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  #1  
Old Apr 12, '13, 11:45 am
truthseeker32 truthseeker32 is offline
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Default Can one be a universalist and a Catholic in good standing?

Universalism is my last stumbling block to conversion to the faith. I can't let it go, and it is not out of fear that I cannot let go. I legitimately believe that the strict non-universalist position is nonsensical.

The common defense of Hell is that it exists as a result of free will. I have no problem with the idea that there is a state of suffering that occurs when one rejects God, I am even open to the extreme possibility that this rejection could last forever, but it doesn't make sense to me that this state of hell should in all cases be permanent. Why must a soul be eternally trapped in a state in which they no longer have the freedom to come unto Christ? Would it not be better for God to always leave the door to salvation open?

Can one be an orthodox Catholic and believe that Hell may be empty or temporary?
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  #2  
Old Apr 12, '13, 11:57 am
reagent6 reagent6 is offline
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Default Re: Can one be a universalist and a Catholic in good standing?

Dear Truthseeker

The Church has never taught that anyone is actually in hell. Not even the most obvious candidates. Hell does exist, and must for the sake of justice. But my understanding is that you are free to believe it is empty.

The soul is eternal, and the state of the soul at the time of death determines its fate- heaven or hell. Those in pugatory are already saved and destined for heaven after a time of purification.

I hope that this helps. Prayers for your journey.
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  #3  
Old Apr 12, '13, 12:09 pm
truthseeker32 truthseeker32 is offline
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Default Re: Can one be a universalist and a Catholic in good standing?

Thank you for your kind reply, Reagent6.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reagent6 View Post
...
The soul is eternal, and the state of the soul at the time of death determines its fate- heaven or hell. Those in pugatory are already saved and destined for heaven after a time of purification.
This is one of the Catholic claims I do not understand. Why is it that our fate must be sealed upon death? Why is there no opportunity for reconciliation in the world to come? This does not seem to me like the best possible option. Isn't always allowing a soul to repent a better plan than making one's fate final based on a very short mortal life? What is good about making one's eternal fate sealed upon their state at death?
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  #4  
Old Apr 12, '13, 1:48 pm
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: Can one be a universalist and a Catholic in good standing?

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Originally Posted by truthseeker32 View Post
Thank you for your kind reply, Reagent6.

This is one of the Catholic claims I do not understand. Why is it that our fate must be sealed upon death? Why is there no opportunity for reconciliation in the world to come? This does not seem to me like the best possible option. Isn't always allowing a soul to repent a better plan than making one's fate final based on a very short mortal life? What is good about making one's eternal fate sealed upon their state at death?
Those are questions you will have to ask Jesus when/if you meet Him!



Seriously, God gives us free will, and that includes the free will to reject His salvation.
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  #5  
Old Apr 12, '13, 2:12 pm
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Theophorus Theophorus is offline
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Default Re: Can one be a universalist and a Catholic in good standing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by truthseeker32 View Post
Thank you for your kind reply, Reagent6.

This is one of the Catholic claims I do not understand. Why is it that our fate must be sealed upon death? Why is there no opportunity for reconciliation in the world to come? This does not seem to me like the best possible option. Isn't always allowing a soul to repent a better plan than making one's fate final based on a very short mortal life? What is good about making one's eternal fate sealed upon their state at death?
Time only exists as a by-product of material reality, that is only in the created universe. It doesn't make sense to speak of an ability to change ones mind after death as we enter into eternity with our habits and dispositions formed by this life in such a way that changing our mind and repenting are no longer technically possible as we don't have the conditions to do so(to change) anymore.
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  #6  
Old Apr 12, '13, 2:26 pm
truthseeker32 truthseeker32 is offline
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Default Re: Can one be a universalist and a Catholic in good standing?

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Originally Posted by Theophorus View Post
Time only exists as a by-product of material reality, that is only in the created universe. It doesn't make sense to speak of an ability to change ones mind after death as we enter into eternity with our habits and dispositions formed by this life in such a way that changing our mind and repenting are no longer technically possible as we don't have the conditions to do so(to change) anymore.
Human beings will still exist in time and space, otherwise how are we to interpret the resurrection? Bodies need time and space in which to operate.
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  #7  
Old Apr 12, '13, 2:27 pm
truthseeker32 truthseeker32 is offline
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Default Re: Can one be a universalist and a Catholic in good standing?

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Originally Posted by TheRealJuliane View Post
Those are questions you will have to ask Jesus when/if you meet Him!



Seriously, God gives us free will, and that includes the free will to reject His salvation.
Yes, we are free to reject Christ, but why then are we not also free to change our ways and repent?
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  #8  
Old Apr 12, '13, 2:35 pm
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Ad Orientem Ad Orientem is offline
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Default Re: Can one be a universalist and a Catholic in good standing?

The damned would not be happy in Heaven.

"The wicked only put an end to sinning because their life came to an end: they would indeed have wished to live for ever, that they might continue in sin for ever for they desire rather to sin than to live." --St. Gregory the Great
(Moral. xxxiv, on Job 41:23; qtd. in St. Thomas, ST S, Q99, a1)
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  #9  
Old Apr 12, '13, 2:35 pm
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Goya Goya is offline
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Default Re: Can one be a universalist and a Catholic in good standing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by truthseeker32 View Post
Universalism is my last stumbling block to conversion to the faith. I can't let it go, and it is not out of fear that I cannot let go. I legitimately believe that the strict non-universalist position is nonsensical.

The common defense of Hell is that it exists as a result of free will. I have no problem with the idea that there is a state of suffering that occurs when one rejects God, I am even open to the extreme possibility that this rejection could last forever, but it doesn't make sense to me that this state of hell should in all cases be permanent. Why must a soul be eternally trapped in a state in which they no longer have the freedom to come unto Christ? Would it not be better for God to always leave the door to salvation open?

Can one be an orthodox Catholic and believe that Hell may be empty or temporary?
No one really likes to talk about hell. It's uncomfortable. Get's a little itchy...makes us sound judgmental. But it is a cornerstone of Christianity--even our seperated brethren--perhaps even more so than Catholics--own that Hell simply is.

It is disingenuous to pretend it does not exist, or to downplay it's permanancy, severity, etc. Or hypocritical--at least inconsistent--for any Christian to pretnd to be Christian, while denying Hell. Chirst spoke an awful lot about it, for something that you don't want to believe exists. I imagine you've heard it said before, that Chirst mentions hell many more times than heaven, in the Gospels.

Perhaps a little perspective will help--we were all hellbound...until Christ came along.

Hence Christianity teaches that everyone is still hellbound--except for those who avail themselves of the unique path to salvation that is Chirst (and those whom the Lord, in His omnipotence, and for reasons beyond our comprehension, and not revealed to us...chooses to save). Christ gave humanity a way--really, THE Way--("I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life")--to salvation. He didn't nullify free will, and automatically save everyone--however warm and fuzzy and nice that might sound or feel.

And again, for perspective--life is a gift; we didn't do anything to deserve it--and when our time is up, our time is up. Hence what we are talking about, is the exception to the rule. Period. We should be grateful for the opportunity for eternity--and pray intensely, that we may be led to heaven, and spared Hell.

But I totally get where you're coming from. It's a hard pill to swallow; it seems to fly in the face of 'God of mercy', and 'God of Love'--but our Faith is based on what has been Revealed to us--not on what we wish had been revealed.

...and Hell is an awful significant part of that equation. It has undeniably been devinely revealed to us, in pretty clear, if unpleasant, terms.
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  #10  
Old Apr 12, '13, 3:14 pm
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MattofTexas MattofTexas is offline
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Default Re: Can one be a universalist and a Catholic in good standing?

I think a little clarification is necessary. Are you talking about universalism in that all religions are equally valid paths to God? Or universal salvation, meaning in the end everyone will be saved? If the former, it must be understood from a Catholic prospective that the Catholic Church has the fullness of God's Truth revealed to human beings and other faiths do not. No other religion truly leads to God because this is the only Church that God Himself founded. This is not to say people outside the Church through no direct fault of their own cannot in the end be saved, but just as Christ said salvation is of the Jews because the Savior is a Jew, so we say salvation is of the Church because it is the Church which passes on the deposit of Christ's teachings, offers the Eucharist (which is Christ Himself), and administers the other sacraments.

However given that your religion says "lapsed Mormon in RCIA" I assume you mean something more along the lines of universal salvation, which is from what I understand the teaching of the LDS Church...or at least it's similar. There were some Church Fathers and saints who have held a view of apocatastasis ("the doctrine which teaches that a time will come when all free creatures will share in the grace of salvation; in a special way, the devils and lost souls." NewAdvent.org). The doctrine can be traced back to the Platonist influence on the Church Father Origen (notice how he's not called St. Origen? It's because he was post-humorously anathematized along with a form of apocatastasis which the Church determined to be in error), and the various forms of the doctrine have shown up in the theology of a variety of other saints and theologians. I think it's fine to hope that Hell will be empty, but you cannot count on it.

Check out the Catholic Encyclopedia entry about it and this video from Fr. Robert Barron
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  #11  
Old Apr 12, '13, 3:39 pm
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floresco floresco is offline
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Default Re: Can one be a universalist and a Catholic in good standing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by truthseeker32 View Post
This is one of the Catholic claims I do not understand. Why is it that our fate must be sealed upon death? Why is there no opportunity for reconciliation in the world to come? This does not seem to me like the best possible option. Isn't always allowing a soul to repent a better plan than making one's fate final based on a very short mortal life? What is good about making one's eternal fate sealed upon their state at death?
How much do you know about the Catholic teaching on Purgatory? Souls do go from Purgatory to Heaven.
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  #12  
Old Apr 12, '13, 4:00 pm
steve b steve b is offline
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Default Re: Can one be a universalist and a Catholic in good standing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by truthseeker32 View Post
Universalism is my last stumbling block to conversion to the faith. I can't let it go, and it is not out of fear that I cannot let go. I legitimately believe that the strict non-universalist position is nonsensical.

The common defense of Hell is that it exists as a result of free will. I have no problem with the idea that there is a state of suffering that occurs when one rejects God,
It's not only when one rejects God. There's also mortal sin that if one dies in a mortal sin they go to hell

for a few examples
  • Titus 3: 10 Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, 11knowing that such a man is )perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.
  • Ephesians 5: 3-5 fornication, covetousness……5 Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure man, or one who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
  • Hebrews 10:25-26 missing mass deliberately, no sacrifice for sin for THEM but a fiery judgement that consumes the adversaries of God.
  • Hebrews 12: 16 - 17 immoraliy, is selling your inheritance
  • Galatians 5: 19 - 21 sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, will not inherit heaven
  • Colossians 3: 5-6 immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry, ......rath of God is coming
  • 1 Corinthians 6: 9 - 10 no sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexual offenders [,ρσενοκοτης arsenokoitēs] 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
One therefore doesn't want to die with any of these sins on their soul. That's why Jesus gave us the sacrament of confession / penance.
There's that door He leaves open.
Quote:
Originally Posted by t
I am even open to the extreme possibility that this rejection could last forever, but it doesn't make sense to me that this state of hell should in all cases be permanent. Why must a soul be eternally trapped in a state in which they no longer have the freedom to come unto Christ? Would it not be better for God to always leave the door to salvation open?
Angels are creatires. They are made immortal just like us. Immortal means there is a beginning, but no end. The angels had their probationary period and apparantly 1/3 of them failed their test, Lucifer and the others, got wiped out of the ranks. When the trial period ended, the angelic ranks advanced to the beatific vision, and no more tests. The fallen angels we call demons, have for all eternity, seperation from God in hell.

Humans have an immortal soul, and we have a probationary period. It's this life. Each person has their own specific life. While we're being tested, God always leaves the door of salvation open. But when our time here is up, and the test is over, there is heaven and the beatific vision, or it's hell, Just like the angels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by t

Can one be an orthodox Catholic and believe that Hell may be empty or temporary?
God doesn't scare people for no reason. He's not like that. Turn it around. Is heaven empty? or mererly temporary?

What good is a test if there is no right and wrong answers? If everybody that ever lived gets transported to heaven when they die, that in my view wouldn't be heaven. We believe what we believe because of Divine Revelation. There is no use believing in things that aren't true. Don't give parking space in your head for things that aren't true. OTOH, one wants to believe everything that is true. Hell exists, do everything in your power to avoid it.
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Old Apr 12, '13, 4:04 pm
Hypnotoad Hypnotoad is offline
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Default Re: Can one be a universalist and a Catholic in good standing?

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Yes, we are free to reject Christ, but why then are we not also free to change our ways and repent?
We are not free to reject Christ. We have the ability to do so, but not without consequence.

It's funny because people don't think they should go to hell for a mortal sin which is done and over with in a minute, but they do believe they should be rewarded with heaven for eternity for a good deed which is done and over with in a minute.
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Old Apr 12, '13, 4:49 pm
St Francis St Francis is offline
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Default Re: Can one be a universalist and a Catholic in good standing?

Remember that God is perfectly just. He would not have made Hell eternal if those who ended up there did not deserve it.
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  #15  
Old Apr 12, '13, 4:57 pm
TomD123 TomD123 is offline
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Default Re: Can one be a universalist and a Catholic in good standing?

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Human beings will still exist in time and space, otherwise how are we to interpret the resurrection? Bodies need time and space in which to operate.
We will still have a material component because of the ressurection but its not entirely correct to say we will still exist in time and space. Entering into the inner life of God moves us beyond time and space in so many ways I would imagine. I think thats really the issue after death that time as we know it either ceases or drastically changes.
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