From an interview with Stephen Crittenden of The Religion Report on ABC Radio National:

Stephen Crittenden: Let me just finally give another example from the opposite side of the ledger. There’s a great term called universalism. And I guess at base it’s the idea that in the end, no-one’s in hell, everyone’s going to heaven, that the crucifixion ultimately saved everyone and God’s mercy will gather everyone according to some theologians even Judas and Satan in the end will be saved. Often hearing John Paul II I thought to myself Actually at base, he’s a Universalist. Some of the things Benedict has written suggests the same. I think the vast majority probably of Australian Catholics these days are Universalists.

Richard Rohr: In effect, yes. Well, you know –

Stephen Crittenden: Which doesn’t mean they know they’re going to heaven, but they hope that everybody, including the Buddhists and the Hindus and the Jews and the Muslims, everybody will be saved.

Richard Rohr: Isn’t that a marvellous act of trust in the mercy and victory of God. If we say God is victorious, what else would God’s victory be? Is God so small that God’s victory can only win over a few? I think that’s the sad commentary on much of Christian history, but the wonderful thing is, that we find a constant sub-text, starting in the scriptures themselves, starting in Isaiah, of language of all, of language of everybody. It’s called apocatostisis in Greek, which means universal restoration. It was believed by any number of the early fathers of the church, taught in various forms, subtle forms very often, but you can see that it was a hope, it was a desire, it was the yearning of the spirit that God’s victory has to be this great, and has to be this big. It’s interesting, that like we in the Catholic Church have officially proclaimed many people to be in heaven, we call them saints. We have never proclaimed a single person to be in hell. Now that’s rather telling. We never said we are sure Hitler’s in hell, we are sure Judas is in hell, we’ve n ever said that. That reveals something; and I think it’s the hope planted in us by the Holy Spirit of the nature of God’s love. Is grace is true; we’ve got to take it to its logical conclusion. If you and I are loved, in spite of ourselves, then what’s the cut-off point of worthiness and unworthiness? Now I have to receive that, I have to surrender to that, but I think God has led all of us to surrender in spite of ourselves. So for God to allow that, God to do that, in death, after death, that’s easy for me to trust. (Online source)

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