Hans Urs von Balthasar: unorthodox theologian


Contributor to “Meditations on the Tarot”, Cardinal von Balthasar is hailed by some as a writer of seminal works on theology; others point out his devotion to Tarot and esoteric spirituality.
Sunday, March 04, 2007By Susan Beckworth The “Esoteric Spirituality” of Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar, including his Dedication for the “New Age” book: “Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism”

Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) was a Swiss theologian whose theological output gained him national attention, especially in Europe. He died on the 26th of June, 1988, two days before his elevation as a cardinal. Many from the theological scene hailed him as a theologian of great stature, however; some view his writings as questionable.

Our Catholic moral theology has always taught us we must not judge the state of another’s soul. But as faithful Catholics, we are called to make in a spirit of love, proper judgments of behavior and to expose dangerous views. Clearly, failure to condemn error indicates tacit agreement. Many of Balthasar’s books and writings contain heresy.

**One of the greatest heresies is the lie of “Universal Salvation,” **yet in Hans Urs von Balthasar’s book, Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved, he asserts that as humble Christians, “…it is necessary for us to hope that all men are saved.” Personally, I do not consider it appropriate for any of us to ask whether it is possible that all will be saved. Why? Jesus says “NO”!

Matt: 23:33: Jesus said, “You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?”

Mark: 9:43: “And if thy hand offend you, cut it off: it is better for you to enter into life maimed than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched.”

John: 11:26: “And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.”

If Universal Salvation is true, then why keep any of God’s commandments? Why keep the Sabbath or holy days if we’re guaranteed salvation? If all can attain heaven without Christ, then why make an effort to attend church? It is no secret the humanistic philosophy of modernism professes that as long as we behave toward one another in an ethical manner, we are guaranteed eternity. If all mankind can inherit the kingdom by virtue of simple courtesy, then why does the Catholic Church exist? Is it ever legitimate to question the words of Christ?

Some assertions included in one of Balthasar’s more disputable books, **“Razing the Bastions”, claim the Traditional Church has outgrown its usefulness. **Is the Catholic Church deemed to become just one religion among others? **The Catholic Church and the Bible have always taught us there are two sources of Christ’s revelations, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. **

In Hans Urs von Balthasar’s 1950’s published work, Castra Meretix, he states the prostitute is the symbol of the Church, ”The figure of the prostitute is so appropriate for the Church…that it…defines the Church of the New Covenant in her most splendid mystery of salvation.”

What a revolting insult to Christ’s spotless bride, the Catholic Church!

But perhaps the most alarming of Balthasar’s work is his dedication for the book, “Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism”. This book is probably the deepest treatise available on the tarot which is a deck of cards used in fortune telling.

Through the centuries, the Catholic Catechism has always instructed, “All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to ‘unveil’ the future.”

The Lord says “Nor charmer, nor anyone that consulteth pythonic sprits, or fortune tellers for the Lord abhorreth all these things, and for these abominations, he will destroy them at thy coming.” (Deut. 18:11)

Yet here is an excerpt from Balthasar’s foreword for the book” Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey Into Christian Hermeticism” (Referred to herein as “Cardinal” Balthasar). “A thinking, praying Christian of unmistakable purity reveals to us the symbols of Christian Hermeticism in its various levels of mysticism, gnosis and magic, taking in also the Cabbala and certain elements of astrology and alchemy. These symbols are summarized in the twenty-two “Major Arcana”of the tarot cards. By way of the Major Arcana, the author seeks to lead meditatively into the deeper, all embracing wisdom of the Catholic mystery.”
-Hans Urs von Balthasar

Writer’s Note: The Cabbala is a book of Jewish occultism to be avoided along with all occult activity.

In the book’s attempt to “Christianize” or add a Catholic perspective, one very important truth is excluded. There is no such thing as “Tarot for Christians” or a “Christian Tarot Practitioner.” God condemns sorcery and divination, and to give God credit for something He is not doing is blatant arrogance and a blasphemous insult to God Almighty.

The rest at: speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=8260


The rest of the story…

There are those who absurdly claim tarot cards are an actual revelation of God’s Holy Will. Any prophetic knowledge received from tarot reading is not bestowed from God. Any supernatural knowledge gleaned from tarot cards is acquired from evil.

Some state they utilize tarot cards “just for fun” or for “entertainment only.” They risk their souls and entrust their fate to false gods. Where is the entertainment in that?

In addition to Hans Urs von Balthasar, others who contributed to “Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey Into Christian Hermeticism” include: Robert Powell, English translator; Fr. Basil Pennington, short review; and Gerald Epstein, M.D., short review.

Robert Powell is the English translator for the current text. The original text was published in French.

“Meditations on the Tarot: Journey to Christian Hermeticism”, short review: “I found an opening of the heart taking place and I went through experiences that awoke within me a relationship to the Divine Sophia.”
Robert Powell, The Sophia Teachings (Feminine God)
The following prayer is available on Robert Powell’s website, The Sophia Foundation:

                                                         THE “HAIL MARY SOPHIA” PRAYER

                                                                 Hail Mary Sophia

                                                                  Daughter of Light

                                                                     Who Speaks:

                                                        I am the Handmaid of the Lord,

                                                             I am the Queen of Peace

                                                                 I am the Virgin Soul

                                                         I am the womb of Divine Love,

                                                             I am the Voice of Silence,

                                                  I am the Vessel for the Wisdom of God,

                                                          I am the Bearer of the Memory

                                                                      Of God’s Son.

                                                             Sophia Blesses us with

                                                               The Light of Wisdom,

                                                               The Life of Fulfillment,

                                                               The Love of Creation.

                                                       We unite Ourselves with Sophia,

                                                     We seek Communion in her Name,

                                                We offer our Hearts in Devotion to Sophia.


Fr. Basil Pennington, co-founder of the New Age Centering Prayer phenomenon, included this short review.- “Besides the Bible, we find the Upanishads and Cabbala. It is without doubt the most extraordinary work I have ever read.”

                                                      -Trappist Fr. Basil Pennington  O.C.S.O.

Fr. Basil Pennington also served on the board for E.S.T. (Erhard Sensitivity Training). E.S.T. is a New Age awareness program connected to the Human Potential Movement. Erhard promised E.S.T participants he would “blow their minds” and raise them to a new level of consciousness.

Lastly, this short review given by Gerald Epstein M.D., New York psychiatrist. “This book was made known to me by a man in a bookshop who told me to buy it. I am convinced this man was an angel who bestowed grace on me. This ‘living’ dead teacher guided me through the most stormy period of my existence.” - Gerald Epstein M.D.

Gerald Epstein is founder of the Kabala of Light School, which offers the following courses: Group Rebirthing, Therapeutic Touch (known to others as Reiki), In Search of the Divine Feminine, Group Dream Reading, and Divine Geometry, etc.

Simply stated, “If you love me, you will keep (OBEY) my commands.” - John 14:15. “I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.” “Strange gods” include occult practices, e.g., witchcraft, ouija boards, séances, palm reading, TAROT cards, hypnotism, divination, astrology, black magic and sorcery.


HUvB is a phenomenal traditional theologian. Of all the 20th century Catholic theologians he was probably more critical than anyone of the documents of Vatican II and the ensuing madness. Before you judge, you should check out “Primer for the Unsettled Layman”.

True, there’s no reason to follow him down the road of apokatastasis, or to agree completely with his analysis of the descent of Christ into Hell (however there are valid insights to draw even from this). However, we should understand before we condemn. For one thing, whether or not vB was practicing good theology when he wrote “Dare we Hope”, he can never be accused of being “liberal”. vB didn’t have a liberal bone in his body.

Also, considering that vB wrote more books than most theologians read in a lifetime, and that his theology is so interconnected, it’s nothing but a fallacy to cherry-pick statements of his, and statement from Scripture that seem to contradict.

If you have a problem with vB’s theology of salvation (and to be sure, he never claimed that everyone was saved; he only taught that it was a theoretical possibility, because after all, the Church prays for the salvation of all men), that’s fine. But if you’re going to do apologetics, do it right.

If vB’s work was more widespread and understood, it would be nothing but good for the Church; it would undo a lot of the damage done by his contemporaries like Rahner and Schillebeex and Kung.

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