Is it Catholic Teaching That All Will Eventually Be Saved From Hell?

I was skimming through another thread and came across a bunch of posts that quite frankly shocked me. I will include one post here. Sorry to quote you Vouthon, but I hope you will participate here.

I know that a lot of priests do not preach about hell from the pulpit but are we really ready to throw out the possibility of hell? Were all the Saints wrong?

Apocatastasis is not a Roman Catholic doctrine or dogma. It goes entirely against the Scriptures, for one, which Rome claims as her own documents. Christ Himself spoke of the lake of fire prepared for the Devil & his angels before the foundation of the world (i.e. outside time, eternal), into which evil humans will descend as well.


[quote=Gaudium et spes 1:45]While helping the world and receiving many benefits from it, the Church has a single intention: that God’s kingdom may come, and that the salvation of the whole human race may come to pass. For every benefit which the People of God during its earthly pilgrimage can offer to the human family stems from the fact that the Church is ‘the universal sacrament of salvation’ simultaneously manifesting and actualising the mystery of God’s love.

[quote=Gaudium et spes 2]God’s Word, by whom all things were made, was Himself made flesh so that as perfect man He might save all men and sum up all things in Himself . The Lord is the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilization, the center of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings. He it is Whom the Father raised from the dead, lifted on high and stationed at His right hand, making Him judge of the living and the dead. Enlivened and united in His Spirit, we journey toward the consummation of human history, one which fully accords with the counsel of God’s love: “To reestablish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth” (Eph. 1:10).

Nope. That’s why the consecration of the Mass says “pro multis” which means “for many”, because not everyone will accept God’s sacrificial gift to us all.

This explanation is from the Ask an Apologist forum.
many vs. all

The above link (please ignore that it is on a Baptist blog - is just where I found it) is to a presentation by Dr. Michael Root, who participated in the Lutheran / Catholic dialogue for the document known as “The Hope of Eternal Life”. At about minute number 5, he discussed the very issue you ask about, universalism. He distinguishes between subjunctive universalism, and indicative universalism. It, and the entire video, is very interesting. So is the text of the referenced document, regarding how we agree (and disagree) about eschatologu.

Hope it helps,

What does the "however’ mean?

Jesus said “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me”. For me the “however”, is that we have free will and we have to choose God and not Satan.

I do not see anything consistent with Catholic or any Christian doctrine that says that eventually all will be saved. And I don’t believe we are taught that just so that we can be kept in check as the other post implied.

That’s like a parent telling a child she can show up unannounced to her child’s school to check on here, knowing that she has no intention of doing so, but using it as a deterrent for bad behavior.

I was just trying to give you the words of an Ecumenical Council with “all” salvation language.

If you already knew the answer, why’d you ask the question? :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t want you to feel that I don’t appreciate your input. I do.

I am asking not because I don’t have a viewpoint, but because I want to see what the consensus is and I am hoping to get lots of references. That is why I put this on the apologetics forum.

I believe the original poster is wrong and I believe that taken the wrong way can be dangerous.

So please don’t get offensive/offended if I ask follow up questions. :slight_smile:

That’s perfectly fine, family in Christ. Thank you for your clemency. :slight_smile:

I’ve found a “Christian” site that lists the following “early Fathers” as teachers of Apocatastasis:

“Pantaenus ; Clement of Alexandria ; Origen ; Athanasius; Didymus the Blind; Macarius of Egypt; Gregory Thaumaturgus; Ambrose; Ephraim; John Chrysostum; Gregory of Nyssa ; Gregory of Nazianzus; Jerome of Bethlehem; Evagrius Ponticus ; Titus of Bastra; Asterius of Amasea; Cyril; Methodius of Tyre; Pamphilius Eusibius; Hillary of Poitiers; Victorinus; Macrina the Younger; Dionysius the Areopagite; John Cassian; Maximus the Confessor.”

I seriously doubt the veracity of the claim that Ambrose, my beloved brother in Heaven, taught such a thing. :mad:


Thanks Jon.

From the video:

“There’s been more ferment in the 20th Century than in all other centuries.”


Subjunctive universalism : “One can and should hope for the salvation of all persons”.

Well absolutely one should hope for all to be saved. Should anyone hope that some will go to hell? However, what I’m seeing is what to me is a seismic shift from saying we hope and pray for all to be saved to saying, “I doubt that anyone will be in hell.”

The former is true and commendable. We should always be praying for the salvation of all.

The latter to me is bordering on heresy. Unless Catholic teaching has changed.

In some of those cases, people are stretching to make the early Church fathers seem like they are endorsing a much broader claim than they are actually were. In other cases, we have to bear in mind that there was a remarkable lack of clarity regarding theological truth in those early years, which is why heresies were rampant and ecumenical councils were called frequently.

Of course God’s salvific will is universal. That is not and has never been inconsistent with Hell. He wants all people to be saved but either does not or cannot save all people. I incline toward the view that He actually cannot save without penance. God cannot, by His nature, fail to will what is good for us, but what is good for us is determined by our natures, which includes freedom of will. For Him to save us without our consent would be to act contrary to our own goods.

From the Catholic Church catechism:

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.” The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

The truly scarey part is that it is much easier to be in a state of mortal sin than most people understand.

I agree with you and I believe that is due to not enough teaching on hell. Some believe that one has to be truly evil, as in a serial killer to go to hell.

I remember before I converted, I saw myself as a pretty good person. Now that I look back on my life, I cringe.

Me too.

Do not cringe. :slight_smile:

1 Corinthians 15:57

I think the point of Dr. Root is that Catholics and Lutherans together reaffirm that it is Christian doctrine that some do and will not witness salvation.

It doesn’t seem that CC doctrine has changed.


Certainly no one will be saved from hell, sister Truelight :slight_smile:

Hell is eternal, so no one can be saved from hell if they are in that state after their particular judgement. We do not know and cannot judge the salvation of any human soul nor do we know if any particular being is in hell (with the exception of the fallen angels and Satan).

God has a universal will to save all people but he has no necessity of saving everyone, being bound by no created thing. In addition, he respects our freewill and volition to freely choose hell.

Nevertheless, I believe that God’s mercy is equal to his justice and have the hope that, ultimately, “God will be all in all” and that he will see into the very deepest heart of all people, to their substance, and thereby grant salvation to all - since he knows men better than they know themselves.

Human beings judge by what they can see, we cannot really enter deep into the mind of people, nor can we discern the secret movements of their heart.

What is impossible to human understanding, is not impossible to God. In his plan of salvation he may work a “great deed” that will restore all things to himself.

I do not believe that universal salvation is, can be or ever should be taught doctrinally since it would inevitably undermine the very real possibility of rejecting God’s grace and consigning oneself to hell.

However, I personally have hope - and to a certain extent “the belief” but not the certainity - that all human beings will be reconciled to God and not suffer the pain of hell.

I understand why my difficulty in expressing this belief could lead others to think that I am denying eternal hell, which I am not.

Julian of Norwich herself admitted that she failed to fully understand her “lord’s meaning” ie how hell is a true reality and eternal and yet all “shall be well”.

God’s mercy is beyond our comprehension. He knows the deepest secrets of all hearts, can discern interior ignorances, barriers and blockages to truth not even apparent to oneself; and can discern hidden implicit depths of faith or contrition that may not be apparent even to the individual.

I am hopeful that no one will ultimately suffer eternal hell because God will work a “great deed” from all eternity, outside time to restore all things, and judge humanity by their substance or essential being (ie all will go through purification/purgatory).

I am not certain of this since I believe in the very real possibility of sundering oneself eternally from the grace of God, and I apologize for the ambiguity of my language.

This is what happens when you read Von Balthasar. :wink:

I hate to admit…but, och I’ll just say it out loud (like nobody knew already :rolleyes: ) I am a ‘devotee’ of Urs Von Balthasar :o

Apaprentlly (or at least according to some theology profs I had) most Saints who wrote on the subject were universalists.

Benedict XVI reads Balthasar.

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