Commission on Doctrine of the Faith (ECDF)
December 16, 2016
Mr. Ramon Gitamondoc
CFD National President (2010-2016)
Dear Mr. Gitamondoc,
Thank you for contacting us on the question of the validity of the expression “God died”, in your email dated December 14, 2016.
You asked for answers to the following questions: (I quote)
“1) Is it a correct understanding of the Catholic Faith to say that when Jesus suffered and died that only his human nature suffered and died and not the divine person?’
Answer: No, it is not correct. When the Lord Jesus Christ died, it is proper to say that God died. The reason is this: the subject of the actions of Jesus is the divine Person (i.e., God). Nature” – in Metaphysics – is the “principle of operation”; the subject (“suppositum”, the subject of operation) is always the person (in rational beings).
“2) Is it a correct understanding of the teaching of the Catechism of the Council of Trent to say that the expression “God died” is not to be understood literally but rather figuratively (i.e., anthropomorphism and/or synecdoche)?”
Answer: No, it is not correct. The expression “God died” is to be understood literally, not figuratively.
The contents of the dossier of statements and explanations from various Bishops and priests are in accord with the teachings of the Church.
There is nothing more to add to those explanations. It is suggested that the basics of Metaphysics be taught to the members of the CFD. This “controversy” within CFD could have been avoided if the distinction between “nature” and “person” were grasped from the outset. The most outstanding sources for the study of the Holy Trinity and the Incarnation is the Summa Theologiae and the Summa Contra Gentiles of St. Thomas Aquinas.
May the Lord bless your laudable work for the Church.
Rev. Fr. Luis P. Supan, Ph.D.
CBCP Commission on the Doctrine of the Faith