Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thursday in the 5th Week of Easter
Freeing the Burdened or Burdening the Free?

Readings: Acts 15:7-21; Psalm 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 10; John 15:9-11
Picture: CC jenchungee

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  1. Thanks, Fr Chris, for answering my query in an earlier post with this reference to your archive: "More than the observance of any religious regulation, it is through the grace of God in Christ that we are saved."

    Your question, "Who are the pagans – for us today?" is an interesting one. Could the pagans today be people from other religions? Sometimes I wonder, "Does God give his Holy Spirit only to people who profess faith in Jesus Christ? If someone who sincerely seeks God with all his heart, and yet does not know Christ, calls out to Him... wouldn't He respond anyway?"

    But if so, what then is the purpose of Christ coming to die so horribly on the cross and then rise again?

  2. Fr. Chris,

    How does the Anonymous Christian propounded by Karl Rahner fit in with the concept of God's universal love for everyone, for those who do not acknowledge Christ but live as though they are Christians.
    Children of the Light will be drawn to the Light when they die even though they are not baptized. This is the God that I believe in and does not detract from the fact that His grace has helped me to live happier lives than those who did not have the benefit of a Christian baptizm.
    This is a difficult question so any reflection from you would be gratefully accepted.

  3. Hello!

    Thank you for your comments. I'm not sure whom I'm addressing, and whether it's the same person who posted two comments or two different people. It's difficult to keep track of who asked which question in response to which post when everyone chooses to remain anonymous. But just want to share the following:

    (1) Just wish to clarify that in the context of the readings for the day, the word "pagans" refers to non-Jewish "Christians." As such, the reflection is not intended to address the vexed question of whether and how people of other faiths are saved;

    (2) Also, as someone has noted, this particular question is a complex and difficult one, on which whole books have been written, and over which highly learned and well-respected theologians have come to grief. As such, I beg pardon for preferring not to attempt to address it in a brief comment like this.

    (3) I will, however, draw our attention to 2 Timothy 2:3-6, in which we find two beliefs, viz., that Jesus Christ is the only Lord and Savior, and that God wishes for all to be saved. It seems to me that, as regards this particular issue, the challenge for Christian theology is to articulate some way of understanding and living the tension between these two beliefs.

    (4) By the way, to the anonymous Christian (I assume you're Christian) author of the second comment: I may be wrong but doesn't Rahner's concept of the "anonymous Christian" include "those who do not acknowledge Christ but live as though they are Christians?;"

    (5) Finally, just in case you're interested enough in the issue to do some (rather dense) reading on it (or if you need a cure for insomnia), you might visit the blog at and click on the link marked "Dupuis."

    My apologies for this horrendously long comment...


  4. Fr Chris, I tried to read the Dupius document two nights ago. Only managed to reach page 31 of 145. My eyelids became so heavy that I finally let go and entered dreamland. It's quite a great cure for insomnia! ;-)

    I see that I need to understand terms such as modernity, modernism, post-modernism, etc. Still rather clueless as to the answer. Is there a one or two-page summary? Or would you consider running a short seminar on this?

  5. Hi again, Fr Chris. So far, there are two separate Anonymous commenters here. And thanks for the clarification on the meaning of the word "pagans" here.

    I've just finished Chapter Two and find it easier to understand than Chapter One. Now, I wonder whether Adrian Danker will talk about this during the God seminar this weekend.

  6. Recent Times article (April 25, 2008) describes Dupuis as protesting against the Church:

    "Now the Church “is moving backwards”, says Dupuis. His voice rises as he protests. “The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith say that revelation in Jesus Christ is complete, final, definitive and all the rest - but this is impossible ... Revelation in Jesus Christ is unsurpassed and unsurpassable as divine revelation in history, but the full, definitive revelation of God - according to the New Testament - will be at the end of the world ... They don't want to accept that revelation may be found outside Christianity.” "

    Fr Chris, is this true that he said this? Or is this yet another example of journalistic distortion?


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