Author Topic: Catholic Church today  (Read 1217 times)

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barbierir

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Catholic Church today
« on: December 03, 2008, 01:02:59 PM »
The situation in the Catholic Church has improved a lot in the past decades, today a sort of "hopeful" universalism is endorsed by the Pope too. This could be riassumed as such "God wants to save everyone so we can hope and pray for it, yet beware hell exist and remains a real possibility".

But it must also be said that many catholics still don't "get" it and have generally more conservative views, anyway there's been a great improvement over the past.

Present day eschatology explains hell as the result of an irrevocable decision of the sinner that eternally separates himself from God who stares powerless at the fate of his child. This is evidently a way to save the dogma in the face of its difficulties but there are many great problems with this view.

1) Voluntary separation: Dives and the man in the parable of the wedding banquet surely didn't want to be separated and there are many other similar instances.

2) Irrevocable hardening in evil: Dives is not 100% evil since he cares for his brothers and the "criying and gnashing of teeth" is clearly an expression of repentance and grief.

2) God powerless at the above: when the agent is stated it is always Christ, God or the Angels who inflict a chastisement on the sinner, hardly a passive stance!

It is good that the Catholic Church has tried to look for new interpretations of hell but the present one is really dumb in the face of scriptures. Since the augustinian idea of hell has been abandoned, it would be more wise to reconsider the pre-augustinian ideas rather than clutching at straws.

I'm also of the opinion that a "purgative" hell would be a great help for pastoral reasons, one of the problems the Church faces is making people understand the conseguences of sin. Today it lacks an effective way to convey this, probably the crisis of the old conception of hell is the main reason. Hell today is like an old mad aunt no one likes to speak about anymore.

The augustinian concept is blasphemous and produces the opposite effect than desired since it saddens good people and hardens the scepticism of sinners. The current one is, for all practical purposes, almost useless, it is an incomprensible mess and doesn't resemble a real threat, it is something one cannot really relate to.

On the other side hell as an harsh means of correction is really helpful for at least 2 reasons:
1) It is a real threat but a just threat, no one should feel ashamed to speak about it.
2) It is something everyone can really relate to, because if we explain that the conseguences of every selfish action will become our very torment, that is something we can understand and confront with our everyday life. It makes the wage of sin self-evident in the simplest way.

I am going to write a booklet about this, the first in italian about UR as far as I know. I think such idea should be if not accepted, at least openly discussed about. Since there is nothing about it in my language I think it is my duty to make my part. At the present I've already collected a long list of helpful books but I'm still looking for many others, expecially about early church thinking and escathology before I feel ready to start.

Renzo

Offline sven

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Re: Catholic Church today
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2008, 03:09:04 PM »
Quote
I am going to write a booklet about this, the first in italian about UR as far as I know.

maybe you can use the latin vulgate to argument

http://www.tentmaker.org/forum/index.php?topic=3724.0

there is a german catholic, Hans Urs von Balthasar who tends to universalism, dont know if he is known in italy, maybe it helps you

barbierir

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Re: Catholic Church today
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2008, 05:50:55 PM »
Quote
I am going to write a booklet about this, the first in italian about UR as far as I know.

maybe you can use the latin vulgate to argument

http://www.tentmaker.org/forum/index.php?topic=3724.0

there is a german catholic, Hans Urs von Balthasar who tends to universalism, dont know if he is known in italy, maybe it helps you

Yes I know Von Balthasar but he was in line with the present hopeful universalism, his argument was "let's hope hell is empty", my rather is "hell may be overcrowded but it serves a purpose". The only declared catholic universalist I'm aware of is father Waclaw Hryniewicz, a polish theologian, unfortunately his writings are in polish and I am unable to find or read them.

Anyway I have already a fair idea of the reasons for the decline of universalism in the western christianity, my present research regards why the same, although to a far lesser degree, happened in the eastern christianity.

Probably you know that hell in the Orthodox Church has a double function similar to both purgatory and hell of the Catholic church, a mere hope for UR has never been completely ruled out as in the west. I'd like to know why the eastern Church was less declared universalist in the IX century than it had been in the IV. I suspect this involves Johannes Damascenus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_of_Damascus whose "Exposition of the Orthodox Faith" denied this possibility. But I've seen the idea already in decline before his time.

I find this study useful because blending Eastern view of hell with modern theology of hope and a bit of greek philology and historical analysis the end result cannot be anything less than universalism.

Renzo