Salvation ... concretely available to all

How should we understand the teaching of Pope Saint John Paul II in the encyclical Redemptoris Missio [n. 10] ??

“The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all.”

The universal salvific will of God is a teaching of Scripture and the Magisterium. But many current opinions in salvation theology have no clear explanation for – or seem to rule out or severely restrict – the salvation of prenatals and infants who die without baptism, or for the vast majority of human persons who are non-Christian and unbaptized.

We could say that these persons would have been saved, if they had been baptized. But that position seems too weak to accord with the universal salvific will and a “concretely available” offer of salvation.

I would say that the offer of salvation includes a very broad availability of the baptisms of desire and of blood, for those without the formal Sacrament of Baptism with water.


If one believes salvation is NOT available to all, means God from all eternity predestines souls to never be saved. And that’s the heresy of double predestination

Having said that, God never said all will be saved. God forces no one to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth. He offers it. All day, every day. people make good and bad choices and the consequences for both are there.

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus’ tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,”[63] allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church’s call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

As for adults, If a person is truly innocent of knowing they must be baptized, and follow Our Lord’s Church, the Catholic Church, and so innocently doesn’t do that, then their ignorance , gives them wiggle room… providing they didn’t stand in their own way of learning the truth [FONT=&quot]1791[/FONT]

providing none died in mortal sin

1 Timothy 2:4. But He forces no one. One needs to choose everyday, whats right and avoid evil

That’s true

Except this is not biblical.God must choose us unto salvation. This is due to the fall of man. Do not misunderstand, we do have free will, but our ability to believe God or to choose Him has been impaired. We lost a certain liberty in this regard. Thus Jesus said, “No man can come to me except the Father …draw him…” Jn6:44. And also from CH 1, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, that is that believe on His name. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” That means according to His will.:slight_smile:

Yes. Predestined for salvation, but not predetermined, through sufficient grace. Lost through free will choice.

The Catholic Church taught consistently against both Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism which are:

Pelagianism (original):

  1. Adam would have died even if he had not sinned;
  2. Adam’s fall injured only himself and at worst affected his posterity by giving them a bad example;
  3. newborn children are in the same condition as Adam before he fell;
  4. mankind will not die because of Adam’s sin or rise on the Last Day because of Christ’s redemption;
  5. the law of ancient Israel, no less than the Gospel, offers equal opportunity to reach heaven.
    Pelagianism (later): total denial of the supernatural order and the necessity of grace for salvation.

Semi-Pelagianism (original): the human race, though fallen and possessed of a sinful nature, is still able to lay hold of the grace of God through an act of unredeemed human will.

Semi-Pelagianism (later): exalts human freedom so as to deny effectively the supremacy of grace.

The Church also rejects Calvinism, in any form, even what we might term “semi-Calvinism” which proposes that some persons cannot be saved, either they are predestined for Hell (Calvinism) or they are simply passed over for predestination to heaven (semi-Calvinism). The second proposal does not solve the problem of Calvinism, since those who are said to be passed over cannot end anywhere but Hell.

In the Catholic view, predestination is a function of grace, free will, and the foreknowledge of God. No one is lost to Hell unless they commit an actual mortal sin and never repent.

So it is wrong for Catholics to speak as if anyone lacked any type or degree of grace that they needed to be saved. For that position boils down to some form of Calvinism.

What’s not biblical?

1 Timothy 2:4. leaves no doubt about the will of God, nor is anyone left out. You see God’s will there for everyone. But He forces no one to be saved. He forces no one to obey His commands. He forces no one to be in His One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. He gives grace to everyone first so that we can believe and pursue Him. **THEN **everyone, needs to respond to that grace and choose everyday, God and His will, and whats right and avoid evil.

He chose all humans first, not just some but ALL, so that we could chose Him and His will.

Jesus gave His own people, the one’s of the covenant, first right of refusal for the New and everlasting covenant. As it turned out, most refused Him. Only a few accepted Him. But even though Jesus knew in advance who would and would not accept Him, it didn’t stop Him from offering the knowledge of truth to the unbelievers. That way, in the end, NO ONE can say to God you didn’t give me a chance.

BTW, While you’re on Jn 6, read a little farther. :wink:

The bread of life discourse, shows exactly what I’m saying. God standing there face to face with His fellow Jews, and they said to His face, we don’t believe you and what you are teaching. And Jesus let them go. He didn’t go after them. As He said He knew already who would and who wouldn’t believe. But it didn’t stop Him from offering them salvation.

Yes, we agree that salvation is offered to all men. But the question is: How many will believe without God drawing them? The answer is none, nada, zilch. So, for His own sovereign reasons, He chooses to give some favor, but yet salvation is offered to all. And it is still God’s (permissive) will for all to be saved. No one has an excuse.

“And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed” Acts 13:48:cool:

Go back and read my original post #2

Excuse me but you have taken John 6:44 verse in isolation, if you continue to read on:
John 6:64-66 ‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the outset who did not believe and who was to betray him. He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me except by the gift of the Father.’ After this, many of his disciples went away and accompanied him no more.

Jesus explains that he knew who would not believe. The verse you mention does not indicate that God doesn’t give every man a chance of salvation, it simply shows that Faith in God is a gift. For example, take a look at Matthew 23:37 ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wing, and you refused!..’ and 2 Peter 3:9 But there is one thing, my dear friends, that you must never forget: that with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not slow in carrying out his promises, as some people think he is; rather is he being patient with you, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to repentance.

St. Thomas says for children who cannot access baptism (for example, those still in the womb), God can grant the grace of salvation as a privilege, otherwise original sin would be more powerful than Christ’s redemption.

Here’s how St. John Paul II specifically said to understand it (or how not to, as the case may be). After quoting that very passage from Redemptoris Mission, he says faith in Christ the Redeemer is necessary, but God can bring the ignorant to that faith, even in ways known only to Himself:

[quote=St. John Paul II]2. What I have said above, however, does not justify the relativistic position of those who maintain that a way of salvation can be found in any religion, even independently of faith in Christ the Redeemer, and that interreligious dialogue must be based on this ambiguous idea. That solution to the problem of the salvation of those who do not profess the Christian creed is not in conformity with the Gospel. Rather, we must maintain that the way of salvation always passes through Christ, and therefore the Church and her missionaries have the task of making him known and loved in every time, place and culture. Apart from Christ “there is no salvation”.

As Peter proclaimed before the Sanhedrin at the very start of the apostolic preaching: “There is no other name in the whole world given to men by which we are to be saved” (Acts 4:12).

For those too who through no fault of their own do not know Christ and are not recognized as Christians, the divine plan has provided a way of salvation. As we read in the Council’s Decree on Missionary Activity Ad gentes, we believe that “in ways known to himself, God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel” to the faith necessary for salvation (Ad gentes, n. 7).

Certainly, the condition “through no fault of their own” cannot be verified nor weighed by human evaluation, but must be left to the divine judgment alone. For this reason, the Council states in the Constitution Gaudium et spes that in the heart of every man of good will “grace is active invisibly”, and that “the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” (Gaudium et spes, n. 22).

Saint Thomas, Summa Theologica, III, Q 68 A 11:
Reply to Objection 1. Children while in the mother’s womb have not yet come forth into the world to live among other men. Consequently they cannot be subject to the action of man, so as to receive the sacrament, at the hands of man, unto salvation. They can, however, be subject to the action of God, in Whose sight they live, so as, by a kind of privilege, to receive the grace of sanctification; as was the case with those who were sanctified in the womb.

You mean “otherwise [it would be as if] original sin would be more powerful than Christ’s redemption.”

The bolded line beautifully demonstrates from Scripture how God can act “by a kind of privilege”.
Luke 1:15 for he will be great before the Lord, … and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.

:thumbsup: But it is important to note that Jesus is talking specifically about belief in Himself – “No one can come to Me…”. Jesus is talking about all those who are called to Christianity by the Father — not all those who may be saved. The verse does not preclude the possibility of salvation for those whom the Father has never drawn to (faith in) the Son.

*John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. *

I think it does because you can’t be saved unless you come to Christ. It seems to me the Church teaches that faith in Christ is absolutely necessary for salvation.

[quote=CCC 161]Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.42 "Since “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘But he who endures to the end.’"43

What we do acknowledge is that “in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him” (CCC 848).

See also the passage from St. John Paul II in my post above (#11) which reaffirms that we cannot say there is a way of salvation apart from faith in Christ.

God draws people to Him by giving them graces that, if they follow them with an upright conscience, can lead them to the faith necessary for salvation. Here’s how St. Robert Bellarmine explained how this happens, arguing against the heretics who said God does not provide for the salvation of all men and unevangelized peoples were proof of that.

Pope Francis taught the same thing about the path to faith in his first encyclical:

Faith refers to the infused theological virtue of faith, enlivened by love and hope. Whosoever dies in the state of grace, which always includes all three infused virtues, will have eternal life.

Faith can be implicit, so a non-Christian can have faith in Christ, implicitly, by being in a state of grace due to the love of neighbor, and by having faith in goodness and truth. For all that is truly good in this life is of Christ.

In my earlier post, Pope Francis seems to teach that love of neighbor puts one on the path leading to faith, he doesn’t say that by simply loving one’s neighbor one already has faith.

That being said, since faith is the total submission to God, or believing all He has revealed based on His authority, I can understand the argument that one implicitly has faith in Christ the Word by desiring to believe and live according to God’s word.

The problem I have is that I am not aware of any Church authority positively teaching this implicit faith being sufficient after the Incarnation. The only thing I am aware of that hints at it is the the quote from Redemptoris Missio in your first post in this thread, but it’s author, St. John Paul II, later seems to rule out that interpretation in the audience I quoted from.

Ultimately it’s kind of an academic point as everyone agrees God offers the absolutely necessary means of salvation to all (or at least offers all the helps necessary to come to those means), the debate is just as to what those minimal means are.

Re underlined: But that does not necessarily mean they will arrive at that point of faith while they are still capable of outwardly expressing it.

(My own personal thoughts are that in the private moment/s between man & God, just prior to death, Jesus may be revealed in some way, along with sufficient time for the person to freely choose to believe or reject what has just been revealed to him.)
But then again, faith in God and faith that God will save him, may qualify as *“the faith necessary for salvation *” (St. John Paul II quote, Post 11).
Jesus is God; “Jesus” means “God saves”. Perhaps faith in a God who saves qualifies as believing in “Jesus” for “those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel”.

See also the passage from St. John Paul II in my post above (#11) which reaffirms that we cannot say there is a way of salvation apart from faith in Christ.

I agree with all the quotes you gave.
There is no salvation except through Jesus. But that does not necessarily mean everyone must realize it prior to death. (eg. those living prior to Jesus; babies; )

The Church teaches that dying in the state of grace is absolutely necessary for salvation. And the Church also teaches that the state of grace always includes all three theological virtues: love, faith, hope. So faith, enlivened by love and hope, is necessary and sufficient for salvation.

Baptism confers the state of grace and the three theological virtues (love, faith, hope). A baptism can be by desire, or even by implicit desire. An act of true selfless love is sufficient to obtain a baptism of desire, so also is an act of perfect contrition for past sins (for an unbaptized person).

The Catechism of Pope Saint Pius X:

The Creed, Ninth Article, The Church in Particular: 29
“Q. But if a man through no fault of his own is outside the Church, can he be saved? A. If he is outside the Church through no fault of his, that is, if he is in good faith, and if he has received Baptism, or at least has the implicit desire of Baptism; and if, moreover, he sincerely seeks the truth and does God’s will as best he can such a man is indeed separated from the body of the Church, but is united to the soul of the Church and consequently is on the way of salvation”

Baptism, Necessity of Baptism and Obligations of the Baptized: 17
“Q. Can the absence of Baptism be supplied in any other way? A. The absence of Baptism can be supplied by martyrdom, which is called Baptism of Blood, or by an act of perfect love of God, or of contrition, along with the desire, at least implicit, of Baptism, and this is called Baptism of Desire.”

Pope Pius XII, Address to Midwives: “An act of love is sufficient for the adult to obtain sanctifying grace and to supply the lack of baptism.”

I don’t think the Church has ever intended to absolutely preclude any other way. Indeed, the modern Church expresses “hope” for the salvation of unbaptized children (who could not be in a state of Grace).

I don’t think the Church has ever taught that Desire and Blood (which is really just a subset of desire) are the ONLY ways that the Grace of Baptism can be imparted without getting wet. There might be other avenues which are unknown to us.

As we say all the time, God is bound by the Sacraments but is not limited by them.

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