What Do Catholics Teach on Predestination? 

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.

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.