Catholic Truth to Neil Oliver – Stick To Politics: Scripture Scholarship Is Really Not Your Thing!

Catholic Truth to Neil Oliver – Stick To Politics: Scripture Scholarship Is Really Not Your Thing!

Editor writes…

I found Neil Oliver’s talk in the above video interesting enough until he decided to have a swipe at the Church, setting himself up as something of an expert in the interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer.  Here’s the gist of his genius…

First-up, he makes the mistake of taking Christ’s words about forgiving debts to mean financial debts.  He tries to connect Our Lord’s words with the ancient tradition of cancelling financial debts during a Jubilee year: “Jesus Christ understood the need to write off debt to save society.”  he says solemnly – before twisting the knife into the Church by claiming that “Only later, when the Church had made it a matter of craven morality to repay every debt  [were] the words “debt” and “debtor” replaced by “trespass” and “trespasses”.  Rubbish. For one (key) thing, Christ came to save souls (from Hell) – He did not come to “save society”, either from “debt” or from the occupying Romans, as some of His contemporaries mistakenly believed.

“By then”, according to Oliver, “the Church was in cahoots with the rich…”  Groan.  Note, no definition of “the Church” and no credible sources offered for this sweeping statement. No awareness, either, of the fact that there were not that  many “rich” people, as we would judge wealth, in the early years of Christianity, more a mix of people living north or south of the poverty line, so to speak.  Not that many people for “the Church” to be in cahoots with, she said ungrammatically.

Next up, we have Christ’s sermon in the synagogue which, in the Gospel According to Neil Oliver, has Jesus teaching that “He had come to bring a clean debt cancellation.”  No, He didn’t!  That’s nonsense.  Below, a short commentary from a Protestant website, with direct quotes from Luke 4:16-22. There’s no substantial difference between this extract and that in the Douay-Rheims Catholic bible, so read on to see just how wide of the mark is Neil Oliver’s understanding of Christ’s sermon in the synagogue…

Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. There, He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” (Luke 4: 18,19).

Then, Jesus closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. “And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  So all bore witness to Him, and marvelled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth” * (vs. 20-22).

* Catholic Bible adds: “And they said: Is not this the son of Joseph?” (vs. 22).
What was Jesus’ first sermon? – BibleAsk

Oliver gets hung up on the use of “debts and debtors” as opposed to “trespass and trespasses” without, obviously understanding that the terms are interchangeable in Scripture and do not always apply to finances.  In the Catholic Bible “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” is found in Matthew’s version of the Our Father (Matt 6:12) whereas in Luke’s Gospel we find “forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us.”
(Luke 11: 4).

And in the 1962 Missal (Traditional Latin Mass) we pray: “Et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.” (And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors).  The English translation opposite, in the same Missal, reads “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  It has absolutely nothing to do with cash, cheque or credit cards!  Jesus was speaking about sin and forgiveness, not money and forgiveness!  Gerragrip!

In Aramaic (the everyday language which Jesus would have spoken) the word for debt is also used to mean sin. Thus, the difference between Matthew’s and Luke’s wording could be due to the original form of the prayer having been in Aramaic. The generally accepted scholarship is that the prayer-petition is for the forgiveness of sin, not the cancelling of financial loans.

Neil Oliver, like the majority of the rest of our Godless society, cannot, seemingly, grasp the fact that Jesus did not come to end suffering and strife in the world – He explicitly said the opposite:  “The poor you will always have with you” (John 12: 8) and “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt 10:34).  That does not mean that we do not work to help the poor, and it certainly doesn’t mean that Jesus condones violence: He is teaching us –  always – that He comes first;  read the rest of those passages (the poor you will always have, but you will not always have Me) and, since He knew that His teachings would divide people, He makes clear that if we prefer anyone, whether mother, father, or any other close relative or friend to Him, then we are not worthy of Him.  That’s the context for the “not peace, sword” remark.

It’s as ridiculous to interpret “forgive us our debts” literally, to mean money, as it is to misinterpret the many other occasions when Jesus drew from the history, culture and occupations of his audiences to teach them about God and all things supernatural – the life of grace in the soul.  That’s what Jesus was teaching, all the time.  His miracles of healing were primarily aimed at the soul – the body was merely the immediate vehicle to teach, for example, about spiritual blindness (by curing physical blindness) and about gratitude (when he healed ten lepers and only one returned to thank Him). Always, Jesus is focused on the immortal soul, not this passing life, which is why another uncomprehending soul – Judas Iscariot – decided to betray Him in the end… for money.

Scripture has to be interpreted and it’s best not attempted by archaeologists-cum-TV-political-news-presenters-commentators.

All of that  said, while Neil Oliver really can’t teach us much, if anything, about Sacred Scripture, does he have a point, or ten, to make us re-think our relationship with the State?

Share your thoughts…

Comments (30)

  • Lily Reply

    Neil is spot on about the State – that’s for sure. I totally agree about the State not having our backs, that’s clear. We are definitely heading for even more authoritarianism, and it’s all being done in the name of making us safe whether from viruses or online trolls. Most people are swallowing it, too.

    About his scripture comments – it’s a wonder he didn’t speak about Jesus’s comment to Pilate when he told him that he would have no power over Jesus (or anyone else) if it hadn’t been given to him by God. That’s more to the point of what he’s talking about in the video. Instead, it’s like he wanted to make a link with the Platinum Jubilee celebrations and in doing that, showed himself to not really understand why Jesus came to earth in the first place.

    You hear people – especially in Scotland – claiming that Jesus was a Socialist. They just don’t understand that Jesus came to save souls, not to start a new political system. It’s sad to see Neil Oliver falling into this category.

    June 6, 2022 at 10:09 am
    • editor Reply


      Neil is certainly on the button when he speaks about the mess of the last two years – although he was very slow to give much of a hint about the vaccines; while other presenters said they’d been “jabbed” he didn’t (as far as I can recall) but for the most part he chose his words carefully not expressing any concerns about the fact that it was an experimental injection. That has only come about recently. Still, better late than never, so thank the Lord for that.

      Yes, he’s fine on the Covid & Government over-reach – that’s true. But he needs to stop quoting Scripture until he acquaints himself with the basic truths of Christian Faith. During His time on earth, Christ resisted all attempts to get him to speak about politics, right to the point when Pilate asked if he were King of the Jews, to which Our Lord replied that yes, He was a king but His kingdom is not of this world… Any mention of worldly power and money, were made as analogies to teach about the spiritual life and eternal salvation. The Gospels, to be properly understood, need to be read in that way. Neil has clearly not grasped that fact.

      I doubt very much if he will see my email but I did send the link to this thread to GB News, at the address they keep plugging day and night, to (supposedly) encourage viewers to contact them. Personally, I’ve found it a total waste of time, having emailed (in praise) several times, so this latest will go down like a lead balloon. See if I care 😀

      In case, however, for once I’m proven wrong (!) and he does read this thread, allow me to say, straight to your face, Neil … gimme a break! And if that doesn’t work… gerragrip!

      June 6, 2022 at 4:06 pm
      • Michaela


        I’m amazed that you would expect a reply to your emails from GB News – they’ve probably Googled your name and found out that you were once nominated for the Stonewall Bigot of the Year award, LOL! You’ve no chance of a reply from them!

        June 6, 2022 at 4:43 pm
      • editor


        Oh, my goodness! I’d just about forgotten all about that nomination. I remember being bitterly disappointed that I lost out to an Anglican clergyman, would you believe! Tragic! And it was hilarious to read the reactions online to my enquiry – if I won the nomination could I collect the award in person? That was greeted with shock-horror that I wasn’t totally ashamed of being nominated. Hilarious doesn’t begin to cut it. 😀

        So, yes, you’re probably right – if they’ve researched me and found that skeleton in my closet (if they’ve “outed” me, in other words!) I’ll never hear back.

        Laugh? I thought I’d never start!

        June 6, 2022 at 6:03 pm
      • RCAVictor


        I thought I had the brilliant idea to contact Oliver on his very own website, but unfortunately it is “under construction.” But you might be pleased to note that a search on DuckDuckGo for “Neil Oliver” turned up this very thread. You’ve made it to the big leagues….

        June 6, 2022 at 10:22 pm
      • RCAVictor


        Here’s one more brilliant idea that might be another dead end: contact Oliver’s agent:

        June 6, 2022 at 10:36 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        I tried contacting his agent way back in the beginning – I tried various avenues, all of them dead ends, so I’ve given up now. If he gets the email with the link to this thread, I’ll settle for that 😀

        June 6, 2022 at 11:15 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        I’ve had an email from GB News saying they would pass on my email to Neil, and that he welcomes criticism (a very good character sign) so if he reads the thread, that’s all we can ask.

        June 7, 2022 at 9:55 pm
  • Margaret Mary Reply

    I agree – he’s correct in his analysis of the state which we cannot ever trust again, IMHO. The lockdowns and restrictions did it for me – end of all trust as far as I’m concerned.

    I suppose we need to cut him some slack about Scripture – he is obviously not a Christian of any kind and makes the same mistakes any other person makes when reading the NT superficially. He doesn’t realise that there are much deeper meanings to Jesus’s words that might seem to be the case at first. I suppose that’s why some folks do degree studies on the bible!

    He’s very right about the politics of the ongoing drive towards authoritarian government in the UK – I’m 100% with him on that.

    June 6, 2022 at 11:44 am
    • Michaela Reply

      Margaret Mary,

      He’s definitely right about the state having gone AWOL. I found myself agreeing with everything he said in that video (except his comments about the Our Father) and I’m finding the news today about yet more political upheaval in the form of the Johnson confidence vote, unsettling. It’s like those in charge of the country really do want to keep us living in fear. It’s shocking because there is no political party across the UK that is not a part of this conspiracy against us, and it is a conspiracy against us, a revolution as Neil Oliver rightly says. God help us all.

      June 6, 2022 at 4:50 pm
  • Bernie Reply

    I liked his commentary about a revolution being rolled out but it’s from the power-that-be not the ordinary people. That’s very insightful. I agree completely with that.

    His foray into scripture scholarship is LOL stuff, nothing to worry about. Those who know better will see the error and the rest will continue to think that Jesus was a Socialist right enough, LOL! I say, leave him to it!

    June 6, 2022 at 12:39 pm
  • editor Reply

    The news just breaking about the machinations in Westminster, with rebel MPs seeking a no-confidence vote in Boris Johnson this evening, is just another cog in the wheel of chaos and disruption in every aspect of life right now – but note, one of the worst of the lockdown enthusiasts, Jeremy Hunt, is on public record with his desire to see Boris gone, so that, no doubt, he can try again for the top job. He failed last time. Note, further, that Hunt is a medical doctor, and a medical doctor who praised China’s enforcement of their draconian lockdown policies.* Neil Oliver would be proven right – with bells on – about authoritarianism in the UK, if Jeremy Hunt ever gets to be PM. Here’s a brief conversation on Dan Wootton Tonight, which features the clip of Hunt praising China’s extreme lockdown policy… Either Jeremy Hunt really dislikes his sister, or he’s an out and out totalitarian. I suspect the latter. But then, I’ve never met his sister 😀

    * Garngad Lad corrected me on this below – seems Hunt is not a qualified medical doctor at all. Apologies.

    June 6, 2022 at 2:02 pm
    • Josephine Reply


      Shock horror of Jeremy Hunt gets voted to replace Boris. Right through the last two years he’s wanted to lockdown longer and harder – he’s terrible. He’s the kind would use Monkeypox as an excuse to bring restrictions back in.

      June 6, 2022 at 3:57 pm
    • Garngad Lad Reply

      Good evening Editor

      I am afraid you are wrong about Jeremy Hunt being a medical doctor. He has been many things including: Health Secretary, Management Consultant and English language teacher in Japan.

      June 7, 2022 at 9:34 pm
      • editor

        Garngad Lad,

        Thank you for that correction – I don’t know where I got the idea that Hunt was a qualified doctor; I’ve corrected this error in my comment above. I knew he had been Health Secretary, but I am sure I heard somewhere that he’d been a doctor before entering politics. After a flying visit to the University of Wikipedia, however, I realise I am wrong, or, er, shall we say, incorrect about that, since, to quote my old (and now deceased) Parish Priest: I might not always be right, but I’m never wrong… 😀

        June 7, 2022 at 9:45 pm
  • Faith of Our Fathers Reply

    Oliver should stick to Politics or if He’s going to make quotes about Christ then those quotes should be based on Truth. As a Catholic never in my Lifetime have I aquaited Forgiveness with Money, in fact it’s just the opposite. I certainly know of One Guy who has risen from the Ashes to the Throne yet who when down made Himself Bankrupt. When He got really back on His feet I asked Him was He going to Pay back the £24.000 He owed. He said that He didn’t have to .
    I said you do Have to as you can afford to do so . Maybe that’s one of The Reasons He now doesn’t want to know Me .

    I personally have Never been in Debt Money wise in my Life as we were told if you cannot afford it you cannot buy it . Oliver is wrong to blame the Banks completely as we had a Major Football Team in Glasgow owned By Multiple Millionaires who wrote of Roughly £100Million . It was said that they only wrote off £20Million but that was what they Owed on a Mortgage. Once they went Bust the whole Mortgage was written off .

    Now someone Has to pick up these Money Debts and those ones are us . We the little people who NEVER get in Debt Money wise. I know not of your Street ED but I walk down mine and see Cars worth well over £30.000 sitting outside of Homes where IF they can afford them I know not how. Oliver should never have tried to Quote Christ especially on Money. I know not His personal life or if He still works for the BBC but am sure He’s not wearing that outfit because He can’t afford to put His heating on.
    Neil stick to Ceasar and don’t get Him mixed up with Jesus Christ.

    June 6, 2022 at 2:37 pm
    • Josephine Reply

      Faith of our Fathers,

      I’m afraid some of us wouldn’t own anything if we waited until we had the cash in hand. I don’t see anything wrong with debt as long as it is manageable. How many people can afford to buy a house, cash down? Or a car? I agree, £30,000 for a car is obscene, but most of us don’t pay anything like that.

      I can’t imagine St Joseph turning a customer away from his carpentry workshop if they couldn’t afford to pay for an item of furniture outright. I’m sure he’d take Visa or Mastercard LOL! I’m joking there, obviously but I think the saint would have made some kind of “pay as you go” arrangement if necessary. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s the charging of outrageous interest that is immoral, not the system per se.

      June 6, 2022 at 3:55 pm
      • editor

        Faith of our Fathers & Josephine,

        These days, I couldn’t afford to buy a tent, never mind a house or a car, so I hope the Fifth Lateran Council was right to reverse previous prohibitions on the payment of interest on loans, or I’m up the creek without that canoe paddle (which I can’t afford to buy!)

        Don’t forget a wee prayer for Neil Oliver. Apart from getting minus zero on his Scripture Exam, he’s well on record as saying that he feels more British than Scottish. There’s maybe no helping him, but pray for him anyway. And if there are Scots Nationalists reading this, don’t be tempted to be rude; remember those important words, “…. as we forgive those who trespass against us” or, if you prefer “… as we forgive our debtors…” 😀

        St Margaret, Queen of Scotland (Feast 10 June), pray for Neil !

        June 6, 2022 at 4:16 pm
      • Faith of Our Fathers

        Josephine of course I don’t mean buying something with a Credit Card and clearing it off at the End of Each Month before Interest builds up . You know that I mean getting into Debt which people know they cannot afford to pay then making themselves Bankrupt.

        Several Football Players and of course so called celebrities have done this . People who earned Tens of Thousands of Pounds a Week bought property costing Multi Million Pounds went Bankrupt and everything in the Wife’s name , their Debt had to be payed by someone and it’s us The Pipers who cleared it all. A few of these Guys are now Working as full time Pundits for TV and again are making £1000s a week. The Law is in Ass . They should pay their Debt.

        June 7, 2022 at 11:48 am
  • Michaela Reply

    I wonder if anyone has schooled Neil Oliver on his scripture faux pas? It does seem obvious to us that the Our Father isn’t about forgiving money debts, but someone with absolutely no Christian background might not realise that (obviously not, in Neil Oliver’s case).

    So, I feel sorry for him on that score. Yes, will remember him in prayer on June 10th!

    June 6, 2022 at 4:46 pm
  • Michael🙏 Reply

    Dear All

    I’m in accord with all of your remarks.

    Unfortunately like many intelligent people they become rather hubristic and feel they can comment on anything that comes into their intellectual purview.

    Sadly Mr Oliver who l like very much demonstrates a theological, Biblical and even Patristic ignorance regarding the faith. I really wish when they comment on areas such as these they would take the time to understand what the Church actually is, says, does and teach. Instead of presuming it operates and teaches in a manner cognisant with his own uniformed opinions on the nature etc of the Church and its Teaching.

    I shall pray for him.

    Holy Mary hear our prayer…..for Neil.

    Every blessing

    Michael 🙏

    June 6, 2022 at 6:05 pm
  • RCAVictor Reply

    I’ve been noticing lately that there is a real scarcity of what I would call “broadband conservatives” – i.e. those who affirm the truth on every issue and every position without exception. It seems that most of the conservative talking heads have at least one weak link in their commentary chain, whether it be their demonization of Russia and Putin for invading Ukraine, or their support for the “vaccines,” or the scamdemic, or, most recently, gun control in the USA.

    Not only are there numerous weak links, but when these people venture beyond their area(s) of expertise, they inevitably end up with foot in mouth. Neil Oliver appears to be a case in point, as far as the teachings of the Church go.

    June 6, 2022 at 10:31 pm
    • editor Reply

      RCA Victor,

      I’m sorry to say, I have to agree with you. It’s seldom that we come across a clear thinking, straight down the line person (if person is the word) who is anti-lockdown, anti-vax (there I’ve said it!) totally pro-personal freedoms, man or woman, who also believes in God (to put the bar on the lowest possible rung!)

      And sadly, Neil Oliver IS a case in point. He doesn’t even identify as a Scot, though he was born here and lives here. Maybe he’s embarrassed about the reputation (some) Scotsmen have earned… Like this man who works in carpet sales…

      Scottish Carpet Tip
      INCREASE the life of your carpets by rolling them up and keeping them in the garage. 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

      June 6, 2022 at 11:23 pm
  • Fidelis Reply

    It’s odd that even today, there are people who think Jesus came to earth to “change the world” in political ways, helping the poor etc. as if that was to be an end in itself, to make the world a better place, even though when Jesus spoke about helping the poor, he connected it to saving our souls. That’s what the Parable of the Sheep & Goats is about, those who did their duty to help the needy will go to Heaven and those who did not, will go to Hell. That’s not to say that if some murderer who has escaped justice, helps the hungry, he will go to Heaven, as you can’t pick and choose which of God’s laws to keep! All things taken together, we are bound to help the more needy and if we don’t we won’t be saved. But people like Neil Oliver seem to think that Jesus came on earth, God-man, to preach about ending poverty. It’s strange that the penny hasn’t dropped that God is chiefly concerned with the supernatural and that everything else has to be seen in that light.

    I do agree with Neil about the authoritarianism that is taking root in our society. Every one of the western leaders, including Sturgeon and Johnson, are showing this totalitarian streak in their characters. In Johnson’s case I think it’s being done by those around him (including Carrie) but Sturgeon is a born-dictator, IMHO.

    June 7, 2022 at 9:57 am
    • Faith of Our Fathers Reply

      Fidelis as far as our so called Political Leaders go they are a write off . Also now that the Bergoglion Church is right in their with the Poor it makes Bergoglio a sort of Superstar and He loves the Adulation.

      Oliver doesn’t know much about the real Gospel because He’s never read it. Yes of course He’s heard snippets like the Sermon on the Mount but like Judas He got the wrong end of the stick.

      Now that we have this War in Ukraine we have the Bold Boris wanting to be a sort of Robin Hood in reverse. Boris steals from the Poor and gives to the Rich. We know that all the Answers to Life really come from Christ but we don’t use them. Maybe the worst thing that God gave Man was Free Will .
      In fact even in that statement Free Will is actually what is making us Human Beings more like Prisoners on a Daily Basis.

      June 7, 2022 at 2:15 pm
      • RCAVictor


        “Free Will is actually what is making us Human Beings more like Prisoners on a Daily Basis.”

        Truer words were never spoken – esp. when said free will is used to glorify self instead of God.

        June 8, 2022 at 3:58 pm
      • editor

        RCA Victor,

        I’d agree with FOOF if he had said the “abuse” of free will etc.

        Nit-picking they call it 😀

        June 10, 2022 at 12:14 am
  • Laura Reply

    I really don’t have anything to add. I’ve seen a lot of Neil Oliver’s videos posted on this blog, all of them excellent, so this is a bit disappointing right enough. I suppose you could argue that at least he’s giving air time to Our Lord and in the end, if he keeps exploring, he will get it right in the end.

    Praying for him.

    June 8, 2022 at 12:05 pm
  • editor Reply


    You could be right I suppose. If Neil keeps exploring Scripture, he is likely to get it right in the end as you say.

    In fact, you remind me of a friend of mine who used to be a flat-earther. He decided to walk to the end of the world, to prove it’s flat. In the end, he came around…

    😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

    June 8, 2022 at 11:07 pm
  • editor Reply

    News just in – Bruce Kent (formerly Monsignor Bruce Kent) has died. It is due to priests like Kent that people like Neil Oliver struggle to understand the true nature of the Church. Priests like Kent who fall into the error of thinking that Jesus wants political (not religious) activism, lead many souls astray. So, pray for this man whose faith was so immature that “student questions” caused him to doubt the Faith…

    Jesus mercy! Mary, help!

    June 9, 2022 at 8:44 pm

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