Saturday, December 29, 2007

What the hell...?

Hell: an artist's rendering

Cormac Cardinal Murphy O'Connor

Hell has long been used as a tool of oppression to keep the flocks of Catholics and Protestants in line by the ecclessiastical authorities. Yet, for the first five hundred years of Church history -- followers of Jesus feared no such thing! Not until Patriarch Mennas of Constantinople condemned several of the teachings of Origen in 544 c.e., and emperor Justinian brought the condemantion to bear in 553 c.e. during the council of Constantinople II (the fifth ecumenical council) were any injunctions against teaching Universal Restoration or Reconciliation punished.

Ironically, in 2005, Cormac Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, reiterated that Universal Salvation was entirely compatible with Catholic teaching and expressed his personal hope for universal salvation. Perhaps this should not be too surprising since the Vatican rescinded the concept (officially it never was a doctrine) of Limbo -- that place where Old Testament saints and unbaptized infants were said to reside. Limbo went the way of the dodo in October 2006. Can hell be far behind?

Yes, the wheels of change grind slow but ultimately God's will is being accomplished "on earth as it is in heaven."

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