Who Can Be Saved?

Catholic opinions on who can be saved and how many are saved covers a wide range. On the far left, we have some claiming that perhaps no human souls are sent to Hell, and that we can hope that no one will be condemned to Hell. Perhaps, they say, Hell is empty of human souls.

On the far right, some claim that very few are saved, that most Catholics and few if any non-Catholics or non-Christians will be saved. In this view, the elect are very few indeed.

My own view on this topic is fairly liberal. Many souls unfortunately are sent to Hell, but only for unrepentant actual mortal sin. Most persons obtain eternal life, though usually by way of the purification of Purgatory. I consider that non-Catholic Christians, and non-Christian believers can be saved by the love of God and neighbor, despite grave errors in their religious beliefs (due to invincible ignorance). And non-believers can be saved by love of neighbor, due to invincible ignorance concerning the existence of God.

Baptism is necessary for salvation. But I consider that a baptism of desire or of blood is available to those who have not been baptized with water.

What does everyone else think about the scope of salvation for us poor sinners? Are many saved, or few? Is the path to salvation necessarily one of conversion to Christianity or Catholicism?

St. Augustine taught that few will be saved. St. Thomas Aquinas agreed with this view. I also agree with this view as well.

From the book of Revelation, “144,000 plus a countless number”… That’s a start.

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:25-26 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (and similarly in Mark 10:26-27 and Luke 18:26-27)

Sounds good to me! 144,000 is the number 12 squared. Symbolic for a great number. And 12, like 7, is a perfect number.

It also sounds good to love the Lord and our neighbor, and make use of all the treasures that the Church has to help us on our journey. (prayer, sacraments, sacramentals, Blessed Mother, saints, etc.,…

Who can be saved? All who repent and believe in the gospel.

The 144,000 is symbolic of a great number of persons. Perhaps we could interpret these as persons who are saved through Christianity. But after describing the 144 thousand, the next verses say:
{7:9} After these things, I saw a great crowd, which no one could number, from all the nations and tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and in sight of the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.
{7:10} And they cried out, with a great voice, saying: “Salvation is from our God, who sits upon the throne, and from the Lamb.”

So salvation is given also to a great number of persons who are non-Christians.

I think the assertions by past Saints that few are saved must be modified given more recent teachings of the Magisterium. For example, JP2’s teaching that some persons formally outside the Church are still members in some sense, and so they can be saved by the Church. And Vatican II taught something similar. We can’t restrict salvation only to those who have explicitly believed and entered the Church.

In the big picture, Jesus already answered that question. And He’s the one who will do the judging.

Mt 7:14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few

We know that those in purgatory aren’t damned, and will ultimately go through that narrow gate as well. Because they aren’t damned, they’re counted in with the saved who collectively are few comparatively speaking when including all of humanity.

That suggests to me, Jesus is saying the rest go to hell.

The Catholic Church teaches that we are saved by the Grace of Christian Baptism, intact at the time of our death.

Since most protestants have valid Baptism, it’s possible that many of them will get to heaven, despite their imperfect version of religion.

Of course, we can knowingly and willfully forfeit our Baptismal Grace through mortal sin. The Church has never taught whether it is “easy” or “hard” for a person of good will to fall into mortal sin, so nobody knows whether heaven is crowded or nearly empty.

God is not limited by the Sacraments. We can hope that there is another way to achieve salvation. This hope is usually applied to unbaptized babies who die, but I have asked on this Forum if this hope could possibly apply to people who die in a state of mortal sin.

The reason I wonder about this is because of a protestant friend. He was Baptized in his early teens, but he grew up during the hippie era, and partook of many of its vices. It’s possible that he committed mortal sin. But he has lived his more adult years as a committed Christian. He regrets his past and is ashamed of it.

If he did commit mortal sin, and has no recourse to Sacramental Confession, does he have any chance of salvation? Does a youthful sin 40 years ago make it impossible for him to be saved, regardless of how he has lived his life?

The “ordinary” means of salvation is Christian Baptism, but the Church expresses “hope” for other paths. Nobody in that thread could cite anything that absolutely precludes such hope for repentant protestants.

David Filmer wrote:

<<If he did commit mortal sin, and has no recourse to Sacramental Confession, does he have any chance of salvation? Does a youthful sin 40 years ago make it impossible for him to be saved, regardless of how he has lived his life?>>

I believe that the Lord knows who has sincere sorrow and what they are culpable of when they do not know of all the ways we have of getting close to the Lord. I won’t second-guess God, and leave it to Him who is infinite and knows best.

While the Fatima visions have caused a lot of people to double down on an extreme version of EENS (for example, they claim that the consecration of Russia in 1984 wasn’t effective because even though Communism fell in Russia, there hasn’t been a massive conversion of the Eastern Orthodox), it’s interesting to point out that Mary apparently said, “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.” But if the extreme view of EENS is accurate, she should have said “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the heresy than for any other reason” from demographics alone. Particularly considering that half of all fertilized eggs do not end up implanting, which means that half the human race by souls died in the womb—if they all go to Limbo (which is still part of Hell), they go there for Original Sin, and so Mary should have said, even more specifically, that more souls go to Hell for lacking Baptism.

The 144,000 referred to in Revelations are those of the “12 tribes of Israel.” It is also written that a “great multitude” stood before the throne of God praising Him. I’m sure the “few” that is mentioned will be few in light of the millions who have lived, are living and will live in this life. Well, I should say billions. God’s ways are not our ways, and He alone will be the final judge on exactly who will be in heaven. He doesn’t condemn people to hell, people choose it over heaven by turning their backs on Him.

Yet technically, one has to be baptized ( [FONT=&quot]2089[/FONT] ) in order to commit heresy. So that omits a huge number of people in the world population from being able to commit the sin of heresy. Yet every one of THEM (the unbaptized) is capable of committing sexual sin.

Jesus told us
Mt 7:14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few

He gave us that sobering warning for a reason. He doesn’t want us to presume heaven, nor get too cozy with ourselves.

[LIST]
*] Limbo
[/LIST]

I hardly see the stating that the majority of souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh, when that statement in fact means “Most souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh, but most of them would go there anyway even if it weren’t for sins of the flesh because they weren’t Catholic”. However, I see no point in debating semantics. Ultimately, people who want to believe that all non-Catholics going to Hell (pretty much everyone but traditionalist Catholics are going to hell to these people as well) are going to believe that no matter what I say, so I’m not going to bother arguing about it further.

Likewise, in addition to the fact that I have no idea what you are trying to say by linking that article, I have had too many conversations that has brought me to the point of being uncharitable with people on this board with people who are almost certain unbaptized infants are denied the Beatific and that the statement in the Catechism allowing hope for them is mere sentimentality to continue discussing the point.

It is my belief that relatively few will be saved by ordinary means. Anything else is a great bonus.

St. Leonard of Port Maurice is inevitably referred to in such discussions, so I will post a more optimistic quote from him:

"As soon as the soul repents of its sin, it recovers the love of God. If all sinners wished to return to God with contrite and humble hearts, all would be saved. This infinite kindness desires that all men reach Heaven… A mother would be less eager to rescue her child who fell into a fire than God would be to embrace the repentant sinner.”

I believe that there is a good chance that the majority of Catholics will be saved. As to non-Catholic Christians and others, my primary hope is that they join the Catholic Church.

However many are saved, God’s love and mercy is immeasurable. If we cooperate with Him, many souls can be saved.

“One faithful soul can repair and obtain mercy for many ungrateful ones… Every soul can be instrumental in this sublime work [saving souls]… Nothing great is required, the smallest acts suffice: a step taken, a straw picked up, a glance restrained, a service rendered, a cordial smile… all these offered to Love are in reality of great profit to souls and draw down floods of grace on them.”

  • Jesus to Sr. Josefa Menendez (these words echo the revelations/writings of St. Therese, St. Faustina, Sr. Benigna Consolata, Sr. Consolata Betrone and others)

In such conversations, it is always essential to provide reasons for hope. All doom and gloom is no good.

I like to remember that only the Church is limited to the Sacraments howsoever one might “mythologise” water baptism into one of blood or desire.
God can bypass his earth-bound channels howsoever he deigns to surely?

Why do we need to be concerned about what is outside of our control and mandate?

Well its really 379 or so squared that makes 144,000 but I think I know what you mean…sort of.

Maybe its a code…3 Persons of the Trinity, 7 Gifts of the HS and 9…choirs of angels?

The Church TEACHES that Baptism is absolutely necessary, in some form, for salvation (because we are conceived with original sin). The Church TEACHES that there are only three types of baptism: water, blood, desire. It is not a HOPE that there MIGHT be some other way. And God cannot contradict His own infallible teaching through the Church. So we know by faith that anyone not baptized by water can only possibly be saved by a baptism.

Revelation states that a crowd which no one could number is saved. So it is ridiculous to say that Heaven might be nearly empty.

The Church infallibly teaches that all who die unrepentant from actual mortal sin are sent to Hell forever (Pope Benedict 12, On the Beatific Vision of God).

Persons who lack access to the Sacrament of Confession can be saved by an act of perfect contrition. This contrition, in my opinion, can be implicit. It can take the form of an act of true selfless love of neighbor, just as the same type of act of love can supply the lack of baptism in the non-Christian. So non-Catholic Christians and non-Christians and even non-believers can be saved: implicit baptism of desire and implicit perfect contrition can save, in the extreme case.

If the youthful sin many years ago is followed by implicit perfect contrition in the form of an act of true selfless love of God or neighbor, then he returns to the state of grace and can be saved.

JP2 “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.”

No, the Church TEACHES that the Grace of Christian Baptism is necessary. C’mon, Ron, you know the difference. I know that you know the difference. You’re, like, the smartest guy here.

The Church TEACHES that there are only three types of baptism: water, blood, desire.

No, the Church TEACHES that the Grace of Baptism may be applied without the ordinary aquatic ceremony through desire (or blood, which is really just a subset of desire).

The Church does not TEACH that this Grace cannot be applied in some other (but unknown) manner.

It is not a HOPE that there MIGHT be some other way.

Yes, it is. From the Catechism (emphasis mine):

CCC 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,”[sup]64[/sup] 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.
__________64 Mk 10 14; cf. 1 Tim 2:4.

The Church infallibly teaches that all who die unrepentant from actual mortal sin are sent to Hell forever (Pope Benedict 12, On the Beatific Vision of God).

I agree that this is the ordinary teaching (such as the ordinary teaching about the necessity of Baptism). But I don’t agree that there’s no extraordinary means (and I’m not saying that I think there is, but I don’t believe the Church teaches that there is no such means).

The teaching of the Church applies to Catholics, who have recourse to Sacramental Confession. The Church withholds Confession from Baptized protestants (which I think is very wrong, BTW).

Persons who lack access to the Sacrament of Confession can be saved by an act of perfect contrition. This contrition, in my opinion, can be implicit. It can take the form of an act of true selfless love of neighbor, just as the same type of act of love can supply the lack of baptism in the non-Christian. So non-Catholic Christians and non-Christians and even non-believers can be saved: implicit baptism of desire and implicit perfect contrition can save, in the extreme case.

But, of course, nobody knows if our contrition is truly perfect (ie, motivated only by our sorrow for offending God, and not influenced even a tiny bit by fear of punishment). And, for Catholics, this must be accompanied by a firm resolve to attend regular Confession at the earliest opportunity. I don’t think the Church has taught that protestants are (or are not) included in this teaching. This is speculation.

If the youthful sin many years ago is followed by implicit perfect contrition in the form of an act of true selfless love of God or neighbor, then he returns to the state of grace and can be saved.

Ummmm. That’s a hopeful opinion, but I don’t think it lives in the same zip code as actual Church doctrine. It might be true (and I’d like to think it is), but I don’t think the Church teaches anything like this.

JP2 “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.”

Saint John Paul the Great was speaking about invincible ignorance. AFAIK, the Church has never extended the concept of invincible ignorance to Baptized Christians (whether Catholic or not).

That’s not what I responded to. I responded to the following. (emphasis mine)

:
Kevin12 forums.catholic.com/images/buttons_khaki/viewpost.gif
*
it’s interesting to point out that Mary apparently said, “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.” But if the extreme view of EENS is accurate, she should have said “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the heresy* than for any other reason” from demographics alone.

To which I said

Steve

Yet technically, one has to be baptized ( [FONT=&quot]2089[/FONT] ) in order to commit heresy. So that omits a huge number of people in the world population from being able to commit the sin of heresy. Yet every one of THEM (the unbaptized) is capable of committing sexual sin.

#13

I was merely addressing a particular point you made.

For the record. that wasn’t debating semantics.

I linked the article for educational purposes. It describes Limbo as the Catholic Church has used the term. So I included the article Limbo

As you know, being on the internet, anyone on the planet can read these posts. If someone googled limbo, these posts would appear.

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