Thursday, June 24, 2010

Is St. John the Baptist Greater Among the Saints than St. Joseph?

Share/Bookmark Videtur quod non. St. Joseph seems to be greater than St. John, as he lived and died in the greatest proximity to Our Lord, the fountain of holiness.  The theological manuals attest to the fact that, after Our Lady, St. Joseph is the greatest among the saints.

Sed contra, (1) Our Lord Says: "Amen I say to you, there hath not risen among them that are born of women a greater (maior inter natos mulierum) than John the Baptist: yet he that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he" (Mt. 11:11).

(2) The liturgy treats St. John as higher than all the saints after Our Lady: "Confiteor... Beatae Mariae semper virgini... beato Joanni Baptistae, beatis apostolis Petro et Paulo...."  Similarly in the Litany of the Saints.

Respondeo dicendum, with Bl. Idelfonso Schuster, that:

As Our Lord Himself explains, even "he that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven [in the Church of the New Covenant] is greater than [John the Baptist]" (Mt. 11:11).

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