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Will Orthodox Catholics Go to Hell?

Sounds like it, given what Bishop Thomas Gumbleton says. He expounds on Luke 13:22-30 in the National Catholic Reporter (Sept. 17, 2004). This is where Jesus is asked, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” Jesus answers, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”

Says Gumbleton: “We Catholics sometimes think we are the real Christians…. Well, God doesn’t look on it that way. God says that everyone is special. Everyone is chosen. Everyone on this planet is a son or daughter of God…. God loves…every religion. God does not hold up one group in favor of another.”

However, Gumbleton rebukes those who have “an exclusive attitude” — these are the ones, says Gumbleton, who “won’t get…into the kingdom of heaven.” That certainly applies to orthodox Catholics, who claim to have the fullness of truth and the fullness of grace in the Sacraments, who indeed claim to be the “real Christians.” So, it’s the orthodox Catholics who are in danger of going to Hell.

Gumbleton quotes from the same Gospel reading: “Jesus says in the Gospel, ‘They will come from the north and the south, the east and the west.’ He could have said, ‘They will be Buddhists and Hindus, Muslims and even atheists.'” Of course, Gumbleton totally misconstrues this. Jesus is telling the Jews of His time who rejected Him that they will be refused entry into the Kingdom of God in favor of the righteous Gentiles who accept Him. (See our New Oxford Note, “The Most Important Question in Life,” Nov. 2004).

In order to go to Heaven, Gumbleton is saying that it doesn’t matter what you believe or don’t believe. You don’t have to believe in Jesus (what a waste that Crucifixion was!). You can believe in idols. You can believe there is no God whatsoever. All that’s just fine. But don’t you dare have “an exclusive attitude”! Don’t you dare believe that Catholics are the “real Christians”!

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