Posted by: L. E. Barnes | July 25, 2011

Monday Message

Fr. Robert Barron tackles the issue of whether few, most, or all people will be saved:

Rob Bell has apparently stirred up a good deal of controversy with his views about hell. Carlton Pearson, a minister ordained through the Church of God in Christ, likewise created quite a firestorm with his highly controversial Gospel of Inclusion, which essentially teaches that hell is corrective and temporary, not eternal punishment. In other words, everyone will eventually make it into heaven (sounds like Origen of Alexandria’s view, which Fr. Barron discussed in the video).

The Catechism has this to say about hell:

Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren. To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell”…

The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.” The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

So Catholics must reject the so-called Gospel of Inclusion, as hell is not a temporary state but eternal separation from God. How many will be saved? God only knows. The Church in the meanwhile is tasked with proclaiming the Gospel.

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Responses

  1. I wrote a post on this topic several months ago…my basic point is that these kinds of discussions are beside the point, and a distraction from getting to Heaven. True faith isn’t based on fear of Hell, but on love, so why do we insist on getting so distracted by whether Hell exists or not? I’m particularly sensitive to this b/c we got socked with a “almosters” mentality in a youth program in HS, which was nothing but emotional manipulation to get people up to an altar call. I was a freshman, and one of two people out of 75+ who refused to submit to the fear tactic. I sat in my seat and prayed and prayed, but I would not go up. Anyway, here’s my post:

    http://kathleenbasi.com/2011/03/02/christian-for-love-or-christian-out-of-fear/

  2. I agree that arguing about whether anyone is in hell is beside the point that we are each responsible for co-operating with God’s grace to get to heaven. We must follow the teachings of the Church and Christ’s words to freely give ourselves up to the will of God. We can reasonably hope that most people will be saved, but we can’t turn aside from God’s justice which means we can’t live any old way we want and think we can waltz right into heaven. It’s possible that any one of us can end up in hell because of our free wills. So our big job is to do all we can to get to heaven and take as many people as possible there with us. Other than accepting its reality, I think we waste time trying to do God’s job for Him by guessing who may or may not be in hell.

    In the original Latin words of the Consecration of the wine at Mass, and which will be restored to the Ordinary Form, we hear these words: “For this is the Chalice of My Blood, of the new and eternal testament: (the mystery of faith – in the Extraordinary Form) which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins.” This clearly implies that many will be saved but not all of those for whom Jesus died will be saved due to our free wills, not to God being cruel.

  3. Good discussion and I agree with above. I agree true faith is not based on fear but on love. I believe, because of free will, that WE choose hell. God wants us with him and will do anything to bring us home, but still gives us the choice to follow Him or not.


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