Is Apocatastasis a legitimate Catholic position/a possible hope?

Started by JJoseph, May 17, 2024, 03:37:51 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

JJoseph

Apocatastasis seems to have been the theory that everyone, or nearly everyone, will go to Purgatory. And, in some cases after nearly endless periods of time, will be restored and go to Heaven. CE describes it below - thoughts on whether it is legitimate?

https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01599a.htm

QuoteThis doctrine was explicitly taught by St. Gregory of Nyssa, and in more than one passage. It first occurs in his "De animâ et resurrectione" (P.G., XLVI, cols. 100, 101) where, in speaking of the punishment by fire assigned to souls after death, he compares it to the process whereby gold is refined in a furnace, through being separated from the dross with which it is alloyed. The punishment by fire is not, therefore, an end in itself, but is ameliorative; the very reason of its infliction is to separate the good from the evil in the soul. The process, moreover, is a painful one; the sharpness and duration of the pain are in proportion to the evil of which each soul is guilty; the flame lasts so long as there is any evil left to destroy. A time, then, will come, when all evil shall cease to be since it has no existence of its own apart from the free will, in which it inheres; when every free will shall be turned to God, shall be in God, and evil shall have no more wherein to exist. Thus, St. Gregory of Nyssa continues, shall the word of St. Paul be fulfilled: Deus erit omnia in omnibus (1 Corinthians 15:28), which means that evil shall, ultimately, have an end, since, if God be all in all, there is no longer any place for evil (cols. 104, 105; cf. col. 152). St. Gregory recurs to the same thought of the final annihilation of evil, in his "Oratio catechetica", ch. xxvi; the same comparison of fire which purges gold of its impurities is to be found there; so also shall the power of God purge nature of that which is preternatural, namely, of evil. Such purification will be painful, as is a surgical operation, but the restoration will ultimately be complete. And, when this restoration shall have been accomplished (he eis to archaion apokatastasis ton nyn en kakia keimenon), all creation shall give thanks to God, both the souls which have had no need of purification, and those that shall have needed it. Not only man, however, shall be set free from evil, but the devil, also, by whom evil entered into the world (ton te anthropon tes kakias eleutheron kai auton ton tes kakias eyreten iomenos). The same teaching is to be found in the "De mortuis" (ibid., col. 536). Bardenhewer justly observes ("Patrologie", Freiburg, 1901, p. 266) that St. Gregory says elsewhere no less concerning the eternity of the fire, and of the punishment of the lost, but that the Saint himself understood this eternity as a period of very long duration, yet one which has a limit. Compare with this "Contra Usurarios" (XLVI, col. 436), where the suffering of the lost is spoken of as eternal, aionia, and "Orat. Catechet.", XXVI (XLV, col. 69), where evil is annihilated after a long period of time, makrais periodois. These verbal contradictions explain why the defenders of orthodoxy should have thought that St. Gregory of Nyssa's writings had been tampered with by heretics. St. Germanus of Constantinople, writing in the eighth century, went so far as to say that those who held that the devils and lost souls would one day be set free had dared "to instill into the pure and most healthful spring of his [Gregory's] writings the black and dangerous poison of the error of Origen, and to cunningly attribute this foolish heresy to a man famous alike for his virtue and his learning" (quoted by Photius, Bibl. Cod., 223; P.G. CIII, col. 1105). Tillemont, "Mémoires pour l'histoire ecclésiastique" (Paris, 1703), IX, p. 602, inclines to the opinion that St. Germanus had good grounds for what he said. We must, however, admit, with Bardenhewer (loc. cit.) that the explanation given by St. Germanus of Constantinople cannot hold. This was, also, the opinion of Petavius, "Theolog. dogmat." (Antwerp, 1700), III, "De Angelis", 109-111.

KreKre

Souls burdened with unrepentant mortal sin end up in Hell, eternally separated from God. I'm pretty sure any teaching contrary to this is a heresy.
Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!

Michael Wilson

Apokastasis was condemned by the Church; case closed.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers

JJoseph

What about some kind of partial apocatastasis, for e.g. of all Christians as the same CE article says that St. Jerome held: "It was through Origen that the Platonist doctrine of the apokatastasis passed to St. Gregory of Nyssa, and simultaneously to St. Jerome, at least during the time that St. Jerome was an Origenist. It is certain, however, that St. Jerome understands it only of the baptized: "In restitutione omnium, quando corpus totius ecclesiæ nunc dispersum atque laceratum, verus medicus Christus Jesus sanaturus advenerit, unusquisque secundum mensuram fidei et cognitionis Filii Dei . . . suum recipiet locum et incipiet id esse quod fuerat" (Comment. in Eph., iv, 16; P.G., XXVI, col. 503)."

A patrology book says on St. Jerome: "«Pope Damasus transfered him from Antioch to Constantinople: here he was taught by St Gregory nαzιanzen, and became thrilled by Origen's exegetic method. At this time (381) he had a friendly relationship with St. Gregory of Nyssa»
    «Now an adversary of Origen, he translated in 395 the four books De principiis to fight his now enemy Rufinus» Mentions another 2 books against origenism.
    «Like Ambrosius, Jerome teaches that all who deny God (negantes et impii) will suffer the eternal punishment of hell; but not christians, even if they are "peccatores", because the Judgement Day this ones will get a mercifull sentence.»"

Another Catholic Encyclopedia article, this one on Predestination, argues for the salvation of Christians, especially Catholics, based on this principle, as probable, and says it is even possible >50% of the human race will be saved in the end. Sounds like a partial or semi-apocatastasis to me, since presumably most of that >50% will need Purgatory. Here's the source: ""When one hears the rigorists, one is tempted to repeat Dieringer's bitter remark: "Can it be that the Church actually exists in order to people hell?" The truth is that neither the one nor the other can be proved from Scripture or Tradition (cf. Heinrich-Gutberlet, "Dogmat. Theologie", Mainz, 1897, VIII, 363 sq.). But supplementing these two sources by arguments drawn from reason we may safely defend as probable the opinion that the majority of Christians, especially of Catholics, will be saved. If we add to this relative number the overwhelming majority of non-Christians (Jєωs, Mahommedans, heathens), then Gener* ("Theol. dogmat. scholast.", Rome, 1767, II, 242 sq.) is probably right when he assumes the salvation of half of the human race, lest "it should be said to the shame and offence of the Divine majesty and clemency that the [future] Kingdom of Satan is larger than the Kingdom of Christ" (cf. W. Schneider, "Das andere Leben", 9th ed., Paderborn, 1908, 476 sq.)."
From: https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12378a.htm

Michael Wilson

Quote from: JJoseph on May 17, 2024, 07:05:31 PM«Like Ambrosius, Jerome teaches that all who deny God (negantes et impii) will suffer the eternal punishment of hell; but not christians, even if they are "peccatores", because the Judgement Day this ones will get a mercifull sentence.»"
This is heresy: man's role is to live once and then to die and be judged; the state in which a man dies is the state that will determine his eternity; in the state of Grace: Heaven; in the state of Mortal Sin: Hell.
Here is the Catholic doctrine from "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma" Dr. Ludwig Ott, pg. 475:
QuoteImmediately after death the particular judgment takes place, in which, by a Divine Sentence of Judgment, the eternal fate of the deceased person is decided. (Sent. Fidei proxima)
pg. 479:
QuoteThe Souls of those who die in the condition of personal grievous sin enter Hell.
Dr. Ott stated that on the particular judgement:
QuoteThe views of the Early Church Fathers o the fate of the deceased are obscure. However, their belief in the particular judgment emerges from the general conviction that the good receive their reward and the evil their punishment immediately after death. As to the nature of the condition of reward or punishment in the other world uncertainty reigned. Many of the older Fathers (St. Justin, St. Irenaeus, Tertullian, St. Hilary, St. Ambrose) assume a state of waiting between death and resurrection, in which the just indeed receive reward and the evil punishment, but do not yet achiever the final blessedness of Heaven or the final condemnation of hell...
As to the number of the saved vs the damned, Our Lord has chosen not to reveal this to us and urges us to work out our salvation through prayer and penance and pray for the conversion of sinners.
Pope Pius IX in his "Syllabus of Errors" condemns the following propositions under the tittle of errors of "Indifferentism and Latitudinarianims"
Quote15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. — Allocution "Maxima quidem," June 9, 1862; Damnatio "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851.

16. Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation. — Encyclical "Qui pluribus," Nov. 9, 1846.

17. Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ. — Encyclical "Quanto conficiamur," Aug. 10, 1863, etc.

18. Protestantism is nothing more than another form of the same true Christian religion, in which form it is given to please God equally as in the Catholic Church. — Encyclical "Noscitis," Dec. 8, 1849.
If there was "good hope" in the salvation of non-Catholics, then the missionary endeavors of the Church since the beginning would have been mostly a waste of time.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers

JJoseph

Partial apocatastasis would first of all hold that, in accordance with Church doctrine, souls are either not fully culpable for their errors, or die in Grace and only with venial sins after committing acts of contrition. What if someone held 98+% of Catholics would be saved, maybe 80% of Orthodox and 60% of Prots (provided they are in good faith in errors) would be saved, and >50% of non-Christians (act of faith in Christ, and contrition, upon their deathbeds), as that CE article also argued over 50% of humanity would be saved? The missionary endeavors of the Church, especially to non-Christians would continue, especially because no one can determine culpability or lack thereof with absolute certainty in the external forum, and also because their chances of salvation are much better if they become Baptized Christians, especially Catholic Christians. I think the kind of arguments set forth in the 1911 CE are a development from harsher, more rigorist views held by some about 300 to 400 years ago, probably upon deeper study of especially the Eastern Church Fathers. Eastern Church Fathers like the two Eastern Saint Gregorys etc, were very devout, very orthodox, very anti-heresy, but also mild and merciful. Only God knows for sure in the end, but we can hope and pray for many to be saved.

KreKre

Quote from: JJoseph on May 19, 2024, 02:39:08 AMWhat if someone held 98+% of Catholics would be saved, maybe 80% of Orthodox and 60% of Prots (provided they are in good faith in errors) would be saved, and >50% of non-Christians (act of faith in Christ, and contrition, upon their deathbeds), as that CE article also argued over 50% of humanity would be saved?

That would be a heretical view. It would also be a sin against hope, taking salvation for granted.

Only God sees what is in the hearts of men, so only He can be a just judge in the matters of salvation and damnation. Nobody else can save or damn a soul except Him.

We don't know what is the percentage of souls that are going to be saved. We don't know who is going to Heaven and who to Hell. Jesus told us that the Gates of Hell are wide, and that the Gates of Heaven are narrow. What we do know is that God does not owe salvation to anyone - all men are undeserving of His mercy and are damned without it. We also know that faith alone is not sufficient for salvation (which is an error that many protestants make), we also need to be free of mortal sins. Does God make exceptions to this? What about a man who got hit by a bus on his way to confession? I don't know, I hope so, but I wouldn't dare to count on it.
Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!

Michael Wilson

Quote from: JJoseph on May 19, 2024, 02:39:08 AMPartial apocatastasis would first of all hold that, in accordance with Church doctrine, souls are either not fully culpable for their errors, or die in Grace and only with venial sins after committing acts of contrition.
First of all forget about apocatastasis; its already been condemened. Try instead to understand the Church's teaching on this subject. These (examples above) souls would die in the state of grace, but would still have to make reparation for their temporal debt by spending time in Purgatory.
QuoteWhat if someone held 98+% of Catholics would be saved, maybe 80% of Orthodox and 60% of Prots (provided they are in good faith in errors) would be saved, and >50% of non-Christians (act of faith in Christ, and contrition, upon their deathbeds), as that CE article also argued over 50% of humanity would be saved?
We don't know the percentages; we must hold as a dogma of the faith that: "outside the Church there is no salvation". These people may save their souls, but they are living in a very perilious state.

QuoteThe missionary endeavors of the Church, especially to non-Christians would continue, especially because no one can determine culpability or lack thereof with absolute certainty in the external forum, and also because their chances of salvation are much better if they become Baptized Christians, especially Catholic Christians.
It is impossible to save one's souls without baptism; and those who die without it, need to have at least baptism of desire. This is not a good situation to be in. "Non-culpability" doesn't save a soul, it is faith and grace.

QuoteI think the kind of arguments set forth in the 1911 CE are a development from harsher, more rigorist views held by some about 300 to 400 years ago, probably upon deeper study of especially the Eastern Church Fathers. Eastern Church Fathers like the two Eastern Saint Gregorys etc, were very devout, very orthodox, very anti-heresy, but also mild and merciful. Only God knows for sure in the end, but we can hope and pray for many to be saved.
True, the Eastern Fathers are much milder on the topics of grace and predestination; but they are just as adamant on the necessity of baptism.
I agree we have an obligation to pray for the salvation of all men. Our Lord commands us to:
St. Paul's Epistle to Tim (I Tim.2.4)
Quote1.I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men:  2 For kings, and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity.  3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour,  4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers

Michael

Quote from: Michael Wilson on May 17, 2024, 04:50:55 PMApokastasis was condemned by the Church; case closed.
It was condemned by the Roman branch of the Church.

Michael Wilson

Quote from: Michael on June 09, 2024, 08:48:30 AM
Quote from: Michael Wilson on May 17, 2024, 04:50:55 PMApokastasis was condemned by the Church; case closed.
It was condemned by the Roman branch of the Church.
The "Roman Branch of the Church" speaks for the whole Church.
The Pope is the mouthpiece of our Lord Jesus Christ on Earth.
The Mystical Body of Christ is not a many headed hydra monster, but has one Head, Our Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven, and His Vicar here on Earth, the Pope. The notion of a "Church" composed of various independent "autocephalus" bishops who are disunited in faith and government, is a pestiferous heresy born of unsound minds and errant souls.
Here are some historical documents:
QuoteSo the fathers of the fourth council of Constantinople, following the footsteps of their predecessors, published this solemn profession of faith:

    The first condition of salvation is to maintain the rule of the true faith. And since that saying of our lord Jesus Christ, You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church [55] , cannot fail of its effect, the words spoken are confirmed by their consequences. For in the apostolic see the catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished, and sacred doctrine been held in honour. Since it is our earnest desire to be in no way separated from this faith and doctrine, we hope that we may deserve to remain in that one communion which the apostolic see preaches, for in it is the whole and true strength of the christian religion [56] .

What is more, with the approval of the second council of Lyons, the Greeks made the following profession:

    "The holy Roman church possesses the supreme and full primacy and principality over the whole catholic church. She truly and humbly acknowledges that she received this from the Lord himself in blessed Peter, the prince and chief of the apostles, whose successor the Roman pontiff is, together with the fullness of power. And since before all others she has the duty of defending the truth of the faith, so if any questions arise concerning the faith, it is by her judgment that they must be settled." [57]

Then there is the definition of the council of Florence:

    "The Roman pontiff is the true vicar of Christ, the head of the whole church and the father and teacher of all Christians; and to him was committed in blessed Peter, by our lord Jesus Christ, the full power of tending, ruling and governing the whole church." [58]
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers

Joseph_3

>Nobody else can save or damn a soul except Him.

You can save a soul or damn one!

Why do you think our Lord Jesus calls us to action, as his servants, to proliferate his word and commit to the will of our Father in Heaven? Everything you do will have consequences, not only upon yourself but upon those around you. Your deeds will have a ripple like effect through posterity. If you are a belligerent sinner then you are a stumblingblock to your brothers and sisters and tempt them toward the gates of hell. If you are righteous, charitable and virtuous, you become as a light in the darkness.

If only God had the power to call men to the light, then what is the purpose of the prophets, of John the Baptist, the missionaries. Why would St. Francis have gone before the Sultan? Why would we be called to abstain from sin, knowing well that there is no sin in faith?

>Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. 8But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. 9But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 10For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; 11And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. 13Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

>Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
12Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Acolyte

To avoid purgatory is tough but doable.

https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14254a.htm

"Division of the states or ways
It is in the latter sense we have to understand the word state in this article, and, according to the various classes of souls who aspire to perfection in this life, The Fathers and theologians distinguish three stages or states of perfection. These are the states of beginners, the state of progress, and the state of the perfect. These states are also designated "ways", because they are the ways of God by which souls are guided on the road to heaven according to the words of the Psalmist: "He hath made His ways known to Moses: His wills to the children of Israel" (Psalm 102:7). Hence, we have the division of the spiritual life which has been adopted since the time of the Pseudo-Dionysius into the "purgative way", the "illuminative way", and the "unitive way". (See St. Thomas, II-II:183:4; Francisco Suárez, "De Religione", Tr. VIII, lib. I, c, xiii). St. Thomas well explains the reason for this division when he says:

The first duty which is incumbent on man is to give up sin and resist concupiscence, which are opposed to charity; this belongs to beginners, in whose hearts charity is to be nursed and cherished lest it be corrupted. The second duty of man is to apply his energies chiefly to advance in virtue; this belongs to those who are making progress and who are principally concerned that charity may be increased and strengthened in them. The third endeavor and pursuit of man should be to rest in God and enjoy Him; and this belongs to the perfect who desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ."
"From the moment we awake in the morning, let us pray continually in the words of holy David: Turn away my eyes, that they may not behold vanity"
St Alphonsus

"I will set my face against you, and you shall fall down before your enemies, and shall be made subject to them that hate you, you shall flee when no man pursueth you"
Leviticus 26:17

"Behold, O God our protector : and look upon the face of Thy Christ" (Ps. 79:20) Here is devotion to the face of Jesus Christ as prophesized by David."
Fr. Lawrence Daniel Carney III

Michael Wilson

If anyone is interested in Mystical Theology, two excellent books that I have read on the subjecte; both by Dominicans:
"The Mystical Evolution" Fr. Raul Arintero O.P.
"The Three Ages of the Interior Life, Fr. Garigou Lagrange O.P.
Both by TAN books
There is a shorter version of Fr. GLG's book above entitled "The Three Conversions of the Spiritual Life".
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP

"My brothers, all of you, if you are condemned to see the triumph of evil, never applaud it. Never say to evil: you are good; to decadence: you are progess; to death: you are life. Sanctify yourselves in the times wherein God has placed you; bewail the evils and the disorders which God tolerates; oppose them with the energy of your works and your efforts, your life uncontaminated by error, free from being led astray, in such a way that having lived here below, united with the Spirit of the Lord, you will be admitted to be made but one with Him forever and ever: But he who is joined to the Lord is one in spirit." Cardinal Pie of Potiers

Acolyte

Quote from: Michael Wilson on June 10, 2024, 04:59:19 PMIf anyone is interested in Mystical Theology, two excellent books that I have read on the subjecte; both by Dominicans:
"The Mystical Evolution" Fr. Raul Arintero O.P.
"The Three Ages of the Interior Life, Fr. Garigou Lagrange O.P.
Both by TAN books
There is a shorter version of Fr. GLG's book above entitled "The Three Conversions of the Spiritual Life".

Garigou Lagrange is solid.
"From the moment we awake in the morning, let us pray continually in the words of holy David: Turn away my eyes, that they may not behold vanity"
St Alphonsus

"I will set my face against you, and you shall fall down before your enemies, and shall be made subject to them that hate you, you shall flee when no man pursueth you"
Leviticus 26:17

"Behold, O God our protector : and look upon the face of Thy Christ" (Ps. 79:20) Here is devotion to the face of Jesus Christ as prophesized by David."
Fr. Lawrence Daniel Carney III