Did Cardinal Wojtyla Teach Universal Salvation?

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The issue of whether the Pope teaches or taught universal salvation is quite interesting.

Fr. Johannes Dormann, in his three-part work Pope John Paul II's Theological Journal to the Prayer Meeting of Religions in Assisi quotes the following from Cardinal Wojtyla'a Sign of Contradiction:

"Thus the birth of the Church at the time of the messianic and redemptive death of Christ coincided with the birth of 'the new man'-- whether or not man was aware of such a rebirth and whether or not he accepted it. At that momement, man's existence acquired a new dimension, very simply expressed by St. Paul as 'in Christ.'"

(As Dormann notes, "It is . . . a novel belief that the 'birth of the Church' was simultaneous with the (supernatural) 'birth of man,' of everyman, regardless of whether he knows it or not; whether he accepts it or not." (Vol I. p. 64.))

The Cardinal goes on to say:

"This is the point in history when all men are, so to speak, 'conceived' afresh and follow a new course within God's plan -- the plan prepared by the Father in the truth of the Word and in the gift of Love, It is the point at which the history of mankind makes a fresh start, no longer dependent on human conditioning -- if one may put it like that. This fresh starting point belongs to the divine order of things, in the diving perspective on man and the world. The finite, human categories of time and space are almost completely secondary. All men, from the beginning of the world until its end, have been redeemed and justified by Christ and His Cross."

Unless traditional theological terms have lost their meaning, if all men are "in Christ" and "redeemed and justified by Christ" then the Cardinal is teaching that everyone is saved and going to heaven.

-- Steve Jackson (SteveJ100@hotmail.com), July 17, 1999

Answers

Steve - All men were made in the image of God The Father. Does it not stnad to reason then all men through can be saved? Your thoughts are myopic.+Peace+

-- jean bouchardRC (jeanb@cwk.imag.net), July 17, 1999.

All men can be saved IF they believe in Jesus Christ.

-- Steve Jackson (SteveJ100@hotmail.com), July 17, 1999.

St. Paul in 1 Cor 15:22 says,

"For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive."

Whoops! Is St. Paul teaching universal salvation?

Please explain this verse to us, Steve.

(Hint: Larger context will help you to know that the Apostle does not mean absolutely all here when he says all. But the parallelism with the death that comes through Adam certainly would imply that if this verse was taken out of context, wouldn't it? I've seen enough evidence that you are taking John Paul II out of context that I don't trust these little snippets from Fr. Dormann's book.)

-- David Palm (djpalm64@yahoo.com), July 18, 1999.


Steve - Once agan you are playing the old game of BINK in which cavemen hit two rocks to-gether to amuse themselves. We have come a long way since then+Peace+

-- jean bouchardRC (jeanb@cwk.imag.net), July 18, 1999.

Dave --

Sign of Contradiction is out of print, but I will try to get a copy somewhere. I am quoting the book as quoted by Dormann, not taking "snippets" of what he quotes.

Cardinal Wojytla stated:

"Thus the birth of the Church at the time of the messianic and redemptive death of Christ coincided with the birth of 'the new man'-- whether or not man was aware of such a rebirth and whether or not he accepted it. At that momement, man's existence acquired a new dimension, very simply expressed by St. Paul as 'in Christ.' (cf. Rom. 6:23; 8:39; 12:5; 15:17; 16:7 and other letters)."

(Actually, I did inadvertantly leave the Scripture citations off.)

Dormann's reading of the above makes sense: "In the moment of the 'redemptive death of Christ,' the 'birth of the Church' takes place and hence the 'birth of man.' But from the association 'redemptive death of Christ--birth of the Church--birth of Man' it follows that the birth of man includes the supernatural event of 'being born again' as well as the communion in the realm of 'existence in Christ.' The 'new dimension' of human existence means precisely this supernatural reality. The meaning is unmistakable. According to Cardinal Wojtyla, the birth of the church and the supernatural birth of man become one and the same. Once can then no longer speak of being 'born again.'" [Vol 1, pp. 62-63.]

Now, if you have any evidence that RC theology has taught that the birth of the Church was simultaneous to mankind as a whole becoming "in Christ" I would like to see it. The Bible does not teach that death of Christ constituted some "existential leap in being." See, e.g., Romans 1 & 2. Non-Christian man is not "in Christ" (or "in God" as JP II told Moslems). Also, notice the Cardinal's words: "[W]hether or not man was aware of such a rebirth and whether or not he accepted it." This suggests that the Cardinal is thinking of every man.

Turning to my second quote, assuming it is translated correctly, it probably does mean every human being is justified (saved). Notice again the Cardinal's words: "ALL MEN, from the BEGINNING OF THE WORLD UNTIL ITS END, have been redeemed and justified . . ." He is quite emphatic. Also, while it was common in NT times to use words such as "all," "world" or "every" to mean many, see Luke 2:4 & John 7:14, this is very uncommon today. I have never come across this usage in dozens of works of theology I have read. In fact, I doubt that any theolgian today would say "all men are justified" unless he meant 100%.

Finally, that the Pope could teach such a doctrine is not out of line with the Assisi event. On December 22, 1986, he said "The meeting of religions in Assisi was meant to be a clear confirmation of the fact that 'every genuine prayer is inspired by the Holy Ghost, who is mysteriously present in the heart of every man.'" [Quoted in Vol 2, p. 105.] Now many people at Assisi knowingly and explicitly rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Divinity, yet to the Pope their prayers were apparently "genuine." Incredible.

As an aside, it is interesting to note that the Pope has said that one of his favorite theologians was the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar. Von Balthasar wrote a book entitled Dare We Hope that "All Men Be Saved" in which he questioned the idea that there was anyone in hell. Guess what? The Pope made him a Cardinal!

-- Steve Jackson (SteveJ100@hotmail.com), July 18, 1999.



Your twisting of von Balthasar's book is not atypical of your approach. Von Balthasar looks at the very clear expressions of the universal salvific will in Scripture (viz. God wants all to be saved) and simply asks the question, "In light of the stated universal salvific will in Scripture, is it possible or appropriate even to ask whether this might translate into all men being saved?" It's hypothetical, Steve, but based on a very interesting Scriptural datum. Sheesh!

Now, I do believe that I answered all of your questions, point by point. I assert that you are in a shaky position to be throwing rocks at supposed modernism in the Catholic Church since you have aligned yourself with a group that departed from the Apostolic deposit of faith on two crucial points -- sola fide and sola Scriptura -- five hundred years ago and Lutherans have from there continued to slide farther and farther down the slope of modernism. (Actually, how anybody can even call themselves a "Lutheran" in light of Scripture's clear denunciation of personality cults -- 1 Cor 3 -- is beyond me, but that's another story).

So, in addition to telling us where Scripture says that we are forensically justified by faith alone and where it teaches that Scripture alone is our sole authority in faith and morals, perhaps you could also tell us who else believed these peculiar doctrines prior to their invention by Luther (oh, I'll give you Wyclif on sola Scriptura, so just limit your search to the first 13 centuries of the Church on that doctrine). If they are so "clearly" taught in Scripture, why didn't anybody else manage to find them there?

-- David Palm (djpalm64@yahoo.com), July 19, 1999.


First, I do not think it is appropriate to ask whether it is possible that all will be saved. The Bible says "no." Jesus said: "My father is greater than I." In light of this "datum of scripture" is it legitimate to question the Deity of Christ? Of course not.

Second, I resent your claim that I am "throwing stones." I have presented numerous statements from JP II that indicate that either he is a modernist or says things that are most reasonably taken in a modernist sense. That's not my problem -- that's yours or the Pope's. For example, you did not respond to my recently produced statement by the Pope concerning Assisi in which he clearly implied that the prayers of non-Christians to their false gods were the fruit of the Holy Spirit. That's what he said Dave. The problem is not Assisi -- the problem is the theology that produced Assisi.

Third, I think your claim about a personality cult vis-a-vis Luther is absurd. If anyone is fostering a personality cult, it is the Vatican with the endless papal "world tours" and pep-rallies in which people, e.g., infantily shout "John Paul II -- We love You."

-- Steve Jackson (SteveJ100@hotmail.com), July 19, 1999.


<< First, I do not think it is appropriate to ask whether it is possible that all will be saved. The Bible says "no." Jesus said: "My father is greater than I." In light of this "datum of scripture" is it legitimate to question the Deity of Christ? Of course not. >>

I think it's very legitimate to ask how this statement can be reconciled. That's what von Balthasar does; asks how far we can press clear statements in Scripture about the universal salvific will.

<< Second, I resent your claim that I am "throwing stones." I have presented numerous statements from JP II that indicate that either he is a modernist or says things that are most reasonably taken in a modernist sense. That's not my problem -- that's yours or the Pope's. >>

And I have repeatedly shown how you are taking his statements out of context, either the context of the very writing you cite or at the very least the larger context of all of his talks and writings.

<< For example, you did not respond to my recently produced statement by the Pope concerning Assisi in which he clearly implied that the prayers of non-Christians to their false gods were the fruit of the Holy Spirit. That's what he said Dave. The problem is not Assisi -- the problem is the theology that produced Assisi. >>

I did not respond because I do not have the source in front of me. I want to see for myself what lies behind this Fr. Dormann's work. I have an order out to get it on inter-library loan.

<< Third, I think your claim about a personality cult vis-a-vis Luther is absurd. >>

Fine. "I am of Paul, I am of Peter, I am of Apollos, I am of Luther..."

<< If anyone is fostering a personality cult, it is the Vatican with the endless papal "world tours" and pep-rallies in which people, e.g., infantily shout "John Paul II -- We love You." >>

Pretty interesting double standard, once again. If the Pope just stays in the Vatican, people gripe that he's out of touch. If he does numerous (and grueling, I might add) world tours to speak directly to the Catholic faith he's accused of fostering a personality cult. I guess you just don't understand the love of a Christian people for their earthly spiritual father. Too bad.

He's a leader, Steve, and he directs the Catholic youth of the world to Christ. He has chosen to do an end-run around the true modernists and take his preaching directly to the people. He approaches Catholics differently than he approaches non-Catholics and especially non-Christians. (BTW, you never did respond to my citation of Acts 17 to show how John Paul II's approach has parallels with that of St. Paul's.)

-- David Palm (djpalm64@yahoo.com), July 20, 1999.


Here are some quotations from Crossing the Threshold of Hope from my friend Dave Armstrong (the comments are his also). You may decide for yourself if the Pope is a univeralist and a modernist:

"Today many people seem to rebel against the claim that salvation can be found only in the Church." {_Crossing the Threshold of Hope_, 1994, p. 135 - he had just mentioned the "Catholic Church" in the previous sentence, so context makes it clear to what he refers}

He cites explicit NON-AMBIGUOUS teaching of Vatican II, from Lumen Gentium 14, to the same end (pp. 139-140):

". . . Those who do not persist in charity, even if they remain in the Church in 'body' but not in 'heart,' cannot be saved."

So one not only ought to be a member of the Church, but an active, devout one. Then he interprets the Council:

"The Council's words . . . shed light on *why the Church is necessary for salvation.*" {p. 140; emphasis in original}

"People are saved *through* the Church, they are saved *in* the Church, but they always are saved *by the grace of Christ.*" {p. 140; emphasis in original}

". . . the Catholic Church knows that it has received *the fullness of the means of salvation* . . . " {p. 141; emphasis in original}

"The Church wants . . . to point out to all the path to eternal salvation, the fundamental principles of life in the Spirit and in truth." {p. 141}

-- David Palm (djpalm64@yahoo.com), July 20, 1999.


David - Good Stuff!!+Peace+

-- jean bouchardRC (jeanb@cwk.imag.net), July 20, 1999.


Has Pope John Paul II been giving us to hope that all will be saved? See here:

http://www.romancatholicism.org/apokatastasis/jpii-quotes.htm

-- Thomas Brown (private@nospam.thanks), March 09, 2005.


Yes the Pope has said repeatedly that Christ's purpose was that all men should be saved; that Christ died for all men; that all men are called to salvation; and that salvation is available to all men. Which of these do you have a problem with? Nowhere did the Pope even remotely suggest that all men will in fact be saved. That's what is meant by "universal salvation".

-- Paul M. (PaulCyp@cox.net), March 09, 2005.

So...a pagan can't possibly be moved by the Holy Spirit to offer true prayers to God? Someone hasn't read the Acts of the Apostles account of the centurion whose prayers were answered via an angel who had him send a servant to Peter....

Someone also isn't making distinctions between a pagan being inspired to offer a true prayer to God and a Christian praying not by means of an actual grace but thanks to a theological virtue!

What was that in the book of Wisdom and the letter to the Romans again about pagans responding to a law written on their hearts? Catholics don't believe in absolute depravity of mind and will thanks to originial sin my friend. Man has a fallen nature, but this nature is not so completely fallen to the degree that lifting one's eyes to the God one's unaided intellect can come to know exists is impossible!

So what was the Pope doing again at Assisi? He convoked all the world's religious leaders together to pray for peace. He, supreme shepherd of the world called and they all came! You see that as bad???? I see it as confirmation of moral authority!

And whom did they pray to? God. No, they didn't all convert and grovel at his feet but then that wasn't the point. The effect was to prove that religion was not the cause of war - and thus politicians and would-be political leaders can't claim that religion demands war.

Scriptural precedents: Naaman the Syrian...he wasn't forced to become a Jew - but he did acknowledge the God of Israel.

Centurions in the New Testament - Jesus healed pagans without previously asking them to grovel at his feet and become Jews.

People who don't know the scripture, and don't know how to read in context jump to conclusions about the Pope which only serves to hurt their faith.

IOW, those who have cows with Karol Wotyla don't read what he wrote in context, don't know their own Catholic faith enough and can't argue, but only assert X is Y.

Come on folks, this is a Catholic forum. If you want to claim something you'd better have a consistent theology - scripture and tradition to back you up.

-- Joe (joestong@yahoo.com), March 09, 2005.


The Holy Father is giving us to HOPE that ALL (not merely each) WILL be saved. He is not saying that it is a revealed DOCTRINE that all will be saved. We are given to hope because it is truly POSSIBLE that all WILL ACTUALLY be saved. He has apparently been influenced in this hope by Hans Urs von Balthasar who wrote a very famous book, "Dare We Hope That All Men Be Saved?" and whom he made a cardinal.

This hope is encouraged in the authoritative Catechism of the Catholic Church, which the Holy Father has given us.

1058 The Church prays that NO ONE should be lost: "Lord, let me never be parted from you." If it is true that no one can save himself, it is also true that God "desires ALL men to be saved" (1 Tim 2:4), and that for him "all things ARE POSSIBLE" (Mt 19:26).

1821 We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere "to the end" and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God's eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ. In hope, the Church prays for "ALL men to be saved."

I think that it is clear from reason that all will be saved, because God wills the salvation of all and He is eminely prudent: He could have created all as confirmed in grace, like the saints now are in heaven, and then none would have been lost - God is free to give heaven without any free choice on the part of the recipient, as with baptised infants: so He must have chosen another course that He knew would lead to the salvation of all. Otherwise you are saying that God deliberately chose a course in which some would be lost and that He really wants some to be damned, like what St. Thomas Aquinas said in the Summa Theologica. Otherwise you are saying that God is not eminently prudent but somewhat foolish. But that does not make it a revealed doctrine or a matter of Faith, properly understood.

Incidentally, the phrase used by the Holy Father, "universal salvation" is universally used by all to mean a situation in which all are saved - only some conservative Catholic apologists are now trying to give it another meaning, specifically to try to disguise the fact that the Pope is teaching the hope of universal salvation. I invite you to use google.com to confirm this, as I have; it indexes 29,100 web pages containing the phrase "universal salvation", so there is plenty of etymology there! The Pope has also expressed his meaning in various other ways, such as by repeatedly saying in his encyclicals that all of humanity are forever united to Christ.

One of his encyclicals is called "Dives in Misericordia" - "dives" is the word used in the Latin Vulgate NT for the "rich man" in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in St. Luke 16 and is traditionally the name used for him - "the Richman in Mercy" - of course, it is only innuendo and I do not offer it as proof.

He has been teaching this since he was himself an humble cardinal.

This is surely a cause of rejoicing, not protestation!

Regards. One love.

-- Thomas Brown (private@nospam.thanks), March 11, 2005.


Not all are saved; we have the words of Christ himself on it. He describes the suffering of the damned graphically enough. And hell as a place in which are heard cries and the gnashing of teeth. Canonized saints have seen the souls in hell, and yet it's Jesus whose words are incontrovertible.

But in this life we know there's always hope for sinners. That's is the of Pope John Paull II's hope that ALL might come to salvation. Until you are in hell, there's hope.

Whether the Christian can truly understand in any metaphysical way the meaning of an everlasting hell is a question. We have no experience of truly eternal duration. As a concept it's unimaginable. What the Church teaches is everlasting punishment for mortal sin. We know what mortal sin is, but we may fail to understand what eternal duration is in truth. It might not last FOREVER, as we understand time. Hell might be EONS in earth time, and yet come to an END at some holy command from the lips of God. Would mean an exit at last, out of hell? For every sinner, SOME DAY? There is no possible way to see into the mind of God. We HOPE in Him; that's about all.

Job says: ''Should He come near me, I see Him not; should he pass by, I am not aware of Him; should He seize me forcibly, who can say Him Nay? Who can say to Him, ''What are You doing?'' (Job 9, :11-12)



-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), March 11, 2005.



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