46

Is “No One Is Condemned Forever” Perversely Compassionate, According To St. Augustine ?

In his masterpiece, City Of God, St. Augustine devotes seven entire chapters of Book XXI to this subject, as stated at the beginning of Chapter 17: “Of Those Who Fantasize That No Men Shall Be Punished Eternally.”

It was as if St. Augustine got an advance copy of the papal exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, and read its proclamation that: ”No one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel! Here I am not speaking only of the divorced and remarried, but of everyone, in whatever situation they find themselves.” (Para. 297).

This discussion assumes – particularly since it has not been denied or clarified in response to responsible questions and reasonable doubts – that Amoris Laetitia teaches that there is no eternal punishment for sin, for any sin, of any kind, in any situation. Should the questions be addressed and the doubts dissolved, and the words of Jesus and the constant teaching of the Church for about two millennia be affirmed (that indeed, a person can go to Hell forever), then the following discussion can be shredded and  thrown into the bin.

Tender-Hearted Christians

St. Augustine begins with a reference to “tender-hearted Christians”:

“I must now, I see, enter the lists of amicable controversy with those tender-hearted Christians who decline to believe that any, or that all of those whom the infallibly just Judge may pronounce worthy of the punishment of hell, shall suffer eternally, and who suppose that they shall be delivered after a fixed term of punishment, longer or shorter according to the amount of each man’s sin.” (Chapter 17; Book XXI, City Of God; henceforth in the form “17:XXI”)

Mercy For The Devils In Hell ?

If no sinner will be condemned forever, St. Augustine wonders why this will not apply to the fallen angels:

“Which opinion, if it is good and true because it is merciful, will be so much the better and truer in proportion as it becomes more merciful. Let, then, this fountain of mercy be extended, and flow forth even to the lost angels, and let them also be set free, at least after as many and long ages as seem fit! Why does this stream of mercy flow to all the human race, and dry up as soon as it reaches the angelic? And yet they dare not extend their pity further, and propose the deliverance of the devil himself. Or if anyone is bold enough to do so, he does indeed put to shame their charity, but is himself convicted of error that is more unsightly, and a wresting of God’s truth that is more perverse, in proportion as his clemency of sentiment seems to be greater.” (17:XXI)

It Is In Sinners’ Interest To Deny an Eternal Hell

St. Augustine notes that there are some whose opinions he has heard, who live a bad life, who profess that God’s mercy will be their salvation:

“There are others, again, with whose opinions I have become acquainted in conversation, who, though they seem to reverence the holy Scriptures, are yet of reprehensible life, and who accordingly, in their own interest, attribute to God a still greater compassion towards men. For they acknowledge that it is truly predicted in the divine word that the wicked and unbelieving are worthy of punishment, but they assert that, when the judgment comes, mercy will prevail.” (18:XXI)

Conjectures, Absurdity & Arguing Against God

St. Augustine, again and again, makes the point that those who would rely on total, encompassing-all-sin, divine mercy, while denying endless punishment, are simply making absurd arguments. For example:

“ . . . Or is perhaps the sentence of God, which is to be pronounced on wicked men and angels alike, to be true in the case of the angels, false in that of men? Plainly it will be so if the conjectures of men are to weigh more than the word of God. But because this is absurd, they who desire to be rid of eternal punishment ought to abstain from arguing against God, and rather, while yet there is opportunity, obey the divine commands. . . . And to say in one and the same sense, life eternal shall be endless, punishment eternal shall come to an end, is the height of absurdity. Wherefore, as the eternal life of the saints shall be endless, so too the eternal punishment of those who are doomed to it shall have no end.” (23:XXI)

Asserted By No One Sound In The Faith

St. Augustine sees that some proclaiming that divine mercy trumps divine justice “attempt to invalidate the words of God,” not to proclaim the extent of His mercy, but “in their own interest . . .under the guise of greater tenderness of sprit.” (24:XXI). He wonders how far those who promote these errors will go:

“Or will there, perhaps, be someone hardy enough to affirm that even the holy angels will make common cause with holy men (then become the equals of God’s angels), and will intercede for the guilty, both men and angels, that mercy may spare them the punishment which truth has pronounced them to deserve? But this has been asserted by no one sound in the faith; nor will be. Otherwise there is no reason why the Church should not even now pray for the devil and his angels, since God her Master has ordered her to pray for her enemies. The reason, then, which prevents the Church from now praying for the wicked angels, whom she knows to be her enemies, is the identical reason which shall prevent her, however perfected in holiness, from praying at the last judgment for those men who are to be punished in eternal fire.” (24:XXI)

God’s Words Are Truth, Not An Empty Threat

St. Augustine says that these declarations about mercy are contradicted by the clear words of Jesus and of Holy Scripture:
“As for those who find an empty threat rather than a truth in such passages as these: “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire; and These shall go away into eternal punishment” [Mt 25: 41,46]; “They shall be tormented for ever and ever” [Rev 20:10]; and “Their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, [Is 66:24] — such persons, I say, are most emphatically and abundantly refuted, not by me so much as by the divine Scripture itself.” (24:XXI)

Later in this Chapter 24, St. Augustine refers to those who deny that some sinners will be subject to eternal punishment as “perversely compassionate.” (24:XXI).

It Is Error To Say God Will Condemn No One

In discussing Romans 11: 32 – “For God has concluded all in unbelief, that He may have mercy upon all” – St. Augustine says that this statement of St. Paul “ . . . does not mean that He will condemn no one . . . “ (18:XXXI)

Conclusion

The false position on mercy has come be called the “universalist heresy,” the heresy that all persons will be saved due to God’s mercy, and that a God who is merciful will not condemn anyone to an eternal hell. If the words “No one is condemned forever” stand as written and promulgated, without change or explanation, then they are a statement of the universalist heresy.

30

Male Priests Only; Can This Command of The Lord Be Disobeyed?

Before He ascended into heaven, Jesus commanded that only males were to receive His sacrament of Holy Orders – ordination as deacon, priest, and bishop. Before the first Pentecost, the birth day of His Church, Jesus commanded that only males, and not females, could receive His sacrament of Holy Orders.

With only the eleven remaining Apostles present, before His ascension, He ordered the Apostles to “go to the mountain” which He designated and there He said to them: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. “ (Mt 28:19-20).

Can the Commands Of The Lord regarding the male-only priesthood now be disobeyed ?

Males Only

The constant Church teaching on the males-only-priesthood Command Of The Lord, since the first century, is reflected in current Canon Law: “A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly.”   (Canon 1024; Code of  Canon Law, 1983). Papal teaching has always held, proclaimed and made clear what Pope St. John Paul II said in his apostolic letter, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (May 22, 1994):

“Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren, I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful”

This statement by Pope St. John Paul is in accord with the conditions for an infallible statement and is clearly worded in such a manner.

Failed Ordination Attempts

A rebel bishop lays hands on a woman, says the words of the Sacrament of Holy Orders for deacons, correctly; says all the prayers, performs all the associated gestures and ritual. He then says, “I have just conferred on this woman the Sacrament of Holy Orders and she is now an ordained deacon!” A dissident archbishop lays hands on a woman, Jane Doe, goes through the required rubrics, says the mandated prayers and words, and does the stipulated gestures and actions, and declares, “I have ordained this woman to the priesthood. She is now Father Doe.”

To any of these fictional scenarios, add this: “But my bishops conference said this was legitimate, this is OK, this is valid, and that I can do this.” Or, purely hypothetically, fantastic as it may sound, ratchet this up a few more ecclesial notches, “But the Pope said this is in accord with his magisterial teaching and that now women can be ordained deacons and priests.”

The woman is not a deacon.   Why not?  Jane Doe is not Father Jane. Why not? The hypothetical episcopal and papal changes and validations had no effect. Why not?

What Actually Happened ?

To answer these ‘Why not?’ questions, beginning in the beginning is always a good place to begin.

History is important here.  Did the Church, after it came into existence on the first Pentecost, after it then received the Holy Spirit, did it form a Committee On Getting Grace To Flow from Jesus to His Christians? Did it hold a synod with 10% of the Apostles to create ways to bring God’s life to people ? Did this new Church develop rituals, signs, regulations, prayers, and rubrics for the Church ? Did the Church set all this out and make it subject to change in the future by a group of bishops, by a pope in concert with a council, or even by a pope alone?

The chronology in fact was this: in time, the sacraments came first, then the Church. Jesus made and gifted us with His sacraments before He ascended into heaven, before the first Pentecost. Before His Church was instituted, Jesus gave us his words, directives, instructions, laws, limitations, orders, His “commands,” regarding His seven sacraments, including His sacrament of Priesthood.

What Is a Sacrament ?

Catechisms have answered the question:  ‘What is a sacrament?’ :

Baltimore Catechism No. 1, 1885 A.D. : “A sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace.”

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 A.D. :  The seven sacraments are “this treasure from the Lord.” (1117). Quoting from the Council of Trent, 1547 A.D.: “Adhering to the teaching of Holy Scriptures, to the apostolic traditions, and to the consensus . . . of the Fathers,” we profess that “the sacraments of the new law were . . . all instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1114).

This is the clear and unambiguous teaching of the Church, including that of Vatican II: “ They [the sacraments] must always however be referred to Christ, from whom their effectiveness derives . . . Of themselves, they certainly express the effective will of Christ the Savior  . . ..  (from the General Catechetical Directory, paras, 55, 56, published by the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy,  in accord with the directive in the Vatican II Council’s Decree on the Bishops’ Pastoral Office in the Church). 

The Sacrament of Holy Orders

Two keys to understanding the Sacrament of Holy Orders from these definitions are: 1.  that Jesus made the sacraments; and 2. they are gifts to us from Him. As His gifts, the sacraments are not mere incidental unimportant signs that the Church now today can substantially change – the Church must take them as Jesus has given them. Pope Pius XII, in accord with the teachings of the Council of Trent, stated, “The Church has no power over the substance of the sacraments, that is to say, over what Christ the Lord, as the sources of Revelation bear witness, determined should be maintained in the sacramental sign.” (Sacramentum Ordinis, No. 5).

Through All Church History

Holy Scripture, the tradition of the Church, and the constant teaching of the Church for now almost two millennia is that Jesus commanded that only males would be His priests, that females can not be ordained bishops, priests, or deacons.

Scripture

Only twelve males were selected by Jesus as the first Apostles. When Jesus said “He who receives you receives me,” He sent out only males. Only the twelve Apostles were present at the Last Supper when He instituted the sacrament of Holy Orders and, by His command, ordered them, and only them, to do what He was doing in remembrance of Him, to act as priests in persona Christi in re-presenting Jesus’s sacrifice to His Father.

Although some women witnessed to the Resurrection, Jesus did not make them Apostles. Only males were considered as replacement for the Apostle Judas. When, at the end of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus tells the remaining eleven Apostles that they must do what He has commanded, no women are present.

St. Paul, recognizing that in Christ there is neither male no female, still is inspired by God to write that what he is saying about order in the Church, including the male-only priesthood, is not simply his own personal opinion, a personal directive, or a church custom, but is a “command of the Lord” already in effect:

“Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.(1 Cor 14:36-38).

Church Fathers

Throughout Church history, through and past the Middle Ages, the Church Fathers, scholars, and theologians uphold the Command of the Lord that women cannot be ordained as bishops, priests, or deacons. “Whenever the Church Fathers have occasion to speak, directly or indirectly, about ‘women in the priesthood,’ they reject it clearly and unanimously.” (Hauke, p. 425).

Two Milllenia

“In fact, ordination of women has been rejected in the Church with remarkable unanimity throughout two thousand years. This testimony is all the more impressive when – above all during the early period in Church history – it stands in contrast to existing ‘emancipatory’ trends. If women are ordained among the heretics or even if they only take on official teaching or baptismal duties, then such behavior is branded not only as a breach of Church discipline, but as heresy.” (Fr. Manfred Hauke, Women in the Priethood? Ignatius Press, 1988, p. 478).

“In sum, the Tradition has been so firm throughout the centuries that, as  Inter Insigniores, no. 8 notes, “the Magisterium has not felt the need to intervene in order to formulate a principle which was not attacked, or to defend a law that was not challenged. … each time that this tradition had the occasion to manifest itself, it witnessed to the Church’s desire to conform to the model left to her by the Lord.” [Inter Insigniores,  Declaration of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, On the Question of Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood, 1976]. But of course such principles and laws have been challenged in the past thirty years. Hence, the recent Magisterium has had to respond, and it has done so carefully, patiently and firmly. (Mark Lowery, The Male Priesthood the Argument From Tradition,  https://www.ewtn.com/library/DOCTRINE/MALEPRIE.TXT.).

But . . .

All of the law, Holy Scripture, tradition, magisterial declarations, documents, treatises, reasoning, history,  teachings, and Jesus’s words themselves make no difference to those who now demand that women be ordained, first deacons, then priests, eventually as bishops, and finally, some day, a female pope. Their response to the Command Of The Lord that His priests will only be males and that women will not be priests is one of:

  1. There is no such Command
  2. There is such a Command, but it does not apply today
  3. There is such a Command, but it can be ignored
  4. There is such a Command, but it can be disobeyed
  5. There is such a Command, but it must be disobeyed
  6. There is such a Command, but it can and must be reinterpreted today
  7. There is such a Command, but a pope can countermand it
  8. There is [or is not] such a Command, and there are exceptions; there were female deacons, “deaconesses,” who were ordained; and there were female “apostles”
  9. Right, justice, social justice, equality, recent research, and/or good, and/or the changing times, demand that women be ordained deacons and priests

Full treatments of such positions, and the reasons that they are wrong, can be reviewed in detail in the Hauke and Lowery works cited above, and in Eamon Keane’s The Ordained Priesthood, at https://www.ewtn.com/library/PRIESTS/ORDAINED.TXT.

Conclusion

It is not possible to put in words this author’s debts to  Fr. Hauke, Dr. Lowery, and Mr. Keane – whose works are cited above – for the information and sources on the Command Of The Lord regarding male only priests. Of course, none of them is responsible for anything said here.

Why say it?  There was a time when the faithful heard that there was going to be a Synod on the Family, and what was expected was a discussion of glorious, sharing heterosexual marriage between a loving man and a loving woman, and the joys of children. In truth and reality, as it turned out, the event was explicitly a Sin-od on Virtuous Adultery and, by implication, a Sin-od on loving virtuous sinful relationships of all types. It was also a vehicle for the proclamation of new teaching, including that the reception of Holy Communion by continuing adulterous sinners is permissible, and that the  ecclesial community must “integrate” such ongoing, public sinners into the active life of the Church.

The faithful have now been alerted to what is termed a Synod ostensibly dealing with youth and “vocations.”  Based on how things have been going, it seemed  a good time to make clear that Jesus gave His Church a command that men alone will receive His sacrament of Holy Orders;  that women cannot and will not be ordained, priests, deacons, or bishops; and  His Church will never have a female pope.

3

Abortion Ended Worldwide Forever – Loving People Teamed Up With God

 

by Guy McClung

 

 

That will be the headline someday. No discussion, no debate, no other possible outcome. God is Almighty, “Patrem Omnipotentem,” the unborn babies are His children, He never forsakes His own. It may be the most classic case of Texas Horse & Rabbit Stew [Recipe: 1 horse, 1 rabbit], but God + Us cannot be beaten. We plus God win; not “if,” but “when.”  That wished-for and prayed-for headline will someday be the truth.

 

A real headline  recently announced “PLANNED PARENTHOOD TEAMS UP WITH SATANISTS TO PROMOTE ABORTION IN MISSOURI.” Really? Well, finally, Planned Parenthood is publicly proclaiming what it has been all along. Now it admits and says it does not matter that this is a human child, and now it is refreshingly candid about abortion  – “Let’s-all-dance-and-celebrate-baby-killings” – so it is no surprise that Planned Parenthood has decided to also flaunt publicly its for-decades-deal with the devil. Don’t they know that the Father Of Lies never keeps a deal? Don’t they know what happens when the demons face off against Jesus and His Mom? I seem to remember something along the lines of “head crushing” and the opening up of a large can of good ole spiritual Texas whup butt.

 

When you calm down after reading the recent headline, you realize that each person – including each Planned Parenthood executive, nurse, doctor, technician, administrator, supporter, and employee – is made by God in His image, He wants each of them back with Him; and He will do everything in His almighty power ‘til they draw their last breaths to welcome them home with Him. So – once you get past the disgust, anger, and revulsion – there must be prayers for each and every one of these Planned Parenthood people. Otherwise, the Father of Lies and his demonic minions will rejoice over their suffering souls for all eternity.

 

John Newton, former slave ship captain, (1725-1807 A.D.) became an Anglican priest and wrote the hymn “Faith’s Review & Expectation,” which has come to be known by its first words, “Amazing Grace.” Newton, who was instrumental in the shipment and sale of what to him were once profitable subhuman blobs of living cells (not just parts, but whole living breathing human beings), had a conversion. The role of God’s grace in that conversion is the theme of his famous hymn.

 

That grace is the life of God Himself, and each unborn child has this Life. Thank you to John Newton for the inspiration for the song below about God’s creatures whom some regard as subhumans, not entitled to God’s love, or to His life. God plans all parenthood, and each of His unborn babies – sweet, unique, special, loved –  is our hope. Each of these children will live from now on forever, and each of them blesses all of us.

 

Unborn Grace

 

Unborn, unborn grace, how sweet this child,

A gift from God above.

A precious child since first conceived,

Bright shining star of love.

 

‘Twas grace made this tiny heart to sing,

And grace keeps it beating on.

Amazing child, unique in all of time,

Amazing, wondrous song.

 

The Lord has promised love to us,

This child that hope secures.

This child a blessing here for all of us,

As long as life endures.

 

Unborn, unborn grace, how sweet this child,

A gift from God above.

A precious child since first conceived,

Bright shining star of love.

 

© Copyright Guy McClung 2017

The author grants a royalty-free license to sing this song at abortion businesses, abortion clinics, abortion hospitals, Planned Parenthood abortion business locations,  at any offices and events of Planned Parenthood and of any abortion provider, and at any location where abortions have been or are being committed.