Sherry Weddell on the relationship between the assumption of universalism that infects Catholic culture and the phenomenon of the “baptized unbeliever” with no sense of a need of lived discipleship to Jesus Christ:
I asked the vocation director (who had a copy of the book with him) what his men were taught or knew about the critical relationship of personal faith and sacramental grace. He said that they had heard the language of disposition but as a purely abstract category. The foundational, real life, personal and communal implications of lack of discipleship were not covered in their formation. (And they are sent to several different seminaries as is typically done by dioceses today.)
LIke the rest of us, seminarians who never hear anyone talk clearly, explicitly about the real life consequences of the failure to make disciples, will probably never think about it.
It is realities like this that support and fuel the practical culture of universalism that permeates the hearts and minds of 98% of all the Catholics I’ve ever worked with.
The Vatican is now using the language of “baptized unbelievers” but we still aren’t much concerned about the possibility of eternal loss. Because we really, really believe deep down that salvation just isn’t a question and that, in some mysterious way, the sacraments are a kind of magic.
Grace is not magic. Salvation is not automatic. Jesus is Lord. Heaven–and hell–are real and our choices concerning them don’t make themselves, we make them.