Do too many Catholics live like they believe in OSAS?

It saddens me sometimes to see so many Catholics who live really “unreformed” lives yet seem to think that, because they go to church on Sunday - or just because they were baptized - that they are somehow guaranteed a place in heaven.

Trying not to judge anyone… but just wondering if others have noticed this sort of thing…


I have seen the same thing and it seems to be increasing. Also running into more Catholics, so-called “cradle” Catholics, who no longer believe the Sacrament of Penance is necessary, yet they are in the Communion line every week. One is even an RCIA teacher, but has not had a new RCIA student in almost 4 years!!

Actually, I’m not sure about many Catholics believing in OSAS, but I have seen many who believe that Hell doesn’t exist! And, well, if Hell doesn’t exist, that leaves 3 options: either all go to Heaven (which ends up being the default Christian belief for people who don’t believe in Hell), the souls of people not going to Heaven are destroyed (the JW view), or the atheist view that Heaven doesn’t exist either, and the earthly life is all we have. And if either option 1 or option 3 are the case, then there is no reason to reform one’s life.

Acknowledgment of the existence of Hell - and the real, true, possibility of ending up there due to one’s own choices in life - is necessary to understand the reason for a savior in the first place.

Honestly, the idea of OSAS is completely un-Biblical, and I have no idea how people who rely on sola scriptura could even come up with such an idea. Faith in Jesus saves, sure, but there are many, many passages in the NT alone that focus on the importance of one’s deeds done in faith and love. Even Jesus Himself stated explicitly that those who claim to follow Him yet neglect the physical needs of others (the “Least of my children”) will go to Hell (and though the spiritual needs are not explicitly stated in this passage, they are implied, as well). Paul chastises the Corinthians for tolerating (and even condoning) the incestuous relationship of a man with his mother-in-law, and actually tells the Corinthians to excommunicate the couple so that the couple can see the error of their ways and come back to Jesus. We all know James’s exhortation that faith without works is dead - that you can see his faith shine through his works. And in Revelation, St. John chastises the Christians in one of the churches as being “lukewarm”, mentioning that if they stay this way, Jesus will spit them out.

But that’s an aside. The important thing is that others must learn through our examples. It’s not that words aren’t necessary - they are - but people won’t listen with their ears until their hearts have been made ready. And the only way their hearts will be made ready is if we do all things lovingly ourselves and pray for their conversion. Seeing a loving, joyful example in life will make people want that, as well - and when they ask you how you can constantly be so loving and joyful, then you can start explaining your faith to them a little at a time, and maybe one day be able to lure them to Mass.

A good thing for all of us to remember is that we cannot get into heaven by flying under God’s radar.

Candidly, I find the original post somewhat needlessly depressing.

I know a very large number of Catholics. Most appear to be basically decent people, who try to raise their children properly; “do the right thing,” and are of honest intent.

The few who I have very little tolerance for are those who sit in the front row of the Church every week; look down on the rest of the congregation; and generally act like “whited sepulcres.” I think their attitudes do more damage to Catholicism than out-and-out anti-Catholicism would. They ought to look to the planks in their own eyes before the specks in their neighbors’.

It would be huge to simply get the Catholics I know back into a pew, front or back. :smiley:

I’ve met some beautiful exceptions to that rule, especially since we moved to a new state and found a parish that is blossoming with devotion. But yes, my personal experience with (most, maybe 90%+) Catholic family members and Catholic friends is that they believe in God’s unconditional love. They see no reason to attend Mass, avoid sin, or examine their conscience. I have caught myself taking my own salvation for granted, so I know it is tempting especially if there are few good examples of the faith. It’s easy to do whatever everyone else is doing, and get complacent.

Also, speaking strictly from personal experience, it’s the worst ones who happen to be the ones most assured of their own heavenly destination.

I have seen plenty of this, and what is disturbing is many think they are doing nothing wrong and are “safe” in terms of being saved. None of us can take our salvation for granted or to become complacent about it. We can all be guilty of this over a life time of events but hopefully we recognize our fall and come to our senses.

Part of the problem seems to be that people really don’t understand the reality presented in the Bible about Hell and Heaven. In addition, they just can’t accept the idea that a place of punishment and eternal damnation is possible if God loves them. They forget that they are the ones who choose Hell over Salvation. Every time we sin we choose Satan and Hell, no matter how small the sin may be.

I think we are experiencing the “lukewarmness” that Jesus warns against. Complacency is a dangerous thing and we live in a culture that seems to reward it more than not. I often refer to this as “mediocrity being the new standard of excellence.” None of us (I include myself) should ever be comfortable with where we are in terms of our Faith and belief in God. If you are comfortable be worried.

Yes it is kind of depressing - as for needlessly - well all I can say is I felt like I needed to ask…:shrug:

I know a very large number of Catholics. Most appear to be basically decent people, who try to raise their children properly; “do the right thing,” and are of honest intent.

I agree - and these are not the types of people I refer too…Although I must say that being “basically decent people” is not really what we are called to. We are called to perfection.

The few who I have very little tolerance for are those who sit in the front row of the Church every week; look down on the rest of the congregation; and generally act like “whited sepulcres.” I think their attitudes do more damage to Catholicism than out-and-out anti-Catholicism would. They ought to look to the planks in their own eyes before the specks in their neighbors’.

Thanks for pointing this out. Yes these people actually fit with my premise too…for by their attitude they being just as presumptuous as those described above by “IBombAtomically”:
…they believe in God’s unconditional love. They see no reason to attend Mass, avoid sin, or examine their conscience…


I’m not sure this makes you feel any better but I’m what you called an ‘unreformed’ Catholic yet my new world view doesn’t include an OSAS mentality.

Heaven or hell, I just don’t let ideas like that bother me anymore. :shrug:

If you don’t mind me asking, why not? Is it more that you don’t think heaven and hell exist, or that it’s rather out of your control where you end up?

Many people feel that way, too, and I am interested in exploring what led you to that conclusion. Thanks!

Neither. It’s really just a general attitude about not giving myself reason to put myself down. If that includes no longer thinking if I’m destined for heaven or hell, so be it.

Besides. I see no point thinking about my afterlife when there’s so much of my current life to live.

This thread caught my eye the other day and it got me thinking.

Something I thought I had learned in a more profound way over Pascha (Easter) was that the Joy of Jesus concurring death through His Resurrection is that I can have the confidence now to live and not be afraid of making mistakes or of not being Holy enough because I know He will forgive them and because He does love me unconditionally and will continue to perfect me in spite of them if I continue to keep trusting in Him and His unconditional Love. Does that mean I have a OSAS saved mentality? I don’t know!
What I do know is that I know I could go about being angry, bitter, and retaliate for wrongs that have been done to me and I know a lot of people tell me my anger would be justified but I try to choose to unconditionally forgiving and loving those who have wronged me without them even asking for my forgiveness instead. But I also know that I can only do this through God’s Graces and because He has shown me this same kind of forgiveness and love.

Anyway will keep trying to ponder this…

But don’t you think that is counter to our faith? Hell and Heaven are a reality we must consider if we are to live our lives in accordance to the will of God. If you dismiss their existence are you dismissing God in reality?

I know LW can speak for himself, but where in his posts is he saying that he no longer believes in a heaven or hell?

He just says he does not spend a lot of time wondering whether he ends up in heaven or hell. Frankly so do I. What I think.anout are two things, loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and will and loving others as myself. Do we also have to obsess about our afterlife destination?

I think we should reflect on it every once in a while, but not obsess over it. Quiet reflection (through a thorough examination of conscience) allows us to see if we are truly loving God and each other the way Jesus asked us to. Is the life we are leading one that leads to destruction, or is it one that will lead us to paradise? Are we truly sorry for our sins, or are we trying to justify them? If we can truly say that we are striving every day to love more and more perfectly and trying to seek out God’s plan, and that any time we sin we are truly sorry for them (sorry enough that we feel compelled to go to Confession), then we generally have nothing to worry about. Just keep asking God to help you become more perfect (in His eyes, of course - and while living this life, don’t ever presume to have become perfect in God’s eyes). However, if we cannot honestly say that we are sorry for our sins, then we will end up in Hell.

The thing is, though, overly obsessing about Heaven and Hell ends up driving many Catholics into despair, and into scrupulosity. These Catholics end up believing that no matter what they do, they are destined to Hell, and see God more of a vengeful judge than a loving Father. This is actually what drove Luther to come up with the solo fide argument in the 95 theses - he had become so scrupulous that he took on the faith alone argument to help put an end to his scruples.

Can anyone catch me up on what OSAS stands for?:confused:

Once Saved Always Saved.

It’s a way of expressing the view that once you have accepted Jesus (been saved) you cannot ever lose that salvation - no matter what…


Gotcha Thanks

Absolutely! Many seem to follow the Fundamental Option Theory that states that once we have declared our love for God, no single mortal sin (if they will admit these exist!) could possibly be enough for one to lose heaven. If one doesn’t explicitly reject God, then, God is not rejected. Therefore, mortal sin does not prove rejection and as long as they “love God” they will be okay.

Others claim that mortal sin does not exist because we can never ever have full knowledge or give full consent. Some declare that they can make decisions based on what they feel and think on their own and that Church teachings are not binding in any way. They seem to feel that it is morally acceptable (because they really do love God) to choose what they define as acceptable over what God demands.

I also hear from many that God is merciful, that God is loving, that God is forgiving. All of that is true. But they leave out the “flip-side” of mercy- Justice! God will judge us and He will commit us to Hell if we have rejected Him.

I am greatly concerned about all of those Catholics who believe that they can’t be sent to hell. Especially those who obstinately refuse to hear any opposing ideas. I fear that they will find out too late how wrong these ideas really are. :frowning:

Thanks for responding! I think I can relate to some of what you said. I agree with not being constantly worrying about the afterlife, because it seems to be a rather hollow faith that misses the point that is only concerned with one’s punishment or reward. We should strive for heaven because we love God so much and we want to be with him! And we should avoid sin because we are not attracted to that which is against our true nature and against God – not because we are simply trying to avoid the personal pain of Hell.

I would imagine you don’t mean rejecting the ideas entirely, or pretending they do not exist because that would force you to change your life (as many people think).

Also, when you wrote that you want to avoid putting yourself down, I’m guessing you don’t mean that in a prideful way (you know, the secular drive to avoid guilt or “bad self-esteem” at all costs), but rather a de-emphasis and total forgetfulness of self in abandonment to love of God and neighbor. That is a very beautiful thought! Thanks for sharing!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit