Saturday, July 1, 2017

Pope Francis Appoints a Universalist - All Men Will Be Saved - to Replace Müller as Head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The new head of the CDF, perhaps illustrating the possibility of hell

To put things in simple common sense terms, everyone knows that the Catholic Church and the wider traditional Christian Church has always taught that there is a heaven and there is a hell. Ignoring the theological glosses - limbo and purgatory - Christian and Catholic teaching has been clear that upon death, some men will go to heaven, where they will dwell with God forever, and some men will go to hell, where they will dwell with Satan and the other damned, forever. This teaching is firmly based on the words of our Lord in the Bible. Open it up to any place where hell is mentioned, and you will find Jesus stating it, always in strong terms.

Even at the time of the Christian Fathers, there were those who rejected this teaching. They came to be called universalists, or those who believe that salvation is universal - all men will go to heaven. Universalism was always considered a heresy in the Christian Church, and "officially" so in the Catholic Church. This has, of course, not prevented offshoot universalist Christian sects from forming - the Unitarian Universalists being the most aptly named modern example.

The twentieth and twenty-first century has seen a growth in universalist sentiment within the Catholic Church. But, since it's the Catholic Church, which contains a recognized body of Doctrine, an official catechism of teachings and all the rest, the tendency has always been couched in language that stops short of fully and explicitly endorsing universalist claims. So to use the claims of one of contemporary universalism's most well-known spokesmen, Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles, riffing of the arguments of a few heterodox twentieth century Catholic theologians, while there might be a hell, that doesn't mean that anyone is actually in it. Or to use his own well-known formulation, we have good reason to hope that everyone will be saved.

From the point of view of logic, he may be right. But also from the point of view of logic, if he is right, then either the Gospels inaccurately recorded the words of our Lord, or our Lord is a liar.

Today, Pope Francis appointed a new head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - the Catholic body entrusted with defending Catholic doctrine and teaching - replacing Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who had become a sort of enemy in his attempts to defend (albeit, often tepidly) Catholic doctrine from Begoglio's predations.

The new head of the CDF is a jesuit Archbishop by the name of Luis Ladaria Ferrer.

Ladaria is a universalist.

I'm not going to go into a long analytical discussion of Ladaria's publicly expressed position, but it basically tracks Barron's more well-known claims - there is a hell, but it's possible, probable, or we have good reason to hope that no one actually goes there.

Ladaria's views were laid out in the appropriately titled, Jesus Christ: Salvation of All. Here are some relevant excerpts. These are not cherry-picked, but among other things, include passages that Ladaria himself chose to read out in public, now available (of course) on YouTube:
The saving influence of Jesus and his Spirit know no bounds: Christ’s mediation is universal. Salvation in Christ is possible for all humanity, and on the horizon of theological reflection. The hope may arise that this salvation will indeed reach everyone. Salvation itself would become denaturalized if its absolute certainty would be affirmed and if we lost sight of the possibility of damnation [p. 12].
[T]his universality includes more than it excludes, among other reasons because the unique mediation of Jesus cannot be separated from God’s will of universal salvation (1Tim 2:3–5) [p. 96].
We are all called to place ourselves within the body of the [Catholic] Church, which will not reach its fullness until the whole human race and the entire universe has been completely renewed. Christian faith begins with the premise of the unity of humanity as a whole because of its origins in Adam, and above all, because of its destiny in Christ. It is inconceivable that salvation, as it is presented in the New Testament, is only for Christians and not for those who do not know Christ [p. 117].
We may also add the early Christian conviction that hell is something neither wanted nor created by God. Maintaining the possibility [my emphasis] of eternal damnation is the only guarantee of the truth and reality of the salvation offered to us, which is nothing less than God’s love [pp. 130-131].
Jesus includes everyone and excludes no one, and all of us have received his fullness (cfr. John 1:16). The universality of salvation and unity of Christ’s mediation mutually affirm each other [p. 144].
Yet by dying, he gave us life, that is the life of his resurrection. Even those who do not know him are called to this divine vocation, that is, to the perfect sonship in and through Christ. Christians and non-Christians reach this goal by virtue of the gift of the Spirit that associates us with the unique paschal ministry of Christ even if it is through diverse paths known only to God [p. 148-149].
Again, obviously, Ladaria always stops short of saying, "I'm a heretical universalist. Everyone is going to heaven." But the meaning is clear. And of course, Ladaria would never claim that he is a heretic or even heterodox to in the least. Rather, he is simply more deeply describing the evolving understanding of doctrine.

Or some such.

And as always with these things, much of what he says is undeniably orthodox. Yes, God calls us all to Him. He wants us all to be saved. Jesus died so all of us could be saved. Is he denying hell? By no means, but we do not know who is in it. Perhaps (as a matter of logic) no one is. Shouldn't we hope that to be the case? And so on and so forth.

Well, according to what Jesus said, and is recorded to have done: there were people in hell, there are now, and there undoubtedly will be many more.

No reasonable Catholic can affirm that that's exactly a comforting thought. But there are many things that Jesus said that are not exactly comforting. He was sent to teach us - with soft words and hard ones, but always true ones, and always with our good in mind - by our Father, not our touchy-feely shrink.

But here's what Christ did say: trust in me and come to me, through (as the Church He founded would from the very beginning assert) the Church I created, and you will be saved. I will save you if you sincerely ask me to. And you will live with me forever in heaven.

To me, that's the most comforting thing in the world.

The universalist version of that is a counterfeit. It's un-Christian, un-Catholic and will inevitably lead to many more souls being permanently separated from God and damned forever. It's a lie.

And the current occupant of the throne of St. Peter is spreading it.


  1. Bishop Robert Barron must be doing cartwheels, right now. His glasses have probably flown of his face from all the jumping around.

  2. "Motus in fine velocior" ("Motion accelerates when the end is near.")

  3. Okay, let's separate some of the errors from the truth here.

    1. The teaching of eternal hell and torment for certain persons is NOT firmly established upon the words of our Lord in the Bible. It comes from a wretched mistranslation of the Greek in which the word "aionios" is translated "eternal" and means no such thing. Aionios means "age-long" or "age-during," and the Church, if it wants to be seen as really interested in the truth, needs to tackle this issue.

    2. Jesus, being an orthodox and law-keeping Jew, would have never spoken about hell because no such thing was taught by Judaism. What was taught was that the dead went to "Sheol," or the place of the dead. There was no idea of this being a place of permanent abode or torture.

    3. If there is an eternal hell to avoid, why is the OT simply devoid of such teaching. Why did God not from the very beginning warn Cain that this was what he was in danger of as he contemplated in his heart the murder of his brother?

    4. Your smart-ass comment is noted regarding that either the Gospels inaccurately recorded the words of our Lord or our Lord is a liar. No, the liars came out of the Roman Church with their inability to translate the Greek. This whole thing of men as a "massa damnata" and eternal punishment started with Augustine, who couldn't read Greek if his life depended on it. Get your facts straight!

    5. God does not "want" all men saved. The Bible says this is HIS DIVINE WILL. So you have to confront this issue: does God always bring His will to pass? The proper answer is yes. Your God apparently is a weak wuss who sits around wishing He could save men, but is unable to do so.

    6. At the end, you make an Evangelical-sounding declaration (are you Catholic or Evangelical?) You state that God saves those who ask Him to save them. No, that is wrong. God's salvation comes when we are baptized into Christ. Asking has nothing to do with it.

    7. The Church has not "always" (as in "from the very beginning") condemned Patristic Universalism. If that were true, then we would have had a council to discuss and dismiss this (Constantinople II does not count because it was not about Universalism - it was about Origen and the Three Chapters). For 300+ years there were four schools, including Alexandria, which taught Universalism.

    8. Where is the "Good News" in Dante's sociopathic view of the afterlife, in Aquinas laughing at the damned and their torment, in Augustine's morose view that the majority of men will be damned forever? Doesn't sound much like good news to me at all. At least the universal message has some hope to it.

    9. Patristic Universalism does NOT deny that there is punishment for wickedness after death for those who have embraced evil in this life. We simply do not believe that a just God deals out such a disproportionate punishment. It is not justice to punish someone far, FAR beyond what the crime calls for.

    10. Why does it bother all you hellists (those who wish to see their fellow man fried forever) that God might actually be more forgiving than you could even begin to imagine? Would you care to answer that for me?

    1. "And if thy hand scandalize thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life, maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into unquenchable fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished.

      And if thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off. It is better for thee to enter lame into life everlasting, than having two feet, to be cast into the hell of unquenchable fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished.

      And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out. It is better for thee with one eye to enter into the kingdom of God, than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished." Mark 9:42-47

      There's one or two other mentions of eternity in Hell elsewhere in Scripture but hey they were just Evangelists quoting Jesus.

    2. Fr. Chad Ripperger, exorcist.

    3. Pardon me for intruding upon your rude attack on this blog, but I must question your comments. You do sound like every Protestant-who's-got-a-degree I've ever heard. You're a little more angry, but there's no mistaking the orientation. To counter your arguments would take gobs of time, end up in deadlock, and no one's mind would be changed.

    4. @IrishEddieOHara You'd make a great Jesuit, but a very bad Catholic, if you ever become one.

    5. No, he doesn't care to answer you.

    6. IrishEddieOHara, Your statements do not square with the Catechism on this matter:

    7. Fast Eddie. Let's say you are right. But why would Jesus want this known before judgement day. Doing so would defeat his mission.

    8. Go read Matthew 10:28... Christ clearly warns of Hell. And if your theory ( for that is all your writing is....heretical theory ) stands, then both the Ten Commandments, and God himself, are bullshit. There's no reason to strive for holiness and goodness... cause we're all saved.

      Secondly....αιωνιος does translate as the adjective for timeless, or eternal. And I speak as a university trained Greek major. So the Romans got it dead right when they translated the Greek.

      Thirdly, Fatima too clearly contradicts your B.S statements on Hell.
      The Seers of Fatima were shown Hell, and they saw so many souls falling into it, that it was like snowflakes in a snow storm.

      You go believe your universalist crap. But you won't take unwitting souls with you.
      We true, faithful Catholics are here to confront and disprove your modernist garbage.


    10. To all those who have replied above: quoting scripture as though it is a court transcript is ludicrous. We cannot honestly state what Jesus did and did not say during his lifetime on Earth. We can make educated guesses, but certainty alludes us. We have nothing written by the man. All we have are the communal remembrances. If any of it is verbatim, we cannot say what it is. Anyone telling you otherwise is either wishfully thinking, misinformed, or trying to pull a fast one on you. So quoting scripture proves nothing. Therefore everything said by you or anyone about God and the nature of reality is a best guess about an eternal mystery. You are certainly free to champion certain guesses or believe one guess is better than another, but at the end of the day all we have are human attempts to fathom the unfathomable. It is not worth getting so angry about. Such anger only dims the light of God's love that you can reflect back into the world. Be light in the darkness.

      Being faithful to doctrine and theology is not what we are called to. We are called to love one another as Christ loves, and I believe Christ loves as God loves - I believe God loves all creation. I believe God is in all and all is in God. I believe In the timeless, eternal nature of God all is well. No thing or no one is beyond God and God's love. God is love. In love there is no fear. Fear not. Be in love.

    11. John Benson--

      You must be joking. Love one another? What does this mean? Sounds like meaningless Liberal nonsense, the kind of fatuous thinking Pope Francis is famous. Doctrine is rational basis of the Catholic Church. Doctrine is our guideline to following Christ. There is no other way.

    12. But if we "cannot honestly state what Jesus did and did not say during his (sic)lifetime on earth" then how can we ever possibly know in what manner we are "to love one another as Christ loves us", His Words and Deeds being 'unknowable' per your opening statement?

    13. I always find it interesting that when people do not have an answer for legitimate objections and questions will resort to name-calling, insults, and threats of eternal hell-fire. I find it disappointing that you don't wish to answer my objections with cogent arguments. However, I shall ignore your comments and respond as best as possible.

      1. Liam Ronan, the word "hell" does not appear in the Greek. Jesus spoke of Sheol, that is, the grave, or the place of the dead. Hell translation and hell doctrine did not appear until many centuries later.

      The "unquenchable fire" simply means that no one can put it out. It is the fire of God's love, which will never end. That fire will torment the wicked and bless the righteous. It will also chasten the wicked unto repentance. You can, if you wish, as the Early Fathers did, refer to it as hell.

      2. Anthony Cooper - your response is so weak that insults is the best you can do?

      3. Kathleen 1031-I am not dogmatic on this. I am a "hopeful Universalist" in the same manner that St. Isaac the Syrian, Clement of Rome, and St. Gregory of Nyssa were. I cannot hold this as dogma, but I can hope in God's mercy. What I am angry about are the misrepresentations of Patristic Universalism in the article. If one is going to write about a subject, for Pete's sake, learn correctly what it teaches!

      4.Daniel Areseneault - I am Greek Catholic. So there.

      5. N - We have our own Catechism in the Greek Church.

      6. Michael Dowd - Was the mission of Jesus only to save a few of the "elect" and let the vast majority rot in "hell?" Or was it to save all mankind. Knowing God's love would not endanger that mission, in fact, I have to think it would enhance it. There would still be warnings needed to the wicked that if they continue in their evil ways, they will be punished in the next life, and that quite painfully. But which is better - to serve God out of love as a child of God, or to serve Him out of fear?

      7. Latin Mass Choir - Your statements make no sense. Patristic Universalists do not deny the existence of punishment for sin in the next world. Therefore, it is wise to eschew evil so that one does not suffer the scourging of God in the next life. What we do not believe in is that this punishment lasts forever, which would be highly unjust.

      The Christian life is a call to repentance, holiness of life, and theosis, or deification.

      You need to read the Early Fathers of the Church. They in no way interpreted aionios as "eternal." If they had done this with the original language of the Scriptures, there would have been no one who would have believed in or taught Patristic Universalism. You need to deal with that instead of with so-called "Greek scholars" whose "scholarship" consists of parroting the errors they have been taught. I will take the Early Fathers of the Church any time and any day over modern exegetes.

      Yes, the children saw hell, and yes there is punishment for the wicked. But there is nothing I have read in the Fatima accounts that hell lasts forever.

      If I am a "modernist," then so are men like St. Gregory of Nyssa, Clement of Rome, and St. Isaac the Syrian.

    14. I know that it's easier to say this than it is for you to do it, but it's still true that you TELL us, you make "truth" claims, but you don't SHOW us why you hope for salvation for all. Like I said it probably would take a thick volume.

      I'll take several of your claims and raise what I think are legitimate objections.

      You said "It is not justice to punish someone...beyond what the crime calls for.". But Eddie that comes from your(and mine), human standard of justice. However, since God's love and mercy are infinite, so must his justice be infinite. The "unquenchable fire" is the fire of "God's love". That sounds like a clever rationalization from some liberal scholar or theologian. With no way to support the claim except to cherry pick bible verses like Protestants do.

      You also claimed that the "mission of Jesus was to save all mankind." I am not well educated, but doesn't the church teach that Jesus came to REDEEM all mankind. That is to break the bonds of Original Sin. Even though we are still free to commit personal sin and even free to reject Christ forever.

      There was a time when, due to my own fears of hell, I deceived myself into wanting to believe that most are saved.

      But then the Holy Spirit began to show me the deadly ravages of Original Sin, starting with my own soul. And frankly, even though I've never been tempted to embrace Universalism, I no longer have the hope that most will be saved. Many do not want God's love. They love evil. They embrace Satan never realizing that he has trapped them into the delusion that their rebellion against God(which they glory in)means they will reign in hell. They die and discover their everlasting slavery to the satanic powers.

      Less extreme, it's said that "As we live, so shall we die". How many Catholics go through life careless about their salvation. Making excuses, and for those of us with the true faith, realizing, that in the post Vatll church that 10s of millions are heretics or apostates,they believe that because they are "nice" that God won't condemn them. But it takes only one mortal sin to condemn them to eternal damnation.

    15. Thank you, Tom. I appreciate your willingness to engage rather than indulge in the polemics and name-calling that many here think constitutes a reasonable answer to my concerns.

      I'm sorry, but your first paragraph is from Anselm of Canterbury in the 13th century, who proposed that because God is infinite, sin against Him deserves an infinite punishment. Nowhere in the Bible is such an idea found (along with indulgences, treasury of merit, and some other strange Roman ideas). The Scriptures teach that payment or restitution for sin is IN PROPORTION to the sin committed, and the rank of the person has nothing to do with it. Therefore, it is reasonable to think that stealing a loaf of bread carries a certain punishment, whether you stole it from a rich man or poor man.

      I believe the Church does teach that Jesus came to redeem all mankind. It's a shame that the Church doesn't believe what it says or, for that matter of a fact, what the Bible says about it in Romans 5:18.

      I agree with you that a great number of people want nothing to do with God. They wish to be the "god" of their own lives, which is what the first sin involved. And some people appear to be so hardened, even when the truth is explained to them, that they appear unreachable. Of course, this raises the question of whether the power of God's sovereign will can be thwarted by something as meager as man's sin. Is God that helpless that He cannot figure out something that will break even the hardest will and make that soul submit to Him? I think these are good questions, and unfortunately, we do not really have an answer this side of the grave.

      Everlasting slavery to Satanic powers? Wait a minute. Satan is a defeated foe. He has no power, and in reality, has no reality either. Evil does not really exist other than within the context of God's permissive will. It has no reality of its own. It is not self-sustaining, and in the Apocalypse, we see both sin and death thrown into the Lake of Fire, which is the end of them. You need to rethink that statement.

      What the soul will experience after death is reality - the reality of what it really is in the pure light of God's love and truth. This is the torment that souls will have-that they will realize what they have done with no excuses anymore, they will see what they are without Christ, and they will see themselves as separated from Him. All this is torment.

      In the East, we understand our lives as a process of being changed into Christ-likeness. Those who are like Christ in love and holiness will find His presence to be a warm embrace. But those who are not like Him will find being in His presence to be a horror beyond human description. Call it hell if you like.

      You are right. Catholics have been given an immense give in the Church and the Sacraments, and yet before I converted, I meant so many of them who were the worst walking advertisements for Christianity that you could possibly meet. But I think that part of this is the Church's fault. The Roman Church treats salvation as if it is a thing rather than a relationship. That is, I think that many people think that if they say enough Rosaries, carry a Miraculous Medal with them at all times, say a Divine Mercy on their deathbed, they are absolutely assured of heaven, so they ignore their becoming like Christ.

      In the East, becoming like Christ is the main thrust of our salvific understanding. Salvation is not about accruing "merit" so you escape the fire. It is about changing into "gods," as St. Athanasius taught.

    16. Do you dismiss Anselm because his teaching on hell as "neverending" punishment, is an affront to your hope for universal salvation? or do you have a more substantial point? Remember, my comment about "telling" and "showing"!!!

      Also, Eddie, I'm somewhat confused when you said you are Greek Catholic. But you dismiss the papacy which was given to the church by Christ Himself. The Greek Orthodox Church,if that's what you mean, is in schism from the "one true church". As far as the bible goes, the bible belongs to the Catholic Church. How can it be otherwise since the church compiled the bible canon under the guidance of tbe Holy Spirit. As far as indulgences are concerned, the church relies on sacred scripture, sacred tradition and the church's Magisterium. So indulgences are from God. Unfortunately, they have been abused, especially from before the Protestant revolt. But that came from sin. All men are sinners, including popes. Only Christ is sinless.

      As for the church's infallible doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, it is the greatest gift that God has bestowed on a mortal. And it's so appropriate, that Mary would be preserved from original sin, from the first moment of her conception, so that her soul and her womb would be the most perfect spotless vessel to receive Christ who is God, became man.

      As for Satan, it's true that God has defeated him, so his "power" over us is profoundly limited, but in hell, he reigns supreme.

      When I have more time tonite/tomorrow, I will read your two comments more carefully and add a further comment.

    17. Greek lexicons generally speak of aionios as being age lasting, a duration that ends, etc. In the LXX it is used of mountains that crumble, the time a man would be another man's slave, the 3 days Jonah was in the sea creature. In the NT it is used of the aionios fire that burnt Sodom & went out long ago, so was not eternal, whereas Scripture says Sodom will be restored.

    18. Hi Eddie,. The last 4 paragraphs in your comment just above are more recognizable for me because I'm called to the interior spiritual life.

      In your first of the 4, it's impossible for me to not understand what you explained without ascribing it to any particular church, as the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory. Your use of terms like "reality", "torment" because the veils of self deception have been stripped away, "the pure light of God's love and truth". To finally know that there is only God.

      I know very little about the Orthodox Church. I thought the masses I saw on Tv many years ago were very beautiful. I have the impression that there is more of a unity in the Orthodox between the spiritual and liturgical life. In the Roman church, the law(I can't think of another way to put it)takes precedence, over the interior spiritual life. And the lives of the church's glorious martyrs and the lives of thousands of canonized holy men and women, take up the slack.

      There are two theological terms, I think they are "apophatic" and "cataphatic" spell out the difference. In the former, the soul strives to enter into union with God without reliance on conceptual knowledge. The other, relies on liturgy, the mass, the rosary, scapulars which entails heavy reliance on the intellect over the heart. I am drawn to the apophatic,

      yet I have no desire to meddle with church doctrine. In fact, just the opposite. The closer I draw to Christ in my soul, the more I grasp the absolute necessity of doctrinal propositions. Have to stop for now. God bless.

  4. FYI, your Youtube link points to his book on Amazon.

    1. Sorry it was confusing. The link to Amazon was intentional. Just put his name into a YouTube search.

  5. Tell the Irish Modernist guy to go read the Athanasian Creed and Pius X. Maybe that will help. Don't think, so sunk in errors and animus towards the Faith are they. Hate not Love is their creed. But it is all cloaked in "Love" don't you know.

    1. Why don't you talk to me directly and ask questions/rebuke with answers rather than stoop to insults? This is the sort of stuff I get from Protestants when trying to discuss their errors.

    2. The consensus of RCC theology is for hopeful universalism. Also most RCC theologians. Are they not aware of the Athanasian creed? Or perhaps their understanding of it is different from yours.

  6. While I am not versed in the man's eschatology. I have been using his excellent book on the theology of the Holy Trinity for four years and it is solidly orthodox and within the Thomistic tradition.

  7. Sorry but those revisionists points are no better than anything else you can make up. You don´t magically know now of a better translation. Jesus was from the line of David, the son of God and not an örthodox jew.". Jew may have believed many things at that time and you do not. have the time machine to state with certainty that they did not mention Hell. If there has been such conspiracy to hide the truth for 2,000 I doubt that you are privy to any inside knowledge. And if a conspiracy were to be true, more likely your statements are recently made up BS as anything else.

  8. Beyond any theological consideration, I am sure Bergoglio appointed Ladaria because he will be a better lapdog, a useful.idiot to further his plans, than Muller.

  9. As for the eternity of hell, it's easy to confuse human beliefs concerning justice. We are finite, and thus human requirements for justice are finite, but we cannot begin to comprehend God's infinity which demands an infinite justice. Our revealed Catholic faith demands that we accept the eternity of hell, and that souls have gone to hell and will continue to die in unrepented mortal sins. This will be the fate of Ladario, Barron and Bergoglio if they do not repent.

    In our terms, no offence or sin, no matter how grevious, would justify punishment beyond the finite. But you are in danger of creating God in the image of your ego, and God ends up conforming to your notions of justice. That is idol worship.

    Hell is a hard truth of the Catholic faith. None of us likes it, but we are called to surrender to God's will through His church.

    Unfortunately, Bergoglio, is leading those countless progressive Catholics down the "broad road" that leads to that dreadful end, eternal damnation.

    1. You are comparing apples to oranges. To say that God is infinite does not mean that one must be punished infinitely for sin. The Scriptures teach us that punishment, in order to be just, must be proportional to the crime. What proportion does torturing someone forever have to a pagan who never even heard the Gospel? Your idea of justice is ...... brrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!

    2. Eddie, no offence, but you are determining what God wills and does not will, from your very human perspective. Which shows your lack of Christian humility. And none of us can escape that, except by faith in Christ through His church. You are predisposed to your belief in tbe possibility of universal salvation. Which leads you to find scripture verses "revealing" the temporal nature of punishment for sin. That is Protestantism. I'm not accusing you of this heresy, since you hold the idea as a Christian hope. Fair enough. But you still play with fire, no pun intended.

      You want to believe what you are inclined to. But to know the truth, we are called to give up all of our attachments to our own human inclinations and, in this instance, what we think is just. And for most Catholics who die in the State of Grace, that purification of our limitations, will be done in the "place" or "state" of Purgatory.

      Your attachment comes from the sin of pride. That is the sin all of us are afflicted with.

      And yes God's infinite nature does demand infinite justice. And all you do is reveal your own difficulty with this hard truth. None of us want to accept it. We accept by faith and trust in the Teaching Church.

      We need the Catholic Church's Magisterium. Why? Because, after Adam and Eve sinned, we are all selfcentred. So we place our our pathetic understanding before God's will for us. Before they fell our First Parents were God centred.

      You are attached to the hope in universal salvation, but that comes from your self centred, subjectivity wounded by Original Sin.

      The Holy Spirit guides the church on faith and morals. Alas with Vatll and its aftermath, the "magisterium" has become a source of scandal(and it's not the first time). But no matter what Bergoglio claims, he cannot change doctrine from the Chair of Peter.

  10. Alonius may not mean "eternal," but "age-long" certainly sounds like "to the age of ages" in Latin: in sæcula sæculorum.

    Commonly rendered as "forever."

  11. Well, we know one person who will end up in Hell. The name's Eddie.

    1. Just as we have Christ's own word that one person is assuredly in heaven...St. Dismas, the Good Thief. Luke 23:41-43

      "...'for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man hath done no evil'.

      And he said to Jesus: 'Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom'.

      And Jesus said to him: 'Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise'."

    2. I have been threatened with hell by far better than you, sir.

      So you can't answer my questions/statements, therefore you threaten me with eternal fire? I'm certainly glad you are not God.

  12. Honestly, with my lifelong fear of hell, I'd love to be able to accept that "eternal" in translation got mis-translated. But, it presents another problem, because if God's Infinite Justice is satisfied by "age-long", then why is not a lesser punishment adequate? It seems arbitrary. How does one measure a "suitable length of time" to satisfy God?

    Anyway the reality of our time and the supernatural world beyond time presents its own problems.

    When I see the word "eternal" I "understand" it to mean "forever", but it's impossible for my finite intellect to know the infinite, or to know what forever is. The concept has a use however that we can grapple with, humbly accepting our limitations.

    This leads me to claim that since "Age of ages" is finite, why not half that or one tenth? Why would one measurement over another satisfy God? The only guide that appeals to my reason is that only an infinite punishment satisfies God's infinite justice.

    I don't want to accept that stark reality, but I see no way out without falling into the trap of the sin of pride.

    I have no degrees nor scholarly understanding, and I would like to know more about this translation "error". It's hard to believe that the church had been dogmatically wrong for 2000 years. It sounds like something the Jesus Seminar would come up with to challenge church teaching on the tough issues that none of us wants to accept but must accept in faith.

    1. Why do you believe Eddie and not the Church?

      Eddie is a sad troll who, one imagines, may have once been a Catholic.

      If he was once a Catholic, 2 John 9 applies to him; that is, he hath not even God, to say nothing about his insane claim he is right and the church is wrong.

    2. I am Greek Catholic. The Roman Church ran off the rails centuries ago, and is teaching certain things which are heterodox at best, such as indulgences, the Immaculate Conception, Purgatory as a place rather than a state of being (which JPII taught), and other problematic issues which deviate from the Apostolic teaching.

      Perhaps I should change my name to "Sad Troll" eh?

  13. Thanks Oakes for your analysis. The argument that there is no hell is ridiculous on it's face. Would any owner of a business promise that anyone hired would never be fired? Of course not, as what would be the motivation not to goof off. Christ's Church is in the business of selling the idea of that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. He said that following him leads to salvation which is the narrow road, while not following Him, the wide road, leads to hell.

    Why is this not clear? Saying everyone is saves mocks everything Jesus stands for and will cause more folks to go to hell.

    1. As I said above, this is the problem with people who think they know what they are talking about. Patristic Universalism does not teach that there is no "hell" for the wicked. The state of scourging for sins, punishment for our evil deeds, does exist, and wise people will do all they can, beginning with repenting of their sins, to avoid it.

      But it does not last forever. What kind of "justice" is that? Scripture teaches that we are to be punished in proportion for our crimes/sins. Torturing someone forever for a finite sin committed in short lifetime on earth is hardly justice.

    2. Thanks Irish Eddie OHara. Hell lasting forever? I think we can question that idea as it seems to be against justice. My desired concept of hell is that it is purgatory and you get to stay there as long as necessary to admit your guilt for sin.

    3. Well, it is more than just "admitting" guilt for sin. Anyone would do that to get out of a beating, right?

      It is justice. There is no way that the bloody tyrants of the 20th century are going to get out of the fire until the last farthing is paid for every person they murdered. Anything less, even as they are begging for mercy, would be unjust to the people they killed.

      The Patristic view of such scourging is that the wicked soul is not only punished, but it comes to see its true state and the reality of what it has done, bringing about true sorrow and a desire for change.

      When the soul has been scourged, and when the soul has seen its true state and the evils it has done, then it is ready to ask mercy and submit to Christ, to enter into theosis and began the eternity-long process of ever growing into Christ yet never arriving.

    4. I think the problem here is that you are thinking of Justice in terms of time. There was no time before God and there won't be any both when we individually die and also there won't be when the entire world (universe) ends, at "the end of time".

      It's not as if in eternity time still exists. It's not like there's some kind of eternal Big Ben counting hours for eternity, or like God has an eternal wristwatch that He checks and says "ok this guy has spent enough time in Purgatory" or "yeah she still needs to spend a few hundred thousand more years to satisfy my wrath".

      No, He is eternal and thus timeless and thus try to put His Justice in temporal terms makes no sense.

      So to say "what kind of Justice is it to punish someone eternally for a sin committed temporally" is nonsensical or more precisely a non sequitor.

      When we die time ceases to exist, we enter into the eternal presence of God, thus the state in which we die is the state, or relationship with God, we are eternally committed to, because there is no time in the eternal presence of God.

      And since there is no time in that state, there is no more time to repent of any mortal sin left unrepented. Any "purgation" that occurs is either eternal (because of unrepented mortal sin) or a part of the process of passing from death into eternal life. To speak of the "time" spent in such a state is merely a euphemism, an exceedingly limited attempt from our limited human experience here on earth to quantify the experience. But there is no quantity involved. It's infinite, both infinitely small and great at the same "time" as there is no "time" to quantify it. That's the truly best "explanation", but even that falls short obviously.

      My main point is that to say "there can't be an eternal damnation because that would be unjust" is to limit Justice to time, which is meaningless because time is itself temporary. Eternity isn't just a "really really long time" it's infinite. Not infinite time, but infinite, period. I could go on but only to repeat myself again with different words. I don't know how else to state my point more effectively.

      Hope this helps. God bless.

    5. There has to be time in heaven. Think about it....if there is no time, then there can be no speech nor music. Both come from changes which take place, one note to another, one word to another. To have no time would mean that the angels could not fly, but be forever stuck in one place.

      It is God who is above time and timeless. Time exists in some manner in eternity or there would be no motion in heaven.

    6. Eddie, I think you are getting at something real, but I believe you don't understand the depth of our fallen state of subject/object knowledge based on our 5 senses, in time and space. What I mean is that our identification with abstract, dualistic knowledge will only be overcome in the Beatific Vision.

      Anyway the way you refer to time tells me your understanding is purely conceptual, and I believe needs deepening, at least so you can eliminate the ambiguity of understanding in your writing.

      I read once that Aquinas claimed that there is "duration" in heaven, but even he could not penetrate more deeply. So, it's time, but it's also not time.

  14. Catholic scholar Ilaria Ramelli states:

    "Augustine himself, after rejecting apokatastasis, and Basil attest that still late in the fourth and fifth centuries this doctrine was upheld by the vast majority of Christians (immo quam plurimi)."

    "Of course there were antiuniversalists also in the ancient church, but scholars must be careful not to list among them — as is the case with the list of “the 68” antiuniversalists repeatedly cited by McC on the basis of Brian Daley’s The Hope of the Early Church — an author just because he uses πῦρ αἰώνιον, κόλασις αἰώνιος, θάνατος αἰώνιος, or the like, since these biblical expressions do not necessarily refer to eternal damnation. Indeed all universalists, from Origen to Gregory Nyssen to Evagrius, used these phrases without problems, for universalists understood these expressions as “otherworldly,” or “long-lasting,” fire, educative punishment, and death. Thus, the mere presence of such phrases is not enough to conclude that a patristic thinker “affirmed the idea of everlasting punishment” (p. 822). Didache mentions the ways of life and death, but not eternal death or torment; Ignatius, as others among “the 68,” never mentions eternal punishment. Ephrem does not speak of eternal damnation, but has many hints of healing and restoration. For Theodore of Mopsuestia, another of “the 68,” if one takes into account also the Syriac and Latin evidence, given that the Greek is mostly lost, it becomes impossible to list him among the antiuniversalists. He explicitly ruled out unending retributive punishment, sine fine et sine correctione.

    I have shown, indeed, that a few of “the 68” were not antiuniversalist, and that the uncertain were in fact universalists, for example, Clement of Alexandria, Apocalypse of Peter, Sibylline Oracles (in one passage), Eusebius, Nazianzen, perhaps even Basil and Athanasius, Ambrose, Jerome before his change of mind, and Augustine in his anti-Manichaean years. Maximus too, another of “the 68,” speaks only of punishment aionios, not aidios and talks about restoration with circumspection after Justinian, also using a persona to express it. Torstein Tollefsen, Panayiotis Tzamalikos, and Maria Luisa Gatti, for instance, agree that he affirmed apokatastasis.

    It is not the case that “the support for universalism is paltry compared with opposition to it” (p. 823). Not only were “the 68” in fact fewer than 68, and not only did many “uncertain” in fact support apokatastasis, but the theologians who remain in the list of antiuniversalists tend to be much less important. Look at the theological weight of Origen, the Cappadocians, Athanasius, or Maximus, for instance, on all of whom much of Christian doctrine and dogmas depends. Or think of the cultural significance of Eusebius, the spiritual impact of Evagrius or Isaac of Nineveh, or the philosophico-theological importance of Eriugena, the only author of a comprehensive treatise of systematic theology and theoretical philosophy between Origen’s Peri Archon and Aquinas’s Summa theologiae. Then compare, for instance, Barsanuphius, Victorinus of Pettau, Gaudentius of Brescia, Maximus of Turin, Tyconius, Evodius of Uzala, or Orientius, listed among “the 68” (and mostly ignorant of Greek). McC’s statement, “there are no unambiguous cases of universalist teaching prior to Origen” (p. 823), should also be at least nuanced, in light of Bardaisan, Clement, the Apocalypse of Peter’s Rainer Fragment, parts of the Sibylline Oracles, and arguably of the NT, especially Paul’s letters."

    Ilaria Ramelli, The Christian Doctrine of Apokatastasis: A Critical Assessment from the New Testament to Eriugena (Brill, 2013. 890 pp.)

    1. Hey Guy!!!

      Good to see you here trying to help me make these people understand the various errors in this article.

      Hope you are well.

      Irish Eddie (AKA Light of the East over at Christian Forums)

  15. Salvation as a language event. Depends on the meaning of the word......

  16. Apocatastasis was pronounced anathema at the Council of Constantinople in 543

    Meet the new combox heretic, same as the old heretic.

  17. The souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains (Session 6 — July 6,1439).

    Those who have done good shall go into eternal life, but those who have done evil shall go into eternal fire (Session 8 — Nov. 22, 1439).

    [The holy Roman church] firmly believes, professes, and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Catholic Church before the end of their lives; that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the Church's sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed his blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church (Session 11 — Feb. 4, 1442).


    Like Irish Eddie, ABS is also Irish, Irish-Algonquin and, like Irish Eddie, ABS also has his own personal doctrine of Hell.

    Hell will consist of one eternal political campaign, the winner of which will be Satan's Secretary.

    Each campaign contestant will have 500 centuries to declare his agenda and there are no limits on the number of candidates.

    After all of the limitless number of candidates have spoken, Satan will summarise all of the speeches in a dramatic recapitulation that last a minimum of 15,000 years, after which the voting will take place.

    Just before the voting begins, Satan will announce, The voting is expected to take, roughly 666 years, and so for your entertainment during the vote, we will present a nude Ruth Bader Ginsburg on a Pogo Stick jumping to the classic Benny Hill Theme played by the Central Committee of The Communist Party.

    After 666 years, Satan will appear and announce there have been voting irregularities and the campaign and voting will have to be entirely re-done.

    And this process will continue eternally.

    Have fun Irish Eddie....

  18. Can you explain why the Teaching Church teaches the never ending torments of hell. It can't be due to a mis-translation of one word. Never ending hell is an infallible doctrine. Hope you can clarify.

    1. Tom. Yes, ABS can explain why the Church teaches the unending torments of Hell.

      Because The One True Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church is the Pillar and ground of Truth and he who hears it hears the teaching of Jesus; that is, it is taught because it is the truth


      This is a good place to start for many of the questions you may have.

      There are many apologetic sites/blogs that post what the Catholic Church teaches and why it teaches it.

      Google search Catholic Apologetics


    4. If the Roman Church (one of 23 in the Catholic faith) is infallible, then how did it make the heretical pronouncement of the "Filioque" clause?

    5. what in the hell is heretical about the Filioque "clause" ya nit? read the Athanasian Creed.....
      "The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, AND OF THE SON, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, BUT PROCEEDING."

      ya nit.

    6. According to the Orthodox sources I have read, the Filioque clause is semi-sabellianism at best. It creates problems with the understanding of the Trinity.

    7. "According to the Orthodox sources I have read...."
      well there ya go! Might as well write 'blah blah blah blah' after that. Your debate is circular and heretical. Face it.

      Read it again's very simple and CLEAR:
      "The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, AND OF THE SON, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, BUT PROCEEDING."

    8. The Holy Spirit cannot be from the Son, as all that is comes from the Father. Suppose you tell me who gave the Roman Catholics the right and authority to change a creed of the Church?

    9. non-responsive eddie. you still haven't answered the question, and you would seem to have a BIG problem with St. Athanasius and the 3rd of 3 main creeds of Christendom. Read it again; it's very simple and precise:

      "The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, AND OF THE SON, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, BUT PROCEEDING."

  19. Little attention is ever given to the vision/ words of Our Lady of Fatima who showed Hell to Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta. Lucia described the horror of seeing souls in Hell. Our Lady told the children that it was to save souls from falling into Hell that GOD wished to establish devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Through Mary's intercession, souls would be saved from eternal damnation. How many Catholics even know about the Peace Plan from Heaven given to us by Our Lady of Fatima? How many have made the Five First Saturday devotions? How many are praying the Holy Rosary and wearing the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel? To neglect these practices is pure folly.

    1. Or the NDEs of people who have been shown at least the environs of hell and its inhabitants.

  20. From "Good Goats: Healing Our Image of God", p.66 via the Paulist Press, 1994:

    "The Church, which invokes its infallibility in the canonization of the saints, has never done so with regard to the damned. We cannot know with certainty if even one human soul does in fact go to hell" (quoting Karl Rahner).

    "Karl Rahner, S.J. (5 March 1904 – 30 March 1984), was a German Jesuit priest and theologian who, alongside Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Yves Congar, is considered one of the most influential Catholic theologians of the 20th century."

    1. Clement of A. Karl Rahner, S.J. is a borderline heretic and one of modernist theologians responsible for the disaster of Vatican II. The other theologians mentioned, especially Yves Congar, O.P. are of similar bent.

    2. Oakes. Note list of heresies in Vatican II.

    3. Tell it to Jesus, ClementofA:

      "And the Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed. It were better for him, if that man had not been born." Mark 14:21

      "While I was with them, I kept them in thy name. Those whom thou gavest me have I kept; and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition, that the scripture may be fulfilled." John 17:12

    4. And yet Jesus receives the "lost" prodigal son (Luke 15). He also speaks parables regarding seeking the lost "till he find it" (Luke 15). And His mission is to "seek and to save the lost" (Lk.19:10).

    5. It's better for a man not to be born, but to die inside the mother, than to live an evil life. The evil man will suffer God's corrective punishment for his salvation. If he died before being born he would be innocent & not needing such a disciplinary action.

      A similar interpretation states:

      "Better had Judas not been born? Mt. 26:24 This passage does not say that it would have been better for Judas if his mother had never conceived him, only that he not had been born. There is a big difference. Ec. 6:3 says, ―If a man begets a hundred children and lives many years...but his soul is not satisfied with goodness...I say that a stillborn child is better than he. It could be the same with Judas; ―Woe to that man…it would have been good for that man if he had not been born [but stillborn]."

      And for another take on the passage:


  22. Christ is a rope thrown to drowning men.

    We still have to grab it.

  23. Dear IrishEddieOHara,
    Please consider the following regarding your first three points:
    1. The eternity of heaven and hell is dogmatic (*** see below). However, since eternity is mysterious (time as we know it will cease), terminology to express this mystery will always be inadequate. In the Gloria Patri, we end the doxology with "in saecula saeculorum" --literally, "in the age of ages" which is just as adequately rendered in modern English as, "forever and ever." The Greek word αἰώνιος has been extended in its meaning through its use in Scripture. Words will always fall short of the mystery. How do we know we are correct? Because we do not adhere to Sola Scriptura; we also acknowledge Tradition and the role of the Magisterium as indispensable in communicating and preserving the meaning of Revealed Truth.

    2. Jesus, being God made Man, who came to extend and perfect the Revelation of God to man, clearly referred to hell as Gehenna, dozens of times. Do you also think that Jesus never forbade divorce and re-marriage either, since Moses allowed it?

    3. The Old Testament, as the Fathers teach us, is revealed by the New. It does indeed teach about hell in type, as when Dathan and his clan rebelled against Moses, and the earth opened up and swallowed them, or when the Israelites rebelled again and again, and God swore in his anger, "They shall not enter into my rest." His rest, literally was the Promised Land of Israel. In type, it shows that those who rebel will never enter into His rest, which is the true Promised Land of heaven. The Fathers, again, bring this topological explanation out clearly, as does St. Paul in 1 Cor 10. One of the 7 sons in Maccabees assures his persecutors that, whereas he and his brothers will rise to eternal life, there will be no resurrection to eternal life for the persecutors. An eternal reproach is mentioned in Dan 12:2, and an eternal fire in Judith 16:21. The divine pedagogy cannot be questioned so boldly, and although it did not clearly reveal the existence of an eternal hell per se in the Old Testament, there are certainly hints. And although the Sadducees, who only accepted the 5 books of Moses, did not even believe in an afterlife, the Pharisees knew enough to pray for the dead, and that there would be the resurrection of the body.

    *** The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) declared, "Those [rejected] will receive a perpetual punishment with the devil." Hence, the eternity of hell is dogmatic, and all who reject it are heretics.

    1. No, the eternity of hell is problematic at best. It is so because the Latin Fathers mistranslated the word "aionios" because they didn't understand Greek at all.

      If Holy Tradition is part of the truth of the Church, why has the Roman Church abandoned it, teaching things that the Apostolic Fathers never knew nor taught?

      Well, one reason could be that Emperor Justinian of Constantinople, a fervently in opposition to apokatastasis, said that if you let people know that they will eventually be saved, they will run to sin and become unmanageable. In other words, his desire was not so much truth as it was control in the empire, and what better thing to control folks with than the image of an angry God who tortures the disobedient forever?

      Don't be a smart-ass with me (your comment on divorce). You don't wear it well. Jesus taught against divorce - period. One man, one woman, one lifetime. This has nothing to do with the mistranslation of aionios, other than you trying to make cheap points by insulting me.

      Your point about typology from the OT is interesting and something I will consider. As I said elsewhere, I am not teaching nor believing this as dogma, but I do have a "hope" that all will, after being scourged for their sins, be saved. And the Church, even the Roman Church (contrary to the frothing at the mouth Latin Traddies here) does allow us to have that hope that hell is empty. We simply cannot teach it as dogma.

    2. The context supports the view that both the life & the punishment referred to in v.2 are of finite duration (OLAM), while v.3 speaks of those who will be for OLAM "and further".

      2 From those sleeping in the soil of the ground many shall awake, these to eonian life
      and these to reproach for eonian repulsion." 3 The intelligent shall warn as the warning
      of the atmosphere, and those justifying many are as the stars for the eon and further."
      (Dan.12:2-3, CLOT)

      The Hebrew word for eonian (v.2) & eon (v.3) above is OLAM which is used of limited durations in the OT. In verse 3 of Daniel 12 are the words "OLAM and further" showing an example of its finite duration in the very next words after Daniel 12:2. Thus, in context, the OLAM occurences in v.2 should both be understood as being of finite duration.

      Compare v.3:

      l·oulm u·od
      for·eon and·futurity

      OJB Hashem shall reign l’olam va’ed.
      Yahweh shall rule to the eon and beyond (Exo 15:18)
      Universal Version Bible The Torah By William Petr

      Habbukah 3:6:

      JPS Tanakh 1917
      He standeth, and shaketh the earth, He beholdeth, and maketh the nations to tremble; And the everlasting[olam] mountains are dashed in pieces, The ancient[olam] hills do bow; His goings are as of old[olam].

      Young's Literal Translation
      He hath stood, and He measureth earth, He hath seen, and He shaketh off nations, And scatter themselves do mountains of antiquity, Bowed have the hills of old, The ways of old are His.

      He stands and is measuring the earth; he sees and is letting loose the nations. And the mountain ranges of futurity are scattering; the eonian hills bow down; his goings are eonian.

      Daniel 12:2:

      Young's Literal Translation
      'And the multitude of those sleeping in the dust of the ground do awake, some to life
      age-during, and some to reproaches -- to abhorrence age-during. (Dan.12:2)

      and, many of the sleepers in the dusty ground, shall awake,—these, [shall be] to age-
      abiding life, but, those, to reproach, and age-abiding abhorrence; (Dan.12:2)

  24. Irish Eddie, do you believe that Scripture is divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit? If not, why not? And if now, then how do you view 2 Timothy 3:16?

    Also, how does your view account for the following scenario: multitudes of people who not only refuse Christ's offer of salvation but also refuse to acknowledge God's existence and refuse to repent from some of the most heinous sins imaginable? Does a God who is the ultimate in purity, goodness and righteousness simply ignore such things?

    1. "Does a God who is the ultimate in purity, goodness and righteousness simply ignore such things?"

      No, He doesn't. He corrects the sinner. For example:

      1 Cor.5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

    2. Apparently you are yet another person who misunderstands Patristic Universalism. You appear to think that God is like Bob Barker on The Price is Right, that no matter how heinous the sin, God says "Come on uuuuuuppppppp...."

      Doesn't work that way. Those who are wicked are in line for scourging, and it will be most unpleasant and painful. No one gets away with choosing sin in this life.

      The issue is whether a God who is described as love in the Bible (do you believe the Bible is divinely inspired?) would do such a thing as A.) create sentient beings, foreknowing they would fall, and condemn themselves to eternal conscious punishment B.) do so having no plan in mind for remediation of this situation. C.) act in a way towards sinners as if they are enemies instead of wayward children D.) tell us to love and forgive our enemies while not doing so Himself.

    3. IrishEddie, you are confusing me with those who believe in modernistic universalism. Let me make several points.

      1. First, God indeed is love, as St. John said. But God is not solely love. He is also righteousness and justice. How loving would it be for God not to punish those who habitually take joy in abusing the innocent for their own gain? Do you think God would not punish an unrepentant Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Khomeini or the 9/11 hijackers?

      2. God does not torture. Satan tortures. God gives Satan boundaries. The Book of Job shows that. Hell is a place of eternal satanic torture because the spirit within each human being is eternal. God has set eternity in each man's hearts, as Ecclesiastes 3:11 says.

      3. Jesus Christ is the answer to your four questions. Jesus Himself said that all who believe and receive Him will not face divine condemnation. They will have abundant life, not only after they die physically but also while they live on Earth! Jesus is the ultimate atoning sacrifice for human sin who was crucified before the foundations of the world (which means that God planned remediation for human sin before creation!). However, many refuse to accept this remediation, which Jesus Himself declared as the only way to His Father. If people ignore this remediation, what alternative is there?

      4. God created us in His free image, which means that He gave humanity the ability to think, reason and choose between alternatives. For God to force His solutions on unwilling humanity would be to violate that image.

      5. Finally, you assume that the new head of the CDF believes in patristic universalism. Given the indulgent neo-syncretism that the Vatican has been promoting since John Paul II's papacy and the Jesuits' status as perhaps the most modernistic order within Catholicism, it's logical to assume that the new Jesuit head of CDF believes that Jesus is irrelevant to salvation, which describes modernistic universalism perfectly.

    4. Hebrews speaks of those who reject Christ as deserving a "sorer" punishment than death by Moses' law, i.e. stoning:

      10:28 A man that hath set at nought Moses' law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses: 29 of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

      Stoning to death is not a very sore or longlasting punishment. People suffered far worse deaths via the torture methods of the Medieval Inquisitionists and the German Nazis under Hitler.

      Therefore, if the writer of Hebrews believed the wicked would be punished with something so monstrous as being endlessly annihilated out of existence, he would not have chosen to compare their punishment to something so lame as being stoned to death. Clearly he did not believe Love Omnipotent is an unfeeling terminator machine who abandons forever the beings He created in His image & likeness so easily.

    5. If every free will choice has a 50% chance of going either way, it would be mathematically impossible for one to reject God forever.
      Although once one is saved & immortal, what happens to freewill then? Does God take free will away to keep everyone safe and saved,
      or does He allow His created beings the chance to rebel again? Does incorruption imply that there will not be free will to sin?

    6. If men refuse Christ's redeeming of their sins all along their life, why would they accept it on the very day they die ?
      If there is no Hell, then there is no punishment. If there is no punishment, there is no sin. And if there is no sin, then Christ's sufferings and death on the cross were an useless sacrifice and the men may add sin upon sins until they die without fear since they will go to Heavens anyways.

    7. Thank you for your response, Joseph.

      1. If you go back and read my many posts, you will see that I thoroughly believe in justice and God's scourging of the wicked for their sins. It would be unjust of Him not to do so

      2. When I say "God tortures," I am responding to the Medieval view of the afterlife as written about by Dante. Roman theology has in the past pictured God as the One who is tormenting man's soul. I could be wrong on this, and I am open to correction.

      3. I have a link to something I wrote to answer this question. I would appreciate if you would read it and let me know what you think of my commentary.

      The main question of this article is whether or not a soul can change after death:

      4. God does not force His will upon us. Read this link to see what I am saying:

      5. In this I think you may well have a point.

  25. In the 1950's Pope Pius X11 said that the greatest evil of the time was "the loss of the sense of sin." What was true then is certainly true today. It is impossible to comprehend the Holiness oF GOD and the egregious affront that sin is to Him. An eternity of Hell is certainly just for one who has adamantly refused to return love for the greatest Love ever known.Man loves his sin. Some try to rationalize that GOD is really OK with it too, often confusing His Mercy with the sin of presumption. There need be no fear of eternal punishment in Hell if we humbly follow Him who is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life."

    1. Sin is an affront to God. Does that mean that God tortures souls forever? Is that the nature of God, to get even? Or does love seek the ultimate restitution of the object of its love, which is the human soul?

    2. Eddie, this conversation is over. It's clear to me that you have a heavy personal emotional investment in this super-charged discussion on hell(guilt??), which prevents you from consistent rational discussion. Running away does not help.

    3. If Love Omnipotent does not save all, is it because He is too weak or because He doesn't want to?

  26. Universal-ism is already a done deal in the minds of most Catholics who think that nearly everyone goes to heaven. They commit sin with impunity by say receiving the Eucharist while engaging in contraception.

    1. Is that really Universalism? Or is it people who have strayed from the faith and are spiritually cold?

  27. "Eternity is long, very long, and peculiarly long upon all by the end..."

  28. To clarify, doctrine cannot change, not even by the Pope, much less so by Abp. Ferrer. We can however, grow in our understanding of doctrine which is different. Progress in understanding doesn't change the doctrine, but may reveal some theological point, that was previously hidden. Therefore Universal Salvation, which means that everyone will go to heaven, is and allows will be a heresy, however the means by which God grants eternal life to non-Christians may be further elucidated. As a theologian, it seems that is what Abp. Ferrer is aluding to, not Universal Salvation.

  29. To clarify, doctrine cannot change, not even by the Pope, much less so by Abp. Ferrer. We can however, grow in our understanding of doctrine which is different. Progress in understanding doesn't change the doctrine, but may reveal some theological point, that was previously hidden. Therefore Universal Salvation, which means that everyone will go to heaven, is and allows will be a heresy, however the means by which God grants eternal life to non-Christians may be further elucidated. As a theologian, it seems that is what Abp. Ferrer is aluding to, not Universal Salvation.

  30. Christ never used the word "hell". He used to word "shoal". It's sad when catholics refuse the light of truth.

  31. the wonderful belief that all will be saved is based on one indisputable fact: God's unconditional love for Her children. Love conquers all.

    1. Thomas, consider the following:

      1. First, God indeed is love, as St. John said. But God is not solely love. He is also righteousness and justice. How loving would it be for God not to punish those who habitually take joy in abusing the innocent for their own gain? Do you think God would not punish an unrepentant Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Khomeini or the 9/11 hijackers?

      2. God's unconditional love does not ignore sin, nor does it ignore those who reject His way of remediation through His Son. Love is "unconditional" because it's freely give to all who want to receive. That doesn't mean that everybody will avail themselves of that opportunity.

      3. Jesus Christ Himself said that all who believe and receive Him will not face divine condemnation. They will have abundant life, not only after they die physically but also while they live on Earth! Jesus is the ultimate atoning sacrifice for human sin who was crucified before the foundations of the world (which means that God planned remediation for human sin before creation!). However, many refuse to accept this remediation, which Jesus Himself declared as the only way to His Father. If people ignore this remediation, what alternative is there?

      4. God created us in His free image, which means that He gave humanity the ability to think, reason and choose between alternatives. For God to force His solutions on unwilling humanity would be to violate that image.

    2. 1. Universalism does not say that there is no punishment for our sins. If you read some of those Patristic Universalists, they state that the wicked experience God's love as torment. And until justice is met and fulfilled, until they are changed by the scourging of this love, it will torment them

      2. This is an issue of time. Some receive this love very early in their lives. Others receive it much later, even on their death beds. Why is the change of hearts limited to chronological time? Maybe it will take a few million years in eternity for a soul to realize that resistance is futile.

      3. Yes, I would not deny what Christ said, but what does that condemnation involve? It is a condemnation to corrective punishment, or is is a condemnation to what you believe in -0 eternal conscious torment?

      Something else to thing of: was this warning to the Jews? Remember, Christ was warning the Jews of the coming destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Those who believed on Him to a man escaped this. Those who did not suffered horrors beyond imagination. Look at the context in which Christ speaks to see to whom Christ was offering this warning.

      4. Oh, so you now go to the idea that man is "free to deny God." So God is so weak that He cannot overcome our stubbornness? Here's a blog piece about our free will and God's ability to change our free-will choices without violating our freedom:

    3. 1. The fact is that many will never be changed by such scourging. The human heart is "deceitful above all things" and "desperately wicked," as the prophet Jeremiah wrote. Scourging might even result in people doubling down on their own sinful behavior. Read the Book of Revelation.

      2. "Maybe it will take a few million years in eternity for a soul to realize that resistance is futile." By then, it will be too late. It is appointed for men to die once before facing judgement, the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews wrote. All we have is this life in which to decide whether we will embrace or reject God and His son. That choice has eternal consequences.

      3. I believe it's condemnation to eternal conscious torment. Look at the parable about the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man doesn't get another chance; that also answers your second point.

      4. God is not "so weak that He cannot overcome our stubbornness." The issue is not God's power but humanity's accountability. If God decided to reverse an individual decision to reject Him and His Son, then He would be violating His own covenant and insulting His own Son's sacrifice.

      Ultimately, universalism is the attempt to deny the existence of a permanent Hell. Nothing in either Scripture or Tradition supports that idea.

    4. 1. I admit that this is a possibility, yet it is hard to think that perhaps once the blinders are taken off (you know, this world of illusion where we really don't see the truth) that the soul may realize it has nothing to cling to, that all its pretensions are false, and that life is in Christ, that the soul wouldn't in fact turn to Christ, having nowhere else to go.

      2-3. No, the rich man had already started to repent. This is something that most of us don't realize. Notice that in the parable, a man who had no care or concern for anyone suddenly is concerned for his brothers. That's an indication of a change of heart, a different way of thinking. It is a beginning.

      4. The issue VERY MUCH is God's power. If God creates a universe and beings over whom He has no power nor ability to manifest that power in ways that ultimately result in the summa bonum for them, then He is powerless. Did you read my blog piece on free will, or did you just blow it off because it probably didn't agree with your preconceived notions.

      As for Scripture and Tradition - Scripture does not speak of "eternal torment" unless you twist and torment the Greek into making it say that. The Latin translators did a horrid job with parts of the NT, especially the word they made to say "eternal" when it says nothing of the sort.

      As for Tradition, for the first 400 years, Patristic Universalism was widely taught in the Church. It was the Latins, with their emphasis on punishment and the law rather than God's grace (i.e. God as wrathful Judge rather than loving and corrective Father) who torpedoed that.

      Would appreciate it if you would go back and read the blog piece.