Predestination and the Rosary


I was reading the promises of the rosary, and this one caught my eye:

Devotion to praying the rosary is a great sign of predestination.

But isn’t this heretical? The Church has never taught predestination… I thought that was a heresy. So how can this be reconciled to Catholic teaching? :confused:


The Church DOES teach what is called ‘positive’ predestination - the idea that some people are predestined to be in heaven, which idea St Paul mentions in the NT several times.

What the Church does NOT teach, yet some denominations do, is NEGATIVE predestination - the idea that some people are destined to damnation - although they usually give it the more palatable title of ‘double’ predestination. Of course that goes against the idea, clearly stated in scripture, that God wills the salvation of all and the damnation of none.

St Paul’s idea of POSITIVE predestination is mentioned in the Catechism:

2012 “. . . For those whom He fore knew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom He predestined He also called; and those whom He called He also justified; and those whom He justified He also glorified.” (Romans 8:28-30)


Oh? Some some people have no free-will in their ultimate end, and MUST go to Heaven? But everyone else has free-will to go either way? :confused:


God calls them to Heaven, but they can still say no. C.S. Lewis addresses this problem by pointing to Philippians 2:12-13:

“So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence but even more in my absence, continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence, for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort – for the sake of his good pleasure – is God.”

By our free will, we are complying with God’s plan. Without God, we wouldn’t be able to do any of those things. The Church’s teaching, to my understanding, is that free will is only possible through the Will of God (that God wills us to have free will, because it is *inherently *good… even if we do bad things with that will).

Predestination recognizes that God has the ultimate power and authority. He could stamp out sin with a snap of the fingers, but in the process, He’d be squelching out a lot of us who just need more time (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-42). So God lets us have free will, which is to say, He lets sin exist, b/c our being able to freely love Him, and work our way back to Him, matters **that **much. So in that sense, the presence of sin in the world isn’t a reflection of weakness in God, but rather, of His love.

But He goes beyond that. He doesn’t just let us work our way back to Him. He stands at the door and knocks (Rev 3:20-22). Even then, we could not open the door. But why on Earth would we? Sin and temptation, I suppose. Shutting God out inadvertantly. Eegh.


the catholic understanding of predestination is not the same as the protestant understanding in a very simple, yet profound way.
the major difference is that in protestant theology, God basically chooses who goes to heaven, while passively deciding who goes to hell. you can see that the operation of the predestination is placed in the WILL of God. (It is a little more complicated than this since God has no Parts).
For Catholics, predestination simply means that since all things in time are present to God at once, He simply KNOWS where a person will end up because he is outside of time and everything is present to Him at once. you can see that the operation of the predestination is placed in the INTELLECT of God (again, this is a bit more complicated due to God having no parts).

Long story short- God Knows where you will end up, but still WILLS that all people be saved, as the scriptures say.


It’s actually even more complex. The Catholic Encyclopedia cautions:

The notion of predestination comprises two essential elements: God’s infallible foreknowledge (præscientia), and His immutable decree (decretum) of eternal happiness. The theologian who, following in the footsteps of the Pelagians, would limit the Divine activity to the eternal foreknowledge and exclude the Divine will, would at once fall into Deism, which asserts that God, having created all things, leaves man and the universe to their fate and refrains from all active interference.


yes, it is more complex, but unlike pelagius, i never asserted that you could get to heaven on your own merit- which is what the catholic encyclopedia has stated.


Sorry, I’m not trying to suggest you were adopting a Pelagian position. Just that there’s more than just the Divine Knowledge in play (b/c if not, then it would lead to that heresy as a logical conclusion). I just wanted to add that to what you were saying - I don’t think we disagree.


sorry for snapping- you’re right. i’ve had an exhausting week, and i was just trying to keep the answers short. this really is a questuion for another forum. spiritualty is a bad place for this question.


No worries - I should have been clearer.


God calls them to Heaven, but they can still say no. C.S. Lewis addresses this problem by pointing to Philippians 2:12-13:

if they have a choice, then how is this really called “predestination”?

Long story short- God Knows where you will end up, but still WILLS that all people be saved, as the scriptures say.

Furthermore, by this definition, God calls everyone to be with Him in Heaven, so everyone is predestined. So then this rosary promise would be redundant… :confused:


God calls everyone to Heaven, because Heaven is good, and faithfulness is good. But he also gives us free will, because free will is good. And free will can keep us out, if we don’t follow Him.


don’t forget that the promise is that it is a great sign of predestination for heaven. this simply means that if i see a holy person devoted to the rosary, there is a great chance that that person is going to be in heaven one day. this is not an absolute statement, nor is it really a conditional statement, it is a symbolic statement in the sense that the person of rosary dedication is a living symbol of the promises of mary and Christ, and one day they will more than likely be in heaven. the idea of predestination here is not really about “Predestination”, but more of the idea that those dedicated to the rosary are living out the Divine Will that they be saved


Ah, this is a good explanation. Thanks! :thumbsup:

So it’s really just a general statement that someone who prays the rosary often in the kind of person that often finds oneself in Heaven upon death. Hm…


As the Original Poster, I am expanding the topic now to include discussions of Semi-Pelagianism and Pelagianism.

This is related to the topic. Precisely, what is the difference between the Catholic Church and Semi-Pelagianism?

I’ve heard the Church catagorized as:

Pelagian :nope:

Semi-Pelagian :confused:

Semi-Augustinian :confused:

Augustinian :nope:

So which one is it?


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