On the theology of "Massa Damnata"

Is the concept of Augustines/Aquinas’ “Massa Damnata”, still valid? I mean Thomism gives the faith and tradition of Catholicism a very firm ground and metaphysical foundation to stand on. what is everyone’s view or opinion? I realize we can only theorize things like this and never truly know ourselves on our own.

It was Christ who told us there would be mass damnation. St. Thomas Aquinas never disagreed with that.

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From what I’ve read a variety of approaches seem to be legitimate. I personally believe most are lost, because of the Gospel passages where Jesus speaks of the two roads, along with what saints have said throughout history.

Also, welcome to CAF!


Judas received Communion. And yet he betrayed Christ. He also received from the hands of the Most Worthy of Bishops, Christ Himself.
Some receive and will be Redeemed, some receive will be Damned. The difference comes from what you do with the help you receive from Christ. Use it for good or for bad.

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I don’t think the “massa damnata” idea has to do with the number of the saved, as other posters imply. From what I understand, it has do with original sin and that, due to it, all of humanity is worthy of the punishments of Hell and needs the grace of God for salvation. Of course, Christ provides the means of salvation to all, so there is potential that all be saved (at least antecedently; consequently, many will not be saved as Christ tells us).

The Church hasn’t really accepted the mass damnata idea as-is, instead bifurcating the punishments due to original sin and actual sin. The punishment for original sin is the denial of the beatific vision, whereas the punishment for actual sin are the actual torments of Hell.

From a letter of Pope Innocent III to the Archbishop of Lyons in 1206 (cited in Denzinger 410):

The punishment of original sin is deprivation of the vision of God, but the punishment of actual sin is the torments of everlasting hell.

From the Council of Florence:

But the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains.


After reading the City of God by St Augustine, it is clear that he was pessimistic about salvation. Only the few are saved. I tend to agree with him, but we can hope for God’s mercy.

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