Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Oh brother. Not again.

Mark Brumley, "Should We Hope "That All Men Be Saved"? (Catholic World Report, January 19, 2015). "Theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar's soteriology has often been misunderstood or misrepresented. Here is a short primer on what he actually wrote." Say it ain't so, Joe ... Yes, Virginia, there is a hell, and you can bet your bottom nickel it ain't empty.

[Hat tip to JM]


27 comments:








Loneliest Place in Rome

said...

That whole misunderstood or misrepresented is proving to be quite a convenient widely-applicable defense.





Raider Fan

said...

Wouldn't it be great if Bellicheat took an interest in HuVB and under inflated him?





Andrew M. Greenwell

said...

What's the felt need to defend this bizarre and novel theory and to deprecate the doctrine that has been handed down? Name one Doctor of the Church that held von Balthasar's position!





BenYachov

said...

>Name one Doctor of the Church that held von Balthasar's position!

Origen had explicit universalist tendancies based on his Platonism and St Gregory of Nyssa had implicit universalist tendencies.

I don't understand the over-reaction here in general?

What is wrong with hoping for the salvation of all men? God gives sufficient grace to all men. It is truly sufficient thus salvation is a very real possibility for all men.

It's not the same as believing damnation is not at all possible which is the true heretical universalistic position.

Why the over-reaction to Fr. Baron or von Balthasar?





BenYachov

said...

>That whole misunderstood or misrepresented is proving to be quite a convenient widely-applicable defense.

Or maybe it is a valid defense?

Or do we automatically believe Protestant heretics who claim we Catholics are nothing more than Pelagian heretics no matter how many times we cite to them session six of the Council of Trent and other Church document that explicitly condemn works salvation?

Based on the evidence it is doubtful von Balthasar is a Universalist in the classic sense.





Ralph Roister-Doister

said...

Considering that Ignatius has offered for sale virtually every scrap paper doodle that The Greatest Theologian Since John Keats ever scribbled, Brumley has more than a scholarly interest in seeing this particular bird spattering removed from the forehead of the Ignatius eidolon.

It would be interesting to know why The Great Man felt compelled to offer his universalism-inspired sympathy for the devil to his orthodox Catholic public, considering that he was so well aware of the Catholic Church's constant teaching on the subject. I detect a certain presumptuous malformation in the compulsion which leads a Catholic theologian to "hope" that God's judgment will not be carried out, as if it were less equitable than his own. Perhaps this is the sad effect of all those pulp novels he hid inside his hated manuals during his less than spectacular performance in seminary.





Pertinacious Papist

said...

Origen wasn't a universalist at all. At least so my son says, who has written a book on him published by CUA. He tells me that Origen floated those ideas explicitly as theological speculations NOT to be taken as Church teaching.

Origen's name has come to be associated however (and unfortunately), with those speculations, such that his chances of ever being recognized by the Church as "Saint Origen" are null, and contemporary theologians of the "tender-minded" cast will probably continue to cite him as an authority in response for their view of the Divine Tribunal as cotton candy concession at the annual carnival.





Pertinacious Papist

said...

Ben Yachov,

You're misreading this as an "over-reaction" against God's lergesse and mercy. It's not. Here's why: http://pblosser.blogspot.com/2008/10/john-lamont-on-what-was-wrong-with.html,





BenYachov

said...

@Doc
>Origen wasn't a universalist at all. At least so my son says, who has written a book on him published by CUA. He tells me that Origen floated those ideas explicitly as theological speculations NOT to be taken as Church teaching.
That is very interesting. It sounds like the “Nestorious wasn’t himself a Nestorian” hypothesis? Well given my sympathy to Syrian and Semitic Christian theologies I remember being somewhat sympathetic to that move back in the day. So I would like to see how Chris might rehabilitate Origen? It goes without saying the errors attributed to either of these individuals remain false doctrine.

>You're misreading this as an "over-reaction" against God's lergesse and mercy

I’ll give your link a mull. Cheers.





JM

said...

"Why the over-reaction to Fr. Baron or von Balthasar?"

Because they are contradicting what is to any non-angling person the clear teaching of Scripture. Hell exists. People go there. Jesus taught this. Paul taught this. The Revelation of St. John confirms this. Two destinations, salvation or loss, are an undergirding motif of revelation. If Hell is empty, it is not a destination, but a once-existing, now defunct spiritual town. Newman I suspect would think the entire conversation smacks of liberalism: let's explain revelation away based on or non-primitive understanding of divine ethics.

And yet these teachers insist on encouraging the idea that we don't need to sweat it -- not really and truly -- because it is reasonable to "hope" that God forgives all in the end. It's suggesting a loophole to alleviate uncomfortableness with the God of revelation.

And it is misleading speculative theology. I expect such of Mormons with their tree-tier heaven. I expect it of erudite academics trying to soften the hard edges of faith. I don't expect it of a Church charged with maintaining sacred tradition. It was weak to read JPII cracking open the door to it in his CTTOH. It was weak when suggested in Benedict XVIs second encyclical. And it remains weak when resuscitated by IP and Fr. B. While it may be true, I think we actually have very little reason to "hope" in that direction. So the suggestion has it exactly wrong.

At least those are the thoughts behind my over-reaction, since you asked.





Pertinacious Papist

said...

It isn't Christopher who wrote the book on Origen, but Benjamin Blosser. The title is Become Like the Angels: Origen's Doctrine of the Soul (Catholic University Press, 2012).





Pertinacious Papist

said...

Benjamin, incidentally, is my son who has six sons of his own and an assortment of foster children they've been trying to adopt, and who says of us Catholics: "We will prevail because we breed." All he forgot to add is: "... like rabbits."





BenYachov

said...

>Benjamin, incidentally, is my son who has six sons of his own and an assortment of foster children they've been trying to adopt, and who says of us Catholics: "We will prevail because we breed." All he forgot to add is: "... like rabbits."

You do realize Doc the Pope never said that?

Quote"In a world often marked by selfishness, a large family is a school of solidarity and sharing; and this attitude is to the benefit of society as a whole…. I always thank the Lord in seeing mothers and fathers of large families, together with their children, committed to the life of the Church and of society. ”end quote.

He said "Be like rabbits" in having lots of children and not taking responsibility for them he was not speaking against having large families.

But maybe you know that?

Anyway Benjamin Blosser!! How many sons have you been blessed with boss? I'll put his book on my list.

Cheers guy.





Pertinacious Papist

said...

BenYachov,

I've heard that the pope said something about rabbits, but that was incidental to my last comment, which is about something my son Benjamin (who goes by "Jamie") said. I added the word "rabbits," but I couldn't really care less what the pope said about rabbits. I don't follow his every tweet like some do. I'm exhausted by Papa Francis, and somewhat bored now. He's become all-too-predictable. I'm reading through the Bible for the fourth time in my life and find the book of Genesis far more interesting, though by the time I reach I Chronicles chs. 1-8, I may revert to Francis.





BenYachov

said...

@JM

You make some good points. If I may add my thoughts.

>Because they are contradicting what is to any non-angling person the clear teaching of Scripture. Hell exists.

Well it is the prison of the fallen angels and Church doctrine dogmatically teaches fallen angels dwell in that state.

> People go there. Jesus taught this. Paul taught this. The Revelation of St. John confirms this. Two destinations, salvation or loss, are an undergirding motif of revelation.

It seems von Balthasar even within his speculations believes Hell is a real threat and possibility. A true born universalist doesn’t believe damnation is possible at all. That is an important difference.

> If Hell is empty, it is not a destination, but a once-existing, now defunct spiritual town. Newman I suspect would think the entire conversation smacks of liberalism: let's explain revelation away based on or non-primitive understanding of divine ethics.

Well God isn’t really obligated to save us but he does have the power to do so. Why he saves one and not another is a mystery. Why give Peter efficacious grace and Judas just sufficient grace is a mystery. Both outcomes are ultimately good in the sense one satisfies the divine mercy and other the divine justice. Hell isn’t empty the fallen angels are there. But if God gives sufficient grace to all men that is truly sufficient then the salvation of all men is a real possibility. Why can’t we hope for that? It’s not the same as hoping there is no real chance of hell or “revelation is wrong”.

>And yet these teachers insist on encouraging the idea that we don't need to sweat it -- not really and truly -- because it is reasonable to "hope" that God forgives all in the end. It's suggesting a loophole to alleviate uncomfortableness with the God of revelation.

I don’t see that. From this I merely conclude God’s power to save is unlimited. We can hope for the better outcome(from our point of view).
Doesn’t mean we are going to get it or that we should not fear loss of Heaven.
If this concept is so bad then why would Our Lady of Fatima tell us to pray “lead all souls into Heaven” if that is in fact not possible?
Of course Our Lady of Fatima warned of Hell & said souls went there but she still wants us to pray that prayer. Granted this is private revelation and must be taken with some grains of salt even though it is approved.

>And it is misleading speculative theology.

It is speculative but I think the misleadings comes from misreading it. I have sympathy for people who are misrepresented. According to Ben Blosser Origen isn’t the boggy man we thought maybe Fr, Baron nor von Balthasar are NOT the “liberals” you imagine them to be?

I think this view is quite different from classic universalism. It has some superficial similarities but important differences. I know, I am fast becoming Banezian Thomist and abandoning the Molinism of my youth because I have come to see Banezianism isn’t Calvinism with Rosary beads as it is offend misrepresented.


>…... While it may be true, I think we actually have very little reason to "hope" in that direction. So the suggestion has it exactly wrong.
At least those are the thoughts behind my over-reaction, since you asked.

Those are valid reasons to be concerned but I say there is clearly a major difference between this speculation vs classic universalism in which
hell and eternal punishment are not really possible at all.

Cheers.





JM

said...

Ben,

All well said! I would agree with you, I think, but also hold on to my misgivings. As I have said repeatedly, I am no HvB hater. The fact he endorsed George Kelly's book "The New Biblical Theorist" even proves him to be right of Karl Barth, thank goodness. I think the crowd pushing this, though, often says the wrong thing to the wrong audiences, much like Francis. Right now I just can't see most of the Church needing to hear the "dare to hope" message so relentlessly.





Raider Fan

said...

...Considering that Ignatius has offered for sale virtually every scrap paper doodle that The Greatest Theologian since John Ketas...

Dear Ralph. You are a delight to read, Sir





Ralph Roister-Doister

said...

"Origen wasn't a universalist at all."

The universalists, however, did present him with their Life Achievement Award."






Ralph Roister-Doister

said...

By the way, there are 33 Doctors of the Church. Origen, and Gregory of Nyssa are not among them.





Ralph Roister-Doister

said...

Universalism is a simple enough idea, and the core of it is set out in the 1914 Catholic Encyclopedia in the article on “apocatastasis,” which is defined as “the doctrine which teaches that a time will come when all free creatures will share in the grace of salvation; in a special way, the devils and lost souls.” Several paragraphs follow on the confusions of St Gregory of Nyssa concerning this notion, and Origen is identified as its primary source. The article notes Origen’s own confusions, indicating that he “seems at times reluctant to decide concerning the question of the eternity of punishment.”


Apocatastasis as expressed by Origen became a favorite honey pot of nouveaus, and Balthazar, as always, sought to make the biggest splash with it. The Encyclopedia article’s author notes that “Origen . . . does not seem to have regarded the doctrine of the apokatastasis as one meant to be preached to all.” It was meant, in other words, to be discussed among the scholars of the faith, men who would not be swayed by obvious heterodoxy -- not spread amongst the “generality of the faithful” (probably Ben Blosser’s point as well).

However, the Greatest Theologian Since John Keats did not share Origen’s reticence. Using the word “hope” as his fig leaf, he writes of apocatastatis as if there was some basis for believing it was in the mix of credible Catholic belief when it fact it was not and has never been.


The upshot of all of this, IMO. is

(1) that apocatastasis is one more issue on which Balthazar is not credible as a serious Catholic theologian and is in fact a “classic” nineteenth century romantic egoist posing as a serious Catholic theologian, and

(2) that the Ignatius crew, led by Brumley, deserve to take a serious financial bath for rescuing the ululations of Balthazar and his theosophist muse, Adrienne von Speyr, from their deserved obscurity and treating them as they were genuine Catholic voices.





Pertinacious Papist

said...

Who needs Comedy Central?

Ralph, neither of those you mentioned was ever a doctor, certainly, though both have much to commend their thought. I would say that even of Tertullian, who hived off into Montanism before his death (a "lite" heresy, if there was any -- a form of perfectionism).

I am no Origen scholar, but, again, I rely on my son who tells me that there has been considerable debate over the supposed "heretical" tendencies in Origen, and that many now regard this as akin to theological parlor games, and not intended for serious theological consumption. But that's hearsay.

In any case, what von Balthasar does with that, along with Fr. Barron, is another matter.





Ralph Roister-Doister

said...

"Ralph, neither of those you mentioned was ever a doctor,"

True. I was replying to an earlier comment, which seemed to imply that they were.

No one much cares about such things these days, when we have so many ideologists of Catholicism Reinvented, but here for anyone's perusal is the complete list of doctors of the Church:

ST. ALBERT THE GREAT
Patron of natural scientists; called doctor universalis, doctor expertus.
ST. ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
Patron of confessors and moralists. Founder of his order.
ST. AMBROSE
One of the four traditional Doctors of the Latin Church. Opponent of Arianism in the West. Bishop of Milan.
ST. ANSELM
Archbishop of Canterbury. Father of Scholasticism.
ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA
Evangelical Doctor.
ST. ATHANASIUS
Bishop of Alexandria. Dominant opponent of Arianism. Father of Orthodoxy.
ST. AUGUSTINE
Bishop of Hippo. One of the four traditional Doctors of the Latin Church. Doctor of Grace.
ST. BASIL THE GREAT
Father of monasticism in the East.
ST. BEDE THE VENERABLE
Benedictine priest Father of English history.
ST. BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX
Called Mellifluous Doctor because of his eloquence.
ST. BONAVENTURE
Franciscan theologian. Seraphic Doctor.
ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA
Mystic. Second woman Doctor.
ST. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA
Patriarch. Opponent of Nestorianism. Made key contributions to Christology.
ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM
Bishop and opponent of Arianism in the East.
ST. EPHRAEM THE SYRIAN
Biblical exegete and ecclesiastical writer. Called Harp of the Holy Spirit.
ST. FRANCIS DE SALES
Bishop, leader in Counter- Reformation. Patron of Catholic writers and the Catholic press.
ST. GREGORY I THE GREAT
Pope. Fourth and last of the traditional Doctors of the Latin Church. Defended papal supremacy and worked for clerical and monastic reform.
ST. GREGORY OF NAZIANZUS
Called the Christian Demosthenes because of his eloquence and, in the Eastern Church, The Theologian.
ST. HILARY OF POITIERS
Bishop. Called The Athanasius of the West.
ST. ISIDORE OF SEVILLE
Archbishop, theologian, historian. Regarded as the most learned man of his time.
ST. JEROME
One of the four traditional Doctors of the Latin Church. Father of biblical science.
ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
Bishop of Constantinople. Patron of preachers and called Golden-Mouthed because of his eloquence.
ST. JOHN DAMASCENE
Greek theologian. Called Golden Speaker because of his eloquence.
ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS
Joint founder of the Discalced Carmelites along with St. Theresa of Avila. Doctor of Mystical Theology
ST. LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI
Vigorous preacher of strong influence in the post-Reformation period.
ST. LEO I THE GREAT
Pope. Wrote against Nestorian and Monophysite heresies and errors of Manichaeism and Pelagianism.
ST. PETER CANISIUS
Jesuit theologian. Leader in the Counter-Reformation.
ST. PETER CHRYSOLOGUS
Bishop of Ravenna. Called Golden-Worded.
ST. PETER DAMIAN
Ecclesiastical and clerical reformer.
ST. ROBERT BELLARMINE
Defended doctrine under attack during and after the Reformation. Wrote two catechisms.
ST. TERESA OF AVILA
Spanish nun and mystic. First woman Doctor. Joint founder of the Discalced Carmelites along with St. John of the Cross.
ST. THERESE OF LISIEUX
French Carmelite nun. Known as The Little Flower, her autobiographical "Story of a Soul" has become a spiritual classic, inspiring millions to follow her "Little Way" of holiness. Already Patroness of the Missions, she was proclaimed the third woman Doctor of the Church by Pope John Paul II on October 19th, 1997.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS
Philosopher and theologian. Called Angelic Doctor. Patron of Catholic schools and education.





Pertinacious Papist

said...

That's an impressive list, and I thankfully note that there's not a one (SO FAR!!) that would strike me as an imprudent or merely sentimental choice. Even those who aren't academic, like the Little Flower, are solid in their spiritual grounding and writing.





Ralph Roister-Doister

said...

Just as an experiment in reading, to judge how disloyal the Church has become toward the teachings of its own greatest "doctors," one ought to read the "Book of Gomorrah" by St Peter Damian for a view of homosexuality among the clergy that is, shall we say, "refreshingly different" from the oleaginous, doubletalking sleaziness of the present day.





BenYachov

said...

But St Gregory was a Church Father.

St Thomas Aquinas was a Doctor of the Church but he did get the immaculate conception wrong.

But Dun Scotus was not a Doctor of the Church (he was give the lesser title of Subtle doctor) and he got the immaculate conception correct.

Just saying.

Anyway the only take away we can get from von Balthasar's position is to hope for the salvation of all men. But not at the expense of believing Hell is a real threat. Nor an endorsement of apocatastasis
heresy that portrays Hell as being no different from Purgatory.





Ralph Roister-Doister

said...

Sorry Charlie, wrong Gregory.

As for Thomas and the Immaculate Conception, the situation is far more involved than you appear to think. Which is not that unusual with you.

Just saying.

Putting you back in ignore mode now.





BenYachov

said...

>Sorry Charlie, wrong Gregory.

St Gregory of Nyssa is the wrong Gregory?

I don't get it.