“Few will be saved! We are all sinners in the hands of an angry God.” This religious mentality of the late 18th century found in the heresy of the French priest Jansen is still prevalent in the minds of many Catholics. The heresy is that humans largely are unworthy of the absolute transcendence of God, and only a very few elect will be saved, and then only if they perform many pious and penitential works. Sadly, because of the impossibility of the work, many walk away, feeling unworthy and unaware of grace.

Subtle as it is, but the many who attempt to enter are reject precisely because of that attempt, that is on their own, without an authentic encounter and accompaniment with the Master of the House. Jesus calls this sort of self-trumpeting religion evil. These who knock at the door had forgotten grace, that pure gift from God that creates a share in God’s life right here and now. No propitiation makes it happen. It is gift.

All the prophets, the patriarchs, and indeed all the foreigner know and live this grace. They do not come as beggars, but they recline at the banquet table as guests! The religious snob, who think of themselves as self-justified in their religious comfortableness and lord it over others with judgements, they will be the last in the reign of God. One imagines that this includes white supremacists and that ilk. There is a certain whiff of this superior mentality among Catholics; the sooner we unburden ourselves of this attitude, the better for everyone else and for the church.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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