Are mentally retarded people guaranteed virtually assured of eternal salvation?


Assuming that a person is so severely mentally retarded that he can never reach the capacity of reason (and hence can never sin due to his invincible ignorance), is he virtually assured of eternal salvation?

Would it matter if he was or was not baptised?


Retarded or not, he has original sin. So baptism is certainly relevant.

As for personal sin - if he can’t reason, he can’t commit mortal sin. So it seems like yes, he would be certain of salvation if baptised.

First confession/communion is usually at about age seven, right? I’m no expert, but it seems like that level of retardation must be extremely rare. :shrug:


Being the sister of a severely retarded boy, I have seen enough to say that unfortunately, there are PLENTY of people who never do reach this age of maturity. :frowning:


Fair enough. I really don’t know anything about it.

God bless!


The only people that are guaranteed eternal salvation are those already in heaven. BUT, we would have to assume that one who cannot discern right from wrong and having been baptized (or maybe not as we are bound by God’s commands but He is not) would be saved through the death and resurrection of our Lord.

Virtually guaranteed salvation?? Only God can answer that and He will grant us that answer at our particular judgment…teachccd :slight_smile:


IMHO if born into a Catholic family then baptism is necessary for every born individual retarded or not. If born into other circumstances then God will take into consideration the life circumstances the individual was born into (atheist, Buddhist etc).

If the person never reaches the age of reason mentally then they will be judged by their personal circumstances.



If only I was born mentally retarded…


The suffering of being severely mentally disabled unites that human person with Christ suffering on the cross, which is the source of all baptism (formal and non-formal) and the source of all salvation.


:confused: What a sad statement…:frowning:


Perhaps an attempt at humor that failed…

As to the OP, no, not assured, but if baptized we can be confident that they’ll reach salvation. :thumbsup:


I’m not so sure that God cannot somehow communicate his grace to a retarded person. If the Holy Spirit leads the Church to believe that we believe that EVERY LIFE is precious and needs protected from conception to natural death - then, to God (at very least) that person has value. I assume the mother of a mentally retarded child sees value in their child despite the handicap. I assume God sees the same; only through His perfect eyes.

ALSO … as an example I’m always taken by the joy and solidarity found in the Special Olympics by the children suffering from Downs Syndrome. It seems to me that in spite of their mental deficiencies God has still communicated His grace to them in a special way.

ALSO … I think, through the writing of the saints, though it cannot be proven, that God communicates His grace to souls when they may be unconscious but still alive, yet between life and death.

In other words - just because a person cannot reason doesn’t mean God cannot communicate with a soul in a transformative way. We will only know for sure in heaven; but I’m expecting many wonderful surprises.



That is not the least bit funny, not to mention terribly insenstive.:mad:


[quote=rayne89]That is not the least bit funny, not to mention terribly insenstive.:mad:

[quote=Newbie2]Perhaps an attempt at humor that failed…

As to the OP, no, not assured, but if baptized we can be confident that they’ll reach salvation. :thumbsup:

If mentally retarded people are virtually guaranteed salvation, then wouldn’t everyone want to be born mentally retarded?

“If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.” Matthew 5:30

If I had a choice between…

  1. being mentally retarded for a human lifetime and going to heaven for all eternity


  1. being mentally healthy but having the risk of going to hell for all eternity

I’d choose option 1, hands down.

The logic is there. I’m not sure why my statement seemed so controversial.


The logic is impeccable.

Many people, however do not like to be forced to see things in a logical way. If they did, they would also have to accept that abortion also “guarantees” entry into heaven and therefore women who choose abortion are acting in the best interest of their “children”.

Moreover, if they accept that their act is a mortal sin, and abort anyway, they should be considered saints for putting the best interest of their “child” in front of their own salvation… sacrificing their own salvation. What could more noble than that?

But I do not think that this line of thought - no matter how logical it is - will be accepted by most people. Actually, I am sure that tempers will flare, and I will be condemned for my logic.

On a more lighthearted note, here is an old story:

A missionary goes to a simple tribe, and tells them about heaven and hell. He tells them how should they behave if they want to get into heaven, and what should they avoid if thet want to escape hell. A tribesman asks him what would have happened if they never heard about Jesus, and heaven and hell. The missionary answers that they would have been in the state of invincible ignorance, and they would have gained heaven. Then the tribesman asks:

“So why did you tell me all this?”.


Or lurk outside the confessional and shoot people as they come out! Perfect plan.
Or strangling newly-baptized babies. What a great thing to do. I can think of no possible downside.
This is so logically impeccable, I’m sure Jesus must have commanded it in one of the Gospels. Let’s see…

—flip flip flip…

Hmm. Not so much.

Substitute your logic for Christ’s commands at your peril.

Actually, I am sure that tempers will flare, and I will be condemned for my logic.

Wow, how prescient.


First of all we can’t really be sure that someone who seems to be lacking mental capacity actually does lack it.

There’s always the (awful but real) possibility that their problems are largely or purely physical but misdiagnosed as mental. In addition, it’s probably an inexact science determining the mental capacity of any person.

I’ve seen kids who are 2 and 3 who I would be willing to swear know as much about right and wrong as others at 9 or 10.


No, that is risky. How would you know that they did not have an impure thought since they left the confessional?

Yep, that would work. Their salvation is guaranteed.

But it could have been there and edited out. After all the Bible is just a subjective selection of writings (written many years after the death of Jesus), and the most edited book in the history of mankind. Maybe someone realized that such dangerous teachings must be removed, after all following them would deprive the Church of its revenue… hmmm!?

OK. Let’s not apply logic and reason to faith, and all the problems will disappear.


And you have evidence for this, of course. Let’s hear it.


You need to get real…Why not just wish that you died as an infant right after you were baptized?? It makes just as much sense…:eek: :confused:


If the child is born into a Catholic Family it is his/her parents or interested parties responsibility to make sure that the child is Baptized. Most Catholic’s make sure their children are Baptized by 4 months of age this should not be a problem, whether the child is mentally impaired or not. If this child is never Baptized it is the sin of his/her “Catholic” parents.
That being said if this child never reaches the level of maturity and understanding (average is 6-8 years) then I believe in God’s Love and Mercy this person even if he lives 100 years is always a innocent child and will go to Heaven:)

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