses imagery to convey cryptic messages. The description of hair like wool, eyes like fire, and skin like furnished bronze are exactly that, imagery,. They are not meant to describe Jesus literally.  Each has a specific meaning behind the symbolic imagery.  

First of all, Jesus was of Middle Eastern origin where people are mostly olive skin-toned. They would not be black.  Second, bronze has a yellowish-to-brownish color, not black.  So clearly the author St. John was not trying to describe the racial physicality of Jesus Christ.  The word used in the original Greek text is "chalkolibanon" which can mean refined brass, golden ore, or even white shining copper.  Note that the description is only linked to Jesus' feet, nothing else. Are we to assume only Jesus' feet were dark? What about the rest of His body?  The truth is that this description is a simile for the attributes of Jesus Christ, not His racial physicality. The imagery is meant to convey Jesus' authority, His moral purity, and HIs dual nature. 

It is interesting to note that verse 16 was left out which describes Jesus' face like the Sun. The Sun looks yellow to us due to the atmosphere but it is really a white star. So we have Jesus with dark feet and a white or yellow face. Does this make any sense biologically? We also see this description in Matthew 17:2.  Again, these are symbols used to convey a deeper message showing the glorification of Jesus or the Glory of God.  What about the hair?  Revelation says Jesus' hair is LIKE wool, not that the texture was like wool.  It also says it was white LIKE snow. This does not mean it is snow.  The description here is meant to describe Jesus as the ancient one, the wise one, and so on. White hair is often culturally linked to wisdom and authority. We know this because it is borrowed from Daniel 7:9-10.  

Revelation 1:14-15 also describes Jesus as having eyes with a flame of fire and a sharp two-edged sword coming from HIs mouth. Are we to take this literally?  Does Jesus have flaming eyes like Superman when he is about to shoot lasers from his eyes? Does Jesus have a sword in His mouth like a magician or circus performer?  Again, all of this is a metaphor.  The flaming eyes mean that Jesus is all-seeing and all-knowing. Fire lights things up no matter how dark an area is.  Fire brings light which allows us to read and acquire knowledge.  Jesus is all-knowing.  The seven stars represent the seven Churches being addressed by St. John via the writing of Revelation.  The two-edged sword here is in reference to Hebrews 4:12 which speaks of the "Word of God." Jesus is the Word of God or the Logos. His word is law, so to speak. It creates, sanctifies, instructs, gives mercy, and judges. The Bible was later called the Word of God by Pope Damasus I.  Scripture does not directly describe itself as the Word of God.  

In light of exegesis, there is no way Jesus could have been an African based on the Scriptures cited by these cult members. It defies logic.  There is also no way Jesus was Caucasian or had Caucasian features like males in Europe based on Scripture.  We just are not sure.  There is a text attributed to Pontius Pilate which describes Jesus as blond with blue eyes, but this text is not canonical nor inspired Scripture. The text is a letter from Pontius Pilate to Tiberius Caesar describing the physical appearance of Jesus. Copies are in the Congressional Library in Washington, D.C.(See: A Letter from Pontius Pilate on JSTOR.)  According to research, some claim the letter to be a forgery.  

Again, He was of Middle Eastern origin, not African and we know that the book of Revelation uses Apocalytic writing which uses metaphors and symbols to convey messages.  Note that in Revelation 5:6 it describes Jesus as having seven eyes and seven horns. This looks demonic rather than the Jesus image we are all accustomed to. The reality is that this is metaphoric language. Jesus does not literally have seven eyes or horns. The number 7 means completion or perfection. Jesus has perfect all-seeing eyes and the seven horns convey power, so Jesus is all-powerful.  Once again, Jesus' attributes are the message behind the bronze feet, white hair, wool-like hair, flaming eyes, seven stars, seven eyes and horns, and His face like the Sun. When people cherry-pick Scripture, we get these ridiculous interpretations. I am sure there is someone out there using Revelation 5:6 to argue that Jesus is an extraterrestrial or mutant. 

The color of Jesus' skin is irrelevant. Jesus came to redeem everyone and open the doors to salvation to those who will work for it.  It is a shame that this cult is engaging in divisiveness, race-baiting, and cultural appropriation of Judaism. As stated, we do not know what color Jesus' skin was. All we can assume is that He was olive-skin-toned due to the fact of where He was born and lived.  If Jesus were Black, the Gospel writers would have made an effort to detail this because there were most likely no Africans in the region at the time.  It is like finding Black people in China or Japan. They are extremely rare. Race is a social construct. It does not exist in nature. There is no gene for it. We all have different shades of skin tones, different hair textures and physical features due to nature and evolution. Our bodies adapt to the areas we reside in for an extended period of time.  

This will be an interesting thing to ponder in regards to when humanity begins to colonize the Moon and Mars.  The differences in environment may have a huge impact on evolution and may completely alter how the human being looks as it adapts to these environments.  Anyone caught up on skin color needs to pray and do some soul-searching. They need to mature and get educated. They also need to respect Scripture and not impose on it ridiculous racist ideologies.  God has no race or color. He is pure spirit. He cannot be limited to a color or physicality.  Jesus became man and has a human male body, but we have no description of it in Scripture so all we can do is assume He looked like the people of His time and region who were mostly olive-skin toned.  

The Catholic Church has always understood this and has never taught that Jesus was white or of any color. It is irrelevant. In fact, the Catholic Church has many depictions of Jesus in a variety of human skin tones and facial features. There are even images of Jesus with braids and Native American or Asian cultural costumes.  These are all fine and awesome!  They help us connect with Jesus on a personal and cultural human level.  God became one of us in all things but sin, so it helps to see Him in an image that connects with our ethnic roots in a sense.  

Groups like "Black Israelites" are a hate group who profess racism, not faith.  They claim God hates Caucasians which contradicts the purpose of Jesus' conception, birth, death and resurrection.  The Biblical verse most circulated makes it clear that God loves the world that He sent His only begotten Son.  We read this in John 3:16. Notice that the verse does not say "God loved only Blacks or Hispanics." It says "God loved the world..." meaning everyone and everything.   

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Michael Voris Caught in Vortex Spin

There is a huge vortex going on at Church Militant that has brought some to spin out of the organization. According to the X account of Church Militant, Michael Voris resigned as its head. Michael Voris in response released a video statement where he seems embarrassed, confused, humbled, broken, and defeated. The cocky and articulate armchair anchorman is seen in this video struggling to find words and emotional at times. Church Militant issued a statement on their X account stating a violation of a "morality clause" on the part of Voris but fell short of revealing exactly what this means. Despite claiming to be transparent, they are not telling us all the details. Voris also was mute on the reasoning but alluded to it being related to "his past." Many of us who have followed Michael Voris throughout the years know that he has been very open about struggling with homosexuality. This is most likely what led to his fall. Here is the statement from Church Militant and video statements from Voris and Christine Niles.

Church Militant is a self-professed Catholic news apostolate that began with Voris giving catechism lectures. At first, it was a popular source for Catholic information but when Voris began making claims that were strange such as endorsing a monarchy for the United States, people began to suspect it as a ploy for grifting. Eventually, Church Militant grew into St. Michael's media. Voris purchased videography studio equipment and a building that would serve as a studio. Church Militant then took a turn as a conspiratorial outlet making claims regarding political and ecclesial figures. At times, some of its content was outright defamatory and gossip. Voris who has a bachelor's degree in theology has indirectly presented himself as a theologian or expert of "true Catholicism." He was joined by Christine Nile who has also left Church Militant. She too posted a video statement where she looks disgusted and upset and claims that Voris changed over the last few years. She claims that he did not pray with the team as they are required to and his behavior changed overall. She too did not go into details as to what Voris actually did, but clearly looked upset. Judging is above our pay grade here at Sacerdotus, so we will offer none. We will pray for Michael and hope that he overcomes whatever demons are plaguing him. No one is perfect. We all have our shortcomings. This is why we should never throw stones while residing in a glass house. God love Michael Voris, may Our Lady help him and St. Michael remove the demons. 

Michael Voris seemed to have had good intentions but like many Catholics who take on a social media celebrity status, they fall from grace. The signs are typical. We saw John Corapi engage in grifting and then dying his beard and resorting to leather clothing. Some may dismiss this as a midlife crisis, but there is something much deeper. We notice Michael Voris dye his hair blonde and begin to sell books seeking monetary gain from his Catholic faith. These are the signs. Dr. Marshall Taylor is another one who has exhibited the use of his Catholic faith to earn money. As Niles stated, the lack of prayer is key. Prayer is necessary in ministry. When one sees a clergy member, religious or lay person lag on their prayer life, this is a huge sign of spiritual decay. Some are claiming that Voris was married to another male and was flirting with men at Starbucks:  The Church Militant site has not posted anything related to this scandal. 

We will update this post as we learn more on this Breaking News!

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Bishop Strickland Removed by Pope Francis

As expected, Pope Francis has fired the Bishop of the Tyler Diocese, Bishop Joseph Strickland. The news still brought shock to the Catholic social media sphere. Many voiced their celebration and mockery at the situation while many more voiced concern for the bishop and the state of the Catholic Church with a few vowing to leave the Church for the Orthodox or sede vacantist offshoots from Archbishop Lefebvre. 

 Bishop Strickland has won the admiration of many Catholics who see him as an orthodox champion of the faith. His posts often consisted of devotional-themed content and content pertaining to Christ and the faith. However, he has often posted criticism of others in the Church in particular Pope Francis whom he accused of "undermining the Deposit of Faith." The Deposit of Faith is the collection of the teachings of the Catholic religion or what every Catholic must accept and believe. Bishop Strickland tweeted this using his now-defunct @BishopofTyler account back in the Spring of 2023:
The tweet brought many reactions, especially from those who consider themselves "leftist Catholics" and who often subscribe to an obedience to Pope Francis that is almost indistinguishable from Montanism at times. They literally defend,d every word of the pope and seem to think every statement becomes dogma. They accused Bishop Tyler of heresy and defiance. Calls for his resignation immediately followed calling him schismatic and disloyal to the pope. Almost immediately after the post on X (formerly known as Twitter), the Vatican ordered a visitation. A visitation is when the Vatican sends bishops to investigate. After the visitation, the information is sent back to Rome and reviewed. They then send it to the pope to decide what happens next. 

The visitation led Pope Francis to ask Bishop Strickland to resign. According to reports and a statement, Bishop Strickland refused to resign leading Pope Francis to force him out. Cardinal Dinard of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston issued this statement: 

Cardinal DiNardo's Public Statement on Bishop Joseph Strickland 
NOVEMBER 11, 2023 
Daniel Cardinal DiNardo 

In June of this year, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, directed that an Apostolic Visitation of the Diocese of Tyler should be conducted. Bishop Dennis Sullivan of Camden and Bishop Emeritus Gerald Kicanas of Tucson were appointed to conduct the Visitation. The Prelates conducted an exhaustive inquiry into all aspects of the governance and leadership of the Diocese of Tyler by its Ordinary, Bishop Joseph Strickland. As a result of the Visitation, the recommendation was made to the Holy Father that the continuation in office of Bishop Strickland was not feasible. 

After months of careful consideration by the Dicastery for Bishops and the Holy Father, the decision was reached that the resignation of Bishop Strickland should be requested. Having been presented with that request on November 9, 2023, Bishop Strickland declined to resign from office. Thereafter, on November 11, 2023, the Holy Father removed Bishop Strickland from the Office of Bishop of Tyler. Pending more permanent arrangements for the Diocese of Tyler, the Holy Father has, at the same time, appointed Bishop Joe Vasquez, Bishop of Austin, as Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Tyler. Let us keep Bishop Strickland, the clergy and faithful of the Diocese of Tyler, and Bishop Vasquez in our prayers. 

 Here are some of the reactions on X: As you can see, there are many points of view on this. This is dividing Catholics in a way that has not been seen recently with many calling this the last straw. What are we to make of this new current event in the Catholic Church? 

The situation with Bishop Strickland is concerning for a variety of reasons. Granted, he did make a jab at Pope Francis in a Twitter post. However, this current pope has made it a priority to be merciful and preach mercy. He has also made it a priority to "listen" as we saw with the Synod on Synodality. Yet, he removes a bishop for simply exercising his American First Amendment rights. Where is the mercy? Where is the act of listening? In Scripture, we read how Paul resisted Peter to his face (see: Galatians 2:11). 

In fact, bishops are supposed to assist the pope in running the Church. This often involves disagreements and voicing of countering views or opinions. Moreover, the office of the cardinalate was created specifically for this. How can a prelate engage in this without fearing being reprimanded or removed? Pope Francis is presenting bad optics here. There is no demonstration of mercy or the act of listening. It is either my way or the highway, so to speak. This should be of great concern to Catholics. This is not a left vs right or conservative vs progressive issue. It is about consistency and integrity. There are clergy out there who have done great evils, yet are still active. One even placed his semen in a chalice. Does it get any worse than this other than abuse of children? 

We all need to be concerned. This should be the last straw indeed. There also seems to be a veil over some Catholics who will defend any action by Pope Francis. We at Sacerdotus pledge obedience and prayers to Pope Francis, but we will criticize any statements or acts that may conflict with the faith and good optics. This does not mean we are rebelling against him or wishing to form a mutiny. We concede that Bishop Strickland did not always use his platform wisely. Some comments should have been presented to Pope Francis privately and not posted on social media. 

However, those comments do not warrant removal when compared to other clerics who have done greater evil and committed crimes, yet are promoted or allowed to work in ministry. This is a serious thing we need to take into account. If Pope Francis truly wants to convey the idea of mercy, of "meeting you where you are at," of "obtaining the smell of sheep," and of listening to the people in the spirit of synodality, then he has to do better. Let us pray for all parties involved and for stability in the Catholic Church. We are a laughingstock in the world now. 

UPDATE: November 11, 2023 
Bishop Strickland has given his first public interview since his removal on LifeSite:

What do you think? Post below on Disqus. Remember to follow the rules in order for your comment to be posted. 



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