The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Dare We Hope...

I've been reading and re-reading a lot of von Balthasar lately, something that demands far more mental effort than I am accustomed to expending. For those of you who might not be familiar with him, Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) was among the leading Catholic theologians of the 20th century. A native of Switzerland, he wrote well over 100 books on all things theological, and is certainly one of the leading figures behind ressourcement theology (sometimes called la nouvelle théologie or the new theology) that had so much impact on the Second Vatican Council. Briefly, the ressourcement theologians believed that theology must relate to the challenges faced by the Church today and can best do so by recovering the Church's vibrant past. In other words it called for a return to the "sources," the rediscovery of the Church's sacred tradition.

I am currently reading one of von Balthasar's more controversial books, Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved? I suspect it's controversial because it has been misunderstood by so many, who seem to think that von Balthasar is making a case for universal salvation when he is doing nothing of the sort. I considered writing a few explanatory paragraphs on the subject when I stumbled across the following two videos by the incomparable Fr. Robert Barron. They provide a brief (each is about 12 minutes long) two-part overview of von Balthasar's thought and theology. I can promise you will not regret taking the time to watch them:

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