Book Review: A Catholic Reading Guide to Conditional Immortality

Robert Wild. A Catholic Reading Guide to Conditional Immortality: The Third Alternative to Hell and Universalism. Eugene: Resource Publications, 2016.1 A free digital copy of this publication was given to the reviewer in exchange for a review. Many thanks to Wipf&Stock/Resource Publications.

The official Roman Catholic teaching on the subject of hell is that of eternal torment. Despite this, some have suggested that it is theologoumena rather than dogma, similar to the understanding of hell in Eastern Orthodoxy, where universalism and conditionalism (CI) are both possible options. Fr. Robert Wild is a conditionalist Roman Catholic who advocates for considering both conditionalism and universalism as possibilities for Roman Catholics. He argues that conditionalism is the best understanding both biblically and philosophically, and that CI was likely the most widely held belief among the earliest Christians. He concludes that CI can, and should, become the dominant view again. He writes, “I have come to the conclusion that CI is the more probable answer to the question of the fate of those who remain adamant in their refusal to love… I am also convinced that CI was the most ancient belief in the early years of Christian reflection, that of the Apostolic Fathers and the Apologists… I believe that, eventually, CI will assume its original predominant place and become the main view of Christians.” (p. 175-6).

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1. A free digital copy of this publication was given to the reviewer in exchange for a review. Many thanks to Wipf&Stock/Resource Publications.