FWIW, Overberg did it again, denying Christ’s saving/salvific action on the cross before the students and baby-boomers of Xavier University’s Bellarmine Chapel on Palm Sunday to kick off Holy Week, a time when Catholics are supposed to focus on the very things he would have us repudiate. Link and snippets are below. Short of delivering these remarks from the lectern without pants, I don’t know what this guy has to do to get the attention of local Catholic officialdom in Cincinnati.

(Perhaps likening the local bishop to a seminary rector would do the trick.)

“… remember that we don’t have to believe in a vengeful God who demands atonement. Jesus died by human decree not divine decree. … God did not want Jesus’ suffering and does not want ours.”


You can find a related post from March 28 here.

Xavier University theologian Ken Overberg, S.J., has made denying the core doctrine of the Atonement and Christ’s salvific action on the cross his life’s work.  So it comes as no surprise, appalling though it is, that he devotes a lengthy Lenten sermon at Bellarmine Chapel to this topic.  That he is able to do so without any fear of correction, by Xavier’s president or Cincinnati’s archbishop, is scandalous. Here’s an excerpt:

It is right and just that at least once each Lent we are reminded that we don’t have to believe that God sent Jesus to suffer and die for us. There is no “happy fault or necessary sin.” Jesus did indeed die a violent death of crucifixion. That was an historical event. But the interpretation of the event is an act of theology and faith. And there are different interpretations in our Christian tradition.

Lent is an especially difficult time for those who try to believe in a nonviolent God. Scriptures and prayers, songs and sermons praise suffering and the cross. They speak of a wondrous love that caused the Lord of bliss to bear the dreadful curse. God sends Jesus to suffer and die for our sins.

The Law of Retribution and the ancient-but-ever-new religion of “violence saves” seem to have trumped Jesus’ teaching about a God of compassion and healing, of life and love. So throughout Lent we hear of ransom and sacrifice, expiation and atonement.

We find a clear refutation to Overberg’s heresy in paragraph 118 of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

118. Why was the death of Jesus part of God’s plan?


To reconcile to himself all who were destined to die because of sin God took the loving initiative of sending his Son that he might give himself up for sinners. Proclaimed in the Old Testament, especially as the sacrifice of the Suffering Servant, the death of Jesus came about “in accordance with the Scriptures”.

FYI, the preferred Moslem dialogue partner of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the bishops conference just held a rally during which participants chanted the slogans “We are Hamas!” and “We are Jihad!”  

But they too “adore the one, merciful God,” so it’s okay.

In her July 18 interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer, the new head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who describes herself as a “Northern Kentucky girl” due to her local roots, claims,

That’s one of things that I’ve heard criticisms of the Muslim community in general, that we’re not outspoken when things like [Moslem terrorist atrocities] occur. CAIR is always at the forefront in terms of issuing press releases condemning any type of inappropriate actions that are harmful to people regardless of the reason why that occurred and even more so when somebody tries to do so in the name of our faith.

Since the interview, the Moslem terrorist group the Islamic State has cleansed the ancient city of Mosul of all Christians, after giving them the choice between conversion or death. And yet a quick Google search of “CAIR,” “Mosul,” and “Christians” reveals nothing but silence from the preferred dialogue partner of the USCCB and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. (They appear to be preoccupied with bashing Israel over its war with Hamas, which is unsurprising given that CAIR operates as the terrorist organization’s U.S. branch office.) For a primer on CAIR, read my 2007 piece for Catholic Exchange.