Catholics must also understand that few are saved.
Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed that the road to Heaven is straight and narrow and few find it, while the road to Hell is wide and taken by most (Mt. 7:13).
Matthew 7:13- “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!”
Luke 13:24- “Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able.”
Scripture also teaches that almost the entire world lies in darkness, so much so that Satan is even called the “prince” (John 12:31) and “god” (2 Cor. 4:3) of this world.
1 John 5:19- “We know that we are of God, and the whole world is seated in wickedness.”
It’s the sad fact of history that most people in the world are of bad will and don’t want the truth. That’s why almost the whole world lies in darkness and on the road to perdition. This has been the case since the beginning. It was the case when only eight souls (Noe and his family) escaped God’s wrath in the deluge that covered the entire earth, and when the Israelites rejected God’s law and fell into idolatry over and over again.
The truth is that for those who truly believe in God, accept His full truth (the Catholic Faith), don’t compromise it and want to do the right thing, it’s not hard to reach Heaven. As Christ said, “My yoke is sweet and My burden light” (Mt. 11:30). The reason that so few make it is not because it’s that hard, but because they refuse to believe the simple and easy things He has revealed, and do the simple and easy things He has commanded. Those who do what God wants and believe what He says realize that they are much happier than they were before.
But the sad truth is that almost all people are of bad will. This is why the saints and Doctors of the Church have consistently taught only a very small percentage of people are saved. In fact, the saints and Doctors of the Church, even during the ages of faith, taught that most adult Catholics are lost.
Saint Leonard of Port Maurice [A.D. 1676-1751], on the fewness of the saved: “After consulting all the theologians and making a diligent study of the matter, he [Suarez] wrote, ‘The most common sentiment which is held is that, among Christians [Catholics], there are more damned souls than predestined souls.’ Add the authority of the Greek and Latin Fathers to that of the theologians, and you will find that almost all of them say the same thing. This is the sentiment of Saint Theodore, Saint Basil, Saint Ephrem, Saint John Chrysostom. What is more, according to Baronius it was a common opinion among the Greek Fathers that this truth was expressly revealed to Saint Simeon Stylites and that after this revelation, it was to secure his salvation that he decided to live standing on top of a pillar for forty years, exposed to the weather, a model of penance and holiness for everyone. Now let us consult the Latin Fathers. You will hear Saint Gregory saying clearly, “Many attain to faith, but few to the heavenly kingdom.” Saint Anselm declares, “There are few who are saved.” Saint Augustine states even more clearly, “Therefore, few are saved in comparison to those who are damned.” The most terrifying, however, is Saint Jerome. At the end of his life, in the presence of his disciples, he spoke these dreadful words: “Out of one hundred thousand people whose lives have always been bad, you will find barely one who is worthy of indulgence.”
When Saint Leonard of Port Maurice uses the term “Christian,” he means Catholics, not heretics. Saint Leonard is repeating the consistent teaching of the Fathers and Doctors: most adult Catholics (not even including the non-Catholic world) are lost. If this was the sentiment about the salvation of Catholics in the ages of faith, what would they say today? If you have trouble accepting the truths presented on this website because “it’s just too hard to believe that this many people could be wrong or deceived,” consider the teaching of Our Lord and the saints above. Consider how much more true the teaching on the fewness of the saved is today:
“Lucia found Jacinta sitting alone, still and very pensive, gazing at nothing. ‘What are you thinking of, Jacinta?’ ‘Of the war that is going to come. So many people are going to die. And almost all of them are going to Hell.’” (Our Lady of Fatima, p. 94; p. 92 in some versions)
Jacinta of Fatima, who had visions of future events, said that of those who would die in World War II almost all of them would go to Hell.
Saint Anselm: “If thou wouldst be certain of being in the number of the elect, strive to be one of the few, not of the many. And if thou wouldst be quite sure of thy salvation, strive to be among the fewest of the few… Do not follow the great majority of mankind, but follow those who enter upon the narrow way, who renounce the world, who give themselves to prayer, and who never relax their efforts by day or by night, that they may attain everlasting blessedness.” (Fr. Martin Von Cochem, The Four Last Things, p. 221.)