It wouldn’t be Lent without Xavier University’s Ken Overberg, S.J., denying the Atonement, at this point surely an act of both material and formal heresy, before the students and attendees of Bellarmine Chapel.  Here’s a key snippet:

All too often we hear of ransom, sacrifice, and suffering and dying for our sins.
We may ask–we must ask–of this atonement theory: What does this say about God? What kind of God could demand such torture of the beloved Son? Is this the God revealed by Jesus in his words and deeds? Or has this part of the tradition slipped back into the ancient (but still popular) religion that believes violence saves?

At some point when I wasn’t paying attention, Liguori Publications must have taken over the production of Franciscan Media’s notorious Catholic Updates.  Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss.  In a new update by Xavier University’s Ken Overberg, S.J., on “Gospel Values in an Election Year,” he gives one perfunctory, don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it reference to abortion, none to the protection of marriage, and spills most of his ink on topics like the environment, income inequality, and migrations.  He also tries to channel the late Cardinal Bernardin’s discredited “consistent ethic of life” (aka the “seamless garment”) through the writings of Pope Francis.  I suppose none of this is all that surprising, given that Overberg has been riding the social justice hobbyhorse since the mid-70s.  But at this late date, who exactly are Liguori’s editors trying to persuade?  Younger Catholics don’t get their news from leaflets, and there’s nothing accessible here to anyone but purveyors of what Pope Benedict XVI called “partisan doctrine.”  But then again, it’s those purveyors who disproportionately serve as DREs, pastoral administrators, and parish apparatchiks.  Liguori must know its customers.

Imagine being an eager young Catholic, newly arrived at your Catholic university, on fire with the faith and wanting to evangelize.

And then you walk into Bellarmine Chapel.

It is important to remember that the Acts of the Apostles is not exact history. It is a proclamation of faith that sounds like history. Acts is the second volume of a two‐ volume work; the first volume is the Gospel of Luke. Some scholars judge that this two‐volume work was written around 85 C.E., though recently other scholars have suggested years later. Acts is a creative story about truth …

Scripture scholars now judge that the author of the letters of John is someone different from the author of the gospel. Neither is the apostle, and yes, both are unknown. …

Or, more precisely in one instance, heresy.

Xavier University’s Bellarmine Chapel releases the schedule for its Lenten series of speakers, beginning with Brennan Hill, co-author of a notorious book and video series on the Catechism that aimed to muddle its doctrines shortly after its release, on “The World of Jesus: Son of Joseph and Mary, Son of God,” and featuring Ken Overberg, S.J. on — wait for it — “The Life and Death of Jesus: An Alternative to Atonement Theology.” Because what better way to prepare yourself for the paschal mystery than by denying Christ’s salvific action on the cross?

By contrast, nearby St. Mary of Hyde Park and St. Cecilia (of Oakley) release their rock-solid lineups here and here, respectively. St. Mary’s lineup is especially encouraging; not so long ago its Lenten series was downright Bellarminesque.

Evidently Oct. 25-27 was “Family Weekend” at Xavier University, and this evening one visiting mom shared her observations of Mass at Bellarmine Chapel:

I did a google search for Bellarmine chapel after attending mass there this weekend at parent’s weekend. I’m sure you will not be surprised that a year later it’s business as usual. No Gloria. Some ad-libbed profession of faith done in the style of baptismal promises, but not actual baptismal promises, ad libbed Eucharistic prayers and a very dense dark wheat bread that crumbled everywhere….

A friend who once served as an altar server at Bellarmine recalls students wiping their hands on their pants to “get rid of the crumbs.”

Meanwhile, Archbishop Schnurr, who came to Cincinnati promising a laser-focus on youth ministry and outreach to young Catholics, has been nominated to be the next USCCB president.

Forgive me for being “consumed” by the goings-on at Victory Parkway.

Wow. Here’s an apostolate in decline. The archdiocesan-sponsored Theology on Tap program in Clifton recently hosted Ken Overberg, S.J., to address Pope Francis and “conscience.” For the uninitiated, Overberg is a heretic (a word I don’t use lightly) who routinely denies core Christological doctrines like the Atonement from the lectern at Xavier University’s Bellarmine Chapel. Regarding the topic of the ToT session, conscience, Overberg once asked in the pages of the Catholic Telegraph of Cincinnati “whether it is right to require celibacy of all homo5exuals” and suggested that such relationships ought to “be considered love-giving and life giving.”

Overberg was most likely asked to speak because he’s written an execrable book on conscience, which I briefly reviewed on Amazon..

You could make an over/under game out of betting how long it takes Ken Overberg, S.J., to deny the doctrine of the Atonement in his homilies at Xavier University’s Bellarmine Chapel.

Today’s winner is “under 350 words.”

The second reading provides the context for all of this, indeed, for all of life. A liturgical hymn that the author of Colossians (who was not Paul) incorporated into the text, this passage offers a cosmic vision. At various times in the past, I have reflected with you on an alternate view in the Christian tradition that emphasizes Jesus as God’s first thought—not an afterthought to original sin. God so desires to share life and love—and in a unique way in Jesus—that God creates us in order to become one of us. Jesus lives and reveals the fullness of life and love. This passage proclaims this marvelous vision—listen carefully to the opening lines—even if a little atonement slips in at the end.