May Catholics Endorse Universalism?

This is what He’s referencing. Don’t take Him out of context.

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I am afraid you had a glitch with your editing function or something because what you posted doesn’t make any sense. Would you like to try again?

Spoke to my confessor today and he agreed completely with my interpretation about requiring contrition as well as Jesus’ “Father, forgive them” petition from the Cross.

@InthePew I am curious about this point: A priest must withhold absolution if I demonstrate a complete lack of contrition, yes? If you attempted to absolve me anyway, would that be objectively invalid? Asking for a friend.

A “friend” huh? :stuck_out_tongue: Anyway, yes it would be invalid - the absolution wouldn’t “take” so to speak. That said, contrition is a pretty low bar to get across (intentionally so).Even imperfect contrition is sufficient. My starting point is that everyone who comes to me for confession is contrite or else they wouldn’t be there! Of course that presumption may still be rebutted from talking to them but it’s unlikely. If they’re unsure I’m most likely going to err on the side of caution and given them the benefit of the doubt.

God doesn’t force anyone, He aides our will.


The Council of Sens (1140) condemned the idea that free will is sufficient in itself for any good. Donez., 373.

Council of Orange (529)
In canon 20, entitled hat Without God Man Can Do No Good. . . Denz., 193; quoting St. Prosper.

In canon 22, says, “ No one has anything of his own except lying and sin. Denz., 194; quoting St. Prosper.
CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA Divine Providence explains;
Life everlasting promised to us, (Romans 5:21); but unaided we can do nothing to gain it (Rom.7:18-24).


Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott;

For every salutary act internal supernatural grace of God (gratia elevans) is absolutely necessary, (De fide dogma).
Fallen man cannot redeem himself, (De fide dogma). – It is God’s responsibility to save ALL OF US.
COUNCIL OF TRENT Session 6 Chapter 8
. . . None of those things which precede justification - whether faith or works - merit the grace itself of justification.
CCCS 1996-1998; Justification comes from grace (God’s free and undeserved help) and is given to us to respond to his call.
This call to eternal life is supernatural, coming TOTALLY from God’s decision and surpassing ALL power of human intellect and will.”
Without the special help of God the justified cannot persevere to the end in justification, (De fide dogma). – It is God’s responsibility TO KEEP US SAVED by His grace of Final Perseverance.
CCC 308 For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Far from diminishing the creature’s dignity, this truth enhances it.
Aquinas said, "God changes the will without forcing it . But he can change the will from the fact that he himself operates in the will as he does in nature,” De Veritatis 22:9. 31. ST I-II:112:3. 32. Gaudium et Spes 22; "being …
CCC 307 God thus enables men to be intelligent and free, causes in order to complete the work of creation, … Though often unconscious collaborators with God’s will, they can also enter deliberately into the divine plan. They then fully become “God’s fellow workers” and co-workers for his kingdom.
CCC 2022 The divine initiative in the work of grace precedes, prepares, and elicits the free response of man.
St. Thomas teaches that all movements of will and choice must be traced to the divine will: and not to any other cause, because Gad alone is the cause of our willing and choosing. CG, 3.91.
As we see above, God is the CREATOR, CAUSER/ DETERMINER of our Aided Free will, and we all freely will what God wills us to will and we all freely do what God wills and CAUSES us to do.
There is a supernatural intervention of God in the faculties of the soul, which precedes the free act of the will, (De fide dogma).
God bless

On a rational argument, one who prays for that which one believes impossible suffers from cognitive dissonance.

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You’ll (collectively) never put your arms all the way around it because the intersection of grace and free will is a bottomless mystery. It’s not the stuff of definitions, it’s essence is relationship. And that cannot be contained in definitions.


Our Catholic Church has the revealed fullness of the truth.


Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott;

Fallen man cannot redeem himself, (De fide dogma). – It is God’s responsibility to save ALL OF US.

Without the special help of God the justified cannot persevere to the end in justification, (De fide dogma). – It is God’s responsibility TO KEEP US SAVED by His gift of grace of Final Perseverance.

Aquinas said the gift of final perseverance is “the abiding in good to the end of life. In order to have this perseverance man…needs the divine assistance guiding and guarding him against the attacks of the passions…[A]fter anyone has been justified by grace, he still needs to beseech God for the aforesaid gift of perseverance.” ST I-II:109:10.
The Church formally teaches that there is a gift of final perseverance. [43]

  1. Trent’s Decree of Justification, canon 16, speaks of “that great and special gift of final perseverance,” and chapter 13 of the decree speaks of “the gift of perseverance of which it is written: ‘He who perseveres to the end shall be saved [Matt. 10:22, Matt. 24:13] which cannot be obtained from anyone except from him who is able to make him who stands to stand [Rom. 14:4]”

CCC 2016 The children of our holy mother the Church rightly hope for the grace of final perseverance. – Gives Infallible protection of the salvation of EVERY RECEIVER, there is no salvation without it. Infallible teachings of the Trent and formal teachings of the Catholic Church.
COUNCIL OF TRENT Session 6 Chapter 8
. . . None of those things which precede justification - whether faith or works - merit the grace itself of justification.
CCCS 1990-1991; Justification is also our acceptance of God’s righteousness. In this gift, faith, hope, charity, and OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S WILL are given to us.
CCCS 1996-1998; Justification comes from grace (God’s free and undeserved help) and is given to us to respond to his call.
This call to eternal life is supernatural, coming TOTALLY from God’s decision and surpassing ALL power of human intellect and will.”
There is a supernatural intervention of God in the faculties of the soul, which precedes the free act of the will, (De fide dogma).
John 15:16; You did not chose Me, but I chose you.

John 6:44; No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them.

While St. Thomas says that man turns to God by his own free will, he explains that free-will can only be turn to God, when God turns it.
From the above teachings, we know with certainty, it is God’s responsibility to save ALL OF US and to keep us saved, otherwise we all lost without exception.
St. Thomas (C. G., II, xxviii) if God’s purpose were made dependent on the foreseen free act of any creature, God would thereby sacrifice His own freedom, and would submit Himself to His creatures, thus abdicating His essential supremacy a thing which is, of course, utterly inconceivable.
God bless

I feel like you are saying here and other posts on this thread that those who do not believe as you do are somehow broken: you imply that they have never received unconditional forgiveness from someone, that they are deficient in forgiving others because they prefer to hold grudges, that they may even come from another “belief system in which unconditional forgiveness is wrong in some way.”

This just seems wrong somehow. You say you experienced something, so you believe in a certain thing which the Church teaches against, and then you suggest that those who do not agree with you are lacking in something inside themselves because they didn’t have your experience and believe what the Church teaches.

So we adhere to Church teaching but you are better (more loving, more forgiving) than we are so you don’t?

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I share your experience. Every time I’ve repented, it’s been a little like ‘waking up’ where I suddenly scratched my head, wondering how I went down that road. I’ve also been reading a lot of psychology lately from Jung and the older ones, and I find myself very convinced 99.99% of us are insane. The 0.01% who are not are the saints. They are the only sane humans, IMO. The rest of us are only relatively sane. That’s why the saints stand out. They look somewhat cooky and even crazy a lot of the times, but we are the cookie ones.

In addition to being in a kind of weird ‘pseudo-reality’/tunnel-vision/darkness when I’m comfortably sinning, I have also had the bitter experience of desperately desiring to experience faith and love of sacred persons again and feeling myself unmoved and unmovable, like a mountain. I couldn’t make myself go to mass or confession. Mortal sin couldn’t scare me into going even though I understood it intellectually then as I do now. I was already as well-educated in the faith as I am now. In fact, I’m only getting back to reading spiritual books again. Everything I know/knew is from my old fervent days before my faith broke.

It’s why I go hard when people seem not to appreciate how weak the human will is and assume it precedes grace instead of the other way around. I felt like I was being severely punished/rejected by God. It is IMPOSSIBLE to move to God even when you want to, if he does not send wind to your sails. I know this in my bones.

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I think this is accurate except that you may be making it sound like I am alone in my beliefs about forgiveness and that I may even be accusing people of being broken without admitting my own brokenness. I apologize if I came across that way. We all have some brokenness that we carry, some burden. Can you see that conditional forgiveness in itself is a hindrance? If a person decides that they will not forgive unless the other repents, can you see that this could lead to a person going to their grave with a grudge?

This is not my position alone, Annie. I have been blessed with hearing the teachings of priests that coincide with my experience.

Yes, some people do prefer to hang onto grudges, and sometimes it is because they have not experienced unconditional forgiveness, but this is not the only reason why someone might get stuck in their grudge. I hope that clarifies.

Yes, that is demonstrated on this thread. Some people refuse to believe that Jesus forgave unrepentant people and will qualify His words in many ways in order to fit their belief that unconditional forgiveness is wrong. It’s not “another” belief system, though, like it is not Catholic in some way. The Church definitely gives room for both approaches. Understanding and forgiving people without condition is an invitation, an invitation that begins from the Cross. Our society sorely needs to accept this invitation.

I think that what you have said so far on the post explains my wrongness, and I hope that my clarification helps.

The Church does not teach that unconditional forgiveness is wrong. The teachings are complicated because we have both the image of a God who is omnibenevolent and unlimited in mercy, yet the impression is given that some people are not forgiven. This is a contradiction that is resolved by the theological teachings I have heard. Did you see the link to the website? It is in one of my posts above.

In context, here is what I said:

What I am saying is that we can understand where people come from without judging their experience of love. It is what it is. Yes, a person who does not know what it means to be loved and forgiven without condition is lacking something, but I have no desire to belittle that experience. We all have spiritual issues that we need to address, and I appreciate your pointing out some of my own shortfalls, even if they were unintended communications on my part.

Inside each one of us a part of ourselves that is willing and capable of forgiving everyone unconditionally, to love and forgive no matter what happens. It is most evident between a mother and child, but also (hopefully) occurs in the sacrament of marriage.

So, are you suggesting that forgiving people conditionally is a Church teaching, or are you referring to something else?

Have you heard of the book “Good Goats: Healing our Image of God” by the Linns?

My difficulty with what you have been writing is that you link a certain situation within a person with their belief, which coincides with Church teaching, that some human souls are in Hell.

From my reading, you imply that those who do not agree with you that Hell contains no human souls, which is contrary to Chirch teaching, are those who have never experienced unconditional forgiveness and tend to hold grudges.

This is problematic to me on a couple of levels. One is that one might have been unconditionally forgiven and work to forgive others and yet, by virtue of holding to Church teaching, are described in the opposite way by you.

Second, to those who are a little hazy on these things, there is a connection made between opposing your idea and being a bad or broken person.

To me, there just isn’t any conflict. Christ Himself spoke of this: “Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat;” and, " 41 Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels…"

Jesus says that “many” are in Hell. The Church teaches there are at least some in Hell.

When the Church says that we should pray that all might be saved, there is no implication that everyone will be saved, just that we should not leave anyone out. We should pray for each and every person to get into Heaven so that if they do not make it, it is not for lack of prayers.

Does this mean that someone who agrees that Hell is not empty of human souls has never experienced unconditional forgiveness? No. The two have nothing to do with each other.

God can forgive a person while that person refuses to repent and would throw away God’s forgiveness if he could.

People are not in Hell due to a lack of forgiveness from God but due to refusing that gift until the moment of their death.

A person can experience unconditional forgiveness and strive to forgive others and still see that some people are simply blinded.

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I can see how you got that link, but it is indirect and not directly causative.

The Church does not insist that any souls are in an afterlife hell.

Again, it is not directly causative. A person who does not forgive people unconditionally is more likely to have difficulty with an image of an unconditionally loving God. A person who has not experienced unconditional love from someone is more likely to have difficulty with an image of an unconditionally loving God. It’s not necessarily so, but it is more likely than someone with the unconditional experience. What I am saying is that people form God’s image from their own experiences as well as what they glean from teachings.

Yes, I see that as problematic also. I hope the above clarified that.

I already addressed “broken”. In terms of “bad person”, I don’t believe in such a thing. God has made all things good. We are all beautiful in the eyes of God.

I see that you are seeing this as “my idea”, as if I’m the only one who sees God and people this way? I have provided some sources to look at.

The priest who I most learned from on this topic said that Jesus was addressing the kind of hell that begins on Earth, today. In that sense, there are many in hell, for example drug addicts and people who hang onto hate.

The Linns address this also, but I do not have that book with me.

Is this God not being infinitely merciful unless I ask Him to be so? It’s not an image I share, and I don’t think you do either, based on what you say below. As the Linns write, “If something you read in scripture or doctrine that sounds like God loves you less than the person who loves you most, then something is amiss.”

I agree completely, except the two can have something to do with each other. But not necessarily so.

Correct, and the Church has never declared that there are definitely people there, at least not individually. Did you see the video by Bishop Barron?

Also, do you see, based on your statement, that God is there with open arms, and what we should pray for is that all people come to a place of accepting the gift by the time of death?

Yes, and when they do see that some people are “simply blinded” as was the crowd who hung Jesus, then that understanding can help in forgiveness of other people. We can call upon the gift of understanding to aid in forgiving others.

Abandon this futile conversation @Annie.

. . . .

We already know that will not happen. The Gospels are clear.

And I have heard priests say from the pulpit that Christ did not perform the miracle of multiplying the loaves and fishes, He performed the miracle of getting people to share what they had hidden under their coats.

And while I fully believe He could do that, dont get me wrong, I fully believe that He actually multiplied the loaves and fishes.

Just because one priest says something or even a bishop…

I have seen it on various occasions and disagree with him. And so I end up agreeing with thousands of bishops, popes, and even Christ Himself.

You repeated the idea more than once in this thread for no good reason.

Would it be a valid argument against the idea of universal salvation if I said, hey, all the people I know who like the idea are notorious sinners and they don’t care because they think they are going the Heaven no matter what they do?

No. And what you wrote is also not a valid argument. So why dwell on it given the negatives?

Your clarification does not help.

No, that is not the impression given.

God forgives people all the time. We may or may not accept that forgiveness. That is the issue.

Repentance is considered a turning towards God. He is standing there with open arms, waiting for us to turn to Him.

And for those who do not turn toward Him by the time of their death, when their spirit and body are separated and they are no longer capable of change, how can they enter Heaven? The unclean cannot enter Heaven.

What you are saying is that you are sort of psychoanalyzing people who don’t agree with you and assuming that their brokenness is what is keeping them from agreeing with you rather than with the Church! That is what is really bizarre about what you are doing in this thread.

Continued below

Continued from above

No, I am flat-out stating that the Church teaches that some people do go to Hell.

There is a huge body of literature on intercessory prayer, and one thing we know is that God in His omnipotence does not need our prayer. He is infinitely merciful as He has been eternally, and He is infinitely just.

I do not think I have written anything here which would lead you to believe that I think that.

Then please don’t write as if they do.

The fact that the Church, which has the power of binding and loosing, and which does not have the power of judging, has never declared any particular individual to be in Hell in no way proves or even possibly indicates that no human souls are in Hell.

I do believe that. I just happen also to believe that the omniscient Christ Who told us that “many” take the wide road was correct and that therefore there are people who turn away from God even at that moment.

First, why bother, if universal salvation is true?

And second, you do know the Church has long taught us to pray for those who are dying, right? We even ask Mary to pray for us “now *and at the hour of our death,” don’t we? Why do you think we pray those prayers?

Of course, but how does this relate to the subject at hand?

Either interpretation is acceptable among the faithful.

Bishop Barron is definitely not outside of the mainstream on his teachings. The video is solid Catholic theology, but there are some different approaches. Here is a “bottom line”: we are invited to forgive as Jesus forgave from the cross, to understand and forgive as He forgave.

The Gospel has room for both views, but again, Jesus invites us to forgive everyone we hold something against. It’s an invitation “as we stand praying” to forgive everyone unconditionally. Mark 11:25

You are thinking that I should not repeat myself.

That would go against what you said earlier and I agreed with, that acceptance of the gift involves repentance. Sin causes harm; a person who has this attitude does not see God in himself or others, he does not know God. He is very unaware.

I don’t see the comparison. I am not stating universals, I am giving reasons why some people reject the idea of a God who forgives unconditionally.

Yes, I agree! But also, there are many who believe that God does not forgive people always.

Can you expand on this?

I’m glad you said “sort of”! What I said was nothing like psychoanalysis. We can understand, as Jesus did, from where people are coming. I gave some examples. Do you not see that some of my examples are possible?

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