Michael Voris Again Smears an Innocent Catholic

When we think of menaces to the Church or obvious dissenters, who should we think of? Pelosi? Sebelius? Islamic murderers of Christians? Apostate theologians who say Jesus was eaten by wild dogs? Crony capitalists destroying families with unjust wages?

Of course not! No the huge threat we face are the best evangelists of our generation. So Michael Voris sets about the task of ginning up a mob against none other than Fr. Robert Barron as a heretic for his views on hell, just as he recently set about ginning up a mob about those equally dangerous people Karl Keating, Jimmy Akin, Al Kresta their ilk–again providing evidence that Reactionaries are, at bottom, most frightened of evangelists.

Here is what Fr. Barron actually has to say. You will note that what he has to say is basically identical to what Pope Benedict has to say in Spe Salvi. It is, as it is with Benedict, a speculation, not a forecast or a doctrine. Voris, to his credit cannot bring himself to declare Benedict “wrong” but does not hesitate to bring up Barron on heresy charges for his audience. The problem is, Barron is guilty of no heresy, has said nothing “wrong” and is perfectly within the pale of orthodox speculation. No. Really:

Now those, such as Ralph Martin who speculate that few will be saved are also (obviously) also within the pale of orthodoxy and share their opinion with not a few Fathers and theologians. But at the end of the day, that’s all you have: two schools of opinion–both of which are allowed by the Church.

But Voris is certain that somehow Benedict’s and Barron’s speculation is not *really* allowed by the Church and so set about portraying his opinion, not merely as “different but within the pale of orthodoxy” but as “wrong”:

The problem is, as we discuss here at some length, Barron is not “wrong” in his speculations just as Benedict is not wrong. They (and numerous other Catholics) are guilty of no dissent against Church teaching whatsoever. Yet Voris attacks all who share Barron’s opinion as guilty of precisely this.

Reader Joe Grabowski comments:

I would critique and refine Barron’s presentation of this matter in some regards, to be sure – and I am personally a champion of the theory that we can hope that all men may be saved. But it is one alternative of two equally allowable theological positions in an open question, and neither side can claim a slam-dunk victory in this matter because it is simply not definitely settled at this point.

And that’s what makes Voris’s presentation here (par for the course for him) malicious, unfair, ham-fisted, offensive, insulting, and stupid.

The exasperating thing about Voris’ consistent method is that he targets, not heretics or enemies of the Faith, but innocent people, disobedient to no precept of Holy Church, and dissenting from no doctrine of Holy Church, and then maliciously smears them with the suggestion (and in this case the flat declaration), that they are believing, living (and in Barron’s case) teaching error. Whether it’s Barron (as here), or Keating, Akin, Kresta et al (for the “sin” of making a living), or people who receive communion in the hand (who are somehow associated with Priscillianist heresy) or people who happen to like “Amazing Grace” (Protestantism!), Voris’ method is not to defend the Church from heresy, but to accuse innocents of heresy and sic his audience on them. It’s sinful and it should stop.

And before somebody says something stupid like “Why aren’t you taking this to Michael Voris directly?”, remember two things.

1.  I did, when he launched exactly this malicious attack at the Argument of the Month Club and I told him to his face that Fr. Robert Barron is not the enemy and this sort of fratricidal nonsense is purely destructive.

2. Lemme ask you, Gentle Reader, if you are wringing you hands over a public response to a public attack on an innocent man, have you gone to Michael Voris and asked him if he took this smear to Fr. Barron before recklessly launching this video today or whether he took his smears of Keating, Akin, Kresta et al to them to verify that there was, in fact, anything wrong with their personal incomes before broadcasting them to the universe with the suggestion that they are money-grubbing whores and gutless cowards in the pay of the Church of Nice?

This stuff is poison and needs to stop.

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  • The saddest thing about this thread are all the people asking, “If there’s no hell, why be good?” This is exactly what Richard Dawkins recognizes as one of the most pathological things about some religious people: the idea that they’re good not out of love, but merely out of fear. Ugh.

    • HornOrSilk

      Indeed. It is exactly the problem. They prove they don’t want to be good. To be include includes wanting the salvation of all.

      • Matthew Underwood

        I don’t want to b good. That is about as far away from my nature as it gets. The only reason I desire any good at all today is bcuz I gave God a small window of willingness with which to work with, bcuz I feared hell, not bcuz I loved Him. He doesn’t care how you come to Him, He meets you right where you’re at.

        • HornOrSilk

          Well, the thing is to be good, requires you to desire to be good. If you deny the good, and do not desire it, that is what leads to hell.

    • Matthew Underwood

      It starts as fear, it is imperfect contrition, that’s all He needs to work with….then you begin to fall in love. I never would have been capable of love before fear, that requires some kind of thought of someone besides myself. I do not naturally think of others before myself, that is totally the Holy Spirit within me that even makes that a possibility. I definitely started out doing good only outta fear until He began stirring up my heart. You are blessed to not have your story happen that way, to simply love Him…that is beautiful.

      • I very much get that our desire for heaven often begins as fear of hell, but it should never end there. Perfect love casts out fear, as someone once said. A Christian who refuses to try to understand why desire for God must be rooted in love is himself, by his own complacency, risking hell.

        (Edit: BTW, I’m not accusing you, Mr. Underwood, of such complacency. But I do think such complacency exists, and it is ultimately anti-Christ.)

    • $2346491

      I think that the way to think about this is the “rules” and being a good person are ways to live a good life. Yes, if God guarantees everyone Heaven, then you could whore, lie, cheat, and murder your way across the universe. You will also create Hell for yourself here on Earth.

      • Exactly. And the fact that you’ve created a hell for yourself is kind of the point. Which is why, even though heaven and hell are “eternal”, they are in a mysterious sense “about” our lives here on earth now.

    • Dan C

      this goes back to the Ratzinger sermon I post.

  • steve

    Before we believe that the Church has never written on the matter of an empty hell, please read the Catechism 633 and 1034 and check if there’s any conditionality in the language.

    • S7

      You might want to re-read both those sections of the Catechism and what people are *actually* saying.

      Neither provision you cited says anything about how low, or high, a percentage of human souls* will, ultimately, be damned.

      I’ll ask the question again (but doubt I’ll get an answer):

      If it is wrong to speculate about the *possibility* (please note that qualifier, hmm? PLEASE?) of our Lord being entirely successful in alarming erring human souls and inducing them to repentance, faith, and hence salvation…

      Then, praytell, what percentage of success on our Lord’s part, is deemed heresy?

      If 100% success–as a *possibility* (note that! not *certainty*!) is “wrong,” then is 99% wrong? 98% 97%?

      What degree of success may we entertain as *possible* for our Lord’s saving plan? How high is too high?

      * The eternal damnation of the fallen angels is taken for granted; hence, even were every single human being to be saved, the abode of the damned will not be “empty.”

  • Magdalene

    It figures that Shea would attack whatever Voris has to say.
    Did Our Lord really way something like the path is wide and broad that leads to perdition? Does anyone really accept that anymore? They should.

  • Dave Armstrong

    “Looks like Dave Armstrong needs a tongue lashing from Mr Shea as well? Or is it just attack Mr Voris?”

    Over two years ago (in the link to my paper provided), I was confused about a statement that Fr. Barron made about Adam in one of his videos. In a thread that Fr. Barron himself commented on elsewhere, I asked him (just in the last hour) to clarify what he meant. I hope he does, and hold out hope that I have misconstrued his meaning. Here is his statement in question:

    “Adam. Now, don’t read it literally. We’re not talking about a literal
    figure. We’re talking in theological poetry. Adam: the first human being
    . . .”

    [from his video, “Misreading Genesis” (5:52-6:04)]

    If I have misunderstood it, I think it is perfectly understandable how I did, as this is most unfortunate wording. Several people wrote to him at the time, but I never received feedback. There was also some question whether the person responding on one of his sites was him or someone else. The whole thing was left unresolved, but I would be delighted to see it resolved satisfactorily.

    • Dave Armstrong

      I favor Ralph Martin’s position on this particular dispute, btw. I think preaching on the very real possibility of ending up in hell is a great motivator for folks to get on the right track. Jesus apparently thought so, too, since He spoke more about hell than about heaven.

      • HornOrSilk

        It motivates some, but I also believe it hinders others. You forget all of those who, following the heart of Christ for the salvation of all, look to the world and say, “How can a good God allow for most of humanity to perish? Can’t be good and believed,” and so demanding this position actually hinders evangelization with such people. And this should not be a surprise: consider hope is a theological virtue. Faith, hope and love all three would serve as a foundation for proper evangelization. Threats of hellfire, moreover, is not lost in such an approach, for hell remains a possibility and so for those who need that push, it will be used to remind them; but to say most people are damned and we know this is true just discourages many from the faith

        • Dave Armstrong

          It remains true that it was a strong emphasis in Jesus’ own teaching, very unlike what we see today.

          • HornOrSilk

            It is also true the central message of Jonah was the warning of destruction of Nineveh. The destruction didn’t happen. The warning brought salvation. And Jesus said he brought us the sign of Jonah.

            • Dave Armstrong

              So what? That doesn’t disprove that Jesus talked more about hell than heaven: which is common knowledge among Bible commentators.

              But the “sign of Jonah,” in any event, was not Jonah’s preaching, but rather, the fact that he emerged “from the earth”: it was an analogy to Jesus’ Resurrection.

              • HornOrSilk

                It just means that talking about hell, warning people about hell, about destruction, doesn’t lead to the conclusion we can’t hope most will be saved, nor other forms of evangelism are to be rejected and only hellfire talk works.

        • Dave Armstrong

          I don’t go around saying “most people are damned.” I say things like (similar to Pope Francis) “even atheists can possibly be saved.” No one need take my word for that. I have 2,511 posts online for all to see.

          • HornOrSilk

            Ralph Martin goes around saying most will be damned, and you said he is the one you support. So again, if you want to support his position, don’t get upset when someone responds to what Martin wrote and why people don’t support it. There is a great presupposition by many that only hellfire brings people to the faith, but that is far from the truth; again, saying it is a real threat and potential for all of us is fine, but going beyond that and saying we can’t hope all will be saved does limit and prevent many whose hearts are called for such hope to be told “go away.” That isn’t evangelization, that is sending people away.

            • Dave Armstrong

              1. I’m not “upset.”

              2. I never said “only hellfire brings people to the faith.”

              3. Why would you think that the Gospel message would or should be all peaches and cream and “warm fuzzies” for every person who hears it? Obviously, many will be (and have been) offended by it, and they are offended by hell, among many other things. Like this is some huge surprise, and should cause us to change our preaching? Paul told us this is how it would be received by many people.

              • HornOrSilk

                And many more are offended by hell because its teaching is misrepresented, making for such offense, and people like to offend others with hell to feel smug and superior. It’s as Balthasar said, it’s usually hell for others, never a concern about hell for oneself. That is the problem with this preaching of hell.. the preacher rarely thinks it means them

      • cenlacatholic

        Kudos. Not to mention many Saints, Doctors of the Church, and Fathers taught that the majority of Catholics do not go to heaven.

        Defined dogma of the Church:
        “The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.)

        The dogma of extra ecclesiam nulla salus is not too easy for (modern, dare I say modernist) evangelists to give apologia.

        This dogma makes me want to strengthen my faith and strive to become a saint, which I always fall short of… instead of what most limp-wristed liberal-minded people say: that it discourages them and pushes them out of the Church.

      • Gabriel Blanchard

        Jesus spoke more about Hell than Heaven? There is nothing to say about that claim except that it is not true. Our Lord does speak about Hell, yes, but He had a great deal more to say about Heaven — the Kingdom of Heaven, the way to Heaven (Himself), the desire for Heaven in the hearts of the disciples, the present reality of Heaven among them: these things form the constant accent of His teaching. Hell is spoken of, and not infrequently; but to say that He spoke more of Hell than of Heaven is not true, and moreover it is highly dangerous. Yes, contrition of fear can motivate people: but you cannot simply manufacture imperfect contrition of fear by talking about Hell; the human heart, and its responses, are far too complex for any such formula; and preaching about Hell, done unwisely (at the wrong time, in the wrong way, to the wrong person, &c.) is as likely to produce despair or rebellion. Insofar as imitation of the Popes is a good thing, I would also point out that the last several pontiffs, in their manner of engaging those outside the Church, have also most certainly placed their accent upon Heaven. That isn’t to say that we must never talk of Hell, of course, but I think that we have become seriously misguided if, and to the extent that, it becomes our focus.

    • HornOrSilk

      When talking about Genesis, and Adam in Genesis, he is right. It is theological poetry. It’s not literal history. This doesn’t mean there is no first human, no Adam. However, what is said about Adam is said in a style quite different from modern, positivisic thought allows. And this is why there is so much confusion with Genesis.

      Even if you want to believe in a hyper-literal Genesis (which I believe is impossible due to self-contradiction in such an approach) you can do so, however, you must also recognize it is not required by the Church for belief.

      • Dave Armstrong

        The question is not about a hyper-literal Genesis (which I don’t believe), but about acceptance or denial of a “literal figure” of Adam. Denying that would be heretical: especially in regard to its relation to original sin. Caricaturing other positions is not the way to resolve this. I’m not some raving fundamentalist “literalist.” I’m an orthodox Catholic fully familiar with the different literary genres of the Bible.

        I’d be happy to concede that I misunderstood Fr. Barron. All he needs to do is clarify if that is the case.

        • HornOrSilk

          When talking about Genesis and talking about Genesis, it is fine to talk about the Adam myth; saying it that way does not deny a historical figure. The funny thing is you complain about caricature, but all you do is take a brief quote out of context and use it to create a caricature. And it doesn’t take much to see what he is saying –especially when he continues to talk about Adam as a historical figure at the same time.

          • Dave Armstrong

            And who are you? Do I have to talk to a mere nickname or can you reveal yourself as a human being with a name?

            • HornOrSilk

              Nice little attack the messenger; does it matter for the point at hand?

              • Dave Armstrong

                I figured as much. I’ve detested Internet nicknames for 17 years. It’s often used for folks to hide behind. One can find out little or nothing about a person who goes merely by a nickname.

                It has nothing to do with the point at hand: everything to do with my longstanding disdain for Internet anonymity.

                • Or it could be about privacy. There are documented cases of people (especially women) being harassed, threatened, and even harmed offline because of comments they made under their real name online.

        • S7

          I don’t know what Fr. Barron meant. But he might have meant that while he doesn’t deny the historicity of a first set of parents, that doesn’t mean the way the story is told happened just that way. For example: would you be shocked to meet the first parents in heaven, and find out they never called themselves Adam and Eve, but some other set of names?

          That seems to me to be a perfectly orthodox position. But again, I don’t know if that is what Fr. Barron meant.

    • OakesSpalding

      Do you have a link to that thread?

  • PJ

    Unfortunately Voris doesn’t slam Barron hard enough, as Voris himself is still caught in contradictions.

    • chezami

      Dan C: Here, as promised, as a sample of the More Pure Than Purity Catholic who denounces Voris as himself Impure. Pharisees eat their young.

      • Dan C

        Fascinating. The left never descended into this piranha level of self-critique even at its lowest point in the 1980’s. There remained constant bridge- building with affinity groups across causes.

        I think the sociology of the right may lend against that and invest itself in this function?

        This constant friendly fire was not present as much on the left.

        • chezami

          Yep. It’s an open question to me whether the Thing that Used to be Conservatism will be able to save itself from the self-immolation it seems to hunger for. I suspect that when it’s all over the sort of sane conservatism represented by Fr. Barron will still be standing. But you never know how many lunatics are going to pursue a scorched earth “Catholicism” that is narrower than an Appalachian snake handlers cult. I, at any rate, have no idea what the outcome will be. I just know I don’ want to have anything to do with this toxic garbage. My basic rule of thumb is, if you can’t tell that Barron is basically on the side of the angels and seriously believe that anybody advancing this spiritual McCarthyism is (or should be) the future and hope of the Church, please leave my comboxes and never return till you repent your stone blindness.

  • Carl

    UnamSanctamCatholicam has a great article at his website about all of this. No polemics, just evidence to show that having good hope in an empty hell is not a possible Catholic position.


    • HornOrSilk

      Was posted earlier, and it is not a good article. Balthasar doesn’t even suggest an empty hell, so to talk about his “empty hell” theory is enough to show the article isn’t great, and it is indeed, polemics.

    • S7

      Who is saying hell will be empty? The fallen angels will be there.

      No matter how many human beings ultimately are saved, even if all are, hell won’t be empty.

      I’ll ask you. If it is impermissible even to allow for the *possibility* that our Savior, Jesus Christ, will succeed in converting and saving all human beings, then what number–what percentage or share–of the total of humanity is it permissible to suppose the Savior *might* succeed in saving?

      When you declare that 100% is too high a number even to consider as *possible* (get that? Not “certain” but possible), then what is the number.

      See, I need to know, because you insist at some number that’s too high, that’s “wrong.” I don’t want to be wrong. So what number is the threshold at which I would be wrong?

      I need to know. We all do.

      • carl

        Well I think the scriptural and magisterial citations in the article are rather clearly talking about humans in Hell, not angels in Hell. As for your question, I don’t understand why you think I should have an opinion on the number. Just because I do not think we can have good hope that there are no humans in Hell does not mean I have some number in mind. Scripture does not offer us a number; however, it does seem to rather clearly to say there is some number.

        • S7

          So, on Good Friday, we clearly are praying for *all* people, eventually including non Catholics, non Christians, Jews, and atheists. If we already know that *all* cannot be saved, why isn’t it wrong to pray for something that — according to you — is a matter of faith that won’t happen?

          Why pray for ALL to be saved, when — according to you — that’s not possible?

          • carl

            Well I never said it was a matter of faith. In fact, I would certainly not say that. I think it logically flows from the faith, but of course, one need not believe that in order to have the faith. We ought to pray that all would be saved because we ought to desire all to be saved, and we know that there is no one outside of God’s love. That does not mean we should expect God to save all of humanity. I don’t see the contradiction here. The Church has always prayed for the salvation of the whole world, while at the same time, the saints have always understood that there would be human souls in Hell. You seem to be making an argument that my position is irrational. If that is the case, then the general thought of the Church has always been irrational (aside from Origen) until the mid twentieth century. If the whole tradition is wrong on this issue, pointing to the Good Friday liturgy is hardly a substantial enough argument. Wouldn’t it be shocking if the whole tradition could be overturned by someone noticing our Good Friday prayers?

            Here’s a similar example. We pray for peace on earth. Now, because humans are sinful and fallen, there will never be peace on earth. That does not mean we stop praying for peace. But we don’t expect perfect peace to arrive.

            • S7

              Well, my point has always been that salvation for all humans is *possible.* You seem to argue that it is IMpossible. Those two positions are logically contradictory. Right? Either it’s possible for everyone to repent and believe–or it’s not.

              If it’s IMpossible–which is what I take you to mean–then praying for the IMpossible seems to be an odd thing to do. We don’t pray for the salvation of lost angels–because we believe it’s IMpossible for them to be saved. We never pray for damned souls in hell–because anyone who *is* in hell, cannot be saved.

              So–if as you say, it is IMpossible for all humans to be saved, why do we pray for that?

              On the other hand, if you allow for the *possibility* that all human souls can be saved, then you and I are in agreement. That’s ALL I’ve been making the case for.

      • carl

        Also, posing the question in terms of how much “success” we allow Christ to have in our position is I think a bit of a red herring. You’re using this language I think to imply that we are assuming Christ will fail to some extent. Yet, if someone does not go to Heaven, neither you nor I would call that a failing of Christ.

        • S7

          It is, if you insist–as it seems you do–that it is wrong to hope for everyone’s salvation.

          • carl

            I do not say it is wrong to hope for everyone’s (i.e. everyone individually) salvation. But that’s a different issue. And let’s replay your implicit argument.

            1. To say that not everyone goes to Heaven is to limit God’s success.
            2. We ought not to limit God’s success.
            3. Therefore, we cannot say that not everyone goes to Heaven.

            I contest the first premise. That assumes God’s success is measured by the number of people going to Heaven. I assume we would both deny that. God perfectly succeeds, regardless of how many people go to Heaven. God’s success has nothing to do with the number in Heaven or Hell. I say God perfectly succeeds in His will, and God has revealed what his success looks like in scripture. But this is very unusual for me to be posting blog comments, so I think this is it for me. God bless!

            • S7

              Again, I am arguing for possibility. It’s *possible* for all human souls to be saved, because it’s *possible* for them to repent and believe.

              I’ve never argued everyone WILL be saved. That no one but God knows.

              If you allow for the *possibility* of all human souls to repent and believe, then you have no quarrel with me.

      • Matthew Underwood

        100% is too high a possibility…the son of perdition will b there.

        • Gabriel Blanchard

          We don’t know even that. It is no article of the Catholic faith that any particular human being will be damned — not least, perhaps, because it is none of our business. That Judas was damned is a reasonable and widespread conjecture and always has been; but we do not *know.*

          • Matthew Underwood

            Jesus never said anything about Judas, that is a popular Catholic belief …and it is none of our business, everyone’s judgement and their heart, not our business, except for the false prophet. Jesus decided to make it our business for whatever reason, thru John when he said he’d b thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone and he will b tormented day and night forever and ever. (Rev. 19:20 & 20:10) There were umpteen billion (yes that’s an official #, 🙂 pronouncements the Church never made until heresy cropped up and they had to announce to the people something the people always believed (until they didn’t) to get the people back on track again. The Church has officially declared that those who die in a certain state will be in hell, even if She cannot make a judgement on who and She never will. Jesus speaks more about hell than heaven, I would think people would take that more serious and have a holy fear rather than dismissing it with an unreasonable hope that no one is there. It is God’s gift of free will, I believe we choose it, that He does not send us, but we send ourselves to hell. Some will choose to not love Him. Those who are loved by God but cannot return that love would be in hell. A place, a state of being, whatever it is. This is my belief, but it comes from the MANY statements made by Popes thru the centuries. They all seem to say pretty much the same thing. There is a hell and someone is there. And even tho we don’t have to believe in private revelation, nearly all practicing Catholics believe the Fatima children really spoke with Mary and went down into hell w her and saw the people there. You can believe no one is in hell and still be a Catholic in good standing, but you can also take the Church’s gathered understanding on the matter. Mary was always considered sin free and assumed into heaven. Always. But it wasn’t doctrine, official until recently. But try telling any Catholic it wasn’t true in the 400’s, 1200’s, 1800’s. Try saying Mary was a sinful person to anyone then and you probably woulda got the sign of the cross, murmuring and walking away in disgust (or worse). Try saying to those same people that the Son of Perdition doesn’t go to hell, he gets a free pass in the end even tho John said it wasn’t so.

            Jesus often speaks of “Gehenna” of “the unquenchable fire” reserved for those (implying there are some) who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost. Jesus solemnly proclaims that he “will send his angels, and they will gather. . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire”, and that he will pronounce the condemnation: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!”

            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.

      • Is Our Lord only successful if all are saved?

        • S7

          No. But I think my context was clear. But since you are unclear, I meant, successful in saving human beings.

          I have asked umptiump times, is it *possible* for Christ to save 100% of the human race.

          Several here insist that it is NOT possible–and anyone who says so, is presenting false, perhaps heretical, teaching.

          So…that means the line between correct teaching, and heretical teaching, is some X% of human souls being saved.

          So…I ask again: what is that number? I have no desire to be a heretic.

          Those who insist that believing it possible Christ might end up saving 100% is heresy, then I need to know what number is NOT heretical.

          If you’re going to tell people they are in error, isn’t it your job to tell them how to avoid it?

          Still waiting for an answer…my soul might be at stake! Y’all seem awfully languorous about answering!

          • It would be possible for Christ to save all if He chose to do so. Since He Himself tells us that all are not saved, however, it is not possible that all are saved. Hope this helps.

            • chezami

              He doesn’t tell us this. That’s the nub of the argument. Begging the question is not the same as winning the argument.

              • If the standard is that we don’t know what Christ was saying then virtually any argument based on taking His words at their face value can be called question-begging. “And yet the words of Christ are unequivocal. In Matthew’s Gospel he
                speaks clearly of those who will go to eternal punishment (cf. Matthew
                25:46)” (Pope John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope). We know from v. 41 that it is not just the devil and his angels, since Christ speaks of others going there as well. Really, unless Christ is a liar or not omniscient (neither of which is possible … the latter was in fact condemned by Pope St. Gregory I), then there are at least some that are going to hell.

                Voris might be completely wrong in the way he explains this. And he might be uncharitable in his assessment of Fr. Barron. I don’t know, I don’t watch his videos (or those of Fr. Barron). But to the extent that Voris says that no, we can’t hope for the salvation of all men, and Fr. Barron says that yes, we can, Voris is right and Fr. Barron is in error.

                I would add in closing that in attributing the opinion of von Balthasar and Fr. Barron to Pope Benedict XVI you are engaging in a bit of question-begging yourself.

                • chezami

                  Translation: Jesus obvious means what I say he means, therefore to disagree with me is to call Jesus a liar. More question begging. Same trick played by Universalists with *their* favorite Dominical utterances “proving* their pet dogmas. Protestants love proof texting.

                  • Do you have an actual argument apart from referring to those who disagree with you as Protestants and accusing them of question-begging? But no, I am not saying that Our Lord means what I say He means; like Bl. John Paul II I am simply pointing out that His words are unequivocal. Note that the late Pope doesn’t say that His words *seem* unequivocal but that they *are* unequivocal. Christ doesn’t *seem* to be speaking of people going to hell; He *is* speaking of people going to hell. And He knows what will happen at the general judgment … He is not, as in Matthew 24:36, giving the impression that He doesn’t know (interestingly it is in writing on this passage that St. Gregory I condemns the idea of an ignorant Christ — “Who, therefore, is so stupid as to say
                    that the Son has received in His hands that of which He is unaware?”).

                    • chezami

                      Yes. You are begging the question and proof texting, just like universalists do with their fave rave biblical quotes. The interesting thing for me is not “Who’s right” (a question unanswerable without direct revelation from God) but “Why is is so important to some people that as few people as possible be saved?”

                    • Come now, I’ve offered a reasoned argument above, based on Bl. John Paul II and Pope St. Gregory the Great. Accept it or reject it — that’s your prerogative. But I am not proof-texting (any more than John Paul II is … I am using the very same text that he is) and I am not begging the question.

                      And please, let’s stop with the “few people as possible be saved” straw man … I don’t think I’ve said anything about the fewness of the saved in this thread, except to note that it isn’t all. Maybe you might attack St. Augustine or St. John Chrysostom with your straw man.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      Taking one text of Pope John Paul II and ignoring other texts where he suggests the hope that all might be saved is indeed proof-texting, and is a classical form of it.

                      “Eternal damnation remains a possibility, but we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of whether or which human beings are effectively involved in it.” (General Audience — July 28, 1999)

                      Even your quote from JPII’s Crossing the Threshold of Hope is incomplete. If you continue, “Who will these be? The Church has never made any pronouncement in this regard. This is a mystery, truly inscrutable, which embraces the holiness of God and the conscience of man. The silence of the Church is, therefore, the only appropriate position for Christian faith.”

                      Pope John Paul II said we are to be silent on this, and makes it clear, afterward, even Judas is not certain for perdition. So again, what happens is you want to take a proof text out of context, where JPII is acknowledging the problem of hell, saying the Church doesn’t know anyone in it, says we are to be silent about placing anyone in it. And that is what Balthasar also says, imagine that!

                      Interestingly enough, I think this sede site has done a lot to show Pope JPII’s hope, though often taking texts out of context as well, making his words as if all will be saved, instead of pointing out the universal work and hope of the Church: http://www.romancatholicism.org/jpii-quotes.htm This again shows what is wrong with proof texts, since this is trying to trap the Pope as a heretic, ignoring meaning and context of the whole writings and thought of JPII. As did your small quote.

                      This is why Mark said it is proof-texting. It is.

                    • Now who’s proof-texting? Who says that the Pope means what you think he means in his general audience? I tend to think that he would not contradict himself, nor contradict prior Church teaching on the subject.

                      As for your other objection, I’ve not said that we need to know who is in hell in order to know that some go to hell. The Pope says that the Church is silent on who is in hell, which is generally true.

            • S7

              Hahaha! Very clever, but not clever enough.

              You are assuming that which is being debated. Is it in fact true that Christ has told us that not all are saved?

              I dispute it.

              There is pretty good evidence that our Savior would like to save all. Why wouldn’t he?

              Seriously: why would Christ not want to save everyone?

              You’ll skip over that question, I predict. But that is the question, I think.

              Why wouldn’t Christ want to save all?

              • Christ does want all men to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth (1 Tim). But there are nevertheless those who are not saved (Matt 25:41ff). It’s a great mystery — one which won’t be solved in this comments thread.

          • John

            I think I can answer for most of those who hold that some men are not saved that when they say “some” they mean any number less than all. Taken strictly the claim is that at least one human being (without needing to speculate as to who that is) is or will be damned. In percentages, that means that any claim that up to and including 99.9999etc.% will be saved is permissible.

            Of course among those who hold this position in the some vs. none debate, there will be another debate over many vs. few, wherein many will go on to argue that the maximum number which it is permissible to assert are saved without falling afoul of our blessed Lord’s words is actually 49.99999etc.%

            Does this help clear it up? Of course if there are defender’s of Voris’s position out there whose views I have not accurately reflected, my apologies.

            Oh, and asking how many it would be possible for Christ to save is a complete red herring. Of course Christ has the power to save all. But the question under discussion is about how many will actually be saved in this present dispensation. Not how many could possibly be saved in another dispensation.

            • S7

              Thanks! Someone–after several days!–finally someone engaging with what I’m actually saying.

              Maybe it’s frustrating to others that I refuse to advocate what they’d like to refute (i.e., “universalism” or an “empty hell” or “there is no hell”–I endorse none of those propositions); but I have only been arguing for a relatively narrow proposal: that there is no limit on what Christ *can* do in terms of saving humanity. Ergo, it is not wrong to hope for, or to pray for, this outcome. And, if I understood you rightly, you agree; as do some of the folks here who have been so furious in their responses to my comments. They actually agree with me, but don’t realize it.

              No, it’s not a red herring; because the position many here are taking–whether they realize it or not–is that it is IMpossible for Christ to save all.

              They don’t intend to take that position; but when they argue against my position–and I think it’s Father Barron’s too–that salvation for all humans is *possible,* they are stuck with an untenable position. That’s what I was trying to highlight.

              There’s no inconsistency in (a) giving vivid, repeated, dire warnings against the peril of hell (as our Lord does so frequently in Scripture) and (b) in a future scenario in which hell is denied most (perhaps all) the humans who were–but for the dire warnings–headed straight there. It seems so obvious: you have to “preach hell” to get people to heaven.

              It fascinates me that people get so upset. So upset. It reminds me of the prophet Jonah. Seriously, all these folks on this thread who insist hell is going to be choked with people–what will their reaction be if they are wrong?

              Hell may, indeed, be choked with people. But I hope not. I hope and pray for it to have the fewest possible human souls.

              Because I hope for that, and say that out loud, folks get extremely upset! That fascinates me.

              In any case, Mr. Voris and many others assert that my hope is “wrong”–and there is at least some implication that it’s heretical.

              But the question under discussion is about how many will actually be saved in this present dispensation. Not how many could possibly be saved in another dispensation.

              Actually, the question under discussion was whether hoping for every human being to be saved was a permissible Catholic position–all I did was recast that question.

              If you are intending to restate the question as disallowing the possibility of all humans being saved, that is a logical fallacy, IIRC, known as “begging the question.”

              In any case, anyone who claims to know for certain that anyone won’t be saved…then I will keep asking how they know that.

              • HornOrSilk

                They even forget, when talking about salvation, Jesus said:

                But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

                It is not saying all will be saved, but the possibility is there. And people might want to say “probability is low.” Fine. That is a different question. But the possibility and hope must be there.

                1058 The Church prays that no one should be
                lost: “Lord, let me never be parted from you.” If it is true that no one can save himself, it is also true that God “desires all men to be saved” (1 Tim 2:4), and that for him “all things are possible” (Mt 19:26).

              • John

                Perhaps you and I were just discussing different questions and so misunderstood one another to a certain extent. So let’s be clear: If I understand your argument rightly, it seems to be this:

                1. Christ is able to save all men.
                2. Therefore all men are able to be saved.
                3. If all men are able to be saved, then all men might be saved.
                4. If all men might be saved, then it is not only reasonable but indeed charitable to hope that all men will be saved.

                Is that correct?

                • S7

                  That looks pretty good to me! Well done!

                  I would add:

                  5. None of this means all men *will* be saved. That is unknown.

                  6. Getting saved is *hard*–Christ died a horrible death. It’s impossible for us, and it may depend on lots more that’s hard that we don’t consider.

                  7. That said, it’s all about grace–God’s desire and God’s action–but also human freedom. And no one can explain how those two things interact–just that they do.

                  • John

                    OK, thanks. Now the point that I wanted to make is that those who agree with Voris’s position mostly disagree with #3 of the steps outlined above, not with #1, which is where your attention has seemed to be mostly directed.

                    I expect that pretty much everyone here agrees that God is able to save all men as far as his own power is concerned. But not everyone agrees that the conclusion that all men might actually be saved can validly be drawn from it. So the discussion is really over #3: “If all men are able to be saved, then all men might [actually] be saved.”

                    And the reason why many people dispute that third point is on account of God’s foreknowledge and/or predestination. For example, you could say “Socrates is able to be sitting, therefore he might actually be sitting,” and that would be a valid inference.

                    But if you see him standing, while it would still be true to say that he is able to be sitting, yet you could not still conclude that he might actually be sitting. And yet the denial of the conclusion that he might actually be sitting does not imply any insufficiency in his ability to sit.

                    To apply the analogy, if God knows that some men will not be saved, and if he has revealed that to us – and I don’t want to presuppose this; it is a point being disputed here in its own right – but *if* God revealed this, then we would be able to say that some men are not saved without implying that Christ was not able to save them.

                    Just as there is no contradiction between saying that it is both *possible* that I could be standing up right now so far as my motive powers are concerned and *impossible* insofar as I know that I am not, so there is no contradiction between saying that it is *possible* for God to save all men so far as his power is concerned, but *impossible* insofar as he has revealed that not all will be.

                    Again, I am not asserting here that some will be damned, but just making the argument that there is no real contradiction involved in the two assertions, and so one cannot validly conclude that the truth of one implies the falsity of the other. Which is what your argument seemed to be doing. From the truth of the proposition “God is able to save all men” I don’t think we can conclude that it would be false to say “It is impossible that all will actually be saved.” They sound contradictory, but only because the same word (possibility) is taken with reference to two different things. It’s an equivocation.

                    All of which is to say that I think the center of the dispute should really be whether or not God has revealed that some will not be saved.

                    All the best.

                    • S7

                      Very nicely stated, thanks for taking the time to lay that out.

                      And, on first blush, I’d say I have to agree with you, both in how you resolve the apparent contradiction, and in your final point: “the center of the dispute should really be whether or not God has revealed that some will not be saved.”

                      That is, indeed, where so much of the question ends up.

                      Again, thanks for the care with which you laid out your argument. Well done!

                    • John

                      Thanks, it’s been a pleasure to discuss this so amicably.

  • There are some PERSONAL meanderings and speculations and ponderings that theologians should just keep to themselves or, otherwise, utterly fail those who hear them. Point Blank! It is not the job of the faithful Catholic theologian to lead people away via their uncircumcised hopes or wonder.

    • HornOrSilk

      This hope is a Catholic hope in the catechism and our prayers.

    • Headstand

      I have no doubt that Wahhab or Salaf theologians of radical Islam would agree with you.

  • Baptismal Vows

    Hey Mark,
    Fr. Barron is a big boy, I think he can take Voris’ criticisms or “attacks” as you put it. My concern is that your approach (in condemning Voris’ views) seems to be at the same level you accuse Voris of taking.
    I myself enjoy Voris’ opinion on his matter. I also enjoy yours and Barron’s opinion on the matter of hell. It is an opportunity to learn and grow in faith. I personally am not offended by each approach.

    • Headstand

      Is the big concern here Fr. Barron being offended by Voris? No, the big concern is that Voris idolizers who have freely sacrificed their reason over to their leader now accept as dogma that Fr. Barron is a heretic.

      • Baptismal Vows

        I think there is an implication on Mark’s part that Barron is being offended or disrespected, by the way my OP never insinuated that Barron was being “offended”. I said I wasn’t personally offended. I also said that I think Fr. Barron can take criticisms.

        Sounds like you are making questionable assumptions on Voris followers as being “idolizers” and sacrificing “reason”. I disagree with you opinion here. My opinion is that Voris makes very reasonable arguments.

        • Headstand

          Being a member of the church of nice, please accept my deepest apologies and repentance, how can you possibly forgive my rejection of the oh so very reasonable dogmas of Voris? What a pack of deeply conflicted and diabolically confused hypocrites.

          • Therese

            I find your tone and attitude as insulting and condescending as you appear to view Voris.

      • wyllow

        I watch Voris. I follow Jesus. I think for myself. Thank you for speaking for me. I’ll let you know next time I’m in need of that service.

        • Headstand

          I would like to thank you for highlighting one of the very great problems I see within our Church today, that of concern only for ones own private opinion. While dismissing me, you manage to reference yourself no less than seven times in only two comments.

  • SteveD

    As as said to Fr. Barron, Our Lady of Fatima made it abundantly clear that people (and many) go to hell. Fr. Barron says that the Church’s teaching supersedes Fatima which is correct but Church teaching does not exclude what Our Lady said however what Our Lady said does exclude Fr. Barron’s very generous and personal interpretation of Church teaching.

    • $2346491

      Fatima is a private revelation misinterpreted by traditionalists.

      • Headstand

        What’s truly interesting is that many traditionalists deny that the third secret of Fatima has been revealed, yet they use this very same ‘unrevealed’ secret to win arguments. Just hypocrites or self revealed gnostics?

        • hfjj

          This comment has no relationship to reality. Some traditionalists say that we have not received the full text of the third secret. Sometimes, these same traditionalists use the part of the text we have received to make arguments, which makes sense since they don’t doubt the validity of what we have received (although I assume some people somewhere might). Moreover, Our Lady’s revelation that some go to Hell is not even part of the third secret, so it is not even relevant anyways. So, no reason to throw accusations of hypocrisy or gnosticism for no reason.

          • Headstand

            Based on Bp Fellay’s latest screed in Kansas City I can’t rule out gnosticism, but for the time being in the interest of unity, I’ll settle for just hypocrites and I repent of having so imprudently overstepped my bounds as a member of the church of nice.

        • $2346491

          It is really creepy.

    • Mike Gannome

      Fatima messages are a private revelation and Catholics are under no obligation whatsoever to believe it.

      • hfjj

        If Fatima is true, Catholics in one sense are under obligation to believe it as they are under obligation to seek the truth. When Mary appears on earth, performs a miracle in front of 80k people, and describes the course of the twentieth century, we all OUGHT to heed her! Of course, Catholics are not obliged in the sense that it is possible to have Faith without believing it; i.e., denying it is not a heresy. But that does not mean that Catholics are not obliged to seek the truth and submit to Our Lady as they are everywhere else. Private revelation does not mean optional (as in, take it or leave it, whatever you like); it just means that to deny it is not the sin of heresy.

        • HornOrSilk

          Of course the interpretation of locutions are always not so literal and yet those who say look to fatima think so.

        • Mike Gannome

          Wrong. The Church merely says it’s “worthy of belief,” but never says a private revelation is absolutely true like public revelation. Infallibilty does not apply here. It adds nothing to the deposit of faith or Scripture. It IS optional to believe it. You need to do some research. Google “private revelation Catholic Church.”

          • hfjj

            You need to re-read what I wrote. One can deny Fatima and retain the Faith, because it is not part of Revelation, not infallibly defined by the Magisterium (nor could it be). But that does not mean it’s optional in the sense that it is often suggested to be. As Catholics, we should seek to find and submit to Our Lady. Here’s another example to show what I mean. Receiving the Eucharist is only required once a year. Receiving any more is OPTIONAL. Of course, then it is the person’s choice and not a sin if they chose to receive the Eucharist only once a year even if they are always in a state of grace. But, it is a much, much, much better thing for that person for receive every day! To say it is “optional” is just to say it is not heresy or sin.

            • HornOrSilk

              There you go making locutions more than they are for Catholic teaching. “We must submit to our Lady” is not the same thing as accepting apparitions or locutions, nor the interpretation that people give to them. The Protestant method of Scriptural interpretation is even worse when it is for locutions.

            • Mike Gannome

              We can “submit” and honor Our Lady perfectly well without believing she appeared to certain people. The Fatima message is essentially to pray for others and repent, which is no different than Scripture and the Church exhorts us to do. Your analogy is poor and useless in this case. One can pray the Rosary every day and honor Our Lady perfectly well just like the Catholics and saints did before 1917.

    • Imrahil

      Again: “many” is not a quantification.

  • Mike Gannome

    Nobody knows but God. St. Padre Pio said he believed that not a great number of people go to Hell. Funny how some people seem offended and angered by the possibility that more people could go to Heaven than Hell. I guess they love to fancy themselves part of the “chosen few.”

    • pete salveinini

      We will be able to see better after the Warning and Great Miracle which the whole world will go through and be able to see by how many will convert to God and amend their ways. It seems from credible from all the clues we have that nowadays most will go to Purgatory, very few (proportionately) go straight to heaven and a multitude go to Hell. I reckon this multitude could be as large as 1/3rd. Take 9-11: many turned to God, but that only lasted about 3 months. Are we a more God-centered people here now after that? What will it take. Well, we know, kinda, don’t we? Bigger and badder to wake up.

  • Balin

    I’ve been reading this discussion with great interest and I have a thought that goes a little something like this: Is it possible, given that billions and billions of people will have lived and died from the beginning till the end of time, that the damned will be numerically many and yet also be statistically insignificant and thus also be few. A bit of and/both. Just a thought. Or maybe it goes a bit like this: If even one person were to be damned that would be one too many. There’s that word “many” again. I don’t know. I would think that one would be too many but what do I know.

  • jose

    Ralph Martin does not advocate hellfire or that hell is densely populated. He has a cordial rebuttal to Fr. Barron whom he admires here


    • chezami

      Yep. Martin and Barron handled their disagreement like gentlemen.

      • Like when Fr. Barron compared Martin to the liberals who dissented from Humanae Vitae?

    • HornOrSilk

      His book constantly suggested the majority of humanity would be damned, and he took Augustine and others as the foundation for this. He might want to say “it’s not necessary,” which is good, but then that begins to undermine the authorities he uses and puts him slowly on the Balthasar side

  • Katalina

    Mark I am afraid I have to agree with you on this one. Not just on this man but also a well known blogger LV over at CNA and even Gloria TV. These people claim they are faithful Catholics but what they really are is called Integral Catholics a heresy that started in the 19th Century and was condemned not only by St Pius X but also Benedict XV. And even Pius XI. I know because I used to go to one of their churches and read their papers. They are most uncharitable and love to call names and judge others publicly. They are as bad if not worse than the Modernists because they hide behind the cloak of virtue and piety quoting Bishop Sheen who accepted Vatican II.

  • Napoleon Baleine

    This is a horrible article you have written, and utterly hypocritical.

    • Headstand

      What are you implying? Does this mean Shea has excommunicated himself from the church of nice? Is this your way of saying he’s now an official member of the church of vortex?

  • Strii

    I prefer Voris’ call-a-spade-a-spade method.

    • freddy

      Except that in this case Mr. Voris is accusing a priest in good standing of holding and teaching error, when he is, in fact, not holding or teaching error. Which is less like “calling-a-spade-a-spade” and more like calling a sonic screwdriver a toothpick. Or as we Catholics say, “lying.”

  • In the end… The point here is, Voris needs to stop “Looking Down” on all who oppose his views and refocus his gaze on the Face of our Lord

  • Sean

    Mark Shea is poison. He puts words into Michael Voris’ mouth to twist the truth. Michael never called Father Baron a heretic.

    • freddy

      So Michael Voris (a layman) can publicly accuse Fr. Barron (a priest) of believing and teaching error, when, in fact, Fr. Barron is holding a position allowed by the Church; in effect, Michal Voris can lie, and that’s okay with you. But since Mark Shea uses the word “heretic” and Michael Voris doesn’t (and you might want to look that word up), Mark’s the one who’s poison.
      You’ve got to be kidding me. You sound like the Jehovah’s Witnesses who don’t believe that God is Trinity because the word “trinity” doesn’t appear in the bible.

      • hfjj

        Just because a position is “allowed by the Church” doesn’t mean it’s true or that it isn’t a dangerous position. The Church allows us to hold errors. That doesn’t mean we ought to hold errors. Sometimes, certain errors are not condemned by the Church but are very dangerous. For example, to put poverty on the same level as abortion (and no, I’m not talking about our pope) I would say is a very dangerous error and would lead to other errors. Nevertheless, the Church has not and I don’t think could speak infallibly on this issue. Nevertheless, it is a very important issue. Or think about the early councils. We were “allowed” to think that Jesus had only one will until it was defined at a council. It was error before it was defined and heresy after. But this did not stop some intense polemics going on before even the definitions. For Michael Voris, this issue is a dangerous error. He may or may not be correct, but one cannot simply say the Church “allows” many positions and close the case.

        • chezami

          Your problem, of course, is that the Magisterium *has* offered and (admitted fallible) speculation in Spe Salvi: it’ the same speculation Barron offers. If anybody is coming down on the side of dangerous opinion, it is therefore Voris: the one ready to condemn Barron (and therefore Benedict) as “teaching error”.

          • It is not the same speculation: “great majority” is not the same as “all”.

        • freddy

          “For Michael Voris, this issue is a dangerous error.”
          But Michael Voris is not part of the teaching authority of the church. He takes one phrase from one of Fr. Barron’s talks and stitches to it a whole cloth of condemnation.
          Mr. Voris begins his talk by reminding listeners that this is where “lies and falsehoods are trapped and exposed” implying that Fr. Barron is guilty of *lying* not just differing in opinion.
          Mr. Voris links Fr. Barron with a mysterious “Church of Nice,” which is apparently a bad, non-Catholic thing.
          Mr. Voris flat out says that Fr. Barron is “wrong.”
          Mr. Voris cherry-picks from scripture and private revelation, ignoring scriptures that present an alternate view.
          Mr. Voris accuses Fr. Barron of “sophisticated sounding doublespeak and wordplay.”
          And finally, Mr. Voris isn’t addressing Fr. Barron in an attempt at fraternal correctioin or philosophical debate; he’s talking to loyal followers in a sort of “look at that bad guy over there, aren’t we glad we’re not like him” sort of way. Not at all a “warning” of a “dangerous theological opinion;” a witchhunt.

      • John Sobieski

        What’s utter poison is the teaching that we have a reasonable hope that everyone goes to Heaven.

        • HornOrSilk

          So the theological virtue of hope is poison? Jesus, who wills all to be saved, wills something poisonous? Seriously, the poison is those who want hell. Remember, judge not less you get that judgment yourself. I would want hell for no one!

          • freddy

            Thank you. What you said!
            Also, to John Sobieski: be very careful here. If Holy Mother Church allows for varying ideas on “who will be saved” do you really want to put yourself outside her thought by rejecting and calling “poison” a valid speculation? It is one thing to offer differing opinions where the Church allows a differing of opinions; even to say, for example, “I think X is wrong and here’s why.” It is quite another to scream ERROR! when the Church has not herself given a formal definition supporting one side or another.

            • HornOrSilk

              It is how heresies come about; over-emphasis on one thing. Jansenism is alive and well, I am afraid, with these hellmongers.

  • I’ll stick with Jesus Christ. His words are eternal truth!

    “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matt. 7:13-14

    • HornOrSilk

      You know that is not how Scripture and Jesus’ words work. You know anyone can take texts out of context from Scripture and say “I will just believe the Bible.” No verse is of private interpretation, and the Church doesn’t accord this verse as saying anything about how many or few will be i hell, if any.

      I mean, should I just quote the Scripture which says women will be saved by childbirth and make that a new soteriology?

      • Not quite my interpretation alone. It is the Sacred Tradition of Holy Mother Church that gives it. One section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the writings of the saints, Fathers of the Church, and many other sources, demonstrate this Catholic teaching.

        “The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”618

        Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where “men will weep and gnash their teeth.”619” (CCC 1036)

        • HornOrSilk

          You are still doing picking and choosing with your interpretations, because you are ignoring the catechism and Popes and Fathers and Saints when they discuss the hope that all might be saved. Again, no one says hell is not a possibility; however, when dealing with the question of whether or not anyone will end up in hell, the Church is clear: it is possible that all might be saved. There are Fathers like St Gregory of Nyssa who promoted apokatastasis. Again, you are playing quick and loose, and acting like only one thing is found. And the private opinions of saints, even when valuable, still doesn’t equal “the Church’s teaching.” It can show a possible view to hold, yes, but does not again accord with “the one teaching of the Church” especially since the Fathers and Saints DO NOT all hold the same view with each other on this.

          I think you know you are doing poor exegetics and ignoring everything which runs contrary to your thesis. Again, it is one thing to hold it, and say it can be held. What is wrong is saying “this is THE teaching.” It isn’t. There is no “the” teaching here. There are many possible teachings which the Church allows us to hold. So point to all of them and not ignore those which are inconvenient and do everyone some good. That is how proper engagement with theological tradition works.

        • chezami

          Neither Barron nor (ahem) Pope Benedict deny a word of this.

      • So Our Lord says that “many” will enter the wide gate of destruction, but that says nothing about whether anyone will go to hell? “Many” might be one out of 100 to the good shepherd (and “few” 99 out of 100) but it won’t be zero.

        • HornOrSilk

          That is still interpreting the end which he doesn’t give. Everyone who sins has entered the wide gate. But doesn’t mean we will end there. Thank God for grace and the work of Jesus!

          • But He does give the end: “How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!” Again, “few” may be hyperbolic — but it doesn’t mean “all”. Hell exists and some will go there.

            • HornOrSilk

              Few find it, but God goes looking for them in Jesus. You keep forgetting the work of Christ which turns salvation away from the pure Pelagian hope of heaven due to our work alone. We must cooperate with grace, but again, it isn’t just something we must find, it finds us.

              It’s like Jesus talking about how difficult it is for the rich man to find salvation: with God ALL THINGS are possible.

              • It’s ironic that you bring up Pelagianism because your interpretation is Semipelagian. ALL who find the narrow gate do so because of grace — no one finds it on his own. Those few who find the way that leads to life are those whom God looks for in Jesus.

                • HornOrSilk

                  Nothing I have said is Pelagian. I am the one who promotes grace, you ignored it. We are not Calvinists who think the narrow gate (if you mean salvation) is offered to only a few. You still fail to understand and misrepresent, which is quite common with people responding in agreement with Voris. So much is lost. Again, remember, with God all things are possible — this is what YOU deny.

                  • I’m not “in agreement with Voris” (I haven’t watched this video or any other video of his) except to the extent that he points out that to hope for the salvation of all men is an error. And I did not say that you said anything Pelagian, instead I pointed out that what you wrote was Semipelagian.

                    I don’t see that you’ve promoted grace. What you’ve done is promote cooperation with grace, as if such cooperation could be accomplished without grace.

    • chezami

      Neither Barron nor Pope Benedict deny a word of this.

      • HornOrSilk

        Of course not. However, he is trying to use it as a proof text that many will enter the wide gate and be damned. Of course, it is true, but not in the way implied. All mortal sin is the wide gate. Few avoid mortal sin in life. But thankfully Jesus is the good shepherd who looks for the lost sheep!

      • John Sobieski

        Of course they don’t. That’s what’s so insidious about von Balthasar’s teaching. I can just see you all, standing next to Our Lord, after he frightens people by telling them that many are called but few are chosen, reassuring people that he doesn’t really mean what he says.

        • HornOrSilk

          And that’s what’s so wrong with people like you who talk about Balthasar’s thought while not actually knowing it. Balthasar, Benedict and Barron all agree with the hope being a fine thing. Balthasar warns people to be concerned about hell all the time. The hope and warning are not contradictory statements. Nor does Balthasar ever say there is an empty hell. Anyone who thinks he does hasn’t read his works.

          And what is really bad are people taking the Bible in a Protestant fundamentalist way thinking, “It says what it means, nothing is unclear from a simple reading” thinking their ways of engaging the text is as it is meant to be taken. Jesus made it clear, Scripture makes it clear, this is not the case.

    • S7

      It’s discouraging to see a priest seem so unfamiliar with exegesis of Scripture.

  • Richard Bohler

    No, it is NOT poison, and it needs to be discussed. Far too many think Hell is out of the question for them, and our priests aren’t warning them that it takes only one unrepented mortal sin to go there. Hell is for keeps. Take it seriously.

  • Youth Leader

    Leave Fr. Barron alone please. We need more men like him preaching through modern media. He actually said something really good; that we can hope that all will be saved, although we know the possibility of hell is real. This is the same thing we say, when we say the Fatima prayer and ask that ALL souls be led to heaven. Are traditionalist going to stop saying the Fatima prayer since it asks all souls to be taken to heaven even though fundamentalist say that is impossible?

    • John Sobieski

      The Fatima prayer is for the leading of all the poor souls in Purgatory to Heaven. Not ALL souls.

      • Youth Leader

        That’s not what it says, it doesn’t say purgatory. I think the Fatima prayer is purposely misleading faithful catholics with it’s liberal agenda…. you see what I did there? Kind of remind you of maybe what Voris does with others? It takes a line literal and out of context.

        • John Sobieski

          I seem to stand corrected. I was taught to say “lead all poor souls to Heaven…” but now that I look into it on the web, I don’t see that translation anywhere, not even on Fr. Gruner’s website which surely must have it right. My apologies. Nevertheless, I stand by the criticism of the universal salvation position.

          • Dan C

            So…are you hearing people say universal salvation occurs or is possible?

            I am a fan of the underpopulated Hell, but the poor never go. Only the rich. Or at least in my version this is the case.

            Who goes to your version of Hell? (This is where all the fun starts.)

      • HornOrSilk

        “lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of thy mercy.” Doesn’t say purgatory. Those most need of mercy are those furthest away due to sin. Purgatory is not those most need of mercy, those who are on their way to hell are. But being on the wide path to hell doesn’t mean Christ can’t come on and turn them around back to him. What do you think Holy Saturday is all about?

  • cdw7503

    Michael Voris makes a good case here. To suggest that Hell may somehow be empty is ridiculous. The Catholic Church exists to save souls from eternal damnation. If somehow hell is not a real possibility then religion is a joke and completely unnecessary. The actions of many people today indicates that they do not believe in hell… This is the real evil in the world today-the belief that ‘no one goes to hell anymore.’ It is real evil because this belief allows people to justify any sinful behavior.

    • HornOrSilk

      To suggest Christ’s work is accomplished is ridiculous? To suggest Christ’s sacrifice is capable of saving everyone is ridiculous? Saying we hope for the salvation of all, which we DO pray for, is ridiculous is to say Christ’s work is not capable of doing what he aimed to do. This is not to say there is no possibility of hell. Please follow the argument instead of strawmen.

      Oh, and even if there were no hell (no one is saying this btw), why would following the good be a joke? The good is still good even without hell. The people who say following the good is a joke shows me they don’t follow the good yet.

      • John Sobieski

        Christ himself said many are called but few are chosen.

        • HornOrSilk

          So? What does it exactly mean? Again, this is eisigesis and proof-texting, ignoring other texts which even suggest all can be saved. The paradox is Scripture suggests both possible ends. This text, itself, doesn’t have to even do with salvation.

          • Mark Wilson

            esus says the way to hell is broad and many find it and that the way to heaven is narrow and few find it. And he means it: you don’t get to heaven simply by being born, by being nice, or by oozing into an eternal growth experience. But “few” here does not mean that less than half of mankind will be saved. For God speaks as our Father, not our statistician. Even one child lost is too many, and the rest saved are too few. The good shepherd who left his ninety-nine sheep safe at home to rescue his one lost sheep found even 99 percent salvation too “few”. =Peter Kreeft

            • Mark Wilson

              If you listen to this sermon (from Fr. Barron) you will find his position is not unlike Ralph Martins. It’s practical. It makes sense. I’m not sure who could really argue with, Sermon 659 : The Narrow Gate : 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time http://www.wordonfire.org/WOF-Radio/Sermons.aspx

            • Dan C

              Christ also says: “Blessed are the poor, woe to the rich.” He says “turn the other cheek” and ” it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

              Quite frankly, Peter Kreeft uses lots of…exposition…to water down these sayings. The Church, over millenia, uses the light of faith and reason to explain the Gospel.

              As such, proof-texting on this matter is only one piece of evidence. The light of faith, shared by many theologians (Benedict among them) has said differently about salvation.

              • chezami

                “Quite frankly, Peter Kreeft uses lots of…exposition…to water down these sayings.”


              • Mark Wilson

                And how is he watering down the faith? He is basically saying God loves all. A teaching of the church. Please explain what he says that is incorrect because I think he is spot on and reflects the Gospel message in a sensible and loving way.

        • S7

          Ye, but why are you against reading further? A few verses later, our Lord says people will come from east, west, north and south — at that point, it sounds pretty “many-ish”. So…is it really few or many? The Book of Revelation says a number no one could count. Does that sound like “few”? And our Lord said, if I be lifted up (say it with me), “I will draw ALL men unto me.”

          So, which is it?

          See what happens when you cite Scripture carelessly and out of context?

      • cdw7503

        My sisters believe that ‘no one goes to hell anymore’ and they were raised Catholic like I was. So to my sisters hell exists BUT no one goes there any more. So those who believe that few people go to hell essentially are defacto atheists because they in practice behave as tho they could never go to hell. Why did Christ talk about hell so much if avoiding hell is not needed for salvation? Yes, of course, everyone CAN be saved, but many will choose not to be saved because of their immoral actions and they are led to immoral actions because of misleading priests like Fr. Barron darkening their intellect.

        • HornOrSilk

          Why did Jonah only talk about the destruction of Nineveh, if it is to be saved?

          As for what your sister believes, does that mean anything? Sounds like an “ex Catholic” telling people what Catholics believe by absurd stories of what others say…. seriously, there is no misleading in what Fr. Barron has said. What is misleading is those who deny the hope, the hope which IS in the Catechism, which also says all things are possible for God.

          We don’t know if anyone will be in hell. We fear hell and hope for the salvation of all both. BOTH. It is not an either or.

        • Dan C

          They practice as defacto atheists….

          This does not follow from an embrace of universalism.

          We do not understand judgement. Why in the afterlife will those who show up at the eleventh hour receive the same wages.

          The afterlife is treated by many Catholics as a form of karma. The concept of karmic-type justice (“you’ll get what’s coming to ya!”) seems to warm some peoples’ souls. It should not. The Christian God does not reward us with what we deserve. And we should be glad.

          Also, the “avoid Hell by avoiding bad actions” bit sounds more like the “getting to Heaven on one’s works” theology more than those of us who comment that good works are required of the Christian and are a sign of salvation.

          The afterlife and judgement is not a justice we can comprehend. It is not “just” in that the saintly and I both are going to the same Heavenly banquet. The difference is that the saint loves this and I want those people over there to have their comeuppance.

  • Youth Leader

    Michael Voris gets on my last nerves. He is indicative of the typical traditionalist spewing hate in the back of church because they’re upset that we aren’t living in the 1940s. I’m tired of all these fundamentalist Catholics misquoting and attacking people that are trying to do creative ministry in a church whose numbers are shrinking.
    They come in with their “Johnny Come Lately” attitudes and just assume that the problems in the church are simple to fix. “Well, if priests would just man up”, or “if we would just preach fire and brimstone from the ambo”, or “if we would just deny communion to Catholics not in good standing”. yada yada yada.
    Those type of comments are just completely devoid of the times we live in and the current mission of the Church. Millennials are not going to put up with people being denied communion, or hell being preached to make people afraid at the homily. Newsflash! People have cars, people have the internet, and people are not afraid to look for a loving parish then leave your hate filled parish and go down the road.
    Besides the fact that the Pope is the man in charge, remember traditionalists? And the POPE is saying that we need to start not with the fire and brimstone type ministry (if you can call it that) and start with healing. Start welcoming drug addicts, homosexuals and couples using contraception. Then maybe after they get settled in a little bit you can help them conform to the doctrines of the church? Sound like a plan? Yeah it’s the one being laid out to you by the Head Cheese. Play ball you crazy pre-Vatican II loving fundamentalists.
    You know what would be a great help to the church. Get to know the names of the young people in your parish and welcome them. But, that would require you to get off your indulgence filled behind, not wait for a priest to do everything, and be nice to someone.

    • $2346491

      I would make a joke about sending Voris and others through TV and back into Leave It to Beaver land, but I don’t think that they would like it there. Everything is pleasant and I don’t think that Voris is capable of being pleasant and happy even if he was living in a dolled up version of the 1950s. It seems to me that they might like the Senator McCarthy version of the 1950s with its witch hunts and blacklists.
      And yes. I think that one of my main beefs with Voris and other traditionalist loudmouths is that they seem very intent on condemning others’ sins and not so much about loving the person and helping and welcoming them. People in tough situations need support – both financial and emotional. One of the things that the pro-life movement has done right is establish Crisis Pregnancy Centers because the movement has come to realize that women in desperate situations do desperate things. So it would be great if Voris and company spent more time providing financial and spiritual support to the young pregnant student down the street so she doesn’t have to drop out of college or babysitting the kids of a young mother who is at wits end and needs a break or providing a couple considering divorce with emotional support and counsel. But that is hard. It is much easier to screech about the Church of Nice than to deal with the real world.

  • The more I see responses to comments, the more I realize it is a one way discussion.

    Mine was not an attack on Fr. Barron. He does wonderful work, but I happen to disagree on this point, as do a number of other good Catholics, including Ralph Martin.

    Mark Shea has made a public apology for his treatment of people online. I think a number of you should also! http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2013/06/through-my-fault-through-my-fault-through-my-own-most-grievous-fault.html

    • chezami

      What would be really great is if Michael Voris apologized, even once, for his treatment of all sorts of innocent people.

    • HornOrSilk

      And many good Catholics disagree with Martin and Voris and you, and yet you are upset at people pointing out why.

  • Guest

    How anything Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote or said is taken seriously by any Catholic is beyond me. Was a Catholic or a heretic? His work insults Catholic reason and the sense of the faith. Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote a foreword to a book called: Meditations on the Tarot, by Anonymous http://www.amazon.com/Meditations-Tarot/dp/1585421618/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/102-0798581-3940910?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1176444598&sr=1-1 ********Red flags should be going off! Tarot as in Tarot card……demonic breaks the 1st Commandment Tarot!********* Catholics are not permitted to even look at such literature on the Tarot under the pain of mortal sin! Hans Urs von Balthasar taught that hell could be empty did he. Well if some Catholics want to follow Hans Urs von Balthasar ideas into the hell that is not in fact empty then I can not stop them but I have no duty to follow these Catholics into hell and I won’t.

    • HornOrSilk

      Next thing I will hear is how Aquinas quoted Muslims!

      • freddy

        Next on CNN: “Should the Catholic Church re-think Aquinas?” The Catholic Church, long a defender of Thomas Aquinas, a man known to have connections with Muslim extremists….

  • Melissa

    How anything Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote or said is taken seriously by
    any Catholic is beyond me. Was Hans Urs von Balthasar a Catholic or a heretic? His work insults
    Catholic reason and the sense of the faith. Hans Urs von Balthasar
    wrote a foreword to a book called: Meditations on the Tarot, by
    Anonymous http://www.amazon.com/Meditati
    ********Red flags should be going off! Tarot as in Tarot
    card……demonic breaks the 1st Commandment Tarot!********* Catholics
    are not permitted to even look at such literature on the Tarot under the
    pain of mortal sin! Hans Urs von Balthasar taught that hell could be
    empty did he. Well if some Catholics want to follow Hans Urs von
    Balthasar ideas into the hell that is not in fact empty then I can not
    stop them but I have no duty to follow these Catholics into hell and I

    • chezami

      Actually, if you educate yourself on the real history of tarot, you discover it basically has roots in Catholic culture and the occult stuff is all fake. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godandthemachine/category/tarot/ Meanwhile, does it never occur to you to wonder if, since JPII offered him the red hat, it might just possibly be the case that the combox inquisitors who have anointed themselves competent to declare him a heretic just maybe possibly don’t know what they are talking about?

    • HornOrSilk

      How what you write about Balthasar when you show little to no understanding of him is the real question.

      Clearly you have not read the book, because if you did, you would know it is not about divination. It is about the older practice of images used for spiritual allegory, traditional ones which are quite important for the spiritual life. To condemn a book for its title without knowing its contents is immature to the extreme.

      Of course, someone could ask about all the occult books St Albert the Great wrote on. Will you ask why he is a Doctor of the Church after commentary on astrology and natural magic (esp with gems)?

      • Melissa

        Who was Father Henri de Lubac?
        Father de Lubac [1896-1991] was a Jesuit who saw in Blondel’s teach-
        ing the basis of a New Theology. Blondel has rejected Thomistic phil-
        osophy, and de Lubac would incorporate this into a new system that
        would reject Thomistic theology.

    • HornOrSilk

      Also, you don’t know what Balthasar wrote. Hell is NEVER empty for Balthasar. When you post such comments as an “empty hell,” you are not talking about Balthasar, so again, talking about him with a position he didn’t hold is proof that you are the one no one should take seriously.

  • HornOrSilk

    What I find interesting is the constant barrage of people making posts in this thread where they clearly do not know the subject being discussed. It really shows bad form. You should at least read Balthasar instead of doing a Jack Chick parody of Balthasar

  • Guest

    What is becoming more and more clear is in reality we are dealing with two different religions. Will the real Catholicism please stand up: http://unamsanctamcatholicam.blogspot.com/2013/11/fr-barron-and-mark-shea-and-balthasar.html

    • HornOrSilk

      What is becoming clear is that you are posting condemnations on things you do not know, making Jack Chick level claims.

  • Melissa

    What is becoming more and more clear to many is that we are dealing with two different religions: http://unamsanctamcatholicam.blogspot.com/2013/11/fr-barron-and-mark-shea-and-balthasar.html Will the true Catholicism please stand up.

    • Headstand

      Well that’s easy, it’s the one that doesn’t demand or dictate obedience to human precepts rooted in speculation and personal opinion declaring them as right or wrong and therefore the law. In short, it’s the one that least resembles radical Islam or Sharia law.

    • chezami

      Actual Catholics believe in the indefectibility of the Church. Reactionary schismatics posit some ridiculous “two Church” theory to excuse their rejection of the magisterium since Vatican II.

  • HornOrSilk

    http://salbert.tripod.com/index-9.html the source of Melissa’s bs; couldn’t even quote and source it properly. What a thief.

    And btw, the author is someone who is attacking the Pope:


  • Dan C

    400+ comments on any number of topics: Voris, Mark Shea, Catholic conservative critique of its own, purity policing the conservatives, the possibility of unversalism, census results of the afterlife, apokatastasis (so cool), the role of private revelations, Padre Pio’s view of the census of the afterlife (an opinon from someone who whose words would otherwise hold much sway amongst the fire and brimstone set), and Fatima.

    • chezami

      Beat having to attempt the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

      • John

        To instruct the ignorant is a spiritual work of mercy.

        • chezami

          It is not instructing the ignorant to declare an innocent person “WRONG” for stating a speculation permitted by the Magisterium of holy Church.

          • John

            Maybe or maybe not. That is the crux of the argument anyway. But clearly one who thinks that a given opinion is wrong would also consider that he is performing a work of mercy by instructing those who hold that opinion as to why that opinion is wrong. So one can hardly criticize him for neglecting the works of mercy in order to do this without begging the question.

            Of course the person who does this may himself be in error and in need of instruction. But then why not perform that work of mercy instead of making ad hominem attacks?

            • That Guy

              Well said, John. I like reading your posts and your persistence of charity and reason towards mutual understanding of truth. Good for you.

  • John

    “But though He died for all, yet all do not receive the benefit of His death, but those only to whom the merit of His passion is communicated.”

    • For those who need citations: Council of Trent Session VI Chapter 3

    • Headstand

      …and what happens for those to whom the merit of His passion is not communicated to?

      • John

        Does it need saying that those to whom the merit of Christ’s passion is not communicated are not saved?

        • Headstand

          That’s not what our Church teaches, nor does our Church believe that the Holy Spirit ended perfecting us in the fullness of truth with the Council of Trent.

          • John

            I’m sorry, what exactly does the Church not teach?

            • Headstand

              Perhaps I could direct you to the Catechism posted on the Vatican website. It should answer most of your questions. If not, I encourage you to then consult a priest.

              • John

                No, that’s ok. I have a Catechism. Thanks, though. I just didn’t understand your statement. It looked like you were saying that the Church does not teach that “those to whom the merit of Christ’s passion is not communicated are not saved.” But I didn’t want to impute that to you hastily in case I had misunderstood. Did I?

                • Headstand

                  I assume you’re referring to the doctrine of no salvation outside the Catholic Church?
                  This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church: Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation. (CCC 847)

                  All this holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way. For, since Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery. (22) Gaudium Et Spes

                  • John

                    Nope. I didn’t say anything about the Church. I just said that I thought the obvious inference was that those to whom the merits of Christ’s passion are not communicated are not saved. The text you cite actually supports the fact that all those who are saved (whether within or without the visible Church) are saved precisely by “association with the paschal mystery,” which I take it means the same thing as having the merits of Christ’s passion communicated to them. If so, the implication is still that those who are not associated with the paschal mystery are not saved. Beware of strawmen.

                    • Headstand

                      Amazing grace, a mystery known only to God, thanks for the warning.

                    • John

                      I’m sorry, I really don’t mean to be obnoxious, but I just don’t understand again what you are driving at. What exactly is the mystery known only to God? Is it *how* God communicates the merit of Christ’s passion to any of those who are outside the visible Church? Or is it *whether* God saves any of those to whom he does not communicate the merit of Christ’s passion? If the former, I agree that it is a mystery, but I add that my point still stands; if the latter, I ask you again whether you are asserting that salvation is possible apart from reception of the merit’s of Christ’s passion?

                      And please take no offense – the warning against strawmen was well intentioned. Let’s you and I avoid the rancor so prevalent on much of this page.

                    • Headstand

                      John, I’m sorry, your questions are above my ability. Again, why don’t you consult a priest? What I meant by the mystery known only to God is this:

                      [21] For great is the power of God alone, and he is honoured by the humble. [22] Seek not the things that are too high for thee, and search not into things above thy ability: but the things that God hath commanded thee, think on them always, and in many of his works be not curious. [23] For it is not necessary for thee to see with thy eyes those things that are hid. [24] In unnecessary matters be not over curious, and in many of his works thou shalt not be inquisitive. [25] For many things are shewn to thee above the understanding of men.

                    • John

                      I appreciate the advice to talk to a priest, and in other circumstances I would agree that that would be helpful, but the only thing I have been trying to understand in this instance is what you have meant by certain words or phrases, so I doubt anyone other than yourself would be of much assistance.

                      But how can this question be beyond you, since you it is only a question of what do you believe? That is, do you believe anyone is saved in another way other than by receiving the merits of Christ’s passion? If the answer No, then I submit to you that the statement from the Council of Trent does indeed mean that some men are damned. If the answer is Yes, then I have grave concerns. If your answer is that you don’t know whether you believe that, I would be genuinely pleased to share some texts with you that address the issue.

                      But you must be able to answer that question. At least internally, if you prefer not to share your answer with the world.

                    • Headstand

                      Wow, you’re really pissed!

                    • John

                      Not at all! I assure with all the sincerity which it is possible to convey through a keypad! It is just that you have been avoiding this one question throughout all of this conversation. If you just prefer not to answer that is fine with me, and I will consider your original objection to the text I quoted as cordially withdrawn.

                      Peace and goodwill to all.

                    • Headstand

                      I believe God’s creatures, through the gift of free will, can and do choose hell. Goodnight John.

                    • John

                      Goodnight. It has been a pleasure.

                    • Headstand

                      Funny, as opposed to pleasure, I feel a little violated. I feel like you were trying to trap me into getting the answer you wanted to hear instead of just asking me what you wanted to know. I wonder if this is what Jesus must have experienced when he was questioned by the Pharisees?

                    • John

                      Headstand, I am sorry. I had no intention to do anything beyond ask you what you meant by what you said, and specifically whether you really meant what seemed to be implied in your opening responses to the text I cited. If I was insistent, it was an insistent request that you clarify the meaning of your own words in order to avoid putting words in your mouth that you didn’t say or mean. I can only hope you will accept that that was my sincere intention. All the best.

                    • That Guy


                      You have done well here and have no need for apology. To ask others to clarify their words in not uncharity, it is necessary for understanding and for the end of discerning truth.

                    • Headstand

                      Of course I forgive you John. However, I still wonder if the Pharisees upon meeting Jesus again at their particular judgement were actually sorry for the trap they laid or if they used an excuse of intention and where they may have ended up? Intention and judgement, tricky stuff.

                    • John

                      Headstand, I didn’t lay a trap. You challenged my citation of Trent in a way that seemed to imply that men could be saved apart from the passion of Christ. I asked you to clarify your statement or retract your challenge.

                      If you felt trapped, it was in the same way that all of us are trapped who brave the world of comboxes. If we throw our words into the arena, we must defend them (which includes explaining them) or we must retract them. Hence the value of choosing them carefully in the first place.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      The text is being misread by you. What it is saying is that the grace of justification is not given to all (ontologically) but to those who cooperate with it (which can be all, but at a given time, due to the fact of mortal sins, not all are cooperating and receiving said justification). It says nothing of the eschaton and whether or not all will always end up uncooperative with the grace of Christ.

                    • How does one cooperate with grace apart from grace?

                    • HornOrSilk

                      This strawman once again. Are you denying the universal work of God to give everyone that initial grace which frees us to decide to cooperate with grace or not? Are you turning grace into a Calvinist vision of grace which is only given to an elect, and they can’t resist it? If not, then your argument is already presumed in all discussions of cooperating with grace. All life exists in grace.

                    • I tend toward the Thomist view on this not the Calvinist (about which I don’t even know enough to do it justice) or the Molinist (which seems to be your view). Please don’t confuse Molinism with the teaching of the Church … like Thomism, it is permitted not obligatory. In any case we should be wary of any teaching that makes God reactive to our choices or that puts grace and free will in opposition to one another.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      I’m Eastern. I follow the Eastern tradition. The point is, you are the one making the assumption of your way is the way of the Church and you keep acting like your small little statements somehow says something which is not already presumed. Now you show your complaints don’t have anything to do with anything and the position you are rejecting can be believed without it being seen as error, I’m done with your game.

                    • chezami

                      And the way you know that somebody has refused the merit of Christ’s passion is what? Does God reveal the choices of seven billion hearts to you?

                    • John

                      I don’t get it. When did I say that I knew *which* souls do not receive the communication of the merit of Christ’s passion? That is twice in quick succession that words have been put into my mouth which I did not say (nor mean nor imply). I would sincerely appreciate discontinuing this.

                      I merely quoted a text which says “all do not receive the benefit of His death, but those only to whom the merit of His passion is communicated.” Upon request I then drew out the inference that those (*whoever they are*) who do not receive the benefit of his death and those (*whoever they are*) to whom the merit of Christ’s passion is not communicated are those (*whoever they are*) who are not saved.

                      The inference of course relies on the additional premise that all salvation (whether the soul is within or without the visible Church) comes through communication of the merits of Christ’s passion, or alternatively phrased, through association with the paschal mystery. This is the premise about which I asked Headstand whether he disputed it, since his comments appeared to me to imply that he did indeed dispute that. And he has yet to disabuse me of that notion. But I await his clarification.

                      I would be interested in hearing your thoughts either on this premise or on the actual text I quoted.

                    • chezami

                      I put no words in your mouth. I asked you a question.

                    • John

                      When you asked me *how* I know that somebody has refused the merit of Christ’s passion, you weren’t saying that I had somehow claimed that I did know? If you didn’t think I claimed that, why ask the question?

                      Or again, if you are not implying that I claimed that God reveals the choices of several billion hearts to me, why ask me whether he does? If it’s mere curiosity, I can tell you that he doesn’t.

    • Guest

      John, would you cite where this quote you are using comes from?

    • guest

      Never mind. Trent.

      You wrote:
      “That is, do you believe anyone is saved in another way other than by receiving the merits of Christ’s passion? If the answer No, then I submit to you that the statement from the Council of Trent does indeed mean that some men are damned.”
      My answer to that question is NO.
      But from that, you cannot conclude some men are damned. It could be that merit of His passion is communicated to every man.

      • John

        Are you looking at the second clause of the statement from Trent, or only at the third?

        It was the second clause (together with the negative answer to my question) that I thought allowed the conclusion I drew, namely the part that reads: “all do not receive the benefit of his death.”

        From the third clause I took it that this “benefit of Christ’s death” is the communication of the merits of his passion without which it is impossible to be saved.

        Fully spelled out, my argument here is:

        1. Trent teaches that all do not receive the benefit of Christ’s death.
        2. The benefit of Christ’s death of which Trent speaks here is the communication of the merits of Christ’s passion.
        3. Therefore Trent teaches that all do not receive the communication of the merits of Christ’s passion.
        4. And without receiving the communication of the merits of Christ’s passion, one cannot be saved.
        5. Therefore Trent teaches that not all are saved.

        Now of course you are free to disagree with some or all of this; I would just be interested to hear whether you really dispute the logic of the argument, or if you dispute the truth of one of the premises?

        And don’t worry, I assure you that I will take any reasonable response as a well-intentioned mutual striving for truth. As I said to another commenter here, let’s you and I avoid the rancor so present on much of this page. I am happy to discuss these important issues, and if there is a flaw in my argument I would want to know it.

        • guest

          I think the logic is sound if the first principle is established…which I don’t think it is.

          I’m not convinced we can break apart the clauses into individual pronouncements as you have done.

          The first clause seems to establish Christ’s action, which was done for every man. The other two establish there is a further step between how it was objectively accomplished by Christ, and how it is subjectively achieved in man. I do not think this statement is written to establish *whether* it happens in man or not, just that there is a further step *for* it to happen.

          Keep in mind, it is the Latin text that is authoritative. Unfortunately, I’m not a Latin scholar. But I think in light of other teaching, this is not making a statement there are men in hell, but just that what was done for all men is not automatically received by all men (which doesn’t mean that it still isn’t received by all men).

          • John

            Thanks for clarifying. To the first premise then. The Latin is Verum etsi ille pro omnibus mortuus est, non omnes tamen mortis eius beneficium recipiunt, sed ii dumtaxat, quibus meritum passionis eius communicatur.

            Although indeed he died for all – with a reference to 2 Cor. – then tamen means nevertheless, non omnes means not all or not everyone, receives the benefit of his death. The verb recipiunt is in the present tense, active voice, indicative mood. In other words, it reads like a simple statement of fact. I really can’t think of a more literal translation than Although indeed he died for all, nevertheless not all receive the benefit of his death, but only those to whom the merit of his passion is communicated.

            So when the first premise says that Trent teaches that not all receive the benefit of Christ’s death it really is just a literal quotation. I don’t see how you can dispute it without saying that it doesn’t mean what it says. In which case we would simply be at an impasse, because I take things to mean what they say, especially things like Church documents.

            All the best.

            • guest

              I agree that Church documents should be taken to mean what they say. But by isolating the one clause from that whole statement, and treating that one clause as it’s own statement, you are not arriving at the full meaning of the whole statement.
              It sounds more uncharitable than I would like it to, but this is the kind of literalist approach that gets Protestants in trouble when it comes to the Bible, I think.
              We would not be having this discussion -because I would be agreeing with you- if that clause were a stand alone statement.

              • guest

                It would appear that John doesn’t want to acknowledge that taking a clause out of its context in a bigger statement potentially changes the meaning of the clause. It’s not a simple case of saying A does not equal A, which is nonsense. It’s more like saying DAD does not equal A.

                • john

                  I am happy to acknowledge that. But I would be pleased if assumptions were not made about me based on a day away from the keyboard.

                  Oddly enough, though, I would have said more or less the same thing about your interpretation of the statement. To me it seems that it is precisely when one looks at both halves of the statement together that one sees most clearly the implication that not all are saved:

                  “Though Christ died for all, yet not all receive the benefits of his death, but only those to whom the merits of his passion are communicated.”

                  What we have is “although all… yet not all… but only…”

                  Taking it as a whole, there seems to be a clear contrast set up between the *all* (those for whom Christ died) and the *not all* (those who receive the benefit of Christ’s death) with the basis of the distinction given in terms of the communication of the merits of the passion.

                  My impression of your interpretation, on the other hand, is that it focuses only on the part which says that *only* those to whom the merits of Christ’s passion are communicated receive the benefit of Christ’s death. If this were the whole content of the statement, then I would agree with you, that it is compatible with the idea that all could be saved. But isn’t this looking only at half the statement?

                  To put it another way: It sounds to me as if you are interpreting the statement as though it read: “Although Christ died for all, nevertheless only those to whom the merits of his passion are communicated receive the benefit of his death.” This would be compatible with universal salvation. But this is only two thirds of the statement. The whole statement says this together with an assertion that not all receive the benefit of his death.

                  I’m not sure if I’ve made my meaning clear, but I hope that you can see why I would say (although you may still disagree) that I am not taking this part of the statement out of context but rather including it as part of the context in which to understand the other parts.

                  All the best. And of course no offense taken at the suggestion that my interpretation is Protestant-like in its literalism. If anything, I take that as a compliment 🙂

                  • guest

                    Yeah, sorry that was cheap on my part.
                    So if you agree that these three statements do not have the same meaning:
                    “Though Christ died for all, yet not all receive the benefits of his death, but only those to whom the merits of his passion are communicated.”
                    “Not all recieve the benefits of his death.”
                    “Trent teaches that some men are in hell.”
                    Then I think I’m pretty satisified. I think we are at impass because I take the first statement, given by the council to be teaching who does receive justification, not who doesn’t. I think it provides good support for the claim that there are people in hell, but I don’t think Trent is teaching that there are people in hell.
                    I think the placement of this statement, under “Who is justified” supports this idea.
                    I think if you had an SAT question, what is the better meaning of the Church’s statment:
                    “Though Christ died for all, yet not all receive the benefits of his death, but only those to whom the merits of his passion are communicated.”

                    A. Trent is teaching there are men in hell.
                    B. Trent is teaching who recieves salvation.
                    I think people would choose B. That you have extracted that Trent is teaching some men are in hell from a teaching that is meant to be making a different point, seems reasonable. But I remain unconvinced that this particular quote means Trent taught that men are in hell.
                    By the way, I’m more inclined to believe there are people in hell. At the same time, the catechism has us pray that all might be saved.
                    Peace to you,

                    • John

                      Well, we may not be so far apart from each other after all. I could grant you that the primary emphasis, or the main point, that Trent wants to get across in this text has to do with how at least some people are justified. But I don’t see a reason for limiting a given text to teaching only one ‘main idea’. Why not say that Trent teaches (primarily) *how* some men are saved (through communication of the merits of the passion) and that Trent teaches (secondarily) *whether* all men are saved (they are not). I see it as both/and rather than either/or, especially since both are stated in the text, even if the emphasis is on one more than the other.

                      Is there an independent reason for thinking that only the ‘main point’ of any given statement counts as Church teaching?

                      To me, that would seem analogous to the method of interpreting Scripture which says that “we should consider not so much *what* God has said as *the reason and purpose* which He had in mind in saying it.” According to Pope Leo XIII, “this system cannot be tolerated” (Providentissimus, 20).
                      And I also think it is right and good to pray that *each* person is saved, but also that it is impossible to hope that *all* men are saved.
                      Sorry, I’m a bit rushed right now; I would be happy to continue the conversation, though, if you send any further thoughts my way.
                      All the best.

                    • guest

                      I don’t think the same method for interpreting Scripture should be used to interpret magisterial documents. I would be willing to take correction if the Church teaches somewhere that council documents are inspired the same way the Bible is.
                      That being said, I’m not sure why I’m inclinded to read with the idea that “less is more.” I think somewhere along the way, I picked up in a Canon Law course the approach should be, when a canon is open to multiple interpretations, read it more inclusively and less restrictively. I think this is a better approach to the law in general. In other words, prescribe as little as possible, let people be free as much as possible. I know Trent is not exactly law but that’s the idea.

                    • John

                      No, I agree, Church documents certainly aren’t inspired the same way that Scripture is, and so I would not advocate completely uniform methods of interpretation.

                      It is because of divine inspiration, for example, that an interpretation of the spiritual senses of Scripture is possible, whereas it would not do to interpret ecclesiastical texts as containing a spiritual sense.

                      But when it is question of interpreting the literal sense, which is simply what the text itself asserts (whether properly or metaphorically), then I would apply the same rules of interpretation across the board, even including purely secular texts. Thus Pope Leo’s rule for the interpretation of the literal sense of Scripture does seem to me to be applicable to other kinds of texts. And that is basically, that when looking to see the *what* of what a text teaches we may not restrict ourselves only to the *why* of why the author(s) put it there.

                      Regarding canon law, you are probably remembering canon 18, which says more or less that when any law is open to multiple interpretations, it should be interpreted in a way that places less obligations on people. This is called a strict interpretation, and it seems meant to protect people from unduly burdensome applications of the law. I can say honestly that I see where you’re coming from here, but I’m not at all sure I would apply this principle to non-legal texts.

                      Although even if one made the case that it is somehow legal, since the teaching of the Church is binding on Catholics, I am still not prepared to admit that the text itself is objectively open to an interpretation that does not include part of the meaning expressed by the words themselves.

                    • guest

                      Well, I am reluctant to approach the magisterial teaching with the prescription Leo gave for Scripture, even applied to only the literal sense. The fact that Scripture is inspired, and is without error, cannot be said of the formulation used by the magisterium to teach, right? I’m not saying the teaching isn’t inspired, but formulation used isn’t.

                      I think you would admit, that I have at least grasped the primary meaning of Trent’s teaching here. You assert there is a secondary teaching that can be derived from that text.

                      I don’t.

                      The meaning of a text is what the author intends and the words convey. I am going to assert the council meant the primary meaning we have agreed upon here. I am going to assert the council did not mean to teach, by using the clause in that way, to teach there are some men in hell.

                      For example, could they not have been drawing on a commonly held belief -that was not taught by the Church officially – in order to describe their primary meaning here?

                      Are there other places in Magisterial teaching where She asserts there are, in fact people in hell (that all believers should hold that at least some men are in hell, or anathama…)?
                      The import of a teaching like this seems too significant to be established from the secondary meaning of a statement meant to teach a different point primarily. Especially in light of the very clear canons that follow from Trent about which positions a person can’t hold.

                      I appreciate your respectfulness and I can honestly say it has been a very helpful discussion for me. Thank you.

                    • John

                      “The meaning of a text is what the author intends and the words convey.”

                      What you say here is actually very close to what I was driving at via the Leonine quotation. So as far as principles of interpretation, we are at least very nearly in agreement, if not entirely.

                      From my point of view, however, you are then unaccountably restricting your interpretation to the meaning (primarily) intended by the author while ignoring (at least part of) the meaning conveyed by the words.

                      You say: “I am going to assert the council did not mean to teach, by using the clause in that way, to teach there are some men in hell.”

                      To which I respond: Even if you are right about the meaning intended by the authors, what about the meaning conveyed by the words themselves? Aren’t we supposed to be looking at both?

                      But even if the interpretation of this text remains unresolved between us, I can offer a few more for your consideration (in a separate post to follow).

                      Keep in mind that the Church’s (supposed) absolute silence on this issue is a key premise both in Balthasar’s argument that we can and should hope for universal salvation and in Shea’s argument that this is a legitimate school of thought within the Church.

                      Even if the interpretation of these texts is disputable (which I still don’t really admit), they must at least show that the original claim *that the Church is silent on the issue* is just as much or even more disputable.

                    • John

                      Let me also say that I appreciate your gentlemanly behavior. To mutually strive for the truth in charity together with a fellow Christian is a joy that I would were not so rare.

                      Pope St. Pius X, Encyclical Letter Acerbo nimis (1905): “And so Our Predecessor, Benedict XIV, had just cause to write: “We declare that a great number of those who are condemned to eternal punishment suffer that everlasting calamity because of ignorance of those mysteries of faith which must be known and believed in order to be numbered among the elect” (2).

                      Comments: this counts as taught by two popes, and it is an encyclical letter addressed to the universal Church, formulated as a positive declaration.

                      Council of Quiersy (853): “The just and good God, however, chose from this same mass of perdition according to His foreknowledge those whom through grace He predestined to life, and He predestined for these eternal life; the others, whom by the judgment of justice he left in the mass of perdition, however, He knew would perish, but He did not predestine that they would perish, because He is just; however, He predestined eternal punishment for them” (ch. 1).

                      “Omnipotent God wishes all men without exception to be saved, although not all will be saved. However, that certain ones are saved, is the gift of the one who saves; that certain ones perish, however, is the deserved punishment of those who perish” (ch. 3).

                      “Christ Jesus our Lord, as no man who is or has been or ever will be whose nature will not have been assumed in Him, so there is, has been, or will be no man, for whom He has not suffered- although not all will be saved by the mystery of His passion. But because all are not redeemed by the mystery of His passion, He does not regard
                      the greatness and the fullness of the price, but He regards the part of the unfaithful ones and those not believing in faith those things which He has worked through love” (ch. 4).

                      Comments: Interesting to note that the Catechism of the Catholic Church cites this text in no. 605:

                      The Church, following the apostles, teaches that Christ died for all men without exception: “There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer.”

                      Footnote 412 reveals that this quotation, presented as the teaching of the Church, is taken from the Council of Quiersy, and indeed from the very sentence which concludes with the words “although not all will be saved by the mystery of His passion.”

                      Council of Valence III (855)

                      “faithfully we confess the predestination of the elect to life, and the predestination of the impious to death; in the election, moreover, of those who are to be saved, the mercy of God precedes the merited good. In the
                      condemnation, however, of those who are to be lost, the evil which they have deserved precedes the just judgment of God” (canon 3).

                      As far as I know, “Crossing the Threshold of Hope” by John Paul II does not count as magisterial teaching, but perhaps his words are worth quoting anyways. He writes:

                      “Can God, who has loved man so much, permit the man who rejects him to be condemned to eternal torment? *And yet, the words of Christ are unequivocal.* In Matthew’s Gospel he speaks clearly of those who *will* go to eternal punishment (cf. Mt 25:46). Who will these be? The Church has never made any pronouncement in this regard. This is a mystery, truly inscrutable, which embraces the holiness of God and the conscience of man.”

                      This is exactly the claim Voris makes: that the words of Christ himself are unequivocal – that they can’t legitimately be interpreted in more than one way.

                      So if Mr. Voris is *wrong* to say that Fr. Barron is *wrong* then John Paul II must be *wrong* as well, right? But then who is Mr. Shea to say that John Paul II is *wrong*? And round and round it goes 🙂

                      But notice also this distinction: John Paul II says that the Church has never pronounced on the question of *who* will be in hell; not that the Church has never pronounced on *whether* there will be some people in hell. My impression is that the Balthasarian argument gets most of its traction from a blurring of this distinction.

                    • guest

                      We should be looking at both the words and the meaning
                      of the authors. But sometimes, words used by the authors create a
                      meaning beyond what they intended. If the meaning they intended was my
                      interpretation and they never meant to teach more than my
                      interpretation, the words themselves don’t have the power to create that
                      teaching, do they? They are fallible. That’s why perhaps I am
                      cautious about deriving layers of meaning in addition to what I think is
                      the primary meaning. I think the meaning of the text conveyed through
                      the words is what I stated above, not more. I am not advocating
                      ignoring the words, it is only through the words that the primary
                      meaning -which we more or less agree upon- is conveyed.

                      Vorris says that “It is beyond the Church’s authority and competence to declare humans are in hell. It is not part of her mission or charter. Christ never gave her that authority so she has none to exercise in this arena. None.”

                      Is he right?

                      If so, doesn’t that support my reason for ignoring that clause taken in isolation?

                    • John

                      Actually, I don’t know why Voris said that. I don’t think he cited any evidence for what he was saying. But his own argument was that Jesus says that some people are in hell. Since the Church proclaims the Gospels as true, then if the Gospels teach that some people are in hell, then the Church also teaches that some people are in hell.

                      So I can’t help thinking Voris was contradicting himself there. He may have meant that the Church does not have the authority to declare that any individual person is hell, but again he argued from Scripture that the Son of Perdition and the False Prophet are in hell; if Scripture teaches that, then so does the Church.

                      Or perhaps he only meant that the Church does not have the authority to say that anyone is in hell beyond those mentioned by Scripture (i.e. a negation of the parallel with her power to teach that certain saints not mentioned in Scripture are in heaven). Then he would not be contradicting himself, so this is probably the charitable interpretation of his words, but it would not provide any reason for ignoring the clause from Trent.

                      All the best.

                    • guest

                      John, I appreciate your willingness to hang in there.

                      I am really interested in this question and this line of discussion has helped me greatly. Thanks for the references by the way.

                      You didn’t really answer my question about whether he was right or wrong. I think you are saying that Vorris is wrong in making that comment. I think that redounds a whole separate issue about the way he has targeted father Barron. But let’s say that he’s right, then the Church has no competence to declare such things, and any statement regarding that by the magisterium isn’t official teaching. I don’t think that’s the case, but that would justify my interpretation.

                      I did catch his main argument though, which seems to be from Scripture and not magisterial teaching. Without throwing out the relevance of magisterial teaching here, I think it does change the focus of interest from magisterial teaching -which according to him does not carry weight- (maybe) to Scriptural interpretation.

                      With regard to Scripture, I don’t share his view that it is “crystal clear” from Scripture that men are in hell. But alas, this is a whole different discussion.

                      At any rate, thank you again for your engagement and I wish you every good blessing.

                    • John

                      You’re right – I guess I didn’t quite come out and say it, but I think Voris was wrong on that claim. The Church has the authority to teach on anything contained in or intrinsically connected to divine revelation. So I don’t think there is any reason to rule out in advance the possibility of the Church teaching authoritatively on any given subject. If the Church has taught on a certain matter, I would take that as an indication that she has the authority to do so.

                      Perhaps we should make a video about how “Mr. Voris is Wrong” on this point 🙂

                      I don’t know why he said that; I suppose he may simply have been unaware of these texts.

                      As for it being clear in Scripture… well, at least here we would have to apply Pope Leo’s rule of interpretation and so take into account not only the *purpose* Jesus had in mind when he said “few are they who find it [the way that leads to life]” but also *what* he says here.

                      The Balthasarian approach points out (perhaps rightly) that Jesus’ *purpose* may have been merely to encourage the apostles to consider their own salvation and to take seriously the difficulty therein. But to leave the matter there, as if the only thing taught by Christ in this instance is that “salvation is difficult” or some such thing, is to consider only the *why* of what he said and not the *what*, which seems to be precisely the system of interpretation condemned by Pope Leo.

                      It may well be true that something like the above is *why* Jesus taught what he did. But the question must still be asked as to *what* he taught? That is, what did he tell them in order to get them to consider the difficulty of their own journey toward salvation? Quite simply, that only few will find the way that leads to salvation. And you can’t reach salvation itself without finding the way that leads there.

                      Of course, I don’t necessarily expect to convince you in three paragraphs that Scripture teaches that some men go to hell. But I hope you can understand my reasoning process here? For me, it was the application of the Leonine rule for the interpretation of Scripture to Matt. 7:14 in particular that changed the way I think about this question (just a couple of years ago).

                    • guest – aka christopher

                      Well John,
                      It seems clear from this discussion and from the research I’ve been doing over the last few days, that indeed, there is scriptural and magisterial support for the teaching that there are men in hell, though we don’t know *who*. It would also seem, that it is only independent theologians who are positing the hope that all men would be saved and that there is no equally weighty scriptural or magisterial support.

                      Thank you for this discussion.
                      I think now, when this question arises, it will be worth examining “why” people feel so strongly there must be hope that we all be saved.

                      God bless you,

                    • John


                      Equal thanks to you. It has been a pleasure having a reasonable discussion in a comment box. Frankly, I wasn’t sure it could be done 🙂

                      All the best.

                    • Tom

                      This is the best combox discussion I have ever read on a blog. I think the reason is that both John and Christopher appear to be 1. educated in this field. (Those who know little often revert to ad hominem arguments ((mud slinging)) which are very unpleasant to read), and 2. determined to have a civil exchange (Christian charity). Congratulations to both of you. An excellent model for posters everywhere.

                    • guest

                      Also, how do we reconcile JPII’s comments there with other comments in the same book:

                      The silence of the Church [on the subject of universal salvation] is,
                      therefore, the only appropriate position for Christian faith. Even when
                      Jesus says of Judas, the traitor, “it would be better for that man if he
                      had never been born” (Mt 26:24), his words do not allude for certain to
                      eternal damnation. (186)

                    • John

                      They are really reconciled quite easily, I think, since these words follow directly after the ones I quoted. I don’t know if you have the book open before you, but I would heartily dispute what you have in brackets there, and replace them with [on the subject of WHO is in hell].

                      Look at the whole passage (caps for emphasis):

                      “Can God, who has loved man so much, permit the man who rejects him to be condemned to eternal torment? And yet, the words of Christ are unequivocal. In Matthew’s Gospel he speaks clearly of those who will go to eternal punishment (cf. Mt 25:46). WHO will these be? The Church has never made any pronouncement IN THIS REGARD. This is a mystery, truly inscrutable, which embraces the holiness of God and the conscience of man. The silence of the Church is, therefore, the only appropriate position for Christian faith. Even when Jesus says of Judas, the traitor, “it would be better for that man if he had never been born” (Mt 26:24), his words do not allude for certain to eternal damnation.”

                      I would guess that you found that citation somewhere online with the bracketed text already added by someone who was supporting Balthasar’s position, and so I’m going to risk being rather blunt. It strikes me as basically dishonest. It looks like the text has been cut from its context and then distorted in order to support something it doesn’t support. Although perhaps in charity we may suppose that it could have been done in genuine ignorance.

  • Christine Hebert

    Well, I watched both Michael Voris’ and Fr. Barron’s videos. I agree with Michael Voris. I agree that there is no way Hell is empty, and I agree that there is way too much “church of nice.” We do need to evangelize, but we need to do it truthfully. Sugar coating things like the doctrines on hell is not be truthful. God never promised us life would be easy, but Christ spoke of the souls in hell in the gospels. I can only hope that I don’t wind up in hell, but I am not counting on it, honestly. I do agree with you that the infighting needs to stop. Exactly how we (the church as a whole) can make it stop is beyond me. The Church is, after all, made up of imperfect humans.

    • freddy

      But Fr. Barron doesn’t say that hell is empty. In fact, Fr. Barron’s speculation is in line with Church teaching, and Holy Mother Church allows for varying views on this subject. Michael Voris uses a variety of verbal tricks to paint Fr. Barron in a bad light. You say that you agree that the infighting needs to stop but what you write shows that you are in fact part of the problem. If you really want the infighting to stop, next time some Catholic screams “BAD!” “ERROR!” about another Catholic, pick up your Catechism and find out what Holy Mother Church teaches instead of racing out to pick a side.

    • Merely living the truth is not enough … we need to live the truth in charity.

    • HornOrSilk

      It’s not sugar coating anything. No one is saying hell is empty and as long as you keep with that strawman, you don’t even get why Voris is wrong in the whole argument. It’s like someone reading Jack Chick and saying, “I agree with Chick, no one should be eating death cookies” as if anyone were.

      We must remember Jesus called himself the sign of Jonah. Jonah preached perdition but got universal salvation. Warning about the real possibility of hell does not say anyone will go there, just that it is a real possibility. Everyone agrees with that in this discussion. And there are verses which show the universal work of Christ, which hint at the “restoration of all things.” This is why the issue is paradoxical, and when engaging only one side while ignoring the other verses is going to cause error.

      • Imrahil

        Good points.

        There are some scriptural verses, though, that seem to me hardly reconcilable with the view that hell is completely empty.

        Anyway, there are some kind of Catholics who, alas, always throw “apokatastasis”, “empty hell” and “not entirely empty hell but quite” together without making distinctions. These are quite distinct. The first one is a condemned heresy. The second is an allowed opinion, though as I said I personally see some problems which, however, we do not have for the third.

  • HornOrSilk

    http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/02/will-all-be-saved-30 here is an old article from Neuhaus, who also deals with the questions such as, why evangelize…

  • linda daily

    I think most Catholic blogs are a foretaste of hell, and we’ve all put ourselves here willingly.

    • david

      I agree. Hanging out with some of the bitter people I encounter on Catholic blogs would be hell for me.

  • slainte

    Father Barron is quite able to defend himself and the legitmacy of his theological views. As his ministry engages the world through social media, Father Barron should consider using social media to engage Michael Voris in debate on the issue at hand. It would be a “learnable” moment for many Catholics to observe two very intelligent people, Fr. Barron and Voris, engage each other on Balthazar’s theory of hell being an empty place and other relevant issues raised by the New Evangelization.
    It’s a logical next step for Catholic social media and its participants.

  • Peter

    Stylistically, Michael Voris is about as subtle as a claymore. However, I couldn’t disagree with you more on your closing statement “This stuff is poison and needs to stop”. This exactly what we need for a lively and healthy debate not only for the life of the church but our own intellectual acuity. We’ve been lulled to sleep, far too long by an attitude of “come along and get along”.

    • chezami

      Assassination of people’s reputation and McCarthyesque meat cleaver attacks on innocent people are not “healthy debate”. Fr. Barron manages to provoke all kinds of intellectual activity without it. So did Benedict. So does Francis. Voris’ stuff is poison and needs to stop.

      • Peter

        What is poison, two different points of view? What is the poison?

        • Jess Cartwright

          Agreed. It is a “shock word” used presumptuously to win over support for an argument that is too weak to stand on it’s own merits.

          • FaithfulCatholic

            While it seems fair to say “poison” was too strong a word, I can not disagree with you enough on your interpretation of it’s use by Mr. Shea (i.e., “argument too weak to stand on it’s own merits”). That overly simplistic view is just plain wrong.

  • Maolsheachlann

    Can’t add anything eloquent. All I can say is that I completely agree. It’s a bad warning sign when someone is attacking the very people who are taking Christ to the world most effectively. The Catholicism series will surely have exponentially more of a haul of souls than Church Militant, which is only preaching to the converted and congratulating them on their pristine orthodoxy. Well done, sir.

    • Jess Cartwright

      Attack and criticism are not the same. I did not hear an attack. You are presumptuous using that word and it makes you statement sound daft, and silly.

  • CarrieC

    COMPLETELY agree!!! THANK YOU!!!

  • Diego Torres

    Michael Voris is a servant of God who has a compulsion to tell the truth a rare bird in the Catholic Church these days.

    • david

      And a compulsion for drama and histrionics

  • W. Keith Moore

    Fr. Barron has done more for bringing the Truth of the Church to the world than anyone from America in a long time. As a priest of God, he is also the vehicle by which Christ becomes present in the Holy Mass. Mr. Voris is jealous. Fr. Barron is about Truth, not gossip, bickering, accusing, and narcissistic Bill O’Reilly wanna-be trouble-makers. This crap has to stop! Mr Voris comes across as a self-righteous goober. Come on dude! Cut it out.

  • GibbyD
    • Dave

      GibbyD and others,
      I pray that your eyes be opened to the “church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” (1 Tim 3:15). If you care to look beyond the worn and cliche lies and deceptions of carm.org, I suggest you start with one of the following:
      Both are excellent and inspirational sites doing tremendous good in bringing the truth of the fullness of God’s revelation to light in a dark and troubled world!

      • GibbyD

        Dave , the roman catholic religion cannot save you , ONLY The LORD Jesus can and will if you simply, ” repent toward God and place your faith and trust toward The LORD Jesus Christ ” ( Acts 20:21)KJB. If you reject the Gospel , then God cannot save you . If you hold onto the religion of filthy rags righteousness and reject the pure grace and mercy of God , then you have no hope and will die in your sins. ( Isaiah 64:6; Ephesians 2:8,9; Galatians )KJB. God warned the world of your religion in Revelation chapter 17. You cannot read that portion of God’s word and tell me that does not describe the roman religion . If the gospel be hid , it is hid from self-righteous lost people such as yourself who hold onto men’s traditions rather than believe The HOLY WORD OF GOD that has existed from all eternity but has been manifested in these last days in the person of The LORD Jesus Christ . “The god of this world , the devil , has blinded the minds of them that believe not lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto them ” . ( 2 Corinthians 4:3;4)KJB. Please do not delay , you still have time as long as you have breath to become a true saved born again child of God . ( John 3:3,16; I peter 1:23)KJB.

        • Dave


          We are saved by grace alone. Though we can never earn salvation by our own merits, we may certainly lose it through our sins. Therefore, I am redeemed by the blood of Christ, I trust in Him alone for my salvation, and, as the Bible teaches, I am working out my salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). Justification by “faith alone” was an invention of Luther. One cannot use one part of scripture to deny or contradict another. I welcome the misinterpretation of Rev 17 because Jesus said, “If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household” (Matt.10:25). Yes, I have been born again, born of water and the Spirit, when I was baptized. I realize it is difficult to distinguish between the Truth and the anti-Catholic sentiments, beat into us through repetition. That’s why I believe both those websites, Fr. Barron’s and Michael Voris’, are invaluable for someone truly concerned about Christian apologetics.

          • GibbyD

            Rome does not teach that salvation is by grace through faith alone in the finished work of The LORD Jesus Christ ( Ephesians 2:8,9; Galatians 5). That is why they are a cult , a false religious system built on fear and control of it’s subjects . Dave , . I don’t think you know what your own religion believes or are just lying about what they teach. Dave, what don’t you understand about the everlasting part of “everlasting life”. ( John 3:16)KJB. . If a person could lose it after receiving it , then it was not everlasting life they had or thought they had but rather conditional temporary life until you mes up bad enough . The Bible teaches that once a person is truly born again , they will stay born again . God begins a work that He promises to complete until the day of The LORD Jesus. ( Philippians 1:6)KJB. To ” “work out ” your salvation( Phil. 2:12) , not “work for”,means to let it unfold ,. , manifested and displayed in your life. You did not read the rest of the verse . ” For it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of HIs good pleasure” .. The Bible does not say ” Justification by faith alone”. It says that salvation is BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH .alone and NOT of Works lest any man boast, ( Ephesians 2:8,9). Justification and salvation are two different things . Saved is what we are for those that have repented toward God and have placed our faith and trust toward The LORD Jesus Christ . Justification is involved with making us appear to be what we already are . This is what the book of James is about . This takes work and effort to appear and manifest the born again and everlastingly saved people that we are. . Salvation though is clearly,” BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH AND THAT NOT OF OURSELVES, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD , NOT OF WORKS LEST ANY MAN BOAST” ( Ephesians 2:8,9)KJB. Luther did not say that , the apostle Paul inspired by God did . Your religion is the one that takes Scripture out of context as a private interpretation , overthrowing the rest of the Scriptures . The few Scriptures that some think teach that salvation is earned or can be lost , can be properly understood and interpreted by rightly diving the Word of God and understanding context and to who the portion is addressing. For instance in Matthew 24 where it says ” he that endureth to the end , the same shall be saved” , is speaking about Tribulation saints during the future time of Jacob’s Trouble spoken of by the prophet . Dave , who do you think Revelation 17 is speaking about? It describes Rome perfectly. And it was not born again Bible believers that murdered thousands of catholics that disagreed with them but rather Rome Catholics that murdered thousands upon thousands of Christians who simply believed what God said about salvation .. Talk about “being maligned ” , you can’t be serious . Again you do not read the context of what the passage in John 3 is speaking about concerning being “born of water and the spirit ” . Please read what it says . ” That which is BORN OF THE FLESH is FLESH and that which is born of the spirit it spirit “. That which is born of water is revealed in the same chapter to be talking about physical birth . There is NO water baptism mentioned at all in that chapter. The baptism later on in the New Testament by the writings and letters of Paul and also by Luke in Acts , show that it is The Spirit Baptism that saves when The Holy Spirit Places a believer INTO The Body of Christ when they become born again . Jesus said , Ye MUST be born again . Please stop trusting in Rome, Mr. Barron or Mr. Mr. Voris because they cannot save you and never died for you or payed for your sins. TRUST ONLY IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST . He alone is worthy . He alone can save you from hell . He alone should get all the glory !!!

            • Dave


              We really are not as far apart as you think. For we are saved by grace alone. Though we can never earn salvation by our own merits, we may certainly lose it through our sins. Therefore, I am redeemed by the blood of Christ, I trust in Him alone for my salvation, and, as the Bible teaches, I am working out my salvation with fear and trembling. This has always been the teaching of the Church. GibbyD, that you presume to know what I believe and deny that I believe what I believe, that you presume to know what the Church teaches let alone how God will judge, is a very small example of why there are 30-40,000 Christian denominations, each clamoring they have it right. I am making a sincere effort to learn how the earliest Christians lived, what they believed, and how they worshipped – you know, before the table of contents of the Bible was inspired and established in the 5th century by the Church. And it sure looks Catholic to me! (Luther added “alone.”) This is it for me here…..AMDG!

              • GibbyD

                “For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves , it is the gift of God , not of works , lest any man should boast” ( Ephesians 2:8,9)KJB. ” Being confident of this very thing that He that began a good work in you , will complete it until the day of The LORD Jesus” ( Philippians 1:6)KJB. . There are many groups that claim to be God’s people . There are two different classes , one apostate and or false and The other His true church and bride . There are ones that teach works as needed for salvation and the others that trusting in the finished work of Christ is what saves and the works will follow as evidence of that genuine salvation . There are many so called “protestant denomination ” that also teach the false Gospel of works in addition to faith in Christ . Those and Rome and most if not all religions teach man’s merit and effort as part of gaining favor with God or making it to heaven . The Gospel that is in The Bible teaches that the only work that is needed to be saved is ” repentance toward God and faith toward The LORD Jesus Christ ‘ ( Acts 20:21; Acts 16:31(KJB. The true Church is made of every born again believer throughout the whole earth and in Heaven . Some are in Baptist, Lutheran , Methodist , catholic and other groups with different names BUT they all hold to the truth of The Deity of The LORD Jesus Christ , salvation by grace through faith in Christ apart from works , and the final authority of God’s Word . It is not the Scriptures alone but rather The Scriptures SUPREME ! The LORD is our Shepherd . Jesus is the bishop of our souls and He has promised to be there in our midst whenever two or three are gathered in and unto His name . They asked Jesus in John 6 what works they could do to work the works of God to be saved . Jesus told them , ” this is the work of God that ye believe on Him whom God has sent ” . Dave , I know what Rome teaches about salvation because it is clearly written in their dogma. They deny the grace of God and give no assurance of salvation ot that a man can know for sure he is going to heaven .Whereas the Bibles says , ” These things have I written unto them that believe in the name of The LORD Jesus Christ , THAT THEY MIGHT KNOW THAT THEY HAVE ETERNAL LIFE….” ( I John 5:13)KJB. If you want to know how the earliest Christians lived , then read The Bible . The Bible was not written by Rome , it existed forever and was recognized by man and counsels of men besides the general populace who believed. There was no mention of a Roman Catholic church until after four centuries of the true church’es founding in Acts chapter two. The first assembly after the resurrection met on the 1st day of the week for prayer , the apostles doctrine , breaking of bread and fellowhsip “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” ( Acts 2:42-47)KJB. They were gathered unto and in The Name of The LORD Jesus Christ . ( Matthew 18:20)KJB. Not any other name . I pray you come out from among them and be separate . Go forth unto Him without the camp , bearing His reproach . For here we have no continuing city but we seek one to come . For the things that are seen are temporary but the things that are unseen are eternal .

                • Anthony Hollars

                  What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

                  Indeed someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called “the friend of God.” See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route? For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

                  ~James 2:14-26~

                  Faith and grace alone will not save anyone.

                  • GibbyD

                    Anthony Hollars, The words ‘justification” and “salvation” , are NOT the same . Even the word “salvation” needs to be taken in it’s context to determine if it has to do with saving your physical life and or including bringing victory to it , and ob course it can mean saving a soul from Hell . To begin with lets look at to whom the book is written to primarily . “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, TO THE TWELVE TRIBES which are scattered abroad, greeting.”.( James 1:1)KJB. Notice who he is writing to and ask yourself if you are of one of the twelve tribes of Israel . The best understanding of this book is that it is for Jewish believers during the time of Jacob’s Trouble in the future. Some call that time , “The Great Tribulation ” . I believe the Church will have already have been taken up by then and indeed salvation will have to be accompanied by works for salvation for those who get left here after the catching up of the church ( I Thessalonians 4:16,17)KJB. This is the best interpretation of this book . We can apply some of it’s truth , for instance teachings about justification vs. Salvation . Justification is not salvation . Salvation of our soul is obtained by . “repentance toward God and faith toward The LORD Jesus Christ ” ( Acts 20:21; Ephesians 2:8,9; Acts 16:31)KJB. Please read John 6:28,29″Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

                    Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”

                    Justification is what the book of James is speaking about NOT salvation of your soul. Justification is making something to appear for what it is . For the genuine Christian , justification involves making us to appear for what we are by good works and obedience to God . Notice also the good works used as an illustration , has to do with acts of love and concern for others. Since we are Christians , we should work for justification so that we appear to be who we are, sons of God . Christians do not hurl unfounded insults , calling people names such as “ignoramus”. That would be unloving and possibly evidence of not being a Christian. The examples in James 2:14-26, are old testament believers where works did have to accompany being a believer. They call the Church Age , The age of Grace, for a reason.

  • peace be with you

    Upon listening to both videos, Fr. Barron’s lecture is rational, compassionate, and humble. Gratefully, he adds to my experience of God’s infinite love and to my understanding of Catholicism. Even though Mr. Voris is clearly intelligent and well-spoken, his judgements of Fr. Barron do not add anything and did not sit well with me. I feel Mr. Voris did not listen to what Fr. Barron actually said with his mind AND his heart… I believe it is important to edify others and I appreciate Fr. Barron for what he has accomplished in bringing the beauty and love that is Catholicism to the modern age. Our God loves us…. and we are to love Him and love others…

  • Azygos

    I like Robert Barron but Michael Voris is absolutely right about this and Barron is in error. It is a condemned error in fact to have good hope for the salvation of those who die outside the True Faith (Syllabus of Errors # 17). Not to mention Jesus specifically mentions that those who are not with him are against him and that evil doers go into the lake of fire. Along with the vision of hell received by the seers at Fatima where they saw the vision of hell and said many will be lost. And then you have saints and doctors who affirm all of this, along with past popes and church fathers.

    Pope Pius IX (1846–1878), Allocution Singulari Quadem, December
    9, 1854: “Not without sorrow we have learned that another error, no less
    destructive, has taken possession of some parts of the Catholic world, and has
    taken up its abode in the souls of many Catholics who think that one should
    have good hope of the eternal salvation of all those who have never lived in
    the true Church of Christ. Therefore, they are wont to ask very often what will
    be the lot and condition of those who have not submitted in any way to the
    Catholic faith, and, by bringing forward most vain reasons, they make a
    response favorable to their false opinion.

    • Imrahil

      Please read the Syllabus correctly.

      It is a condemned error to have good hope for the salvation of everyone who dies outside the Catholic Church. (#17) You’re leaving out the “everyone”.

      Consequently… it is not condemned (at least not here) to have good faith in the salvation of everyone minus one person dying outside the Catholic Church.

  • Joesph

    There is no ambiguity on the existence of Hell. Scripture is clear on this. If Hell then exists what is it purpose except as eternal punishment. Luke 16:18-31. The repeated admonitions in various apparitions of Our Lady are the testimony of the Mother God. IF Father Barron wants to speculate let him do that privately, but to make these suggestions to the general laity is doing the Devils work. Research documented exorcisms and you will discover the reality of souls who are eternally dammed.

    This whole concept of that everyone is saved by the merits of Christ (because God after all is merciful and would never condemn anyone)is Protestant theology. Fr. Barron of all people should know that God condemns no one. Each man who rejects Christ condemns himself. Our Lady has repeatedly said in various apparitions that there are many priests and Bishops who are leading many to perdition. We have been repeatedly told by the Church Fathers to work out out salvation in fear and trembling. Padre Pio has certainly attested to the existence of Hell.

    There are so many testimonies to eternal damnation, one has to wonder how Fr. Barron can even suggest the contrary.

    • Christi H

      No one said everyone is saved, merely that speculating weather almost no one will be lost is not outside of the pale of orthodoxy.
      Speculating, ro even hoping that a miraculous repentence is being made by most sinners at their deaths is a beautful, hopeful thing. I dont tink I can let myself hope that much, but I would certainly never condem someone who deos.

  • Jess Cartwright

    Thanks for turning me on to Michael Voris. I like him. It’s about time SOMEBODY started advocating to catholic theology. The clergy sure isn’t. The bishops – as stated in another post – are not. And I agree with Voris. JUST BECAUSE the church doesn’t directly state (something) does not mean it doesn’t exist, and the Bible [God’s word] always trumps any liturgical writing. Rome doesn’t mention my house mortgage in any church writings, but I can assure you… it exists, and people are there.

  • Fr. G

    This is ridiculous. The next thing Voris will critique will be Fulton Sheen and EWTN.

    • Jess Cartwright

      Actually, Vorris is a huge and admiring fan of Venerable Fulton Sheen. That’s VENERABLE, by the way. But you knew that already, correct? Since you put the title Fr. in your username, I am sure you earned it. I am QUITE SURE the Venerable Arch Bishop earned HIS title.
      EWTN is not a Church entity, and was actually moved against (by the Church) to instill the precepts of the Church by the staff running it, rightly or wrongly. I’m not going into that history. It is ill-relevant. Can you really argue with history, because the two points you supposed were poor and not very well ‘thought out’.
      Additionally, I find it “odd” you did not know Vorris was such an admirer of Venerable Fulton Sheen. That tells me you have never seen, nor read anything by Michael Vorris outside this article. Your opinion strikes me as a bit premature and irresponsible. In an “ironic” sort of fashion, you actually proved many of his points!
      God bless you father. Peace be with you.

      • FaithfulCatholic

        Jess, you’re response is overtly cheerful of Mr. Voris (not “Vorris”), you need to take a deep breath and step back a little. I’ve followed him for many years now, and he is usually right on, but not always. He has developed Rad Trad leanings which have adversely his views regarding certain aspects of Church Teaching. You need to do your homework …

    • Stephanie

      Mr. Voris is a big fan of Fulton Sheen and served as an altar boy on July 4, 1976.

  • Glenda Dacumos

    I became a revert Catholic because of Michael Voris. He is so brave to tell the Catholic teachings. I was a protestant and I thought it’s okay because some Catholic leaders would not say something about it. They would say…”not to judge…, respect other’s beliefs”. So I thought, it was okay to believe what I was believing as long as I believe in Jesus, though not Catholic. But when I tuned in to RealCatholic.com or ChurchMilitant.com, there was like a sword that pierced my prideful soul. Then it helped me to return to the true faith, and I’m currently striving to be better Catholic Christian. So, may God bless Michael Voris.

    • HornOrSilk

      The problem is he disregards the Church when it goes against his own particular views, and encourages Protestant rebellion. He isn’t promoting the Church but himself. He isn’t needed for you to be Catholic, and indeed, gets in the way of being Catholic because of his disregard for the fullness of the Church’s teaching. Funny how those who talk about trapping lies get upset when their views are put under criticism, as with their fans.

      I hope you truly remain with the Church. Don’t confuse Voris or his extreme positions as the Church. The same as I say with those interested in private revelations. So many say what you just said for false apparition! Remember that!

      • D.A. Howard

        Wrong Horn. name one thing that Voris has said against Church Teaching.

        • HornOrSilk

          ““And the Father loves the Son. Love is not something in the Father. Love is not something in the Son.” http://www.churchmilitant.tv/video/totf-2009-12-06.mov (Love is not in the Father?) That’s just one.

          • alvaroguva

            Love is not something *IN* the father. God IS love, he doesn’t simply possess it as an attribute.

        • FaithfulCatholic

          Wrong Howard. Voris strongly implied several times that receiving Holy Communion in the hands is incorrect. This view is in total contradiction to Church teaching as it pertains to what is allowed in certain countries (i.e., “USA”). Also, Mr. Voris invites Rad Trads for interviews, which at the very least is a huge cause for concern. Mr. Voris needs to get back on track …

          • Stephanie

            Michael cites his source for that statement. The preference from the Vatican has always been kneeling, on the tongue. Standing in the hand was supposed to be an extraordinary thing, not what most parishes do. The problem is that so many parishes today have a norm of standing in the hand that when those two nice young Irishmen wanted to receive kneeling on the tongue out of respect for Our Lord, the priest scolded and publicly chastised them!

            • FaithfulCatholic

              No, you do not understand the mistake that Voris made. He SPECIFICALLY implied that receiving Communion in the hand was WRONG. That is an ERROR, it MISLEADS the faithful, and OPPOSES formal Church Teaching. The problem is that Radical Traditionalists have latched on to this incorrect way of thinking, and Voris is feeding in to those misconceptions (as witnessed by his allowing interviews with Rad Trad E. Michael Jones).

              • Richard Long

                No, you do not understand the mistake that Voris made??? Sure we do… He is an pompous arrogant buffoon, who is often caught up in believing his OPINION is actual CHURCH TEACHING, all the while creating hateful division which is not building up the body of Christ!

                Micheal Voris = Cult of Hatred!

                • FaithfulCatholic

                  That remark is wayyyy off base. As I said before, I’ve been following Mr. Voris since he began and he is 98% DEAD ON ACCURATE in regards to Church Teaching. He only digresses when he gets involved with certain Radical Traditionalist ideals, but thus far this has been the exception and not the rule. Mr. Voris does what very few apologists do, which is reporting on the news that others are afraid to talk about. So, let us keep our wits about us and not go off the spiritual cliff here. Our opinions have to be based on facts, and not on emotions.

                  • Richard Long

                    Our opinions have to be based on facts, yes, but not the opinions of Micheal Voris? Sounds reasonable!

                    98% GOOD but only 2% based upon EVIL CONDEMNING HATRED from the Father of Lies.

                    Micheal Voris = Cult of Hatred!

                    • FaithfulCatholic

                      No, NOT REASONABLE.

                      If 98% of everything he says is right on, and he also provides info that every other apologist is afraid to report, then his activities stand as being worthwhile.

                      Additionally, I find it odd how you continue exclaiming “Cult of Hatred”, as it seems that very statement is born of the same mentality.

                      Time for a REALITY CHECK check dude …

                    • Richard Long

                      2% error… who knows what is trustworthy then? 98% right… cause you said so? Good enough for me! 🙂

                      Mr Webster seems to know Mr Voris as well; his definition, at least, pegs this spokesmen of “the father of lies.”

                      CULT: a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous

                      HATRED: prejudiced hostility or animosity

                      Yep…Micheal Voris = Cult of Hatred!

                    • FaithfulCatholic

                      Dude, you’re in need of spiritual direction.

                      NEED: a physiological or psychological requirement

                      SPIRITUAL: of, relating to, or affecting the spirit

                      DIRECTION: guidance or supervision of action or conduct:

                      Yep…You = Need Spiritual Direction!

                    • Richard Long

                      Yep… like Voris again!

                      Micheal Voris = Cult of Hatred!

            • Richard Long

              Michael cites his sources, but do you?

              You said, “The PREFERENCE FROM THE VATICAN has always been kneeling, on the tongue.”

              Can you, possibly cite your sources? A Church document, decree, etc. for this statement will do. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure that is NOT the “preference of the Vatican”, but rather your OPINION. So please, by all meas, prove me wrong and educate me by “citing your sources.” Where can we read this for ourselves to verify this bold statement you made on behalf of the Vatican?

              • Richard Long

                Thought Not… leogirl87 seem to be yet another MadTrad, passing her OPINION off as Sacred Teaching. This is the problem with Micheal Voris and his minions. Condemning others on their “half cocked” opinions and poor theology.

      • BillXR3

        They probably considered St. Paul extreme. Let go of the “extremist: labeling; let go of yourself and follow Christ. Your bitterness is a false God.

    • FaithfulCatholic

      I came back through the efforts of EWTN and Catholic Answers, and I’m glad I did. Mr. Voris is very good for seeing what is going on in the Church that does not get reported by most mainstream Catholic organizations, but be careful as he often lets his own personal views get in the way of dispensing true Catholic Teaching.

  • Mark

    I think Mr. Voris has it right. You
    see, the Church teaches from Scripture and Tradition and only comments by her
    authority over either as necessary in some historical context. That this
    question about the human presence in hell hasn’t been precisely clarified in
    dogma does not mean that there is no doctrine to be preserved by the Church–as
    it turns out, in both Scripture and Tradition. For example, before the dogma on
    Purgatory was defined, the doctrine on purgatory existed and was properly
    understood and validly taught in catechesis and used in correction of those who
    had mistaken opinions. The same for the Marian dogmas, sacramental dogmas, etc.
    All such beliefs pre-existed their formal definitions. We cannot say someone is
    a heretic until there is a dogma, but we can accuse people of error and false
    teaching and demand correction because they don’t correspond to the doctrine.
    Likewise for this current question. There are orthodox and unorthodox answers
    to the question of human presence in hell, to be judged by whether they
    correspond to the (I claim) valid and existing doctrine.

    Now, I haven’t read what Benedict
    XVI said, but if he says anything similar to what Fr. Barron is saying, then he
    too is wrong and we have to call him on it. This, also, let me explain. I know
    where they are coming from. They are theologians of the first rank, but as the
    devil uses one’s strengths against the person (like jujutsu) they are focused
    on such a narrow technicality of something “not being defined in
    dogma” that they end up ignoring the whole weight of contrary evidence.
    They are just following an intellectual thrill at evaluating a most likely
    false but not yet declared false concept. In short, it is the difference
    between speculative theology (the suggestion that maybe all humans avoid hell),
    vs. normative theology (the doctrine that there is a hell and people have and
    do and will continue to go there).

    Consider what the Church recommends
    I quote:

    “28. The preceding considerations
    have a particular application to the case of the theologian who might have
    serious difficulties, for reasons which appear to him well founded, in
    accepting a non-irreformable magisterial teaching. [–like our question on hell–]
    Such a disagreement could not be justified if it were based solely upon the
    fact that the validity of the given teaching is not evident or upon the opinion
    that the opposite position would be the more probable. Nor, furthermore, would
    the judgment of the subjective conscience of the theologian justify it because
    conscience does not constitute an autonomous and exclusive authority for
    deciding the truth of a doctrine.

    30. In cases like these, the
    theologian should avoid turning to the ‘mass media’, but have recourse to the
    responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public
    opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and
    renders servite to the truth.”

    Now, I ask you, considered plainly,
    is there any weight to arguments that God’s love is so great or his power so
    immense that somehow he finds a way to save all humans from going to hell? It
    is wishful thinking. Whether or not true, it is a wish and only a wish, hence “wishful
    thinking,” hence, “speculative theology.” Contrast this with the words of our Lord
    in the Gospels, which explicitly address the question of whether God’s will
    that all be saved in fact results in all being saved. Clearly many human
    persons go to hell. Many formulations and statements by popes and councils and
    saints could also be offered. This is the doctrine of the Church despite the
    fact that it hasn’t been elevated to the level of dogma.

    Mr. Voris is correct in his criticism that some theologians are presenting to the publicspeculative opinions without
    grounding while ignoring the normative teaching of the Church, which is well
    established in Scripture and Tradition. Such dissonant voices as Fr. Barron’s harm the evangelization they wish to support. Mr. Voris has a confrontational style, but I think it is justifiable in most cases.

    • anon

      If Christ has declared there is a hell and who will go there, that is the real end of the story. And since he has declared this, we should fear it. Father Barron and others like him enjoy pontificating on the matter without respecting the word of God. The subtext is always ‘Well, we really don’t think he really means hell, per se.’ But he did exactly mean hell!

      We should be in the confessional as often as necessary. Repent! This is what Father Barron should be saying. Repent, and then go on to enjoy your life knowing you spared of hell!

      • chezami

        You should attempt the difficult task of knowing something about what Fr. Barron said before joining the herd of inquisitors who are all stupidly certain he denies the existence of hell. Stop letting demagogues with webcams do your thinking for you.

        • FaithfulCatholic

          Anon has chosen one way of thought, you have chosen another. While neither is perfect, clearly …

          Anon has chosen the better part.

      • Stephanie

        IF what Fr. Barron means is that all souls alive right now are able to be saved, then yes I’d agree. What is the point of evangelizing if all the souls are doomed? We have to have hope of the reversion of the West back to Christianity and the conversion of the East to Christianity. But will most people actually end up in Heaven? Probably not. There is too much pride and sin in the world, and most people would rather live their way than God’s way. You can show someone all the evidence in the world, but if his heart is hard and his mind closed to God, he will still not see the Truth.

        Yes, go to Confession, just be careful. Confession is not a free pass to sin as much as you want as long as you go back there eventually. Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.”

    • Deacon Jerry

      Perhaps he is not a heretic… But scripture says: Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching. (Hebrews 13:9 NAB).

  • Anonymous

    Michael Voris cannot be trusted on pontificating on matters of faith. The man has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sacred Theology, has written nothing scholarly and has not been reviewed by fellow theologians. END OF STORY.

    • Jess Cartwright

      Perhaps you could share with us the Alma Mater that adorns Jesus’ college T-shirt. You sound like Pontius Pilot!
      Now you may close your “story book”, apply named.

    • John Paul Doyle

      Did venerable jacinta marto of fatima write any books ? Does her opinion on hell mean nothing? End of story.

    • FaithfulCatholic

      Mr. Voris is 98% dead on when talking about matters of the Faith. He only gets into trouble when he starts leaning towards the Rad Trad crowd, as when he invites E. Michael Jones for an interview. I pray he stays away from the Mad Trads …

      • Stephanie

        I haven’t found anything he’s said so far to be against the faith. The complaints people have had were about his “lack of charity”. But is it really “charitable” to pretend that all religions are equal? To pretend that divorce and remarriage without an annulment is anything less than what Jesus said it is: adultery? To pretend that nobody is in danger of hell because only Hitler, if anyone, actually goes there, even though Our Lord Himself said many souls will go there?

    • Deacon Jerry

      Sounds like a theological nincompoop!

      • FaithfulCatholic

        “Sounds like”? Seriously?

        If you do not have extensive experience with Mr. Voris’s material (as I do), then you shouldn’t be commenting on him.

        • Deacon Jerry

          Extensive experience with Mr. Voris’s material???
          When one is in High School, one generally finds little fulfillment with grammar school books! Why would I read or watch his material (other than to pick apart his hateful rhetoric)?

          Voris has an S.T.B. No matter how impressed he may be with those initials behind his name, they are none-the-less, an undergrad degree.

          I do hold a Masters in Catholic Theology, thus I stand by my prior statement, and feel empowered by my education to do so; Voris remains a theological nincompoop!

          • FaithfulCatholic

            “I do hold a Masters in Catholic Theology”??? The importance relegated to the amount of training one has in the Faith always remains secondary to their obedience of the Magisterium of the Church. I thought you would have already known that? That said, I already know where Mr. Voris dedication is directed, it is yours that I am not so sure about. Love of Christ through obedience to His Church’s Magisterium is what is important, not a piece of paper someone flashes around in the air. Becoming boastful as did the Pharisees is not a very good sign, using the word “nincompoop” … an even worse one.

            • Deacon Jerry

              You said’ “I shouldn’t be commenting on Voris’s material.” Stating my education, was not and act boastfulness, but rather, me validating that I feel at a educational level, that I can comment on the Voris material.

              Now, from me stating my educational level to refute your statement, YOU have somehow JUDGED me to be BOASTFUL? That is what we call being judgmental, end of discussion!

              • FaithfulCatholic

                “BOASTFUL” Yes, your knee jerk response to Mr. Voris S.T.B. being “I have a Masters degree” was obviously inclined towards that end. I realize it must be difficult to admit it, but that changes nothing.

                Forgetting that fact for a moment, can you possibly get back on track towards serving the Faithful (of which the word “diaconate” was derived) and start defending the Teachings of Holy Mother Church instead instead of attacking those people who are already doing that?

                With ordination (if you really are a deacon) comes greater responsibility towards that end, not a lesser one.

                • Richard Long

                  Thank you Deacon Jerry. I believe, to borrow from a military term, you have been DRAWING FIRE from this evil clown.

                  Poke him a little, and he has called you, outside of Church teaching, not pastoral, boastful, not exercising your office as a deacon correctly, and a lair – implying you are not a deacon.

                  This guy is a hate filled guy, who only wants to condemn others who do not fall into his narrow vision of Catholicism. This is that same hatred that Michael Voris spews constantly.

                  Michael Voris and his minions = Cult of Hatred!

                  • Deacon Jerry


                • chezami

                  You seem to imagine you have the ability to read souls. You don’t. Stop it.

                • Stephanie

                  STB is a graduate-level degree.

            • Deacon Jerry

              You know, I hear so many using the words “Magisterium” or “Magistarial Teaching” in their dialogue regarding Voris. He simply is not a spokesperson for the Magisterium at any level. He could, I suppose become ordained, or perhaps, as a layperson, obtain a mandatum from his bishop.

              A mandatum is fundamentally and decree of acknowledgment by Church authority (his bishop) that a Catholic theological educator is a teacher within the full communion of the Catholic Church. Now this could easily clear so many issues. So why does he simply not do this?

              • FaithfulCatholic

                A deacon should already know that religious can/do teach heresy. So being at a certain teaching “level” within the Church (up to but not including the Pope) means nothing in that regard.

                Would you have people follow the ramblings of Luther because he was a Catholic priest? The false teachings of the Arian bishops merely because they were bishops?

                The Catechism clearly explains what the Church Teaches, and anyone who’s followed Mr. Voris for any length of time (this apparently excludes you) already knows he is 98% dead on with what he says. As to you, thus far I’ve seen nothing of your obedience to the Magisterium, instead, just a lot of criticism of others who already are.

                • Deacon Jerry

                  I’m boastful and disobedient to the magistarium? Great and thank you! I would have never had known, had you not have been so generous of assessing this for me. May God continue to bless you.

                  You must have missed the essence of my last sentence…

                  End of discussion means that- End of discussion!

                  You may have the last if you wish, but remember…. end of discussion!

                • Richard Long

                  Michael Voris and his minions = Cult of Hatred!

          • Stephanie

            The Bachelor of Sacred Theology (Latin: Sacrae Theologiae Baccalaureus; abbreviated S.T.B.) is a graduate-level academic degree in theology. Michael Voris has the first of three graduate-level degrees in theology.

    • Stephanie

      It’s called “Bachelor of Sacred Theology” but it’s a graduate-level degree.

      • Deacon Jerry

        To my original point, a person with only an S.T.B., has not yet developed the theological repertoire to make the claims this man does. I am not impressed with the initials S.T.B behind ANYBODY’S name. I would be impressed with a S.T.D. as this puts one “at the top of their game.”

        Myself, I never included my academic “initials” behind my name; humility I suppose.

        • Richard Long

          Still the same…

          Michael Voris and his minions = Cult of Hatred!

        • Paul Morphy

          St.Paul never included his academic initials behind his name either.

        • Imrahil

          Even I, who have no theology degree at all, have a right to make a claim – if such claim is well argued for, and, in the realm of Catholic theology, I do so with due obedience to lawful authority, ready to see myself corrected.

          Lawful authority is, of course, the Magisterium, in the sense of Pope, CDF, bishops, appointed censors and so forth. There is no right to censure invested in the magisterium of theology scholars, important though they too are for the Church.

          In science, including humanities, anyone can make a claim.
          Evidence, not eminence, as the physicians put it.

          Of course there may be a practical sense, a mere technical note: high-qualified scholars cannot spend their time to refute any claim of whomsover garden-variety amateur theologian, or to agree to every trifle matter-of-course. But, like it or not, the very fact that Mr Voris has a large-enough audience makes up for that in this respect.

          Critize Mr Voris for what he says all right. But I wonder how you’d even get the idea that to say them he should have a certain degree but not a lower one.

  • Jenn

    what I don’t like about Michael Voris is the fact that he basically throws all of us who are divorced and remarried into hell….Jesus never said that those who are divorced and remarried are condemned to hell….but there are morons like Michael Voris and people on other Catholic sites who will scare you to death about this…when I got divorced I went to confession and was forgiven of that sin and even told that someday I might find someone else…well…I have…that was back in 1994 and that marriage only lasted 8 months…I guess I should also mention that it wasn’t long after the divorce that my ex-husband got remarried…which tells me that he was not even faithful to me…so basically while I was being the housewife he was out with his friends fooling around….I am now remarried in 2012 and am finally with someone who truly loves me…we have been married for over a year now and I have never been happier…so if any of you morons want to start something over this then go for it…but I warn you…I will not be scared anymore about being condemned to hell…I love God with my whole heart and nothing is going to change my heart…

    • FaithfulCatholic

      Jenn, Catholics who divorce are required to get an annulment before remarrying. If you are still Catholic, then go to your Diocesan Tribunal and get things straightened out. Also, forget about what “your heart” makes you think as that is based mostly on emotion and can be extremely deceptive as it pertains to Truth.

      • Deacon Jerry

        Jenn… This poison who calls himself Michael Voris is not any authority on the Catholic Faith, nor is anyone willing to condemn you! They are NOT the voice of Jesus I hear in the gospel!

        In the words of Pope Francis, “who am I to condemn ?” If the pope doesn’t pass judgment on others, who cares about Michael Voris, his minions, or others who are willing to condemn you? These are nothing more than little people, with major issues! – May God bring them healing and forgiveness!

        More importantly, may God bless you and continue to bring you happiness! May you continue to seek Christ and find him in his fullness, and may the same Jesus guide you and your daily life.

        Deacon Jerry

        • FaithfulCatholic

          Are you a Catholic deacon or a protestant deacon?

          Because a Catholic deacon would’ve been aware of the Teachings of Holy Mother Church regarding divorce/remarriage and would be using pastoral care to bring people back into full communion with God.

          It seems a quick refresher is in need here:

          Catechism of the Catholic Church
          2384 Divorce is
          a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the
          contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other
          till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which
          sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is
          recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the
          remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent

          • Deacon Jerry

            See how easy it is to provoke the tenor of condemnation?

            I did not condemn Jenn, nor did I presume her marriage to be valid or invalid.

            I believe I wrote, may God bring her happiness and Jesus be a guiding factor in her life. Is this too a sin??? Sounds like the first steps of pastoral care to me!

            You presumed that I’m ok with an invalid marriage. You also presumed as well my statements are uncaring and not pastoral. Presumption requires a lot of opinion, and opinion is so often wrong! Perhaps you missed the point, as you seem to have been blinded by opinion; “Jesus guide you and your daily life”, maybe back into a sacramental state of grace.

            So how is it being pastoral to condemn or admonish in public anyhow? This is only something I would speak with a couple in private about.

            • FaithfulCatholic

              See how easy it is to provoke confusion when your statements remain ambiguous? You have a woman who claims she has been divorced and remarried and feels “condemned into hell”, yet you think against all forms of logic and reason that this has nothing to do with her re-marrying outside the Church.

              See now, how being shy of addressing issues that someone brought up in a public venue causes division in the Church.

            • Jenn


          • chezami

            By what occult art do you know Jenn has not gotten an annulment? I saw nothing about it either way in her note. Yet you speak to her with the assumption she did not and then presume to set her straight. Why not do the charitable (and unVorislike) thing and not assume the worst but instead ask her if she obtained an anullment?

            • FaithfulCatholic

              It is called using common sense. Catholics who remarry without having received an annulment constitutes an invalid marriage according to the Church, not one who hasn’t. So there could be no incrimination towards an individual who who has done the former, and not the latter. Do you understand now?

              • chezami

                You don’t know that she received no annullment. You just assume it. So instead of acting as judge, jury and executioner (the very thing that has hurt your sister in Christ) why not try finding out the facts instead of assuming you already know them.

                • Gigahoo

                  As someone who dropped in from a Lifesite news commentrary about Voris and Shea, I cannot imagine that Voris would condemn someone who would marries after an annulment. Therefore if Jenny feels criticized, it must be that she did not have an annulment. Otherwise, there is a comedy of errors here.
                  I certainly believe Shea’s defense of Fr Barron is fair play.

            • Gigahoo

              You’re just not that perceptive. It turns out that Jenn has stated she has not received an annulment. Actually from a careful reading of the text, this was a reasonable inference.

          • Jenn

            what I would really like to know is why is the church hell bent on receiving money for an annulment??? there should be no need to go through an “annulment process”…if a marriage breaks down then a marriage breaks down…I fought hard to keep my marriage and if you idiots think that condemning me is the right way to go then GOD HELP YOU..it is written that those who condemn are they themselves condemned…I am fed up with people saying that I am not even allowed into church where sinners are supposed to be allowed to go…all you people care about is throwing those of us who have divorced and remarried under the bus or thrown under the table to be eaten by the dogs…you people are SICK!!!

            • MDK66

              You don’t have to pay for an annulment if you do not have the money for it.

              • Jenn

                I guess I am going to have to check this out properly….I have been going about this all wrong by taking this to the internet and not going to the right places…different sites tell me different things….I guess the smart thing to do is to go to my local church and find out what steps I need to take…

          • Gigahoo

            I don’t think he is a deacon.

        • Pat Lopez

          Jenn, this poison who calls himself Deacon Jerry is is not any authority on the Catholic Faith. He is NOT the voice of Jesus I hear in the gospel. He judges Michael Voris even though in the words of Pope Francis, “who am I to condemn?” If the pope doesn’t pass judgment on others, who cares about Deacon Jerry, his minions, or others who are willing to condemn him? These are nothing more than little people, with major issues! – May God bring them healing and forgiveness!

          • Deacon Jerry

            Good grief… Get a life! Can you comment on something more current? This blog has been dead for months!

            Nice job on “knowing” me enough to pass judgment on me. What was the quote from Francis again? Never mind, reply if you must, I’m done countering the intellectually and theologically challenged here! Please find something happy in life and do something more constructive!

            Reply to the emptiness… I’m done listening, I fact, I’m deleting this DEAD blog from my notification list.

            God’s blessings upon you.

          • Jim Jimy

            Pat Lopez… Another one of these self righteous Catholic right… Well, as far as I’m concerned you’re part of the minion of hell! Go ahead, condemn me as well smart ass!

        • Jenn

          Thank you so very much for your kind words Deacon Jerry…I know that God helped me very much with this second marriage as it would not have happened without HIS help…GOD BLESS YOU!!!