Universal Salvation?

This past Saturday, my bishop preached a homily at the Cathedral that ended with this paragraph:

[quote=Homily for the 4th Sunday Yr C 2010]Those who think outside the box often threaten those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo–oil producers prefer gas-guzzlers because they’d sell only half as much gas if we all drove hybrid cars–and the people of Nazareth felt so threatened and infuriated by Jesus’ message that their enemies were included in God’s plan of salvation that they tried to kill the messenger, by throwing him over a cliff. But Jesus got away and continued to proclaim the Good News of Universal Salvation elsewhere.

Now, I’m not too offended by the “big oil” comments, even though I’m in the oil & gas industry. But I am confused by this “Universal Salvation” comment in the very last sentence. What is going on here? Everything I have read about the concept of “Universal Salvation” indicates that, at the very least, it is considered by Roman Catholics to be heterodox; at the worst, heretical. Can anyone shed some light on this for me? :blush:

In context, I would surmise that your bishop meant “universal salvation” in that through Christ, salvation is available to all. This would be in contrast to the way Jesus’ Jewish contemporaries would have understood salvation as available only to Jews as God’s chosen people.

I would write the Bishop and ask him to clarify, I’m certain however that the meaning is exactly as stated in this thread. Universal in the sense that it is available to everyone equally, not in the sense that everyone goes to heaven. But it’s worth asking just to clarify. If this Bishop does beleive in Universal Salvation in the sense of the heresy of, then certianly that should be taken up with the Arch Bishop.

Salvation is open to all. All are not saved.
All are welcome to turn and follow Christ. Not all turn.
Catholic comes from the Greek word Kaqolikos which means universal.


I think the Bishop was saying that the people upset with Jesus saying that all people belonged to the “chosen” people and not just Israel. That salvation was possible for Greeks, Romans, Gentiles and not just Israelites. I would be surprised if the Bishop intended for his message to mean that all people either went straight to heaven or eventually got there.


Thanks all for the meaningful responses. The fact that Universal Salvation is capitalized is what gives me worry that he may mean that no one will spend eternity in hell. I will continue to consider whether to write him for clarification, but I certainly don’t want to be one of “those” sheep that doubts their shepherd at every turn. Pax et bonum.

Is it possible that the sermon was rushed to be put online and that “the Good News of Universal Salvation” was written in his notes as GNUS as a way for him to remember what he wanted to say and somebody just typed it in as that without giving a second thought to the theological implications of it all?

I just remember in grad school seeing somebody turn in a rough draft of a paper with several notes that said variously things like “Locke said blah, blah” or “find citation in that book.” It just could’ve been a simple error.


Salvation is open to everyone. That’s what Jesus taught and the Apostles preached.

I guess I should have made it clear that I understand Catholic teaching on that point. The point of the thread was that there is a teaching called Universal Salvation that posits that all WILL be saved, not just that all have the possibility of being saved. In other words, some people think that no one will go to hell. That’s what I was worried about being expressed or implied in the bishop’s homily.

Asking a question is not the same as doubting. Most priests and bishops would welcome questions because it allows you to grow in your faith. We are not called to be mindless sheep. It’s okay to ask a question. Of course, it should always be respectful and never confrontational.

Thank you. Appreciate the clarification.

One way to broach it politely is somthing like “I was interested in that sermon and would like to do some additional reading on the subject. Is there something or some author that you can point me to on the subject?” This way, it may lead to a conversation, in a nonadversarial fashion, and you might be able to get a little more insight into his thoughts.

Thanks, I appreciate the suggestion. I will be meeting him in a few weeks, and the last thing I want to do upon meeting a successor of the apostles is to openly question his orthodoxy! Perhaps I will ask him for more reading on the concept of Universal Salvation, as he understands it.

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