Monday, January 07, 2008

Von Balthasar and the New Theologians

I came across this passage from the New Oxford Review article, "Whatever Became of Hell" by Hurd Baruch. The article states:

"One of the leaders of the attack on the actuality of eternal damnation was the late Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar. He tried to overturn the literal language of the Gospels and 20 centuries of Tradition by proclaiming not only that we should hope that all men are saved, but that there are grounds in Scripture for believing that they are saved. Our late Holy Father, John Paul II, who was much taken with von Balthasar's ideas..."

Now, one theologian I greatly admire, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, fought vigorously against these New Theologians. He saw in them something dangerous. Where I studied theology, Von Balthasar and his ilk are exalted. They are exemplars. However it is not uncommon to find some novelty in their theologies. Here is one such example. It is widely known that Von Balthasar made this assertion, that not only should we hope for the salvation of all but that we can believe it. He may have known just how to tip-toe so as to not incur the anathema of the Church, who has rejected the idea of universalism. As Hurd notes, our late Pope John Paul II was especially beholden to Von Balthasar.

These are the theologians many of her orthodox Catholic universities extol and lift up, those who fancy novelty more than the traditions of our Faith. It is sad that a respected theologian would say that we have ground to believe that all will be saved.

In closing, it is good to recall the visions Our Lord grant to St. Faustina as recounted by Hurd in his article:

Sr. Faustina, as set forth above, related in her diary her detailed vision of Hell, and wrote that the number of souls she saw falling into the abyss was "so great that it was impossible to count them," and that "most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell." She further related that Jesus had said to her: "There are souls who despise My graces as well as all the proofs of My love. They do not wish to hear My call, but proceed into the abyss of hell. The loss of these souls plunges Me into deadly sorrow. God though I am, I cannot help such a soul because it scorns Me; having a free will, it can spurn Me or love Me."

The belief in the reality of eternal damnation is part of our Faith, not because we are pessimists or because we're especially gloomy, but because we are hung up on truth and reality. We cannot dismiss those souls who reject Christ and who remain in sin until and including their death. It is necessary for us to not reject it so as to have a proper outlook on life, to view sin with the necessary hatred, to abhor evil and to fear the One Who is to be Our Judge - the One Whom we hope will accept us in His mercy so long as we follow in His ways.

Oh that Our Lord would grant us, in His great good, true theologians who will be faithful to the Tradition before them, free of novelties and inventions! Many good things are happening in the Church. More and more people are seeing the emptiness and deception of these novelties and errors. Let us always pray to the Lord for His salvation in troubled times. At all times He is our refuge and our hope.

Pax Christi tecum.


Tim A. Troutman said...

We'd do well to hear "Hell" and dare we say "Satan" more often in our homilies.

StBasil said...

Yes, I absolutely agree. I think we need to be reminded of these realities often not so we fall into despair but so we realize our need for Christ.

Pax Christi tecum.