If C. S. Lewis Had Died Only Three Years Later

He would have gone to meet his maker a separated brother instead of a heretic thanks to the reclassification of Protestants by bishops consulting at Vatican II. Joseph Pearce remembers the coincidence of Lewis’ death and John F. Kennedy’s assassination, but forgets the simultaneous meeting of the council in Rome:

Lewis in his life was outside the Church but looking towards it and leading numerous others towards it also. He has played a significant part in the conversion of countless people to the Catholic Church, the present author and the aforementioned Peter Kreeft included. He not only believed in purgatory, he believed that he was going there. Shortly before his death, he asked his friend, Sister Penelope, to visit him in purgatory, if visits from heaven were allowed.

Is Lewis in purgatory? It is not for us to say, but surely it is inconceivable that one who loved Christ so much and led so many others to Christ and His Church could be in hell.

Is John F. Kennedy in purgatory? Again, it is not for us to say. It is true, however, that he was a cafeteria “Catholic,” like his latter-day “Catholic” counterparts Nancy Pelosi and Melinda Gates, who had turned away from the Church, preferring to serve the zeitgeist to the Heilige Geist, the spirit of the age to the Holy Spirit. There has to be a price to pay for those “Catholics” who have led so many others away from the Church in their open defiance of Rome and their scarcely concealed contempt for Her teaching. There is little doubt that Dante would have consigned JFK to hell. We should hesitate to do likewise.

Where are Lewis and John F. Kennedy now? Let’s just say that purgatory leads to heaven and that heresy and apostasy leads to hell.

Would Pearce have written it that way in 1963 before he learned that Protestants were separated brothers? And what of all the Christians that Lewis led into the church that Henry VIII liberated from the papacy?

But in an age of ecumenism, despite the insistence of Bryan and the Jasons, the idea of no salvation outside the church has vanished along with the Berlin Wall. Pearce is not alone:

Jack’s memories of religious instruction as a child were of attendances during his boarding school years at an Anglo-Catholic church. Although impressed by the dedication of the priests he disliked what appeared to be the copying of “Roman rituals”. Anti-Catholic slogans had sometimes been chalked on the walls of the family home during Jack’s early years in view of the fact that the cook and the housemaid employed by the family were Catholic. One read: “Send the dirty papists back to the Devil where they belong.” Jack’s nurse, Lizzie Endicott, taught him as a young child to stamp in puddles and “kill all the little popes”.

Jack was, of course, far too intelligent and perceptive to have allowed these early incidents to form his later opinions. Nevertheless, he is said to have been annoyed, in 1931, that a “papist” publisher had handled one of his books, The Pilgrim’s Regress. Of course, if Jack had converted to Catholicism, his marriage to Joy Davidman, a divorced woman, would have been unthinkable and it is unlikely that the huge literary output that she inspired in him would ever have been written.

It is perhaps understandable that with his dislike of Protestant fundamentalism, superstition and extremes of emotion, Jack chose to take a middle path, although his aim was always to help the cause of reunion or at least make it clear why we ought to be reunited. For him, the essence of Christianity was exemplified by Thomas à Kempis in his Imitation of Christ, with its emphasis on self discipline, humility and love. In following this, Jack was a true disciple and a strong ambassador for Christianity.

7 thoughts on “If C. S. Lewis Had Died Only Three Years Later

  1. Actually, shouldn’t it be more conceivable for RCs that Lewis is not in heaven? If you get that close to the “church” how can you still be invincibly ignorant?

    All paths lead to heaven maybe sometimes but only if you’re invincibly ignorant unless you’re an anonymous Christian but you’re still really in the church because you can’t be saved without the church unless you don’t know the church but even then you’re still really in the church if you’re good, though cafeteria catholics are bad because the church says they are except for their bishops who give them communion…

    This is what happens when you deny salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Clear as mud.


  2. Robert, re you’re exactly on target there. Hard for an RC to assert that dear ol’ Clive was “invincibly ignorant”.


  3. Who spends more time in purgatory? A “cafeteria” RC or an ecumenical prot? And before you answer too fast, do not forget that at least Cafeteria-ism is a Tridentine (or even Vat II) heresy while Protestantism is a Nicean heresy.


  4. “Is Lewis in purgatory? It is not for us to say, but surely it is inconceivable that one who loved Christ so much and led so many others to Christ and His Church could be in hell.”

    GW: In other words, Lewis was such a “good person” that he deserves at the very least not to be consigned to hell, even though he was a Protestant. Because he “loved God” and “led so many others to Christ and His Church” he merits God’s special consideration. The author of this comment shows abysmal ignorance of the white-hot holiness of God, the utter sinfulness of sin, and thus the absolute necessity of justification by faith alone, apart from works (including the “works” of loving God and leading others to Christ). It is a comment that manifests adherence to a gospel of works-righteousness through-and-through, and thus a gospel which is no gospel at all (Gal. 1:8-9).

    If Lewis is in heaven (and I sincerely hope he is) it is not because he loved God and led others to Christ. It is because, through grace alone, he trusted in Christ alone for his salvation. Period.


  5. Robert nailed it. The “invincibly ignorant” argument only confuses the issue. At least Lewis didn’t manufacture weapons, that certainly would have excluded him.


  6. “Invincible ignorance” has become an almost meaningless concept that makes conversion a minority experience versus the standard gateway to meeting God.


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