New Delhi, Nov 13, 2014: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India has condemned and termed "blasphemous" a news item in the Nov. 11 Times of India daily, which said Jesus had married Mary Magdalene and fathered two children.
"It further contains derogatory and obscene comments about the mother of Jesus, Blessed Virgin Mary," said a letter posted in the website of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India.
The bishops’ conference "deplores and strongly condemns the blasphemous news item," said the letter signed by public relation officer Father Joseph Chinnayyan.
The Times of India report quoting London based media said a manuscript almost 1,500 years old unearthed at the British Library authenticates the marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and they having children.
Professor of Religious Studies Barrie Wilson and historical writer Simcha Jacobovici, who spent months translating the manuscript, are set to publish their findings in a new book, The lost Gospel, reports said.
"It is not for the first time that such obnoxious stories appear in the media about Jesus Christ and other Religious founders and sacred persons. None of these stories can change the history, nor can it shatter the faith of millions of people around the world," the letter said.
Christian faith "handed down from generation to generation through the last 20 centuries, have withstood such nefarious attempts to tarnish the image of Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother. The fate of this news item, aimed at creating chaos and confusion will not be a different one either," the bishops’ letter said.
The Church of England has dismissed claims saying it is closer to popular fiction than an accurate historical account. "This appears to share more with Dan Brown [author of The Da Vinci Code] than Matthew, Mark, Luke or John," a church spokesman told the Sunday Times of London.
"It sounds like the deepest bilge," added Diarmaid MacCulloch, Professor of the History of the Church at Oxford University, according to SundayTimes.
The Indian bishops’ letter exhorted Christians not to be carried away by the "nefarious attempts" and said any "hideous attempt to distort the truth and weaken the faith will have its shameful end."
They also asked to pray that "better sense prevail on such people, who by distorting the truth do great harm to our faith and great disservice to humanity at large."