Catholic Church Teaching Universalism?

"How about the apparent 'successor of Peter', the supposed representative of Christ on earth? Here is Pope John Paul II with what can only be described as a universalist, pluralistic approach to God and salvation. This is anything but Christian:"

"On Wednesday, Sept. 9th 1998 at the general audience in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke on the theme of The Spirit of God and the 'Seeds of Truth' in non-Christian Religions. "The 'seeds of truth'," said John Paul II, are 'the effect of the Spirit of truth operating outside the visible confines of the Mystical Body',' Pope Paul explained that 'in all authentic religious experiences, the most characteristic manifestation is prayer. … Every true prayer is inspired by the Holy Spirit, Who is mysteriously present in the heart of every person."

"'Through the practice of what is good in their own religious traditions, and following the dictates of their consciences, members of other religions positively respond to God's invitation and receive salvation in Jesus Christ, even though they may not recognize Him as their Savior.'"

"'The attitude of the Church and of individual Christians with regard to other religions is characterized by sincere respect, deep kindness, and also, where it is possible and appropriate, cordial collaboration' (Vatican Information Service 9/9/98) "

"All I can say is…wow! Any Christian has to, in the very least, shake their head at such unbiblical confusion. Since when is the Spirit of God in non-Christian religions? Here's what the Word of God tells us: 'And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him' (Acts 5:32); and also: Peter said to them, 'Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit' (Acts 2:38). God does not give the Holy Spirit to those who deny Jesus Christ. God does not give the Holy Spirit to anyone other than those whom He calls to be kept by Jesus Christ. Those who repent and believe in Jesus Christ are given the Holy Spirit. How can the pope claim that the Spirit somehow operates in a limited capacity within the adherents of other religions? That would imply that the Holy Spirit maintains the beliefs of religious people who actively deny the claims of Christianity. Such are the ramblings of an anti-Christ. For the pope to say that the spirit of God is present in other religions is not only erroneous but is blatantly blasphemous."

"The pope also claims that the prayers of all religions are inspired by the Holy Spirit. Every prayer is inspired by the Holy Spirit?! So when a Muslim (who denies the existence of the Holy Spirit) prays to allah, the Holy Spirit (whom they blaspheme) is the inspiration for that prayer?! The pope is not only wrong – he is speaking against the clear understanding of God's Holy Word."

"The pope, having not said enough to misrepresent and malign biblical Christianity, follows with a self-condemning statement saying that even though members of other religions do not recognize Jesus Christ as Savior, they nevertheless receive salvation through Jesus Christ having somehow subconsciously assented to an invitation by God while remaining faithful to their pagan system of religion. The pope has, in so many words, proclaimed that one can be saved without having to believe in Jesus Christ! With this he has departed from the Word of God, betrayed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and has issued his own ticket to eternal judgment."

No good can be done except through the Holy Spirit. Every good thing a human does is aided by the Holy Spirit. This means that everybody has the capacity to offer pleasing prayers to God. As for the seeds of truth, think of the time period between creation and Abraham. It's obvious that mankind lost touch with God and needed to be drawn back. Religions that sprung up before God brought about the Israelite nation would have had seeds of truth (perhaps shards or crumbs works better) from the days of the Garden of Eden. Mankind passed down memories of walking with God, but like "whisper down the lane", they mangled it, sometimes intentionally and sometimes accidentaly. Thus every good, right, and true thing about modern religions owes its existence to those seeds of truth and to the work of the Holy Spirit.

Regarding salvation without explicit acceptance of Christ, there are two concepts that must be explained – vincible and invincible ignorance. Vincible ignorance is willful rejection of Christ. You know the Truth and you reject it. Invincible ignorance means unintentional or blameless rejection of Christ. Perhaps you were never presented the gospel in your life or you were raised with such hateful lies about Christianity that you could never see it in a good light. Neverthless, you live your life well and follow a morally-guided conscience. In fact, you may live more righteously than many a Christian. Should you be damned? Furthermore, is our view of God's mercy so narrow that we don't believe He could or would save such a righteous soul? Surely not.

Think of Matthew 25:31-46. The Son of Man does not ask those assembled before Him if they went to mass/service every week, tithed, were baptized, or even accepted Him as Lord and Savior. He judges them by how they treated their fellow men. If a Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Taoist, or Wiccan treats the least of Christ's brethren with love and compassion, surely that is pleasing to the Lord.

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.”

    Cheers!

    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" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> 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
    DARE WE HOPE THAT ALL MEN BE SAVED
    Hans Urs Von Balthasar
    Ignatius Press

    for an interesting “unorthodox” point of view

    Posted 19 Jun 2010 at 2:58 pm

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 2

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