In his book “Jesus Christ, Salvation of All”, Archbishop Luis F. Ladaria presents his private reflections on salvation, especially on the role of Christ in the salvation of everyone. Ladaria was recently appointed by Pope Francis as the prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the CDF), replacing Cardinal Gerhard Muller. His position on salvation theology might have an influence on future teachings of Pope Francis or of the CDF itself on the topic. However, the book in question was not issued as an act of the Magisterium, but as Ladaria’s personal opinion.
Does the title imply that all human persons are necessarily saved? No, it does not. Jesus is the salvation of all in as much as He offers salvation to all human persons, a concrete and full possibility of salvation.
The heresy of universalism holds that all human persons will be saved, that is to say, all human persons will have Heaven as their final and eternal destination. Historically, universalism was rejected by the Magisterium in the form of apocatastasis or restorationism. Ladaria clearly rejects the heresy of apokatastasis, which asserts that all human persons (or all human and all angels) will eventually receive eternal life in Heaven.
“The possibility of damnation, above all for one’s self, is always before us. Apokatastasis is not compatible with the Christian message of salvation, simply because it distorts the message, stripping it of all meaning and significance. It makes automatic what should be the free response of love to the love of God, which offers to us, in Christ and in his Spirit, participation in the divine life.” [p. 131]
But what does Ladaria think of the position proposed by Hans Urs Von Balthasar, that we may dare to hope that all human persons may receive eternal salvation in Heaven? My reading is that he does not adopt the position, but he is sympathetic to it. And that troubles me.
Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture very clearly teach, in many different ways, that some human souls are sent to Hell, to suffer forever. This teaching, while not explicitly stated in terms that are convincing to the Balthasar and his adherents, is necessarily implies, many times over, by Tradition, Scripture, and various definitive teachings of the Magisterium. Therefore, if the Magisterium, in the near or distant future, issues a new teaching document on salvation, it would be very important to assert this truth of the Gospel, that some human persons are in Hell and more human persons will join them. Salvation is offered to all, but certainly not received by all.
See my post: May We Reasonably Hope that All are Saved?
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