Is it true that

…we cannot have a reasonable hope that all human beings will be saved?

I wouldn’t say that. Whether it’s true or not, none of us know. The Church says that no one knows who has been saved or condemned.

I always make the assumption that anyone who hasn’t been declared a Saint by the Church is in purgatory. Therefore, they always are in need of our prayers. If they are in hell, then I’m sure God applies our prayers to those who still need them. If they are in heaven, again, I’m sure God applies our prayers to those who still need them.

Unfortunately, we live in a time where everyone assumes that “if there’s an afterlife” that everyone goes to heaven. This is a grave mistake and many people who need our prayers don’t receive them. That’s why it’s so important to pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory.

We can hope.

It is indeed true. We cannot have a reasonable hope that all men will be saved. Such a hope would contradict the Faith concerning the *Novissima *or Last Things, that is, Death, Judgment, Hell, and Heaven.

It is known that not all human beings will be saved. The Lord Himself made this revelation several times, and confirmed it by stating that His blood would be shed pro multis, that is, for many, for the forgiveness of sins. We also know, however, that God desires that all men be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).

We ought to focus above all else on our own salvation, and trust the Lord’s divine providence on the rest of humanity. Lest, out of distress by trying to figure out these complicated things, we lose peace of mind and risk losing grace as well. For ultimately anyone can attain salvation.

There was at the beginning of the Church an erroneous doctrine termed apokatastasis, according to which all (including the devil and the fallen angels) would be restored in grace. This vague concept was explored (or argued for) by Origen and Gregory of Nyssa. Jerome considered that this would not apply to the demons and the impious. St. Augustine protests more strongly than any other writer against an error so contrary to the doctrine of the necessity of grace. St. Germanus of Constantinople, writing in the eighth century, went so far as to say that those who held that the devils and lost souls would one day be set free had dared “to instil into the pure and most healthful spring of [Gregory of Nyssa’s] writings the black and dangerous poison of the error of Origen, and to cunningly attribute this foolish heresy to a man famous alike for his virtue and his learning”

This heresy reappears at the Reformation in the writings of Denk (d. 1527), and Harnack has not hesitated to assert that nearly all the Reformers were apocatastasists at heart, and that it accounts for their aversion to the traditional teaching concerning the sacraments. It was also touched upon by controversial Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar in statements that many have indeed considered intrinsically heretical.

I heard a quote similar to this a Catholic program. The speaker said something along the lines of (paraphrase) how all theologians who support the idea that “there is a reasonable hope that all men are saved” are speaking nonsense. That was his view.

Whether or not it is true, I cannot say. Ask me again in three years when I am farther along with my theology studies :slight_smile:

I must say though, I am inclined to believe that we do not have a reasonable hope all men are saved.

We can hope, but I don’t think it’s a REASONABLE hope IMO.

Jesus said broad is the way that leads to damnation.

I tend to think he knows what he’s talking about.

Yes - the key word here is “reasonable” hope. Given what God has revealed to us I seems a fair certainty that not ALL men will be saved.
A good many will find themselves condemned.


Good question. Fr. Barron took a lot of heat for his YouTube video that made a statement similar to that.

Reasonably hoping and praying for all the deceased are good things to do. Does that mean all men are saved? We don’t know, and given what the Bible says, most likely not.

However, cannot forget how merciful our Lord is. God desires all men to be saved, and offers salvation as a free gift: A “yes, I love you Lord, and I want to spend eternity with you even though I am unworthy,” or a “no thank you, I want to be by myself.”

Also, it is important not to be judgmental. When I say judgmental, I am talking about judging where people ended up after passing away.

Finally, the Bible does have some passages which lead many to think that most will be damned. However, if one remembers the parable of the sheep, when one sheep runs away, it is a tragedy for the shepherd. It is similar with God and those in Heaven. If one soul chooses Hell, it is extremely sad. But if a lost soul finds its way because of our Lord, there is more rejoicing than all those that were never lost!

In conclusion, let’s never underestimate the mercy of the Lord. He desires all men to be saved, and while rejection of Him is easily possible, He will seek us out and attempt to bring us home.

There is an excellent book on the topic…

And here is an article on the book itself…

Universalists, like all modernists, underestimate the reality of sin–in both individual lives and on the corporate level. Absurdly optimistic and blind to the reality of humanity’s depravity, they can read of genocide, corruption, immorality, violence, hatred, rape, murder and torture and yet still smile through it all and think that everyone will be saved? The naive optimism of such people is astounding, and the worst part of their betrayal of the Catholic faith is that they have done so giving the impression of faithfulness and of being theologians in good standing.

To watch the video in question, click on this link.

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