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Caitlin Kennell Kim
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
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Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Mike Hayes
Our readers asked:

What Do Catholics Teach on Predestination? 

Neela Kale Answers:

Predestination, as commonly understood, implies that God designates each person for damnation or for salvation. Regardless of what one says or does throughout life, one’s eternal fate has already been decided by God. This idea has prompted major theological controversy throughout the history of Christianity and continues to hold sway with some communities today. However, the Catholic Church does not believe that our eternal salvation or damnation is predetermined by God. Rather, “since the ultimate vocation of [human beings] is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every [human being] the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery” (Gaudium et Spes 22). All of us receive the invitation to salvation. Similarly, the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that “God predestines no one to go to hell” (paragraph 1037), since this requires a definitive turning away from God which is an act of our free will.

The Author : Neela Kale
Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.
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  • Ana

    Thank you for the little article, I’ve heard something about this from Calvinist but I wasn’t sure why they would believe something like this. This is a silly question but I can’t understand it and I think it has something to do with the subject, was Judas Iscariote predestined to betray Jesus? Did he have a choice? What would have happened if he decided against it? Did God know what he was going to do?

    • Mike

      Judas Iscariote was just a person with the personality type of doing what he did, this is why it was so easy for Satan to enter him and make him do what he did. I believe that is why he was picked to do what he did, even though and keeping in mind he still had freewill not to do what he did, reguardless of who told him what to do.

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