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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Poor Richard's Almanac

The Souls of the Just are in the Hand of God...

These words are familiar to anyone who has gone to a Catholic funeral, and now the theme of Bishop Sklba's latest contribution to syncretism in their Catholic Herald.

Umm, your Excellency...one question...

You well describe our celebration a few days ago of All Souls Day as having "a greater focus on those not yet admitted to the full embrace of God because of the traces of sin and selfishness which still mark their lives."

Unable to view anything in the world as uniquely Catholic, you go on to critique Catholic theology through the eyes of non-Catholics. I will concede to the possibility that "We Catholics and Lutherans agreed in the fact that most Christians still require some cleansing of selfishness before being fully and finally embraced by God."

So far, so good. But then there is a rather odd introduction of a:

"discovery" -- that means it was hidden, not central, and of no sufficient import to have previously been noticed,

of a "conjecture" -- which is defined as either an opinion or theory with no evidence, or a mere guess or speculation,

that "may" -- sort of, but not really, if we really want it to, and squeeze alot into it,

take something for which there is "want of a better term" -- especially if you don't really like the meaning of the actual term, with its actual definition, with it actual theology, and its actual implications for living a moral life,

and hopefully (for some) will semantically (that is the aim of dialogue isn't it?) define the original meaning away.

Whew! Those mental gymnastics must hurt if you are not limber enough.

So now the question:

While passingly referring to a consideration of paragraphs 1030-1032 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which calls the teaching about "purgatory" (for want of a more squishy term) a "doctrine of faith", and where you failed to mention references in paragraphs 1472, 1475, and 1498, ...

...are you really trying to say either of two things: that there is something "lacking in the sufferings of Christ (it seems to me that Jesus did that whole passion experience pretty completely) and/or that there is really no purgatory to begin with?

While you might find these wanderings to be "fanscinating", some of us might find them worrisome. You might find them "practical", but it seems that practical is just a byword for reductionism, avoidance, or even giving up Catholic theology so that we can all be Lutherans.

Your Excellency, please, next time, just nail your column to the door of Weakland's Cathedral.

Mike

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well thank God we all are saved, that hell is empty or an old superstition, that purgatory is now a human process and not a place, and that Martin Luther (Sola fide -- faith alone) had it right all along (sarcasm intended)! With Sklba's only biblical reference being Ephesians 2:8-9, he has never sounded more Lutheran. So much for Sacred Tradition.

Of course there are those nasty passages in the Gospels (many direct from Jesus Christ Himself) and the epistles, which explicitly speak of damnation or salvation and how either can be warranted. But I'll mention just a few below, in case some have been reading a little too much John Neuhaus and Hans Urs von Balthasar.

Philippians 2:13 -- "Therefore, my beloved...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Fear and trembling? This is an Old Testament term referring to awe and a profound seriousness toward the will of the Lord. Are there no consequences to a blatant denial of God and his law or even a casual indifference toward them? What is there to fear if purgatory is passé and, as far as those who are condemned/damned, they may be, as Sklba hopes, "few if any"? If any!? Well, OK, I guess. So I now look forward to discussing philosophy and theology with Hitler, serial rapists, pedophiles, and abortionists in heaven. I can hear the Blessed Trinity already, saying to all of us, "Oh yeah, all that stuff about damnation and faith AND works?? We were only being allegorical! Didn't you read von Balthasar?"

And what of Vatican II's Lumen Gentium, which quotes these passages: "We must be constantly vigilant so that, having finished the course of our earthly life, we may merit to enter into the marriage feast with Him and to be numbered among the blessed and that we may not be ordered to go into eternal fire like the wicked and slothful servant, into the exterior darkness where 'there will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth' [Mt. 22:13 & 25:30]. For before we reign with Christ in glory, all of us will be made manifest 'before the tribunal of Christ, so that each one may receive what he has won through the body, according to his works, whether good or evil' [2 Cor. 5:10], and at the end of the world 'they who have done good shall come forth unto resurrection of life; but those who have done evil unto resurrection of judgment' [Jn. 5:29]."

Bishop Sklba then quoted Ratzinger's (now Pope Benedict) conjecture that purgatory may be nothing more than a personal encounter with Christ's divine love. Well, we all have our conjectures at times. Put personal conjecture (even the Pope's) does not trump Sacred Tradition. And, by the way, Ratzinger also said this in Dominus Iesus (Aug. 6, 2000): "If it is true that the followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking they are in a GRAVELY DEFICIENT situation in comparison with those who, in the [Catholic] Church, have the fullness of salvation" And, "The rituals of other religions.... insofar as they depend on superstitions or other errors (cf. 1 Cor 10:20-21), constitute AN OBSTACLE TO SALVATION."

Sklba then sought solace in the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1030-1032. But as far as hell and purgatory, we might also want to read #1861, where those nasty topics of mortal sin, free will, and the effect of certain bad choices can result in a "forever and with no turning back"! But I guess the cafeteria Catholic is free to pick and choose.

With all that in mind, let me now quote from that "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification", direct from the Vatican's web site: "But when individuals voluntarily separate themselves from God, it is not enough to return to observing the commandments, for they must receive pardon and peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation [this refers to that "old-fashioned" Roman Catholic version -- confessional, ordained male priest and all] through the word of forgiveness imparted to them in virtue of God's reconciling work in Christ."

Which begs the question, why are either faith or works needed, or for that matter the Sacrament of Reconciliation, if hell is empty and purgatory is nothing more than our personal searching here on earth? No wonder the line at the confessional is incredibly small or non-existent. So smile an get back to business as usual, folks. Because in the end there are no worries (no matter what you may have done), no hells, an no purgatories. And as for Heaven, it looks like everyone gets in. Or so today's Catholic would like to believe.

Bishop Sklba said these topics are "bitterly debated". I agree. But I fear our Catholic Faith is being so stripped of Sacred Tradition and doctrine, that there may soon be (or is it so already?) little left that is in fact traditional, Sacred, Roman Catholic, or true! G.K Chesterton said that "Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who happen to be walking about. All democrats object to a man being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death." Well the dead include the Apostles, the Saints, the Doctors of the Church and all Roman Catholics who have (faithful to the Magisterium) gone before us. I grow weary of the endless revisionism.

KJ

Sunday, November 12, 2006 6:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DITTO! Mike & KJ Anonymous. I do hope the good Archbishop reads this blog . . . M.F.

Monday, November 13, 2006 5:42:00 AM  
Blogger Dad29 said...

But think of it this way, Mike--every day we read Sklba is another 100 days' relief from Purgatory!!

Monday, November 13, 2006 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, I emailed that to the editors at the Catholic Herald before I posted it here. Think they'll print it?

If so, I'll be chastised for being intolerant. Tolerate anything and everone -- except those darned traditional Catholics! ;)

KJ
West Bend, WI

Monday, November 13, 2006 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lest u all forget why Lutherans had such a problem with purgatory, this good ol' traditional church used to sell indulgences.

Monday, November 13, 2006 1:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding indulgences...

"I know these feelings quite well. And I do not disagree that Luther had a point about the "scandalous traffic in indulgences" of which the Renaissance Church was guilty. Even the Council of Trent agreed with that. But, as a convert, I came to discover the Renaissance Church was guilty, not of the theology of indulgences (which is, as we shall see, simply a theology of charismatic grace) but of simony--that is, of sinfully selling that "grace" for cold cash like a stock investment. So then, Luther was right--partly. But Rome was (in her theology if not her Renaissance practice) right too. How?"

http://www.holyspiritinteractive.net/columns/markshea/sheavings/28.asp

Monday, November 13, 2006 3:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of you better read the section about the teaching role of the Bishop and refer back to the basics of human respect before you tout your own egotistical ramblings about any Church issues. Shame on you. Those who are better than the Church are outside of the Church!

Thursday, November 16, 2006 5:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Papal Nuncio is doing background checks on a candidate for auxillary bishop!

Thursday, November 16, 2006 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Mike, the Faithful Catholic said...

That is an enticing and juicy tidbit. But, alas, we have heard it before.

How do you know about the Nuncio doing these background checks? Any specifics as to who is being checked up on?

Please share!

Mike

Thursday, November 16, 2006 3:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike-
I saw the letter!

Thursday, November 16, 2006 6:40:00 PM  
Blogger Mike, the Faithful Catholic said...

Saw the letter...that is good.

But now the good stuff...who is being checked up on??????

Mike

Thursday, November 16, 2006 6:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry! I wish I could tell, but it could cost me my priesthood!

Thursday, November 16, 2006 8:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's probably Fr. Massingale that Dolan is promoting.

Friday, November 17, 2006 3:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not who everyone thinks it is....

All will be very surprised when the announcement is made (hopefully before Christmas).

Saturday, November 18, 2006 7:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to what our pastor told the parish council late in the summer, the Archbishop would send at least three names to the Vatican. I think he also said that all three would be researched.

So if you have only seen one, that seems not to mean that there are other names.

JST

Sunday, November 19, 2006 7:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe three names get submitted and three names get researched. I doubt that many people are asked for comment on all three people.
At least one name is familiar.

Monday, November 20, 2006 1:55:00 PM  

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