Can we HOPE for the Apocatastasis?

The Holy St. Gregory of Nyssa, the “Father of the Fathers” believed and hoped for the Restoration of all in Christ at the end of time. St Gregory the Theologian Intimated the possibility as well, as also did St. Maximus the Confessor.

I understand that St. Gregory of Nyssa’s apocatastasis was different than Origens, because it denied the pre-existence of souls and assereted the Role of the body in salvation.

Can a Catholic hope and pray for this and make it a personal belief without preaching it to others?

THere seems to be alot of scripture and tradition in favor of this view.

Is the Foundational principle of this belief, namely, that all God’s punishments are remedial and for our ultimate benefit flawed?

I was thinking the way to Synthesize the traditional and untraditional views on this could be if we accept the temporality of the Punishments we suffer immediately after death up to the ressurection, and in the ressurection all flesh would be given an oppurtunity to acknowledge Christ as God of all, but the obstinate would be punished eternally by their failure to accept the divine life, and their constant exposure to the loving presence of God.

But if the first Principle i mentio above is TRUE, then the apocatastasis is inevitable. (?)

Advice please.

Scripture doesn’t support it.

Because of our trust in the infinite love and mercy of God, and the knowledge that punishment can be remedial (as in the case of purgation), we should be able to hope for the restoration of all things.

However, because of how explicit the Holy Writ is, we should not preach it or hold it as a doctrine.

Hence, I agree with St. Gregory.

Yet, all the biblical references I have seen do not really speak to the length of punishment, but the degree.

For example: “Where their worm dieth not.” This can simply be referencing the fact that when those souls experience “the worm” it will be torturous and they will want it to end immediately, but the Author is simply stating, “Hey, this isn’t gonna end anytime soon.” It could be about the quality of the suffering, not the quantity.

SO, could it be like hyperbole?

  1. Is the Principle that all GOd’s punishments that he either allows or inflicts are remedial wrong?
    And if it is wrong, then are some punishments of God vindictive? And if so, is God then subject to passion?

Or

  1. Are all punishments in order to fulfill God’s justice at being offended by humanity? But mankind is ignorant and cannot offer an ifnite offense to God whom his darkened mind does not know correctly. SO how can God be infinitely offended at the act of spiritual half-wits?

IT seems like it would be like sending an Autistic child to death row for accidentally causing someones death. THe kid should be dealt with, but does he even have the capacity of fulfilling the full measure of the law? Any punishment beyond what would be good for him and others would simply be gratuitous, right?

Grace & Peace!

As was previously written, I belief that the restoration can be hoped for, but cannot be taught. Nor can it be denied. If it occurs, it will be because God is infinitely merciful.

I think it was either Losky or Pelikan who said something along the lines of: those who deny the restoration are stubborn oxes, those who teach it are braying donkeys. But both the ox and the donkey were present at the manger. Again–cannot be taught, cannot be denied.

Your impulse to place your hope in the Ever-Merciful Lover of Mankind is a good one! I would say that, in a public forum like this, however, it is sufficient and appropriate to leave it there. There is an interesting story in Islam–a teacher had gathered a group of his pupils together and was teaching them about Hallaj, the Muslim saint who had a vision/experience of union with God and was prompted to cry out in his ecstacy, “I am God!” and was killed for it. He taught that there was a way in which Hallaj was not a heretic but was, in fact telling the truth according to the degree to which he was united with God. Indeed, the voice that cried out, I am God, was God’s crying out through Hallaj! The students were amazed. The next day, in the formal classroom environment, filled with students and other teachers, someone brought up Hallaj. The teacher said, “Clearly, he’s a heretic! There’s nothing more to say!” His pupils from the previous night were baffled. They approached him after their lesson and asked, “teacher, you told us one thing last night, but another in class today. Why?” He said, “Last night, we were among men of love. Today, we were among men of religion.”

Some mysteries should not be, need not be, spoken. Nor do they need definition. Indeed, it is perhaps because of their mysterious nature that they defy definition.

Our Lord is merciful. That is all that need be said.

Under the Mercy,
Mark

All is Grace and Mercy! Deo Gratias!

I think the basic principle in a Christian understanding is great. God does not wish to be rejected by anyone, so a general matanoia of even Satan would be a wonderful thing.

But it is not supported, as mentioned above.

I definitely think the term apocatastasis should NOT be used, because it implies much more than what Christians would think. It is deeply rooted in philosophy (Stoic? not sure and the later neo-Platonism). As it is used in philosophy it is totally unacceptable.

Pray to God for mercy, pray for all humankind, pray for all creation.

God is Love, He will understand.

But as in all things, pray that most of all His Will be done.

Is it wrong for us to pray for the salvation of those who we know, by all accounts, to be hardened?

I sometimes have felt inspired to pray for the souls of Hitler and Stalin, because I recognize their woundedness in youth, both by People in the Church (Hitler was talked out of Seminary and discouraged; Stalin was chased out of church by his Bishop after spilling the consecrated gifts.)

Is it a Sin to pray and hope this way? I would want someone to remember ME this way too…

While I personally lean towards the philosophy, it is not something I would place my hopes upon. Christ told us to live a certain way, and our best hope it in following his teachings.

It is good to pray for all, we have an example. Luke 23:*34 (Rhiems): “*And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Regarding Apocatastasis, we read of condemnation in John 3 (KJV):

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

And in the Latin Catechism (1990): CCC 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. …”

And an interesting statement by Pope Pius IX from 1863 (Quanto Conficiamur Moerore) indicates that the eternal punishment is not for that sin originating from invincible ignorance:

"7. Here, too, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, it is again necessary to mention and censure a very grave error entrapping some Catholics who believe that it is possible to arrive at eternal salvation although living in error and alienated from the true faith and Catholic unity. Such belief is certainly opposed to Catholic teaching. There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace. Because God knows, searches and clearly understands the minds, hearts, thoughts, and nature of all, his supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments. "

papalencyclicals.net/Pius09/p9quanto.htm

God bless you… I feel the same way and do similarly. There’s no sin in praying for anyone. (I hope) May you always be remembered this way! :hug3:

Would you say then, according to this concept that infants who die and the stillborn and aborted are categorized as invincibly ignorant?

This may be different in the Orthodox theology, but what I have learned from Catholicism is that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (sanctifying grace, allowing us to participate in the life of God) is necessary for salvation, which is brought through baptism and the other Holy Mysteries, and that souls who depart this life without it are excluded from diefication (the Beatific Vision of God).

There is a related comment from the Latin Church CCC 1260, based upon Lumen Gentium 16 (1964):

“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. 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.”

And CCC 1261 “As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, … allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism.”

My guess is that the term invincible ignorance is typically used for those that are older (age of discretion), and the Latin Catechism addresses ignorance in CCC 1260 and unbaptized babies in CCC 1261. And the practice is to baptize the fetus.

Dear brother Hesychios,

Brother Vico is correct. Invincible ignorance only applies to those with the use of reason.

I’ve never really involved myself in this particular debate in the past. I just read the Old Catholic Encyclopedia article on “Limbo,” hoping to provide more insight for you. To my pleasant surprise, it states that Limbus Infantium has never been defined by the Catholic Church! I gotta wonder what all the fuss regarding it is.:shrug:

Blessings

Hey! I just remembered!

In the Latin Rosary, one of the prayers states:

**Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fires of hell.

Lead all souls into heaven, especially those who have most need of your Mercy.**

It’s not Apocatastasis, but I think it addresses the OP’s concern about what a Catholic can or cannot pray for.

Blessings

Actually, I personally approve of the concept of Limbus Infantum (when regarding this issue in a Latin theological context), because the alternative teaching - the fallback theological position - of the Latin Catholic church is utter damnation to the fires of hell for the unbaptised. Limbo was suggested for this reason, as a reaction to the standard teaching which seems so unfair to ‘innocent’ children.

Catholics who want to do away with Limbo don’t know what they are actually asking.

Dear brother Hesychios,

Are you sure that Catholics are asking to do away with the Limbus Infantium? From what I’ve read, Catholics have only stressed that it is not dogma, but has always been regarded as a valid theologoumenon.

I’ve not followed up on those recent reports saying that the Pope got rid of that belief. Did he really do that?

You say that the only alternative teaching in the Latin Tradition is that the unbaptised go to hell. But I think the whole point of the insistence that the Limbus Infantium was never a dogma is that the Church has never made any definition with respect to the final fate of infants who die in original sin. So one can’t restrict the matter to just 1) Limbus Infantium or 2) Hell. The fact that the matter has never been defined means that any and all theories are equally valid, so long as it does not contradict the dogmas of Sacred Tradition (for example, it is obviously heterodox to claim that such infants will be reincarnated).

Blessings,
Marduk

From the Vatican: The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized (April 20, 2007)

vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070419_un-baptised-infants_en.html

Limbo “… never entered into the dogmatic definitions of the Magisterium… It remains therefore a possible theological hypothesis” (no. 1)

That “infants who die without Baptism suffer the privation of the beatific vision” is an opinion, not part of our faith. (no. 40)

“The church does not have sure knowledge about the salvation of unbaptized infants who die” (no. 79)

“Our conclusion is that the many factors that we have considered above give serious theological and liturgical grounds for hope that unbaptised infants who die will be saved and enjoy the Beatific Vision. We emphasize that these are reasons for prayerful hope, rather than grounds for sure knowledge” (no. 102)

What the phrase does say, in full is:
[size=4]This theory, elaborated by theologians beginning in the Middle Ages, never entered into the dogmatic definitions of the Magisterium, **even if that same Magisterium did at times mention the theory in its ordinary teaching **up until the Second Vatican Council. It remains therefore a possible theological hypothesis. [/size]

“The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with original sin only, however, immediately descend to hell, yet to be punished with different punishments.”
Council of Lyons II, 1274 approved by Pope Gregory X
Denziger 693

“the souls of those dying in actual mortal sin or in original sin alon****e go down at once (mox) into Hell, to be punished, however, with disparate punishments.”
Council of Basel-Ferrara-Florence 1442 approved by Pope Eugene IV
Denziger 464

What the phrase does say, in full is:
[size=4]This theory, elaborated by theologians beginning in the Middle Ages, never entered into the dogmatic definitions of the Magisterium, **even if that same Magisterium did at times mention the theory in its ordinary teaching **up until the Second Vatican Council. It remains therefore a possible theological hypothesis. [/size]

“The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with original sin only, however, immediately descend to hell, yet to be punished with different punishments.”
Council of Lyons II, 1274 approved by Pope Gregory X
Denziger 693

“the souls of those dying in actual mortal sin or in original sin alon****e go down at once (mox) into Hell, to be punished, however, with disparate punishments.”
Council of Basel-Ferrara-Florence 1442 approved by Pope Eugene IV
Denziger 464

[FONT=Arial][size=4]These teachings seem to follow Saint Augustine’s opinion on the subject. He reportedly posited a mild damnation for infants, but I do not have a reference handy.
[/size][/FONT]

These teachings also follow Saint Gregory Nazianzus.

Note that these quotes talk about those dying in mortal or in original sin, as opposed to those who die without* conventional baptism in water*. That conventional baptism is sufficient for the cleansing of sin, but not rigorousy necessary. And that distinction is a source of hope.

Well then, is it your opinion that limbo exists, or does it not?

The recent Vatican opinion piece “The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized” seems to suggest that the church never officially taught such a thing, but two Councils of your church quite clearly proclaim that the church does teach it.

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