Friday, September 14, 2012

Infallible Ignorance

There is the famous question whether St. John sets the Crucifixion on the day of the Passover, the day on which the lambs are killed, and not on the day following, as the Synoptists appear to do. The question has been fought between Easterns and Westerns—for the Easterns use leavened bread for the Holy Eucharist, and wish to show that the Last Supper was just before the days of unleavened bread—and between Catholics and Catholics, and between critics and critics. That most brilliant and most fervent defender of the Church, the late Monsignor Duchesne, used to say that when he was a young man he imagined, like many young scholars, that he had discovered an infallible way of reconciling St. John here with the Synoptists, but that in later years he had realised that we are too ignorant of the customs of those days to assert any of the many solutions to be decisive! —Dom John Chapman, The Four Gospels [1927] (New York: Sheed & Ward, 1944), pp. 61–62.

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