Father Zuhlsdorf, over at WDTPRS, Just posted this:
"From a reader…
Is there a reasonable hope that all souls will be saved since it is a part of our liturgy?
No. That is not reasonable. It is wishful thinking.
Many* will be lost.
The feel good of translations and other aspects in our sacred -or not so sacred – worship have given many more than a rosy prospect.
There is no part of our authentic liturgy as Catholics which suggests that “all” will be saved.
It is time to sober up.
We can lose the gift of membership in the Kingdom of God which Christ opened for us.
We can and we do… when we sin.
GO TO CONFESSION!"
Always nice to find a Catholic priest who isn't, well, insane. Father Z is most sound of mine and an authentic shepherd. He cares for souls. Not all priests, however, are sane. I do not say this to be uncharitable. But remember, as Frank Sheed reminded us, good theology and sanity go hand in hand - see here.
Some years ago, in an article entitled "Can Jews, Muslims be saved," Fr. John Dietzen wrote, "Pope John Paul II reflects this Catholic attitude [that non-Catholics may be saved] in his moving and hopeful book, 'Crossing the Threshold of Hope.' God wants to save all mankind in Jesus Christ, he writes. We don't know how God does all this, but we know Christ came into the world for all people and 'has his own ways of reaching them' (pp. 80-83) In other words, God has committed himself to work through baptism and the other sacraments, but he is not bound or limited by them."
It is certainly true that non-Catholics who "..through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience..may achieve eternal salvation" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 847) and that although, "God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism..he himself is not bound by his sacraments." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1257). I have often quoted these passages to refute the errors of the Feeneyites who insist that only baptized Roman Catholics may be saved.
But it does not follow that because "God came into the world for all people" and "wants to save all mankind in Jesus Christ" that all will be saved. Will some souls end up in hell? Fr. Dietzen concludes from his examination of Pope John Paul II's book that, "We just don't know enough about the mystery of God's saving plan to make such a judgment." He then writes, "Perhaps you know of Father Hans Urs von Balthasar, one of the major Catholic theologians of the 20th century, a friend and close consultant to Pope John Paul II. He wrote much about the possibility of universal redemption, including the book, 'Dare We Hope: That All Men Be Saved,' in which he maintains it is our Christian call to pray and hope that all are reconciled with God. He was named a Cardinal but died before he could receive the red hat."
What of this? Was Pope John Paul II in agreement with Hans Urs von Balthasar? The average Catholic, after reading Fr. Dietzen's article, would certainly get that impression. But they would be wrong. For Fr. Dietzen is not intellectually honest and only cites those passages of Pope John Paul II's book which seem to support this notion. A more careful examination of the Holy Father's book will serve to highlight Fr. Dietzen's dishonesty. For example, in a passage responding to the concern of "great thinkers in the Church," [including von Balthasar] who have been "disturbed" by the problem of hell, Pope John Paul II refers to Jesus' "unequivocal" words: "He speaks clearly of those who will go to eternal punishment (cf. Mt 25: 46)."
Pope John Paul II concludes his remarks (which may be found on pages 185 to 186 of "Crossing the Threshold of Hope") with a series of rhetorical questions which indicate that some sinners will end in hell: "Is not God who is Love also ultimate Justice?," "Can He tolerate these terrible crimes," "Can they go unpunished?," "Isn't final punishment in some way necessary in order to reestablish moral equilibrium in the complex history of humanity?," "Is not hell in a certain sense the ultimate safeguard of man's moral conscience?"
Fr. Dietzen conveniently leaves these passages out of his article in an attempt to convince the faithful that Pope John Paul II and the Church are in agreement with Hans Urs von Balthasar. I have quoted [in another post on Fr. Dietzen] from Lumen Gentium, No. 48 of the Second Vatican Council which teaches clearly that some souls will end up in hell. And faithful Catholics will reflect very carefully on the fact that the Lord Himself speaks about the damned in a form that is grammatically future: "...and those who have done evil will go to the resurrection of condemnation" (Mt 25: 46). Does Fr. Dietzen consider Christ to be a liar? Does he believe Christ to be mistaken?
It's true that Pope John Paul II appointed von Balthasar a Cardinal. But when the Pope appoints someone a Cardinal, he does not authoritatively commend his thought.
I called upon Fr. Dietzen to issue an apology to his readers for his misleading article. But he never delivered.
The faithful have a right to Catholic teaching in its purity and integrity (Veritatis Splendor, No. 113). Father Dietzen and others who dare to suggest that all men will be saved fail to offer Catholic teaching in its purity and integrity.
* How do we interpret "many"? See here.