Catholic Church Teaching Universalism?

"Now let us take a look at the betrayal of Christ being perpetrated by catholic leaders. These are men supposed to be shepherding the flock – instead they are leading goats into darkness: (Note: I have bolded the parts I felt are really serious attacks on Christ and biblical understanding)"

"Potential Pope Declares Jesus Is Not The Only Way! Cardinal Francis Arinze, who's considered a possible successor to Pope John Paul II, has denied Jesus is the only way to heaven. In a recent interview the pope's spirited 66 year-old deputy for outreach to other religions was asked, 'So was Jesus wrong when he said he was the way, the truth and the life?' Arinze responded, 'If a person were to push what you said a little further and say that if you're not a Christian you're not going to heaven, we'd regard that person as a fundamentalist…and theologically wrong. I met in Pakistan a Muslim. He had a wonderful concept of the Koran. We were like two twins that had known one another from birth. And I was in admiration of this man's wisdom. I think that man will go to heaven. There was a Buddhist in Kyoto, in Japan. This man, a good man, open, listening, humble–I was amazed. I listened to his works of wisdom and said to myself, 'The grace of God is working in this man.' The interviewer then repeated the question, 'So you can still get to heaven without accepting Jesus?" "Expressly, yes [he laughs with the audience].'" (Dallas Morning News, 3/20/99)

"So here we have a potential successor to the pope saying that Jesus is not necessary for salvation. Here we have a Cardinal of the "true church" founded by Jesus Christ (I am using 'catholic speak') essentially calling Jesus Christ a liar! He also gives his blessing to a muslim – who denies the trinity, denies Christ as God (among other denials of God's truth) – and says he admires his 'wisdom'. The cardinal also says that the grace of God is working in a Buddhist! One wonders if this cardinal has ever read the Bible!"

"If a person were to push what you said a little further and say that if you're not a Christian you're not going to heaven, we'd regard that person as a fundamentalist…and theologically wrong." – Cardinal Arinze

"That person" would be wrong because we cannot know with asbsolute certainty who is and is not saved. We can suspect, and often be right, but we cannot know. To know is to judge, and that is God's right alone. We can know that a person accepted Christ with his lips, but can we know he accepted with his heart? Even if we could know that, do we know that he died in a state of grace? We believe that there are sins that cannot be forgiven by a general absolution and must be confessed. These are mortal sins. To die in mortal sin is to have one's soul in great peril.

There is another side to this coin. Though a man may not accept Christ with his lips, he might do so in his heart. By our fruits we are known. Bad fruit comes from bad trees and good fruit comes from good trees. Thus it is with a man's actions. Surely a righteous man has good in his heart. How can we, not being God, say that such a man will certainly not be saved? How do we know that he has not received "baptism of desire"? To be baptised by desire means that if you were properly informed about the gospel and the graces Jesus offers, you would want to be baptised. The Church believes that to presume someone's fate, particularly to assume their damnation, is a serious sin. Thus, to say for certain that without explicit acceptance of Christ one is damned is theologically wrong. Cardinal Arinze spoke correctly.

Comments 4

  1. Steve N wrote:

    I think this all boils down to a very simplistic and wrong-headed view of grace among my Evangelical (and esp. Calvinistic) brethren. They often draw (a completely ficticious) line between “general grace” and “salvific grace,” all the while ignoring that, since it is God’s perfect and unambiguous will that all be “saved” and come to the knowledge of the truth, that ALL grace is inherently “salvific.”


    Posted 26 Jan 2005 at 6:01 pm
  2. Tom Smith wrote:

    < ?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> < !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" ""> This guy doesn't seem to understand that, if He wanted to, Christ could save as many people who don't accept Him as he darn well pleases. No one is saying that Christ isn't the one who saves, they're saying that it's possible (though far, far less likely) to be saved by Christ without acknowledging Him.

    Also, this bit irked me: "The church that killed millions of true Christians throughout the centuries is now opening its arms to embrace her 'separated brethren.'"

    Millions? Really? I'd like to see some evidence for millions. And unless he really is an Albigensian or something, he doesn't really understand the ramifications of calling early heretics "true christians." "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" does not apply here.

    Also, this dude thinks that the Pope said that every prayer is inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Pope actually said that every *true* prayer is inspired.

    Anyway, I agree that, perhaps, some within our hierarchy have gone a tad too far with ecumenism, though not so far as to preclude an orthodox interpretation of things. I don't have a problem with understanding between religions, but we don't have to be syncretistic, either, like it seems the Anglican and liberal Protestant ecumaniacs have.

    Posted 26 Jan 2005 at 4:38 pm
  3. Jeremy Pierce wrote:

    Usually the complaint regarding the Galatian heresy has to do with salvation by works. As someone who fully endorses the Reformed view of salvation, I don’t think Roman Catholicism commits the Galatian heresy. I think some Catholics add something to the gospel, but the Galatian heresy replaced the gospel with something else. The official Catholic view has never been that works themselves save. It’s always been that true faith will result in works and that for many people those works will confirm that process of salvation over time. It amazes me how many Reformed people will take the same view in response to libertines but then accuse Catholics of heresy for saying the same thing.

    Posted 02 Feb 2005 at 4:00 am
  4. Rodger Tutt wrote:

    Google up Catholic universalist theologian’s book
    Hans Urs Von Balthasar
    Ignatius Press

    for an interesting “unorthodox” point of view

    Posted 19 Jun 2010 at 2:58 pm

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 2

  1. From Ales Rarus - A Rare Bird, A Strange Duck, One Funky Blog » Salvation, Discipleship, and Priorities on 20 Feb 2006 at 11:08 pm

    […] Don’t get me wrong. I’m not endorsing universalism. There are plenty of uncertainties in this parable, such as how different charitable acts balance against failures to act charitably, to leave more than enough rope for man to hang himself. There’s also the matter of explicit rejection of Christ, which seems to be pretty…well…condemned. […]

  2. From Ales Rarus - A Rare Bird, A Strange Duck, One Funky Blog » A Wicked and False Religion? on 30 Mar 2006 at 12:09 pm

    […] Like I said, the Church has PR problems. Rand, of A Pattern of Sound Words, asserts: […]

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