Plan A & Plan B

September 2006

George A. Kendall has come into our ken (see his April letter and his June letter). He has an article in The Wanderer (April 27) called "Putting New Wine in Old Wineskins."

He begins: "I have always had problems with the opinion, held by many traditional Catholics, that the majority of mankind is damned." A majority, a minority? But why settle for just a minority of mankind? As Stalin said, "A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths [a minority of mankind] is a statistic."

Kendall says (without giving the biblical citation): "It is true that Christ, in answer to a question about the number to be saved, warns His followers to seek to enter by the narrow gate, and adds that few find this gate" (italics added). Jesus does not say this is just a warning (see Lk. 13:23-24). Kendall continues: "This is commonly taken to mean that few are saved, but I suspect it can be looked at differently."

Kendall turns our attention to another section in the New Testament, again without giving the biblical citation (it's Mt. 20:1-16, about the workers in the vineyard): "The reaction of the laborers in the vineyard (the ones who got there early) to the Master giving the same pay to the latecomers as to themselves, is humanly understandable (imagine if they had had a union!). Yet the word ‘humanly' is the key here. These are man's thoughts, not God's…. We keep trying to put this new wine into the old wineskins known as justice. Hence this rigorism of those who insist that few are saved…. Those who seek the narrow gate are the laborers who arrive early in the vineyard. But that does not mean that Heaven is closed to the ones who only get there at the eleventh hour. A little irreverently, perhaps, we could think in terms of plan A [the narrow gate] and plan B." Regarding plan B, Kendall says: "I have for a long time now been inclined to believe that, in the hour of death, God will give the grace of repentance even to the worst sinners, grace which they, of course, may refuse (Nota bene: I am not preaching universal salvation here)." Does Kendall realize that these are his thoughts, not (necessarily) God's thoughts? Kendall's thoughts are pure speculation.

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New Oxford Notes: September 2006

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Baptisms of Blood and Desire must be the next logical discussion for Kendall to overcome his "insane"idea of salvation. His idea of after death conversion is as unscriptural as Baptism of Desire and Baptism of Blood, both are a chimera. Posted by: wfrancis
September 06, 2006 07:44 PM EDT
May I suggest a brief audio file? It's free.

Posted by: charlesh
September 16, 2006 03:32 PM EDT
I'm confused. If Baptism of Desire is a chimera, how can we account for the following quotations?

First from :

[Secondly, the sacrament of Baptism may be wanting to anyone in reality but not in desire: for instance, when a man wishes to be baptized, but by some ill-chance he is forestalled by death before receiving Baptism. And such a man can obtain salvation without being actually baptized, on account of his desire for Baptism, which desire is the outcome of "faith that worketh by charity," whereby God, Whose power is not tied to visible sacraments, sanctifies man inwardly. Hence Ambrose says of Valentinian, who died while yet a catechumen: "I lost him whom I was to regenerate: but he did not lose the grace he prayed for."]

And also :

[The sacrament of Baptism is said to be necessary for salvation in so far as man cannot be saved without, at least, Baptism of desire; "which, with God, counts for the deed" (Augustine, Enarr. in Ps. 57).]

Finally, from St. Alphonsus Liguori in "Moral Theology" :

[But baptism of desire is perfect conversion to God by contrition or love of God above all things accompanied by an explicit or implicit desire for true Baptism of water, the place of which it takes as to the remission of guilt, but not as to the impression of the [baptismal] character or as to the removal of all debt of punishment. It is called gof windh [gflaminish] because it takes place by the impulse of the Holy Ghost who is called a wind [gflamenh]. Now it is de fide that men are also saved by Baptism of desire, by virtue of the Canon Apostolicam, gde presbytero non baptizatoh and of the Council of Trent, session 6, Chapter 4 where it is said that no one can be saved gwithout the laver of regeneration or the desire for it.h]

Posted by: Mike Ezzo
September 18, 2006 02:20 AM EDT
While I agree that Kendall seems to be speculating in a dubious way, I have to question this statement by NOR:

"Of course, in the hour of death, you have to be insane not to take up God's offer of repentance (and there's always the "insanity defense" to get you off the hook). Nobody in his right mind would want to go to Hell for ever and ever. Those addicted to pleasure would certainly not want to go to Hell."

Lucifer and a great many like-minded angels, who knew what they were doing in a way human beings cannot, who knew God Himself and heaven in a way that we cannot while on this earth, consciously chose to separate themselves from Him.

I have no difficulty imagining human beings refusing the grace of repentance even at the hour of death. If one has lived separated from God, I doubt such a one would find heaven such a wonderful place really.

Posted by: Michael Forrest
October 31, 2006 08:33 AM EST
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