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Plan A & Plan B

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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