So, I read a piece today from First Things about a recent homily from Pope Francis. In the homily, the Pope appears to promote universalism. Here's the quote:
"The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can. He must. Not can: must! Because he has this commandment within him. Instead, this ‘closing off’ that imagines that those outside, everyone, cannot do good is a wall that leads to war and also to what some people throughout history have conceived of: killing in the name of God. That we can kill in the name of God. And that, simply, is blasphemy. To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy...The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”
In this homily the Pope make the excellent point that yes, all people should be doing good in the world and are able of doing good in the world. The truth of the Lord is written on our hearts as noted in Jeremiah when he describes the new covenant:
"Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days"--the LORD's declaration. "I will put My teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people."
Immediately after this, however, his homily appears to sound like universalism. "All are redeemed..." Mentioning of doing good works and "...we will meet one another there..." Is that a reference to Heaven or a reference to just where the good works are being completed? It's unclear to me.
All the Catholics I know are not universalists. Which is what makes the quote all the more confusing. If the Pope is preaching universalism, I hope he is rebuked. If he is not and the translation was poorly selected words, then I feel clarification is in order. Please, clarify below if you take the above quote differently. The writer at First Things seemed to imply this was a reference to non-believers gaining access to Heaven and referenced Pope Benedict XVI's thoughts on the topic. Again, I hope this is an incorrect understanding.
I have rallied against universalism a few times on this blog. Here are some examples:
So, I ask you, my readers - is the Pope embracing universalism? Is this a poor translation of the Pope's words? Or is he getting at something else entirely which the people at First Things and myself misunderstood? Leave your thoughts below.
EDIT 5/24/2013 - David Perry from the Atlantic has reviewed the homily in Italian and English and came to the conclusion that the Pope did not call for universalism. You can read more here.
Click the pics for more details. Anyone else have political "Seems Legit" suggestions? Make them in the comments.
Each made via QuickMeme.
County Councilman John Olszewski, Jr, the four term Democrat in Baltimore County's 7th Councilmanic District, has failed to report on ethics disclosure forms numerous jobs he's held since 2009. What's more, one of those jobs was for a firm which received a $3.1 million contract with Baltimore County. The Patch had reported on a few of these items in 2011 and 2012, the Sun identified more of them when he filed his updated disclosure form which date back to 2009. Here's more from the Baltimore Sun:
A Baltimore County councilman did not disclose his outside employment over the past several years, including his work with a painting and drywall company that has a $3.1 million contract at a new high school being built in his district.
Councilman John Olszewski Sr., a Dundalk Democrat, only recently revealed in required disclosure forms that he has employment outside his elected post, filing amended reports going back to 2009.
Council members and other county officials must report any outside jobs on annual reports so that the public can examine whether they have conflicts of interest.
The councilman has worked since 2010 for Mason & Son LLC, a contractor in Sparrows Point, according to the newly filed forms. In 2010, he also worked for D&M Painting & Drywall Inc., which was awarded a $3.1 million contract the following year for the new Dundalk and Sollers Point Technical high schools.
He also worked for APS East Coast Inc. at the Port of Baltimore in 2009 and 2010, according to his corrected financial reports.
The councilman called the omissions "an oversight."
"It was a mistake on my part," he said, adding that he has filed the corrected forms.
Olszewski, who has been in office nearly 15 years, filed the amended reports this month after the website Patch.com asked him why he didn't report his current job on this year's disclosure form.
Emphasis mine. You can view his amended ethics disclosure statement here. This man has been in office for nearly 15 years, finishing out his fourth term on the County Council now. His claim that this was a mere oversight may be valid, but it raises a number of red flags. A County Councilmember is required to report these outside jobs to ensure there is no perception of conflict of interest. There may have been and while the members of the County Council do not vote on individual contracts, it will make you wonder.
It also makes you wonder what else is Johnny O, Sr failing to disclose on his ethics and other forms. There are a reason we hold politicians to certain ethical standards. We are entrusting them with great responsibilities for the well-being of each municipality. These incorrect forms should draw fees from the County Ethics Commission, but time will tell if that will actually happen.
In 2010, the Republicans failed to put up a candidate to challenge Olszewski, Sr. My hope is that in 2014, this is corrected. We deserve better than a Councilman who forgets about his jobs. In 2014, let's Veto Johnny O.
Image via Towson Patch.
I don't know how I missed this video of the Baltimore County Executive. But seriously, stay classy Kevin Kamenetz (D).