It is Heresy to say the Son of God became a human being

By Br. Alexis Bugnolo

It was reported in English, today, by LifeSite News, that the Vice-President of the German Bishop’s Conference said:  “For us, Christ became a human being, not a man”. — The context seems to imply that the word man is being used in the sense of a human who is not female.

To say that the Son of God became a human being, not a man — here man is used in the sense of an individual substance of human nature, that is, a created person, who is human and male — is heresy.

It is heresy, because it says that the Son of God became another individual other than Who He is. That would imply that He was no longer the Son of God.

Perhaps it can be interpreted to say that the Son of God became also another individual other than who He is, but that would be the Heresy of Nestorianism, which Held that Christ was two individuals fused by a moral union or harmonious activity.

But the Bishop shows that he knows even less theology, because he says, “Christ became a human being, not a man”, but the Name of Christ refers to the Son of God Incarnate, or at least, if you are an adoptionist heretic, to the Man who is conceived in the womb of the Virgin.

Catholics instead say that the Son became incarnate, and that Jesus is the Christ. You can say that the Son is the Christ, but you need to add, “in His incarnation”. This is because the Name of “Christ”, means “The Anointed One”, and to be anointed you need to have a physical body in the proper sense.

The Catholic Faith is this: The Eternal Son of God, Who is a Divine Person possessing fully the Divinity of the Father, but being distinct as person from the Father, became Man, that is was incarnate in the womb of the Virgin. In that incarnation He assumed or took to himself a Human Nature of an real supposit, but united it to His Divine Person by an eternal bond, never to be broken again. That is why that Man is not a man, but the Human Nature of the Eternal Son.  For this reason that Man is not a human being, because that Man does not subsist by a human nature or by a created act of being, but subsists by the same act of Being of the Eternal Son, in virtue of the Hypostatic Union, or inseparable personal possession of that Man by the Son. Thus to touch Jesus, the Man, is to touch the Son of God, and hence to touch the Divine Nature. That is what makes the worship of Jesus an act of worship of God. And that is what makes the Christian Religion the only true Faith.

A lot of Catholics do not understand these distinctions, because they have never studied Catholic Theology. That this Bishop gets it so wrong is a clear sign that he is incompetent to be a Bishop and that the Synod he is a part of is probably also such.

Br. Bugnolo is the English translator of Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio’s Opera Omnia, Tome I: On the One and Triune God, in which these distinctions are talked about at greast length. You can get a copy through The Franciscan Archive.

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CREDITS: The Featured Image is a screen shot of the LifeSite News page cited in the article, used here according to fair use standards for editorial commentary. LifeSite News is one of the leading Catholic news Agencies in the United States.

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10 thoughts on “It is Heresy to say the Son of God became a human being”

  1. Philosophy helps here. The Son is a Divine Person,one in Being with the Father and Holy Spirit. This Second Person took on a human nature. He did not become a human being. This heretical teaching that “the Son became a human being” arose because of a desire to avoid the man word. The people who say this are idiots, not formal heretics….they don’t even know the Faith. Philosophy, true philosophy, which is used to express dogma, is no longer taught in seminaries.

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  2. Mary, you are correct to say that idiots who say something heretical are not heretics. But when a Bishop says it, Canon Law presumes he is a heretic in a penal process. He would have to admit ignorance or explain himself to avoid a penalty.

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  3. Your thoughtful point/counterpoint does not exclude the possibility that the good bishop and other such folk, who deviate from the Creed, are both.

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  4. You are right that many Catholics do not understand these distinctions that make a real difference. Local priests have referred to Our Lord as a human person, no less, when He is a Divine Person. The creed says became Man, not a human person.

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  5. What was the original statement? The weekly newspaper of Bp Bode’s diocese of Osnabrück wrote “„Das Zusammenspiel von Frauen und Männern ist eines der wichtiges Zeichen der Zeit“, sagte er [Bp Bode]. Christus sei „für uns Mensch, nicht Mann geworden“.”
    Please pay attention to:
    -there’s no “menschliches Wesen=human being” but “Mensch”,
    -there’s no article neither with “Mensch” nor with “Mann” but which Edward Pentin inserted and
    -there’s a “für uns=for us”.
    The first problem is due to translation, especially of the double sense of the english “man” similar to latin “homo”. In German we have two words: “Mensch” for “man” as “human person” and “Mann” for “man” as “male person”.
    The second problem is the shortening headline by katholisch.de ommitting “for us”. The “for us” seems to mean it’s not an ontological but a pastoral statement. Edward Pentin cited the shortened formula.
    A German reader reading the complete sentence knows Bode isn’t really denying the male sex of Jesus but playing with words by provocative neglecting the importance of Jesus being male compared with the importance of the incarnation – for us (!).
    As a German native I would translate Bode’s sentence into English by switching to adjectives: “Christ had become for us human, not male”.
    I agree to you that the problem still remains that he incorrectly ascribes the title of Christ. And clearly he tries to attack male priesthood. But besides this – can one still call the sentence in this translation heretical? Or have Gerald Murray and Bishop Strickland to be told due to relying on bad translation?

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  6. Dear Klaus,

    Thank you for your precisions regarding what the German means. I myself cannot read German, and non of my German friends commented on the statement. However, it is still heretical to say, that the Son of God did not become a male human being for us, but a human being, because the masculinity of the human nature which was assumed by the Eternal Son is also necessary for our salvation in that a Priest has to be male and that the male member of the species is the same form as Adam our first parent. Christ recapitulates Adam, therefore He had to be a male man.

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