Penal Substitution?

Due to my feeble, distractable mind, I use a wonderful website run by Dominicans in Portland, found here:

Meditating on the Sorrowful mysteries, I found some of the points made in the meditation questionable, at least to me. For example:

Jesus sees the sins of all mankind, whose guilt He has taken upon Himself.

He sees the wrath of the Father which His sufferings must appease.

Jesus suffers so much in His sacred flesh to satisfy, especially, for sins of the flesh.

These statements, especially the words “taken upon Himself,” “appease,” and “satisfy,” are often seen when Protestants introduce their theory on Atonement, which I have been told is heretical. What is the distinction between the Protestant view on the Sacrifice and the Catholic view?

The first phrase seems strange because it sounds as though it implies that Christ became guilty of our sins, and that God is punishing Christ in our place, the definition of penal Substitution.

The second phrase sounds really questionable to me, because it seems to imply that Christ’s will (His Divine one) is somehow distinct from the Father’s, and that the Father’s will is dominated by Justice, while the Son’s is dominated by Mercy. But isn’t the Father’s wrath the same as the Son’s, as the Son is the “judge of the living and the dead?” And isn’t the Son’s Mercy the Mercy of the Father, for “he who sees Me sees the Father?”

The third phrase is the least questionable, because the word satisfy can be understood as simply Christ’s Sacrifice “balancing the scales.” However, “satisfy” still seems to imply that God has some sort of anger problem that He “has” to take out on someone.

Thank you for your responses :slight_smile:

Christi pax,


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