There are lots of debates, particularly in Reformed circles about whether or not Catholics in general, or this Catholic, or that Catholic, are saved.
It’s a beloved pastime for Christians from various sectors of global Christianity, including my own communion. Having a Magisterium is nice here because it provides an actual means to reply to the rabid dogs in my own communion who are more than willing to reply that only Catholics are saved–and they also pretty sure that nearly every Catholic, including the Pope, is damned too.
Me, I stick with the Church and avoid speculating about the eternal destiny of anybody. I think the Orthodox have it right with the proverb “We know where the Church is. We do not know where it is not.” So I take the Church seriously when she commands we pray for and hope for the salvation of all. Given that God does not command us to do the impossible, I take it as possible, not assured, that we may find on That Day that all eventually say “Yes” to grace.
But I also know that this can only be a hope in this life. Both presumption and despair are the great enemies of Hope because they both lie that we can know the end of the story.
That we cannot do, even for ourselves.
On the whole, I take videos like the one above as another sign of Hope. A couple of weeks ago, I remarked in my comboxes about my loathing for Calvinism. But I also noted that as time has gone on I have encountered many Calvinists whose personal goodness seems to me to act as a counterweight to the implications of the theology they profess. This video demonstrates what I mean here. People are complex and the Holy Spirit is at work in every person who lays himself open to Him. It seems to me obvious that this is what I am looking at here.
And that is something I can rejoice in. I wonder if Tolkien or Chesterton will be surprised by the harvest of souls and the beautiful fruits of charity and brotherhood they helped to foster, water and fertilize in people they would likely have seen as very remote from their own ideas about things.
One of the things I look forward to in Heaven (assuming my hope of reaching it fulfilled) will be the surprises everyone of us will have. If the Christian story insists on anything, it is that at the center of reality is the Great Twist Ending and, as Tolkien insisted, eucatastrophe.
The consolation of fairy-stories, the joy of the happy ending: or more correctly of the good catastrophe, the sudden joyous “turn” (for there is no true end to any fairy-tale): this joy, which is one of the things which fairy-stories can produce supremely well, is not essentially ‘escapist’, nor ‘fugitive’. In its fairy-tale—or otherworld—setting, it is a sudden and miraculous grace: never to be counted on to recur. It does not deny the existence of dyscatastrophe, of sorrow and failure: the possibility of these is necessary to the joy of deliverance; it denies (in the face of much evidence, if you will) universal final defeat and in so far is evangelium, giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.
It is the mark of a good fairy-story, of the higher or more complete kind, that however wild its events, however fantastic or terrible the adventures, it can give to child or man that hears it, when the “turn” comes, a catch of the breath, a beat and lifting of the heart, near to (or indeed accompanied by) tears, as keen as that given by any form of literary art, and having a peculiar quality.”
As I listen to these good men and good brothers in Christ love the goodness they taste in Tolkien and Chesterton, I cannot but taste in them a little bit of Heaven. The murderous acrimony of the 16th Century and what followed gets worn away by the endless waves of the Spirit’s grace like the beating of the sea again a giant rock at the shore and obstacles to love once immovable somehow go away.
My hope is that the patience of God will someday prevail even on a heart as hard and impatient as mine.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, upon the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life for evermore. (Ps 133)