Patrick Joseph McGrath
Patrick Joseph McGrath
|Bishop of San José in California|
|Church||Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph|
|Diocese||San Jose, California|
|See||San Jose, California|
|Installed||November 27, 1999|
|Other posts||Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco|
|Ordination||June 7, 1970|
|Consecration||January 25, 1989|
June 11, 1945 |
Early Life and Ministry
McGrath attended St. John's Seminary in Waterford, where he was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of San Francisco in 1970. He served as the parochial vicar of St. Anne of the Sunset Parish in San Francisco, and in the archdiocesan tribunal. He went to Rome to continue his education and earned a doctorate in Canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University in 1977. He returned to San Francisco and was appointed the Vice-Officialis, then Officialis, of the archdiocesan tribunal and pastor of the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption.
Patrick Joseph McGrath
|Reference style||The Most Reverend|
|Spoken style||Your Excellency|
|Posthumous style||not applicable|
McGrath was named auxiliary bishop of San Francisco and titular bishop of Allegheny on December 6, 1988, and consecrated on January 25, 1989 at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption; archbishop John Raphael Quinn served as his principal consecrator. McGrath was named coadjutor bishop of San Jose by Pope John Paul II on June 30, 1998, and became the ordinary of the diocese upon the retirement of bishop Pierre DuMaine on November 27, 1999.
On February 19, 2004, Bishop McGrath published an opinion piece in the San Jose Mercury News prior to the opening of producer and director Mel Gibson's movie The Passion of the Christ. The article was titled, "It's a Movie, not History," with a subtitle that read, "Whatever the 'Passion Message,' the Church Renounces Anti-Semitism." Bishop McGrath may have been reacting to the fact that Jewish groups and others objected to the movie because it portrayed the Jewish leaders as arranging to have Jesus killed and that some feared that the portrayal would lead to increased anti-Jewish sentiments. The response of those responsible for the movie to these objections was that the movie was simply based on the Gospel accounts of the events leading up to Christ's death.
Bishop McGrath received a great deal of criticism for this paragraph in the Mercury News opinion piece:
- While the primary source material of the film is attributed to the four Gospels, these sacred books are not historical accounts of the historical events that they narrate. They are theological reflections upon the events that form the core of Christian faith and belief.
A previous edit of this page claimed that what Bishop McGrath wrote is "fully in union with the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church as evidenced by Dei Verbum"—which is the "Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation" that was promulgated by Pope Paul VI during the next to the last session of the Second Vatican Council. This claim was not backed up by any quotations. What Bishop McGrath wrote does in fact contradict several definitive statements about the historical character of the gospels that are found both in Dei Verbum, and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). Nowhere in either of these documents is it written that the Gospels are theological reflections or that they are not historical.
Dei Verbum states the following .....
- 19. Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven (see Acts 1:1).
The bishop's statement would appear to be also contradicting the teachings of the Catholic Church also as expressed in the CCC. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Section 126):
- "The Church holds firmly that the four Gospels, whose historicity she unhesitatingly affirms, faithfully hand on what Jesus, the Son of God, while he lived among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation, until the day when he was taken up."
- "For, after the ascension of the Lord, the apostles handed on to their hearers what he had said and done, but with that fuller understanding which they, instructed by the glorious events of Christ and enlightened by the Spirit of truth, now enjoyed."
- "The sacred authors, in writing the four Gospels, selected certain of the many elements which had been handed on, either orally or already in written form; others they synthesized or explained with an eye to the situation of the churches, while sustaining the form of preaching, but always in such a fashion that they have told us the honest truth about Jesus."
In the article "A Very Busy Bishop! Abortion Laws “Protect” Bishop from Rosary Praying Catholics, Doug Zeitz, from the traditional St. Joseph's Men's Society, pointed out that claiming that parts of the Gospels are theological meditations was condemned in Pope St. Pius X's Decree "Lamentabili Sane, The Syllabus of Errors: Condemning the Errors of the Modernists."
- "The Catholic Church has always, clearly and infallibly, taught that the Holy Scriptures are historical accounts and has condemned the proposition that they are mere theological reflections."
For example, "Lamentabili Sane" states: "T]he following propositions ... are condemned and proscribed. "16. The narrations of John are not properly history, but a mystical contemplation of the Gospel. The discourses contained in his Gospel are theological meditations, lacking historical truth concerning the mystery of salvation."
Bishop McGrath has repeatedly ignored requests to discuss the apparent contradiction of his statement with Church documents with any representative of the St. Joseph Men's Society. The President of the society, Anthony Gonzales, made multiple phone calls and wrote multiple letters attempting to make an appointment with the Bishop to discuss this and other issues, with no response from the bishop. For two years after the article was published, the St. Joseph Men's Society and other Catholics staged monthly protests outside the bishop's residence, asking him to retract his comments, also with no reply from the bishop.
Not just traditional Catholics, but also Evangelical Protestants argue against the ideas expressed by Bishop McGrath. For one example, Wayne Jackson, Evangelical Protestant commentator at Christian Courier, wrote in The Controversy Rages: Mel Gibson’s “The Passion”, that a secular author named Jon Meacham in a Newsweek article “Who Killed Jesus?” (Newsweek, 2/16/04, pp. 45ff) expressed these ideas (which are quite similar to Bishop McGrath's):
- “Scripture is not always a faithful record of historical events; the Bible is the product of human authors who were writing in particular times and places with particular points to make and visions to advance."
In contradiction to the implied idea in the Newsweek article that the human authors of the Bible intended to advance a vision that condemned the Jews for Jesus' death, Jackson cited these facts from the Bible: that Jesus Himself was a Jew, that Old Testament prophets foretold the coming of the Messiah and His death by the hands of His fellow Jews, that Jesus willingly assented to His own death to save mankind, and that everyone who sins is as culpable for the passion of the Christ as the Jewish leaders of His time.
|Ordination history of Patrick Joseph McGrath|
|Date of ordination||7 June 1970|
|Place of ordination||Waterford, Ireland|
|Principal consecrator||John Raphael Quinn, Archbishop of San Francisco|
|Co-consecrator||Mark Joseph Hurley, Bishop Emeritus of Santa Rosa|
|Co-consecrator||Michael Joseph Kaniecki, Bishop of Fairbanks|
|Date of consecration||25 January 1989|
|Bishops consecrated by Patrick Joseph McGrath as principal consecrator|
|Thomas Anthony Daly||25 May 2011|
- Patrick Joseph McGrath at Catholic-Hierarchy. Retrieved on May 6, 2010.
- "Pope Accepts Bishop Mcfarland's Resignation, Names Bishop Tod Brown to Orange; Bishop Mcgrath Appointed Coadjutor of San Jose; Msgr. Wester Is Named Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco" (Press release). Office of Media Relations, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. June 29, 1998. Retrieved 2008-09-11.
- "DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON DIVINE REVELATION DEI VERBUM SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI ON NOVEMBER 18, 1965". Retrieved 30 December 2010.
- "A Very Busy Bishop! Abortion Laws "Protect" Bishop from Rosary Praying Catholics".
|Catholic Church titles|
|Bishop of San José in California