Ben Shapiro recently had Bishop Robert Barron on his show. You can watch the full interview here. I want to draw our attention to one very specific question posed to the Bishop.
@ minute 16:45
Shapiro : “I’m a Jew. I follow the Law. Can I go to Heaven”?
Barron: “Yes…the Catholic view…go back to the 2nd Vatican Council says it very clearly….I mean Christ is the privileged route to salvation…that is the privileged route….However, Vatican II clearly teaches that someone outside the explicitly Christian faith can be saved….it might be received according to your conscience….Now that doesn’t conduce to a complete relativism…We would still say the privileged route and the route that God has offered to humanity is the route of His Son…but no, you can be saved..uh…even Vatican II says that an Atheist of good will can be saved…..because in following his conscience…John Henry Newman said the conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ in the soul…it is in fact the voice of Christ…when I follow my conscience, I’m following Him..whether I know it explicitly or not…so even the atheist of good will can be saved”. Continue reading →
An excellent excerpt from “The Patriarchs of Constantinople” (Cambridge, 1911), pg 21-35
A notable piece:
” So we find that the advance of the Byzantine see is always as desirable an object to the emperor as to his bishop. The advance came quickly now. But we may notice that at every step there is no concealment as to its motive. No one in those days thought of claiming any other reason for the high place given to the bishop except the fact that the imperial court sat in his city. There was no pretense of an apostolic foundation, no question of St Andrew, no claim to a glorious past, no record of martyrs, doctors nor saints who had adorned the see of this new city; she had taken no part in spreading the faith, had been of no importance to anyone till Constantine noticed what a splendid site the Bosphorus and Golden Horn offer. This little bishop was a parvenu of the parvenus; he knew it and everyone knew it. His one argument—and for four centuries he was never tired of repeating it—was that he was the emperor’s bishop, his see was New Rome. New Rome was civilly equal to Old Rome, so why should he not be as great, or nearly as great, as that distant patriarch now left alone where the weeds choked ruined gates by the Tiber? Now that the splendor of Caesar and his court have gone to that dim world where linger the ghosts of Pharaoh and Cyrus we realize how weak was the foundation of this claim from the beginning”
While criticism of the close relationship between the Russian Church and state is (with good justification!) common, less attention is paid to the fact that the Patriarchate of Constantinople exists and claims primacy solely due to its relationship with now-extinct civil authorities. But it is only this history that can explain much of Constantinople’s modern-day behavior. There is, to put it bluntly, an emperor-shaped (or, more accurately, a sultan-shaped) hole in Constantinople’s heart that forces Ecumenical Patriarchs to court the support of the most unexpected worldly powers, from Harry Truman in Athenagoras’ day to Petro Poroshenko today. Writing in 1911, the English Roman Catholic scholar Adrian Fortescue sketched the pathos of Constantinople’s role as ‘the special bishop of Caesar’ with equal erudition and acerbity:
The rise of the see of Constantinople, the ‘Great Church of Christ,’ is the most curious development in the history of Eastern Christendom. For many centuries…
A rather gifted Catholic apologist, Jimmy Akin, has just released an article entitled “Did God Punish Jesus on the Cross“? This, of course, was not meant to be an exhaustive argument against “Penal Substitution“, but I have a few comments to make on this which are related, and after writing them out, I realized they were deserving of an article form.
In the first place, it appears to me that when Mr. Akin says “penal sub“, he means the idea that God the Father breaks up his perfect union of charity in the Holy Spirit with His Son in order to inflict upon him hatred and damnation. If that is what he means, then sure, such a belief is completely contradictory to the Gospel. I can’t read his mind, and the article doesn’t make clear one way or the other. Today we hear many Catholics, especially Eastern Orthodox, rightly rejecting this idea as a Protestant heresy, but do not adequately give, in turn, a valid interpretation of something akin to Penal Substitution. After all, the Scripture does say that Christ became a curse for us (Gal 3). It would seem many wish to say that Christ’s crucifixion was merely an event with ontologically overcomes death for human nature, leaving all notions of punishment to abstractions or language-devices. This is popularly known as the Christus Victor atonement model. A tendency exists to want to relegate atonement to idea of medicine and nature-repair, particularly in the modern East.
Therefore, the reader of Akin’s article is left with more questions than answers. How did Christ pay our debt? He paid it with His blood. That is the constant teaching throughout the ages. We might want to theologize on this in the way St. Anselm or St. Thomas Aquinas do, which says that Christ’s humbling Himself to be a slave and then being hoisted upon the cross to die an ignominious death out of charity for His Father and the human race merits an infinite value which cancels out the infinite demerits of sins of the world. But it remains that he *died*, and specifically for the reason to bear our curse (Gal 3) in order to satisfy divine justice. As far as I’m concerned, this is the Patristic teaching, and it is beautifully articulated in St. Alphonsus Liguori’s “The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ“, from which I will link in the comments, and will provide a few snippets, and some commentary, below.
I have not voiced my opinion on this matter either here on the blog, nor on any other avenue of social media. It was becoming to do that, until I listened to this homily. I am not sure who the Catholic priest who is preaching is, but I want to say I agree with his message by 99%. I think it is simply an “insane” view which posits that Benedict’s abdication was invalid, and that he is currently the reigning Pontiff of Rome.
After reading through Romans 4 this fine evening, I decided that I must put into writing what I believe God has revealed to me in the reading of His holy word. This will in regard to the much debated subject of the justification of sinners, and particularly how a Protestant reading is undermined by Paul’s argument with Abraham. Continue reading →