Times of London: Vatican to "rehabilitate" Judas's reputation
When it comes to official Vatican pronouncements, it's usually good policy to be skeptical when reading summaries in the mainstream press. When the press reports what the Vatican is going to do in the future, it's best to crank the skepticism up to maximum.
That said, The Times of London might actually be right in its report today that Judas Iscariot "is to be given a makeover by Vatican scholars on the ground that he was not deliberately evil, but was just 'fulfilling his part in God's plan.'"
The paper suggests that the Vatican's move is related to the planned publication of the so-called Gospel of Judaswhich has been caught up in some Da Vinci Code-style silliness.
"Though not written by Judas, it is said to reflect the belief among early Christians now gaining ground in the Vatican that in betraying Christ Judas was fulfilling a divine mission, which led to the arrest and Crucifixion of Jesus and hence to man's salvation," the Times says. Brandmüller tells the paper that the manuscript could "serve to reconstruct the events and context of Christ's teachings as they were seen by the early Christians, [including the teaching that Jesus always preached] forgiveness for one's enemies."
"In scholarly circles, it has long been unfashionable to demonize Judas and Catholics in Britain are likely to welcome Judas's rehabilitation," Richard Owen wrote.
In fact, Judas is almost always a hero in most modern depictions, or at least he's a conflicted protagonist whose betrayal was all Jesus' idea.
What the Times story really needs is a heavy dose of theology. It seems to miss the point that one can sin egregiously and still "fulfill [one's] part ...1
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