Is the Pope giving us to hope that ALL will be saved?

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(Please excuse capitalisation.)

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."

For further quotes, see http://www.romancatholicism.org

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

Answers

Friend, you're confounding hope with presumption.

I want to get this post in before you get a tidal wave of Catholics posting everything the Catechism, the Bible, and the Pope ever said that contradicts your point of view. I will leave that task to the other folks.

I believe that there is at least a logical possibility that all could be saved; and moreover, as small, non-understanding children before God, we should certainly pray for this, beg for it, and cry for it--all the while singing that "Not my will, but yours be done." Realistically, many say no to God; it is wholly His prerogative to say "no" back.

-- anon (ymous@god.bless), March 11, 2005.


Brother, theological "presumption" is to say that one will be saved even without repentance. I am hoping that God will bring all to repentance. The Most High and Most Wise has ways and means to bring all to humility - even if it means giving us a Beatific Glimpse in our last moments to convert us unconditionally to Good and from evil. St. Thomas Aquinas says that none would refuse the Vision of God because it is good under every aspect and the human will always inclines toward real or apparent good as the Good is the proper object of the free will.

I would have thought that if God unconditionally decreed only one thing with regard to the creation, it would have been that all rational creatures, angels and men, will finally be eternally blessed; I have increasingly little doubt that He will enact that Decree through His infallible providence, of which St. Thomas Aquinas wrote in the Summa Theologica.

One love, people! Come together and make it work.

-- Thomas Brown (one@love.people), March 11, 2005.


I agree that we ought not confuse hope and possibility with probability much less certainty.

Of course God wishes all to be saved, He's good! But he's also just in that he won't force us to love him if we love ourselves.

So a distinction is to be made... throughout our earthly existence, God is constantly making overtures to our conscience to do the right and avoid the wrong. If we say Yes to the right, our relationship with God grows, and he leads us to ever greater heights of intimacy and revelation, leading towards justice and salvation.

But the reverse is true: reject what you know is true, and the conscience gets darkened - wisdom and romans attest to this.

That God could save otherwise innocent babies and children, the handicapped and those who are meek and humble isn't a big problem. The issue is whether God will save hardened sinners inspite of their life worth of sin and their desire to love only themselves.

Hell's existence and the real possibility of going there are Catholic teachings.

So while I hope for people's conversion before the end, and don't therefore preach as a dogma an idea that all non-Catholics are guaranteed to be damned no matter what... neither can I preach as dogma the idea that all people everywhere are saved by a miracle no matter what.

Both extremes are heresies.

-- Joe (joestong@yahoo.com), March 11, 2005.


However, Saint Peter prophesied that in the the end there would be deceitful scoffers, men walking according to their own lusts, saying 'Where is the promise of His coming?' 2Pet 3:3,

Peter said the heavens that now are and the earth . . . have been stored up, being reserved for fire against the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.'' 2Pet 3:7 --Many are going to die in their sin.

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


Thomas, your observation has been made in a room filled with hardened hearts. Our Lady has told the children of Medjegorje (not Church-approved) that very few souls go to Hell. I prefer to think like you, that she may be correct. In any event, let us all rely on God's mercy and our efforts and prayers to bring "all" souls to Heaven. Keep up your positive outlook.

-- Two (TwoCents@no address.com), March 11, 2005.


Our Lady has told the children of Medjegorje (not Church- approved) that very few souls go to Hell.

Since the Church has not approved the alleged apparitions as "worthy of belief," no one has the right to directly start a sentence with the words, "Our Lady has told the children ...".

Instead one has to say something like, "The alleged seers of Medjugorje claim that Our Lady appeared to them and told them ...".

By the way, Yugoslav apparitions are alleged to have begun almost 25 years ago. The alleged seers are definitely not "children" now.

-- (Kyrie@Eleison.Amen), March 11, 2005.


Since the Church has not approved the alleged apparitions as "worthy of belief," no one has the right to directly start a sentence with the words, "Our Lady has told the children ..."

Who says so? Can you give us an official reference to back this up?

-- Thomas Brown (213@456.7890), March 11, 2005.


"Is the Pope giving us to hope that ALL will be saved?"

No.

-- Fr. Paul (pjdoucet@hotmail.com), March 12, 2005.


Will I do Mr. Brown? Or would you like a higher official?

-- Fr. Paul (pjdoucet@hotmail.com), March 12, 2005.

Fr. Paul,

So simple! I love it!

-- Tim K. (tk4386@juno.com), March 12, 2005.



Thanks, Father. KEA

-- (Kyrie@Eleison.Amen), March 12, 2005.

Father Paul,

Our parish priest agrees with me that the Pope appears to have been encouraging us to hope that all will be saved. Others in the parish have believed in universal salvation since before I joined it, largely due, I would say, to the influence of the Holy Father. I was shocked at the time, but perhaps I can now understand the import of eternal damnation a bit better.

Very many others agree that the Pope has been teaching the hope of universal salvation, as you can confirm using google.com. Just search for "universal salvation" and "pope" and you will see what is being said and on what basis. A three volume book is available on the subject.

There is an article on the web by Cardinal Avery Dulles which says that the Holy Father appears to have adopted the position of Von Balthasar, specifically with regard to this famous statement from the Holy Father regarding hell:

"Eternal damnation remains a possibility, but we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of WHETHER or which human beings are effectively involved in it." (General Audience, July 28, 1999)

Dulles writes: "In a General Audience talk of July 28, 1999, the Pope seems to have shifted his position, adopting in effect that of Balthasar. ... But the preceding sentence indicates at least an openness to the opinion that we may hope for the salvation of all."

http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0305/articles/dulles.html

I would disagree with the Cardinal that this was a shift of position for the Holy Father, because he has demonstrably been teaching the same ever since he was himself a Cardinal, including in the book, "Crossing the Threshold of Hope".

Ultimately we will have to look at what the Holy Father has actually been saying. Conservative apologists habitually give blanket denials that there is any possibility that the Pope may be giving us to hope that all will finally be saved. But we should lend an ear to the Pope as he is the immediate teacher of all of the Faithful, while he has helpers.

I think that there may be at least an unorganised campaign of disimformation on this subject. For instance, the "Catholic News Service" appears to have lied in its report of what Dulles said, to give the opposite impression:

http://www.andersoneconomicgroup.com/Pubs/Press_Clips/98_02/ChurchEar nedIncomeTaxCredit_CNS_112102.pdf

So, let us listen to the Pope himself. Some of the Holy Father's statements on the subject have been compiled here and more will soon be added:

http://www.romancatholicism.org

Regards.

-- Thomas Brown (private@nospam.thanks), March 12, 2005.


Mr. Brown,

''Ultimately we will have to look at what the Holy Father has actually been saying.'' Do you doubt we all think about that? He says many things considered controversial in some quarters.

I wonder why you would post this opinion: ''Conservative apologists habitually give blanket denials that there is any possibility that the Pope may be giving us to hope that all will finally be saved.'' In what way would the ''blanket'' denial of such a grandiose teaching be called conservative? Most of us here do feel a conservative understanding of divine revelation, naturally. We don't see anything progressive about denying many souls will be damned to hell. It's merely common sense. The most progressive and spiritual geniuses came to the conclusion souls are damned every day; a realization impossible to avoid. What is conservative, (???) about reading God's Word and taking note: ''As you sow shall you reap.''

If you sow terror, God will repay your sins in a place where terror is inflicted on you by demons and pain.

If you sow love then the reverse is not conservative or liberal; God will repay you with everlasting life and LOVE! It's in the Word of God; and Pope John Paul II is faithful.

We can understand the call to HOPE, and offer prayers for all the souls who are coming under judgment. We ask Him daily: ''O Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fires of hell; lead ALL SOULS to heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy.'' We pray for all souls because we HOPE. Not because the Church inclines us to believe Hell and damnation aren't a present danger. Many souls fall into Hell every hour, and our Holy Father is well aware of that tragic reality.

-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), March 12, 2005.


Eugene, I am just trying to encourage people to have a positive, hopeful outlook. It is not my intention to stress people out or cause an argument. But I can see how it might stress people, if they begin to doubt the orthodoxy of the Holy Father. With regard to the Bible, it is only a remote source of our Faith, as is "tradition", and it has an holy obscurity; only the infallible teaching of the magisterium is the proximate source of our Faith, when defining ex cathedra.

I agree that I should not have used the adjective "conservative".

Thanks. Have a blessed Lord's Day, all.

Thomas.

-- Thomas Brown (private@nospam.thanks), March 12, 2005.


Dear Thomas:
let me see, With regard to the Bible, it is only a remote source of our Faith, as is "tradition", and it has an holy obscurity; only the infallible teaching of the magisterium is the proximate source of our Faith, when defining ex cathedra.''

Would you then suggest that a teaching of one divine Truth: ''As you sow shall you reap,'' is obscure to a sinner? What else can the Church teach a sinner? That no matter what we sow; get ready to go to heaven, we should now infer? On account of a new direction you THINK the Pope is leading us to; --and do you think that's NOT obscure? I call the idea meaningless unless we repent of all our sins.

Even so; I also have a deliberate inclination to HOPE. It's a Cardinal Virtue. God saves who He will save and denies forgiveness to whomever He will. No one can say who will be going to Hell. We can hope for ourselves and for those we love. And that's good Catholic doctrine.

-- eugene c. chavez (loschavez@pacbell.net), March 12, 2005.



Mr. Brown,

My "No" to the title question of this thread comes because of the following comments of yours that take it further than "HOPE":

"I think that it is clear from reason that all will be saved, because God wills the salvation of all"

God wills the Salvation of all, but God also gives us Free Will; and that leaves the real POSSIBILITY that some will not be saved. Stick to your original remarks according to the Holy Father that show there is the real POSSIBILITY that all will be saved or may be saved;

"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."

"universally used by all" is redundant, and should actually say universally misused because the Holy Father is not saying that. They are changing a POSSIBILITY into an ACTUALITY. That is not hope, that is certainty. When the Holy Father is speaking he is saying that all who are saved, are saved through Christ and His Church. This means that Christ and His Church are the universal means of Salvation, there is no other. It does not mean that all are definitely saved, but the POSSIBILITY is there.

And, in case you are wondering about the higher authority comment, any alleged apparitions that are not deemed worthy of belief are just that, NOT WORTHY OF BELIEF. In fact, I am not permitted to promote pilgrimages there. I am permitted to go there, but I cannot promote it officially.

-- Fr. Paul (pjdoucet@hotmail.com), March 12, 2005.


"So, let us listen to the Pope himself. Some of the Holy Father's
statements on the subject have been compiled here and more will soon
be added:
http://www.romancatholicism.org"

When did you change the site? Do you still have the Apostolic Digest somewhere? It was nice that it was on line.
FGC

-- FGCC (fgcc4@yahoo.com), March 14, 2005.


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