What do we as Catholics believe as far as predestination is concerned? And why?

I am talking with an old friend via Facebook messages and he has some questions about the Catholic Church. He is currently working for a protestant charity over in China. He is a very devout guy and I want to give him the best explanation of what Catholics believe and why…



Here are my 2 cents in a recent blog post called What does the Catholic Church teach about Predestination? :wink:
I include several references from the Magisterium.


Thanks, so there is no Dogma on the predestination?


It’s Catholic dogma that some are predestined to heaven but none are predestined to hell.

This is contrasted with Calvinists who believe in predestination to both heaven and hell.


As I understand it, there is. We do not believe in predestination, or at least not in the Calvinist sense. We do not believe that some people are fated to go to Heaven and some people are doomed to Hell. We believe in free will, and that people have control over where they wind up and what they deserve in the hereafter.


Who would be predestined for heaven?


The ones chosen by God.


Haha, I figured that…

Like certain saints? I am assuming The Virgin Mary was predestined for Heaven.


It’s an ancient theological argument, how can there be free will if God predestines us. The best answer is anyone in heaven was predestined and had free will. God knows how that works, we don’t.


Here is an entry on Predestination from the Catholic Encyclopedia:


Thanks guys, I think I got it… Now this is way off topic but he wants to know why we call our Priests father since the bible says that we can call no man father…

I personally have never had an issue with this since I call my dad father and I consider my priest my spiritual father. I was just wondering if there is anything I can add to that question.



The priest’s Fatherhood is not an earthly fatherhood, it is the spiritual fatherhood of The Father, in heaven. The title recognizes who the priest represents.


I would argue that although the Church has not received from the Spirit precisely whether Molinism, Thomism, or some third theology is the proper understanding, but I might argue that the Church has dogmatically asserted that predestination exists, man has free will, and God’s sovereign privilege in salvation is never violated. How all those relate remains a mystery.


Jesus’s saying “call no man your father” is a call for humility. The context is a criticism of the prideful honor-seeking of the Scribes and Pharisees. He is obviously not speaking literally because he is not saying that we cannot call our biological fathers what they really are. If he insists that it is intended literally as an absolute prohibition on using the title “father” for human beings, he must also have his eyes gouged out and his hands lopped off. Jesus also says, “be not called Rabbi,” but I doubt your friend would object to someone having a title designating him as a teacher.

The Apostles also indicate that this is not intended literally. St. Paul says to the Corinthians, “For though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (1 Cor 4:15). He clearly considers himself a spiritual father to the Church in Corinth. Read also 1 John. St. John calls his readers “my little children” (1 Jn 2:1) indicating that he also conceives of himself as a father to them.


Thanks everyone, I am going to make another thread that has all of my friends questions and concerns… Because we are no longer talking about predestination


This is from the Catechism:
600 To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of “predestination”, he includes in it each person’s free response to his grace: “In this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” For the sake of accomplishing his plan of salvation, God permitted the acts that flowed from their blindness.

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance”:

Father, accept this offering
from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen.**


Father John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary:

PREDESTINATION. In the widest sense it is every eternal decision of God; in a narrower sense it is the supernatural final destination of rational creatures; and in the strictest sense it is God's eternal decision to assume certain rational creatures into heavenly glory. Predestination implies an act of the divine intellect and of the divine will. The first is foreknowledge, the second is predestination.

According to its efficacy in time, predestination is distinguished as incomplete or complete depending on whether it is to grace only or also to glory. Complete predestination is the divine preparation of grace in the present life and of glory in the life to come.

This doctrine is proposed by the ordinary and universal teaching of the Church as a truth of revelation. The reality of predestination is clearly attested by St. Paul: "They are the ones he chose especially long ago and intended to become true images of the Son, so that his Son, might be the eldest of many brothers. He called those he intended for this; those he called he justified and with those he justified he shared his glory." (Romans 8:29-30). All elements of complete predestination are given: the activity of God's mind and will, and the principal stages of its realization in time.

The main difficulty in the doctrine of predestination is whether God's eternal decision has been taken with or without consideration of human freedom. Catholic teaching holds that predestination by God does not deny the human free will. Numerous theories have been offered on how to reconcile the two, but all admit with St. Paul (Romans 11:33) that predestination is an unfathomable mystery. (Etym. Latin praedestinatio, a determining beforehand.)


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