Wait... did Pope Benedict field-goal Origen in 2007??



While doing some research on other topics I ran across this.

Not terribly surprisingly, Pope Benedict referenced his teacher Von Balthasar while eulogizing Origen. Also not surprisingly, the Pope simply didn’t mention any of the contentious issues surrounding Origen’s anathematization by prior Popes (first and foremost Pope Vigilus if I recall correctly).

What is surprising is that Benedict concludes with “I invite you - and so I conclude - to welcome into your hearts the teaching of this great master of faith.”

:open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth:

This comes pretty close to a Pope simply deciding some prior Pope’s anathema ex cathedra is invalid (or wasn’t really ex cathedra or whatever). At the least it looks like further hints of groundwork preparing the RCC to open universalism, properly understood, to at least the level of a permitted theological belief (not a dogmatic requirement for communion, nor to be taught as the ‘teaching of the church’, and certainly not to be taught in contradiction to the dogmatic doctrines–but not to be dogmatically rejected either.)

Not incidentally: the prior Wednesday, the Pope had eulogized on Origen’s teacher and catechetical predecessor at Alexandria (and fellow universalist), Clement.


Hmmmm… very interesting and encouraging! He seems like a very sensible man. :mrgreen:

Thanks for that tidbit, Jason!



How interesting…


I would love to see universalism become mainstream, even if that’s via the Catholics (who unfortunately I disagree with on a few other things) :smiley:

Maybe this will help the Catholics and Orthodox to unite, leaving mainly just the Neo-Reformed to convince :wink:


I do know Catholics who are universalists, but I don’t think Pope Benedict is one - in spite of his move in the direction of reinstating Origen. He is very conservative on doctrine and there are unlikely to be any big changes on his watch. But we live in hope - as do many Catholics.


According to New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia

"Were Origen and Origenism anathematized? Many learned writers believe so; an equal number deny that they were condemned; most modern authorities are either undecided or reply with reservations. Relying on the most recent studies on the question it may be held that:

It is certain that the fifth general council was convoked exclusively to deal with the affair of the Three Chapters, and that neither Origen nor Origenism were the cause of it.
It is certain that the council opened on 5 May, 553, in spite of the protestations of Pope Vigilius, who though at Constantinople refused to attend it, and that in the eight conciliary sessions (from 5 May to 2 June), the Acts of which we possess, only the question of the Three Chapters is treated.
Finally it is certain that only the Acts concerning the affair of the Three Chapters were submitted to the pope for his approval, which was given on 8 December, 553, and 23 February, 554.
It is a fact that Popes Vigilius, Pelagius I (556-61), Pelagius II (579-90), Gregory the Great (590-604), in treating of the fifth council deal only with the Three Chapters, make no mention of Origenism, and speak as if they did not know of its condemnation.
It must be admitted that before the opening of the council, which had been delayed by the resistance of the pope, the bishops already assembled at Constantinople had to consider, by order of the emperor, a form of Origenism that had practically nothing in common with Origen, but which was held, we know, by one of the Origenist parties in Palestine. The arguments in corroboration of this hypothesis may be found in Dickamp (op. cit., 66-141).
The bishops certainly subscribed to the fifteen anathemas proposed by the emperor (ibid., 90-96); and admitted Origenist, Theodore of Scythopolis, was forced to retract (ibid., 125-129); but there is no proof that the approbation of the pope, who was at that time protesting against the convocation of the council, was asked.
It is easy to understand how this extra-conciliary sentence was mistaken at a later period for a decree of the actual ecumenical council."


It is not, however, easy to understand how the 9th Canon of that same Vigilius, ratifying the anathemas of Justinian, would not have counted as infallible papal teaching ex cathedra against the notion, not only that the punishment of demons and impious men will have an end (as if there was some mere sentence of time to be carried out which would eventually end whether they repented or not), but that “there will be a complete restoration of the demons or of impious men”.