One of my friends told me of what he thought would be an interesting programme due to be shown in the evening on Christmas Day. When he told me it was on Channel 4, my heart sank, because I knew it was highly unlikely that anything on that channel would be in any way favourable towards Catholicism...
Sure enough, it transpires that the programme is "The Secret Family of Jesus." Presented by Robert Beckford (described by Channel 4 as a leading theologian), the programme listing goes on to explain how he
"...tells the story of the conspiracy that Dan Brown missed. It's the story of the people who shared his bloodline and knew him best, and who existed for at least 300 years after his death."
My friend, who is a recent convert to the Faith, told me that the trailers he'd seen had described how "one" of the Gospels had mentioned the brothers and sisters of Jesus, briefly, and that any further mention of them had been firmly suppressed.
Quite apart from the feeling of déjà vu (yet another conspiracy from that wicked, scheming institution known as the Catholic Church) the sheer unadulterated cynicism which could deliberately arrange for such a programme to go out on Christmas Day really gets up my nose.
It is a deliberate attack against the teachings of the Catholic Church (and it is Catholic teaching which is being attacked, as many Protestants hold that Jesus had actual brothers and sisters) and this will be used to undermine many others - after all, if the Church lied about Jesus having brothers and sisters, then the stuff about Mary being "ever-Virgin" is untrue, and maybe even the Virgin Birth... and hey, while we're at it, why believe the stuff about the Resurrection?
This sort of slur would not be allowed against, for example, the Prophet Muhammed on the feast of Eid-ul-Fitr at the end of Ramadan. But Catholic beliefs and teachings are fair game...
Just in case any readers of my blog are in any doubt, the Gospels do refer to brothers and sisters of Jesus. However, the Fathers of the Church are quite clear that the terms "brother" and "sister" are actually being used to refer to cousins: the same thing happens in some other cultures even today (some Nigerian friends of mine caused me a great deal of confusion when I first met them by referring to cousins in this way.)