Can Catholics Dare To Hope?

So many are familiar with Bishop Barons video on Balthazar and his book Dare We Hope that All Men Are Saved.

Some have said that one can argue that it is within reason to hold such hope as Catholics.

This confounds me considering Christ warns about Hell that not everyone is saved and further many Christians doing and saying things in His name do not know Him and will not be saved being consigned to damnation.

Pretty scary stuff but also the Church declares that Hell is a Dogmatic belief.

The Church warns about mortal sin so much so that one is required to go to Confession before receiving Communion lest they commit an even graver sin of sacrilege bringing judgement and condemnation upon their heads.

So I personally believe that it is disingenuous to Christ our Lord and to the Church and Her Dogmas to have such hope when Christ and the Church has warned us and does warn us.

Post your thoughts on the subject be friendly and charitable.


Do I think all are saved? No. But I hope so, because I wouldn’t want to wish Hell on anyone. I hope all are saved because Heaven is the greatest good there is, and since I don’t know who ultimately goes where, I hope for the best. Does that make sense?


Parts of it make sense but I don’t logically see how one can hope for something that is not true.

Like I can’t hope that anyone who is beheaded with survive because it’s logically impossible just as it’s impossible that Hell is empty.

Of course we don’t want anyone going there but it would seem absurd to say Hell is empty when Christ says people go there.


It seem to me that I should be less concerned about other people’s salvation and be concerned with the real question, and that is - am I going to be saved. This is the reason for coming to religion in the first place. Do I believe? Will I be saved?
The question of whether my friend Bob, or the good people of Jackson City will be saved has litttle to do with anything.
Or so it seems to me.

A commonly seen view is that damnation is temporary.

All will eventually recognize the lordship of Jesus per Revelation, right?

That they do so after they’ve died has been argued as arbitrary by some theologians, particularly when the God in charge is supposed to be one of limitless love.

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My overall issue with daring to have such hope is not because I think that I am Holy which I am not or that I am a better person which I am also not.

My issue is that it contradicts the truth revealed in Sacred Scripture, it contradicts the truth revealed by the Church, it contradicts logic and reason, and if many are to believe it then there is good rational to say that many will not pray for those that need to be prayed for.

If there is no danger of damnation then who’s to say there is really any danger of sin?

Who’a to say sin actually exist and if that’s case the crucifixion our Lord’s passion is but a house built on sand?

There’s no reason for evangelization efforts there’s no reason for anyone to become Catholic or to be confirmed in the sacraments or even to receive the sacraments if all are saved there’s really no reason for growing in holiness.

I think that many of us have friends and families that are not believers and many of them for the most part of very good people and we would be sad thing to see them lost.

I think such thoughts are comforting but they are not logical or rational based upon the words of Our Lord and His Apostles.

I think a lot of the theologians that came out of the Novelle Théologie era we’re really into the idea of going back the patristic roots but I think some of them erroneously went to certain sources that were otherwise essentially condemned.

Origen is one of the early Church Father’s and while he has a lot of good theology some of his ideas were condemned and because he held to some of these ideologies he was not canonized as a saint.

The ideology that I speak of in respect to Origen is Apocatastasis.

This was the belief that all created beings would be reconciled with God even the demons and that they would only suffer a short purgative state before becoming enlightened and entering into the beautific vision.

I have five children I have to face the fact every day that one of those children might be lost or all of them will be lost or hope that all of them will be saved.

Everyday I face the fact that I might not be saved and while I can hope for my children, my spouse, myself, I still know as a matter of fact that there is a possibility that some of us may not go to heaven.

This is the reason of why I pray everyday not just for them but also for people that would be otherwise considered my enemies.

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Makes sense to me too, it’s basically what I believe.

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At least in my beliefs, I think a more accurate analogy would be that I hope for a stay in execution. It’s hard to describe.

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Bishop Barron is the shepherd over the people in his Diocese, he is still very much alive. The term “Venerable” refers to a person who has died and their cause for canonization has been accepted by the Vatican.

I hope that all men come to a saving knowledge of Christ, I pray for that every day.


I meant his Excellency… :man_facepalming:


I hope I’ll never catch another cold for the rest of my life, although I know realistically I almost certainly will.

I hope no one is in Hell, but I understand that it’s highly unlikely to be empty. So I just realistically hope for a few people as possible.


I have participated in more threads within CAF on hell than I care to count. But I suppose one should continue on in what she thinks is fighting a good fight… Although St Augustine was not alone in his advocacy for eternal-Hell, it is worth noting that even he admitted during his own time that “indeed very many” (immo quam plurimi) of his theological contemporaries rejected his belief that Hell must be both neverending and inescapable. It is also interesting to note that the NT was not written in Latin. It’s written in Greek and Our Lord Himself spoke almost exclusively in Aramaic, as far as we know. It should strike us as noteworthy that the notable Greek-speaking church Fathers tended against a view of eternal-Hell in their eschatology. St Augustine didn’t read Greek and relied on his Latin translation of the NT utilizing such terms as “aternos” in the relevant passages. Catholic bibles today still import the Augustinian theology and render the English equivalent of “eternal.” Given this, of course any English speaker seeing this word in her NT easily comes to the Augustinian view of Hell.

But not that Hell is currently occupied. The church regularly canonizes saints but has not ever practiced “reverse-canonization,” a definitive declaration that, say, Hitler and Genghis Khan are in Hell.

And yet, we read in the NT that God “desires all to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:4). In the rosary, we pray “save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy mercy.” The various liturgies in use by the church pray for the whole world. If such universal salvation weren’t possible, what are we praying for?

Of course, I have a hundred such arguments to offer, but these should do for a start, if you’re really looking to engage on the issue. I promise to be both charitable and, I dare say, magnanimous in my responses.


Saying there is a hell does not mean we have to say people are in it. Two separate and distinct determinations. We can firmly believe there is a hell without believing (or hoping) that anyone is in it.

Impossible to measure the final mercy of Jesus at our judgment or the place someone’s soul is at upon death. I think a tougher conversation would be where is Judas currently. Nobody knows but that’s a much more interesting conversation.

I hold strongly in hope that nobody is in hell, because frankly, why would I want to think otherwise? So that I can be like “ha got you! Told you people were in hell!” I mean seriously… why wouldn’t you hope??

Tim Staples pointed out that the First Constitution of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 taught souls are in hell now. Also that St. Pope John Paul II also said that we do not know which ones (without divine revelation):

Eternal damnation remains a real possibility, but we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of which human beings are effectively involved in it.

And that the words of Jesus were unequivocal:

And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life (Matt. 25:46).


I knew someone would say that. :wink:

Certainly the Church has never declared that anyone is in Hell but Jesus did say there would be people in Hell through various parables of the goats and the sheep being separated or the wheat and the weeds.

In Apocalypse it even goes into the final judgement and the locking up of Hell and all those in the lake of fire the demons and the damned.

I also knew someone would point these two things out.

Jesus does desire that all men would be saved but unfortunately he also says that many are not saved and that not everyone who is a Christian will be saved.

Also it is a natural consequence of free will that some will reject God.

Freewill is the result of God’s justice and His love as He gives us the ability to choose Him to acknowledge and love Him or not.

Hell is the absence of God as the Catechism teaches us and Jesus says it’s a place of fire, darkness, and grinding of teeth where the worm doesn’t die, and that these souls are thrown into a lake of fire and sealed to their fate forever.

I don’t think that rosary prayer leads to universalism I think it means we must pray and make sacrifices for as many people as possible.

I’ve heard all these arguments before just as I am sure you have heard many that I am making.

I perceive that people are taking a concept running with it and stretching it as far as they can.

My concern with that is that people within the Church clergy and laity will not evangelize and try to help save souls as much because of a presumed hope that everyone is going to heaven.

Anyways not trying to be nasty that’s just my take on it.


I agree with you. The sheer emphasis Jesus puts on hell and people is simply a lie if all have been saved. However, I think in all charity to Barron and Balthazar, we should look at it like this. Can we hope/believe all are saved. No. Can we hope any single person is saved? Yes. There is a difference. We can hope every SINGLE person is saved. But not all will be or have been.

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There are several reasons for not interpreting the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 as an end-times prophecy. First, if entering into heaven were so easy, then all you need to do is take care of all of those groups that Christ mentioned specifically, the hungry, those in prison, etc. And yet, nothing of belief or faith is mentioned in that parable. Additionally, what humans on earth are so simplistic in their helping of their fellow man to include helping every specific group that Christ mentions or helping no one in those groups? I don’t personally know anyone who has not cared for someone hungry. And I know many who have cared for those sick in hospitals but have never taken it upon themselves to care for those in prison. In fact, the vast majority of us have taken it upon ourselves to take care of some of the specific groups that Christ mentions, but not all of them.
Also equally weird is the fact that all the people are surprised. Both the sheep and the goats ask our Lord “when did we see you? “ But if you have already read Matthew 25, and if you take it as an end times prophecy, why would you ever ask our Lord “when did I see you? “ You knew it was a prophecy, so you lived your life taking care of the hungry, the stranger, the prisoner, the sick, so…why would you be surprised? I think it is fairly clear that what our Lord is doing in this parable is emphasizing the necessity of helping the most vulnerable among us, not predicting how the future will go down.

He does not ever say this at any point in the gospels. The one time where he was specifically asked the question, “are few saved?” He does not answer the question. It is a straightforward question, a yes or no question, in fact. But he does not directly answer it. His answer is elusive and rather directs the questioner to the difficulty of spiritual practice. At least, that is how many church fathers interpreted that passage.

Ok, why? The language is crystal clear—“lead all souls to heaven.” If you pray that prayer you are, quite literally asking Christ to save everyone. otherwise, you need to revise that line to say something like “lead all the best souls to heaven.”

If one is a Catholic as an adult, presumably that person thinks she has good reasons for remaining within this religion. It doesn’t follow from that that all other religions are worthless. She could even think something like her religion is the safest vehicle for getting to heaven and yet still hold that all the vehicles are probably headed to heaven too, Even if they have to go through some troubled waters to get there. There is nothing inconsistent about that.


I think in reference to the parables Christ was speaking on specific things it was never a broad scope on Soteriology just a specific point or area he was showing us.

In the goats and the sheep he talks about the corporal works of mercy.

We know through our theology that good works are not meritorious unless they are performed for the right reasons and in the state of grace faith without works is dead.

One must be baptized in order to be in such state normally outside of Mary who was immaculately conceived.

The more agricultural parables deal with judgement which we all experience after death at the general judgement which comes before the final judgement at the end of time.

They also deal with living our Christian lives and being in a state of grace.

The good and bad are allowed to coexist with another but will be separated.

The Fatima prayer is from a private revelation which I figured was best to leave out of the OP since no one is required to put faith into any private revelation.

But if we do speak of private revelations I think it’s safe to say the bulk of them speak of eternal damnation.

Most of them deal with praying for people with a specific formula to give them the grace of a deathbed conversion or a conversion before their deaths.

If all religions were vehicles to salvation then I think many of us including myself would choose other Apostolic Churches to belong to without as many scandals or confusions.

That’s not to say the Orthodox Churches are perfect or that they don’t have scandals or confusions.

The Orthodox have more schisms than I can keep track of and it’s hard for people know what Churches are in communion with one another.

Being Catholic is not easy I could save myself a lot of grief and anxiety not being Catholic if the choosing was guaranteed that I would go to heaven regardless.

Alas I don’t believe that and have and will remain Catholic.

I also do not believe in Universalism, Dispensationalism, or that all religions are vehicles to salvation.

I agree other religions hold certain truths or truths that are universal to religion and philosophy.

I think in regards to the Orthodox Churches it is essentially the same religion as Catholicism particularly Eastern Catholicism aside from rejecting the Dogmas and the Papacy.

The difference being that Orthodox Christianity has all the sacraments and a valid priesthood but lacks communion with Rome and direction from the See of Peter whereas Protestantism only has baptism and some of the teachings which very innumerably.

Judaism has the basis of our faith but lacks the revelation of Jesus Christ, the Holy Trinity, and lacks the sacraments.

The other monotheistic religions grew out of heresies and Paganism usually tends to be relativistic and might occasionally have glimpses into the natural law.

Really it’s not the argument of is it possible people from other religions might be saved as we know this is hypothetically possible through invincible ignorance which is an extremely rare and precise circumstance.

The argument is whether or not Hell is empty?

I don’t believe Hell is presently empty or that it will be in the future as we all enter into eternity.

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With other religions they have some truth’s but even the belief in invincible ignorance is not a guarantee.

We believe it’s possible that some might be saved but this not a guarantee revolving door situation.

One has to be in a state of grace in order to be saved normally although God can work outside the sacraments.

It’s a glimmer of hope not something to run off with.

I just wanted to be clear on that because I sense a an argument coming from some folks.

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