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Monday, August 07, 2006


Brian John Schuettler

It is the teaching of the Church that each individual will be personally judged at the moment of their death i.e. particular judgment. What does that mean? Why did God create me? God created me to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him in this life and to be with Him in the next. If an atheist dies willfully choosing at that moment to NOT know and NOT love God then that atheist has chosen NOT to be in Heaven but rather in Hell. It is that simple. As far as believing at the last moment in God's existence...well, as Saint James says in his epistle, even the demons believe in God's existence! Are they in Heaven? Many of the comments I have read at the Jimmy Akin website do not, for some strange reason that I cannot fathom, address the profound importance of free will as being determinant in regard to one's salvation. Yes, we can pray that all people of all time will be in Heaven and that is indeed part of the Divine Mercy message. However, we must be very careful as Catholics to not write in such a loose and ambiguous way that we promote heresy. Balthasar is so often misinterpreted as asserting a confidence in "universal salvation" and nothing can be further from the truth. He accepted as all orthodox Catholics do the primacy of Grace and the exercise of free will in choosing to love God and wanting to be with God forever. As far as I am concerned, the rest of the discussion concerning who is saved outside of the Church and who isn't is addressed within the context of invincible ignorance and the ineffable mercy of God.

Plato's Stepchild

Chapter IX - Membership in the Church in Charles Cardinal Journet's wonderful Theology of the Church is mandatory reading on this subject.

Marvelous theology from that wonderful fount of Fribourg Thomism.

Plato's Stepchild

From an online English translation of Charles Cardinal Journet's The Church of the Incarnate Word:

To reconcile the axiom "Outside the Church, no salvation", with the doctrine of the possible salvation of those who remain ignorant of the Church in all good faith, there is no need to manufacture any new theory. All we have to do is to apply to the Church the traditional distinction made in connection with the necessity of Baptism, the door by which the Church is entered. To the question: Can anybody be saved without Baptism? St. Thomas, who here draws on the thought of St. Ambrose, replies that those who lack Baptism re et voto, that is to say who neither are nor want to be baptized, cannot come to salvation, "since they are neither sacramentally nor mentally incorporated into Christ, by whom alone is salvation". But those who lack Baptism re, sed non voto, that is to say "who desire Baptism, but are accidentally overtaken by death before receiving it, can be saved without actual Baptism, in virtue of their desire for Baptism, coming from a faith that works by charity, by which God, whose power is not circumscribed by visible sacraments, sanctifies man interiorly".[85] Conformably with this distinction we shall say that the axiom "No salvation outside the Church" is true of those who do not belong to the Church, which in herself is visible, either visibly (corporaliter) or even invisibly, either by the sacraments (sacramentaliter) or even in spirit (mentaliter); either fully (re) or even by desire (voto); either in accomplished act or even in virtual act.[86] The axiom does not concern the just who, without yet belonging to the Church visibly, in accomplished act (re), do so invisibly, in virtual act, in spirit, by desire (mentaliter, voto), that is to say in virtue of the supernatural righteousness of their lives, even while, through insurmountable ignorance, they know nothing of the sanctity, or even of the existence, of the Church.[87]

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