Saturday, September 29, 2012

Welcome Nathan!

I just wanted to take a moment to welcome Nathan to the CathApol Blog!  I hope you'll find Nathan's insights as interesting and informative as I have.

Welcome aboard!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fellowship of the Unashamed

Unashamed

This week I would like to recommend that we all take the time to learn more about what we believe so that we may have answers (or at least know where to go for an answer) to any and all who would question us of our hope and faith (1 Pet 3:15).  Continuing with last week’s theme on evangelizing in deed AND in word, I bring you a Mission Statement that we all need to be following.
Mission Statement
THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE UNASHAMED
I AM A PART of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.
The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is in God’s hands. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, the bare minimum, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, frivolous living, selfish giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, applause, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, the best, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith. I lean on Christ’s presence. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with the power of God’s grace.
My face is set. My gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear.
I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give until I drop, speak out until all know, and work until He stops me.
And when He returns for His own, He will have no difficulty recognizing me. My banner is clear: I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.
Adapted from the original (author unknown) by Patrick Madrid
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Resources:
Posted by Nathan


Pick up your Cross


Pick up your Cross






In verse 14 of the second chapter of James we find him asking the rhetorical question that if someone has faith but does not have works can that faith save him?  Of course the implied answer is no it can’t.  So what kind of works are we talking about here?  It’s those kinds of works that are using the talents given to us to help others.  This way we can increase the richness of the Kingdom of God here on Earth.

Indeed Jesus described the kingdom of heaven, in the parable of the bags of gold, as a man going on a journey and entrusted his wealth to his servants.  Each were given an amount according to their ability (Matt 25:14-30).  The Lord entrusts His servants with tasks according to their abilities which means we will never be asked to do something that we aren’t able to do with His Help.  If we purposely avoid using these abilities in such a way as to simply keep the status quo, that is, not easing the suffering of others or bringing them to Christ and so on, then when the master returns (that is at our judgment) we will be judged worthless (Matt 25:30).  But if we do those things that He has prepared in advance for us to do (Eph 2:10) then we have reason to hope that at our judgment we will hear the Lord say: “Well done my good and faithful servant” (Mat 25:23).

In fact, Jesus never said that it was going to be easy once we have faith, He said that we are to pick up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23).  He even told us through James that if we do not do the works that we are tasked to do then our faith is a dead faith (James 2:20).  We still have faith but it’s dead.  A living faith is what is needed to be judged righteous before God.  This living faith is simply defined as a faith which has works.

Now, in the Gospel reading of today we find Jesus  letting the Apostles know that He is indeed the Christ and then summons a crowd and tells them “whoever wishes to follow me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)  Jesus is now in Heaven and so if we wish to follow Him there, we must do as He did.  We must pick up our cross and follow him.  If we do this then we not only believe in His Word but also DO as He did.  He gave everything of Himself for others; we are to do the same.  His Church is to do the same.

Do you see now how important good works are for our own good and that of the Church?  These works are only possible because God gives us the abilities to do what He asks of us but we still need to DO them.  It’s true that “…it is by grace [we]  have been saved, through faith—and this is not from [ourselves], it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph 2:8-9) Yes, this is true but the very next verse is also true, that “…we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”(v.10)

So God has prepared in advance for us to do good works, it is His Will that we do them.  Jesus said that those who believe but do not do His Will won’t enter heaven.  He says “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Mat 7:21)  Let us do good works, making disciples of all nations by baptizing evangelizing the world! (Mat 28:19)
Nathan

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Catholic Baptism


As this child was being baptized the water forms the image of a Rosary!  This was posted by a Ferde in the Catholic Debate Forum who got it from his wife.  I'm not sure of the origin, but there you have it!  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sun God Worship?


This was originally published on the Catholic Debate Forum (CDF), but the online pictures did not turn out, so I republished here as well.  Feel free to comment here on the blog or in CDF.

On Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 5:25 PM, Scott Windsor wrote:
sw: Even if you're accusing us of subliminally worshiping a sun god - you accuse us falsely.  Even when the Protestants split from the Catholic Church they did not accuse Catholicism of worshiping a sun god - this sounds like it came straight out of a Chick tract.  Where are you getting your information?
sw:  Yep, I thought I recognized it...


sw:  The term "transubstantiation" did not exist until the 14th century - AD.  Catholics do not believe in "magic" here - we believe in the declaration of God Himself.  Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, declares "This IS My body" and we have faith and BELIEVE Him! 


sw:  Lots of things are "disk shaped" - like the tires on my car, but that doesn't mean I worship my tires!  Chick's argument here is so juvenile - who is really so gullible to believe these jokes?


sw:  1) The age of the communicant is a tradition of the Latin/Western Church.  Eastern Rites actually participate in infant communion.  Mr. Chick is simply misinformed on this point.

sw:  2) Again, we do not believe in "magic" here.  Mr. Chick wants to conjure up thoughts of magic and witchcraft (another common theme he utilizes) because he knows that most Protestants are aware that magic and witchcraft are condemned by Scripture.  Catholics, again, do not believe in magic - we believe in the authority of God through God the Son, whom declared, while holding a piece of bread, "This IS My body."  Catholics do not rationalize their way around this very clear statement of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we just accept it on FAITH.

sw:  3) Mr. Chick, demonstrating even more ignorance, does not seem to realize that "IHS" are Greek letters and are the first letters of the name "Jesus:"
The IHS monogram is an abbreviation or shortening of Jesus' name in Greek to the first three letters. Thus ΙΗΣΟΥΣ, ιησυς (iēsus, "Jesus"), is shortened to ΙΗΣ (iota-eta-sigma), sometimes transliterated into Latin or English characters as IHS or ΙΗC. [Disclaimer, not a Catholic site: http://www.jesuswalk.com/christian-symbols/ihs.htm]
The use of this monogram or Christogram, though rare use is found in the catacombs (burial and worship place for Christians prior to the conversion of Rome) was not popularly used until the 14th century - AD - again exemplifying Chick's ignorance of history.  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07649a.htm

sw: 4) I am aware of no "law" which says Catholics "must" bow down and worship the appearance of God in the Eucharist - but why would we NOT bow down and worship that which we believe IS God?  It would be wholly inconsistent of us to NOT bow down and adore God Himself!

sw:  5) There are other similarities between Osiris and Jesus, namely the myth of Osiris is that he was resurrected from the dead - so based upon Chick-logic - the very heart of Christendom, the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, is really pagan Osiris worship.  The slippery slope that Chick starts upon destroys all of Christianity, not just Catholicism - IF it were true.

sw: 6) What "upsets" me is that some people actually believe in the lies Jack Chick publishes...  I know, I was one of them at one time.

In JMJ,
Scott<<<

PS- The use of the images from Chick tracts is permitted through the "Fair Use" as defined by the U.S. Copyright Office:  http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

Pope Blessed John Paul II and Universalism, Part One

In April, 2011, Scott published a post on whether or not the process for sainthood on Pope Blessed John Paul II was moving too fast.  To a vocal minority, some of John Paul’s actions and words may seem be to be too controversial for his cause for sainthood to go forward right now.  The perception of unorthodox behavior bothers some.  I do not intend to go over the whole post again.  I find that people jumping to the wrong conclusions seem to be winning the day.  Maybe the old practice of not even hearing a cause for sainthood until fifty years after the person is dead should have been one of the stipulations that remained in the process. 

Well, on to the defense of Pope John Paul II…Did he teach universalism?  

Let’s make this clear Universalism is a heresy.  It is not taught by the Catholic Church.  What is Universalism? 

1 often capitalized

a: a theological doctrine that all human beings will eventually be saved

b: the principles and practices of a liberal Christian denomination founded in the 18th century originally to uphold belief in universal salvation and now united with Unitarianism

Once called Apocatastasis:

A name given in the history of theology to the doctrine which teaches that a time will come when all free creatures will share in the grace of salvation; in a special way, the devils and lost souls.

This was never the teaching of Pope John Paul II; that will be shown in this four part series. 

Here are the quotations, as they appeared in the original post:   

4) It is asserted that Pope John Paul II taught universalism (a heresy) in at least the following documents:

John Paul II, Redemptor Hominis (# 13), March 4, 1979:
“We are dealing with each man, for each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and with each one Christ has united Himself forever through this mystery.”

John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio (# 4), Dec. 7, 1990:
“The Redemption event brings salvation to all, ‘for each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and with each one Christ has united himself forever through this mystery.’”

John Paul II, Centesimus Annus (# 53) May 1, 1991:
“We are not dealing here with man in the ‘abstract,’ but with the real, ‘concrete,’ ‘historical’ man. We are dealing with each individual, since each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and through this mystery Christ has united himself with each one forever.”

John Paul II, Homily, June 6, 1985:
"The Eucharist is the sacrament of the convenant of the Body and Blood of Christ, of the convenant which is eternal. This is the covenant which embraces all. This Blood reaches all and saves all."
Published in: L' Osservatore Romano, July 1, 1985, p. 3

Are these teachings in universalism? Would, or should, such teachings derail the canonization process?
Where did this list of out of context statements come from?  In fact, I found these quotes as exactly as they appear here in a paper written by a sede vacantist dissenter on his website.  (I will provide the name and website to anyone who writes me; however, because of the anti-Catholic-Church nature of the website, I do not wish to perpetuate this man’s works).  This alone makes the attempt to make these statements seem as if Pope John Paul II was Universalist, suspect.  Now let’s get on with analyzing the quotations themselves.   

Starting with the first three first, the author will deal with the fourth quote, the one from his June 6, 1985 homily, separately.  The irony of the first three quotes is this, Redemptor Hominis is the original quote; the other two quotes are John Paul II referencing the first quote in Redemptor Hominis.  In other words, they are actually all the same statement in three different contexts.

Now, let’s look at context, shall we?  Now in section 13 of Redemptor Hominis we need to back up a little.  First off, this is the first section of ‘Chapter III: Redeemed Man and His Situation in the Modern World.’  The name of this chapter indicates that Pope John Paul II was addressing “redeemed man” and his relationship with the rest of mankind. 

Earlier in section thirteen, Pope John Paul II quotes the Vatican II document Gaudium et spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) section 22.  JPII writes “Christ the Lord indicated this way [the one single way] especially, when, as the Council teaches, “by his Incarnation, he, the Son of God, in a certain way united himself with each man.”” [i]  It may, on the surface seem like universalism, but this is reading it, at worst with a bit of bigotry, at best out of context. Now, if we look at GS 22, it says: 

He Who is "the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1:15),(21) is Himself the perfect man. To the sons of Adam He restores the divine likeness which had been disfigured from the first sin onward. Since human nature as He assumed it was not annulled,(22) by that very fact it has been raised up to a divine dignity in our respect too. For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man. He worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind, acted by human choice(23) and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin.(24)[ii]

The Council is referring to the Incarnation, and, because the Word became Flesh (John 1), He is united to every man in a different way than a Spirit can be united with him.  He worked, He thought, He acted, and He loved as a human.  That is how He is united to every man.  He understands us and knows us in a different way than He could have before.  The Council is not speaking of Universalism, but rather the nature of Jesus Christ’s humanity.  He was truly man, and that humanity “has been raised up to a divine dignity in our respect too.”[iii]
 

Now let’s look at the Redemptor Hominis statement once again:  “We are dealing with each man, for each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and with each one Christ has united Himself forever through this mystery.”  Here is the previous paragraph (to the one which contains the quote in question) in its entirity:
 
When we penetrate by means of the continually and rapidly increasing experience of the human family into the mystery of Jesus Christ, we understand with greater clarity that there is at the basis of all these ways that the Church of our time must follow, in accordance with the wisdom of Pope Paul VI86, one single way: it is the way that has stood the test of centuries and it is also the way of the future. Christ the Lord indicated this way especially, when, as the Council teaches, "by his Incarnation, he, the Son of God, in a certain way united himself with each man"87. The Church therefore sees its fundamental task in enabling that union to be brought about and renewed continually. The Church wishes to serve this single end: that each person may be able to find Christ, in order that Christ may walk with each person the path of life, with the power of the truth about man and the world that is contained in the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption and with the power of the love that is radiated by that truth. Against a background of the ever increasing historical processes, which seem at the present time to have results especially within the spheres of various systems, ideological concepts of the world and regimes, Jesus Christ becomes, in a way, newly present, in spite of all his apparent absences, in spite of all the limitations of the presence and of the institutional activity of the Church. Jesus Christ becomes present with the power of the truth and the love that are expressed in him with unique unrepeatable fullness in spite of the shortness of his life on earth and the even greater shortness of his public activity.[iv]

The bolded statement is the quote from Gaudium et spes; while the line marked in blue, shows Pope John Paul II's statement on how Christ’s Incarnation affects all of humanity, and how it is the specific mission of the Church that each and every person find Christ through this special mystery.  There is no indication here that John Paul II believes that all men will be saved.  He states that it is the wish and mission of the Church that all mankind be saved. 

In his supposed Universalist statement, John Paul II is actually referring back to the above and the next paragraph of section 13, which states that “Jesus Christ is the chief way for the Church.  He himself is our way “to the Father’s house”[v] and is the way to each man.”  He continues on to speak of the Church’s concern for every man’s welfare and dignity and how she is “a sign and a safeguard of the transcendence of the human person”[vi] without regard to political systems.  

Now the actual paragraph from with the “controversial” quote came from says as follows:

Accordingly, what is in question here is man in all his truth, in his full magnitude. We are not dealing with the "abstract" man, but the real, "concrete", "historical" man. We are dealing with "each" man, for each one is included in the mystery of the Redemption and with each one Christ has united himself for ever through this mystery. Every man comes into the world through being conceived in his mother's womb and being born of his mother, and precisely on account of the mystery of the Redemption is entrusted to the solicitude of the Church. Her solicitude is about the whole man and is focused [sic] on him in an altogether special manner. The object of her care is man in his unique unrepeatable human reality, which keeps intact the image and likeness of God himself92.  The Council points out this very fact when, speaking of that likeness, it recalls that "man is the only creature on earth that God willed for itself"93. Man as "willed" by God, as "chosen" by him from eternity and called, destined for grace and glory-this is "each" man, "the most concrete" man, "the most real"; this is man in all the fullness of the mystery in which he has become a sharer in Jesus Christ, the mystery in which each one of the four thousand million human beings living on our planet has become a sharer from the moment he is conceived beneath the heart of his mother.[vii]
John Paul II is clearly stating that he, like the Council, is not speaking in abstracts; he is speaking about real men.  Because of the Incarnation, not only has Christ elevated the dignity of man but He has entrusted every man to His Church.  Man is made in the image of God, and His Church is given the task of keeping that image and likeness “intact”.  The Church is to respect and preserve the dignity of man and bring “each man” to Christ.  So, when John Paul II speaks of Christ being united forever with each man, he is speaking of the dignified status His Incarnation has given each man.  In no way can what John Paul II said be construed as Universalism, except by taking that one statement out of context and twisting it into that meaning.  He does not state that this unity (through the mystery of the Incarnation) equates to the salvation of all.


[i] Vatican Council II: Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 22: AAS 58 ( 1966) 1042  http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_cons_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html
[ii] Ibid.  Footnotes for GS 22:  21. Cf. 2 Cor. 4:4.  22. Cf. Second Council of Constantinople, canon 7: "The divine Word was not changed into a human nature, nor was a human nature absorbed by the Word." Denzinger 219 (428); Cf. also Third Council of Constantinople: "For just as His most holy and immaculate human nature, though deified, was not destroyed (theotheisa ouk anerethe), but rather remained in its proper state and mode of being": Denzinger 291 (556); Cf. Council of Chalcedon:" to be acknowledged in two natures, without confusion change, division, or separation." Denzinger 148 (302).  23. Cf. Third Council of Constantinople: "and so His human will, though deified, is not destroyed": Denzinger 291 (556). 24. Cf. Heb. 4:15.  http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_cons_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html
[iii] Ibid.
[iv] Redemptor Hominis, 13.  86. Cf. Pope Paul VI: Encyclical Ecclesiam Suam: AAS 56 (1964) 609-659.  87. V atican Council II: Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 22: AAS 58 ( 1966) 1042.
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_04031979_redemptor-hominis_en.html
[v] Cf. Jn 14:1ff.
[vi] GS 76
[vii] LG 13 footnotes: 92. Cf. Gen 1:26.  93. GS 24; AAS 5B (1966) 1045.

Pope Blessed John Paul II and Universalism, Part Two


Now, let’s go on to the other two quotes, which are actually John Paul referring back to his own encyclical Redemtor Hominis.  In fact in Redemptoris missio, John Paul II is reiterating the Church’s missionary mandate.  Here is the relevant passage with the supposed controversial statement highlighted:
4. In my first encyclical, in which I set forth the program of my Pontificate, I said that "the Church's fundamental function in every age, and particularly in ours, is to direct man's gaze, to point the awareness and experience of the whole of humanity toward the mystery of Christ."4
The Church's universal mission is born of faith in Jesus Christ, as is stated in our Trinitarian profession of faith: "I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father.... For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man."5 The redemption event brings salvation to all, "for each one is included in the mystery of the redemption and with each one Christ has united himself forever through this mystery."6 [Note: Quote from RH 13]  It is only in faith that the Church's mission can be understood and only in faith that it finds its basis.[i]
In the context of the Church’s missionary mandate, that is “to point the awareness and experience of the whole of humanity toward the mystery of Christ,” it can be seen that “the redemption event brings salvation to all” is in reference to the missionary mandate of the Church.  Because of the Incarnation, man’s salvation is within reach of every man, and it is His Church’s mission to bring that message to every man.  Just as Jesus Christ said in John chapter three, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall have everlasting life.” (Jn 3:16 from memory of KJV)  While God knows that not all of the “whosoever” will believe, it is the Church’s mission to act as if everyone is meant to be saved. 


[i] Redemptoris mission, 4.  Footnotes:  4. Encyclical Letter Redemtor Hominis, 10.  5. Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed: DS 150.  6. Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis, 13.

Pope Blessed John Paul II and Universalism, Part Three


The third so-called Universalist quote is from Centesimus annus:

 53. Faced with the poverty of the working class, Pope Leo XIII wrote: "We approach this subject with confidence and in the exercise of the rights which manifestly pertain to us ... By keeping silence we would seem to neglect the duty incumbent on us".107 During the last hundred years the Church has repeatedly expressed her thinking, while closely following the continuing development of the social question. She has certainly not done this in order to recover former privileges or to impose her own vision. Her sole purpose has been care and responsibility for man, who has been entrusted to her by Christ himself: for this man, whom, as the Second Vatican Council recalls, is the only creature on earth which God willed for its own sake, and for which God has his plan, that is, a share in eternal salvation. We are not dealing here with man in the "abstract", but with the real, "concrete", "historical" man. We are dealing with each individual, since each one is included in the mystery of Redemption, and through this mystery Christ has united himself with each one for ever.108  [Note: quote from RH 13]  It follows that the Church cannot abandon man, and that "this man is the primary route that the Church must travel in fulfilling her mission ... the way traced out by Christ himself, the way that leads invariably through the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption".109

This, and this alone, is the principle which inspires the Church's social doctrine. The Church has gradually developed that doctrine in a systematic way, above all in the century that has followed the date we are commemorating, precisely because the horizon of the Church's whole wealth of doctrine is man in his concrete reality as sinful and righteous.[i]
This Encyclical is a Letter on the Rerum novarum by Pope Leo XIII on its hundredth anniversary.  Centisimus annus was Pope John Paul’s way of “re-reading” Pope Leo’s encyclical by inviting a “look back at the text itself in order to discover anew the richness of the fundamental principles which it formulated for dealing with the question of the condition of workers.”[ii]  Rerum novarum was a very important document in its day and continues to be, in the Church, a good reference point for many worker’s rights and social justice issues that crop up in modern society and how the Church should face these problems in the light of the Gospel.

Here again, Bl. John Paul II refers to the Incarnation, quoting his own Redemptor Hominis.  The Incarnation dignified man because of Christ's Redemption.  We, people of the Body of Christ, need to look on every man as part of Christ’s mystery of Redemption, so that we treat all workers fairly and within the dictates of Christ’s Gospel.  Bl. John Paul, again, does not want his readers to see “man” as an abstract mass, but, seen through the lens of the Incarnation, as individuals, each reflecting to us the image of God.  Here, again, Bl. John Paul II is not stating that all men will be saved, but that through the Incarnation each and every man has a special connection with Christ.  We should see all man that way.  It should spark the missionary mandate in the Church; it dictates the principles of the Church’s social doctrine.


[i] Encyclical Letter Centesimus annus, 53.  Footnotes:  107. Encyclical Letter Rerum Novarum: loc. cit., 107.  108. Cf. Encyclical Letter RedemptorHominis, 13.  109. Ibid., 14.
[ii] Ibid. 3.

Pope Blessed John Paul II and Universalism, Part Four


Now, let’s take a look at Pope John Paul II’s homily of June 1, 1985.  Here it is as it appeared in Scott’s original post:

"The Eucharist is the sacrament of the convenant of the Body and Blood of Christ, of the convenant which is eternal. This is the covenant which embraces all. This Blood reaches all and saves all."

I could not find this homily online except on some anti-Catholic websites that only quote this portion of the homily.  It is in Italian on the Vatican website.  I used Google Translate to translate it into English, so bear this in mind.  Here is the passage as translated:

The Eucharist: Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, the covenant, which is eternal.
This is the covenant that everyone understands. This blood reaches all and saves all.

Yes, on the surface it may seem as if John Paul is embracing Universalism, but it must be taken out of the context of the homily to be seen that way.  However, even with just this part of the homily taken out of context, my version says that it is the “covenant that everyone understands”  (Questa è l’alleanza che tutti comprende.) not “This is the covenant which embraces all.” From what little Latin I know, my Google Translate translation seems to be a better one.  Now, really does everyone understand the Eucharist?  Is it a slight hyperbole here or perhaps it pertains to his target audience--the Catholic faithful at a Catholic Mass?  He is speaking a homily at a Catholic Mass.  Everyone at the Mass would understand what he was talking about, to the extend any Catholic understands the greatest mystery of our Faith--the Eucharist.

Blessed John Paul II gave this homily, on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, June 6, 1985, at the Basilica of St. John Lateran.  He begins the homily in reminding those at Mass of the New Covenant—the Blood of Jesus Christ (Mk 14: 24).   He also says that the Lateran “has become the upper room of the Church of Rome”.[i]  He reviews what happened in the upper room and repeats the institution of the Eucharist by Jesus Christ (Mk 14:22-24).[ii]  He relates the New Covenant to the Old Covenant with its blood sacrifices.[iii]  He talks about the mediator and high priest of the New Covenant, Christ.[iv] 

He goes on to say, “The Sacrament of the Body and Blood is the Sacrament of the street, of the path along which man goes to his eternal destiny in God Himself.  The way that the life immersed in temporality of life that passes [away] brings us to eternal life.”[v]  Bl. John Paul sees the Eucharist as accessible to anyone to come to Christ in faith.  “…the Eucharist is the Sacrament of the street [and] the path along which we [are] guided to the God of the Covenant.”[vi]

In paragraph 6, we see a clue to what John Paul says in paragraph 7 (quoted in the original post).  He said, “We wish to testify in the middle [midst?] of our community, and we want to say to all men: the way of Man is the way of eternal life.”  He is saying that the Eucharist is available to all, and that the only way to eternal life is "the way of Man"--one of Jesus Christ's titles is 'Son of Man' making it obvious to me at least that "the way of Man" is the way of Jesus Christ.  This has been the constant teaching of the Church; the Eucharist is the center of worship. 

Even if we use the translation from the original post, we can break it down this way:

The Eucharist is the sacrament of the convenant [sic] of the Body and Blood of Christ, of the convenant which is eternal.

 The Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ is eternal.  If we believe Christ is God, another constant doctrine of the Church, He is eternal.  Though His Incarnation was bound in time, the Son of God is not bound by those limits.  The Sacrament takes on the eternity of the One of Whom it consists—Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity.  This covenant, as all of God's covenants are, is eternal.

This is the covenant which embraces all.

Jesus Christ did intend the covenant to be for all men.  After all He did commission the Twelve to, “Go out and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”  So, the covenant does embrace all.  Bl. John Paul cannot be construed to mean that this covenant saves all.  But, let’s go on to the last statement:

This Blood reaches all and saves all.

It may seem that John Paul is stating that the Eucharistic covenant saves all--every human being who ever lived.  However, in the context of this homily, he is stating that the Blood reaches all and saves all but not in the context of  universality.  He is preaching to Catholics.  It is to them that "this Blood" reaches and saves.  It is the Church’s mission to bring the Sacrament and the Covenant to all--each and every one.  It cannot reach all if it is not brought.  It cannot save all if it is not consumed (I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread will live forever "(Jn 6: 51)).[vii] 

Again, is this the “covenant everyone understands?”  Few Catholics understand it; we cannot expect the entire world to understand it.  It is reading too much into John Paul’s words to say that he meant that the Eucharist would save the entire human race, despite their sin, their creed, or their lack of belief in the Eucharist.

In conclusion, it is definitely a misconception to believe that Pope John Paul II’s statements about each man being related to Christ in the Incarnation (and redemption) meant that he was supportive of Universalism.  In addition, his homily on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ was certainly not supportive of it either.  These statements were taken out of their context(s).  It was argued that appearances can affect how we see the cause for sainthood for this holy man, Bl. John Paul II.  However, it is equally, perhaps even more so, true that just because something is repeated in the media or, in this case, online, doesn’t make it so.  The charge of Universalism is completely false. 


[i] John Paul II, Liturgy of the Eucharist in Piazza San Giovanni Lateran, Homily, 1.  That room, the place of the Last Supper, is called the Upper Room. Each year the Church in Rome meets at his cathedral, the Basilica of the Lateran, to celebrate the memorial of the Last Supper: Holy Thursday. This place has become the upper room of the Church of Rome.”  Translated by Cathmom5 using Google Translate, Sept. 20, 2012.
[ii] Ibid., 2.  Even today we are in this place. We are all here, to renew the memory of the sacrament through which Jesus gave to mankind his body and his blood as food and drink.  This year we renew the memory of the institution of the Eucharist, reading the Gospel according to Mark.” [Translated by Cathmom5 using Google Translate.]  He goes on to quote Mark 14:22-24.
[iii] Ibid., 3.  Referencing Exodus 24:7-8.
[iv] Ibid., 4. “ In the Upper Room in Jerusalem Christ is manifested mediator of the new covenant, he "who with his own blood" must go "once for all into the sanctuary. . . thus securing an eternal redemption "(Heb 9: 12). The mediator of the new covenant.  The high priest of good things to come. Christ, "who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse. . . conscience from dead works to serve the living God "(Heb 9: 14)….”
[v] Ibid., 5.
[vi] Ibid., 6.
[vii] Ibid., 6.