Cleric faces dismissal over claim that Jesus Christ ‘did not exist’

Controversial Irish Dominican priest may be dismissed

A controversial Irish Dominican priest may be dismissed from his order following an investigation into his claim that Jesus Christ “did not exist as a historical individual”.

Fr Tom Brodie, OP, who has already stepped down from his position as director of the Dominican Biblical Institute in Limerick, claims his bookBeyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discoveryaims to “develop a new vision of Jesus as an icon of God’s presence in the world and in human history”.

The Irish Dominicans had put in place the procedures in the order’s legislation for handling cases of disputed teaching to investigate the claim which a spokesman for the order has confirmed have been completed.

It is understood that after investigations at national level rejected Fr Brodie’s writings, he appealed to the Master of the Order, Br Bruno Cadoré, OP, who set up a separate commission to investigate the priest’s controversial claims.

The spokesman also confirmed to The Irish Catholic that this process has now been completed and an announcement regarding the investigation’s findings is expected next month.

Writing in a recent issue of Doctrine and Life, the current moderator and director of the Dominican Biblical Institute in Limerick, Fr Gerard Norton, OP, took issue with contents of the book and the methodology of its author.


The book is both “imprudent and dangerous for the faithful”, Fr Norton claimed.

“Taken alone, this book makes startling little attempt to prove its central thesis that neither the historical Jesus nor the historical Paul existed.

“Instead, it is a memoir of a series of significant moments or events that made the author ever more certain of his core conviction,” he said.

According to Fr Norton, the views advanced in the book “are not soundly based on scholarship, nor are they compatible with the faith and traditions of the Catholic Church”.

“There is an unjustifiable jump between methodology and conclusion,” he said.