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Problems with Fr. Robert Barron? – UPDATED December 2, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, foolishness, General Catholic, Interior Life, North Deanery, priests, sadness, scandals, sickness, silliness, Tradition, Virtue.
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My friend Steve B. sent me some material yesterday that was both highly informative and also a bit depressing.  Many have probably become aware of Fr. Robert Barron over the past year or two.  Through his Word On Fire ministry, he has developed a steadily growing media presence – his ‘Catholicism’ series is now being aired on PBS – which might ought to raise an eyebrow or two, right there.  It’s not like PBS is going to change.  But, irrespective, Fr. Barron has developed a reputation as an orthodox exegete/apologist with the trappings of intellectualism – the kind of priest who could perhaps bridge the gap between knuckle dragging, immature traditional type Catholics clinging to their 18th century Faith, and the more modernist wings of the Church.  If there is such a ‘wing.’ 

Anyhoo, we’ve had numerous high profile public priests go bust of late, so perhaps it’s wise to be wary.  In that vein, Unam Sanctam Catholicam points out some disturbing aspects of Barron’s theology.   While his views on Adam and Eve as not real, living people, but only allegories, are very problematic in that they undermine a huge amount of theology on Christ as the New Adam and our Blessed Mother as the New Eve, the one I find most disconcerting is that he has argued for something closely resembling “universal salvation.” – the idea that God would never be so mean ‘n angry to send anyone, or allow anyone to send themselves, to hell.  Basically, the idea is that God’s Love and Mercy trumps all, even the most grave of unconfessed sins, so that it is likely no one winds up in hell.  While this is problematic in itself, statements Fr. Barron made in the comments are even more disconcerting: “Even an atheist who is sincerely following his conscience can be saved. The point is this: the more deeply you understand conscience and its implications, the more you’ll be drawn to God!”

This statement is incredibly problematic.  For almost the entire history of the Church, there was no question that those who were outside visible communion with the Church could not be saved.  This was stated infallilbly at the Council of Florence Fourth Lateran Council.  Unfortunately, certain modernist/indifferentist opinions have crept in that have made this very clear cut, truly charitable belief much less so, and now we have statements in the current Catechism that imply that it may be possible for those outside visible union with the Faith to be saved.  Barron is sort of starting with those statements, and running with them to their logical conclusion – if strong belief in the True Faith established by Christ is not necessary for salvation, then why can’t atheists be saved?  And if an atheist “sincerely following his conscience” is moved to violently attack the Church and seek to damage or destroy it at every turn, up to and  including committing the gravest of sacrileges against the Blessed Sacrament, well, then, certainly God will understand the atheist is only following his conscience, doing what he thought is right, and will happily extend salvation to him.   Christ revealed infallibly through Sacred Scripture that “a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.”  (Mk 3:24) It appears, however, for Barron (and, sadly,  many others) that the Kingdom of God can indeed be 100% opposed to itself and yet no contradiction exists.  There are numerous Saints and Doctors who would argue that Barron is completely wrong, and that his false charity poses grave danger not only to the wayward souls in question, but of causing massive scandal in the Faith.  Such opinions, expressed publicly by a priest 100 years ago, would have had to have been publicly recanted.  The Truth cannot change – it can be better understood, made more clear, but what was false 100 years ago (salvation outside the Church being a possibility, even a likelihood), cannot now be true today. 

Priests like this need to be prayed for, intensely, because these kinds of views are depressingly widespread.  What is surely meant as a charitable hope of salvation for friends and family who  may be of another faith, or no faith, or even hostile to any faith is really a false charity – in trying to be nice, in trying to reassure people, the Truth is withheld and pious hopes are held up to replace what has been constant Truth.  I don’t think there is much charity in encouraging atheists to believe they can hedge their bets and be saved – if such would even appeal to them. Everything I’ve seen about Fr. Barron leads me to believe he means well, but I also know that compromises are all too easily made, especially when fame or influence – or lots more money for a really well-intentioned apostolate – are in the offing.  I don’t know that’s the case, Fr. Barron may have always held these beliefs.  If so, more’s the shame, because I think they are wrong and, frankly, scandalous.  And these are hard issues – it’s hard to believe that Our Lord, who is entirely Love and Mercy but also Justice, would allow someone to condemn themselves to hell.  It’s especially hard to believe this in our modern day, when permissiveness reigns and discipline is a lost concept.  But no matter how much the idea of people going to hell doesn’t agree with us or our creation, this sad culture, Sacred Scripture and Tradition say, forcefully, “Yes, it does.  And prepare constantly lest you arrive there, ‘where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished'” (Mk 9:43-47).

Pray.  Where sin abounds, Grace abounds all the more (Rom 5:20)

UPDATE:  Thinking on this issue more last night, while the Church did dogmatically define at the Fourth Lateran Council (sorry for my error above, no corrected) the Doctrine that there is no salvation outside the Church, commenter Terry C points out the the Church does hold out pious hope for the salvation of all.  We can all hope that all can be saved.  I pray for that daily – often several times per day.  I have numerous friends and relations who are outside the Church.  I do not like to think of the possiblity that they cannot be saved.  So, I pray both for their conversion and their salvation.  The Church has tried to guide souls with Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus using the best Doctrine that reasoned, prayerful analysis of Scripture and Tradition can provide.  But our God is infinitely Good and can save whom He wills.  If He wills to save all, God is great, and that is His Will.  So the belief Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus is not a triumphalist claim of Church supremacy, it is a humble plea for souls to be converted!  At least, that’s how I’ve always viewed it and tried to practice that belief.

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Comments

1. Colleen Hammond - December 1, 2011

I suspected as much, but didn’t have the facts. I did watch three episodes on EWTN and, although it was spectacular in its photography, I heard a few comments that were a bit ‘off’.

Kyrie eleison.

Ashley - December 3, 2011

Colleen,

Unfortunately, I believe the author has gravely misrepresented Fr. Barron’s teachings.

As one example of this, here Fr. Barron explains his belief in the very real and very necessary existence of Hell. Certainly, it’s clear that this was not the position articulated in the article.

We Catholics must be careful not to attribute scandal, suspicion, strife and dissension to truly good works and people. I believe this is what has happened, though certainly motivated by good intentions.

I hope you will take the time to view Fr. Barron’s material, itself. I think you’ll be surprised at what you find.

In Christ,
Ashley

tantamergo - December 4, 2011

I linked to this video. You’ve got to read the comments written by Fr. Barron below the video on the Youtube site. It’s there that he makes claims that almost repudiate what he said in the video. The comments are much more oriented towards universal salvation. That was the reason for the post, less the video.

This video has already been linked in the post and embedded in another comment. I’m removing it.

Penny - December 4, 2011

Thank you Colleen, well said….

tantamergo - December 5, 2011

As I said in the previous reply, obviously you have a great attachment to Fr. Barron. This comment is deleted as being a vicious personal attack, not a concern over reasoning, but an attack on persons.

I’d advise you to contemplate your emotional response.

I did not re-post this on any other site, and I never do that. I believe in the past other people have re-posted my work on other sites without my permission. Perhaps that is the case in this instance.

I retracted or backed off nothing, I added that bit because it’s what I believe and I hadn’t gotten to it in the original post. That’s all.

Seriously, one more outburst like this and your gone for good.

2. Dismas - December 1, 2011

Oh, please. Hopefully the majority of your readers have seen through this unfortunate priest by now.

tantamergo - December 1, 2011

Re-reading my post, some might come away with the idea that I struggle with the issue of Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus. I don’t. I want to be clear – I believe that those outside visible Communion with the Church, and those who die with unconfessed mortal sins, are bound for hell. I pray for such folks constantly, as I do for all I know, that they may be converted and remain steadfast in the One True Faith.

ZRM - December 2, 2011

Respectfully, you and your pope and clergy are schismatic heretics. Return to Orthodoxy.

tantamergo - December 2, 2011

I pray you mean Catholic orthodoxy, right? An Eastern Orthodox using such language would be quite an effrontery!

FSSP is schismatic?

Michael Cawley - December 4, 2011

On the one hand you deny struggling with the “issue of Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus” and on the other hand you propose the very meaning for those words which was condemned in the 1940’s by the Archbishop who disciplined Father Feeney, and was infallibly condemned by the positive position proposed for the spirit and letter of that phrase by the Second Vatican Council. You are either invincibly ignorant to the subtle nuances of this theology or you are intentionally deceptive and involved with SSPX or an infiltrator hiding in FSSP.

tantamergo - December 5, 2011

I am not in the habit of justifying myself to commenters on this blog. You have no evidence that I am a Feeney-ite or in SSPX. My readers know this. Your statement regarding an infallible propostion of Vatican II is a stretch to say the least. That Council publicly declared that it proposed no new dogma, and we just last Friday had a major article written in L’Osservatore Romano on that subject. That article stated that there are aspects of Vatican II at odds with the preceding Tradition, and that such must be reconciled by the Magisterium. It also stated that areas of Vatican II where such conditions exist are to be accepted with religious assent, not de fide, and are subject to discussion and debate. But in adhering strongly to Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, while certainly taking baptism by desire into account, I don’t believe I’m detaching myself from the Church. On the other hand, your “subtle nuances” actually represent a yawning chasm leading, quite likely, to indifferentism.

First and final warning. Continue with gratuitous, unsubstantiated insults directed at me or others, and you will be dismissed. I am aware of your relationship with Word on Fire and your personal attachment to Fr. Barron. Settle down.

3. Terry Carroll - December 1, 2011

I’ve only made it through the first four episodes of the “Catholicism” series and have serious reservations. For a series titled “Catholicism” I’m not sure it speaks the word “Catholic” as much as one would expect. I think he’s trying to present the beauty of the Catholic Faith without drawing too much attention to the fact that the Catholic Faith is Catholic. I presume that gives it more universal appeal and makes it more likely to be acceptable to PBS.

I know he refers to certain Old Testament stories as “myth.” His presentation also suffers from the same problems as YouCat, i.e., an unexpected number of references to non-Catholic authors. Overall, he presents his topics well (with spectacular photography) but he should not be confused with the “style” of the Council of Trent. His “boundaries” are much softer and very “inclusive.”

I haven’t finished the whole series, yet, but I’m afraid I will be among the minority who are less than thrilled. It appears to be “indisputable” that this is the finest tool yet for use by RCIA etc. I think it IS better than what RCIA programs usually inflict on their candidates, but it’s too “soft” in too many areas.

For what it’s worth, here are the two most prominent videos produced by Fr. Barron on the subject of Hell:

The What, Why and Whether of Hell:

Disagreeing with his mentor, Thomas Aquinas, on “the fewness of the saved”

tantamergo - December 2, 2011

Terry – This video you posted is the one where I pulled the quote on “sincere atheists can go to Heaven.”

4. Margie - December 1, 2011

Catechism of the Catholic church is an infallible teaching document….are you a sedevacant of some sort?: so tired of you radical trads, where not even the Pope is Holy or wise or traditional enough for you….. “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.337″……and how about posting links so the reader can read Fathers comments in context. Fr. Barron believes in a literal Adam, he has stated that…..his theological explanation of it, is obviously too deep for you….
.

KathiBee - December 2, 2011

From the pen of Cardinal Ratzinger in the intro to the Catechism to support that the Catechism is not infallible:

“This brings us to the question already mentioned before, regarding the authority of the Catechism…. the Catechism is de facto a collegial work; canonically, it falls under the special jurisdiction of the Pope, inasmuch as it was authorized for the whole Christian world by the Holy Father . . .

This does not mean that the catechism is a sort of super-dogma…. What significance the Catechism really holds for the common exercise of teaching in the Church may be learned by reading the Apostolic Constitution Fidei depositum… “I acknowledge it [the Catechism] as a valid and legitimate tool in the service of ecclesiastical communion, as a sure norm for instruction in the faith.”

The individual doctrine which the Catechism presents receive no other weight than that which they already possess.

Thus the Catechism presents the teaching of the Church without elevating the doctrinal status of those teachings beyond what they otherwise have. Consequently, one must look to other documents and to the tradition of the Church to establish the doctrinal weight of any particular point in the Catechism.”

tantamergo - December 2, 2011

No, no sede vacantist. How many people go through life without a mortal sin? How many can make a perfect act of contrition? Why claim an atheist, who likely rejects the entire concept of sin, could be saved by “following his conscience.” This is not about ignorance that a Catholic Church exists, this is someone who has specifically rejected it. How can such a soul, then, enter Heaven? In the same video, the one Terry shows above, if you go read the comments, Fr. Barron also claims that people almost never commit a mortal sin. IThat, too, is problematic.

5. Fr. Allen - December 1, 2011

Have you ever read the Catholic Encyclopedia, the 1917 edition, pre-Vatican II edition which is available free online over at newadvent.org, and what it says regarding predestination, election, and those outside of the Church entering heaven?

“Since in reality only those reach heaven who die in the state of justification or sanctifying grace, all these and only these are numbered among the predestined, strictly so called. From this it follows that we must reckon among them also all children who die in baptismal grace, as well as those adults who, after a life stained with sin, are converted on their death-beds. The same is true of the numerous predestined who, though outside the pale of the true Church of Christ, yet depart from this life in the state of grace as catechumens, Protestants in good faith, schismatics, Jews, Mahommedans, and pagans. Those fortunate Catholics who at the close of a long life are still clothed in their baptismal innocence, or who after many relapses into mortal sin persevere till the end, are not indeed predestined more firmly, but are more signally favoured than the last-named categories of persons.”

I would not call it a modernist document, by any means, yet I do feel that the authentic Catholic doctrine is misunderstood by many today.

tantamergo - December 2, 2011

Fr. Allen-

With great respect, I’ve got to suggest that while the Catholic Encyclopedia from 1917 is not a full throated modernist extravaganza, it does have some areas where it did absorb some modernist beliefs. I have referenced the Catholic Encyclopedia on a number of subjects, but not this one. I am rather disappointed by what I am reading- that’s a fairly mainstream opinion today, but was quite liberal, if you will, at the time. It’s also somewhat modernist in its possible indifferentism.

As a practical matter, I think the last 100 years have shown that “fullness of Truth” does not sell well. It is very difficult to reconcile a statement made above with the Council of Florence, without resorting to bizaare theological gymnastics with things like “implied implicit desire” being given a ridiculous amount of weight, a weight for which there is little evidence. Anyway, late tonight, possibly more tomorrow.

6. Dismas - December 1, 2011

Ummm, don’t mean to upset anyone here but the Catechism of the Catholic Church is by no means an infallible document. This statement will not convince those already persuaded that it is, nor will it move those who are already aware that it is not, but it may serve as incentive for those who wonder about it to delve a bit into the topic.

tantamergo - December 2, 2011

I did not mean to imply otherwise!

Bro John-Paul Ignatius Mary - December 2, 2011

The Catechism contains official Church teaching and is binding on all Catholics. It does not matter what level of teaching it is (there are 4 levels), all levels must be obeyed.

The Catechism contains statements on all levels of teaching, including infallible teachings (level 1 and 2). But, as mentioned, even if a teaching is not infallible, it still must be obeyed.

7. Bro John-Paul Ignatius Mary - December 1, 2011

The Church does teach that an atheist, in some limited instances, may be saved.

Atheism

2123 “Many . . . of our contemporaries either do not at all perceive, or explicitly reject, this intimate and vital bond of man to God. Atheism must therefore be regarded as one of the most serious problems of our time.”

2124 The name “atheism” covers many very different phenomena. One common form is the practical materialism which restricts its needs and aspirations to space and time. Atheistic humanism falsely considers man to be “an end to himself, and the sole maker, with supreme control, of his own history.” Another form of contemporary atheism looks for the liberation of man through economic and social liberation. “It holds that religion, of its very nature, thwarts such emancipation by raising man’s hopes in a future life, thus both deceiving him and discouraging him from working for a better form of life on earth.”

2125 Since it rejects or denies the existence of God, atheism is a sin against the virtue of religion. <<<>>> “Believers can have more than a little to do with the rise of atheism. To the extent that they are careless about their instruction in the faith, or present its teaching falsely, or even fail in their religious, moral, or social life, they must be said to conceal rather than to reveal the true nature of God and of religion.”

2126 Atheism is often based on a false conception of human autonomy, exaggerated to the point of refusing any dependence on God.63 Yet, “to acknowledge God is in no way to oppose the dignity of man, since such dignity is grounded and brought to perfection in God. . . . ” “For the Church knows full well that her message is in harmony with the most secret desires of the human heart.”

Agnosticism

2127 Agnosticism assumes a number of forms. In certain cases the agnostic refrains from denying God; instead he postulates the existence of a transcendent being which is incapable of revealing itself, and about which nothing can be said. In other cases, the agnostic makes no judgment about God’s existence, declaring it impossible to prove, or even to affirm or deny.

2128 Agnosticism can sometimes include a certain search for God, but it can equally express indifferentism, a flight from the ultimate question of existence, and a sluggish moral conscience. Agnosticism is all too often equivalent to practical atheism.

tantamergo - December 2, 2011

Certain of the above statements are at variance with infallible Magisterial statements made in the past. To speak colloquially, how does one reconcile “atheists may be saved” with “there is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one is saved?” When one considers when the latter was written, the considerations being made at that time, and the issues at stake, what is being proclaimed is that those in the separated Eastern Churches hvae placed themselves in a dire position regarding salvation. While not explicitly stated as such, the strong implication is that the faithful consist in those who adhere visibly to the Church of Rome and any outside are not eligible for salvation. As I said in the update, God can save whom He wills, but Holy Mother Church has tried to guide the faithful to the best of her ability to understand what is necessary for salvation, and the statement of the Fourth Lateran Council is pretty clear. There have been numerous problems with what appear to be changes in Doctrine due to vague or outright contrasting statements from various Vatican II documents. The Catechism you quote above is illustrative of that fact. The Catechism used today is at variance with the Catechism of the Council of Trent in a number of areas. Prior to Dignatatus Humanae, the Church was not quite so generous with its expositions on salvation. As the document released in L’Osservatore Romano today shows, these “non-fallible” teachings are still subject to some debate. If one is confronted on the one hand with an infallible statement of the Magisterium of the past on the one hand, and a “non-fallible” doctrine from VII on the other, and the two are at variance, how do we reconcile this?

8. Matve Ivanovic - December 2, 2011

“…knuckle dragging, immature traditional type Catholics clinging to their 18th century Faith…” , Wow, hate us much? We are what you were: if you were right then, we are right now; if we are wrong now, you were wrong then. Fr Barron, if indeed he said as you say he did, has excommunicated himself. Beyond that, no attention need be paid him. May GOD have Mercy on his soul.

tantamergo - December 2, 2011

I’m that, Matve! I’m strongly traditionalist, silly. Hang around, you’ll see. It’s just my odd sense of humor at work.

9. Terry Carroll - December 2, 2011

Other than through the canonization of Saints, the Catholic Church has never attempted to state, with certainty, the eternal destiny of anyone.

The Truth is the Truth but all of us, without exception, Catholic or not, depend on the mercy of God for our salvation. Because those who die outside the Catholic Faith “may” be “in good faith” and in error “through no fault of their own” does not excuse us from the task of evangelization into the Truth that God entrusted to the Catholic Church.

I believe St. Augustine said, with regard to morality, “Love God and do what you want.” That is absolutely true, but what sane person would try to guide his life with that ethical maxim alone? To “love God” means a lot more than feeling warm and fuzzy towards God and then doing whatever you want! Who can claim to know, much less practice, “loving God well”? So we don’t teach ethics with maxims that will lead to moral disasters.

Similarly, that God CAN and MAY operate outside the sacramental system of the Catholic Church doesn’t mean we should be presumptuous and take that to the bank. If all that is needed for salvation is “do your best” and “seek the Truth as best you can within your own lights,” then Jesus was a divine waste of time. Why come to teach us the Truth if it doesn’t really matter anyway? So we, as Catholics, take Jesus at His Word and live as if He meant every Word He said. That means being concerned with the Truth of salvation as taught by Jesus. If God is merciful (and I pray that He is) then all the people I dearly love who are not Catholics MAY and CAN be saved. But I’m not going to rest on presumptions and “live and let live.”

Jesus did NOT say “I am ONE of the ways to salvation.” We must pray and evangelize as if what Jesus (and His Church) say is True. Why seek to convert anyone if, in the end, it doesn’t really matter, so long as they were “good” and “nice” and “sincere”?

Fr. Barron seems to take a “softer,” “gentler,” “more inclusive” approach to “dialog” and “interaction” with unbelievers and non-Catholic Christians. If it’s just a matter of evangelical style, there’s room for legitimate discussion. However, it bothers me that he seems less “urgent” in his message than I think his subject deserves. Being a Catholic is not just “good for me but maybe not so much for you.” I think “being Catholic” is a bit more urgent than that. But maybe I’m just not understanding him because of his “style.” I prefer Michael Voris’ more “muscular” and “masculine” approach to evangelization.

10. dadwithnoisykids - December 2, 2011

I first began to worry when I saw no Imprimatur. After reading further I stopped looking for errors and just hurried up and wrote my review on it. Thomas Merton as an ideal of spirituality. Really.

11. Steve B - December 3, 2011

Tantamergo,

GREAT post & discussions!

Here are my 2 bits….

When Fr. Barron wrote…

“Even an atheist who is sincerely following his conscience can be saved. The point is this: the more deeply you understand conscience and its implications, the more you’ll be drawn to God!”

… is he not promoting “Primacy of Conscience”? That was explicitly deemed as heretical by Pope John Paul II himself in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor.

Sure, many folks quote St. Thomas Aquinas when he taught that we are morally obligated to follow our conscience, even if what our conscience tells us to do goes against the Church’s teachings.

However, when a person makes a grave error in forming their conscience, is he/she not held accountable by God for that very grave error? So, in the end, if a spiritually mortal mistake is made in wrongly forming one’s conscience (e.g. done by many “Catholics in name only”), we’re not necessarily going to “get off the hook” for later decisions & actions which stemmed from that erroneously formed conscience. Natural Law also precludes much of what is deemed as “invincible ignorance” wrt morality. When we say a heinous criminal “has no conscience”, what salvific “trump card” does that person get to play for their “Primacy of Conscience” at their Particular Judgment to enter through the Gate of Heaven???

We have to remember that, as Catholics, we are to believe that we’re saved by BOTH faith AND works. Martin Luther promoted that only the former was required – i.e. the heresy of sola fide. Are not Fr. Barron & the proponents of “Primacy of Conscience” ultimately promoting that “works alone” are salvific? I mean, sheesh, how can a Catholic Priest honestly believe himself (and scandalously teach others to boot) that the sacrilege of denying God’s very existence by an atheist isn’t even enough of an insult to His Dignity to get eternally excluded from His Presence???

I think that several of von Balthasar’s undeniably heterodox teachings are the key to this travesty of “Primacy of Conscience” which so many “orthodox” Catholics have embraced since Vatican II. Here’s a fantastic resource which at least in part exposes the utterly anti-traditional and fallacious theology related to von Balthasar’s “hope” of universal salvation – check out the following:

John P. Joy – “Poena Satisfactoria: Locating Thomas Aquinas’s Doctrine of Vicarious Satisfaction in between Anselmian Satisfaction and Penal Substitution” (Trumau, Austria: ITI, 2010).

You can obtain a copy of Mr. Joy’s most excellent work here:

http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/p%C5%92na-satisfactoria/11912674

And even though the Church has never definitively stated which particular persons are in Hell, as Fr. Barron rightly states, the following Scripture verse seems to clearly and definitively convey that it just ain’t gonna be empty:

Jude 1:7 – “Likewise, Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding towns, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual promiscuity and practiced unnatural vice, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.”

Open & shut case for traditional Church teaching, if you ask me, with absolutely no wiggle room. I can list a plethora of other scriptures which support traditional Catholic doctrine as well on salvation, if anyone wants to take me to task….

Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

Steve B
Plano, TX

tantamergo - December 5, 2011

Steve –

Great points, especially regarding “primacy of conscience,” which you are quite correct has been condemned. And you are very correct that the atheist who forms his conscience badly is held accountable for that formation to the extent that he deviates from whatever knowledge of the Truth he has had. A Catholic who is raised well and informed of the Faith who later apostasizes and becomes an atheist is in a graver situation regarding conscience than an individual who had no formation in the Faith. But the law of God is written on all of our hearts, and especially for those living in places where the Church is well established and available to all of good will, there will be an accounting for having rejected or ignored the Faith.

“We have to remember that, as Catholics, we are to believe that we’re saved by BOTH faith AND works. Martin Luther promoted that only the former was required – i.e. the heresy of sola fide. Are not Fr. Barron & the proponents of “Primacy of Conscience” ultimately promoting that “works alone” are salvific? I mean, sheesh, how can a Catholic Priest honestly believe himself (and scandalously teach others to boot) that the sacrilege of denying God’s very existence by an atheist isn’t even enough of an insult to His Dignity to get eternally excluded from His Presence???”

I suspect there won’t be much response to this idea. I have been saddened by this entire comment thread – so many folks seem to take God’s Mercy almost for granted, or just can’t believe that many, if any, will be condemned.

12. Mary - December 3, 2011

God cast the fallen angels into HELL, why would he not also cast men into hell for the same thing, wanting to be god themselves???
Our God is a jealous God.

That is why He gave us the 1st commandment and made it #1.

Most atheists in the US aren’t just atheist, they hate the Catholic Church, and they hate God. When they die and stand before the gates, (assuming they haven’t had a conversion), it is these souls who turn away from God once again.

13. Steve B - December 3, 2011

Tantamergo,

Methinks that when you stated the following:

“… Terry C points out the the Church does hold out pious hope for the salvation of all. We can all hope that all can be saved.”

isn’t our “pious hope” limited to hoping for the salvation of all the living ?

How can we hope for the salvation of those from Sodom & Gomorrah whom God infallibly revealed to us through St. Jude (see my previous quote of Jude 1:7 in comment #11 above) that they were condemned to a “punishment of eternal fire” ??? I can’t even imagine the mental & theological gymnastics required to somehow justify a hope for their salvation.

God truly can “save whom He will”, but He won’t when it would require turning His holy Scriptures into falsehoods.

The Holy Scriptures also reveal through what St. Paul wrote in Galatians 6:7 – “God will not be mocked….” – but for the Grace of God, there go I.

So, besides praying for the conversion of unbelievers and those embracing a life of grave sin, we too must all “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12) and take Hell VERY seriously.

Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

Steve B
Plano, TX

tantamergo - December 5, 2011

I assumed Terry was speaking about those still living. Those who have died have gone on to their particular judgment. We must still pray for their souls, and perhaps those prayers may have some effect that we cannot see in the last moments of their lives (for instance, with a departed great grandparent), but in reality their eternal fate was established at death. Good points, however.

14. Walter P. Komarnicki - December 4, 2011

No one is beyond salvation. Jesus Christ did not just come for a select few, i.e. the Jewish people, but for all. We may ‘reasonably hope’ that all will be saved, but we don’t know for certain, nor should we be so presumptuous. Nor have I the right to mentally, emotionally or spiritually judge anyone worthy of eternal damnation. Did not Jesus Himself say, don’t call anyone a ‘renegade’?

It is not up to us to know whether some are ‘predestined’ to go to hell, it is simply up to us to strive to enter through the narrow gate (Lk 13: 23-24) and leave all else to the infinite mercy of God, which is beyond our human comprehension.

Steve B - December 5, 2011

Mr. Komarncki,

Can you (or anyone else for that matter) please enlighten us with the logic behind how we can ‘reasonably hope’ for the salvation of the decadent citizens of Sodom & Gomorrah who are suffering “a punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7).

How is it possible for God to extend His Mercy to them and thus render utterly FALSE His Holy Scriptures???

Han Urs von Balthasar advanced nothing but unneeded novelty and heterodoxy in the Catholic Church when he introduced this false idea that we may “reasonably hope that all will be saved.”

The Holy Scriptures nor the ancient Traditional teachings of the Catholic Church support his heterodox idea (nor his other novel and heterodox idea regarding Christ’s sufferings during his descent into Hell – see the John P. Joy reference above).

Von Balthasar’s heterodoxy, which Fr. Barron subscribes to and promotes, does nothing but undermine the seriousness with which we all need to view sin and Hell. It also makes a mockery of what St. Paul was inspired to write in Philippians 2:12 – “… work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

I’m eagerly awaiting your rejoinder….

Pax et benedictiones tibi, per Christum Dominum nostrum,

Steve B
Plano, TX

tantamergo - December 5, 2011

I believe I stated that the Lord can save whom He wills. But the Church believes that while Christ died for many (pro multis), there is great evidence that the number of the saved may be small. Certainly, as I stated in the post, many Saints believed such, and, possibly, continue to believe so in Heaven. Christ Himself stated that many would be called, but few chosen, and that the way is narrow and hard to salvation, with few entering the gate, while the path to destruction is wide and taken by many. No one is being judged, I’m simply relating what the Church has proclaimed, while maintaining the pious hope that God’s Mercy may be made manifest to all possible. But we know from Sacred Scripture and Tradition that hell exists. Christ related the story of the rich man who died and begged the poor Lazarus for help from Heaven. Until the last century or so, it was never thought by the Church that this rich man would be alone in hell. But modern thought tends to assume that basically anyone can and almost certainly will be saved unless they are one of history’s monsters.

I don’t assume anyone goes to hell, but I pray that all may be converted. It is the Church that has taught – infallibly in one Council and by solemn declarations of at least two popes, that those outside the Church cannot be saved. It is a very long walk from a baptism by desire on a cross next to Jesus to “an atheist living according to his conscience can be saved.” Saved how? Will the atheist, who rejects the entire concept of sin, confess his sins as the penitent thief did? Will the atheist, who claims no need for heavenly aid, confess a desire for conversion? This all encompassing view of baptism by desire is just a mask for indifferentism. I do accept baptism by desire as a means of salvation, but I do not believe that means anyone who has committed serious sins (which is essentially all of us) can just have a sort of vague notion of not wanting to be punished or receiving some form of salvation, or even more, explicitly rejecting the need for such as an atheist would do, can somehow have this desire through some imputed “universal need or assumption” of desiring to be with God. That’s the problem with the statement made by Fr. Barron, he’s claiming that an atheist living by an atheist code of conscience can be saved – I think that is a dangerous assumption to make, at least without a ton, which were not expressed.

15. Janice L - December 5, 2011

Wow! He says hell is a spatial and visual metaphor. It is not a place but rather a state of being. No no no.

tantamergo - December 5, 2011

Yes, thanks. Finally someone who gets it.

Deo Gratias.

16. Mary - December 5, 2011

In this interview he doesn’t deny that women can’t be priests, and reduces the priest to only someone who serves others. No, priests are much more than that, they are supposed to be the ones administering the sacraments, in persona Christi changing the bread and wine to the body and blood, etc.
It should have been a simple “It is impossible for women to be priests” answer.

He is not in line with the whole Truth, either he doesn’t know it or doesn’t want to accept it.

tantamergo - December 5, 2011

I think his discourse on women priests was a pretty good sleight of hand move while also attacking, fundamentally, the main issue that feminists and their allies in the Church are concerned about – power. I’d prefer a much more forceful denunciation of this whole women priest issue, but that’s me – Barron always like the flanking maneuver to the frontal assault. Of course, a women’s priesthood supporter might ask – wouldn’t a woman be in a better position to be a Saint as a priest? That would be in line with their clericalist anti-clericalism and false, but it would be an immediate comeback that would parry much of Barron’s very urbane thrust. For my preference, Barron tries to hard to be intellectual, to be adroit, always looking for the side avenue to make his case rather than just lay out Church Doctrine. Maybe it’s effective, I don’t know. Doesn’t do alot for me.

The bit about the priesthood is not how I would put it. Priests do exist in part to make the laity holy – that is the job of the priest with a public apostolate. But many priests serve in a private capacity, offering up prayers and sacrifice to God, especially via the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The #1 job for priests and everyone is to give praise and glory to God. A priest can do that privately, or publicly through the mission of saving souls. Of course, a private priest can pray for the saving of souls, but has a less direct role.

Again, I think in the interest of cutting a new path, establishing some new vision of the Faith, Barron is always looking for some subtle nuance or some different tack to explain things. I get tired head listening to him after 10 minutes, not because I’m a brain dead rube that can’t comprehend what he’s saying, but because it’s just not an approach that appeals to me. I’m certain he’d be very well received in many elite settings. I geuss us dumb ace state school engineers just aren’t cut out for such high-falootin talkifyin’.

17. Janice L - December 6, 2011

After listening to him he does not appeal. Priest’s are more than just there to serve the laity. They are to offer up a sacrifice to God. None of the apostles were educated. Yet, we see arrogant, educated priests who are in it for themselves, power and prestiege. His drop is he is overly confident in himself. Thanks for sharing this information!


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