"Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by the cunning statements
of those who persistently claim to wish to be with the Church, to
love the Church, to fight so that people do not leave Her...But
judge them by their works. If they despise the shepherds of the
Church and even the Pope, if they attempt all means of evading their
authority in order to elude their directives and judgments..., then
about which Church do these men mean to speak? Certainly not about
that established on the foundations of the apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20)." [Pope St. Pius X: Allocution of May 10, 1909]
Any correspondence will be presumed eligible for
blogging unless the sender otherwise specifies (cf. Welborn Protocol)
*Ecumenical Jihad listing is for weblogs or websites which are either dedicated
to or which to the webmaster (i) are worth reading and (ii) characteri ze in their general outlook the preservation of
general Judeo-Christian morality and which are aimed at positively integrating these elements into society. (Such
sites need not even be Catholic ones.)
As society has grown more estranged from its founding principles, I wish to
note sites which share the same sentiments for the restoration of society even if the means advocated in this
endeavour differ. The Lidless Eye Inquisition does not necessarily endorse particulars with sites under
:: Friday, April 23, 2004 ::
"Scruple: an unfounded apprehension and consequently unwarranted fear that something is a sin which, as a matter of fact, is not. It is not considered here so much as an isolated act, but rather as an habitual state of mind known to directors of souls as a 'scrupulous conscience'. St. Alphonsus describes it as a condition in which one influenced by trifling reasons, and without any solid foundation, is often afraid that sin lies where it really does not. This anxiety may be entertained, not only with regard to that is to be done presently, but also with regard to what has been done. The idea sometimes obtaining, that scrupulosity is in itself a spiritual benefit of some sort, is, of course, a great error. The providence of God permits it and can gather good from it as from other forms of evil. That apart, however, it is a bad habit doing harm, sometimes grievously, to body and soul. Indeed, persisted in with the obstinacy characteristic of persons who suffer from this malady, it may entail the most lamentable consequences. The judgment is seriously warped, the moral power tired ou in futile combat, and then not infrequently the scrupulous person makes shipwreck of salvation either on the Scylla of despair or the Charybdis of unheeding indulgence in vice." The Catholic Encyclopedia (1910), Vol. XIII, pg. 640 (emphasis mine)
I believe that above quote demonstrates something which so-called "traditionalists" seem to forget. In their profound hatred of "liberalism" they easily lose a sense of balance and forget that there are spiritual dangers on the other side of the spectrum. An obsession with one form of evil is not good. There are pitfalls all around us, not merely on the "left". I'm not saying that most "traditionalists" are actually scrupulous, as that word is understood in Catholic theology and spirituality. Nevertheless, there appears to be a tendency toward scrupulosity among some of these good people who have over-reacted to the modernism in the Church. For example, one can sense this proclivity when "traditionalists" react so angrily when Catholic parents let their children swim in swiming pools, watch some recently made movies, or simply allow their daughters to wear pants occasionally .
Latter in that article from the old Catholic Encyclopedia it says, "[If the source of the scrupolosity] be a propensity to melancholy, certain harmless pleasures and rational enjoyments may be employed with advantage." I recommend that advice to you, my traditionalist friends. Romanticizing the past and demonizing of the present is not spiritually healthy. Not that I'm making myself out to be a spiritual director in any way; I need spiritual help as much as the next person. Yet that is why I quoted from the great Catholic Encyclopedia, instead of writing a small discourse myself.
Cardinal Newman once had a written exchange with a man named Ward, an English Ultramontanes of his day. The Ultramontanes held a view of papal infallibility that was a broader then the view of other Catholics. Newman did not consider the theological difference between himself and the Ultramontances to be great, but the Ultramontanes questioned the faith of those who did not go the full distance with them on papal infallibility. Newman asserted that these people had a "schismatical spirit", just as modern traditionalist seem to display at times. In one of his letters to Ward he gives this simple advice: "relax, and take it easy." I believe "traditionalists" should follow that advice more often, in order keep a more balanced perspective.
:: Gregory 5:50 PM [+] | ::
:: Tuesday, April 13, 2004 ::
John Paul II and Universalism
Rad-Trads from an email list have asserted that John Paul II believes that everyone will go to heaven (universalism). They quote:
“Mission is the sure index of our faith in Christ and his love for us: 276 men and women of all times are thereby inspired to a new life motivated by hope. In proclaiming the Risen Lord, Christians present the One who inaugurates a new era of history and announce to the world the good news of a complete and universal salvation which contains in itself the pledge of a new world in which pain and injustice will give way to joy and beauty.” (Pastores gregis, 65)
“Accordingly, what is in question here is man in all his truth, in his full magnitude. We are not dealing with the "abstract" man, but the real, "concrete", "historical" man. We are dealing with "each" man, for each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and with each one Christ has united himself for ever through this mystery.” (Redemptor Hominis, 13)
From the encyclical Redemptor Hominis, they claim that “Christ has united himself for ever” implies heaven. Is John Paul II a heretic?
First, let us deal with the term “universal salvation”. Anyone who is familiar with this theology knows that he uses the terms “universal salvation” or “universality of salvation” frequently. But what does he mean by this? Elsewhere he says:
“All the just of the earth sing their praise to God, having reached the goal of glory after traveling the steep and tiring road of earthly life. They have passed "through the great tribulation" and have been purified by the blood of the Lamb, "poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Mt 26: 28).
They all share, then, in the same source of salvation which God has poured out upon humanity. For "God sent the Son into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him" (Jn 3: 17).
Salvation is offered to all nations, as was already shown by the covenant with Noah (cf. Gn 9: 8-17), testifying to the universality of God's manifestation and the human response in faith (cf. CCC, n. 58). In Abraham, then, "all the families of the earth shall bless themselves" (Gn 12: 3). They are on the way to the holy city in order to enjoy that peace which will change the face of the world, when swords are beaten into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks (cf. Is 2: 2-5).
It is moving to read these words in Isaiah: "The Egyptians will worship [the Lord] with the Assyrians ... whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, "Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage'" (Is 19: 23, 25). "The princes of the peoples", the Psalmist sings, "are gathered together with the people of the God of Abraham. For God's are the guardians of the earth; he is supreme" (Ps 47: 10). Indeed, the prophet Malachi hears as it were a sigh of adoration and praise rising to God from the whole breadth of humanity: "From the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts" (Mal 1: 11). The same prophet, in fact, wonders: "Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?" (Mal 2: 10).
. A certain form of faith thus begins when God is called upon, even if his face is "unknown" (cf. Acts 17: 23). All humanity seeks authentic adoration of God and the fraternal communion of men and women under the influence of the "Spirit of truth operating outside the visible confines of the Mystical Body" of Christ (Redemptor hominis, n. 6).” (General Audience Wed. 29 Nov. 200)
From that passage, we can see that John Paul’s theology is heavily based on Christ being the savior of all men and that salvation is offered to all people. This becomes more clear in the encyclical Redemptoris Missio:
"If we go back to the beginnings of the Church, we find a clear affirmation that Christ is the one Savior of all, the only one able to reveal God and lead to God. In reply to the Jewish religious authorities who question the apostles about the healing of the lame man, Peter says: "By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by him this man is standing before you well.... And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:10, 12). This statement, which was made to the Sanhedrin, has a universal value, since for all people-Jews and Gentiles alike - salvation can only come from Jesus Christ.The universality of this salvation in Christ is asserted throughout the New Testament. St. Paul acknowledges the risen Christ as the Lord. He writes: "Although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth - as indeed there are many 'gods' and many 'lords' - yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist" (1 Cor 8:5-6). One God and one Lord are asserted by way of contrast to the multitude of "gods" and "lords" commonly accepted. Paul reacts against the polytheism of the religious environment of his time and emphasizes what is characteristic of the Christian faith: belief in one God and in one Lord sent by God.In the Gospel of St. John, this salvific universality of Christ embraces all the aspects of his mission of grace, truth and revelation: the Word is "the true light that enlightens every man" (Jn 1:9). And again, "no one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known" (Jn 1:18; cf. Mt 11:27). God's revelation becomes definitive and complete through his only-begotten Son: "In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom he also created the world" (Heb 1:1-2; cf. Jn 14:6). In this definitive Word of his revelation, God has made himself known in the fullest possible way. He has revealed to mankind who he is. This definitive self-revelation of God is the fundamental reason why the Church is missionary by her very nature. She cannot do other than proclaim the Gospel, that is, the fullness of the truth which God has enabled us to know about himself.Christ is the one mediator between God and mankind: "For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth" (1 Tm 2:5-7; cf. Heb 4:14-16). No one, therefore, can enter into communion with God except through Christ, by the working of the Holy Spirit. Christ's one, universal mediation, far from being an obstacle on the journey toward God, is the way established by God himself, a fact of which Christ is fully aware. Although participated forms of mediation of different kinds and degrees are not excluded, they acquire meaning and value only from Christ's own mediation, and they cannot be understood as parallel or complementary to his." (Redemptoris Missio, 5)
As you can see, "universality of salvation" means Christ is the savior of *all people* and only through and in Him can people be saved. Also, John Paul II knows Irenaeus' theology. He says:
"God's saving plan, "the mystery of his will" (cf. Eph 1: 9) for every creature, is described in the Letter to the Ephesians with a distinctive term: to "recapitulate" all things in heaven and on earth in Christ (Eph 1: 10). The image could also refer to the roller around which was wrapped the parchment or papyrus scroll of the volumen with a written text: Christ gives a single meaning to all the syllables, words and works of creation and history.The first person to take up this theme of "recapitulation" and develop it in a marvellous way was St Irenaeus of Lyons, a great second-century Father of the Church. Against any fragmentation of salvation history, against any division of the Old and New Covenants, against any dispersion of God's revelation and action, Irenaeus extols the one Lord, Jesus Christ, who in the Incarnation sums up in himself the entire history of salvation, humanity and all creation: "He, as the eternal King, recapitulates all things in himself" (Adversus Haereses, III, 21, 9).2. Let us listen to a passage in which this Father of the Church comments on the Apostle's words concerning the recapitulation of all things in Christ. The phrase "all things", Irenaeus says, includes man, who was touched by the mystery of the Incarnation when the invisible Son of God "became visible, the incomprehensible became comprehensible, the impassible became passible, the Word became man. He recapitulated all things in himself, so that, just as the Word of God has primacy over heavenly, spiritual and invisible beings, so he does over visible and corporeal beings.Assuming this primacy in himself and giving himself as head to the Church, he draws all things to himself" (Adversus Haereses, III, 16, 6). This coming together of all being in Christ, the centre of time and space, gradually takes place in history, as the obstacles, the resistance of sin and the Evil One, are overcome.3. To illustrate this movement, Irenaeus refers to the difference, already presented by St Paul, between Christ and Adam (cf. Rom 5: 12-21): Christ is the new Adam, that is, the Firstborn of faithful humanity, who lovingly and obediently welcomes the plan of redemption which God designed as the soul and goal of history. Christ must therefore cancel the work of devastation, the horrible idolatries, violence and every sin that rebellious Adam sowed in the age-old history of humanity and in the created realm. By his total obedience to the Father, Christ opens the era of peace with God and among men, reconciling dispersed humanity in himself (cf.Eph 2: 16). In himself he "recapitulates" Adam, in whom all humanity can see itself, transforms him into a child of God and restores him to full communion with the Father. Through his brotherhood with us in flesh and blood, in life and death, Christ becomes "the head" of saved humanity. St Irenaeus writes again: "Christ has recapitulated in himself all the blood shed by all the just and by all the prophets who have lived since the beginning" (Adversus Haereses, V, 14, 1; cf. V, 14, 2).4. Good and evil, then, are considered in the light of Christ's redemptive work. As Paul shows us, this involves all creation with the variety of its elements (cf. Rom 8: 18-30). Indeed, nature itself, since it was subjected to the senselessness, degradation and devastation caused by sin, thus shares in the joy of the liberation achieved by Christ in the Holy Spirit.Therefore, the full realization of the Creator's original plan emerges: that of a creation in which God and man, man and woman, humanity and nature are in harmony, in dialogue and in communion. This plan, upset by sin, is restored in the most marvellous way by Christ, who mysteriously but effectively carries it out in the present reality, waiting to bring it to fulfilment. Jesus himself said he was the fulcrum and point of convergence of this saving plan when he said: "I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself" (Jn 12: 32). And the Evangelist John presents this work precisely as a kind of recapitulation: "to gather into one the dispersed children of God" (Jn 11: 52).
5. This work will reach its fullness at at the end of time when - as Paul again recalls - "God will be all in all" (cf. 1 Cor 15: 28).The last page of the Book of Revelation - proclaimed at the start of our gathering - depicts this goal in vivid colours. The Church and the Spirit are waiting and praying for the moment when Christ will "deliver the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.... The last enemy to be destroyed is death. "For God has put all things in subjection under his [Son's] feet'" (1 Cor 15: 24, 26-27).At the end of this battle - described on marvellous pages in the Book of Revelation - Christ will complete the "recapitulation", and those who are united with him will form the community of the redeemed, which "will not be wounded any longer by sin, stains, self-love, that destroy or wound the earthly community. The beatific vision, in which God opens himself in an inexhaustible way to the elect, will be the ever-flowing well-spring of happiness, peace and mutual communion" (CCC, n. 1045).The Church, the loving Bride of the Lamb, with her gaze fixed on that day of light, raises the ardent prayer: "Marana tha" (1 Cor 16: 22), "Come, Lord Jesus!" (General Audience, February 14, 2001)
From those passages, it is clear that John Paul II believes that Christ is the savior of the world and everything belongs to him. It is more probable that my interpretation is true than those who assert that John Paul II is a universalist.
How do the Rad-Trads answer? Most of them said, “Well, it is clear that John Paul believes in universalism.” One Rad-Trad answered:
“One does not require a reading of the Pope's other works in a correct manner to understand that the Pope's statement is baldly asserting the soul of man is united with Christ forever.”
Yes, this is true. But what does “soul of man is united with Christ forever” mean? Does it mean he believes that all men will be saved? As I have shown above, it doesn’t. But let’s use the Rad-Trad’s logic here. He claimed that we don’t need “other work” in order to know what the Pope is saying. Let’s apply this to one of John Paul’s statements:
“The first is that divine revelation and the Magisterium of the Church, its authentic interpreter, constantly and systematically speak of the presence and universality of sin in human history.” (General Audience Sept 17 1986)
The statement speaks of “universality of sin”. Does it now mean that he believes that heaven is empty and all will be damned? Remember, you can’t rely on other works to interpret this. I guess John Paul is a pessimist. Using the Rad-Trad logic, one can see how it simply does not work.
But what exactly does John Paul mean by “united in Christ”? He says elsewhere:
"What is this solidarity? It is the manifestation of the love which has its source in God himself. The Son of God came into the world to reveal this love. He already revealed it by the fact that he himself became man, one of us. This union with us on the part of Jesus Christ, true man, is the fundamental expression of his solidarity with every human person. It speaks eloquently of the love with which God himself has loved each and every person. Love is confirmed here in an entirely special way—one who loves seeks to share everything with the beloved. It is precisely for this reason that the Son of God became man. Isaiah had prophesied of him, "Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured" (cf. Mt 8:17; Is 53:4). Jesus thus shared the same existential condition with every son and daughter of the human race. In this he also revealed the existential dignity of each and every human person. The Incarnation is an ineffable "re-evaluation" of the human person and of humanity!" (General audience, Feb 10, 1988)
So we see that “union” means “love with which God himself has loved each and every person”. Will this “unity” forever? Of course. God never ceases to love a person. As Garrigou-Lagrange says:
"The supernatural tenderness of Christ for souls is deep, because its primary object is the soul and the desire for its eternal happiness. At the same time, it is universal, immense, and extends to everyone...Christ's love loses none of its tenderness in embracing all souls. It encompasses all nations and all eras." (Our Savior and His Love for Us, 217, 218)
Also, Garrigou-Lagrange says:
"The redemption of the human race can therefore be defined as follows: It is the act by which our Savior, at the price of His own blood (an expression of His love), snatched the human race to sin and to the devil, and reconciled it with God." (ibid, 198)
He believes that Christ’s blood “snatched the human race to sin and to the devil, and reconciled it with God”. And what person is not a part of the “human race”? John Paul is reiterating the traditional teaching on redemption and the Incarnation by expressing it in concrete terms. Instead of the abstract “human race”, he simply says “each man”.
In the beautiful words of Fulton J. Sheen:
"The human nature of Christ represented, to a great extent, the human nature of every single person who has ever lived...Every single human being that would ever be born until the end of time was incorporated into this humanity. Hence, there is not a Buddhist, Confucioanist, communist, sinner, or saint who is not in this human nature of Christ. We're in it. Our neighbor next door is in it. Every persecutor of the Church is, too. When we are puzzled about how other people are saved, we need only realize that implicitly all salvation of all men, are in Christ. They may not recognize their incorporation to Christ, but in a certain sense every person in the world is implicitly a Christian in his human nature...If the sin of Adam had so many repercussions in ever human being who has lived, shall we deny the incarnation of our blessed Lord has had a greater repercussion? Can the sin of one man have greater effects and disorder in human nature than the Incarnation of the Son of God has in ordering all humanity? Thus, I say everybody in the world is implicitly Christian." (Your Life is Worth Living, pgs. 67-68)
I think I have proven that John Paul II does not believe that all men will be saved at least with certainty. If I have not, then my interpretation is more probable than those who believe he is a heretic.
“For the grace of God has appeared, saving all…” (Titus 2:11)