Gnocchi Blokey:This one is better
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The Amanda Show Blockblister Sketches 1999-2002
I’ve held back speaking about the current feeding frenzy concerning Pope Francis to see how the media is reacting. They have not disappointed:
Francis’ speeches clearly draw on the themes of liberation theology, a movement that seeks to use the teachings of the Gospel to help free people from poverty and that has been particularly strong in his native Latin America.
“We are a community that is just trying to do good and live good lives, just like most communities are,” said Greg Epstein, Harvard University’s Humanist chaplain and author of “Good Without God.” ”His statement is an acknowledgment of that. It is welcome and it is gratifying.”
It likely doesn’t matter much to the atheists of the world that — of all people — Pope Francis is on their side. But he is. And that’s a cool thing for all of us.
The Huffington Post: (emphasis mine)
Of course, not all Christians believe that those who don’t believe will be redeemed, and the Pope’s words may spark memories of the deep divisions from the Protestant reformation over the belief in redemption through grace versus redemption through works.
There seems to be a giant cheer among some on the left almost suggesting that this might be the first post Christian Pope although at least some like AllahPundit who are not Catholic were wise enough rather to jump to conclusions to ask questions:
How can it be that, if the Church is the path to Christ and Christ is the path to salvation, someone who didn’t choose that path can find salvation regardless? It’s true that the Church since Vatican II has opened the door to salvation for non-Catholics
If you’re a faithful Catholic and you are confused, you might be even more confused by these words from the very orthodox Fr. Z.
If you go through his comments as reported, and I did, there is nothing in Pope Francis’s remarks about the possibility of atheists being saved that is not in keeping with the document Dominus Iesus.
Dominus Iesus, signed by then Joseph Ratzinger, (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI+ and approved by Pope John Paul II in the year 2000 which says in part
Furthermore, the salvific action of Jesus Christ, with and through his Spirit, extends beyond the visible boundaries of the Church to all humanity. Speaking of the paschal mystery, in which Christ even now associates the believer to himself in a living manner in the Spirit and gives him the hope of resurrection, the Council states: “All this holds true not only for Christians but also for all men of good will in whose hearts grace is active invisibly. For since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery”
and concludes thus:
The revelation of Christ will continue to be “the true lodestar” in history for all humanity: “The truth, which is Christ, imposes itself as an all-embracing authority”. The Christian mystery, in fact, overcomes all barriers of time and space, and accomplishes the unity of the human family: “From their different locations and traditions all are called in Christ to share in the unity of the family of God’s children… Jesus destroys the walls of division and creates unity in a new and unsurpassed way through our sharing in his mystery. This unity is so deep that the Church can say with Saint Paul: ‘You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are saints and members of the household of God’ (Eph 2:19)”.
OK if you are a non-Catholic reading this or a poorly taught Catholic your reaction is likely Say What?
Let’s look at what the Pope actually said in the sermon:
“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
First of all this message is similar and opposite to this passage articulated in the Screwtape letters:
You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing
Screwtape of course considers the enemy God but Francis has very publicly named the enemy as Satan and understands that by encouraging those who do not believe to virtue even if in their minds it is not driven by Christianity it moves them away from the darkness and the farther you go from the darkness the closers to the light.
Christianity 101 is that Christ is the Son of God and died for the sins of all mankind. He didn’t die just for the sins Christians, of Jews, Of Russians, Members of the Fraternal Order of Moose, people who eat cabbage on Thursday, or the cast of Hustler’s new parody of the HBO series girls, EVERYBODY! But that gives the possibility of salvation not the certainly because that requires an act of free will.
The question is and remains given free will does a person accept that gift at some time before the final moment of death or does one commit the one unforgivable mortal sin and reject it?
But even this Mortal sin, this sin about the gravest of subjects, even if done deliberately has one final requirement to make it mortal and damning, understanding.
You and I, imperfect creatures that we are don’t make that judgement (and a damn good thing too because we are imperfect) but God does, and I trust his judgement.
Final thought: The media is reporting the Pope’s remarks in the way they are not because of their ignorance of the Catholic Faith as taught, but because as always, they wish to justify themselves and the rejection of it, but if it was really the way to live, they wouldn’t need to justify its validity by invoking the Pope or actually remaking the Pope in their own image, because if they did they would also report things Pope Francis say like this:
Mother of the silence that preserves the mystery of God, deliver us from the idolatry of the present, to which those who forget are condemned. Purify the eyes of pastors with the balm of memory:that we might return to the freshness of the beginning, for a praying and penitent Church.
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