Archived comments from post, "James V. Schall on Lumen Gentium and universalism" (Musings, June 13, 2005):
Excuse me for joining two posts, but is this perhaps the answer to your question about Father Ratzinger's observation? Could he be referring to a kind of prideful gnosticism?
Chris Garton-Zavesky | 06.13.05 - 4:27 pm | #
John Paul II says that faith believes in the existence of Hell and hope hopes that it is empty. John Paul II is in the same optimistic line as Vatican II. Strange how hungry some people seem to be to see the majority of the human race damned!
Joe O'Leary | 06.14.05 - 2:44 am | #
Still odder how eager some are to declare the constant teaching of the church "out of date". Our Lady at the approved apparition of Fatima showed the children souls falling into hell like snowflakes.
Chris Garton-Zavesky | 06.14.05 - 8:34 am | #
Ratzinger covers the issue of conscience in an address entitled "Conscience and Truth", which is available on several web sites. He isolates two problems with the notion of conscience as a supreme arbiter of moral conduct, which is really what we're talking about here: (1) it denies the existence of truth in moral and religious matters (everything becomes relative to the individual conscience, which may be flawed) (2) it assumes that a conscience is isolated, like a judge in chambers, rather than steeped in creaturely lusts and appetites.
For Ratzinger, it is consciousness of sin, a sense of guilt, which educates the "invincibly ignorant" conscience, for that sense is no less than a gift from God. Without that sense, conscience is not "invincibly" ignorant, but deliberately ignorant, having deliberately rejected good and embraced evil, and also having usurped the role of the Holy Spirit within us.
My sense of it, both in Ratzinger's essay and in the catechism itself, is that "invincible ignorance" is not much more than the supposition of a possibility, rather than an actuality that uncounted souls will be able to claim for themselves.
There is a certain point at which the proposition that V2 was wonderful but woefully misapplied loses its force. I'm reading "Iota Unum", and it is an eye opening experience. Modern day "conservatives", including Ratzinger, have, in my opinion, put themselves through some remarkable contortions to salvage the notion that the only problem with Vatican II was its misapplication. Amerio was a peritus, too, and he makes a powerful case that the edifice was flawed to begin with. I love Benedict, and believe that the success of his papacy is critical, but I do think that one day he, his successor, will have to admit what becomes ever more obvious: V2 was a disaster from the outset.
ralph roister-doister | 06.14.05 - 9:08 am | #
You mention that JP2 is in the "optimistic line" of V-2, and that, accordingly, JP2 says that "faith believes in the existence of Hell and hope hopes that it is empty."
But then you add something rather odd that, in truth, is all-too-typical of those overflowing with liberal optimism. You say, in response to my post: "Strange how hungry some people seem to be to see the majority of the human race damned!"
How odd this is, really, when you think it through! Consider: In response to the euphoric optimism that verges toward John Lennon's universalistic imagining there's "no hell below us," Schall remarks with some skepticism, which I called a breath of fresh air, a note of clarity. To this you respond by suggesting I'm eager to see most of the human race damned! How silly. Can't you see that it is the faith in hell's existence itself that allows one to take seriously the importance of a salvation that saves one from it?
When was the last homily you preached on the importance of a holy fear of God -- not the grovelling fear of a slave but the awe and respect felt by a creature for his Creator and Law-giver? When was the last homily you preached on the possibility of hell or the urgency of salvation through Christ, as our only mediator? How can we ever "hope that hell is empty" if we lack the compassion to warn people about it or teach them the way prescribed by God for escaping it?
My hunch is that more liberal optimists today believe -- really BELIEVE -- in the "no-hell" gospel of John Lennon's "Imagine" than believe in the Lord's warning: "Not every one that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 7:21). Of related interest is that their notion of salvation has become insipid, drained of significance, let alone any urgency. When asked to define how "Christ is the answer," their response can do no better than elicit the bored yawn, "What was the question, again?"
pb | 06.14.05 - 12:23 pm | #
As much as I hate to admit it, the New Springtime of the Church is starting to look more like Mao's Great Leap Forward. Time for a wakeup call.
Anonymous | 06.14.05 - 12:46 pm | #
Last post was mine.
Tom C | 06.14.05 - 12:47 pm | #
For Ratzinger on the supreme authority of conscience, see Paul Surlis's letter in a recent New Yorker. Recently he may have begun talking about the Church as "requisitioning conscience" -- if so he should remember his own earlier words.
Joe O'Leary | 06.14.05 - 11:19 pm | #
The visions of Fatima are a matter of private devotion -- they have no relevance to dogma. The Church does not teach anything about the number of the damned, which may be zero. Karl Rahner said all that need be said when he defined hell as "the possibility of final loss" and left it at that.
Joe O'Leary | 06.14.05 - 11:22 pm | #
Frankly, the interests of this website seem to me woefully narrow and depressing. There is an awful lot about hell and weeping statues and sexual scandals, nothing at all about social justice, world peace, poverty or other central concerns of the Gospel.
Joe O'Leary | 06.14.05 - 11:24 pm | #
Hell, heaven, angels, devils -- historically all this scenario comes from Zoroastrianism and entered Jewish thinking only shortly before the time of Jesus. The "messengers" (angeloi) of the Old Testament are not angels in the Persian sense. Persian also is the time scheme of a being who existed from the beginning, appears at the centre of history, and comes again at the end. The idea of salvation and of the manner in which Christ is a savior obviously has to be radically rethought in our cultural context, in which such pictorial. representations carry little conviction.
Joe O'Leary | 06.14.05 - 11:28 pm | #
Frankly, the interests of this website seem to me woefully narrow and depressing. There is an awful lot about hell and weeping statues and sexual scandals, nothing at all about social justice, world peace, poverty or other central concerns of the Gospel.
A cursory search of Blogdom will uncover "progressive Catholic" blogs that display an abundance of posts on "social justice, world peace, and the social concerns of the gospel." However, these very same blogs are usually deficient in posts of theological substance. Where one Catholic blogger is deficient in one area another can "pick up the slack," as it were.
I think they tend to balance each other out. =)
Christopher Blosser | Homepage | 06.15.05 - 12:50 am | #
The kids at Fatima saw hell because that is what their parents had filled their little imaginations with. The predictions of Fatima are very unimpressive -- in one of them the Virgin was reported as saying, "Your soldiers are already on their way home", in 1917, more than a year too soon. The idea that the shepherd kids had a prediction about the Turk's attempted assassination of John Paul II is ludicrous, and it is a sad commentary on the intellectual level of the Vatican today that both JP2 and Ratzinger took it so seriously.
Joe O'Leary | 06.15.05 - 2:30 am | #
For your "radical rethink" I read "radical remake in my preferred image." Is there any part of Catholic dogma from which you don't dissent?
fidens | 06.15.05 - 8:21 am | #
Hey Joe, you could always start your own weblog.
Tom C | 06.15.05 - 9:47 am | #
"When was the last homily you preached on the importance of a holy fear of God -- not the grovelling fear of a slave but the awe and respect felt by a creature for his Creator and Law-giver?" To that I can reply what Heidegger replied to someone who asked why he did not write about ethics: "everything I write is about ethic".
"When was the last homily you preached on the possibility of hell or the urgency of salvation through Christ, as our only mediator?" The main theme of my preaching is salvation through Christ. I preach that we have no recourse when we stand before God as sinners except to cast ourselves on Christ and to be clothed with His righteousness. But that recourse is infallible -- which make me a salvational optimist like Karl Barth.
"How can we ever "hope that hell is empty" if we lack the compassion to warn people about it or teach them the way prescribed by God for escaping it?" It is not we who empty hell, but Christ, qui descendit ad inferos. The way prescribed by God for escaping hell is to cast ourselves on Christ, who took on all our sin, and gave us his righteousness instead. See the great discussion of Barth in Church Dogmatics II/2, a passage of 600 pages greatly admired by Von Balthasar, the favorite papal theologian of recent years.
Joe O'Leary | 06.15.05 - 10:54 am | #
Good idea, Tom C, haven't got around to the technicalies of its yet.
Joe O'Leary | 06.15.05 - 10:55 am | #
fidens, the radical rethink is made necessary by the crack-up of the old classical paradigm -- I think there is more to the thought of the great theologians of the last century than subjective preference. Have you studied them? Try Teilhard, Schillebeeckx, Rahner, on the Catholic side. From your point of view they dissent with all catholic dogma since they attempt to interpret it in a manner compatible with contemporary cosmology, historical vision and with what Paul Ricoeur calls le croyable disponible. But may I suggest that you should do some study before issuing such proclamations?
Joe O'Leary | 06.15.05 - 10:57 am | #
Why would anyone want to read Teilhard, Rahner (Karl) or Schillebeeckx to know what the Church teaches on anything?
Here's a more positive idea, even an optimistic one. Read the writings of the saints. St. Thomas, St. Ignatius, St. .... whom we know are in heaven, so that they can help us get there.
Chris Garton-Zavesky | 06.15.05 - 11:55 am | #
"Why would anyone want to read Teilhard, Rahner (Karl) or Schillebeeckx to know what the Church teaches on anything? Here's a more positive idea, even an optimistic one. Read the writings of the saints. St. Thomas, St. Ignatius, St. .... whom we know are in heaven, so that they can help us get there."
IS THAT A POSITIVE IDEA? In St Thomas Aquinas's lifetime there were many people who warned Catholics against reading him, telling them that if they wanted to save their souls they should avoid his godless intellectualism. In any case, both Rahner and Schillebeeckx are the authors of brilliant contemporary readings of Thomas. Rahner's SPIRIT IN THE WORLD and HEARERS OF THE WORD brought Thomas near to entire generations of Catholic students and the Dominican Schillebeeckx is steeped in the spirit of the great theologian of his order. Teilhard and Rahner are no doubt as much in heaven as Thomas and Ignatius (on whom Rahner wrote very inspiringly). Schillebeeckx remains among us, in his 90s now.
Joe O'Leary | 06.15.05 - 7:00 pm | #
"Hell, heaven, angels, devils -- historically all this scenario comes from Zoroastrianism and entered Jewish thinking only shortly before the time of Jesus."
Oh bu-ruthurrrr!!! If Fr. O'Leary had any intellectual credibility, he just blew it all away with this amazingly ridiculous shred of pseudoscholarly detritus left over from the nineteenth century.
If heaven, hell, angels, and devils entered Jewish thinking only shortly before the time of Jesus, how come we find them in -- to name a few rather important Jewish writings from well before the time of Jesus -- Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, Samuel/Kings, Job, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Tobit, and (among the apocrypha) Enoch and Jubilees? All of those writings date from 100 B.C. and before. Tobit comes from no later than 200 B.C., probably a good deal earlier than that. Ezekiel and Zechariah come from the 500s B.C. Isaiah comes from the 700s B.C. Samuel/Kings was constructed from writings that date from circa 1000 B.C. to circa 500 B.C. Job was written no one knows when. Genesis, Exodus, and Joshua antedate Samuel/Kings, which places them prior to 1000 B.C. (not counting subsequent editorial changes, of course).
Can anyone seriously maintain that all the references to heaven, hell, angels, and demons in those and other ancient Jewish writings are ultimately derived from Zoroastrianism??? If pre-exile Jewish writings mention these things, how can it be claimed that the Jews borrowed them from the Zoroastrians during and after the exile?
St. Polycarp | 06.15.05 - 10:02 pm | #
"Frankly, the interests of this website seem to me woefully narrow and depressing. There is an awful lot about hell and weeping statues and sexual scandals, nothing at all about social justice, world peace, poverty or other central concerns of the Gospel."
Well, you know, I could be wrong, but I don't think anybody is forcing you to post here with such amazing frequency. . . .
St. Polycarp | 06.15.05 - 10:13 pm | #
Fr O'Leary did address the issue of the Old Testament:
The "messengers" (angeloi) of the Old Testament are not angels in the Persian sense.
He just does not believe that those angels are what we think about when we think about angels.
Please let us all remain civil in this conversation, give each other the respect each deserves. There is absolutely no reason for bad blood. Fr O'Leary is also a priest, let us remember that. I have never been able to understand why "progressives" and "conservatives" hold such animosity towards each other. It's stupid.
Juan Pilgrim | 06.15.05 - 10:27 pm | #
Guess I was provocative in pointing out the Persian sources of the Apocalyptic framework of much of the New Testament. It was a shock to me when I first realized it. I would be curious to see where heaven, hell and demons are referred to in Genesis; the Serpent in Gen 3 is not identified as a demon; the heavens of Gen 1.1 mean the physical heavens.
Joe O'Leary | 06.15.05 - 10:33 pm | #
As to the alleged detritus of 19th century scholarship, the following publication shows that the Persian origins of New Testament Apocalyptic are alive and kicking in the best contemporary scholarship: Hellholm, David, ed. Apocalypticism in the Mediterranean World and the Near East. Tübingen: Mohr (Siebeck), 1983.
Joe O'Leary | 06.15.05 - 10:42 pm | #
Yes, there are still those who recycle the stale old Zoroastrian hypothesis, just as there are many who still think Daniel was written circa 164 B.C. despite the fact that the Hebrew text of Sirach, written circa 190-180 B.C., contains allusions to verses from Daniel that at the very least suggest Sirach regarded Daniel as what we would call "canonical" (pardon the anachronism).
St. Polycarp | 06.16.05 - 12:09 am | #
For angels in Genesis, we have the reference to cherubim in Gen. 3. As for heaven, there is, of course, it is quite popular for some to claim "heaven" in Genesis only refers to the sky and never to anything else. Proving that claim, however, is quite another thing from making that claim.
St. Polycarp | 06.16.05 - 12:11 am | #
The angels of the New Testament and Christianity are not angels in the Zoroastrian sense.
St. Polycarp | 06.16.05 - 12:13 am | #
Fr. O'Leary, doesn't all this disregard of orthodoxy and high regard for non-magesterial references constitute a departure from this sound advice:
".. and I am afraid that in the same way your ideas may get corrupted and turned away from simple devotion to Christ. Because any new-comer has only to proclaim a new Jesus, different from the one that we preached, or you have only to receive a new spirit, different from the one you have already received, or a new gospel, different from the one you have already accepted -- and you welcome it with open arms." (In 2 Cor 11:1-11)
Why is there a need to pit world poverty and social justice against sound theology concerning salvation, conscience and spiritual formation? Isn't it more Catholic to consider all of these things grave matters?
Jeff Tan | Homepage | 06.16.05 - 12:13 am | #
The Cherubim of Gen 3 -- Gunkel claimed they were divine animals, a last reminiscence of primeval animal-worship. Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, 1987,a conservative source, calls them "winged celestial creatures, introduced into Israelite cosmology from neighboring Near Eastern mythologies". In any case, like the gentlemanly Adversary of Job 1, that is far from the total apocalyptic scenario of the NT. One valuable aspect of the discovery of the historicity, pluralism and variability of our representations of the heavenly or hellish worlds is that we can better meet the current crisis of belief. The Johannine theme of eternal life need not be tied to archaic representations and can build on elements in currently credible experience and ontology that can be a receiving station for the message of salvation. Jeff Tan, I do not disregard orthodoxy, I seek to make it credible in terms of contemporary science and experience, as theologians are expected to.
Joe O'Leary | 06.16.05 - 12:34 am | #
If moderns say "Miracles are just fanciful stories" or "God can't really have been made flesh", then you can't make orthodoxy credible to moderns?
Chris Garton-Zavesky | 06.16.05 - 7:54 am | #
Do you believe that the Holy Eucharist is the true body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, who is really and substantially and sacramentally present under the appearances of bread and wine?
fidens | 06.16.05 - 8:14 am | #
To clarify, I get the impression from your posts that you are seeking to interpret the Gospel in a manner relevant to modern minds. But what if modern minds deny the notion of absolute truth, infinite good and perfect justice? Should our theology accomodate or seek to educate? Do we at some poit "shake the dust from our sandals"?
My problem is my ignorance: I simply do not understand from your posts what you are trying to say. Please dumb it down for me. Are you saying there is no hell? No heaven? No angels? No miracles? Hence my next question: no Eucharist?
fidens | 06.16.05 - 8:45 am | #
You are a priest? Sorry I have to ask.
Levity aside, I have a straight-up question for you. I am sincerely interested in understanding your remark about Ratzinger censoring himself. What are some of the "sins of his youth" to which you refer? Urs von Balthazar? Rahner? Give us fever swamp guys some red meat, if you have any.
ralph roister-doister | 06.16.05 - 11:38 am | #
And please don't ask ole' Ralph to consult your earlier responses on this or other threads. Ole' Ralph does not have that kind of time -- he has a pile of "Sgt Fury and His Howling Commandos" comic books to get through, and too much reading makes his lips tired.
ralph roister-doister | 06.16.05 - 11:44 am | #
Sorry, I have no red meat, but I have heard that Ratzinger in conversation refers to earlier writings of his as the sins of his youth. You know that it has been a favorite sport of liberal theologians for the last 25 years to quote the earlier, more liberal Ratzinger against the later Ratzinger.
Joe O'Leary | 06.17.05 - 1:16 am | #
Absolute good, truth and justice by their very definition imply that all the truths, goods, justices we apprehend in our culture-bound languages are relative. Hell etc. need to be redefined in a changed cultural context from that in which such ideas first emerged. Rahner on "the possibility of final loss" is vague, certainly, but is perhaps as credible a discourse on "hell" as is currently available. "Heaven" is some kind of divine "future" promised in Scripture and called eternal life -- it is the perspective of hope, of resurrection, that is the ultimate biblical horizon -- we cannot form any very clear images of it but must leave it in the hands of the Lord. "Angels" and "devils" are literary figures in Scripture; what they emblematize remains mysterious. The word "miracle" is not a biblical word -- the Bible talks of signs and wonders and is more interested in their prophetic or revelatory significance than in their contradiction of the laws of nature. St. Augustine on miracles comes close to saying that they are part of natural process. Magic stunts have no place in adult Christianity; the sign of Cana I take to be a symbolic narrative -- the water of the old dispensation yielding to the wine of the new -- rather than a literal account of carbon atoms being created ex nihilo.
Joe O'Leary | 06.17.05 - 1:26 am | #
The real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is the full presence of the Risen and glorified Christ, a life-giving Spirit, and is mediated by the form of bread -- when the form of bread vanishes so does the eucharistic presence. Now the form of bread involves the use of bread in the context of a meal. When the meal-context vanishes so does the eucharistic presence. The reservation of the sacrament can be justified as an extension of the meal context. To talk about the true and substantial presence of Christ in the eucharist in separation from the meal-event is to produce an unwholesome reification or fetishism that has been particularly denounced by African theologians, whose sense of Christ's living presence in the Eucharist is more intense than ours.
Joe O'Leary | 06.17.05 - 1:30 am | #
By the way, I just looked at the Ratzinger quote on the Eucharist given by Scipio further down on this website. That corresponds well with my own understanding. Nor is this surprising, as the only course I did on the Eucharist as a seminarian was given by Joseph Ratzinger! At the oral exam he asked me about the phenomenological theory of the Eucharist. I said that it was an excellent theory, as it grounded the significance of the Eucharist in the meal-event, but that this did not mean that the metaphysical reality of the real presence could be undermined. He seemed quite happy with my answer.
Joe O'Leary | 06.17.05 - 1:35 am | #
Generally speaking, it is a mistake to insist too heavily on SUBSTANCE when speaking of the divine. The reality of divine substance is SPIRIT and spirit is better categorized in terms of EVENT rather than substance. If Scripture is the language of the Holy Spirit it is better to insist on its character as WORD rather than LETTER. WORD means COMMUNICATION which is an EVENT. We are challenged not only by modernity but by the Holy Spirit to think freely, event-fully, spiritually, and not to cling to substances including the projected substance of what we imagine to be our own Ego. Here Christianity and Buddhism are quite close. The Son of Man has NOWHERE to lay his head.
Joe O'Leary | 06.17.05 - 2:50 am | #
Umm... okay. So is that a yes or no to my 8.14am post?
fidens | 06.17.05 - 2:58 am | #
To go back to the hell business - I know it's stating the obvious, but:
Mt 7: 13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
If we trust the gospels to tell us the words of Our Lord, how can we doubt that many are damned? Although grace is certainly bestowed outwith the Church, how can our responsibility to evangelise be lessened? And yet, I heard a line once which went something like, 'I only know one person whom I know to be likely to go to hell - myself.' Fear of hell begins at home, as it were.
How can we doubt the physicality of the Cana miracle without doubting Scripture (and thus the Church - and thus even the Lord?)? The people at the wedding certainly react as if they've been given real wine. The power of the sign is not reduced by the miracle's reality - God writes with events as well as words...
Boeciana | Homepage | 06.17.05 - 6:48 am | #
Fr O'Leary [or Just Plain Joe],
So this "sins of my youth" quote of yours is hearsay? I am not interested in the phenomenology of hearsay; a simple yes or no will suffice.
ralph roister-doister | 06.17.05 - 9:12 am | #
Strange how hungry some people seem to be to see the majority of the human race damned!
Most of the governments of the near east greatly under-report the rate of HIV sero-prevalence in their citizenry. Does this mean that the public health workers who resent the distortion and clamor for a more accurate depiction of the state of things "hunger" to see more Egyptians become HIV positive?
Must every claim be seen as a betrayl of the speaker's inmost wishes? Is it not possible that some things are said simply because the speaker thinks them true, quite apart from a desire one way or the other?
Greg DeLassus | 06.17.05 - 2:14 pm | #
Hell, heaven, angels, devils -- historically all this scenario comes from Zoroastrianism and entered Jewish thinking only shortly before the time of Jesus.
Can anyone seriously maintain that all the references to heaven, hell, angels, and demons in those and other ancient Jewish writings are ultimately derived from Zoroastrianism?
I confess that I know nothing one way or another about whether or not NT imagery of angels and demons is borrowed from the Persians, but I am rather at a loss to understand how such a claim could really much touch on the substance of Fr. Schall's point. Regardless of where ideas like angels and Hell came from, such outlooks and pre-conceptions are present in the NT. They are the mental furniture in the NT room.
Perhaps if our Lord had been made man in XXI century Boston He would not have spoken of Satan falling from Heaven or of angels separating the righteous from the wicked at the day of judgement. As it happens, however, He was not not made man in XXI Boston, but in I century Palestine, so the if does not enter into it. It matters not where such ideas started, because we are stuck with them for better or worse, and if the soi-disants "moderns" cannot trouble themselves to understand such imagery, then so much the worse for the moderns.
Greg DeLassus | 06.17.05 - 2:26 pm | #
I'm doubtful about something here: is Fr. O'Leary a Catholic priest? The name sounds Catholic, but one never knows.
New Catholic | 06.18.05 - 4:00 pm | #
I believe it goes against Catholic doctrine to say that Hell is empty, doesn't it? One cannot state that X or Y is in Hell, but it certainly is not just a "theoretical" last thing. All last things are real.
New Catholic | 06.18.05 - 4:06 pm | #
JP2 says we can or even should hope that hell is empty. Rahner calls it "the possibility of final loss". Both are eminent and orthodox Catholic voices. Karl Barth, the greatest theologian of the last century, also believed in universal redemption -- all are condemned in Christ but all are saved in Christ as well.
Joe O'Leary | 06.19.05 - 11:07 am | #
The text "many are called, few are chosen" should not be read as telling us the numbers of the damned or saved. Newman warns against reading it like that in one of his Parochial and Plain Sermons.
Joe O'Leary | 06.19.05 - 11:22 am | #
I believe it goes against Catholic doctrine to say that Hell is empty, doesn't it?
Gosh, I confess that I am scarcely the world's foremost scholar of Church teaching, but I am hard pressed to think of any formal teaching to the effect that we must believe that there will be human souls in Hell in the end. I do not mean to imply that we must believe that all will be saved, but I think it is permissible to hope that Hell will be empty (at least of human souls).
Greg DeLassus | 06.19.05 - 11:46 am | #
So when the Lord says that in the Last Judgement, He will say, "Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels"; or when He said that to the imprudent "virgins" he will say, "Amen I say to you, I know you not"; He was just trying to scare the "hell" out of us, right?...
If that is so, can a deceiver (AND a cruel one at that) be trusted as Lord?
All references to Hell in the pre-Conciliar Magisterium make it clear that it will not be empty. The New Testament could not be clearer. But all of a sudden a non-binding utterance by a pope is accepted as a sign of orthodoxy by the same people who usually reject his explicit magisterial teaching. It is curious, to say the least.
New Catholic | 06.19.05 - 3:09 pm | #
BTW, I do not believe there is any contradiction in the Magisterium before and after the Council. My pre-Conciliar reference is more related to the fact that my Denzinger is a 1950s edition (yep, a Denzinger-Rahner...).
New Catholic | 06.19.05 - 3:14 pm | #
I hope that all may be saved -- on an individual, case by case basis, my hope and prayer is that each person might escape hell and attain heaven.
But I am sure there are human souls in hell. According to Holy Scripture, there's at least one there -- Judas Iscariot, of whom Jesus said things that can only mean Judas has suffered final damnation. If Jesus hadn't said those things, I would hold out hope even for Judas. But other than Judas, I do not pretend to know the names of any other humans who have been damned, nor do I attempt to speculate about whether or not so-and-so is definitively lost. I just pray for them and leave it at that -- God knows if my prayers for them are in vain.
St. Polycarp | 06.20.05 - 12:02 am | #
Matthew 26.24 follows Mark 14.21 in writing "it would have been better for that man if he had not been born" but Luke omits the memorable dictum keeping only what precedes: "woe to that man by whom he is betrayed".
Mt 26.25 adds a dialogue between Judas and Jesus, "Is it I, Master", "You have said so" -- though Judas has already agreed with the chief priests to betray him.
The line, "Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?" is found in Luke only (22.4.
Judas is guilt-stricken and hangs himself in Mt 27.3-10 (only). The 30 pieces of silver and the Potter's Field (from Zachariah 11.12-13, which Mt attributes to Jeremiah) are found only in Mt. Mk 10.11, followed by Lk 22.5, mentions only "money", not the amount. This is characteristic of Matthew's methods of rewriting Markan scenes with Old Testament coloring or of composing scenes of whole cloth based on Old Testament models.
Reference to the Field of Blood, Akeldama, is common to Mt 27.8 and Acts 1.19. In Acts Judas bought the field and collapsed in it. In Mt the high priests buy the field with the 30 pieces after Judas has hanged himself.
It would be interesting to study these traditions and see more clearly how the literary image of this striking figure is built up in the Synoptics and also in John.
I wonder what speculation there has been about the historical facts behind the memory of Judas as the betrayer of Jesus -- surely more was involved than merely pointing him out in the Garden of Gethsemani?
Joe O'Leary | 06.20.05 - 4:18 am | #
Why do you insist on cluttering up this blog with posts you know do nothing but annoy its readers. I don't believe the discourtesy is reciprocated. You think we are ferful reactionaries, wheras I find you a tired Sixties leftover. So be it. That established, can you simply co back to antagonistic co-existence on your own turf. This wold be Christian courtesy, versus the immature baiting and preening now being demonstrated.
On the Heavne & Hell question, the letters in response to Avery Dulles' "Will Hell Be Empty?" and his final response do a nice job of summing up pros and cons.
Joe | 06.25.05 - 10:26 am | #
THis is simple. Hell will not be empty. If Hell could be expected to be empty, why would the Church always have understood her mission as to bring the good news to the peoples? After all, if no one IS there for eternity, why bother evangelizing.
Chris Garton-Zavesky | 06.29.05 - 8:32 pm | #