The easiest way to explain to a sensitive post-modern mind why not all “good people” go to heaven but only those in sanctifying grace probably comes from St. Thomas Aquinas. He simply explains that natural virtue from a person can not get him to the supernatural goal, namely, the Beatific Vision of the Blessed Trinity. Being a “nice person” can’t get you to heaven since getting to heaven means truly being holy enough to gaze upon God. Think about that. St. Augustine realized there was no chance of salvation unless Christ be the center of one’s life, probably because he saw the darkness he once walked in as a pagan. Of course, no one can know the doctrine of the Trinity without Divine Revelation. However, a few “high pagans” have been known to reject polytheism and realize some basic philosophical truths before they were evangelized. For example, before the birth of Christ, Plato and Socrates realized God is one. Much later, the Flathead Indians of Montana were living natural virtue so well that when the Jesuits showed up, 107,000 of them quickly converted by 1873!
Today, probably because missionaries are so sparse, Jesus and Mary are appearing in untold numbers in dreams to many Muslims to convert them. These are examples of “private revelation” bringing pagans and infidels to public revelation. But short of revelation or a missionary showing up in a village, nobody can know our Catholic supernatural truths of theology. How about unbelievers coming to know the natural truths? Even these numbers will be low, as St. Thomas Aquinas explains in the very first question in his Summa:
Hence it was necessary for the salvation of man that certain truths which exceed human reason should be made known to him by divine revelation. Even as regards those truths about God which human reason could have discovered, it was necessary that man should be taught by a divine revelation; because the truth about God such as reason could discover, would only be known by a few, and that after a long time, and with the admixture of many errors.—St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae I.1.
In the bold above, again notice that St. Thomas is describing the simple truths accessible to human reason, not the more advanced truths of Divine Revelation.
So, just how few is “few”? On this topic (before I knew I was going to write a blog on it) I texted my friend today: “See why I’m becoming more and more Augustinian in my view of original sin? Seems like earth is closer to hell when you see these TikTok videos of possessed people or read Roman history. We are all so absolutely lost without Christ. I have a theory that modern Thomists have separated theology from philosophy (based on that first question in the first part of the Summa) much more than St. Thomas intended there. Like how few is “few” when Thomas writes ‘the truth about God such as reason could discover, would only be known by a few, and that after a long time, and with the admixture of many errors.'”
I was thinking specifically of this sad video when I texted him the above.
A pro-abortion protester screams “We love killing babies!” pic.twitter.com/EkkQv5omrn
— Douglas Blair (@DouglasKBlair) July 9, 2022
Notice she is not arguing against advanced Trinitarian theology here, or arguing against the hypostatic union. No, she is yelling, “We love killing babies.” That is why the title of my blog here is, Is Reason Accessible Without Christ? Notice that I’m not saying you need a Bible to be a good microbiologist. But it does appear that sin is darkening the intellect these days not only on matters of theology, but also on matters of philosophy and the natural sciences. You see, I have said for a long time, “You don’t need to know Christ to know that abortion is wrong.” Even though I stick by that sentence objectively, I am starting to have to revisit that assertion subjectively. I’m starting to believe that original sin is so-big and so-bad that original sin and mortal may not only darken the intellect, but might even fully eradicate the intellect. (Or she is possessed, which is not something I can prove, so we have to stay away from such accusations.)
The point is: I’m starting to think that not only is “good theology” inaccessible for those living without Christ, but perhaps even “good science” is inaccessible to them. (At least, the “few” found in the quote of the Summa above must be an extremely, extremely small number.)
We need to start evangelizing the whole world with the absolute truth that Jesus Christ is God and Savior. We must start doing this without exception and without entering into modernist silly soteriological loopholes of “ecumenism.” Why? Because demons are not going to respect “loopholes” of “reduced culpability” on anyone in any point in history. We must beg God for saints to work miracles again. We must beg that the restoration of the Catholic Church include a holy Pope and a solid hierarchy and get rid of any pastoral counsel promoting the heresy of religious indifferentism under pretext of “ecumenism.” We must evangelize everyone with zeal and charity. I don’t write this blog post to judge our enemies on the left, but to say that the world is such complete darkness without Jesus Christ. We again need the full holiness of the Catholic Church that currently seems in eclipse, at least in her human aspect.
St. Bonaventure wrote, “Christ is the interior teacher, and no truth is known except through Him, not by His speaking as we speak, but by His enlightening us interiorly. He is intimately present to every soul, and by His most clear ideas, He shines upon the dark ideas of our minds.”—In Hexaem., 12.5, quoted by Copleston SJ vol. 2, p. 289.
Arguments for the humanity of the unborn child must continue in the public forum on this topic of abortion, yes, but such an argument will clearly not work on the young woman in the above video who so desperately needs Christ. (As I said in my opening RCT video yesterday, I would probably be acting like her if I didn’t have Christ at the center of my life.) Let us pray for her but not in a self-righteous way. Let us be found praying hard (in a way of burning and loving charity) for the conversion of that young woman, for she is truly one of Christ’s lost sheep for whom He died to be with forever.