A "bad seed"

Our Catholic faith says that we are all called to be saints.
Does this mean that all created, and I mean all of us, were given, even deeply inside of us, the root of being a saint? I ask, because I’ve often wondered if there really is such a thing as a “bad seed.” Look at Hitler. Herod the Great (not so Great) Queen Herodias. Our Catholic faith also says that God predestines no one, but what of those who truly delight in the darkest evil and seem to have no conscience or desire in the slightest to turn from their ways, or even recognize their ways as wrong? The argument might be that we are shaped by our upbringing, that values were or weren’t instilled into us from early childhood. We may also be shaped by our life circumstances. To me, I see a difference between a “broken soul” and that of someone who seems deeply rooted in evil. A “broken soul” is someone who has, in some way or another, been hurt, and it has made them turn to bad things. Yet there are those who may have been spoiled, had an easy life and never a hard or painful thing in their life, and they seem to cruelly delight in wickedness. This kind of a person, I wonder, have they nothing in them, no ability at all to convert? Is “who we are” just in us, and we turn out the way we do regardless of our upbringing or any values we may have been taught? Do you believe in a “bad seed”? Or do we truly all, all of us, have redeeming qualities and a capability of a desire to turn good?

One of the people you mentioned, I think, was a Christian earlier in life (or at least, this has been suggested) and attended an art school too - the ability to do art is something from God as is the ability to look at art as beautiful. You are speaking in terms of believing in some kind of anti-Christ, spawn of Satan, and even in that case, while demons can appear as real in the human-natural sense, I don’t believe they can give birth, to a bad seed, in that way, because demons don’t have the biological or spiritual functioning capability or capacity to give life, as they are fallen angels. And to give birth to a bad seed, would be to give birth to evil, which is the diametric opposite to giving birth (life-giving). God holds out hope for all of humankind. Although, the participatory factor of some, in not responding to grace and love, can harden such hearts in ways that it might be deemed almost impossible for that person to turn back. With God, all things are possible. We can never know what was said or thought in the last moments of a human beings life on earth, as they are about to die.

We all share redeeming qualities. Whether they manifest in our lives is the question. That is both nature and nurture in my opinion.

Each turning away from God, each sin committed brings us farther and farther away from Him. We all have free will. Some use their free will to go away from God, having their conscience seared. It is a shame to even say what the wicked to in secret and in the dark thinking no one can see. But God sees all the darkness is as light to Him.

There is no one beyond hope as they live on earth because there is free will. But there are those who by their deeds sear their conscience and would take a miracle or tons of prayer to turn it around. But yes, we don’t know what happens at the point of death. I even heard that Alister Crowley one of the most evil men I know of repented on his death bed. Not sure if its true or not.

We’re all “bad seeds,” even though God, in His mercy, limits our evil so we’re not all mass murderers. Paul called himself the “chief of sinners.” Sainthood is not possible apart from God’s grace.

Ultimately, we are all free to chose what we do. I’ve often wondered how people can be involved in the production of porn. It is something that I would never, couldn’t ever do. But for some others, apparently, it isn’t much of a decision. But then again, I’ve also wondered how people can be so fanatical about drinking alcohol. Some people literally cannot relax or have a good time unless they are “drinking.” With Hitler, he grew up knowing Christian morality and simply rejected it. In the same way that a person can take money to kill another human being, Hitler simply did not have the moral compunction to restrain his actions (keep in mind that many Nazis were this way; Reinhard Heydrich is considered by many historians to be the darkest figure of the Nazis, though Heinrich Himmler was certainly a close second). It is fascinating to read how someone like Rudolph Hoss or Adolph Eichmann explained the rationale and reasoning behind their actions. How can “just following orders” excuse supreme acts of immorality?

Another person to consider is Charles Manson. Even from an early age he was a “bad seed.” By the time he was arrested for the Tate-LaBianca murders he had already lived most of his life in some form of incarceration. Why? Was he “made” like that or did he make a choice to live such a life? I think, ultimately, that we all know some who have made bad decisions in their lives and we often wonder how they could have come to such a decision. The fact is that many people do what they do because they choose to, as hard as that is to believe.

Hi. :slight_smile: Actually, babies are not born evil. Original Sin doesn’t kick in until Reason kicks in. So, spiritually, we eventually fall into less than perfect trust in God, in fact, unless educated, we don’t necessarily know about God. So, in that sense, all people turn evil eventually, to varying degrees of ignorance, because of our inherited fallen nature. However, we are made in the image of God, which is the starting point.

even though God, in His mercy, limits our evil so we’re not all mass murderers.

I don’t think that God limits anything necessarily as we all have free will.

Paul called himself the “chief of sinners.” Sainthood is not possible apart from God’s grace.

St. Paul was a humbled man.


Somebody mentioned Charles Manson who is in all likelihood a psychopath.

A psychopath comes to mind when describing people who have no conscience. Most of them enjoy inflicting suffering on others. As children they like to torture animals and then from there graduate to humans. Contrary to popular belief, not all psychopaths are serial killers although serial killers are likely to be psychopaths. A psychopath may not be a killer but they still manage to destroy the lives of the people around them.

They may know the difference between good and evil but due to a lack of empathy will almost always choose evil.

I do not believe there’s such a thing as a “bad seed.” Children of illegitimacy used to be branded this way. Children abused in childhood used to be branded this way.

Every soul can be redeemed, but every soul also has choices within the portion of God’s Light of which it becomes aware. Free will exists and can be exercised. If free will is impeded by disease or invincible ignorance, there are still the general norms of the natural law that have to be considered. Next question, please.

I read recently that a sociopath can be created by giving a child all the material things he asks for, while depriving him of nurturing, love, attention etc. It said that the number of sociopaths is on the rise as more people are letting TVs & the internet raise their children.

Before our stepdaughter came to live with us, relatives called her a “devil child”, and predicted all kinds of bad futures for her. People grow into what they are taught to expect. 12 years later, she’s a great wife and mother… Many of us go through difficult periods as adolescents, and grow out of it.

I don’t think there’s any such thing as a bad seed either, meaning someone destined to be evil. We all make choices every day that lead us closer to or farther from God. Pray that we will all make good choices.


Not by nature, since we are subject to death and concupiesence. It requires God to give actual grace even before conversion, and then repentence. But is can apply to many categories of persons including “Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.”:


1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.60 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.61 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.62 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.

1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."63 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,"64 allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

This is an age-old psychological issue, as well as a philosophical and theological one. Once upon a time, among psychological theories of personality, the “bad seed” idea was considered legitimate. Later it was rejected by most in the psychological community. However, in recent years, it has turned up again to possibly explain the behavior of truly bad people with apparently no or very little conscience, such as that of serial killers.

I read that sociopaths are made while psychopaths are born.

It is possible that an individual maybe redeemed from being a sociopath, but psychopathy may have a genetic component and cannot be cured.

A psychopath is not born one. They can have genetic bodily issues yet they also have souls.

(Take into account neglect, mental problems, and too, occult influence).

Did I ever say that psychopaths have no souls?

No, I did not.

If one thinks that a person was born evil i.e: a “psychopath”, then that is the same as saying that this person has no soul, because every soul, is born in the image of God, though their bodies, which are also in the likeness of God (according to the Catechism), maybe be deficient in some way, until they receive their new bodies.

We can easily get lost in subjectivity when we put the emphasis on ourselves, ie. seed. However, the Protevangelium speaks of seeds. But objectively the seed is God’s activity and our deepest desires. Am I overtaken by God/Mary or the devil? I don’t think someone can say yes or no to either. Yet objectively this occurs. We ought to be confident in Hope, and never give into the sin of despair. This flux is potentially there because “we hope for that which we see not” (Rom 8:25). This darkness of inability to answer the question can be a trial that builds a pure hope (cf. Rom 5:4).

This makes the most sense to me. Thankyou.

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