Many Catholics have been distraught by the radical departure from the basic and elementary message of the Catholic faith which, for 2,000 years, has always presented itself as the single Truth by which mankind will find salvation. Why is it that one of the globe’s most popular Catholic evangelists, Bishop Robert Barron, can go live on television and openly promote the idea that if a practicing Jewish non-believer in Christ, Ben Shapiro, were to simply follow his conscience, albeit under the auspices of God’s grace in Christ, he can escape the judgment of God and be saved in the last Day? Why is it that, when given the chance to clarify this (click here, Q&A begin @ minute 28:00), he shows no remorse for it, but rather persists in defending himself regardless of his promotion of indifferentism? Of course, Bishop Barron attempts to get this mess within the orange cones of Catholic orthodoxy by suggesting that the 2nd Vatican Council spoke to the possibility of attaining to salvation outside the confines of the Catholic Church and her physical sacraments. I’ve already written extensively (see here, here, and here) on why Barron’s public presentation still comes far from faithfully communicating the teaching of the Church even with the grant of said exceptional possibility. Continue reading
Ever since the 20th century, the Catholic Church’s Ecumenical movement has effected a massively different outlook on the scene of the world. From the 19th century backwards, Catholics believed that non-Catholics, and especially non-Christians, had no sure hope of attaining eternal life in Jesus Christ. Oh yes, I realize that Pope Pius IX speaks to the exceptional possibility of salvation outside the visible bounds of the Catholic Church (i.e. invincible ignorance and perfect contrition/charity under the auspices of God’s grace), but for the most part, if you were not a Catholic, your soul was in great danger of hell fire if you did not repent and enter into the Church through the holy bath of Baptism. Certainly, from the 17th century backwards, there was an even stronger sense that all who are without the Church and die in their sins will be damned. And yet, today we have Catholic scholars, high clergyman, and theologians professing to hold that, in the end, all men will be saved. Oh yes, they make sure they do not assert so blatantly that this is a certain fact of revelation, but a reasonable hope. Continue reading
After reading a defense for Bishop Robert Barron’s misleading of Ben Shapiro, I had to give a response to what is becoming the standard apologetic for making a near full eclipse on the Gospel of our Lord. Someone asked if we could imagine this all from the other side, and how bad the “nones” (those with no religion watching) would have reacted to the idea that their souls are in danger if they don’t believe in Christ, or how badly Mr. Shapiro would have reacted if he were told that he is obligated to respond to the Gospel or else be condemned. This was my response to that. Continue reading
Bishop Robert Barron and Rabbi David Wolpe were both invited to come and speak on the Rubin Report on religion, enlightenment, and areas of agreement/disagreement. I did listen to it, and my personal take away was that it was very plain, without entertainment, and I was unhappy that there was not more discussion on their disagreement. In any case, someone brought to my attention a particular segment where Bishop Barron speaks about the unintended conformity to God that exists in even atheists, such as Christopher Hitchens, in his own ethical convictions for justice. The background of this section is Rubin’s topic of discussion on whether someone can erect a fresh and new world-view, which doesn’t have anything to do with Christianity, Judaism, or traditional religion, but which accounts for the existence of ethics. Rabbi Wolpe, in sum, conceded that this might be somewhat feasible, but there would be no root or soil to this enterprise, and so he wonders how long it would last without the foundation underneath which supports it. When it came time for the Bishop to answer, this is how it went: Continue reading
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
Dr. Eduardo Echeverria, Professor of Philosophy and Systematic Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, in his recent article entitled “History, unchanging Truth, and Vatican II” at the Catholic World Report, takes on a difficult task in attempting to relate together the absolute truth of Christian revelation and its transmission through the medium of changeable and historically-conditioned human expressions (i.e. doctrinal formulations within a certain social and historical context). Dr. Ed puts his finger on the right target by situating the veracity of the 2nd Vatican Council, at least partly, on whether we can maintain the enduring validity of the doctrinal content of the Church’s past doctrinal formulations while at the same time acknowledging the changeability in their contextualized framing.
As I am working through the many preserved writings of the ancient and early Church on various theological and disciplinary disputes, such as the back-and-forth on the Nestorian controversy, the Monophysite controversy, or even the early dispute over which date to celebrate Pascha, I could not help but to be struck, from watching this brief interview of Bishop Robert Barron, by the stark difference in language from these ancient Saints and Doctors and the modern intellectuals of the Church when it comes to diversity in the Church. The men of old had strong, vivid, and what seems overly-presumptuous language which calls others out to stand condemned. Today, we are more worried about not stepping on anyone’s toes.