Many times have we taken Msgr. M. Francis Mannion to task for his goofy answers in his Q&A section in Our Sunday Visitor. Apparently, the Visitor thinks his answer are peachy keen, otherwise he would have been replaced long ago.
In the Visitor (July 25), Mannion answers this question (or tries to): I understand that all men and women who live good lives can go to heaven just like good Christians do. Why be a Christian then?
Says Mannion: The ordinary way to salvation for the baptized is by participating in the Mass and the sacraments, reading the Scriptures, living according to the moral code of the Church, loving God and neighbor as Jesus did. Do Christians achieve all this on earth? A few of us do, and we call those that do saints. The vast majority of us (I am assuming) come to deaths door far from the perfection of the saints and, therefore, far from the perfection of Christ. That is why purgatory makes perfect sense in this context . Purgatory is, quite simply, the process by which those who are not yet conformed to Christ are embraced by Him . Purgatory is the completion in us of what began in us at the moment of our baptism . For the person who, through no fault of his or her own, has never been a Christian, purgatory is crucial. If one arrives at deaths door with little or no knowledge of Christ, then purgatory is the process by which, if they are men and women of good will, Christ reaches out to them and calls them to a participation in His own life . For the unbaptized dead, purgatory is like the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults . Those who have never passed through RCIA and been baptized will have the opportunity to do so in purgatory.
So the vast majority of Christians go to Purgatory. And those non-Christians with good will but with little or no knowledge of Christ also go to Purgatory. Since the chance of being a saint is miniscule, theres not much point in being a Christian. So Mannion has failed to answer the question, Why be a Christian then?
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