Author Topic: Most Catholics Will Go To Hell - St. Leonard  (Read 1694 times)

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Re: Most Catholics Will Go To Hell - St. Leonard
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2021, 04:32:59 PM »
The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved
by St. Leonard of Port Maurice

Saint Leonard of Port Maurice was a most holy Franciscan friar who lived at the monastery of Saint Bonaventure in Rome. He was one of the greatest missioners in the history of the Church. He used to preach to thousands in the open square of every city and town where the churches could not hold his listeners. So brilliant and holy was his eloquence that once when he gave a two weeks' mission in Rome, the Pope and College of Cardinals came to hear him. The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were his crusades. He was in no small way responsible for the definition of the Immaculate Conception made a little more than a hundred years after his death. He also gave us the Divine Praises, which are said at the end of Benediction. But Saint Leonard's most famous work was his devotion to the Stations of the Cross. He died a most holy death in his seventy-fifth year, after twenty-four years of uninterrupted preaching.

One of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice's most famous sermons was "The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved." It was the one he relied on for the conversion of great sinners. This sermon, like his other writings, was submitted to canonical examination during the process of canonization. In it he reviews the various states of life of Christians and concludes with the little number of those who are saved, in relation to the totality of men.

The reader who meditates on this remarkable text will grasp the soundness of its argumentation, which has earned it the approbation of the Church. Here is the great missionary's vibrant and moving sermon.

Introduction
Thanks be to God, the number of the Redeemer's disciples is not so small that the wickedness of the Scribes and Pharisees is able to triumph over them. Although they strove to calumniate innocence and to deceive the crowd with their treacherous sophistries by discrediting the doctrine and character of Our Lord, finding spots even in the sun, many still recognized Him as the true Messiah, and, unafraid of either chastisements or threats, openly joined His cause. Did all those who followed Christ follow Him even unto glory? Oh, this is where I revere the profound mystery and silently adore the abysses of the divine decrees, rather than rashly deciding on such a great point! The subject I will be treating today is a very grave one; it has caused even the pillars of the Church to tremble, filled the greatest Saints with terror and populated the deserts with anchorites. The point of this instruction is to decide whether the number of Christians who are saved is greater or less than the number of Christians who are damned; it will, I hope, produce in you a salutary fear of the judgments of God.

Brothers, because of the love I have for you, I wish I were able to reassure you with the prospect of eternal happiness by saying to each of you: You are certain to go to paradise; the greater number of Christians is saved, so you also will be saved. But how can I give you this sweet assurance if you revolt against God's decrees as though you were your own worst enemies? I observe in God a sincere desire to save you, but I find in you a decided inclination to be damned. So what will I be doing today if I speak clearly? I will be displeasing to you. But if I do not speak, I will be displeasing to God.

Therefore, I will divide this subject into two points. In the first one, to fill you with dread, I will let the theologians and Fathers of the Church decide on the matter and declare that the greater number of Christian adults are damned; and, in silent adoration of that terrible mystery, I will keep my own sentiments to myself. In the second point I will attempt to defend the goodness of God versus the godless, by proving to you that those who are damned are damned by their own malice, because they wanted to be damned. So then, here are two very important truths. If the first truth frightens you, do not hold it against me, as though I wanted to make the road of heaven narrower for you, for I want to be neutral in this matter; rather, hold it against the theologians and Fathers of the Church who will engrave this truth in your heart by the force of reason. If you are disillusioned by the second truth, give thanks to God over it, for He wants only one thing: that you give your hearts totally to Him. Finally, if you oblige me to tell you clearly what I think, I will do so for your consolation.


The Teaching of the Fathers of the Church
It is not vain curiosity but salutary precaution to proclaim from the height of the pulpit certain truths which serve wonderfully to contain the indolence of libertines, who are always talking about the mercy of God and about how easy it is to convert, who live plunged in all sorts of sins and are soundly sleeping on the road to hell. To disillusion them and waken them from their torpor, today let us examine this great question: Is the number of Christians who are saved greater than the number of Christians who are damned?

Pious souls, you may leave; this sermon is not for you. Its sole purpose is to contain the pride of libertines who cast the holy fear of God out of their heart and join forces with the devil who, according to the sentiment of Eusebius, damns souls by reassuring them. To resolve this doubt, let us put the Fathers of the Church, both Greek and Latin, on one side; on the other, the most learned theologians and erudite historians; and let us put the Bible in the middle for all to see. Now listen not to what I will say to you – for I have already told you that I do not want to speak for myself or decide on the matter – but listen to what these great minds have to tell you, they who are beacons in the Church of God to give light to others so that they will not miss the road to heaven. In this manner, guided by the triple light of faith, authority and reason, we will be able to resolve this grave matter with certainty.

Note well that there is no question here of the human race taken as a whole, nor of all Catholics taken without distinction, but only of Catholic adults, who have free choice and are thus capable of cooperating in the great matter of their salvation. First let us consult the theologians recognized as examining things most carefully and as not exaggerating in their teaching: let us listen to two learned cardinals, Cajetan and Bellarmine. They teach that the greater number of Christian adults are damned, and if I had the time to point out the reasons upon which they base themselves, you would be convinced of it yourselves. But I will limit myself here to quoting Suarez. After consulting all the theologians and making a diligent study of the matter, he wrote, "The most common sentiment which is held is that, among Christians, there are more damned souls than predestined souls."

Add the authority of the Greek and Latin Fathers to that of the theologians, and you will find that almost all of them say the same thing. This is the sentiment of Saint Theodore, Saint Basil, Saint Ephrem, and Saint John Chrysostom. What is more, according to Baronius it was a common opinion among the Greek Fathers that this truth was expressly revealed to Saint Simeon Stylites and that after this revelation, it was to secure his salvation that he decided to live standing on top of a pillar for forty years, exposed to the weather, a model of penance and holiness for everyone. Now let us consult the Latin Fathers. You will hear Saint Gregory saying clearly, "Many attain to faith, but few to the heavenly kingdom." Saint Anselm declares, "There are few who are saved." Saint Augustine states even more clearly, "Therefore, few are saved in comparison to those who are damned." The most terrifying, however, is Saint Jerome. At the end of his life, in the presence of his disciples, he spoke these dreadful words: "Out of one hundred thousand people whose lives have always been bad, you will find barely one who is worthy of indulgence."


The Words of Holy Scripture
But why seek out the opinions of the Fathers and theologians, when Holy Scripture settles the question so clearly? Look in to the Old and New Testaments, and you will find a multitude of figures, symbols and words that clearly point out this truth: very few are saved. In the time of Noah, the entire human race was submerged by the Deluge, and only eight people were saved in the Ark. Saint Peter says, "This ark was the figure of the Church," while Saint Augustine adds, "And these eight people who were saved signify that very few Christians are saved, because there are very few who sincerely renounce the world, and those who renounce it only in words do not belong to the mystery represented by that ark." The Bible also tells us that only two Hebrews out of two million entered the Promised Land after going out of Egypt, and that only four escaped the fire of Sodom and the other burning cities that perished with it. All of this means that the number of the damned who will be cast into fire like straw is far greater than that of the saved, whom the heavenly Father will one day gather into His barns like precious wheat.

I would not finish if I had to point out all the figures by which Holy Scripture confirms this truth; let us content ourselves with listening to the living oracle of Incarnate Wisdom. What did Our Lord answer the curious man in the Gospel who asked Him, "Lord, is it only a few to be saved?" Did He keep silence? Did He answer haltingly? Did He conceal His thought for fear of frightening the crowd? No. Questioned by only one, He addresses all of those present. He says to them: "You ask Me if there are only few who are saved?" Here is My answer: "Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able." Who is speaking here? It is the Son of God, Eternal Truth, who on another occasion says even more clearly, "Many are called, but few are chosen." He does not say that all are called and that out of all men, few are chosen, but that many are called; which means, as Saint Gregory explains, that out of all men, many are called to the True Faith, but out of them few are saved. Brothers, these are the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Are they clear? They are true. Tell me now if it is possible for you to have faith in your heart and not tremble.


Salvation in the Various States of Life
But oh, I see that by speaking in this manner of all in general, I am missing my point. So let us apply this truth to various states, and you will understand that you must either throw away reason, experience and the common sense of the faithful, or confess that the greater number of Catholics is damned. Is there any state in the world more favorable to innocence in which salvation seems easier and of which people have a higher idea than that of priests, the lieutenants of God? At first glance, who would not think that most of them are not only good but even perfect; yet I am horror-struck when I hear Saint Jerome declaring that although the world is full of priests, barely one in a hundred is living in a manner in conformity with state; when I hear a servant of God attesting that he has learned by revelation that the number of priests who fall into hell each day is so great that it seemed impossible to him that there be any left on earth; when I hear Saint Chrysostom exclaiming with tears in his eyes, "I do not believe that many priests are saved; I believe the contrary, that the number of those who are damned is greater."

Look higher still, and see the prelates of the Holy Church, pastors who have the charge of souls. Is the number of those who are saved among them greater than the number of those who are damned? Listen to Cantimpre; he will relate an event to you, and you may draw the conclusions. There was a synod being held in Paris, and a great number of prelates and pastors who had the charge of souls were in attendance; the king and princes also came to add luster to that assembly by their presence. A famous preacher was invited to preach. While he was preparing his sermon, a horrible demon appeared to him and said, "Lay your books aside. If you want to give a sermon that will be useful to these princes and prelates, content yourself with telling them on our part, 'We the princes of darkness thank you, princes, prelates, and pastors of souls, that due to your negligence, the greater number of the faithful are damned; also, we are saving a reward for you for this favor, when you shall be with us in Hell.'"

Woe to you who command others! If so many are damned by your fault, what will happen to you? If few out of those who are first in the Church of God are saved, what will happen to you? Take all states, both sexes, every condition: husbands, wives, widows, young women, young men, soldiers, merchants, craftsmen, rich and poor, noble and plebian. What are we to say about all these people who are living so badly? The following narrative from Saint Vincent Ferrer will show you what you may think about it. He relates that an archdeacon in Lyons gave up his charge and retreated into a desert place to do penance, and that he died the same day and hour as Saint Bernard. After his death, he appeared to his bishop and said to him, "Know, Monsignor, that at the very hour I passed away, thirty-three thousand people also died. Out of this number, Bernard and myself went up to heaven without delay, three went to purgatory, and all the others fell into Hell."

Our chronicles relate an even more dreadful happening. One of our brothers, well-known for his doctrine and holiness, was preaching in Germany. He represented the ugliness of the sin of impurity so forceful that a woman fell dead of sorrow in front of everyone. Then, coming back to life, she said, "When I was presented before the Tribunal of God, sixty thousand people arrived at the same time from all parts of the world; out of that number, three were saved by going to Purgatory, and all the rest were damned."

O abyss of the judgments of God! Out of thirty thousand, only five were saved! And out of sixty thousand, only three went to heaven! You sinners who are listening to me, in what category will you be numbered?... What do you say?... What do you think?...

I see almost all of you lowering your heads, filled with astonishment and horror. But let us lay our stupor aside, and instead of flattering ourselves, let us try to draw some profit from our fear. Is it not true that there are two roads which lead to heaven: innocence and repentance? Now, if I show you that very few take either one of these two roads, as rational people you will conclude that very few are saved. And to mention proofs: in what age, employment or condition will you find that the number of the wicked is not a hundred times greater than that of the good, and about which one might say, "The good are so rare and the wicked are so great in number"? We could say of our times what Salvianus said of his: it is easier to find a countless multitude of sinners immersed in all sorts of iniquities than a few innocent men. How many servants are totally honest and faithful in their duties? How many merchants are fair and equitable in their commerce; how many craftsmen exact and truthful; how many salesmen disinterested and sincere? How many men of law do not forsake equity? How many soldiers do not tread upon innocence; how many masters do not unjustly withhold the salary of those who serve them, or do not seek to dominate their inferiors? Everywhere, the good are rare and the wicked great in number. Who does not know that today there is so much libertinage among mature men, liberty among young girls, vanity among women, licentiousness in the nobility, corruption in the middle class, dissolution in the people, impudence among the poor, that one could say what David said of his times: "All alike have gone astray... there is not even one who does good, not even one."

Go into street and square, into palace and house, into city and countryside, into tribunal and court of law, and even into the temple of God. Where will you find virtue? "Alas!" cries Salvianus, "except for a very little number who flee evil, what is the assembly of Christians if not a sink of vice?" All that we can find everywhere is selfishness, ambition, gluttony, and luxury. Is not the greater portion of men defiled by the vice of impurity, and is not Saint John right in saying, "The whole world – if something so foul may be called – "is seated in wickedness?" I am not the one who is telling you; reason obliges you to believe that out of those who are living so badly, very few are saved.

But you will say: Can penance not profitably repair the loss of innocence? That is true, I admit. But I also know that penance is so difficult in practice, we have lost the habit so completely, and it is so badly abused by sinners, that this alone should suffice to convince you that very few are saved by that path. Oh, how steep, narrow, thorny, horrible to behold and hard to climb it is! Everywhere we look, we see traces of blood and things that recall sad memories. Many weaken at the very sight of it. Many retreat at the very start. Many fall from weariness in the middle, and many give up wretchedly at the end. And how few are they who persevere in it till death! Saint Ambrose says it is easier to find men who have kept their innocence than to find any who have done fitting penance.

If you consider the sacrament of penance, there are so many distorted confessions, so many studied excuses, so many deceitful repentances, so many false promises, so many ineffective resolutions, so many invalid absolutions! Would you regard as valid the confession of someone who accuses himself of sins of impurity and still holds to the occasion of them? Or someone who accuses himself of obvious injustices with no intention of making any reparation whatsoever for them? Or someone who falls again into the same iniquities right after going to confession? Oh, horrible abuses of such a great sacrament! One confesses to avoid excommunication, another to make a reputation as a penitent. One rids himself of his sins to calm his remorse, another conceals them out of shame. One accuses them imperfectly out of malice, another discloses them out of habit. One does not have the true end of the sacrament in mind, another is lacking the necessary sorrow, and still another firm purpose. Poor confessors, what efforts you make to bring the greater number of penitents to these resolutions and acts, without which confession is a sacrilege, absolution a condemnation and penance an illusion?

Where are they now, those who believe that the number of the saved among Christians is greater than that of the damned and who, to authorize their opinion, reason thus: the greater portion of Catholic adults die in their beds armed with the sacraments of the Church, therefore most adult Catholics are saved? Oh, what fine reasoning! You must say exactly the opposite. Most Catholic adults confess badly at death, therefore most of them are damned. I say "all the more certain," because a dying person who has not confessed well when he was in good health will have an even harder time doing so when he is in bed with a heavy heart, an unsteady head, a muddled mind; when he is opposed in many ways by still-living objects, by still-fresh occasions, by adopted habits, and above all by devils who are seeking every means to cast him into hell. Now, if you add to all these false penitents all the other sinners who die unexpectedly in sin, due to the doctors' ignorance or by their relatives' fault, who die from poisoning or from being buried in earthquakes, or from a stroke, or from a fall, or on the battlefield, in a fight, caught in a trap, struck by lightning, burned or drowned, are you not obliged to conclude that most Christian adults are damned? That is the reasoning of Saint Chrysostom. This Saint says that most Christians are walking on the road to hell throughout their life. Why, then, are you so surprised that the greater number goes to hell? To come to a door, you must take the road that leads there. What have you to answer such a powerful reason?

The answer, you will tell me, is that the mercy of God is great. Yes, for those who fear Him, says the Prophet; but great is His justice for the one who does not fear Him, and it condemns all obstinate sinners.

So you will say to me: Well then, who is Paradise for, if not for Christians? It is for Christians, of course, but for those who do not dishonor their character and who live as Christians. Moreover, if to the number of Christian adults who die in the grace of God, you add the countless host of children who die after baptism and before reaching the age of reason, you will not be surprised that Saint John the Apostle, speaking of those who are saved, says, "I saw a great multitude which no man could number."

And this is what deceives those who pretend that the number of the saved among Catholics is greater than that of the damned... If to that number, you add the adults who have kept the robe of innocence, or who after having defiled it, have washed it in the tears of penance, it is certain that the greater number is saved; and that explains the words of Saint John, "I saw a great multitude," and these other words of Our Lord, "Many will come from the east and from the west, and will feast with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven," and the other figures usually cited in favor of that opinion. But if you are talking about Christian adults, experience, reason, authority, propriety and Scripture all agree in proving that the greater number is damned. Do not believe that because of this, paradise is empty; on the contrary, it is a very populous kingdom. And if the damned are "as numerous as the sand in the sea," the saved are "as numerous at the stars of heaven," that is, both the one and the other are countless, although in very different proportions.

One day Saint John Chrysostom, preaching in the cathedral in Constantinople and considering these proportions, could not help but shudder in horror and ask, "Out of this great number of people, how many do you think will be saved?" And, not waiting for an answer, he added, "Among so many thousands of people, we would not find a hundred who are saved, and I even doubt for the one hundred." What a dreadful thing! The great Saint believed that out of so many people, barely one hundred would be saved; and even then, he was not sure of that number. What will happen to you who are listening to me? Great God, I cannot think of it without shuddering! Brothers, the problem of salvation is a very difficult thing; for according to the maxims of the theologians, when an end demands great efforts, few only attain it.

That is why Saint Thomas, the Angelic Doctor, after weighing all the reasons pro and con in his immense erudition, finally concludes that the greater number of Catholic adults are damned. He says, "Because eternal beatitude surpasses the natural state, especially since it has been deprived of original grace, it is the little number that are saved."

So then, remove the blindfold from your eyes that is blinding you with self-love, that is keeping you from believing such an obvious truth by giving you very false ideas concerning the justice of God, "Just Father, the world has not known Thee," said Our Lord Jesus Christ. He does not say "Almighty Father, most good and merciful Father." He says "just Father," so we may understand that out of all the attributes of God, none is less known than His justice, because men refuse to believe what they are afraid to undergo. Therefore, remove the blindfold that is covering your eyes and say tearfully: Alas! The greater number of Catholics, the greater number of those who live here, perhaps even those who are in this assembly, will be damned! What subject could be more deserving of your tears?

King Xerxes, standing on a hill looking at his army of one hundred thousand soldiers in battle array, and considering that out of all of them there would be not one man alive in a hundred years, was unable to hold back his tears. Have we not more reason to weep upon thinking that out of so many Catholics, the greater number will be damned? Should this thought not make our eyes pour forth rivers of tears, or at least produce in our heart the sentiment of compassion felt by an Augustinian Brother, Ven. Marcellus of St. Dominic? One day as he was meditating on the eternal pains, the Lord showed him how many souls were going to hell at that moment and had him see a very broad road on which twenty-two thousand reprobates were running toward the abyss, colliding into one another. The servant of God was stupefied at the sight and exclaimed, "Oh, what a number! What a number! And still more are coming. O Jesus! O Jesus! What madness!" Let me repeat with Jeremiah, "Who will give water to my head, and a fountain of tears to my eyes? And I will weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people."

Poor souls! How can you run so hastily toward hell? For mercy's sake, stop and listen to me for a moment! Either you understand what it means to be saved and to be damned for all eternity, or you do not. If you understand and in spite of that, you do not decide to change your life today, make a good confession and trample upon the world, in a word, make your every effort to be counted among the littler number of those who are saved, I say that you do not have the faith. You are more excusable if you do not understand it, for then one must say that you are out of your mind. To be saved for all eternity, to be damned for all eternity, and to not make your every effort to avoid the one and make sure of the other, is something inconceivable.


The Goodness of God
Perhaps you do not yet believe the terrible truths I have just taught you. But it is the most highly-considered theologians, the most illustrious Fathers who have spoken to you through me. So then, how can you resist reasons supported by so many examples and words of Scripture? If you still hesitate in spite of that, and if your mind is inclined to the opposite opinion, does that very consideration not suffice to make you tremble? Oh, it shows that you do not care very much for your salvation! In this important matter, a sensible man is struck more strongly by the slightest doubt of the risk he runs than by the evidence of total ruin in other affairs in which the soul is not involved. One of our brothers, Blessed Giles, was in the habit of saying that if only one man were going to be damned, he would do all he could to make sure he was not that man.

So what must we do, we who know that the greater number is going to be damned, and not only out of all Catholics? What must we do? Take the resolution to belong to the little number of those who are saved. You say: If Christ wanted to damn me, then why did He create me? Silence, rash tongue! God did not create anyone to damn him; but whoever is damned, is damned because he wants to be. Therefore, I will now strive to defend the goodness of my God and acquit it of all blame: that will be the subject of the second point.

Before going on, let us gather on one side all the books and all the heresies of Luther and Calvin, and on the other side the books and heresies of the Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians, and let us burn them. Some destroy grace, others freedom, and all are filled with errors; so let us cast them into the fire. All the damned bear upon their brow the oracle of the Prophet Osee, "Thy damnation comes from thee," so that they may understand that whoever is damned, is damned by his own malice and because he wants to be damned.

First let us take these two undeniable truths as a basis: "God wants all men to be saved," "All are in need of the grace of God." Now, if I show you that God wants to save all men, and that for this purpose He gives all of them His grace and all the other necessary means of obtaining that sublime end, you will be obliged to agree that whoever is damned must impute it to his own malice, and that if the greater number of Christians are damned, it is because they want to be. "Thy damnation comes from thee; thy help is only in Me."


God Desires All Men to be Saved
In a hundred places in Holy Scripture, God tells us that it is truly His desire to save all men. "Is it My will that a sinner should die, and not that he should be converted from his ways and live?... I live, saith the Lord God. I desire not the death of the sinner. Be converted and live." When someone wants something very much, it is said that he is dying with desire; it is a hyperbole. But God has wanted and still wants our salvation so much that He died of desire, and He suffered death to give us life. This will to save all men is therefore not an affected, superficial and apparent will in God; it is a real, effective, and beneficial will; for He provides us with all the means most proper for us to be saved. He does not give them to us so they will not obtain it; He gives them to us with a sincere will, with the intention that they may obtain their effect. And if they do not obtain it, He shows Himself afflicted and offended over it. He commands even the damned to use them in order to be saved; He exhorts them to it; He obliges them to it; and if they do not do it, they sin. Therefore, they may do it and thus be saved.

Far more, because God sees that we could not even make use of His grace without His help, He gives us other aids; and if they sometimes remain ineffective, it is our fault; for with these same aids, one may abuse them and be damned with them, and another may do right and be saved; he might even be saved with less powerful aids. Yes, it can happen that we abuse a greater grace and are damned, whereas another cooperates with a lesser grace and is saved.

Saint Augustine exclaims, "If, therefore, someone turns aside from justice, he is carried by his free will, led by his concupiscence, deceived by his own persuasion." But for those who do not understand theology, here is what I have to say to them: God is so good that when He sees a sinner running to his ruin, He runs after him, calls him, entreats and accompanies him even to the gates of hell; what will He not do to convert him? He sends him good inspirations and holy thoughts, and if he does not profit from them, He becomes angry and indignant, He pursues him. Will He strike him? No. He beats at the air and forgives him. But the sinner is not converted yet. God sends him a mortal illness. It is certainly all over for him. No, brothers, God heals him; the sinner becomes obstinate in evil, and God in His mercy looks for another way; He gives him another year, and when that year is over, He grants him yet another.

But if the sinner still wants to cast himself into hell in spite of all that, what does God do? Does He abandon him? No. He takes him by the hand; and while he has one foot in hell and the other outside, He still preaches to him, He implored him not to abuse His graces. Now I ask you, if that man is damned, is it not true that he is damned against the Will of God and because he wants to be damned? Come and ask me now: If God wanted to damn me, then why did He create me?

Ungrateful sinner, learn today that if you are damned, it is not God who is to blame, but you and your self-will. To persuade yourself of this, go down even to the depths of the abyss, and there I will bring you one of those wretched damned souls burning in hell, so that he may explain this truth to you. Here is one now: "Tell me, who are you?" "I am a poor idolater, born in an unknown land; I never heard of heaven or hell, nor of what I am suffering now." "Poor wretch! Go away, you are not the one I am looking for." Another one is coming; there he is. "Who are you?" "I am a schismatic from the ends of Tartary; I always lived in an uncivilized state, barely knowing that there is a God." "You are not the one I want; return to hell." Here is another. "And who are you?" "I am a poor heretic from the North. I was born under the Pole and never saw either the light of the sun or the light of faith." "It is not you that I am looking for either, return to Hell." Brothers, my heart is broken upon seeing these wretches who never even knew the True Faith among the damned. Even so, know that the sentence of condemnation was pronounced against them and they were told, "Thy damnation comes from thee." They were damned because they wanted to be. They received so many aids from God to be saved! We do not know what they were, but they know them well, and now they cry out, "O Lord, Thou art just... and Thy judgments are equitable."

Brothers, you must know that the most ancient belief is the Law of God, and that we all bear it written in our hearts; that it can be learned without any teacher, and that it suffices to have the light of reason in order to know all the precepts of that Law. That is why even the barbarians hid when they committed sin, because they knew they were doing wrong; and they are damned for not having observed the natural law written in their heart: for had they observed it, God would have made a miracle rather than let them be damned; He would have sent them someone to teach them and would have given them other aids, of which they made themselves unworthy by not living in conformity with the inspirations of their own conscience, which never failed to warn them of the good they should do and the evil they should avoid. So it is their conscience that accused them at the Tribunal of God, and it tells them constantly in hell, "Thy damnation comes from thee." They do not know what to answer and are obliged to confess that they are deserving of their fate. Now if these infidels have no excuse, will there be any for a Catholic who had so many sacraments, so many sermons, so many aids at his disposal? How will he dare to say, "If God was going to damn me, then why did He create me?" How will he dare to speak in this manner, when God gives him so many aids to be saved? So let us finish confounding him.

You who are suffering in the abyss, answer me! Are there any Catholics among you? "There certainly are!" How many? Let one of them come here! "That is impossible, they are too far down, and to have them come up would turn all of hell upside down; it would be easier to stop one of them as he is falling in." So then, I am speaking to you who live in the habit of mortal sin, in hatred, in the mire of the vice of impurity, and who are getting closer to hell each day. Stop, and turn around; it is Jesus who calls you and who, with His wounds, as with so many eloquent voices, cries to you, "My son, if you are damned, you have only yourself to blame: 'Thy damnation comes from thee.' Lift up your eyes and see all the graces with which I have enriched you to insure your eternal salvation. I could have had you born in a forest in Barbary; that is what I did to many others, but I had you born in the Catholic Faith; I had you raised by such a good father, such an excellent mother, with the purest instructions and teachings. If you are damned in spite of that, whose fault will it be? Your own, My son, your own: 'Thy damnation comes from thee.'

"I could have cast you into hell after the first mortal sin you committed, without waiting for the second: I did it to so many others, but I was patient with you, I waited for you for many long years. I am still waiting for you today in penance. If you are damned in spite of all that, whose fault is it? Your own, My son, your own: "Thy damnation comes from thee." You know how many have died before your very eyes and were damned: that was a warning for you. You know how many others I set back on the right path to give you the good example. Do you remember what that excellent confessor told you? I am the one who had him say it. Did he not enjoin you to change your life, to make a good confession? I am the One who inspired him. Remember that sermon that touched your heart? I am the One who led you there. And what has happened between you and Me in the secret of your heart, ...that you can never forget.

"Those interior inspirations, that clear knowledge, that constant remorse of conscience, would you dare to deny them? All of these were so many aids of My grace, because I wanted to save you. I refused to give them to many others, and I gave them to you because I loved you tenderly. My son, My son, if I spoke to them as tenderly as I am speaking to you today, how many others souls return to the right path! And you... you turn your back on Me. Listen to what I am going to tell you, for these are My last words: You have cost Me My blood; if you want to be damned in spite of the blood I shed for you, do not blame Me, you have only yourself to accuse; and throughout all eternity, do not forget that if you are damned in spite of Me, you are damned because you want to be damned: 'Thy damnation comes from thee.' "

O my good Jesus, the very stones would split on hearing such sweet words, such tender expressions. Is there anyone here who wants to be damned, with so many graces and aids? If there is one, let him listen to me, and then let him resist if he can.

Baronius relates that after Julian the Apostate's infamous apostasy, he conceived such great hatred against Holy Baptism that day and night, he sought a way in which he might erase his own. To that purpose he had a bath of goat's blood prepared and placed himself in it, wanting this impure blood of a victim consecrated to Venus to erase the sacred character of Baptism from his soul. Such behavior seems abominable to you, but if Julian's plan had been able to succeed, it is certain that he would be suffering much less in hell.

Sinners, the advice I want to give you will no doubt seem strange to you; but if you understand it well, it is, on the contrary, inspired by tender compassion toward you. I implore you on my knees, by the blood of Christ and by the Heart of Mary, change your life, come back to the road that leads to heaven, and do all you can to belong to the little number of those who are saved. If, instead of this, you want to continue walking on the road that leads to hell, at least find a way to erase your baptism. Woe to you if you take the Holy Name of Jesus Christ and the sacred character of the Christian engraved upon your soul into hell! Your chastisement will be all the greater. So do what I advise you to do: if you do not want to convert, go this very day and ask your pastor to erase your name from the baptismal register, so that there may not remain any remembrance of your ever having been a Christian; implore your Guardian Angel to erase from his book of graces the inspirations and aids he has given you on orders from God, for woe to you if he recalls them! Tell Our Lord to take back His faith, His baptism, His sacraments.

You are horror-struck at such a thought? Well then, cast yourself at the feet of Jesus Christ and say to Him, with tearful eyes and contrite heart: "Lord, I confess that up till now I have not lived as a Christian. I am not worthy to be numbered among Your elect. I recognize that I deserve to be damned; but Your mercy is great and, full of confidence in Your grace, I say to You that I want to save my soul, even if I have to sacrifice my fortune, my honor, my very life, as long as I am saved. If I have been unfaithful up to now, I repent, I deplore, I detest my infidelity, I ask You humbly to forgive me for it. Forgive me, good Jesus, and strengthen me also, that I may be saved. I ask You not for wealth, honor or prosperity; I ask you for one thing only, to save my soul."

And You, O Jesus! What do You say? O Good Shepherd, see the stray sheep who returns to You; embrace this repentant sinner, bless his sighs and tears, or rather bless these people who are so well disposed and who want nothing but their salvation. Brothers, at the feet of Our Lord, let us protest that we want to save our soul, cost what it may. Let us all say to Him with tearful eyes, "Good Jesus, I want to save my soul," O blessed tears, O blessed sighs!

Conclusion
Brothers, I want to send all of you away comforted today. So if you ask me my sentiment on the number of those who are saved, here it is: Whether there are many or few that are saved, I say that whoever wants to be saved, will be saved; and that no one can be damned if he does not want to be. And if it is true that few are saved, it is because there are few who live well. As for the rest, compare these two opinions: the first one states that the greater number of Catholics are condemned; the second one, on the contrary, pretends that the greater number of Catholics are saved. Imagine an Angel sent by God to confirm the first opinion, coming to tell you that not only are most Catholics damned, but that of all this assembly present here, one alone will be saved. If you obey the Commandments of God, if you detest the corruption of this world, if you embrace the Cross of Jesus Christ in a spirit of penance, you will be that one alone who is saved.

Now imagine the same Angel returning to you and confirming the second opinion. He tells you that not only are the greater portion of Catholics saved, but that out of all this gathering, one alone will be damned and all the others saved. If after that, you continue your usuries, your vengeances, your criminal deeds, your impurities, then you will be that one alone who is damned.

What is the use of knowing whether few or many are saved? Saint Peter says to us, "Strive by good works to make your election sure." When Saint Thomas Aquinas's sister asked him what she must do to go to heaven, he said, "You will be saved if you want to be." I say the same thing to you, and here is proof of my declaration. No one is damned unless he commits mortal sin: that is of faith. And no one commits mortal sin unless he wants to: that is an undeniable theological proposition. Therefore, no one goes to hell unless he wants to; the consequence is obvious. Does that not suffice to comfort you? Weep over past sins, make a good confession, sin no more in the future, and you will all be saved. Why torment yourself so? For it is certain that you have to commit mortal sin to go to hell, and that to commit mortal sin you must want to, and that consequently no one goes to hell unless he wants to. That is not just an opinion, it is an undeniable and very comforting truth; may God give you to understand it, and may He bless you. Amen.
 
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Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Most Catholics Will Go To Hell - St. Leonard
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2021, 06:09:37 PM »
I know of this saint.  On the road in a minute, but when I return, i shall post an audio sermon in which he is featured.
 
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Re: Most Catholics Will Go To Hell - St. Leonard
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2021, 01:51:09 AM »
I'm now sorry I clicked on this, because my insistence on Doctrinal consistency is going to make me opposed to this sermon. 

Let me preface that I'm not picking on anyone who posts this or derives great personal benefit from it.  I'm not interested in starting a personal fight.  Seems lately you can't disagree without someone quickly taking it to the figurative street. 


This is really when you get down to it, presumptuous "fear porn."  It's no wonder that ultimately this type of approach turns people off, produces Calvinists and Jansenists and Puritanical attitudes that smother the life out of whole swaths of people.   

Quote
"The point of this instruction is to decide whether the number of Christians who are saved is greater or less than the number of Christians who are damned; it will, I hope, produce in you a salutary fear of the judgments of God."
You see the problem is.....God knowingly keeps that information to Himself.  But for some reason I've noticed even to this day, especially the "monastery" types have to unload their personal judgements.  They give only those examples from scholars that agree with where they want the "lesson" to go as they dump on countless numbers of people trying to live their lives as best they can. 

They simply can't contain themselves within the boundaries of Revelation and must "decide" grave matters of which they have No, nadda, zero authority.  St. John Vianney used to engage in this kind of hyperbole but if you read his catechism he always dialed it back right then and there. 

The ability to say, "We don't know." and drop it, seems utterly impossible.  Not when there's a chance to exalt yourself as one "in the know." 
Quote
"Pious souls, you may leave; this sermon is not for you."
  How many people do you think actually got up and walked out?  This is theater.  Anyone that did get up would be accused of excessive pride. 

You read the rest and I don't see the word, "Revelation" "Deposit of Faith"  "Dogma" but rather, "opinion" "sentiment" as if they are all of equal value.

You notice that the comments about clergy being damned (on the testimony of demons)  is of the type, "well...if the priests are damned and they are so aweso, what about you lower scum?" 

But....we don't go so far as to talk about the Popes going to Hell.   No.  Politics especially Church politics will find its way all the way to the doors of....Hell. 


I don't wonder about the Church in crisis anymore.  It's always going to be in crisis because people no matter their state can't be docile and content in what the Church has actually taught and bound the people with and what God has given us as sufficient revelation. 


We truly are the New Israel because we can never be satisfied with what He's given us and we always step out of bounds and He punishes us with the same types of people the only differences are one century it's liberals who loosen everything up beyond reason and another century it's "pious" types who create their own rock solid and presumptuous conclusions out of what are in reality mysteries to us. 


This is simply the flipside of the coin to Bishop Barron's "hope that everyone is saved."   

I can't ascribe to this kind of presumption and condemn Barron's presumption at the same time.  Neither is dealing with the simple fact that God keeps certain information to Himself. 

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"He does not say that all are called and that out of all men, few are chosen, but that many are called; which means, as Saint Gregory explains, that out of all men, many are called to the True Faith, but out of them few are saved."

You know, the Church doesn't teach double-predestination.  But this is implied here.  God gives sufficient grace to all.  But the claim is that God doesn't do that.  He only gives sufficient grace to those He calls and of those few are saved.  That would mean that God has created people for which He will give no chance for salvation.  Which really means that Christ did not die for the Redemption of all mankind.  Which implies that Christ's sacrifice is not super abundant.   

You pull on one of these hyperbolic and melodramatic claims by these Saints and the whole edifice of Catholicism starts to collapse.  The people St. Leonard is trying to scare straight don't know that, so for better or worse they have to depend on God's grace to guide them to the truth and not become so bitter they will leave the Church thinking that what St. Leonard taught them is the same as the Church's teaching. 

This is why the preaching of Saints, Fathers and Doctors of the Church does not count as Magisterial Teaching or become part of the Deposit of Faith. 
 
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Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Most Catholics Will Go To Hell - St. Leonard
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2021, 04:58:26 AM »
I go back and forth, so I actually need reminders on both sides.  Much of the time I suffer from too little hope, but I'm perfectly capable of falling into presumption, and certainly have on occasion.

I think an important general take-away is this:  No matter how long we have stayed away from mortal sin, we can fall in an instant. Everybody, including very holy priests, including laypeople who haven't committed a mortal sin in years.  All it takes is a moment of weakness, not keeping watch over our passions, encountering a trigger at a weak moment, and allowing Satan to walk right in opportunistically.

It's not a reason to be paralyzed with fear or scrupulosity, but it's a reason to stay humble, vigilant, prayerful, abundantly visiting the Sacraments, making a nightly Examen, and working on our predominant fault.

Lots of Catholics, not necessarily anyone on this thread or forum, seriously believe they are only capable of committing certain sins and not others, or certain levels of gravity and not more than that. But they're simply basing that assumption on their cumulative experience. There are 10 Commandments that apply universally to the human race because God knew that all of us can violate all of them. 

I don't have an opinion on how few or many will be saved; I agree with Gerard that such is a divine prerogative. But the most pious Catholic should never taken his salvation for granted.

Recently, less and less am I taking my own for granted.
 
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Most Catholics Will Go To Hell - St. Leonard
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2021, 06:15:18 AM »
A sobering reminder. Thank you.

It is not definitively decided yet, but the authorities are clear in saying it will probably be a minority. The Saints are guided by the light of the Holy Ghost, and even if they are not infallible, they are safe guides on such matters. My view is that, when all Catholics of all time are considered, about 40% of them on the whole may be saved. Still, however it may be with this disputed question, some things are certain, by virtue of the Promises of Our Lady and Our Lord: (1) All Catholics who devoutly and perseveringly wear the Scapular will be saved (2) All Catholics who faithfully pray the Rosary daily will be saved (3) All Catholics who receive the Last Sacraments well with true repentance will be saved (4) All Catholics who make the Nine First Fridays will be saved (5) All Catholics who make the Five First Saturdays will be saved. All Catholics should do these things, and not worry about the rest. The key is to live a holy life, avoid all grave sin, be detached from the world, do much penance, frequent the Sacraments, and love the Lord. Then All will be Well.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 06:16:50 AM by Xavier »
To understand God's Plan for Humanity, and how He has provided the means by which we can minimize the Coming Great Tribulation, read: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/

Offer your Life to Jesus and Mary: TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Eminence Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, His Excellency Metropolitan Hilarion, as well as His Eminence Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Roman Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the 220+ Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all 6000+ Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for the 400,000+ Priests, the 700,000+ Nuns, 50,000+ Monks, 100,000+ seminarians, that they may all become the Saints the Divine Will wishes them to be; for all the 1.35 Billion Members of the Church, the Millions of Catholic Catechumens and Children to be born and baptized in this Decade; we pray for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, for All Lay Apostolates, and All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/

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Re: Most Catholics Will Go To Hell - St. Leonard
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2021, 06:19:46 AM »
I always recommend the Great Double Novena, to the Twin Hearts, also to those who fear inadvertently falling into mortal sin later in life. The Lord Promises, to those who make it, the Greatest of Graces, the Grace of Final Perseverance, and the Grace never to sin mortally again. Grace truly is stronger and All-Powerful over all our weak inclinations. Let us make good use of the Means of Grace, to receive it.

"12. Those who make this Novena in the innocence of their Baptism (particularly the the children) will not offend My Heart by a grave fault until the time of their death." https://sites.google.com/site/doublegreatnovena/the-33-promises

The Novena consists of receiving Holy Communion, after Confession, on Nine Consecutive First Fridays and First Saturdays Together.
To understand God's Plan for Humanity, and how He has provided the means by which we can minimize the Coming Great Tribulation, read: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/

Offer your Life to Jesus and Mary: TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For His Eminence Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, His Excellency Metropolitan Hilarion, as well as His Eminence Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, that they may re-unite their flocks with the Roman Catholic Church, and there may soon be but One Fold and One Shepherd. For all the 220+ Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all 6000+ Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for the 400,000+ Priests, the 700,000+ Nuns, 50,000+ Monks, 100,000+ seminarians, that they may all become the Saints the Divine Will wishes them to be; for all the 1.35 Billion Members of the Church, the Millions of Catholic Catechumens and Children to be born and baptized in this Decade; we pray for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, for All Lay Apostolates, and All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/

"Mother of God, Co-Redemptrix of the world, pray for us" [Promise: 1000 Souls from Purgatory]"This short prayer, this insistent prayer, every time it is said, sets free from Purgatory 1000 Souls, who reach the Eternal Joy, the Eternal Light"(!). http://www.jesusmariasite.org/jesus-pray-my-children-that-the-fifth-marian-dogma-be-proclaimed/
 
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Offline Prayerful

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Re: Most Catholics Will Go To Hell - St. Leonard
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2021, 08:52:43 AM »
It is definitely a reverse of the Bishop Barron / Urs von Balthasar hope that hell is empty. I suppose the worry is that those prone to habitual sins might despair with too great an emphasis on the little number of the saved. However, in this Conciliar era, there is no fear of that. Sin and its penalty is largely forgotten post V2 unless someone goes to a traditional chapel or indult parish.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 01:33:10 PM by Prayerful »
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Offline Jayne

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Re: Most Catholics Will Go To Hell - St. Leonard
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2021, 09:30:42 AM »
Let me preface that I'm not picking on anyone who posts this or derives great personal benefit from it.  I'm not interested in starting a personal fight.  Seems lately you can't disagree without someone quickly taking it to the figurative street. 


This is really when you get down to it, presumptuous "fear porn."  It's no wonder that ultimately this type of  approach turns people off, produces Calvinists and Jansenists and Puritanical attitudes that smother the life out of whole swaths of people.   

If you don't want to start a personal fight, you ought to dial down your use of emotionally-laden terms.  You pretty much just implied that the people who like/ promote this sermon are Calvinists, Jansenists, etc.  How do you expect people to react to that? 

The goal of the sermon is to "produce in you a salutary fear of the judgments of God".  This is a completely legitimate aspect of Christian doctrine.  We ought to fear the judgments of God.  All of us deserve to go to hell and are completely dependent on the grace of God to avoid this fate. 

Miriam's post managed to speak of this in a balanced way that recognized both sides of the issue.  Note how she avoided triggering, insulting words.  This is what people ought to do when "not interested in starting a personal fight".
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 09:48:22 AM by Jayne »
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Re: Most Catholics Will Go To Hell - St. Leonard
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2021, 11:21:24 AM »

If you don't want to start a personal fight, you ought to dial down your use of emotionally-laden terms.

You may be right, but if that's the case, I'm no worse off than St. Leonard with the exception that I'm doctrinally correct. 

Maybe St. Leonard's sermon provoked a negative reaction in me because of his emotionally-laden terms.

Quote
You pretty much just implied that the people who like/ promote this sermon are Calvinists, Jansenists, etc.  How do you expect people to react to that?


I didn't imply that at all. Obviously people who take away from it to avoid mortal sin, go to Confession and aren't particularly affected by the claim to have knowledge on the numbers aren't going to be affected the same way. 

Other people like people that listened to Calvin, the people that came after Jansen and more Puritan-prone Catholics will react to it differently if they imbibe in the sentiment and opinions too seriously. 

Quote
The goal of the sermon is to "produce in you a salutary fear of the judgments of God".  This is a completely legitimate aspect of Christian doctrine.  We ought to fear the judgments of God.  All of us deserve to go to hell and are completely dependent on the grace of God to avoid this fate. 

That can and has been done without overstepping the Revelation of the Church and the will of God in choosing not to reveal certain things.  Presuming the percentages and the numbers and anyone's "odds" compared to others is simply as I stated, a form of fear porn. 

I had a knock down drag out fight with Church Militant several years ago in which they were doggedly determined to insist that it was dogmatic that Judas was in Hell.  They could not understand that I wasn't arguing that Judas was saved but that it was presumptuous on their part to give their personal opinions dogmatic weight that the Church did not give.  In the end, I stated that they were behaving as if the Doctrine of the Church and the Salvation of Souls depended more upon the damnation of Judas than it did the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. 

Quote
Miriam's post managed to speak of this in a balanced way that recognized both sides of the issue.  Note how she avoided triggering, insulting words.  This is what people ought to do when "not interested in starting a personal fight".

I didn't insult anyone on this board.  I'm offended by the words and heterodox manipulation engaged in by St. Leonard in his sermon.  I contrasted it with St. John Vianney sermons as an example.  There's a hubris and presumption in promoting errors and misleading people in the sermons of a small number of saints and mystics that I find vile and repugnant. 

I find the mystics that claim visions of the Blessed Mother insulting herself as a child and calling herself the lowest and most worthless of creatures utterly repellent even though it was a saint or a venerable who had the vision.  I'm offended that the Church has not yet  condemned trash like that.  I'm not going to apologize for that. 

If I'm guilty of being indignant or hyperbolic or insulting or triggering, you can give me the same latitude given to St. Leonard since that is what I was replying to.  Not to Miriam nor Max nor you. I'm at least not indignant nor hyperbolic because I'm trying to frighten people into despair and twisting the doctrine of the Church into pretzels in order to promote God's truth with deception.  So I would categorize my indignation as righteous in this particular case since I'm trying to defend people from falling into potentially tragic errors.   


 

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Re: Most Catholics Will Go To Hell - St. Leonard
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2021, 12:30:38 PM »
If I'm guilty of being indignant or hyperbolic or insulting or triggering, you can give me the same latitude given to St. Leonard since that is what I was replying to.  Not to Miriam nor Max nor you. I'm at least not indignant nor hyperbolic because I'm trying to frighten people into despair and twisting the doctrine of the Church into pretzels in order to promote God's truth with deception.  So I would categorize my indignation as righteous in this particular case since I'm trying to defend people from falling into potentially tragic errors.

St. Leonard is a canonized Saint, speaking to a different time and culture than the one I live in.  I do not presume to know the best approach for speaking to his audience.  I am happy to give him the benefit of the doubt. 

He was not "trying to frighten people into despair" merely because you imagine that could be the result to his words.  He was trying to produce a salutary fear of God's judgment.  Since you and I live in a time when it seems that the vast majority of Catholics lack this salutary fear, we are well positioned to appreciate its value.  It is an admirable goal, whatever one thinks of his means.  Nor is he guilty of twisting doctrine merely because he did not give exactly the same emphasis that you would.

There are errors on both sides of the virtue of fear of the Lord, both despair and presumption.  I think that you could better "defend" people from these errors if you spoke about both of them rather than only one side.    I do not see your indignation as righteous or helpful.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.
 
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Offline MaximGun

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Re: Most Catholics Will Go To Hell - St. Leonard
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2021, 12:49:31 PM »
It's strange that the proportion of people damned is an unknown number between 0 (Bishop Barren and most of the modern hierarchy teach) and nearly all the humans ever created (the unbaptised and the baptised who die in a state of mortal sin).

You might think with all the specifics seers and saints have pronounced over the years as "certainties of the faith" that the proportion of the damned would be a pretty established and agreed upon number in any one religion.  It is, after all, the primary purpose of religion, to save one's soul.  Yet it appears that the Catholic Church does not have much confidence in the cause/effect of religious practice, moral behaviour and salvation.

It's hard to think of any other effort in the world, be it work, or education, or creative pursuit or love where a person would make a large sacrifice and effort in terms of time and energy for such an uncertain outcome, where the range of opinions within a single religious cult range from almost certain salvation regardless of how lax you are, to almost certain damnation if you are lax at all.

If God has never revealed the proportion of the damned, then how do the saints know it?

It would seem to me that the wide road carries more people than the narrow path.  So going from the Gospels I would assume that a majority are damned.  Otherwise the wide road and narrow road parable is a misleading one.

This also fits my experience of life.  The majority of people I meet have absolutely no interest in their salvation.  I don't see how on earth you can be saved without at least desiring it.  Even the good thief asked to be saved.  The bad thief did not, just rescued from the cross.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 12:52:02 PM by MaximGun »
 
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Offline Miriam_M

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Re: Most Catholics Will Go To Hell - St. Leonard
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2021, 01:40:53 PM »
Well, we all have to be careful that even when it comes to our most individually loved Saints whose exhortations we follow -- unless that saint is speaking about an already declared dogma -- the spiritual advice given, while edifying to many, does not in itself rise to the level of dogma. This is why I wish every Catholic in the world (basically) had access to a competent spiritual director.

Let me give you an example:
This subject has come up on this board, and I have also heard it in audio sermons:  the topic of "the maximum number of sins that will be forgiven by God."  It was spoken by a Doctor of the Church, St. Alphonsus Liguori, whose spiritual wisdom I value greatly and so often need. But I was very troubled by this statement, given that I am a woman "with a past" and wondered whether I had already exceeded God's mercy, or would by my life's end, after additional accumulated sins.

So I brought this to my director.  For him, this didn't register at all because he had never heard it pronounced as anything dogmatic.  (My point exactly.)  To me, too, it seemed obviously to contradict the central dogmas of the faith regarding God's infinite mercy to the contrite of heart. And we also have to keep in mind that the Doctors are considered dogmatic when they all agree on a spiritual matter. As there is not unanimity among the Doctors on the point of "a limit" on God's mercy, we do not have to accept this statement from St. Alphonsus.

But the story does not end here.  The cognitive and spiritual dissonance were pretty profound to me and began to interfere with my prayer life, so I asked for a resolution to it.  After listening to this audio sermon by Fr. Phil Wolfe, FSSP -- but several times -- what I ultimately realized is that this is a both/and, actually. Or, to put it another way, the point of the unchangeable dogma of the Church lies in this phrase:

Quote
to the contrite of heart

Yes, it seems so obvious.  (Basic Catechism)  However, the point of this audio sermon is to impress upon us the critical importance of Purpose of Amendment as an aspect of the essential sorrow that is brought to the sacrament.  Fr. Isaac Mary Relyea also preaches on this, often; he hears so many confessions which appear to him to consist of lukewarm repentance, particularly for any kind of habitual sin, and he is very concerned that such penitents can easily end up in Hell.

In that sense, there is truth to the statement that at least very many (practicing) Catholics will end up in Hell, given current attitudes toward sin, sorrow for it, and efforts demonstrating a purpose of amendment. Whether that is "most" I am not confident to speculate about.  The simple fact is that lukewarmness is an epidemic in contemporary Catholicism and rarely addressed by the hierarchy itself.  Individual priests, God bless those, including many in the N.O., do not always share that disregard for this dangerous epidemic, more deadly than any Wuhan virus. But I find it disgraceful, the lack of leadership regarding our Particular Judgments and our accountability for every decision of our lives.

What Fr. Phil Wolfe emphasizes most here is that without honest sorrow (which by definition includes purpose of amendment), a sacramental confession does not confer grace. We hear often that the recital of our sins is "the matter" of the sacrament, while the words of absolution are the "form," but the matter includes more than words; it includes the disposition of the mind and heart, and I'll bet that maybe half the Catholic population is unaware of that.

Slight digression here: I am not suggesting that a Catholic not approach a confessional "until" he or she has some theoretical level of sufficient sorrow, because we can never be sorry enough -- one of the messages of Good Friday! Our sorrow can never equal the level of God's mercy. I have found -- and I think I've mentioned this on SD -- that often my sorrow is greater after confession than before, because that is one of the effects of the sacrament.  Sometimes I do not realize how great a particular sin is until I hear the priest, in persona Christi, respond to it.  But I'm fortunate to have access to confessors who don't cave in to the expectation of sloth that some other priests do.  (Not just a modern phenomenon, as you'll hear in this sermon, but it seems to be such a modern reality.)

After hearing this sermon four or five times (I'm slow), I finally got what St. Alphonsus probably meant by his own statement: There is a limit to a habitual lack of rigor and lack of compunction for our sins that God will tolerate because if we are sufficiently sincere, to the limits of our human capability, we will eventually overcome repetitious sin, as He will respond with His grace. That sufficient grace, when accepted, will allow us to overcome our own tolerance for our sins and thus reduce their number. You'll probably get it the first time, lol.

We must pray to Our Lady for that genuine contrition.

 

Offline revival2029

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Re: Most Catholics Will Go To Hell - St. Leonard
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2021, 01:41:58 PM »

This essay by St. Leonard though isn't that great and hardly explains why.  A straightforward explanation of who is saved will easily explain why few are saved, its actually extremely simple and anything but 100% agreement that Christ is King will end up in damnation, there is no other way and when we get to Heaven there will be no questions, it will be 100% clear and obvious why that had to be the way.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 11:10:57 PM by revival2029 »