Do Catholics believe in predestination?

Predestination is based on Scripture:

  • Romans 8:28-30

For those whom God foreknew, he also predestined; and those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

  • Ephesians 1:4-6

Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

  • John 6:44

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

  • John 13:18

I am not speaking of you all; I know whom I have chosen; it is that the scripture may be fulfilled, He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.

  • Acts 13:47-48

For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the uttermost parts of the earth.” And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of God; and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

  • 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5

For we know, brethren beloved by God, that he has chosen you; for our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:13

But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 

  • Colossians 3:12

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience.

  • 1 Timothy 2:3-4

This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 

  • Revelation 13:7-8

Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. 

Predestination refers to God’s plan of salvation for individuals. It is the divine will by which men are saved. The Catholic doctrine of Predestination must be understood in the context of 1Tim2:4: God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

The Catholic doctrine of Predestination is not to be confused with the heretical teaching that God chooses certain people to be damned in hell. Some theologians call that heresy Double Predestination, which has been condemned by the Council of Trent (1545-1563 AD).

Therefore, God has a plan for our salvation, and we must use our free will to cooperate with God in His plan.

Question: How is free will possible; i.e., do I really have a choice if that choice was known before the foundation of the world?

Second Vatican Council (CCC 600): To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. Unlike human beings, God is not bound by time. The past, present and future are present to God all at once. God knows everything past, present and future, but whether we accept or reject God’s plan of salvation is our choice.

The world tends to idolize freedom, such that freedom is an end to itself; i.e. what matters is no longer what one chooses but the mere fact that one is allowed to choose. The world is heading to the point where nothing is forbidden anymore.

The Good News is that the Christian is called to discover his destiny. That is the beauty of Predestination.