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  #1  
Old Feb 28, '09, 7:32 pm
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Malia Belen Malia Belen is offline
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Default Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?

I was reading other posts just seeing what I can learn about Catholicism and I found this in a post.

"The Catholic Church alone is keeping the true worship. This is the font of truth, this is the house of faith, this is the temple of God; if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation" - Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos

"Outside of the Church, nobody can hope for life or salvation unless he is excused through ignorance beyond his control." - Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quidem

"The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the "eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41), unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church." - 11th Session of the Council of Florence, under Pope Eugene IV
  #2  
Old Feb 28, '09, 10:28 pm
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Default Re: Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?

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Originally Posted by Malia Belen View Post
Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?
It depends.

If a protestant comes to realize that the Catholic Church is truly the One True Church established on earth by Jesus Christ, yet he continues to reject Her (maybe because converting would offend his family or whatever) then he has rejected the Church and has thus rejected God ("Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." - Lk 10:16).

But anyone (whether protestant or muslim or pagan or whatever) who never has a fair opportunity to consider the Catholic Church, yet strives to live by his conscience alone, may yet obtain salvation. These people are not saved because of their beliefs, but in spite of them.

This doctrine is called "invincible ignorance." If you search the forum for this term, you will find a lot of information.
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Old Feb 28, '09, 10:45 pm
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Default Re: Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?

Protestants are often highly offended by the phrase "Outside the Church there is no salvation." But the statement is no less true. Yet it must be properly understood, because the Church believes there are extenuating ways by which a person can be united to the Church informally. The relevant Catechism paragraphs are as follows:
846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.

848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."
You will find a more exhaustive treatment in the Church's document Lumen Gentium, although it is lengthly.
  #4  
Old Mar 1, '09, 5:30 am
saieditor saieditor is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?

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Originally Posted by Malia Belen View Post
I was reading other posts just seeing what I can learn about Catholicism and I found this in a post.


[snip]


[another snip]


[yet another snip]
No, that is all old stuff. Ignore it. Whoever quoted that is being selective and putting forth their own point of view. Read Gaudium et Spes, (Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) the ground has shifted, and that considerably.
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Old Mar 1, '09, 6:10 am
DavWan DavWan is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?

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Originally Posted by saieditor View Post
No, that is all old stuff. Ignore it. Whoever quoted that is being selective and putting forth their own point of view. Read Gaudium et Spes, (Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) the ground has shifted, and that considerably.
Not old stuff. Remember there is not a split between pre- and post- Vatican II

The three concepts can be found in Lumen Gentium.

Quote:
14. This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism(124) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.
However, a person who through no fault of his own does not know the truth is not condemned for what they do not know.

This does not mean it is better to leave people in invincible ignorance however.

The difference in emphasis between the older documents and Vatican II reflects that the older documents were speaking of people who were guilty of leaving the Church or obstinately refusing to enter who needed to reconsider for the sake of their souls. Vatican II was written for a perspective of people who did not know the truth.
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Old Mar 1, '09, 7:50 pm
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Default Re: Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?

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Originally Posted by saieditor View Post
No, that is all old stuff. Ignore it. Whoever quoted that is being selective and putting forth their own point of view. Read Gaudium et Spes, (Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) the ground has shifted, and that considerably.
That is absurd doctrines and dogmas can never change.
  #7  
Old Mar 1, '09, 8:00 pm
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Default Re: Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?

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Originally Posted by DavWan View Post

This does not mean it is better to leave people in invincible ignorance however.
The point about invincible ignorance is that it means the ignorance CANNOT be overcome. If it could be overcome it would be VINCIBLE ignorance. So there's no question of being able to bring someone out of 'invincible ignorance', and no question of wilfully leaving someone IN ignorance if it is truly 'invincible'.

Quote:
The difference in emphasis between the older documents and Vatican II reflects that the older documents were speaking of people who were guilty of leaving the Church or obstinately refusing to enter who needed to reconsider for the sake of their souls. Vatican II was written for a perspective of people who did not know the truth.
It maybe comes from a greater exposure to new world areas where it could no longer be a given, as it could in Europe or the near East, that everyone at least understood the basic tenets of Catholic Christianity and must perforce therefore either accept them or be wilfully rejecting them.
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Old Mar 1, '09, 8:16 pm
DavWan DavWan is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?

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Originally Posted by LilyM View Post
The point about invincible ignorance is that it means the ignorance CANNOT be overcome. If it could be overcome it would be VINCIBLE ignorance. So there's no question of being able to bring someone out of 'invincible ignorance', and no question of wilfully leaving someone IN ignorance if it is truly 'invincible'.
That isn't how it works. This is why evangelization remains important. It is far better to know the truth than to remain in ignorance, even if the ignorance was not culpable



Quote:
It maybe comes from a greater exposure to new world areas where it could no longer be a given, as it could in Europe or the near East, that everyone at least understood the basic tenets of Catholic Christianity and must perforce therefore either accept them or be wilfully rejecting them.
It isn't a case of simply telling someone. A person who does not know the Catholic faith is the truth may not recognize the truth of what is known.

Remember, the issue is not whether the person knows the Catholic Church exists that is the issue. It is whether they can know it is true that matters. If a person is vincibly ignorant, we need to reach them with the truth. If the person is invincibly ignorant, they are still better off knowing the truth than being ignorant of it.
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Old Mar 1, '09, 10:37 pm
linuxgeek71 linuxgeek71 is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?

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Originally Posted by DavWan View Post
It isn't a case of simply telling someone. A person who does not know the Catholic faith is the truth may not recognize the truth of what is known.

Remember, the issue is not whether the person knows the Catholic Church exists that is the issue. It is whether they can know it is true that matters. If a person is vincibly ignorant, we need to reach them with the truth. If the person is invincibly ignorant, they are still better off knowing the truth than being ignorant of it.
Your interpretation seems overly strong. It seems as if you are saying that the most well versed historian and Protestant theologian will not stand accountable before God for not being Catholic simply because he wasn't convinced. That doesn't sound as if it is what the Church documents are saying. It seems you would make Luther a saint for fighting against a Church he was convinced was wrong, instead of the wicked heretic he was. Maybe I'm reading too much into your statements?
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Old Mar 2, '09, 9:02 am
CentralFLJames CentralFLJames is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?

Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?

First of all we have to say it is not our place to judge for God.

Let me also say - "nor is it Protestants place to judge that they are ‘saved’ until God judges them saved.".

It is never our place to presume to judge for God and to make presumptions that limit both God's Mercy and God's Sovereignty.

That said - All Catholics (should) believe the Catholic Teaching at face value. And that is simply that God's (actual) grace calls every soul to Himself and with consent to that grace can overcome every barrier except an obstinate pride and unrepentant heart. This includes even the stubborn barrier of error arising from non-apostolic Christian (neo-Christianity) teaching. God wills for all to attain to eternal beatitude with Himself. The problem we get into with non-Catholics who call themselves Christian is the assent to a new artificial secular dogma on Justification that irrespective of their formal Protestant teachings pragmatically resolves to something like this for the average man on the street::

"God knows my heart and my intentions to be a good Christian so whether or not I am in one denomination or another makes no difference since I am a Christian. It’s all the same since “a reasonable God”, a just God and a Merciful God would not hold me accountable for the nit-picky little errors and details of mere human doctrine if my heart and intentions are all in the right place."

I call this “Pragmatic Protestant "Christian" Doctrine of "Justification" (aka ''God is my buddy and understands and That’s all that matters”)

-- Universal Pragmatism).


The error of course is in assuming that the details of True Apostolic Teaching are unimportant. But this falls apart in the face of the fact that God gave us 31,102 NT verses and 2,000 years of successive and consistent Apostolic Catholic Teaching that has thus far never been able to reduce “salvation” down to a single “one-liner” salvation formulas like “just believe” or “by faith alone”. What we have is a holistic and highly cohesive Catholic Catechism – which all but slays the excuse of ignorance for the vast majority of the educated planet.

From the Catholic perspective we see Protestantism as a single collective error with many facets that is internally fractured through the core error of insubordination to God’s Ecclesial Authority. While it is VERY true that Christ's resurrection reconfigured all Creation towards God the clear error of Protestantism’s muti-denominational effect goes contrary to that central gravity in its “collective” assumption that entry into beatitude is by way of a wide gate or multiple narrow gates. From any single denominational perspective it appears “narrow” but from a universal, Catholic, view it’s clearly unlike what Jesus describes by the “narrow gate” description.

In the Catholic view, God’s people are ordered (and counted and inspected - one by one). We know that what belongs to Jesus can only pass through the narrow standard one-by-one as if by single orderly file in order to pass through. And that means all following one behind the other – with all behind the shepherd and all in one single line. The shepherd is real and visible and it is Peter's successors - NOT the hired hands who preach for hire. Nor will Jesus take the sheep together with the goats who try to cut in from other lines from foreign flocks. Only those who are in perfect holiness will go through the gate and enter into eternal beatitude. Further, beatitude it's not as much a matter of numbers as it is a matter of quality. Protestantism’s aversion for not boasting by works has made it easy to completely ignore the necessity for Holiness and the mandate to "...be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)." That requires regular routine disciplines of bathing (confession) and shearing (penance) and health checks and eating of good food (Eucharist) and exercise (prayer).

What matters here is if one cooperates to "hear" that universal call or if one is too preoccupied with one’s own self-centeredness or human-condition to respond to that call. What is clear is that a "right relationship" with God (aka Justification) is absolutely essential in order for sanctifying grace to take residence in an individual and that grace to work (not the old sinner) to make them Holy. It is thus very very possible for many non-Catholics to attain to an initial Justification through faith in Jesus and being baptized (either by water, blood or by desire) become holy. But what is VERY difficult for those outside the formal Church is for souls to remain in a state of justification and holiness such that they actually may progress through the complete sanctification process to become Holy and stay such; all way through the narrow gate to the very end of mortal life. Sanctification is not complete until the soul's sanctification is tested in the judgment that occurs in the transition from mortal life to physical death to eternal life). The Catholic Church, as Christ’s Body, has as if by divine arteries, enormous channels of grace available to it directly from the Divine Heart of Mercy through the seven sacraments (esp. Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist) to bring us channels of massive grace to help us stay in holiness. Catholics are collectively in wildly different levels of personal sanctification. But the sacraments keep everyone who avails them in grace and holy before God so if they are called home at any moment they have confidence they are in a state of eternal sanctifying grace (which may require imperfectly repentant souls to spend some additional time in purgatory for final polishing).

[continued]

James
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  #11  
Old Mar 2, '09, 9:02 am
CentralFLJames CentralFLJames is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?

[continued from above]

Personally I believe that Invincible Ignorance rarely comes into play - simply because salvation is less about knowledge and intellectual insight as it about spiritual conformity. A severely mentally impaired person and a baptized infant are perhaps the most blessed persons since these persons can not willfully form a conscience that is contrary to God and are utterly in His care and at His Mercy (how more safe can such a person be?). In some sense these are immune to grave personal sin. But this is not Invincible Ignorance at work at all - it is God's Mercy and Divine Providence in preserving such souls from Sin that essentially guarantees them an escape from hell (but to what extent deep beatitude may be impaired or constrained by unrealized capacity I care not to speculate here).

Taking this perspective it would appear to me that "Invincible Ignorance" is only manifest as a convenient platitude for comforting purposes (itself a valid work of Mercy by the ecclesial leadership) - for those WITHIN THE CHURCH. This teaching is not meant to be an invitation to ignorance nor to become a fetish or relic for salvation to be clung to as a refuge for safely unto itself. No, we are to cling to Jesus and His Church. Nor is Invincible Ignorance intended to be taken by anyone as dogma to create an exemption to the moral imperative "to know the truth". Invincible Ignorance I think is more a teaching intended FOR CATHOLICS to comfort out minds so we can be more focused on worship of God and in our own cooperation with our own sanctification process. We Catholics tend to be compassionate worry-warts – we know the truth and its very sobering - eternity is at stake. We should know that worry benefits only to the extent it can compel us to repent or evangelize our faith. In essence the worry might be likened to the murmurings of the heart in the presence of an informed conscience and can be both good or bad depending on how we respond to it. But it is our human nature for Catholics to "worry" that our non-Catholic friends and neighbors who are outside the safety of The Church and this is why the teaching is here – to take our minds off of things that only God can control and correct. Yet again though, the notion of Invincible Ignorance was never meant to be a teaching that relieved us from our natural inclination AND moral obligation to evangelize who we imagine are all our "ignorant" neighbors. After all that is what teaching is all about – bringing knowledge of truth to those who don’t have it.

Salvation is not a purely forensic matter. God does in fact require first and foremost a relationship with each soul that He invited into eternal beatitude. We should not be thinking of that as a “prize” of “salvation” to be won by judicial decree. Heavens no. It’s all about being in love with God and living with Him for eternity – divorce is not an option. That’s why God even created hell so He does not force anyone to live with him for eternity that loves themselves more than He.

So except for the certain cases of the mentally deficient or undeveloped consciences we should not presume to think that God relieves any soul at all from their moral obligation to respond to grace to contemplate from time to time (heart beat to heart beat) who their Creator might be and to respond to His ever present Actual Grace; a grace that is universally beckoning as if by spiritual gravity every single person on the planet. Nor should Catholics imagine that because they have an infusion of sanctifying grace that they can use their free will to walk away from it and escape by any reason of invincible ignorance the truth they had (nor make the forensic case for temporary insanity). It’s not a matter of the head – it’s a matter of the heart taken together with an informed conscience that is morally our personal responsibility to form.

Do Catholics believe that Protestants are going to hell?

We Catholics don’t presume to judge for God but in our knowledge of how Holy God calls us each to be we do tend to worry a lot – even when we know that worry is not a work of grace that merits us anything. So instead we try hard to cooperate with Grace and we pray a LOT for Protestants – that is a work of Grace and an act of charity that benefits all of God’s Children. And we also tremble inwardly a lot when we observe God working within each of us and know its all very real and very personal.

James
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Last edited by CentralFLJames; Mar 2, '09 at 9:21 am.
  #12  
Old Apr 18, '09, 10:01 pm
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Default Re: Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?

The Church doesn't say who is going to hell or not, it only confirms that certain Saints are in heaven.
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Old Apr 20, '09, 9:02 am
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Default Re: Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?

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Originally Posted by CentralFLJames View Post
[continued from above]

That’s why God even created hell so He does not force anyone to live with him for eternity that loves themselves more than He.

CentralFLJames - let me start by saying I greatly enjoy your posts.

However, I think Aquinas is rolling over in his grave. Hell cannot be a "creation" as we conventionally think of it, if we say that "God is not present there". God, by definition of His omnipotence, fills all things He has created. God can't create anything that privatizes His presence, or does not have love at its essence. It's hard to say that hell is a "place", because we don't really know what a "place" is in the incorporeal dimension. If a place is "existence", then whatever "state" the soul is in is equivalent to it's "place" - not necessarily a voluminous space.

I tend to believe that the pain of hell is, at its heart, the soul's irreversible rejection of God, followed by eternal regret and hatred over that irreversibility. What's worse, these souls are most keenly aware of God's presence, and even more keenly aware that they are deprived of the beatific vision. Imagine someone you are angry with - and you cannot get over that anger no matter what you do. Imagine that person living on the other side of the world from you. It hurts, but eventually you forget about them. Now imagine you are stuck in the same room with that person, every day, for eternity, and they will not acknowledge your existence... and you cannot see them, but their existence is actual and real and apparent to your deepest senses.

That said, no one ever said the Thomist position was absolutely correct, but I reject the notion that God can create anything where He is in privation.

[/tangent] [/nitpicking]
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Old Apr 20, '09, 9:40 am
CentralFLJames CentralFLJames is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?

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CentralFLJames - let me start by saying I greatly enjoy your posts.

However, I think Aquinas is rolling over in his grave. Hell cannot be a "creation" as we conventionally think of it, if we say that "God is not present there". God, by definition of His omnipotence, fills all things He has created. God can't create anything that privatizes His presence, or does not have love at its essence. It's hard to say that hell is a "place", because we don't really know what a "place" is in the incorporeal dimension. If a place is "existence", then whatever "state" the soul is in is equivalent to it's "place" - not necessarily a voluminous space.

I tend to believe that the pain of hell is, at its heart, the soul's irreversible rejection of God, followed by eternal regret and hatred over that irreversibility. What's worse, these souls are most keenly aware of God's presence, and even more keenly aware that they are deprived of the beatific vision. Imagine someone you are angry with - and you cannot get over that anger no matter what you do. Imagine that person living on the other side of the world from you. It hurts, but eventually you forget about them. Now imagine you are stuck in the same room with that person, every day, for eternity, and they will not acknowledge your existence... and you cannot see them, but their existence is actual and real and apparent to your deepest senses.

That said, no one ever said the Thomist position was absolutely correct, but I reject the notion that God can create anything where He is in privation.

[/tangent] [/nitpicking]
I have often contemplated these things and have come to believe that God was literal when he said in scripture:

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, PREPARED FOR THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS. (Matthew 25:41)

Jesus spoke of it as a physical place - Gahanna where the fire dies not. It is compared to a real physical dumping ground outside the walls of Jerusalem where things of no worth, rubbish, waste, dead corpses etc. are discarded and burned.

I don't concern myself too much about the particulars since I am going to do all I can to avoid the place and let the theologians argue all they care to. If one looks into certain of the early Jewish beliefs that speak of a 7th heaven there is an entire hiearchy or schema for heaven where in some taxonomies hell is a part of heaven -- but I seem to recall the origins for this were taken from ancient Persian ideas.

I personally believe that we tend to take too literally the idea that hell is the utter absence of God. That doesn't work since clearly a soul created immortal even in damnation still retains the goodness of being a created entity. That is if God completely stripped every grace then a soul would simply cease to exist and be annihilated -- or so it would seem to me. So I believe that in hell God is actually very present in the residual nature of His creature's "created" existence. God wills that they exist to be punished and so they exist and are punished. In a certain sense then punishment is some aspect of God's presence and justice. And some of the saints have told us that God has personal punishments for each soul and confronts them with images of what He had intended for them - which just adds to their despair, envy and suffering. So the original purpose for each soul's existence even when unrealized serves as an eternal vision of opportunity lost and rejected and that vision is in some respect at least is a lingering shadow of the beatitude that was rejected. Nothing in heaven perishes and that means the vision God had for each soul never perishes - even if the soul rejected God and His vision. Therefor I conclude that in hell God is very real and very present in the vision He had for the damned soul and this is what inflames and severely tortures these souls. And since the soul was created for a body and is incomplete without one is must have a place to occupy and a place to take residence in when at the 2nd Judgement when both sinner and saint receives a restored body.

James
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Old Apr 20, '09, 10:47 am
ChrissiM ChrissiM is offline
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Default Re: Do Catholics believe Protestants are going to hell?

Well, I hope that they are not going to hell.

But David has already explained the position of the Church very well. So it looks like there's hope for Protestants.

I think we also have to differentiate between wishful thinking and the hard facts. If I could decide, no Protestant would go to hell, because I would say "Well, at least they believe in Jesus Christ, even if they don't have the fullness of truth. It would be really unfair to put them in hell". But fact is, I don't decide who is going to hell or to heaven. Only GOD decides.

This is also a personal matter for me because I have two wonderful Protestants in my family. One is my uncle and the other one is my grand-aunt.
My uncle was an atheist his whole life untill he had a stroke last year. After that he became religious and a Protestant (Actually he had already been baptized protestant as a child, but he had never practise the religion). I had various conversations with him and I could feel his honest belief which comes from the heart.
My grand-aunt on the other hand has always helped other people. She had worked as a nurse and had adopted two handicapped boys (Both are adults now and live their own life) - one of them was very weak and she had saved his life at hospital. She had really sacrificed herself for them. And if anyone of the relations had problems, she was there and helped.
Both, my uncle and my grand-aunt, are wonderful persons and I really hope that they are going to heaven. But as I said, GOD decides, not I.

Chrissi
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