To my fellow Catholics: I believe that if something is God’s will and we ask Him to let it come to pass, God will answer our prayer. My question is this: Is it God’s will that all non-Catholic Christians convert to the Catholic faith? Or is it possible that God does not will that some Christians do not ever come home? I know many non-Catholic Christians that are amazing men and women of God. But does God see this as “good enough”? I believe that God does want all non-Catholic Christians to come back to the faith. But is it His will?
Jesus then said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John (NAB) 8:31-32)
The fulness of the Truth subsists in the Catholic Church. If God wills that we know the Truth then He wills all to be members of His Church.
You need to be a little clearer about what you mean by God’s will. Do you mean what He “desires”?
The fullness of truth subsists indeed in the Catholic Church and it is the One True Church Christ founded. That being said, I can only think of one situation off-hand in which God may not “will” a specific individual to enter the Church. Take C.S. Lewis, for example. He is beloved among all Christians and came as close to Catholicism as he could without quite entering. Many posit that had he lived longer he would have entered the Church. Does him not being a Catholic render him more attractive to those anti-Catholics who would otherwise have not read his work? And does God use C.S. Lewis to draw others into the One Church? So in this brain exercise, the goal is still to draw souls into the Catholic Church. That would be the situation I could see God not willing a specific individual to enter fully. The question is was it God’s will that C.S. Lewis be a “pointer” toward the Catholic Church for those who obstinately refuse to read the works of Catholics?
But I’m not omniscient enough to know if that’s really His will. :o
well, did not Jesus found a Church 2000 years ago? where do you think He would want people to be?
just because people are being misled out of the Church and refuse to enter in her, it doesnt mean it is God’s will that they stay outside. they simply refuse to believe it.
i always compare this with the pharisees and their rejection of Jesus teachings. they were not excused and neither are those who refuse to listen to the Church. i dont care how good they are.
The question posted in the original thread is probably more complex than a simple yes or no answer.
First of all, we need to look at some Scriptural references as well as some references found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church for a basis of coming up with a suitable answer to this question:
John 17:20 "I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
John 17:21 so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.
John 17:22 And I have given them the glory you gave me, **so that they may be one, as we are one, **
The verses are a part of Jesus’ prayer right before He entered into the Garden of Gethsemane. He prayed that we, His followers may be one as He and the Father are one. In other words, he wanted us to all be a part of one body, that is His body the Church, without any division. Events such as the Great Schism and the Protestant Reformation have divided Christ’s body to a certain extent and have resulted in Christians no longer being one in the sense that these verses allude to. The Catholic Church has remained one though, throughout the centuries, so Christ’s prayer has been fulfilled within Her unity. However our brothers and sisters in Christ who no longer adhere to the faith and the Church have, unfortunately, damaged and fractured Christianity. Thus their returning to the one, true, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church would be God’s will for everyone who is a follower of Christ, for only within the Catholic Church do we find the fullness of truth, the fullness of God’s salvific plan for all of mankind.
We can also turn to another section of Sacred Scripture for an example of this:
Ephesians 4:4 **one body **and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
Ephesians 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
Here we see Saint Paul telling us that there is to be one body of Christ and one Christian faith, not a broken seperated body, and not many different and varied faiths with only core beliefs in common (if one can call any Christian belief core in relation to another Christian belief that is not considered core). The only Christian body that fits this criteria is the Catholic Church as well, unchanged and unbroken, within Herself, since the time of Christ.
Now let us take a look at what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say:
820 **“Christ bestowed unity on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time.”**277 Christ always gives his Church the gift of unity, but the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the unity that Christ wills for her. This is why Jesus himself prayed at the hour of his Passion, and does not cease praying to his Father, for the unity of his disciples: "That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, . . . so that the world may know that you have sent me."278 **The desire to recover the unity of all Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of the Holy Spirit.**279
277 UR 4 # 3.
278 ⇒ Jn 17:21; cf. ⇒ Heb 7:25.
279 Cf. UR 1.
822 Concern for achieving unity "involves the whole Church, faithful and clergy alike."287 But we must realize “that this holy objective - the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ - transcends human powers and gifts.” That is why we place all our hope "in the prayer of Christ for the Church, in the love of the Father for us, and in the power of the Holy Spirit."288
287 UR 5.
288 UR 24 # 2.
Here we can see that the Magesterium teaches us that all Christians are called to be a part of the Catholic Church, even those who have broken away throughout the centuries. We are all to be one as Jesus is one with the Father, we are all to be Catholic. This is not meant to offend our brothers and sisters in Christ, but to point the way to the fullness of truth so as to help them come to a closer and more perfect union with the Holy Trinity as well as to obtain salvation, what God Himself wishes for them.
(Continuted in next thread)
(Continued from previous thread)
This brings us to the next point that needs to be made. For all of this, those who are followers of Christ but are not yet members of the Catholic Church are still our brothers and sisters in the Lord. We must not forget this either, and must show our love to them as such. Here are a few more references that may come in handy:
Luke 9:50 Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”
Wounds to unity
817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."269 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ’s Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270 - do not occur without human sin:
Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.271
818 “However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers … **All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.”**272
819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276
269 UR 3 # 1.
270 Cf. ⇒ CIC, can. 751.
271 Origen, Hom. in Ezech. 9, 1: PG 13, 732.
272 UR 3 # 1.
273 LG 8 # 2.
274 UR 3 # 2; cf. LG 15.
275 Cf. UR 3.
276 Cf. LG 8.
These references show us that we must show respect and love toward our seperated brethren, as this is what the Lord commands of us. They are, in fact, in an imperfect union with the Catholic Church and with us, by being followers of Christ.
In conclusion, God does wish that all Christians believe in and become members of the one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, but we must also remember that He desires the salvation of all men as well, and does everything He can to accomplish this goal, even if it means working in union with people, outside of the Catholic Church, who are His followers but who believe in their hearts it is wrong for them to join the Church. What we need to do is to instruct them on God’s truth and pray for them, but above all else show them the love of Christ as Catholics.
I hope that helps.
May God bless you and Mary keep you in her prayers always.
Yinandyang: Thank you! That was excellent!
I think we get into dangerous territory when we start telling each other “I think this is God’s will”. He stated his will clearly and unabamgiuously. Jesus calls for unity in the last solemn moments before his agony, arrest and passion, read John’s gospel. So what “I think” is irrelevant.
When God saved me it was when I was going to a Baptist Church. It was was his will that,that is where he wanted me when he saved me. It was his will that I stayed a Baptist because I have never had a desire to be anything else.
It was also his will to show me the fulness of the truth through his Word because in his Word is the fulness of the truth.
this way you would have to ignore the Word of God about the Church.
I don’t doubt that God uses protestant denominations to bring about His will. I have known people who were drawn to Christianity by an aspect of a Protestant denomination, and who later found the Catholic Church. But it would have been much harder for that person to come to the Catholic Church if they hadn’t first come to Christianity in general through Protestantism.
As I heard an apologist once say, “In order for one to be more Protestant, he must become Catholic. The Protestant’s most important goal is to have a personal relationship with Christ. And what better way to do that than through the Eucharist”.
Or something like that:shrug:
I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.
That’s one interesting point, Puzzle. But one thing puzzles me: How are Catholics one with one another in a way that is different from how Protestants are one with one another. That is, how is our oneness more like Christ’s oneness than their oneness is?
But the Word of God was written by Baptist about the Baptist Church
are you serious? did Baptist found a Church?
Yep he’s serious. Trail of Blood philosophy.
Did you know Jesus also had a crew cut?
but i thought the trail of blood has been discredit by the own author, hasnt it?
No, that was ‘Mystery Babylon’ whose author escapes me. It was based on Hislop’s ‘Two Babylons’ from the 19th century. Trail of Blood is actually based on an earlier Baptist ‘history’ from the early 20th century.
And spoke in English.