More Thoughts on Church Rhetoric and Universalism

6 August 2008

Here I wrote a bit about how the Progressive/Affirming Catholic camp needs an approach that is faithful.

One of things that I find troubling and challenging is how opponents of our positions label us heretics.

St. Gregory of Nyssa is looked at as a Father of the Church and Origen is a heretic.

Both argued for universalism and neither wished to argue for anything that was not true.

The who’s-faithful/who’s not question is far, far more complicated than those in the traditionalist side admit.

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One Response to “More Thoughts on Church Rhetoric and Universalism”


  1. Of course the church fathers and other theologian saints have believed and taught things our holy mother the church (Catholics say) later determined were wrong such as apocatastasis. I think Origen had more problems that St Gregory. Didn’t Origen castrate himself? Also he taught the pre-existence of the soul.

    I’m careful throwing around the word heretic. According to the church a formal heretic isn’t one’s Uncle Harry with goofy views but somebody who’s been taught enough to know better, is in a position of authority and trust, and has been warned by the church.

    That said, Protestants, including high-church ones such as many Affirming Catholics who hold the creeds and like the same liturgical life as Catholics, are in material heresy.

    But the frontiers of the church are an interesting problem!

    Rome explains that all those who are baptised are in the church but Protestants for example are not fully in it.

    Looking at Orthodoxy there’s St Isaac of Nineveh who was in the Assyrian (Nestorian) Church, out of communion with the Orthodox. Yet he’s a canonised Orthodox saint. There are fringe schisms from Orthodoxy like the Old Believers and nationalist ones, out of communion but still ‘in the family’. ‘We know where the church is but can’t say where it is not’ to use a favourite Orthodox quotation.

    The servant of Tash was faithful, or not all who say ‘Aslan, Aslan!’ will end up with him, to use examples from C.S. Lewis.

    According to your Progressive/Affirming Catholic theology is somebody who rejects gay marriage a heretic? Earlier we agreed it’s one of many communion-breaking issues.

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