Saturday, April 25, 2009

Father John Dietzen gets it wrong...

Father John Dietzen, in a Catholic News Service article entitled "Can Jews, Muslims be saved"* (the answer, of course, is yes), writes, "..we pray constantly in our liturgy that all people will be saved...It is possible, therefore, and something we hope for and desire."

But will everyone be saved? Sacred Scripture, which is interpreted authoritatively by the Church's teaching (a teaching which Fr. Dietzen is obviously unfamiliar with) tells us that not all will be saved. For example, Vatican II teaches that, "Indeed, since we know neither the day nor the hour, it is necessary, as the Lord has warned, to keep watch constantly, so that, having completed the one course of our earthly life (see Heb 9: 27), we may merit to enter the marriage banquet with him and be counted among the blessed (see Mt 25: 31-46) and not be ordered, as bad and lazy servants (see Mt 25: 26), to go down into eternal fire (see Mt 25: 41), into the exterior darkness where there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Mt 22: 13; 25: 30). For, before we reign gloriously with Christ, all of us will appear "before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil" (2 Cor 5: 10), and at the end of the world "those who have done good will go to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil will go to the resurrection of condemnation" (Jn 5: 29; cf. Mt 25: 46)." (Lumen Gentium, No. 48).

In a bit of sarcasm, Fr. Dietzen - responding to Catholics who would object to his idiotic assertion that we may rightfully hope that all are saved by pointing to the private revelation of Fatima where Our Lady showed the children souls suffering in Hell - writes, "Some Catholics point to certain private revelations, such as the apparitions at Fatima, to 'prove' that many people are in hell. That must be right, they claim, because the Church has approved many such revelations. When the Church sanctions private revelations, it is simply saying that there is nothing heretical in them...this does not, however, anoint the content of the revelations as Catholic teaching or doctrine."

This betrays a poor attitude toward private revelation. When it comes to approved private revelation, Pope Benedict XVI said, "..they help us to understand the signs of the times and to respond to them rightly in faith." (Message of Fatima, Theological Commentary,

Our Lady told the children at Fatima, "You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace..." Although strictly speaking, we are not bound as Catholics to accept private revelation (even when the Church has approved of it, see Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 67), still, it would be foolish to reject what the Church has approved. But if Fr. Dietzen cannot bring himself to accept this private revelation, then let him accept the Public Revelation of Sacred Scripture and the Church's authoritative interpretation of that Revelation.

The task of authentically interpreting the Word of God belongs exclusively to the Magisterium of the Church. Not Fr. John Dietzen. Perhaps Father should pray for a little more humility?

* This article may be found on page 5 of The Catholic Free Press.


ACatholicinClinton said...

At times I think Fr. Dietzen isn't much better than Fr. McBrien was. But then, the Catholic Free Press hasn't exactly shown a deep commitment through the years toward promoting and defending the Church's teaching. I don't place a whole lot of trust in the paper and would like to see a new editor and a new staff.

Alex said...

Fr. Dietzen is really saying that Jesus could have been wrong (or He was lying or deluded) when He said that certain people, "..will go off to eternal punishment .." (Matthew 25:46). That is just incredible. Who "anointed" the content of his theological opinions? I guess he prefers his own theories to Catholic teaching and the word of Our Lady and the Fatima seers who were shown hell.

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