Catholic Candle’s three-point summary of the following article:
Bishop Williamson heretically teaches we should no longer try to convert souls because:
Bishop Williamson now adds another, related error, viz., there are some souls that even God cannot convert and save! Below, we quote Bishop Williamson’s own words but first we examine the Catholic truth he denies.
A faithful and informed Catholic knows that God is able to convert the souls of his loved ones. That is why he prays for their conversion, viz., because God can convert them.
The Catholic Faith instructs us to pray for everyone. God is all-powerful and we pray for the conversion of all souls because we know that God is able to save any souls we pray for.
Our Lady of Fatima tells us that “Many souls go to hell because there is no one to pray for them”.3 She does not say that souls go to hell because even God can’t convert them regardless of our prayers.
Therefore, faithful Catholics with even a simple Faith, know that God can save the souls of whomever we pray for, if He chooses to do so.
Sacred Scripture infallibly declares:
The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord: whithersoever He will He shall turn it.
Proverbs 21:1 (emphasis added).
This passage says “whithersoever He will”, to show that if God chooses to save the king (or anyone else), He can do it. Notice that Sacred Scripture does not say that God can turn the heart of the king unless the king is one of those unconvertable souls.
The Greatest Doctor of the Catholic Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, following the Doctor of the Church, St. Ambrose, teaches that:
God calls whom He deigns to call, and whom He wills He makes religious: the profane Samaritans, had He so willed, He would have made devout.
Summa, IIa IIae, Q.82, a.3, respondeo (emphasis added).
St. Ambrose teaches that God can convert any profane Samaritans He chooses to convert.
St. Thomas Aquinas, following the Doctor of Grace, St. Augustine, teaches that God can save anyone He wishes to save:
Hence it is impossible for these two things to be true at the same time—that the Holy Ghost should will to move a certain man to an act of charity, and that this man, by sinning, should lose charity. For the gift of perseverance is reckoned among the blessings of God whereby “whoever is delivered, is most certainly delivered, ” as Augustine says in his book On the Predestination of the Saints (De Dono Persev. xiv).
Summa, IIa IIae, Q.24, a.11, respondeo (emphasis added).
Charity always comes with Sanctifying Grace and makes a man the friend of God.4 In the quote immediately above, St. Augustine teaches that the Holy Ghost will move any man to charity (and Sanctifying Grace) if He chooses to convert him.
God can save anyone He wishes to save.5
But how can this be true that God can save anyone, since man has a free will? The answer to this question requires us to recall what we know about our free will.
God made our wills to be fixed, and not free to choose our final end. God determined our final end; and this end—which is fixed in us— is happiness (in the broadest sense). No one can choose a different final end.6
However, our will is free to choose the means through which we seek to attain this end which is fixed in us.7 In this way, men differ according to the means by which they seek to achieve their common end, viz., happiness. Some men (wrongly) seek pleasure as the means to obtain happiness. Some men (wrongly) seek riches as a means to obtain happiness. Similarly, other men (wrongly) seek fame or power or some other false means to attain happiness.
Our seeking happiness (as our end) but differing in the means we choose to obtain it, is like various sick men who are all intent upon the same end, viz., becoming healthy. They might all choose different (and even contrary) means of obtaining health although their end is the same, viz., health.8
We see that man’s free will is not free to choose his final end (happiness) but only to choose the means for achieving this end. Not all men achieve their common end because many chose the wrong means for attaining this end.
We are now able to see how God can (and does) save any man He chooses to save, although man has a free will.
Let us first return to our health analogy. Suppose a sick man is very firmly committed to obtaining health. If this sick man had an inclination toward laziness, he might initially choose to seek health by using a means which also gratifies his inclination to be lazy. That is, he might initially choose to seek health by getting lots of rest and no exercise.
But if that man is given better information how to regain his health, that information causes the man to choose differently than he would have otherwise chosen. But this enlightenment (i.e., better information) will not make his choice less free.
If the man is truly resolved to obtain health (as our analogy presupposes) then if he comes to know clearly enough that restoration of health depends upon vigorous exercise, then he will begin to vigorously exercise, despite his disinclination to do so. In other words, the sick man’s clearer knowledge changes his actions but does not make his will less free.
Likewise, our wills are truly and unshakably fixed on obtaining happiness as our last end. However, like the lazy sick man (in the analogy immediately above) a man often wants to “compromise” with his passions. For example, he tells himself that he can obtain the happiness he seeks through a means which also gratifies his fallen inclination to seek pleasure (or some other false means).
The Catholic Faith teaches that we cannot be saved without God’s help, but every man who goes to hell, damns himself. We now see how a man can damn himself when, because of the strength of his passions, he chooses to compromise with his fallen inclinations and he tells himself that he does not need to deny his passions because he can obtain happiness through a means which also gratifies them.
But God can give any man such a very clear understanding (i.e., enlightenment) that this man sees that his end (happiness) requires means (e.g., great self-denial) which are different than he had chosen in the past. Seeing this truth clearly enough, the man will then freely change his decision. (God can and does further help the man by strengthening his will to fight his passions, etc. )
Thus, when God enlightens a man more regarding how to achieve his last end, it does not make his will less free but does cause him to choose differently. God merely shows the man more plainly the means to obtain his happiness. By God enlightening the man further (and strengthening his will to carry out those new, better choices, despite obstacles) God can save anyone He wishes, without ever forcing our free will.
As declared in the book of Proverbs, our heart is in the hand of the Lord: whithersoever He will He shall turn it. Cf., Proverbs, 21:1. In the words of St. Ambrose: if God calls us, He makes us religious. Cf., Summa, IIa IIae, Q.82, a.3, respondeo.
Bishop Williamson teaches the false and strange doctrine that God saves everyone whom He can possibly save but that there are some people whom God is powerless to save. Here are Bishop Williamson’s words:
“God is not mocked” (Gal. VI, 7), but He cares for every single human soul, doing all he [sic] can to bring it to Heaven, short of taking away its free-will.9
From Catholic teaching (set out above), we see Bishop Williamson is plainly wrong that there is any soul that God cannot save despite “doing all he [sic] can to bring it to Heaven”.
As shown above, Sacred Scripture and the Doctors of the Church teach us the truth Bishop Williamson denies, viz., God can save any man He chooses to save, by giving greater enlightenment to his mind and greater strength to his will. This greater light and strength causes the man to freely choose better means to attain his final end which is fixed in us, viz., the true happiness of salvation.
But Bishop Williamson’s errors do not stop there. He also asserts that although God cannot save some souls, He sometimes forces man’s free will. As shown below, God never forces our free will and it would be impossible for God to do so.
Bishop Williamson teaches that God sometimes forces (i.e., “interferes with”) our free will. Here are his words:
God rarely interferes with free-will....10
Bishop Williamson’s use of the word “rarely”, shows that he asserts God sometimes does interfere with free will (although “rarely”).
Bishop Williamson also asserts that God could have decided to interfere with man’s free will in order to extend the Middle Ages. Here are his words:
God could have made the Middle Ages go on for ever [sic], but He would have had to interfere with free-will.11
When Bishop Williamson uses the phrase “interferes with”, he is plainly talking about forcing our free will. He is not talking about God merely giving a person an additional choice—in the same way that a man might change his decision to continue working when he learns that his dinner is ready.
There are some things even God cannot do because they are impossible. For example, He cannot make a square-circle. To accomplish this impossibility would require God to make a shape whose sides are both all straight and all curved at the same time.
Likewise, God cannot force our free will. Our will is free by its very nature. In other words, our will is free because of the very thing it is. Just like God cannot make a square-circle, He cannot make a forced-but-free will. If it is forced, it is not a free will and therefore it is not a human will. If man does not have a human will, he is not a man.
For God to “interfere with” man’s will, is for God to cause man to no longer be man. This is like God curving the sides of a square (to make it a circle), making it no longer a square. The man (in the first example) and the square (in the second example) would cease to exist. Thus, God cannot force man’s will because then man would no longer be man.
Here is how St. Thomas explains this truth:
To be free from being forced is natural to the human will. But natural things cannot be removed by anyone, including God. Therefore, God cannot force the human will.
Further, God cannot make opposites to be true together. But the voluntary and violence are opposite because the violent is a species of the involuntary, as is shown in the Ethics, book 3.
Therefore, God cannot cause the human will to be forced to choose something and thus, God cannot force the human will.
St. Thomas Aquinas, De Veritate, Q.22, a.8, sed contra.
Following St. Augustine, St. Thomas teaches:
Augustine says (De Civ. Dei v, 10) that what is done by the will is not done of necessity. Now, whatever is done under compulsion is done of necessity: consequently what is done by the will, cannot be compelled. Therefore the will cannot be compelled to act.
Summa, Ia IIae, Q.6, a.2, sed contra (emphasis added).12
God can save anyone that He chooses to save. He does this without ever forcing man’s free will.
Bishop Williamson continually leads his followers into additional errors.13 Let us pray for Bishop Williamson and his blind followers who with him fall into the pit of error.14
How much better he and his followers would be if he learned and taught the Catholic doctrine of the Doctors of the Church, during the time that he instead wastes reading false and heretical visions condemned by the Catholic Church before Vatican II, through the Holy Office of the great Cardinal Ottaviani!15
How much better Bishop Williamson and his followers would be if he did not waste his time surfing conciliar websites and gullibly believing and promoting false conciliar miracles.16Home
In our liberal age, some people think it is not “fair” for God to not give everyone a chance to go to heaven. However, that false idea comes from the error that somehow God “owes” us (in “fairness”, or as a debt) to have a chance for salvation, rather than it being a free gift that God owes to no one.
The greatest Doctor of the Catholic Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, explains this truth by contrasting debts owed in justice, to the gratuitous nature of God’s free and undeserved gift of salvation:
There is a twofold giving. One belongs to justice, and occurs when we give a man his due. In this type of giving, respect of persons takes place. [Note: the respect of persons to which St. Thomas refers, is the sin of fulfilling (or not fulfilling) our duties of justice based on the status of the particular person].
The other giving belongs to liberality, when one gives gratis that which is nota man’s due. Such is the bestowal of the gifts of grace, whereby God choosesto save some sinners [but not others]. In such giving, there is no place for respect of persons, because anyone may, without injustice, give of his own as much as he will, and to whom he will, according to Matt. 20:14 & 15: Is it not lawful for me to do what I will? ... Take what is thine, and go thy way.
Summa, IIa IIae, Q.63, a.1, ad 3 (emphasis and bracketed words added; ellipsis in original).
Lastly, remember that God never sends people to the fires of hell except for the sins they choose to commit. Thus, those who go to hell, damn themselves.↑
St. Paul teaches that God “will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4. However, God wills all men to be saved upon a condition which was not fulfilled, viz., that there be no sin.
Because sin entered the world, God’s unconditional will is that some persons are not saved and are not even “called” through grace. Our Lord taught: “many [not all] are called but few are chosen.” St. Matthew, 22:14 (bracketed words added).
Also, Our Lord teaches us that most people go to hell and few people even find the path to salvation:
Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!
St. Matthew, 7:13-14 (emphasis added).
Among the examples of men that God could have saved but chose not to save (or even give them any grace), are babies who die without baptism, and also “the profane Samaritans [whom], had He so willed, He would have made devout” (words of St. Ambrose, quoted above).↑
St. Thomas Aquinas explains that:
happiness may be considered as the final and perfect good, which is the general notion of happiness: and thus the will naturally and of necessity tends thereto.
Summa, Ia IIae, Q.6, ad 2.
St. Thomas explains further that:
of necessity, every man desires happiness. For the general notion of happiness consists in the perfect good ....
Summa, Ia IIae, Q.5, a.8, respondeo.
St. Thomas teaches this truth, following St. Augustine:
Augustine says (De Trin. xiii, 3) that all men agree in desiring the last end, which is happiness.
Summa, Ia IIae, Q.1, a.7, sed contra.↑
St. Thomas teaches this truth, explaining that:
choice concerns only the means and not the end itself because the end is presupposed as something predetermined. The means, however, are sought by us as things to be ordered to the end.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Lectures on Ethics, Book 3, lecture 5, §446.
Because our end (happiness) is fixed in us, it is not a matter of choice. Thus, St. Thomas says it is erroneous to say we choose to be happy, since this end is not a matter of our choice. Here are his words:
Likewise, we wish to be happy— happiness is our ultimate end—and we say we wish this. Yet it is not appropriate to say that we elect or choose to be happy.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Lectures on Ethics, Book 3, lecture 5, §446.↑
St. Thomas gives this same analogy, saying that we have the end of health but choose different means to obtain it. Here are his words:
We wish health principally since it is the end of healing. But we choose the remedies by which we are restored to health.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Lectures on Ethics, Book 3, lecture 5, §446.↑
If Bishop Williamson had thought carefully, he would see a second error in his false and fuzzy assertion (quoted above) that God could have continued the glorious Middle Ages by forcing man’s will.
The glory of the Middle Ages—what makes them what they are—is that Christendom was voluntarily united in knowing, loving, and serving Christ the King and His Church. Not only does God never “interfere” with man’s free will (as shown above), but this (supposed) forcing of man’s free will would have destroyed the character of the Middle Ages. This is like destroying the character of a man’s almsgiving by taking the man’s hand and forcing him to take money and drop it into the beggar’s tin cup.
As St. Thomas explains:
God Who is more powerful than the human will, can move the will of man, according to Proverbs 21:1: “The heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord; whithersoever He will He shall turn it.” But if this were by compulsion, it would no longer be by an act of the will, nor would the will itself be moved, but something else against the will.
Summa, Ia IIae, Q.6, a.2, ad 1 (emphasis added).
Therefore, just as a man does not earn the merit of giving alms if he is forced to give them against his will, likewise, the Middle Ages would be completely different in character and lose their glory, if what was outwardly done was involuntary and was forced (by God “interfering” with man’s free will, as Bishop Williamson falsely asserts to be possible.)
Therefore, under Bishop Williamson’s false supposition that God could force man’s free will, the Middle Ages would have been robotic and mechanical and not glorious and meritorious. This would have destroyed the Middle Ages, not continued it.↑
Read Bishop Williamson’s own words, cited back to his own sources, which shows how he promotes condemned, false visions:
Read Bishop Williamson’s own words, cited back to his own sources, which shows how he promotes these false miracles: