Jesus as founder of Catholic Church? Not exactly

Re Alex Beam’s Oct. 8 Opinion column (“There are still good reasons for becoming a Catholic”): We write as Christians and Episcopal priests to say that Jesus Christ did not found any church, but rather proclaimed God’s reign of compassion, justice, and peace. When one is baptized, in the name of the triune God, one is baptized into the the Body of Christ, not into any one denomination. In baptism we become Christians, not Roman Catholics or even Episcopalians, as much as we love ourselves.

The Matthean idea of Peter as the “rock” has led to one-true-churchism — questionable theology and spirituality. Jesus, a faithful Jew, never appointed any popes or endorsed any one church as true. This later idea is interpretative and symbolic, not literal. It’s wise never to take any scripture literally, especially in support of one particular point of view.

Jesuit James Martin’s wisdom to his institutional church seems closer to the tone and courage of Jesus’ healing vision: “Be opened!” All churches now need to be opened, to pray that our deafness, one to the other, in church and world, will be healed.

The Rev. Lyn Gillespie Brakeman

The Rev. Richard J. Simeone