The Vatican is speaking out on the discovery of a fragment of papyrus containing a reference to Jesus' "wife" in Coptic. Its blunt verdict? Don't get so excited everyone, it's not real. Naomi O'Leary of Reuters reports that the Vatican's newspaper L'Osservatore Romano ran an editorial by editor Gian Maria Vian which said: "Substantial reasons would lead one to conclude that the papyrus is indeed a clumsy forgery." It continued: "In any case, it's a fake."
Soon after the announcement by Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King, scholars started to express their doubts about the authenticity of what was dubbed "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife." The fourth century fragment contains the phrase "Jesus said to them, 'My wife ...'" Laurie Goodstein wrote in her piece for the New York Times, that debates over Jesus' wife and women in the ministry are particularly relevant to the Roman Catholic Church "where despite calls for change, the Vatican has reiterated the teaching that the priesthood cannot be opened to women and married men because of the model set by Jesus." When news of the discovery initially broke the Vatican's media remained silent.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.