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 Post subject: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:04 am 
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Quote:
Blessed Francis' extreme gentleness always led him to lean towards
indulgent judgment, however slight in a particular case the apparent
justification might be.

On one occasion there was a discussion in his presence as to the meaning of
those terrible words in the Gospel: _Many are called, but few chosen_.[1]
Some one said that the chosen were called a little flock, whereas the
unwise or reprobates were spoken of as many in number, and so on. He
replied that, in his opinion, there would be very few Christians (meaning,
of course, those who are in the true Church, outside which there is no
salvation) who would be lost, "because," he said, "having the root of the
true faith, the tree that springs from it would sooner or later bear its
fruit, which is salvation, and awakening, as it were, from death to life,
they would become, through charity, active and rich in good works."

When asked what, then, was the meaning of the statement in the Gospel as to
the small number of the elect, he replied that in comparison with the rest
of the world, and with infidel nations, the number of Christians was very
small, but that of that small number very few would be lost, in conformity
to that striking text, _There is no condemnation for those that are in
Christ Jesus_.[2] Which really means that justifying grace is always being
offered them, and this grace is inseparable from a lively faith and a
burning charity. Add to this that He who begins the work in us is He who
likewise perfects it. We may believe that the call to christianity, which
is the work of God, is always a perfect work, and therefore leads of itself
to the end of all perfection, which is heavenly glory.
|

I know Suarez has a similar opinion, but is not a saint. St. Augustine does think many will be saved, but that they are relatively few. I'm not sure if that is the same point as St. Francis.

Are there any other saints who held St. Francis' opinion unambiguously? Or is he an extreme minority? :(

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:36 am 
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Dunno, but if I get a few minutes today I'll try to look for this question in Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange. I think he holds a similar view, and there's every chance he's footnoted it pretty thoroughly.

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:23 am 
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In his Predestination, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange makes a few relevant points. First, he seems to take it as well-established that the majority of human beings will not be saved, though he cites a few modern sources who disagree on that point (Fr. Faber being the best-known among them, I think). Second, he points out that St. Thomas appears to hold that the number of the elect is nevertheless greater than the number of reprobates, if we include the angels. Third, he says "it seems well enough established that the greater number of the baptized,children and adults, is saved." (220) There aren't any citations to saints on this point, perhaps because he doesn't think it is controversial. Fourth, he says we couldn't guess whether the greater number of adult baptized non-Catholics is saved. (Obviously, baptized non-Catholic children are saved.)

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:55 am 
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gherkin wrote:
In his Predestination, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange makes a few relevant points. First, he seems to take it as well-established that the majority of human beings will not be saved, though he cites a few modern sources who disagree on that point (Fr. Faber being the best-known among them, I think). Second, he points out that St. Thomas appears to hold that the number of the elect is nevertheless greater than the number of reprobates, if we include the angels. Third, he says "it seems well enough established that the greater number of the baptized,children and adults, is saved." (220) There aren't any citations to saints on this point, perhaps because he doesn't think it is controversial. Fourth, he says we couldn't guess whether the greater number of adult baptized non-Catholics is saved. (Obviously, baptized non-Catholic children are saved.)


I have that book, can you please give me the page numbers?

I do not see (from what you posted) how if the total elect are greater than the reprobate, and the majority of the elect are angels, that the greater number of the baptized are saved?

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:13 am 
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220 is one of them, I assume.

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:30 am 
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ForeverFaithful wrote:
gherkin wrote:
In his Predestination, Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange makes a few relevant points. First, he seems to take it as well-established that the majority of human beings will not be saved, though he cites a few modern sources who disagree on that point (Fr. Faber being the best-known among them, I think). Second, he points out that St. Thomas appears to hold that the number of the elect is nevertheless greater than the number of reprobates, if we include the angels. Third, he says "it seems well enough established that the greater number of the baptized,children and adults, is saved." (220) There aren't any citations to saints on this point, perhaps because he doesn't think it is controversial. Fourth, he says we couldn't guess whether the greater number of adult baptized non-Catholics is saved. (Obviously, baptized non-Catholic children are saved.)


I have that book, can you please give me the page numbers?

It's in there--220.

Quote:
I do not see (from what you posted) how if the total elect are greater than the reprobate, and the majority of the elect are angels, that the greater number of the baptized are saved?

There's not an inference there. I'm not saying Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange draws the conclusion that the greater number of the baptized being saved from any of the other points I mentioned. I'm saying "here are four interesting things that Father says about the issue." As I say, with respect to the main point in question--whether the majority of the baptized are saved--he doesn't appear to regard it as controversial, and doesn't give arguments or citations for it. It's just presented in itself.

I'm assuming you're not arguing against the math. In that sense, it's wholly consistent with what St. Francis de Sales said: the vast majority of human beings, taking humans from start to finish, is very large compared to the number of baptized humans. Hence, even if the majority of baptized humans is saved, the majority of humanity could still be reprobate.

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:09 am 
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gherkin wrote:
I'm assuming you're not arguing against the math. In that sense, it's wholly consistent with what St. Francis de Sales said: the vast majority of human beings, taking humans from start to finish, is very large compared to the number of baptized humans. Hence, even if the majority of baptized humans is saved, the majority of humanity could still be reprobate.
|

In so far as yes the sum of humans not-baptized is greater than the sum of baptized humans.

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:53 pm 
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I've often seen this quote attributed to St. Pio of Pietrelcina. I don't know if it's authentic though,
Quote:
"I believe that not a great number of souls go to hell. God loves us so much. He formed us at his image. God loves us beyond understanding. And it is my belief that when we have passed from the consciousness of the world, when we appear to be dead, God, before He judges us, will give us a chance to see and understand what sin really is. And if we understand it properly, how could we fail to repent?"

And although not a saint, Fr. Paul of Moll (a Benedictine wonder worker of sorts), had this to say regarding an interesting incident:
Quote:
A religious was preaching a retreat at Thielt, and a servant girl had been present at the opening sermon in which the preacher said that the souls going to heaven were as few in number as the leaves that remain on the trees in winter. This remark caused so great a displeasure to the woman that she stayed away from the rest of the sermons. When she mentioned this occurrence later on to Father Paul, he said, "You did right, for in making such a statement the preacher outraged the infinite goodness of God."


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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:25 pm 
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DominiCanis wrote:
I've often seen this quote attributed to St. Pio of Pietrelcina. I don't know if it's authentic though,
Quote:
"I believe that not a great number of souls go to hell. God loves us so much. He formed us at his image. God loves us beyond understanding. And it is my belief that when we have passed from the consciousness of the world, when we appear to be dead, God, before He judges us, will give us a chance to see and understand what sin really is. And if we understand it properly, how could we fail to repent?"

And although not a saint, Fr. Paul of Moll (a Benedictine wonder worker of sorts), had this to say regarding an interesting incident:
Quote:
A religious was preaching a retreat at Thielt, and a servant girl had been present at the opening sermon in which the preacher said that the souls going to heaven were as few in number as the leaves that remain on the trees in winter. This remark caused so great a displeasure to the woman that she stayed away from the rest of the sermons. When she mentioned this occurrence later on to Father Paul, he said, "You did right, for in making such a statement the preacher outraged the infinite goodness of God."

If St. Pio did say that we must attribute it to invincible ignorance, as it would be heretical as state. It is also very gnostic. If only you knew X you would do right! Satan never erred in his intellect

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 9:51 am 
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DominiCanis wrote:
I've often seen this quote attributed to St. Pio of Pietrelcina. I don't know if it's authentic though,
Quote:
"I believe that not a great number of souls go to hell. God loves us so much. He formed us at his image. God loves us beyond understanding. And it is my belief that when we have passed from the consciousness of the world, when we appear to be dead, God, before He judges us, will give us a chance to see and understand what sin really is. And if we understand it properly, how could we fail to repent?"

And although not a saint, Fr. Paul of Moll (a Benedictine wonder worker of sorts), had this to say regarding an interesting incident:
Quote:
A religious was preaching a retreat at Thielt, and a servant girl had been present at the opening sermon in which the preacher said that the souls going to heaven were as few in number as the leaves that remain on the trees in winter. This remark caused so great a displeasure to the woman that she stayed away from the rest of the sermons. When she mentioned this occurrence later on to Father Paul, he said, "You did right, for in making such a statement the preacher outraged the infinite goodness of God."


The opinion of that preacher, however, is not unheard amoung the saints. Kinda the unstated catalyst for this thread.

I don't know if we want to say the saints didn't see God as good, I think they just saw man (truly) as very perverse

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:23 pm 
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I suggest Fr Garrigou-Lagrange’s section On the Number of the Elect in Life Everlasting.

http://www.ewtn.com/library/spirit/life_ev.txt

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:35 pm 
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The source of the alleged quotation from St. Pio appears to be John McCaffery "Tales of Padre Pio", Kansas City, 1979, p. 67. The source for that is here: http://caccioppoli.com/Close%20encounte ... life..html

The Amazon page for the book is here. It's hard to tell if the author is authentic or a nut. At any rate, I wouldn't ascribe that quotation to the saint without much better evidence.

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:38 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
The source of the alleged quotation from St. Pio appears to be John McCaffery "Tales of Padre Pio", Kansas City, 1979, p. 67. The source for that is here: http://caccioppoli.com/Close%20encounte ... life..html

The Amazon page for the book is here. It's hard to tell if the author is authentic or a nut. At any rate, I wouldn't ascribe that quotation to the saint without much better evidence.

Quotes are kinda your thing. I was waiting for you to clear it up.

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:06 am 
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Pro Ecclesia Dei wrote:
If St. Pio did say that we must attribute it to invincible ignorance, as it would be heretical as state. It is also very gnostic. If only you knew X you would do right! Satan never erred in his intellect

But no one has had the comprehension of God (shy only of the beatific vision) that Satan had, such that his rejection must be considered absolute. Against this, consider those who reject the true God insofar as they reject what is a relatively small amount against revelation. Without implying an argument against the sufficiency of the revelation they do have (indeed, that it is revelation makes it sufficient for what it is), it is certainly clear that some have rejected God having access to less truth whereas others have rejected God while having access to much greater truth. Can it be certainly demonstrated that every single person who rejects lesser truth would necessarily thereby reject all greater truth? Not only do I think that can't be proved to be true, I think it can be proved to be false, insofar as we have recorded examples of people who have rejected God and yet have, by some special intervention received a greater truth, and by that greater truth come to accept the totality of revelation, including that which they once rejected. Yet shy of granting Satan the beatific vision, what greater truth could he be granted that might turn his heart to obey Truth? Thus, Satan is no defeater for the quote in question, nor must the quote be read as having gnostic intentions. Moreover, I don't even see it as impossible in principle, based on these observations already made, for a person to receive post mortem revelation that supersedes what they received in life so that they might, in fact, see the error of their previous way and thereby obey the Truth.

More importantly, I see no warrant to think that such people actually do. Even if the quote is authentic, such a view has certainly not been widespread in the church, much less widespread among the saints. It's nowhere in Scripture, either stated or even implied; sadly, the very opposite seems to be implied, insofar as there seems no chance offered to the dead to repent. So I think the quote should be rejected as unwarranted at best and certainly contrary to at least the tenor of revealed doctrine, if not what is definitively known. Arguments for its fittingness based on the loving nature of God, I suggest, misunderstand the nature of love.

With that said, as far as I can tell, the much more appropriate way to try to theologically justify a (highly) limited population of hell would be to try to work with and expand as much as possible the idea of invincible ignorance. I, personally, don't find much hope in that approach, but at least it works within established truth. Not that it can be done on this particular board, given the necessary discussion of EENS it would entail. ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:03 am 
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It's Catholic doctrine that the wayfaring/probation state ends at the moment of death. To the extent that the quotation implies that a person can change his mind after death, it's heretical.

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:11 am 
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Glad to hear. I don't know why PED didn't say that. I still don't think the appeal to Satan as a counter example to the proposed post-mortem solution or the suggestion of gnosticism works for the reasons I suggested. On the other hand, if it's a matter of faith that post-mortem repentance is impossible, then say that and be done with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:48 am 
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HalJordan wrote:
I suggest Fr Garrigou-Lagrange’s section On the Number of the Elect in Life Everlasting.

http://www.ewtn.com/library/spirit/life_ev.txt


Blessed Newman held some similar opinions about conscience among non-Catholics.

I wish I could see Garrigou-Lagrange's exposition of the dogma of EENS, but as such discussion is banned here we can't pursue it in this forum.

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:35 pm 
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I stand by the gnostic charge. "How could we fail?" Easily.

Yes, the removal of inculpable ignorance grants a freedom to act before lacking, but short of the beatific vision itself, it is not determinative. Frankly, I fail to understand your issue with my objection. The gnostic charge was an "also", in addition to the obvious heresy of post mortem conversion.

It is not necessary for my objection to even imply that greater knowledge might not aid. Let it aid. That was not the point. The point was this absurd notion that one could not fail if they only knew... The objection was against that claim, not any other

That said, it sounds like some spurious modern quote

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 Post subject: Re: Is St. Francis de Sales alone among the Saints in This?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:00 am 
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Pro Ecclesia Dei wrote:
Yes, the removal of inculpable ignorance grants a freedom to act before lacking, but short of the beatific vision itself, it is not determinative. Frankly, I fail to understand your issue with my objection.

With respect, I doubt you do. I wasn't inclined to read the quote as "determinative." Such a reading strikes me as simplistic and naive given the fact that it is prefaced by the claim that "not a great number of souls go to hell." It certainly stands to reason that if "not a great number of souls go to hell," then it is at least plausible, on this view, that at least some do go to hell. Yet the entire tenor of the quote is, to use some modern (heretical, in my view) language, to throw the doors of mercy and grace as wide open as possible. In other words, whoever spoke those words seems, to me, to have accepted the notion that some would reject God no matter what, but that a great many--indeed, the vast majority--reject Him for reasons that could be overcome with sufficient and gracious revelation. In other words, your gnostic charge only holds if you take the reading as determinative, which it strikes me as clearly opposed to the text as written.

Quote:
The gnostic charge was an "also", in addition to the obvious heresy of post mortem conversion.

I don't have any qualms with this. I'm looking at the much narrower question of whether or not it's gnostic to claim that a person graciously granted superabundant revelation could be more likely to accept God's gift. And that strikes me as obviously true and that your appeal to Satan as a counter example serves as no defeater. Whether or not such grace is available post mortem strikes me as entirely beside that particularly narrow point.

Quote:
It is not necessary for my objection to even imply that greater knowledge might not aid. Let it aid. That was not the point. The point was this absurd notion that one could not fail if they only knew... The objection was against that claim, not any other

And, again, I don't take "could not fail" in an absolutist sense. Look to Adam or Satan for that matter. We are perfectly justified in asking, given their knowledge and understanding, how could they have failed? And, of course, the answer is that we don't know. The very power of the "we don't know" is in the words, "how could we fail"? I, for one, can forgive someone for thinking that if we did live in a world in which God granted superabundant grace, even post-mortem perfect natural revelation (so a perfect understanding of the divine nature save only the beatific vision), that a great many more would, in fact, obey the truth. Put negatively, there are a great many in Hell who could well have been saved had God chosen to grant them additional graces/revelations. That He chose not to is no fault and for that we cannot blame Him. But the fact still remains, at least for me--or if you prefer even tighter language, a strongly warranted inference still remains--that if all were given knowledge on par with Adam and Satan, than many more would be saved, precisely in line with the original quote, spurious though it may be and heretical on other grounds.

Quote:
That said, it sounds like some spurious modern quote

Color me shocked that people would attribute to saints ideas they want to believe about any doctrine whatsoever, especially highly emotionally charged doctrines like hell.

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