May We Reasonably Hope that All are Saved?

May we reasonably hope that all are saved?

“No” says the Son of God, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior:

[Matthew]
{5:20} For I say to you, that unless your justice has surpassed that of the scribes and the Pharisees you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

{10:28} And do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. But instead fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.

{11:23} And you, Capernaum, would you be exalted all the way to heaven? You shall descend all the way to Hell. For if the miracles that were done in you had been done in Sodom, perhaps it would have remained, even to this day.

{25:41} Then he shall also say, to those who will be on his left: ‘Depart from me, you accursed ones, into the eternal fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.
{25:42} For I was hungry, and you did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and you did not give me to drink;
{25:43} I was a stranger and you did not take me in; naked, and you did not cover me; sick and in prison, and you did not visit me.’
{25:44} Then they will also answer him, saying: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to you?’
{25:45} Then he shall respond to them by saying: ‘Amen I say to you, whenever you did not do it to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.’
{25:46} And these shall go into eternal punishment, but the just shall go into eternal life.”

[Mark]
{9:41} And whoever will have scandalized one of these little ones who believe in me: it would be better for him if a great millstone were placed around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.
{9:42} And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off: it is better for you to enter into life disabled, than having two hands to go into Hell, into the unquenchable fire,
{9:43} where their worm does not die, and the fire is not extinguished.
{9:44} But if your foot causes you to sin, chop it off: it is better for you to enter into eternal life lame, than having two feet to be cast into the Hell of unquenchable fire,
{9:45} where their worm does not die, and the fire is not extinguished.
{9:46} But if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out: it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into the Hell of fire,
{9:47} where their worm does not die, and the fire is not extinguished.

[Luke]
{16:19} A certain man was wealthy, and he was clothed in purple and in fine linen. And he feasted splendidly every day.
{16:20} And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who lay at his gate, covered with sores,
{16:21} wanting to be filled with the crumbs which were falling from the wealthy man’s table. But no one gave it to him. And even the dogs came and licked his sores.
{16:22} Then it happened that the beggar died, and he was carried by the Angels into the bosom of Abraham. Now the wealthy man also died, and he was entombed in Hell.
{16:23} Then lifting up his eyes, while he was in torments, he saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom.
{16:24} And crying out, he said: ‘Father Abraham, take pity on me and send Lazarus, so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water to refresh my tongue. For I am tortured in this fire.’
{16:25} And Abraham said to him: ‘Son, recall that you received good things in your life, and in comparison, Lazarus received bad things. But now he is consoled, and truly you are tormented.
{16:26} And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been established, so that those who might want to cross from here to you are not able, nor can someone cross from there to here.’

[John]
{3:36} Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. But whoever is unbelieving toward the Son shall not see life; instead the wrath of God remains upon him.”

{6:65} But there are some among you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who were unbelieving and which one would betray him.
{6:66} And so he said, “For this reason, I said to you that no one is able to come to me, unless it has been given to him by my Father.”
{6:67} After this, many of his disciples went back, and they no longer walked with him.
{6:68} Therefore, Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
{6:69} Then Simon Peter answered him: “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life.

Jesus is not lying about Hell. Some human persons go to Hell. If not, then many teachings of Jesus in the Gospels would be foolish, meaningless, or false.

So if anyone says that “perhaps” all human persons will be saved and go to Heaven, or that we may “reasonably hope” that no human persons are sent to Hell, he thereby accuses Jesus, the Son of God, of lying about Heaven and Hell and salvation.

May we reasonably hope that all are saved?

“No” says the Second Council of Constantinople: “If anyone says or holds that the punishment of the demons and of impious men is temporary, and that it will have an end at some time, that is to say, there will be a complete restoration of the demons or of impious men, let him be anathema.” [Denzinger 211]

It is a heresy to say that there will be a complete restoration of impious men, such that all will be saved. It does not matter if you say that you are “certain” all are saved (universalism), or if you assert a “reasonable hope” that “perhaps” all are saved (mitigated universalism). To hope that a heretical claim is true is still a heresy. To say “perhaps” a heretical claim is true is still a heresy.

“No” says the Council of Trent: “Truly, even though He died for all, yet not all receive the benefit of His death, but only those to whom the merit of His passion is communicated.” [Decree on Justification, Chapter III]

The chief benefit of the death of Christ is eternal salvation. The Council of Trent infallibly taught that “not all” receive that benefit, and therefore, we must hold that not all human persons are saved. We may not hope that the contrary is actually the truth. It is not reasonable for a Catholic to hope that an infallible teaching of an Ecumenical Council is false.

“No” says the Fourth Lateran Council: “He will come at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, to render to every person according to his works, both to the reprobate and to the elect. All of them will rise with their own bodies, which they now wear, so as to receive according to their deserts, whether these be good or bad; for the latter perpetual punishment with the devil, for the former eternal glory with Christ.”

Those who say “perhaps” all are saved and that we may “reasonably hope” that no human persons are sent to Hell are contradicting the infallible teaching that the General Resurrection includes the reprobate in Hell, and that these reprobate souls, having been given a resurrected body, will next be sent to “perpetual” (i.e. eternal) punishment with the devil.

“No” says the Council of Florence: “But the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains.”

If no human persons are sent to Hell, then there can be no unequal pains. So the “reasonable hope” that all are saved contradicts the infallible teaching of yet another Ecumenical Council.

“No” says the Council of Florence again: “Finally, unless they repent from their hearts, perform deeds worthy of repentance and make worthy satisfaction to your holiness and the universal church for the enormity of their sins, may they be thrust with the wicked into the everlasting darkness, doomed by the just judgment of God to eternal torments.”

If there are no wicked human persons in Hell, then the above infallible teaching would be false. The Council of Florence also taught, similarly to the Fourth Council of the Lateran, that the General Resurrection includes “those who have done evil” who will be sent “into eternal fire”.

“No” says the Fifth Lateran Council: the Lord “promises eternal rewards and eternal punishments to those who will be judged according to the merits of their life” [Session 8]

The promise of the Lord Jesus Christ of eternal punishment for those who die in final impenitence would be a false promise if no human persons are sent to Hell.

“No” says the First Vatican Council: “Since, then, without faith it is impossible to please God and reach the fellowship of his sons and daughters, it follows that no one can ever achieve justification without it [faith], neither can anyone attain eternal life unless he or she perseveres in it to the end.” [Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Chapter 3].

If all attain eternal life, then this teaching of the First Vatican Council would be null and void; it would be meaningless and false. But since the infallible teachings of Ecumenical Council cannot be false, null and void, or meaningless, some human persons are not saved; they are punished forever in Hell.

“No” says the Second Vatican Council: “The Christian who neglects his temporal duties, neglects his duties toward his neighbor and even God, and jeopardizes his eternal salvation.” [Gaudium et Spes 43]

The above teaching of the Second Vatican Council would be false if all Christians and all other human persons are saved. For there would then be no jeopardy for our eternal salvation.

May we reasonably hope that all are saved?

“No” says the Blessed Virgin Mary, who taught us at Fatima that more souls go to Hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason. Thus, many human persons (souls) are sent to Hell for sexual sins, and some additional persons are sent there for other types of sin.

“No” say the children of Fatima, who were shown a vision of Hell that included devils and human souls. They were horrified by this vision; they trembled and cried out in fear. They know that some human persons are sent to Hell.

“No” says the many Saints, Blesseds, and other holy persons who were also given visions of Hell by God.

“No” says the love of God. For our loving Creator gave us free will, and He respects our freedom to choose between good and evil:

[Sirach]
{15:14} God established man from the beginning, and he left him in the hand of his own counsel.
{15:15} He added his commandments and precepts.
{15:16} If you choose to keep the commandments, and if, having chosen them, you fulfill them with perpetual fidelity, they will preserve you.
{15:17} He has set water and fire before you. Extend your hand to whichever one you would choose.
{15:18} Before man is life and death, good and evil. Whichever one he chooses will be given to him.
{15:19} For the wisdom of God is manifold. And he is strong in power, seeing all things without ceasing.

“No” says the justice of God. For the One true God judges and punishes:

[Revelation]
{20:11} And I saw a great white throne, and One sitting upon it, from whose sight earth and heaven fled, and no place was found for them.
{20:12} And I saw the dead, great and small, standing in view of the throne. And books were opened. And another Book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged by those things that had been written in the books, according to their works.
{20:13} And the sea gave up the dead who were in it. And death and Hell gave up their dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.
{20:14} And Hell and death were cast into the pool of fire. This is the second death.
{20:15} And whoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the pool of fire.

May we reasonably hope that all are saved?

“No” says every faithful and reasonable Christian.

Therefore, any Christian who believes, asserts, or teaches that “perhaps” all human persons are saved, or that we may “reasonably hope” that all human persons are saved, thereby believes, asserts, or teaches a severe heresy. For Jesus Christ plainly teaches in the Gospel, just as several Ecumenical Council have infallibly defined, that not all human persons are saved and that some human persons are sent by God to Hell: “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not extinguished.”

Therefore, Bishop Robert Barron is a heretic and a teacher of heresy. And so too are all who follow him in this grave error.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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2 Responses to May We Reasonably Hope that All are Saved?

  1. Dan says:

    Question: Are there only Christians in Heaven ?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Many of the souls in Heaven received a baptism of desire or of blood, so they are not Christians in the sense of having received the formal Sacrament of Baptism. But all the souls in Heaven worship the one True God, who is three Persons. And they all know that their salvation was merited for them on the Cross by Christ.

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