In his youtube video, Pope Francis says “Commandments NOT as Absolutes” – Is Francis Lutheran? Rahner’s Fundamental Option, Dr Taylor Marshall tackles Pope Bergoglio’s recent comments on the Ten Commandments.
At a General Audience (August 2021), Bergoglio asked two questions: ‘Do I live in the fear that if I don’t do this or that I will go to hell?’; and ‘Do I despise the Commandments? No. I observe them, but not as absolutes because I know that what justifies me is Jesus Christ.”‘
Marshall compares the “Fundamental Option” theology of the Jesuit Karl Rahner with Bergoglio’s non-absolute view of the Ten Commandments. Rahner’s fundamental option, Marshall says, is the critical choice for God or against God. If you choose for God, you’re on your way to heaven no matter how many sins you commit.
Marshall relates his exchange with a priest who declared ‘straight out’ that even if he died lying on a prostitute, he would go to heaven once he had chosen God as his fundamental option. He goes on to compare some key statements of Martin Luther on ‘Justification’.
Luther: Be a sinner and sin boldly.
Luther: If Moses should attempt to intimidate you with his stupid ten commandments, tell him right out: chase yourself to the Jews; to the gallows with Moses. (Luther’s Works 35:159)
Luther: God only obliges you to believe and confess. In all other things he leaves you free, Lord and Master, to do whatever you will without any danger to your conscience; on the contrary, it is certain that, as far as He is concerned, it makes no difference whether you leave your wife, flee from your Lord, and are unfaithful to every obligation. What is it to Him if you do or do not do such things. (Werke, Weimar ed., XII, pp. 131 ff)
In a searching examination, Dr Marshall offers an answers to the questions raised here.
Note: There is a statue of Martin Luther in St Peter’s Cathedral, and the Vatican issued a stamp celebrating Martin Luther, celebrations unimaginable pre-Vatican Council II