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In this article, ‘Is my dad in heaven?’ little boy asks pope is a heart wrenching story and would be a very difficult question to field admittedly.

A young boy asks if his recently departed Unbelieving Father is in heaven. The pope does a line of reasoning that even though he was unbeliever, he had his children baptised which pleased God, and he asks the children if God would abandon such a man. the Children shout "No!" and the pope confirms their answer.

“There, Emanuele, that is the answer.”

Implying very clearly that the unbelieving father will be saved presumably on the basis of having his children baptized.

Later in the same article he is said to have told the children:

“We are all children of God. Everyone. Everyone.”

These comments seem to very strongly be pointing towards universalism (the idea that everyone will be saved one way or another).

This is not the first such comment from this Pope either, but I just picked one specific example.

Now for the questions

  1. Does the Catholic church officially recognize baptizing one's children as a good work that qualifies you for salvation?

  2. If the church does not recognize this, then Pope Francis is speaking apart from the teachings of the church. Is that allowed?

  3. Is it official now just because he has said such?

  4. Is Universalism accepted by Catholics

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To address your questions in order.

Does the Catholic church officially recognize baptizing ones children as a good work that qualifies you for salvation?

Not by itself. Heck, as a parent, the Church more or less expects if of you. If you don't have your children baptized, you're doing it wrong. That's a very terse summary of the Church's position. (I speak as both a Catholic and a parent).

As for "what qualifies for salvation" that's a huge topic and a slightly loaded question. The nuts and bolts of it is Baptism into the Church; remaining in communion with Christ/The Church/God; remaining free of the stain of mortal sin (and repenting from such sin and returning via the sacrament of reconciliation when it happens); those three are an incredibly brief summary of what the Church teaches as the path to salvation. It does not do the topic justice. And while you are at it, don't forget prayer and selfless service in His name. (Aside: when Jesus told his disciples to "pick up your cross and follow me" the subtext of that message was not "this is gonna be easy." There is no Easy Button).

If the church does not recognize this, is Francis speaking apart from the teachings of the church. Is that allowed?

While The Holy Father is being a little glib (and IMO sloppy) in his public relations appearance there, he is speaking to his audience: children. It is worthwhile to consider the context and setting of his remarks. That said:

  • A document issued from Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, presents an offer of hope (beyond general human understanding) of salvation due to God's mercy. It is unknowable when God's mercy enters into such a path to salvation. This was controversial when it came out, and remains a topic of some disagreement. (It is not dogma, and as our friend @Geremia here at Christianity.SE might remind us, it makes statements at odds with the pronouncement at the Council of Trent that there is no salvation outside of the Church; a pronouncement that has not been repealed). You can, however, view his recent remark as being consistent with this article.

    {Extracted from Lumen Gentium article 16}
    Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator. Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, "Preach the Gospel to every creature", the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.

    Is it allowed? Well, he's the Pope. What he's supposed to do is lead the church. He is also human, and can be careless. Nobody but his own conscience can govern his decisions on what he says. (As my wife has asked me to stop making comments about this particular Pope, that's as far as I'll go).

Is it official now just because he has said such?

No. This is not an ex cathedra pronouncement. There is a particular form for making such statements in matters of faith and morals. Such utterances are rare; the last one I recall covered the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. That was the dogma explicitly conveyed in 1950, written/issued by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950 in his Encyclical Munificentissimus Deus. This off hand remark was no encyclical, nor any other form of ex cathedra utterance.

Is Universalism accepted by Catholics

That is a separate question, please ask it separately.

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Pope Francis by virtue of God's anointing and office as Vicar of Christ cannot err in matters of faith & morals with regards to salvation of mankind.

The strong promised of Jesus is in Luke22:32

"But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

The Pope enjoy abundant graces from God in order for Him to strengthen the Clergy and lead the flock of Christ entrusted to His care.

With regards to the duty of parents. Pope Francis words as you stated;

"A young boy asks if his recently departed Unbelieving Father is in heaven. The pope does a line of reasoning that even though he was unbeliever, he had his children baptised which pleased God, and he asks the children if God would abandon such a man. the Children shout "No!" and the pope confirms their answer"

Resembles what I heard from a pious priest who celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass only, his name his Fr.Odon (caryana.org is the site)

Fr.Odon said the first and foremost duty of the parents are to lead their child in the "Fear of God" and make sure the child that God gave to them reach the Kingdom of God, all the rest like comfort and education are secondary. The important thing is the salvation of souls.

As scriptures said;

Mark 8:36 King James Version (KJV)

"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"

Baptism is the very first and important step in our Christian journey as it cleanses as of original sin and restores back our participation to Divine Life. Without the Sacraments of Baptism the Catholic Church in old years are known to have said "there's is no salvation outside the Catholic Church". Part of the reasons is in the administration of the Seven Sacraments that is very important Church Teaching in the salvation of man.

In closing, the good act of the Father in ensuring his child receive the Sacramens of Baptism is a direct recognition that there is a God and a Church.

The child in return, enjoys the sanctifying grace and has a good chance to grow in the True Faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ.Plus there's a possibility that the child will pray to God for the good of his earthly Father.

Baptism is God's most beautiful and magnificent gift. . . .We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilty; Baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it radiates light; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes; and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God's Lordship.10 for more info on the graces derives from the Sacrament of Baptism.

For more info on Baptism below is the link;

Catechism of the Catholic Church - The sacrament of Baptism www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a1.htm

In closing, for your other question is Universalism accepted by Catholics?

The Vatican II is born precisely on that Pastoral Mission as they called it the New Evangelization in the Third Millenium heeding the call or the desire of God the Father to Jesus in John17:22. A call for unity of all faithful believer of God.

John 17:22 New International Version (NIV)

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—

Godbless

  • 3
    "[The] Vicar of Christ cannot err in matters of faith & morals with regards to salvation of mankind." Certainly be can, if he is not formally exercising his capacity as Pastor and Teacher of the universal Church. – Matt Gutting Jul 24 '18 at 18:41
  • You quote, ""there's is no salvation outside the Catholic Church". " Which seems quite opposite of the Popes conclusion. I'm not sure my question is fully addressed – L1R Jul 24 '18 at 20:07
  • @Matt Gutting you said certainly "IF"...that means you have no valid proof. Godbless – jong ricafort Jul 24 '18 at 20:16

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