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Speaking of St. Mark…. April 25, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, error, General Catholic, Interior Life, North Deanery, persecution, Saints, scandals, Society, Tradition.

……Ars Orandi, that glorious site, has a wonderful excerpt from Dom Prosper Gueranger’s magnificent The Liturgical Year on St. Mark.  Dom Prosper Gueranger knew at least one thing: Matthew was first.

The cycle of Holy Mother Church brings before us today the Lion, who, together with the Man, the Ox, and the Eagle, stands before the throne of God. It was on this day that Mark ascended from earth to heaven, radiant with his triple aureole of Evangelist, Apostle and Martyr.

As the preaching made to Israel had its four great representatives—Isaias, Jeremias, Ezechiel, and Daniel—so, likewise, would God have the New Covenant to be embodied in the four Gospels, which were to make known to the world the life and teachings of his divine Son. The holy Fathers tell us that the Gospels are like the four streams which watered the garden of pleasure, and that this garden was a figure of the future Church. The first of the Evangelists—the first to register the actions and words of our Redeemer—is Matthew, whose star will rise in September; the second is Mark, whose brightness gladdens us today; the third is Luke, whose rays will shine upon in October; the fourth is John, whom we have already seen in Bethlehem, at the crib of our Emmanuel.

Mark was the beloved disciple of Peter; he was the brilliant satellite of the sun of the Church. He wrote his Gospel at Rome, under the eyes of the Prince of the Apostles. The Church was already in possession of the history given by Matthew; but the faithful of Rome wished their own Apostle to narrate what he had witnessed. Peter refused to write it himself, but he bade his disciple take up his pen, and the Holy Ghost guided the hand of the new Evangelist. Mark follows the account given by Matthew; he abridges it, and yet he occasionally adds a word, or an incident, which plainly prove to us that Peter, who had seen and heard all, was his living and venerated authority. One would have almost expected that the new Evangelist would pass over in silence the history of his master’s fall, or at least have said as little as possible about it; but no—the Gospel written by Mark is more detailed on Peter’s denial than is that of Matthew; and as we read it, we cannot help feeling that the tears elicited by Jesus’ look when in the house of Caiphas, were flowing down the Apostle’s cheeks as he described the sad event. Mark’s work being finished, Peter examined it and gave it his sanction; the several Churches joyfully received this account of the mysteries of the world’s redemption, and the name of Mark was made known throughout the whole earth.

Matthew begins his Gospel with the human genealogy of the Son of God, and has thus realized the prophetic type of the Man; Mark fulfills that of the Lion, for he commences with the preaching of John the Baptist, whose office as precursor of the Messias had been foretold by Isaias, where he spoke of the voice of one crying in the wilderness—as the Lion that makes the desert echo with his roar……….

The Church Fathers, the great biblical scholars from Bede the Venerable to Cornelius a Lapide’ and hundreds more in between and since, including  all protestant scholars prior to about 1870, all held Matthew’s Gospel to be the first written.  In the 1870s, Bismarck, Chancellor of Germany and a great enemy of the Church, was engaged in his Kulturkampf to try to destroy the Church’s influence in Germany. 

He commissioned German protestant scholars to use modernist techniques to establish that Mark’s Gospel was first.  This is an error.  But, this view became very widespread, even within the Church.  But the very order of our Bibles reveals that Matthew’s Gospel was the first written, aside from much more evidence, a tiny bit was mentioned above. In fact, the most recent biblical scholarship, even that using the historical-critical method, points towards Matthew’s Gospel being first (the “Mark is first” hypothesis reached its high water mark about 1970, and support for it has been eroding ever since). 

The reason why Bismarck wanted scholars to “discover” that Mark’s Gospel was first, was because Matthew’s Gospel establishes the Primacy of the See of Peter in Matthew 16:18.  If Mark’s is proclaimed first, and Matthew’s a derivative thereof, then it can be insinuated that the statement by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, regarding the nature of his Church and the establishment of Supreme Authority in the See of Peter, is a false attribution made up by zealouts of Rome who wished to establish an authoritative Church, and not a direct statement from Christ. By diminishing the credibility of the primacy of Matthew, Bismarck furthered his goal of attacking the Church. 

I should not have to mention how such a belief reflects modernist tendencies, since it proclaims that much of Sacred Scripture, even the Gospel attributions to our Savior, is the product of men, and not inspired by God, let alone said directly by God when He walked the earth.   The modernists start with the assumption (typically) that God did not walk the earth, and go from there.  That is why we are now told that the Gospels weren’t written a few years after Christ died, but decades later – certainly after the destruction of Jerusalem, because the “scholars” will not accept that Jesus actually made a valid prophecy.  There is also the explicit assumption that because Matthew’s Gospel is longer, it has to be an embellishment of both Mark’s Gospel and some never found, illusory “proto-Gospel” (the “Q Gospel” theory – Q being short for “Quell,” German for source.  Starting to see the German connection?  Germany, with Goethe and Nietzche and many others, was also the primary fount of modernism, in general, again, encouraged greatly by Bismarck).  All this, essentially, to deny the Incarnation.

There is an interesting analysis of this scandal, from an evangelical protestant perspective, here

All of the above is the reason why a priest acquaintance of mine recommended strongly not to use any study Bible produced after 1900, and those written before 1800 are preferred, because they all tend to be filled with errors like this.  I have found the Haydock Study Bible to be wonderful.

There is a great deal more at Ars Orandi.  Also, read the post about Rogation Day, now also sadly almost totally forgotten!

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