Against Hope in Damnation

In the wake of all the controversy revolving around Fr. Baron's remarks about von Balthasar, I thought it would be appropriate to try to add an Eastern voice to all this commotion.All this aggression and name calling with regards to von Balthasar's universalist hope raises an interesting question, why are we so bothered by the idea of hell being empty?  Most arguments against this manner of thinking about the unfortunate part of the here-after makes a claim that von Balthasar (and Fr. Barron … [Read more...]

Stealing Paradise

On this most solemn and sacred of days, the day in which the Church remembers the violent death of Her Spouse and Lord, we are accustomed to the Passion narratives (in the West)  and the lengthy and ornate funeral procession (in the East).  But today marks not only the death of the only truly innocent man to walk the earth, but also the death of the first saint of the Church.  No, I don't mean Jesus, God is far above the saints, I mean Dismas.  Also known as Titus, Zoatham, Demas, and Rach, dep … [Read more...]

A Revaluation of Hell

Hell is one of those topics that makes people uncomfortable, like the female reproductive system, prostate exams, or being asked personal questions by complete strangers.  However, unlike these other uncomfortable things, many people don't believe in Hell.  Many Christians in fact don't believe in Hell.  But I'm a little confused by this rejection.  So, in an attempt to understand, I think  it might be necessary to address the evil elephant cloud in the room and finally ask the question; what is … [Read more...]

The Miracle of St. Paul

The Scriptures are filled with miracles, stories of great deeds being done for Israel and the early followers of Christ.  Miracles in the Bible can be said to fit into two categories: ones everyone talks about, and ones no one's thought about.  Sure, everyone knows the parting of the Red Sea, the water to wine, and the virgin birth; but how much time do we spend discussing the teaching of St. Paul?To understand this truly bizarre miracle we first need to understand who St. Paul is, in r … [Read more...]

Ecce Homo

Pontius Pilate is perhaps the least talked about figure in the New Testament.  It's strange that so little is said about the man who in effect condemned Christ to death, the death which would become for Christians, the source of salvation for all mankind.  However, despite all of this, his role in Christian thought is reduced to a brief mention during Holy Week, and an even more brief mention in the creed.  In light of his importance to the Paschal mystery, I should think that the mysterious li … [Read more...]

Angels, Jews and the Fear of the Lord.

Any one who has been properly Catechized (and even those who haven't) should be able to tell you that Christ is truly present in the Mass.  Now, to some of us that means that a friendly, cheerful, "buddy-Jesus" comes down during the consecration and dwells mystically among us.  While this is true, it's also lacking the fullness of what is truly going on.  For others, more informed others, it means Christ suffering on the Cross for us.  This is true, as the other was true, but still misses some of … [Read more...]

The Blasphemy of Iconoclasm

One of the oldest questions of Christianity has to be "Is Christ truly God?"  Now, for us who have Apostolic succession, this is a pretty easy question to answer, since there's been council document a-plenty to tell us this.  In fact, even for -most- Protestants, this is an easy question to answer, although they usually aren't sure why they know for certain that Christ is God.  All the same, true Christians know full well that Christ is God.  In fact they have to know, because if Christ isn't God … [Read more...]

What to do About the Old Testament

If you were to gather a group of average American Christians (leaving Theologians, Priests and Preachers out of it) and asked them the benign, but very important question: "Why do we have the Old Testament."  They would all look at each other with much confusion and uncertainty.  You might get a few answers like "the stories are good for the children" or simply "I don't know."  There might also be a few more educated answers like: "the stories are allegories for the spiritual life" or "the pr … [Read more...]