Luke Live, Days Three and Four

I continue once again with my shameless promotion of Paulist Father James DiLuzio and his Luke Live performace, part 3, covering Luke chapters 17-24.

Over the last two days, the conversation we had (Father DiLuzio continually encouraged us to have a dialogue on the text, to reach deeper meanings) focused on two fairly notorious characters: Judas Iscariot, and Pontius Pilate.  Now, in general terms, these two have been condemned since the inception of the Church.  Judas, the betrayer, has classically been believed to be in Hell, and every week we recite in our creed:  He was crucified under Pontius Pilate.

Yet there are some very intriguing elements that we uncover if we dig deeper, if we have a conversation with the Gospel and keep in mind the full picture.  One of the most startling connections is the indentification of Judas and Pilate with ourselves.

Consider the case of Judas.  He has ever proved an enigma to us.  We know that he lost in faith in Jesus after the Bread of Life Discourse, that he was a thief, and that he ultimately betrayed his master for thirty pieces of silver.  Yet we know that his betrayal was necessary, that it was foretold in Scriptures.  Some people want to vindicate Judas, in that he was merely a tool in the great Plan of Salvation, and thus could not be culpable for his actions.  Yet we know that his actions, though foretold, were of his own volition.  Indeed, from Jesus we have such words as “woe to that man by whom [the Son of Man] is betrayed” and “it would be better for that man if he had never been born”, both of which indicate that Judas was fully guilty of betraying Jesus, and would suffer for doing so.

Other people (Dante comes directly to mind) have firmly believed that Judas suffers eternal torment in Hell.  Jesus’ words carry a fair amount of weight in defense of this.  How could it possibly be better for one never to have been born, if that one still manages to achieve salvation?  Thus only eternal punishment could properly explain.  But that’s not the full story, by any means.  Throughout the Gospels, one of Jesus’ most consistent themes is forgiveness.  His mission is to reconcile mankind with God.  On the cross, dying, he still managed to say, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

This message of forgiveness potentially offers hope that Judas did attain salvation, despite the darkness of his situation.  But consider that even though he had lost faith, he was still at the table for the Last Supper, still received the Eucharist from Jesus’ hands.  It is possible that God’s grace managed to touch Judas sufficiently.  Certainly we know that Judas realized the magnitude of his sin in betraying Jesus–the grief and distress led him to commit suicide.  Historically, suicide has been considered an unforgivable sin, but in recent times that view has changed.  Indeed, we now stress that mortal sin not only consists of grave matter, but also of knowledge of the sinfulness of the action, and full consent.  The state of mind a person is in when committing suicide has the great potential to lessen culpability.  Moreover, we know not what happens in those moments between committing to suicide and actual death.  Repentance can happen then, too.  Keeping this in mind, it is fully possible that Judas fully repented of his sins.  Certainly he felt immense remorse over his deeds, enough that it overwhelmed him and drove him to suicide.  It can be hoped that he had sincere contrition in his heart, and was not fully culpable in the taking of his life.

However, the eternal destination of Judas is less important than how we treat him.  The great temptation is to write him off as an evil man, responsible for Jesus’ death, and doomed to Hell.  But is Judas responsible for Jesus’ death?  What about the Sanhedrin, the chief priests and scribes and elders?  Weren’t they the ones who demanded Jesus’ death?  Aren’t they the ones to blame?  This can keep going, but it very rarely reaches the most important conclusion, which is our own responsibility for Jesus’ death.  We have to remember that Jesus died for all our sins.  Every single one of them.  Conversely, that means that with every sin we commit, we partake of the betrayal that put Jesus on the cross.  In essence, when we sin, we crucify Jesus ourselves.  Yet instead of acknowledging that, we prefer to pin Jesus’ death on Judas.  Or if not him, then the Sanhedrin.  For a long time during the Middle Ages, Jesus’ death was pinned on the Jews, and the Jews suffered greatly at Christian hands.  Very rarely does it ever come to us that we’re just as guilty.  We’re really rather blame a scapegoat, namely Judas.  Yet at the moment of the betrayal, who do we identify more with: the betrayer or the betrayed?  It is something to keep in mind.

Of course, we shouldn’t tear ourselves apart with self-loathing and castigation.  Jesus came to forgive sins, if we are willing to repent of them.  That is good news.

As we are with Judas in sins of commission, we find ourselves similarly relating with Pilate by sins of omission.  Consider the situation.  Pilate, who normally resides in Caeseria Maritimus, is forced to come and govern Jerusalem directly every Passover, because every Passover there are uprisings and rebellion and general turmoil.  He’s become used that, and tries to maintain power and reputation by maintaining peace.  When Jesus is brought before him, he’s utterly baffled because he can find no capital crime of which Jesus is guilty.  He declares Jesus innocent and wants to release him.  But the Sanhedren demands that Jesus be put to death.  So Pilate sends Jesus off to Herod, hoping to avoid a confrontation.  But Herod is unable to sentence Jesus, and Jesus is brought back before Pilate.  So Pilate then offers to flog Jesus as a compromise, but the Sanhedrin still remains adamant.  Finally, in order to keep peace, Pilate agrees to crucify Jesus.

(Some scholars believe that Pilate is shown as practically innocent of Jesus’ death so that the potential Roman converts don’t feel scapegoated.  Instead of blaming Rome, the blame falls on the Jews, so there’s no hard feelings, right?  Except now we’re back to the scapegoating again, but there’s a deeper point to be made here.)

Pilate epitomizes one of the great concerns of our time, and that is permitting a great evil to occur for the sake of avoiding confrontation.  Regardless of how cruel or how virtuous a man Pilate really was, he was guilty of standing by and allowing an innocent man to be killed when he had the power to prevent such a thing from happening.  And just as we are right there with Judas, betraying the Lord, when we sin, we are right there with Pilate whenever we stand by and permit evil triumph when we have the ability to intervene.  It could be as simple as standing by and watching a bully beat up a hapless little kid, or it could be refusing to raises our voices against the great injustices in our society.

On a different note, it was interesting that the fourth installment of Luke Live, part 3, was particularly lacking in audience participation.  I spoke with Father DiLuzio about it, and he thought a moment and agreed that it was fairly typical for the audience to say very little in regards to the crucifixion and resurrection.  He contended that it was out of reverence for such a grave event, that we were silent and reflective because of that reverence.  I expressed my thoughts, though, that maybe we’ve heard the story so often that it has, to a large extent, becomes just that–a story.  We know the details, we’re familiar (and maybe even comfortable) with it, and thus maybe we feel there’s no much else to even think about, or dialogue about.  But then, maybe I’m wrong about that.  Who knows?

I reiterate that Luke Live was a wonderful experience, and I encourage people to hit up Father DiLuzio’s website and request him to come perform.  It will be well worth it.

35 Responses to Luke Live, Days Three and Four

  • I won’t go Balthasarian here (though I am tempted to do so). Rather, I would point out, contrary to your claim, Pilate has not been routinely condemned to hell; indeed, some apostolic churches have declared him to be a saint!

  • Ryan Harkins says:

    Henry,

    I’m confused. I nowhere said that we condemn Pilate as being in Hell. I said that often we have condemned Judas, but I stated specifically that there’s a case against that. So, are you confused in what I said, or did you mean Judas instead of Pilate? If you still mean Pilate, I would invite you to review my post, for nowhere in it have I made any mention of Pilate’s eternal destination.

  • “Now, in general terms, these two have been condemned since the inception of the Church.” The word condemned, especially in connection with the next sentence which talks about Judas in hell, suggests the condemnation is of the eternal kind. Perhaps I misread it because of the placement of the sentences.

  • Okay, I’ll bite: What apostolic church(s) have declared Pilate a saint, and why?

    Given my Dante=Tradition on Hell assumptions, I would certainly have felt comfortable saying that Pilate was generally imagined as condemned.

  • Donald R. McClarey says:

    Pilate is considered a saint by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. His wife Procula is considered a saint by both the Ethiopian Othodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church. Beats me why they did this. Other than very dubious legends, all we know about Pilate and his wife is contained in the New Testament, two tiny references in Tacitus and Suentonius, and the Pilate inscription.

    http://www.bible-history.com/empires/pilate.html

  • Matt McDonald says:

    What’s the fuss about? Ryan simply states what’s obvious, Judas and Pilate are nefarious characters, and generally Catholics suspect that they may not have made it to purgatory. I don’t think that’s a sin of presumption or against hope, certainly we hold out hope for all, but we know, contrary to Balthasazar… Hell is not empty.

  • Eric Brown says:

    I think the notion of “Hell being empty” usually is in reference to the Christian hope that no human beings are in Hell rather than there is no sort of being there at all. The former is perfectly orthodox theological speculation and a beautiful hope and trust in God’s mercy and love. The latter is heretical and also intellectual confusing, given the explicit dogmas regarding Satan and the fallen angels being in Hell.

  • Matt McDonald says:

    Eric Brown ,
    I think the notion of “Hell being empty” usually is in reference to the Christian hope that no human beings are in Hell rather than there is no sort of being there at all. The former is perfectly orthodox theological speculation and a beautiful hope and trust in God’s mercy and love. The latter is heretical and also intellectual confusing, given the explicit dogmas regarding Satan and the fallen angels being in Hell.

    Hell is not empty of human beings. I’m not prepared to call it heresy, but…

    Luke 13:24
    Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able.

    If no humans are in hell then getting to heaven is not hard, and that is contrary to the teachings of the Church. There is no such thing as hope that no human beings are in hell, only hope that no particular human being is in hell.

  • Mark DeFrancisis says:

    Matt,

    Based on the power of the glorious love revealed fully on the Cross, I am dared to hope all the time that no human beings will be in hell…..

  • Ryan Harkins says:

    Henry,

    I think we’ve stumbled across the problem.

    “Now, in general terms, these two have been condemned since the inception of the Church.” The word condemned, especially in connection with the next sentence which talks about Judas in hell, suggests the condemnation is of the eternal kind. Perhaps I misread it because of the placement of the sentences.

    It is sloppiness on my part that led to the confusion. Yes, condemn can and often does mean something along the lines of “declared damned to Hell”, but that wasn’t exactly how I was trying to use. I just meant that they are notorious characters, definitely portrayed as the “bad guys” in the gospels. It was not meant to be a statement of their eternal destination, especially as I followed up by specifically stating that Judas has traditionally been believed to be in Hell, while Pilate’s ultimate decision to sentence Jesus to death was so remarkable that we include him by name in our creeds.

    I’ll try to use more precise language in the future, to avoid such confusion.

  • Matt McDonald says:

    Mark D.,

    Based on the power of the glorious love revealed fully on the Cross, I am dared to hope all the time that no human beings will be in hell…

    The Scriptures notwithstanding? God loves us so much He would not lie nor remove our free will, which is your proposal.

  • Mark DeFrancisis says:

    To hope that all men be saved deoes not entail a denial of free will. It is a hope that the glory of God’s love is attractive/persuasive enough to ultimately win the free consent of all human beings for their salvation.

  • Matt McDonald says:

    Mark D.

    Luke 13:24
    Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able.

    If no humans are in hell then getting to heaven is not hard, and that is contrary to the teachings of the Church. There is no such thing as hope that no human beings are in hell, only hope that no particular human being is in hell.

    Never mind that naughty scripture.

    ultimately win the free consent of all human beings

    If a man dies in a state of mortal sin, he is judged immediately, that is dogmatic. There’s no “ultimately” about it.

    1022 Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification or immediately,–or immediate and everlasting damnation.

    Matthew 25:32-33
    And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left

    What you’re saying is that the goats are possibly hypothetical??

    If a man believes it’s possible that nobody is in hell, then why would he bother to lead a just life? The pains of hell have always been part of the negative motivation of religion, if the worst offenders in history are all in the bosom of Christ, then why worry about a few relatively minor mortal sins? Why go to confession at all? This theology is not only erroneous, it is incredibly dangerous to the salvation of souls.

    How ’bout this one:
    “The floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of rotten bishops.” St. John Chrysostom

  • Ryan Harkins says:

    Matt,

    Mark is just proposing a hope, not a dogmatic declaration. Our Church implicitly keeps to that hope, both recalling that we are not to judge whether or not anyone was “bad enough” to go to Hell, and in not dogmatically declaring anyone an anti-saint as she declares some few definitely saints.

    Now, you can argue whether or not Mark’s hope has much of a chance of being fulfilled, but you’ll only be talking “maybe’s” and “it seems” and “Scripture suggests”. There’s nothing definite (other than that Satan and his fallen angels are in Hell) to work. While I’ll agree with you that it seems fairly compelling to believe that some men did indeed choose so firmly against God they could only go to Hell, it is still an awful thing to contemplate. Have you truly sat down and considered just what eternal torment means? Eternal pain, with no hope of change, and no chance to escape from it? Personally, the very thought terrifies me, and it leads me to pray that no one actually endures such a thing.

    I see two dangers, though, one in holding to the hope that ultimately everyone accepts God’s redeeming love, and one in holding that some, or even many, will reject it. The hope has the danger of complacency–I don’t have to do anything to help my neighbor find faith. The other carries the danger of self-righteousness and contempt. I think the best course is to walk the narrow path between, hoping that all will accept redemption, but knowing full well that people can very easily reject it.

  • Ryan Harkins says:

    Matt,

    And one more edit, since we apparently wrote our most recent replies simultaneously:

    Mathematically, in order to demonstrate a set is not empty, one must prove the existence of an element in that set. We cannot definitively prove that any one person is in Hell, nor can we prove definitively that some generic person is in Hell, and thus we cannot definitively prove that the set of all humans who have gone to Hell is non-empty. Thus the hope itself is not necessarily problematic.

    And as compelling as your last argument is (trust me, I’m sold), that doesn’t count Jesus’ tendency to speak in hyperbole. I think Mark’s defense rests on that, though I should probably let him speak for himself.

  • Matt McDonald says:

    Ryan,

    Our Church implicitly keeps to that hope, both recalling that we are not to judge whether or not anyone was “bad enough” to go to Hell, and in not dogmatically declaring anyone an anti-saint as she declares some few definitely saints.

    This is a “Non sequitur”. That she hopes each individual is not in hell is not the same as hoping that nobody is in hell. Neither does not hoping that nobody is in hell mean that we hope somebody is in hell, it only means we accept the teaching of the Scripture and Tradition that there are souls in hell, the “goats”. While we may not limit the power of God, we should not hope the impossible, and the one thing that is impossible is for God to contradict Himself.

    some men did indeed choose so firmly against God they could only go to Hell

    Where did you get the impression from scripture that it is so hard to get to hell? All of the Church’s teaching from Scripture and Tradition is that Heaven is difficult to get to and hell is easy. Narrow is the road, camel’s and eyes of needles… etc. etc.

    it is still an awful thing to contemplate. Have you truly sat down and considered just what eternal torment means? Eternal pain, with no hope of change, and no chance to escape from it? Personally, the very thought terrifies me, and it leads me to pray that no one actually endures such a thing.

    It leads me also to warn of the dangers of hell. If I even imply that nobody might be there, do I not weaken the argument for conversion?

    holding that some, or even many, will reject it…carries the danger of self-righteousness and contempt.

    You impute these vices to many saints, popes and doctors of the Church, who all believed that there were souls in Hell and it is easy to get there. The road is narrow… the road is narrow… the road is narrow.

    This argument reminds me of the liberal/progressive precept that “judgmentalism” is the only mortal sin.

  • Matt McDonald says:

    Mathematically, in order to demonstrate a set is not empty, one must prove the existence of an element in that set. We cannot definitively prove that any one person is in Hell, nor can we prove definitively that some generic person is in Hell, and thus we cannot definitively prove that the set of all humans who have gone to Hell is non-empty. Thus the hope itself is not necessarily problematic.

    This is not a mathematical question. Christ says there are goats, goats there must be.

    And as compelling as your last argument is (trust me, I’m sold), that doesn’t count Jesus’ tendency to speak in hyperbole. I think Mark’s defense rests on that, though I should probably let him speak for himself.

    I’m not familiar with his tendency to “hyperbole”, I always took His Word to be Gospel. Even if Christ exaggerates, he can not exaggerate 0 into a number other than 0.

  • Matt McDonald says:

    ps.

    Even if Christ exaggerates, he can not exaggerate 0 into a number other than 0.

    because if one exaggerates 0 into a number, it’s not an exaggeration it’s an outright lie, Christ is Truth, he does not contradict Himself.

    Mark,

    I really don’t think you’re that bad.

  • Matt McDonald says:

    Mark D.,

    The point is that by ourselves all of us radically miss the mark.

    All that is good in our world is grace.

    That is, of course true. That is not the point.

  • Ryan Harkins says:

    Matt,

    It is hardly a non-sequitor. I’m merely trying to offer justification for Mark’s hope. Those two statements (as well as my mathematical analysis), are geared to that effect.

    On a slightly different note, it is an odd thing to argue about, whether or not hope that everyone is ultimately (and by ultimately, I just mean to include all future generations who have not yet even been born) saved is a licit hope. With the proper understanding, I don’t see how the hope is not licit. (With an improper understanding, the hope would be a symptom of heretical beliefs, so I understand your concern there.)

    Here’s a hypothetical for you. If, up to this point in history, everyone who had died repented or was guilty only of invincible ignorance, and thus when to Heaven, would that negate any of Jesus’ teachings? Would it contradict even a majority of people going to Hell, supposing Jesus taught that? I would argue that, as highly unlikely as that is, it doesn’t contradict anything, on the case that maybe those who end up in Hell simply haven’t been born yet.

    Where did you get the impression from scripture that it is so hard to get to hell? All of the Church’s teaching from Scripture and Tradition is that Heaven is difficult to get to and hell is easy. Narrow is the road, camel’s and eyes of needles… etc. etc.

    I don’t have that impression at all. Unfortunately, html doesn’t seem to support hyperbole, exaggeration, irony, or sarcasm tags. On the other hand, neither does the Bible. We know that the camel and eye of the needle comment is hyperbole, for I do believe that we have some rich saints. We also know that the “call no man father” is a hyperbolic statement, especially since we have to keep reminding our Protestant brethren of that.

    You impute these vices to many saints, popes and doctors of the Church, who all believed that there were souls in Hell and it is easy to get there. The road is narrow… the road is narrow… the road is narrow.

    And you impute to me intention I never included in my statement. Be careful in your desire to wax eloquent, because you might miss some meaning here. To impute these vices to saints, et al, as you have suggested I did, I would have had to have said something along the lines of “anyone will become contemptuous”, and not suggested it was a danger but a certainty. Obviously the saints, even if they struggled with such self-righteous contempt, managed to overcome it.

    Let me clarify my meaning, though. What I’m talking about is that when we become fixated that “oh yes, people are definitely going to Hell, Jesus said so,” then we have a tendency start marking lines in this life. (Think Rev. Phelps and his anti-homosexual crusade.) That’s the danger I’m talking about–turning the belief that people go to Hell into a crusade to identify who those people are, while they still live. This in itself is sinful, for it is a rejection of God’s grace and mercy, and it leaves us bitter like Jonah. Oh those sinful people of Ninevah! God’s going to destroy them they’re so wicked. Wait, they repented? And God forgave them? What utter…!

    If you think I’m going overboard on that concern, then let me just confess that I find myself overstepping that boundary a time or three each week.

    This argument reminds me of the liberal/progressive precept that “judgmentalism” is the only mortal sin.

    On the other hand, judging that a person is definitely damned to Hell is still sinful, even if it is not the only sin.

    I’m not familiar with his tendency to “hyperbole”, I always took His Word to be Gospel. Even if Christ exaggerates, he can not exaggerate 0 into a number other than 0.

    There’s a lot to be said about the hyperbole Jesus uses, especially since as a teaching method it was in vogue at the time. I mentioned a couple of examples above, and there are plenty of others. Check into it. It is good for exegesis.

    On the other hand, I don’t really have an argument about how you exaggerate nothing into something. At least, I don’t have a good one.

    And it’s hard to keep this argument up, since I don’t think everyone has made it to Heaven, nor will everyone from here on out do so.

  • I know myself well enough. And if I am to have hope for my salvation, I MUST therefore hold out hope for the salvation of all.

    For what it’s worth, Mark, I think many of us with a more traditional approach to the question of whether there’s anyone in hell are motivated by self knowledge as well.

    If I find it so difficult to conform my will to God’s and feel in no sense assured of my own salvation, how likely is it that no one ever in the history of the universe was so wrapped in pride as to look at God and turn away. If it was done one of the greatest of the angels, and if my own pride seems so great an obstacle to doing right, what is the likelihood that pride has never led any human soul to follow Lucifer away from God?

  • Matt McDonald says:

    Ryan,

    Acknowledging that you are not necessarily opposing the belief that there are souls in hell, but only arguing that the converse is an acceptable conclusion, it is still an interesting argument, so I will respond.

    It is hardly a non-sequitor. I’m merely trying to offer justification for Mark’s hope. Those two statements (as well as my mathematical analysis), are geared to that effect.

    That the Church holds hope for each human being does not logically lead to the conclusion that it hopes for ALL to be saved. This reminds me of a strong argument against the concept of universal salvation…

    Simili modo, postquam cenatum est, accipiens et hunc praeclarum calicem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas, item tibi gratias agens benedixit, deditque discipulis suis, dicens: Accipite et bibite ex eo omnes: hic est enim calix Sanguinis mei novi et aeterni testamenti, [mysterium fidei] qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum. Hoc facite in meam commemorationem.

    http://wdtprs.com/blog/category/wdtprs/pro-multis/

    Why do we use the words “pro multis” – for many? The Holy Father explains:

    1) Jesus died to save all and to deny that is not in any way a Christian attitude, 2) God lovingly leaves people free to reject salvation and some do

    Here’s a hypothetical for you. If, up to this point in history, everyone who had died repented or was guilty only of invincible ignorance, and thus when to Heaven, would that negate any of Jesus’ teachings? Would it contradict even a majority of people going to Hell, supposing Jesus taught that? I would argue that, as highly unlikely as that is, it doesn’t contradict anything, on the case that maybe those who end up in Hell simply haven’t been born yet.

    I’m not sure it helps to slice and dice the timeline of history, it’s certainly not a reasonable argument to say that the most prideful have not yet been born given recent history, also many of the traditional citations on the matter suggest that in the present time thre was in fact souls in hell already. I suspect that the only reasonable conclusion is that every time sees many souls lost to the devil.

    I don’t have that impression at all. Unfortunately, html doesn’t seem to support hyperbole, exaggeration, irony, or sarcasm tags. On the other hand, neither does the Bible. We know that the camel and eye of the needle comment is hyperbole, for I do believe that we have some rich saints.

    And so what is the intent of the hyperbole? It is clearly to emphasize…. HOW HARD IT IS IN FACT.

    And you impute to me intention I never included in my statement. Be careful in your desire to wax eloquent, because you might miss some meaning here. To impute these vices to saints, et al, as you have suggested I did, I would have had to have said something along the lines of “anyone will become contemptuous”, and not suggested it was a danger but a certainty. Obviously the saints, even if they struggled with such self-righteous contempt, managed to overcome it.

    Fine then I concede this. But the possbility of inspiring some vice does not preclude the truth of a matter, it is of no evidentiary value.

    “oh yes, people are definitely going to Hell, Jesus said so,” then we have a tendency start marking lines in this life. (Think Rev. Phelps and his anti-homosexual crusade.) That’s the danger I’m talking about–turning the belief that people go to Hell into a crusade to identify who those people are, while they still live. This in itself is sinful, for it is a rejection of God’s grace and mercy, and it leaves us bitter like Jonah. Oh those sinful people of Ninevah! God’s going to destroy them they’re so wicked. Wait, they repented? And God forgave them? What utter…!

    Indeed, the road is narrow, fear of going into the ditch on one side is no argument in favor of going into the ditch.

    This argument reminds me of the liberal/progressive precept that “judgmentalism” is the only mortal sin.

    On the other hand, judging that a person is definitely damned to Hell is still sinful, even if it is not the only sin.

    Certainly, and yet it bears not on this discussion because we are not talking about any particular person.

    I’m not familiar with his tendency to “hyperbole”, I always took His Word to be Gospel. Even if Christ exaggerates, he can not exaggerate 0 into a number other than 0.

    There’s a lot to be said about the hyperbole Jesus uses, especially since as a teaching method it was in vogue at the time. I mentioned a couple of examples above, and there are plenty of others. Check into it. It is good for exegesis.

    I guess I just never heard the use of “hyperbole” to describe His use of metaphor, I guess technically it is not incorrect.

  • Mark DeFrancisis says:

    “All that is good in our world is grace.”

    “That is, of course true. That is not the point.”

    It is the precisely point. Who am I to limit the efficacy of grace, to the extent that I dubiously assert it is guaranteed that grace is/was/will be unable to work itself successfully on one (or more) human soul, in terms of eternal life.

    The possibility is of course there.

    But given the Paschal Mystery, my faith tells me I have groungs TO HOPE otherwise.

  • Matt McDonald says:

    Mark,

    are you interested at all in any opinion but your own and Balthazar? Are yous suggesting that the Holy Father is limiting the efficacy of grace? St. John Chrysostom?

    Do you not have time to consider the Scriptural and Traditional evidence against your premise?

  • Mark DeFrancisis says:

    The Holy Father is actually in agreement with von Balthasar.

    ………………..

    On Holy Saturday, Jesus took human God-forsaken-ness into the very Communio of God,

    He has ways, I believe, of transforming even the most obdurate simnner, respecting the latter’s free will.

  • Matt McDonald says:

    Mark,

    The Holy Father is actually in agreement with von Balthasar.

    ………………..

    On Holy Saturday, Jesus took human God-forsaken-ness into the very Communio of God,

    He has ways, I believe, of transforming even the most obdurate simnner, respecting the latter’s free will.

    You’re not seriously suggesting that this means the Holy Father believes that hell could be empty? For His grace to have effect, the sinner MUST consent… no consent… no salvation. His statement quoted above completely contradicts your interpretation of this comment.

  • Mark,

    Matt is caught up to his own particular interpretation of Scripture, without having done any sound study on the matter itself. His characterization of Balthasar points to this fact — calling Balthasar a universalist when he is not, or suggesting — as ridiculous as it is — that Balthasar somehow has no notion of free will, and that is his problem? It would do well for Matt to learn some German and to read one of Balthasar’s last essays which is a criticism of universalism — Balthasar agrees that universalism, that the foreknowledge that all will be saved, is indeed contra-free will, but that has nothing to do with the hope that all might be saved, because of course the pull of God, the pull of love, allows for the conversion of the heart. Matt, by saying this, shows who it is that ultimately rejects free will.

  • Matt McDonald says:

    Henry,

    you are caught up in an inability to respond substantially to valid points, instead, you resort to ad hominem. It’s very sad for such an obviously intelligent person to do this. Just try, I’m sure you can get over it.

    I did not call Balthasar a universalist at all, nor did any of my statements in any way impede the dogma on free will, which you and Mark seem to be skating dangerously close to.

    I in no way deny that the pull of love allows conversion of the heart. Where in the world would you get that ridiculous notion? God loves us so much that he comes to us and seeks to draw us to his bosom, but he loves us so much he would not impede our free will to reject Him. This is absolutely fundamental Catholic teaching.

    This is all typical of the liberal/progressive approach to argument. They present no counterpoint, only appeals to emotions, appeals to ad hominem, calling on people to read books in foreign languages… anything to avoid revealing the logical errors in their position.

  • Matt

    The problem is you do not know the position of the other, and you falsely describe it. That is the problem. That the depth of Balthasar’s idea, or the idea of the hope that all might be saved, goes beyond the simplistic presentation you give should suggest why you might want to read the texts in context, and see how those authors, like Balthasar, deal with your so-called objections. I do not plan to waste more time responding to you than that, because it is quite clear, you come into the discussion without sufficient ability to engage it.

  • Ok, one last word. For there to be an ad hominem, I would have had to engage you in a debate, and to make an assertion about some non-related quality about you to show that you are wrong. However, since it was not a debate with you, but a discussion with Mark, that is not the case; moreover pointing out your ignorance of the matter, and lack of knowledge of what Balthasar (and others like him) say on the matter, as confirmed with your discussion on free will, indicates it is not an ad hominem, but a significant fact which explains the situation. If one wants to contend against Balthasar, free will is not the area to do it. But one who has not read Balthasar would not know that.

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