Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

Traditional Roman Catholic Thoughts

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Another Priest Denies The Miracle of the Multiplication of Fish and Loaves

January 10, 2014 | 7 Comments

I assume that you have all heard the story of Jesus multiplying the Fish and the Loaves of bread. It is recounted in all four Gospels. As you know, Jesus was teaching 4000-5000 men in the hillside and they were hungry. The disciples said that they did not have enough food to feed them all. Jesus told the disciples to grab what food they had, He said the prayer, blessing the food and had the disciples distribute the food that they had. When they were finished, the several loaves and few fish, had fed not only all the men present, but they had enough left overs to fill a few baskets full.

Taken from

Jesus Multiplies the Fish and the Loaves Taken from

It’s a pretty easy thing to believe, if you believe that Jesus Christ is truly God. If you do not believe that Jesus is truly God, then you will find this to be difficult to believe. It makes sense really. If Jesus is God, then He can do whatever He so pleases, as the limits of humanity do not apply to Him. If Jesus isn’t God, then He can not do this, as a mere mortal human can not perform this.

Unfortunately, its far too common that there are many priests that would like to commit heresy in this regard. They believe that 2000 years of Catholic Teaching is too beneath them. They have to come up with their own interpretation.

“Clearly, Jesus didn’t actually multiply the food, but He inspired the people that were there to actually share what they have brought.” they say. “I mean, people knew that they were going to be gone for awhile so they brought their own food. The miracle is that they shared.” they continue.

What a load of crap.

I’m certain that you have all heard somebody say things like this. They throw around a lot of sap to make it sound convincing, but we know, Jesus is God, and He did multiply the fish and loaves. We would all agree that these priests are full of bologna, right?

Well, guess who denied this miracle this time? He’s kind of a big deal.

Pope Francis…

And herein is where many people are going to disagree. “But, if Pope Francis says it, he must be right! He’s the Pope!”. Unfortunately, this is not a dogmatic statement, so thus, Pope Francis is wrong,  and again wrong. He denies Jesus’ God-hood without even realizing it (this is the charitable assumption).

The Pope is only infallible when he issues a dogmatic statement. As this is just a homily, it is not dogmatic. I would even say that this view is a heresy.

Here is what Pope Francis said on June 2, 2013 at his Sunday Angelus:

This is the miracle: rather than a multiplication it is a sharing, inspired by faith and prayer. Everyone eats and some is left over: it is the sign of Jesus, the Bread of God for humanity.

Pope Francis has stated it quite clearly. Ignoring the true definition of miracle (taken by the Concise Catholic Dictionary 1943 (CCD)) “An act or event which is above the natural order. A work or thing of wonder done by God, a fact produced by God alone which is above, beside, or beyond the accustomed order of action of all of created nature.” he re-defines it as “sharing inspired by faith and prayer” and flat out denies the multiplication!

Here’s what he said most recently:

The parable of the multiplication of the loaves and fish teaches us exactly this: that if there is the will, what we have never ends. On the contrary, it abounds and does not get wasted.

No, its not even a miracle anymore, its only a parable, you know a parable that is used by Jesus to help the apostles understand by comparison? A parable as defined by the CCD is “An illustrative story pointing to some moral or religious truth; a manner of speaking used by our Lord as related in the Gospel.” According to Pope Francis, this isn’t even a miracle at all, but simply an illustrative story. Good grief!

This is a heresy and probably some blasphemy, sad to say, and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. It’s not an “issue with the English translation”. It’s not “the media having a field day with him”. It’s simply put, Pope Francis is not teaching proper Catholicism. Plain and simple. The Pope is not above error unless he is speaking ex cathedra.

Pray for Pope Francis!

7 people are talking about “Another Priest Denies The Miracle of the Multiplication of Fish and Loaves

  1. Jeff,

    Did you read the whole address? Because I think you are falling into the straw man fallacy? Read this first:

    There is nothing about “the people” being the ones who do the sharing. He never makes this statement, so your claim that this is just about people being stirred to sharing doesn’t hold. Almost the entire audience here is speaking about the miracle itself. The real question is, how did it happen? Did Jesus bless the bread and then the bread immediately became 1000 loaves and fish? That would have been so massive that there would have instantly been a mountain of food that appeared. Or else, did the disciples give the bread they had, and kept giving it and the ‘bread in the basket’ so to speak kept replenishing itself? I think Francis’ point is this latter point. He only speaks about the disciples giving the bread. They keep giving trusting that there will be more to give. The miracle is that there is always more, but they disciples still need to give it, i.e. ‘share’, in order for it to keep multiplying. This has obvious practical ramifications for the moral life.

  2. From Jimmy Akin’s post on this topic:

    “In his June general audience (just a few days after the Sunday Angelus), Francis stated:

    A few days ago, on the Feast of Corpus Christi, we read the account of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. Jesus fed the multitude with five loaves and two fish.

    Note that he again calls it “the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves” and states frankly that “Jesus fed the multitude with five loaves and two fish.”
    That’s quite clear. This was a miracle of multiplication, not just an inspirational act of natural sharing by the hoarders in the crowd.
    Given that this audience was given on June 5, just three days after the Angelus of June 2, I can’t help wondering if this wasn’t a deliberate clarification.
    In any event, it seems clear that Pope Francis does regard the multiplication of loaves as a real historical event (not an instructive fiction) that involved a miracle of multiplication that occurred when the Apostles (not the crowd) began to share the five loaves and two fish.”

    Read more:

    • Unfortunately, even with Jimmy Akin’s generous reinterpretation of what Pope Francis said, it *still* goes against 2000 years of Catholic Teaching on the miracle. Just a few examples of Saints who have mentioned that it was a physical miracle:

      AUGUSTINE. He multiplied in His hands the five loaves, just as He produces
      harvest out of a few grains. There was a power in the hands of Christ; and those
      five loaves were, as it were, seeds, not indeed committed to the earth, but
      multiplied by Him who made the earth.

      LACTANTIUS. He called His disciples, and asked what quantity of food they had
      with them. But they said that they had five loaves and two fishes in a wallet. . . .
      He Himself broke the bread in pieces, and divided the flesh of the fishes, and in
      His hands both of them were increased. And when He had ordered the disciples to
      set them before the people, five thousand men were satisfied, and moreover
      twelve baskets were filled from the fragments which remained. What can be more
      wonderful, either in narration or in action?

      CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA: The feeding of the multitudes in the desert by Christ is
      worthy of all admiration. But it is also profitable in another way. We can plainly
      see that these new miracles are in harmony with those of ancient times. They are
      the acts of one and the same power. He rained manna in the desert upon the
      Israelites. He gave them bread from heaven. “Man did eat angels’ food,”
      according to the words of praise in the Psalms. But look! He has again abundantly
      supplied food to those who needed food in the desert. He brought it down, as it
      were, from heaven. Multiplying that small amount of food many times and
      feeding so large a multitude, so to speak, with nothing, is like that first miracle

      (Above quotes taken from Steven Ray

      Regardless, 2000 years of Church Teaching has *always* taught of it being a physical miracle. Nothing at all about it being through the “sharing”, regardless of the type of sharing.

      • In your recent reply you are implying that it is important not to reinterpret what Pope Francis says, but to see what he actually says. This is very important. The burden of proof is on you to show that Pope Francis denies that this is a physical miracle. The fact that he keeps referring to the “multiplication of loaves” and keeps calling it a “miracle” makes it clear that he does think it is in fact a miracle. Which is why he says “From this small amount, God can make it suffice for everyone.”

        Three days after the Sunday Angelus which has become so controversial, Pope Francis said in his Sunday Sermon, “A few days ago, on the Feast of Corpus Christi, we read the account of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. Jesus fed the multitude with five loaves and two fish.” (
        This is a clear indication that Pope Francis believes both 1) that it was a miracle , and 2) that there were ONLY 5 loaves and two fish. Hence, it was (as he calls it) a “multiplication.”
        (*GASP*! Did Pope Francis really just say something orthodox?!)

        He NEVER says something like “This is not a miracle. Rather it is merely an act of sharing.” Further, Pope Francis NEVER denies that this is a historical event. To assert otherwise is a blatant case of the straw man fallacy ( unless you can show me the exact lines where he says “it is not a miracle.”

        He also never says anything about the people sharing their food. This is the most common proposition of people who deny this miracle. They say that Jesus simply inspired the people to share their own food with each other. Further, Francis never says anything about the apostles sharing from their excess. The burden of proof lies upon you to show which sentence from Pope Francis says that this is not a miracle done by God.

        Up to this point Pope Francis does not differ with any of the Fathers you mentioned: He believes it is a miracle, it happened in history, and it was a multiplication. Hence, he is not a heretic.

        The difference is that Pope Francis does not believe it was simply a multiplication by Christ, but that Christ multiplies the bread as the disciples are distributing it, i.e. sharing it.
        This is a case of instrumental causality. An example of this is the Eucharist. God could work the miracle of transubstantiation directly without any priest. However, he wills to only do this when the priest does this. Thus, a human actor, who has been given spiritual power and authority, is the one who actually performs a miracle. However, he only does a miracle because God is working at the same time through his hands. Pope Francis is arguing that this is exactly the same thing that happens in the multiplication of loaves. The disciples are giving the parts that they have, and these are miraculously being replaced as they give them. And this is the miracle, as Francis understands, “and the loaves and fish do not run out, they do not run out!”

        Is this reading warranted by the text? Well, let’s look at the text.

        “13 But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish–unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” … 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And all ate and were satisfied. And they took up what was left over, twelve baskets of broken pieces.” [Luk 9:13, 16-17 RSV]

        This is really a concise text and it doesn’t give a ton of detail. When does the multiplication happen? Is it before Christ breaks them into pieces? Is it as they are being broken into pieces? Or is it as the disciples are handing out the pieces? It is not exactly clear. The text says Christ took the 5 loaves and 2 fish and broke those into pieces and then gave these pieces to the disciples. The pieces did not multiply before the blessing, so if Christ hands the pieces to the disciples which he initially broke, then the multiplication does not happen before he hands them to the disciples. Pope Francis is reading the ambiguity of this passage in a different way than Lactantus. Lactantus says Christ “Himself broke the bread in pieces, and divided the flesh of the fishes, and in His hands both of them were increased.” Given the ambiguity of the actual Gospel, which does not say when exactly or how exactly the multiplication happened, it is possible to read this in a number of ways. Augustine and Cyril, in the passages which you cite, do not make clear how exactly the miracle happened, i.e. through the hands of the apostles or directly by Christ’s hands. In each case they propose that it is a miracle, but Francis is not denying that. Consequently, they do not have any direct disagreement with Pope Francis.

        As a final point, let it be clear that the Fathers do not exactly equal “The Church’s Teaching”, so that if some Fathers interpret one ambiguous detail of scripture in a particular way, this does not mean that this is The Church’s official doctrine. Consequently, disagreeing with a Church father on a detail of scripture does not constitute heresy. Thus, Pope Francis is not heretical in any regard on this issue.

  3. It’s only analogous, so I’m not going to say that it is exactly helpful. Nevertheless, this passage from 1 Kings 17 shows how something (grain) keeps making more without in the first place being obviously multiplied. Here is the story about Elijah.

    [9] “Arise, go to Zar’ephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.”
    [10] So he arose and went to Zar’ephath; and when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks; and he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.”
    [11] And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”
    [12] And she said, “As the LORD your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a cruse; and now, I am gathering a couple of sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
    [13] And Eli’jah said to her, “Fear not; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make for yourself and your son.
    [14] For thus says the LORD the God of Israel, `The jar of meal shall not be spent, and the cruse of oil shall not fail, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth.'”
    [15] And she went and did as Eli’jah said; and she, and he, and her household ate for many days.
    [16] The jar of meal was not spent, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD which he spoke by Eli’jah. “

  4. Had it ever occurred to anyone that 2000 years of catholic teaching may now be out of date? A lot of things are now out of date that have been believed for 2000 years as we become more enlightened

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