Catholic Church Teaching Universalism?

"On a Larry King interview on CNN, a catholic priest reinforced the pope's stance on the lack of a need for Christ as a means of salvation:"

"Catholic priest Michael Manning was interviewed by Larry King on December 1,2001. King, who is a Jew, asked, 'Now Father, if you don't believe in Christ when you die, are you going to hell?' Manning replied: 'No, not at all. It's the Catholic belief that Jesus is the source of salvation, Jesus is God; we believe that. But what [do] we say to the millions and billions of people who don't even know about Jesus, are they just thrown into hell? Or what about a Rabbi who really follows the Lord as best he can? As a Catholic, I'm very comfortable that he attains salvation by doing this.' King then asked, 'So he achieves it without believing in Christ?' Manning replied, 'Correct.' King asked, '[H]ow do you view Mohammed?' Manning replied: 'As a very wise man. I see the beauty of Islam in a very strong way. A simple approach to God. I'm very touched by Ramadan, by the fasting; the beautiful presence of God and the power of God. And as a Catholic, I need to learn from that.'"

"I think the above excerpt speaks for itself. Catholic leaders are abandoning Jesus Christ as the means of Salvation – to the Catholic, Christ is no longer needed for all men. What a horrible tragedy!"

Fr. Manning's statements are oversimplifications of the Church's teachings about salvation. His beliefs, if elaborated upon, may reveal themselves to be dissident and heretical. As such, they would certainly not be the Church's beliefs and indicative of an embrace of religious pluralism. Even if Fr. Manning merely misspoke or later recanted, it is important to realize that he is not representative of the Roman Catholic leadership nearly to the degree Mr. Porter attributes to him.

Every Catholic is a representative of the Catholic Church, just as in the more general case, all Christians are representatives of the Mystical Body of Christ. However, not everyone has the same representative authority. Whether layman, priest, or nun, people can have varying degrees of persuasiveness based on intelligence, knowledge, charisma, and exposure, but there is a clear hierarchy of official authority in the Church. The pope and various Vatican offices, such as Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, are the protectors of the Church's Deposit of Faith and the magisterial authority. A priest, such as Fr. Manning, is charged with the duty to instruct the faithful in his charge and to transmit the authentic teachings of the Church. His personal opinions must be subjugated to his obedience to the Church's teachings. Misrepresenting (or opposing) the official teachings of the Church reflect poorly on the Church, but they do not mean she has gone round the bend.

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

  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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