Jesus Died for Fidel Castro. This Should Not Be a Controversy.

Jesus Died for Fidel Castro. This Should Not Be a Controversy. November 28, 2016

Fidel Castro in Washington, DC, 1959. Public domain.
Fidel Castro in Washington, DC, 1959.

Public domain


Or it should not be a controversy for Catholics. I know that Calvinists say Christ died only for the Elect. (Though they also say we can’t know the identity of the Elect, and would amend my title to read, “Jesus May Have Died for Castro, But We Don’t Know.”). Whereas, for Catholics (those who are rightly catechized) if we can’t know whether Castro is saved, we do know that Christ died for him. Christ died for him just as surely as he died for Mother Teresa.

  • Ezekiel 18:23. “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:15. “And he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
  • 1 Timothy 2:4. “[God] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
  • 2 Peter 3:9. “The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church 605. “At the end of the parable of the lost sheep Jesus recalled that God’s love excludes no one: ‘So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.’ He affirms that he came ‘to give his life as a ransom for many’; this last term is not restrictive, but contrasts the whole of humanity with the unique person of the redeemer who hands himself over to save us. 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.'”

At this point, it is always necessary to clarify what all of this does not mean.

  • It does not mean that Fidel Castro is saved. (Perhaps he’s not.)
  • It does not mean we can know the eternal destiny of Castro. (We can’t.)
  • It does not mean there is no Hell. (There most certainly is.)
  • It does not mean Castro did not do wicked things that merit Hell and that we ought to condemn. (He most certainly did.)
  • It does not mean Castro lived a virtuous life. (He most certainly did not.)
  • It does not mean those who suffered under Castro should not feel joy at his death. (Their joy is perfectly understandable and even just.)

It means that Christ died for all human beings, without exception, and that means that he died for Fidel Castro. End stop.

I can understand that this would be an issue of apologetic debate between Catholics and Calvinists. It should not be an issue of debate among Catholics.



In response, one person asked: “Were you almost drowned during baptism or dropped?

And of course, there is no answer to that. Case closed. I pack it up and go home, thoroughly refuted.

One more darling person told me:

Castro is NOT a child of God. He is an Atheist therefore cannot be saved because he did not confess his sins and ask for forgiveness.

On the first point, the author of that comment seems to be referring to the belief that only Christians are children of God. Galatians 3:26 says, “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. Likewise, John 1:12 says, “To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.”

And under that definition of “child of God,” the author is certainly correct.

However the supposition that Castro “did not confess his sins and ask for forgiveness” is just that—a supposition. No one can possibly know whether he did or did not.

Others have offered Scripture verses in an attempt to prove, apparently with the certainty of faith, that Castro is in Hell—something not even a Calvinist would claim the ability to know for sure.

  • 1 Corinthians 3:8. “He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labor.”

Now, the problem with using that verse as a proof text for “Castro is in Hell because Castro did wicked deeds” is that in 1 Corinthians 3, St. Paul is not talking to us about eternal destiny. The context is the growth of the Church. He begins by castigating those who attach themselves to particular individuals in the Church and say, “I am of Apollos” or “I am of Paul.” Apollos and Paul, he says, are only servants. Here is a fuller context:

I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Paul’s point is: “We are all co-laborers for the kingdom.” It is not: “Those who do wicked deeds will go to Hell.” Indeed, if 1 Cor. 3:8 is a proof text for Castro being in Hell, it is a proof text for everyone being in Hell. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23).

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

This verse certainly tells us that many people are in Hell; it does not tell us that Castro is necessarily one of them. Christ does not identify for us the names of these “many.” His point is not that we should worry ourselves with the identity of the damned; His point is that we should take care that we are not one of them.

There are many other such verses in the Bible that tell us that Hell is full of people, such as Isaiah 10:19 and Isaiah 17:5-6. But the prophet no more knew the names of those who are there than you or I do.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Problem is, the individual who cited this verse conveniently left out verse 11: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

There is forgiveness and redemption for those who repent. And we simply do not know whether Fidel Castro repented. Perhaps he did not; perhaps he did; we do not know. And St. Paul is not telling us, nor is he telling the church at Corinth.

  • 1 Peter 4:18. “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

The first thing to point out here is that Peter is quoting Proverbs 11:31, and that he is making two general points. The full context will help.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory[c] and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or a wrongdoer, or a mischief-maker; yet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God.

St. Peter tells us here to rejoice in our suffering. Suffering prepares us for salvation. That is, he is giving words of encouragement to those who are being persecuted. In that context, “It is hard for the righteous to be saved” means that persecution is hard to endure.

Now, the problem with using this verse as a proof text for “Castro is in Hell,” like the earlier verse, is that it proves too much. “It is hard for the righteous to be saved”; but there is none righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10). “What will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”—but we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If 1 Peter 4:18 proves that Castro is in Hell, then it proves that we will all go to Hell.

Indignant people all across Facebook gave me other verses as supposed proof-texts for Castro being in Hell. These include

  • Mark 20:16. (This verse does not exist. If you can find it, I salute you.)
  • Luke 8:23-24. (This verse tells us that Jesus calmed a storm at sea. Your guess is as good as mine, dear reader.)
  • Philippians 2:12. (A general warning to not presume upon one’s own salvation.)
  • Hebrews 6:8. (A general warning against the danger of apostasy.)
  • Ecclesiastes 1:15. (“What is crooked cannot be made straight,” saith the preacher. It is a poetic expression of his view that “everything is vanity under the sun”—a sentiment we are not meant to share. Taken literally, that would mean that repentance is impossible. More than that, it would contradict Isaiah 45:2—“The crooked places will be made straight.”)
  • Isaiah 24:3. (Which only tells us that God will destroy the earth at the end of time.)

If you can figure out what any of these have to do with the eternal destiny of Fidel Castro’s soul, I salute you, because I sure can’t.


Castro may very well be in Hell. But if he is:

  • We can’t know it;
  • That does not change at all the fact that Christ died for him.

We do not know the names of the damned. The secret things belong unto the Lord our God (Deut. 29:29). We should be content for Castro’s fate to be one of the secret things, and instead work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

And we should pray that Castro did turn to Christ and repent at the end. Christians should strive to have the mind of God, who does not desire the death of the sinner, but rather that he should repent and be saved.

“We do pray for mercy, / And that same prayer doth teach us all to render / The deeds of mercy.”


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