Tuesday, October 27, 2015
THIS IS A SURE SIGN THAT THERE IS CHAOS IN THE CURIA OF THE VATICAN AS THERE WAS AT THE SYNOD AND SOMEONE HAS FINALLY GOTTEN TO POPE FRANCIS AND ASKED HIM TO PUT A STOP TO IT! I THINK THESE SOMEONES ARE ALSO TELLING THE POPE THAT CHAOS IN THE CHURCH IS HAPPENING UNDER HIS WATCH AND BECAUSE OF HIM! WE CAN ONLY PRAY THAT HE IS GETTING THE WORD AND THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL ASSIST POPE FRANCIS IN MAKING A COURSE CORRECTION WITH HIS RHETORIC AND AMBIGUOUS LANGUAGE TO INCLUDE OFF-THE-CUFF REMARKS.
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says the regulations of the current Pastor Bonus Apostolic Constitution for the Roman Curia are still fully in force until the ongoing reform process is completed and put into effect. He stressed that this present period of transition does not mean there is at present a legal vacuum at the Curia. The Pope’s reminder came in a letter addressed to the Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin released on Tuesday (27th October).
Pope Francis began the letter by saying that whilst the reform process established by him was going ahead as scheduled, he needed to bring to light “some problems” that have emerged and which he intended "to resolve without delay."
Above all, he said, I wish to reaffirm that the present transitional period is not a time where there is a legal vacuum or “absence of laws” (vacatio legis) and therefore the current Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus regulating the Roman Curia "is still in force" and all its norms must be respected.
The Pope reiterated that the hiring or transferring of employees within the Curia and all other Vatican and Apostolic See organizations must be carried out without breaching the current limits on staffing levels. He also reminded that the hiring and transfer of employees requires the authorization of the Secretary of State and their pay must respect the current parameters for salaries within the Vatican.
He urged Cardinal Parolin to bring this matter to the attention of all the heads of the Dicasteries, offices and organizations of the Roman Curia and the Governorate, especially those issues that require greater attention, and ask them to be vigilant in ensuring the regulations of the Pastor Bonus Constitution are fully respected.
Posted by Fr. Allan J. McDonald at Tuesday, October 27, 2015
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Guess what, it is too late. What is he going to do, issue an infallible proclamation that says, "Oops!"
Gene, if you know Church history and the history of the popes, the Borgias in particular, you know the Church has been through much worse and at one time there were three claiming to be pope and it wasn't actually clear which one was.
I know, Fr, and you'd think we'd have learned by now, wouldn't you?
Exactly. I stand with Fr. AJM and the holy father in this case. Francis is definitely one to give the benefit of the doubt to people. He is not ignorant and when something strikes him greatly, he will act. And Yes Fr AJM. I go by Christopher Dawson's historical analysis of Churh History: there are always Crises in the church, then things synthesis occurs, and while re repeat the cycle of dissolution and new crisis, the Church always prevails and comes out stronger.
So now Pastor Bonus is being undone?
Just how do you think this "crisis" happened? It wasn't by accident. It was unnecessary and completely, willfully manufactured by this Pope and his minions. It is like saying of Hitler, "Well, there are always crises in Europe."
Fr. Allan J. McDonald said... Gene, if you know Church history and the history of the popes, the Borgias in particular, you know the Church has been through much worse and at one time there were three claiming to be pope and it wasn't actually clear which one was.
When in the history of the Catholic Church have priests openly proclaimed their homosexuality and been permitted to remain in their positions? (This has happened recently in Ireland and New Jersey.)
When in the history of the Church has an archbishop publicly stated that practicing sodomites are eligible to receive Holy Communion if, in their consciences, they believe they can, and that archbishop is allowed to remain in his position?
When in history of the Church has there ever been a time that many members of the hierarchy advocated sacrilegious communions and the pope not only remained silent about it but actually attacked those in the hierarchy who disagree?
I think, as Catholics, we have a right to know several things:
1. When the pope was ordinary of Buenos Aires, did he knowingly permit priests there to give Holy Communion to people who were in invalid marital situations, as some of them have publicly stated?
2. When the pope spoke via phone to the woman in South America who had married a divorced man, did he tell her she could receive Holy Communion?
I don't care whether that was a private conversation. It was made public. Catholics have a right to know what this pope allows in circumstances like that.
If he didn't allow it, we have a right to know. If he did, we have a right to know. If he refused to give any judgment whatsoever, we also have a right to know.
He is the pope, for God's sake. We have a right to know what he believes.
Who am I to judge? ™ ;)
I agree with DJR. It is easy to dismiss what has been happening in this pontificate by saying the Church has been in crisis before, she'll be right. But is that the right attitude to the current crisis? I don't think so. Imagine if the conservative bishops at the synod had taken that stance, shrugged their shoulders and said, "She'll be right, we've been through all this before". If they had done that, if Cardinals Burke and Pell hadn't spoken out, if Bishop Athanasius Schneider had remained silent we would be in a much worse state. They have taken a stand for truth, thank God. The liberals aren't sitting back and saying nothing and nor should we be. We are baptised Catholics, the Church militant, who would normally expect to be fighting the evil without, not the evil within. What has happened proves the truth of Pope Paul's statement that the smoke of Satan has entered the Church. Who would think we could reach a stage where Catholics don't know what a Pope truly believes.
Gene, Catholic Voice has put out a survivor's guide of the synod, mapping the path for faithful Catholics:
Cardinal Raymond Burke was recently asked how should faithful Catholics respond if the Synod “takes a strange turning”? To which his Eminence gave a short two-word reply, “Stay faithful”. For Catholics in the UK and Ireland, who share a history of suffering centuries of persecution under the English Protestant State, an essential element of our practice of faithfulness is fidelity to our priests, bishops and the pope. For centuries we could rely on the vast majority of priests and bishops because they remained steadfast defenders of the Faith, even under the threat of imprisonment, torture and martyrdom. It breaks my heart to write this, but this is no longer true.
During this crisis when many priests and bishops are betraying the Faith we need to re-examine the source of our personal faith. When many of you were christened your godparents were asked by the priest, “What do you ask of the Church of God?” And they replied, “Faith”. We received the grace of faith from the Mystical Body of Christ, from the Bride of Christ, not from the priest, our bishop or pope. Bishop Schneider exhorts us to hold onto this fact of our supernatural life in Christ during the storms around the Synod:
“We must remain faithful to our baptismal vows. In baptism, you promised to remain faithful to the faith: not a part of faith, but the entire Catholic faith. You have not done your baptism greeting to the Pope, or your bishop, but to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And so you have to report after your death, not the pope or the bishop, but to God. That is why we need to keep our fidelity, and even be ready to die for every truth of the Catholic faith.”
But, just what are we remaining faithful to? A Church that now says that Priests and Bishops decide what is sin and what isn't. Who is going to fix this? How can that toothpaste be put back in the tube? Of course, this has been going on at some levels for a while, but it was never sanctioned from the top. Now, it is policy. The question comes again, at what point is the Church no longer the Church? I think we are pretty close to a tipping point.
I have to agree with Gene. If you're a baptist and the baptists change the beliefs to something that you disagree with, then you should stop being a baptist. That analogy is complicated by the fact that the Catholic Church claims to be of divine origin, but the principle holds. One should always be seeking the truth.
CCC: "Outside the Church there is no salvation"
846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it."
The rigorist position of Fr. Feeney (that all must be actual members of the Catholic Church to be saved) has been condemned by the Magisterium.
"Many people translate the Latin phrase extra ecclesiam nulla salus as "Outside the Church there is no salvation." This translation does not seem entirely faithful to the Latin meaning, and contributes to the misunderstanding of the phrase.
The Latin word "extra" is both an adverb and preposition. Depending on its use in a sentence, the word has different meanings. When used to describe spatial relations between objects, the word is translated as "beyond" or "outside of" (e.g., Beyond the creek is a tree; or, James is outside of the room). When used to describe abstract relations between concepts or intangible things, the word is commonly translated "without" (e.g., Without a method, it is difficult to teach). Within the phrase in question, extra is a preposition describing the abstract relationship of the Church to salvation. Considering the Latin nuances of the word, a proper translation would be, "Without the Church there is no salvation." This translation more accurately reflects the doctrinal meaning of the phrase." (Philip Gray, Catholic Education Resource Center, Lay Witness, 1999)
To be heard in the "new" confessional:
"Fr, we only did it once."
"Very well, then. Now, tell me your sins."
So, you see, Jan. The church no longer teaches that outside the Church there is no salvation. That teaching has been changed.
Looks like tome the Church is moving towards just one big ol' party. Where was that verse in Scripture where Jesus said,"Hey, baby, let the good times roll!" Wasn't that in the thirteenth chapter of the Letter of Kavanaugh?
Marc - The Church does teach that outside the Church there is no salvation. This has not been changed. What has changed is our understanding of what and who constitutes the Church.
"Therefore, in connection with the unicity and universality of the salvific mediation of Jesus Christ, the unicity of the church founded by him must be firmly believed as a truth of Catholic faith. The Catholic faithful are required to profess that there is a historical continuity between the church founded by Christ and the Catholic Church. In fact, this one church of Christ "subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him" (Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium, 8). With regard to the "many elements of sanctification and truth" (ibid.) which exist outside the structure of the church, that is to say, in those churches and ecclesial communities which are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church, it must be stated that "they derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church" (Vatican Council II, Unitatis Redintegratio, 3)." [Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Synthesis of Dominus Iesus]
Fair enough, Father Kavanaugh. That's a subtle point, but a good one.
I'm more concerned with the fact of change than with the specifics of the change. Although, in this instance, your point about how the change was made interests me. And it should interest everyone who cares about the current discussion of the doctrine of marriage.
A group of Catholic theologians has asked the New York Times to stop letting Ross Dothat write articles on Catholicism. Man, a hit dog hollers, don't it...in this case, a whole pack of hit dogs. LOL!
The Church has stated clearly down the centuries that outside the Roman Catholic Church there is no salvation and Popes have issued papal Bulls on it. More recently St John Paul said:
Pope John Paul II " There is no entering into salvation outside of the Church, just as in the time of
the Deluge there was none outside the Ark which denotes the Church."
Wanderer May 4, 1992
Gene, we are remaining faithful to the Church which does not teach the things you suggest. Just because a few liberals say such and such that is not the Church. As Cardinal Burke has pointed out, no Pope has the authority to change Church doctrine and if he attempted to change it he would be declared a heretic and lose the papacy. Do you think good Catholics stopped being Catholic during the Airan heresy. - no, they didn't. They remained faithful to the truth. How do you think good Catholics got along during the Borgia popes? Some have left and become Protestants rather than remain faithful. No one who has truly converted to Catholism would ever countenance giving it up. It is not like an article of clothing that you slip on or slip off if it gets a bit tight. Read St Catherine of Sienna and how she castigated the Pope of her time - she didn't give up. Honestly, to read what you and Marc say makes me think you have something missing. The choice is yours of course. The Faith is freely given and can be freely given away. But note what Pope Benedict said that the Protestants are not even entitled to be called churches because they have no apostolic succession and cannot, therefore, be linked back to the Apostles. Also, you can read on wiki the papal Bulls that set out no salvation outside the Roman Catholic Church.
Gene, we are remaining faithful to the Church which does not teach the things you suggest. Just because a few liberals say such and such that is not the Church. As Cardinal Burke has pointed out, no Pope has the authority to change Church doctrine and if he attempted to change it he would be declared a heretic and lose the papacy. Do you think good Catholics stopped being Catholic during the Airan heresy. - no, they didn't. They remained faithful to the truth. How do you think good Catholics got along during the Borgia popes? Some have left and become Protestants rather than remain faithful. No one who has truly converted to Catholism would ever countenance giving it up. It is not like an article of clothing that you slip on or slip off if it gets a bit tight. Read St Catherine of Sienna and how she castigated the Pope of her time - she didn't give up. Honestly, to read what you and Marc say makes me think you have something missing. The choice is yours of course. The Faith is freely given and can be freely given away. But note what Pope Benedict said that the Protestants are not even entitled to be called churches because they have no apostolic succession and cannot, therefore, be linked back to the Apostles. Also, you both should be aware that the Church teaches that a Catholic who leaves the Faith cannot be saved, so Marc in saying what you do, you are putting Gene's soul in jeopardy.
Regarding 'extra ecclesiam nulla salus' - 'without' is also the opposite of 'within', although its use as a preposition (rather than as an adverb) is now archaic, as in the well-known hymn 'There is a green hill far away/Without a city wall'. The Scots have a useful legal term 'outwith' which corresponds to the Latin 'extra'.
Used as a preposition in modern English 'without' means 'lacking', in which case the Latin would be 'sine ecclesia nulla salus' or 'absque ecclesia nulla salus'.
Pace Fr Kavanaugh, I don't think there has been a change in our understanding of what constitutes the Church. That would be giving too much credit to modern theologians and the Second Vatican Council. A century earlier, Bl. Pius IX had written that those 'sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts' and who live 'honest lives ... are able to obtain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace'.
Observing the Church in his own day, St Augustine remarked: 'How many sheep there are without, how many wolves within!' Plus ça change ...
Jan, perhaps the problem is more subtle than you are thinking. It is all fine and good to suggest to simply stay Catholic. There's a question about exatly what that means. Using the material in this thread, I think we can fairly ask whether one who remains Catholic believes that "Church" means what all the popes before Paul VI taught or what has been taught since Vatican II. These are two definitions that are not in continuity. By remaining faithful to the prior definition in the face of the current reality, you have to deny the earthly teaching authority for the last 60 years, and you find yourself believing differently than the pope and all the bishops in a matter of faith.
Since you have to also believe that the pope has the ultimate teaching authority, you are in a quandary. To remain simply Catholic, you have to deny certain accepted Catholic doctrine and practice with regard to papal submission. Or you can accept these innovations from the popes and bishops, in which case you've lost continue with the prior teaching authorities, the former popes and bishops.
Now, I have written rather extensively on possible ways to reconcile all of this. But I am attempting here to have the conversation about the ultimate logical conclusion that one could reach -- namely, that the inconsistencies are an unacceptable (to me, at least) development. Personally, I reject development of doctrine as inconsistent with the nature of God and the Church. If you're willing to accept that doctrine can develop, as Fr. Kavanaugh has set out in his example of the definition of "Church," then there is really no problem with what is happening. For me, it raises a fundamental issue with the Church that can be reconciled with logic and ignoring reality, or it can be solved by other avenues.
Jan - The maxim is "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus," "Outside the Church there is no salvation." It is not "Outside the Catholic Church..." or "Outside the Roman Catholic Church...". When you add those words, you alter the meaning of the phrase in a way that the Church does not.
Marc - Subtlety is needed in matters theological. Theology is a science, and words and phrases (and in the case of the homoousios vs homoiousios debate, even letters) are the weights and measures. In a chemistry experiment that calls for adding 4.997 milligrams of some substance, you can't add 5.000 and get the desired result. One must be attentive to the placement of commas, to the use of adjectives, even to the order in which certain tenets of the Faith are listed. All of these can have an effect on the meaning.
Nuance matters when one is reading Church documents, especially when one is comparing documents from hundreds of years ago with more recent teaching. (There's an interesting discussion of this going on on Pray Tell regarding the Church's teaching on religious liberty - "What To Do When Your Church Changes on You: The Case of Fr. Joseph Fenton" which I find fascinating.) We do have to be aware that, over time, the understanding we have of words such as "Church" can change.
I think that there is continuity between what the Church taught about the meaning of "Church" before and after Paul VI. John Nolan gives us an example of pre-Pauline papal teaching that offers a broader understanding of Church/Salvation than some might want to accept. And, going back to Scripture, "I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd."
Fr. Kavanaugh, the difference between you and me on this point is that you think that definition A can develop into definition not A and that such a development is allowable. That is fine for you to believe that, especially since that seems to be what the Catholic Church teaches. I do not believe that doctrine can develop in such a way.
It is possible that we can come to a new definition of "Church" over time, but that definition must always be congruent with the definition given by Christ through the Fathers and the Councils. None of the fathers or councils (save Vatican II) would've redefined "Church" as it is currently defined because to do so is to negate the previous definition.
So I agree with your statement to Jan -- one cannot be Catholic and accept the limited definition of Church as given in prior Magisterial documents before 1960. The Church has developed away from that limited definition.
Marc - I think definition A can develop into Definition A.1, A.2, A.3, etc. Not only do I believe this, but the history of the development of doctrine shows that this has been the case throughout the history of the Church.
I certainly agree that none of the Fathers or Councils prior to Vatican Two would have understood "Church" as Vat II did, because 1) there was no need, and 2) there was insufficient development of understanding. And, as John Nolan's quote of Pius IX indicates, the expanded, broader understanding of "Church" was well underway 100 years before St. John XXIII called the Council. We could find, I suspect, evidence of this development long before Pio Nono, since these things, in most cases, take long periods to percolate up to the level of Papal Teaching.
The Church has not developed away from understanding that the Church is necessary for salvation. I would say we have a better understanding of what it means to be a part of the Church and a better understanding of how God's grace flows from Christ to the Church and to the world.
Fr Kavanaugh, I think, is correct here. Henry, Cardinal Manning (1808-1892), second Archbishop of Westminster, was received into the Catholic Church in 1851 and ordained in the same year. In 1833, as an Anglican clergyman, he had married Caroline Sargent, but his young and beautiful wife died of consumption in 1837.
On his deathbed more than half a century later he confided a book of his wife's devotional writings, which he had treasured, to a friend, and after his death a portrait of Caroline was found in a locket around his neck. Are we to assume that Manning believed his non-Catholic wife was in hell?
Fr. Kavanaugh, I think you're correct that that is what the development of doctrine states and that is the thought of the Church in accepting development as it does.
Marc, to see where I'm coming from you should read Fr. Chad Ripperger's Conservative vs. Traditional Catholicism.
I am a cradle Catholic and I hold to the truths of the Church, as I was taught them. I don't know if you are a convert or a younger Catholic. In either case it is very likely that you haven't been taught many of the fundamentals of the Faith, things that you can't get out of books. Put it this way, my Faith is so inextricably woven in to the fabric of my being that it could never be removed. That is the same for many of my cousins, my immediate family and friends that I have.
I have noticed a big difference in Catholics brought up after the Second Vatican Council. Many of them are good people but they do not seem to have had the Faith imparted to them in the binding nature that it was for those before the Council. Of course no doubt some missed out, even before the Council, if they didn't have solid teaching from good nuns and priests. I think Fr Ripperger's article explains that difference. Those brought up after the Council mainly fall into the description of neo-conservatives.
So, Marc, I have no conception of how you feel because to me the Church is the same to me always except it is inhabited by many liberals these days. As regards Vatican II, I see it as breaking with tradition. It is merely a pastoral council and everything in that Council is open to change and no doubt will be. Many of the Council documents break with tradition and, as such, aren't acceptable to many either.
As regards Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, it is a defined doctrine and unchanged until Vatican II at which time a liberal interpretation was placed on it - again, breaking with the traditional teaching, and we all know the results of that where largely the missionary nature of the Church has been undermined by this liberal view that every church is a means to salvations, which isn't correct.
Marc, there is something fundamentally wrong with the way you are looking at the Church. You are looking at it as an institution rather than the mystical body of Christ. You have to ask yourself why you are feeling the way you do. Why, for example, aren't Cardinal Burke, Bishop Athanasius Schneider and others and people like me throwing up our arms in horror and saying, "This isn't the Church I'm going to leave"? You will never find any of us leave because we are bound by love, as were those in the time of the Arian crisis when the majority in the Church didn't even believe in the Divinity of Christ. Why was that? Because that was not what the Church taught, even though the Pope at the time and many bishops and priests held to that belief. I don't know how else I can explain it to you, except to say that at this time of crisis what this one and that one say the Church teaches is not true. We know what the Church teaches and we stick to it and we are faithful as Cardinal Burke says because all this will pass, but don't let yourself be one of the casualties.
John, Marc and Fr Kavanaugh, do you mean to tell me that the Church was only enlightened at the Second Vatican Council as regards the teaching "Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus"? I think you should all read what is set out regarding that teaching, which is plain and unequivocal down the centuries and it is only when we get to the Second Vatican Council, mired as it was with modernism that there is this change to embrace other faiths hanging on to the coat tails of the Church. In fact, both Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict have since enlarged on the Vatican II documents moving the teaching back closer to what the tradition of the Church is on this.
Are you saying, for instance, that Pius XI was mistaken when he said:
" Pope Pius XI (1922–1939), Encyclical Mortalium Animos: "The Catholic Church alone is keeping the true worship. This is the font of truth, this is the house of faith, this is the temple of God; if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation… Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ, no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors."
So that is where Vatican II breaks with tradition in not mentioning that the requirement is to recognise and obey the authority of the Pope. The result has been devastating for the Church, as it has undercut her mission and there is thus no reason for evangelisation if there is no real need to be Catholic, is there? It has been pointed out by the Dutch bishops in closing down two-thirds of their parishes that it is as a direct result of a failure to evangelise.
So this is one teaching that needs to be looked at and will be looked at again because it makes a complete farce of Christ founding one Church, not many. Of course, God is merciful and He alone judges who goes to heaven. But the teaching of the Church has been plain and unequivocal for nearly 2000 years until Vatican II and that is no recommendation as see the state of the Church since then. The teaching is set out in detail here:
As regards Cardinal Manning, John, no doubt he had faith and prayed that his wife would go to heaven. If he believed, as you indicate, there was no reason for him to convert at all, was there? It would have been entirely illogical and in fact the conversion of so many well known converts points to the fact that there is a real necessity to belong to the Holy Roman Catholic Church. The current interpretation is just a modernist slant really in similar vein to what liberals are trying to do about divorced Catholics without changing the teaching.
The Church does, indeed, teach as Fr Kavanaugh agrees, that outside Her there is no salvation. Anyone wishing to believe otherwise does so at their own risk because that teaching has been plain and unequivocal since St Cyprian. The change, like so many other changes since Vatican II was an appeasement to Protestantism and we are paying the price for it in the loss of so many to the Faith.
And here is reference to the two documents that have been published since Vatican II correcting some wrong interpretations and saying that the reference to "churches" only relates to those with apostolic succession and not to protestant churches: "not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the “means of salvation."
"Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches. In the latest document — formulated as five questions and answers — the Vatican seeks to set the record straight on Vatican II’s ecumenical intent, saying some contemporary theological interpretation had been “erroneous or ambiguous” and had prompted confusion and doubt.
It restates key sections of a 2000 document the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, “Dominus Iesus,” which set off a firestorm of criticism among Protestant and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the “means of salvation.”
In the new document and an accompanying commentary, which were released as the pope vacations here in Italy’s Dolomite mountains, the Vatican repeated that position.
“Christ ‘established here on earth’ only one church,” the document said. The other communities “cannot be called ‘churches’ in the proper sense” because they do not have apostolic succession — the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ’s original apostles."
From a concerned anonymous on-looker to this discussion:
Look at the state of physics in the century or two prior to Einstein. To explain various physical phenomena--or, more bluntly, to make their theories work--scientists at least from Newton on postulated the existence of ether, or aether, which was essentially an immobile (though elastic) medium through which light (and gravity and everything else) moved. The problem is, that as physicists learned more and more about things, they had to monkey more and more with the idea of ether to make it keep working (i.e. to shoehorn it into their theories).
When Einstein came along, special and general relativity essentially threw out the assumptions of Newtonian physics, including the ether, and introduced new equations and new assumptions that explained the physical world a lot better than the old theories, without needing this increasingly contorted thing called ether as part of the explanation. Think of this as akin to what Copernicus and Galileo did with the Ptolomaic theory or retrograde motion.
The interesting thing is that Einstein, as I understand it, didn't outright deny the existence of ether. He said it might exist or it might not, but if it did, it was simply irrelevant. If you want to read one of his popular explanations of this point, you can find it here.
OK, maybe you see where I'm going with this. Take any of Fr. Kavanagh's pronouncements on changing understanding, but particularly the one in this thread. Essentially he's saying that God (or doctrine) can't and don't change, but our understanding of these things can and does.
But if everything rests on our understanding, and our understanding is always changing and developing, then does the changeless nature of the ether--excuse me, God--have any practical bearing on what we believe or how we live our lives? Does that unchanging ether--excuse me, God--enlighten us in any meaningful way as to how we may be saved?
To put it another way, if we adopt Fr. Kavanaugh's theory, is not every single thing the Church has ever taught subject, in practical terms, to change?
And if we do put it this way, do we not end up with a cosmology that is largely gnostic, in that the ultimate reality is remote from human experience and is mediated by lesser agents which become the true arbiters of reality and meaning (my phrase). If you look at the discussion and charts here, you'll note that some of them look rather Hegelian.
I don't set a lot of store by Vatican II and its pronouncements. Those who have studied its 'ecclesiology' seem to be of the opinion that it was more concerned with raising questions than with answering them. Post-Conciliar theologians might theorize about a new ecclesiology but I don't see Lumen Gentium (most of it, anyway) as contradicting tradition. The same goes for Dominus Iesus.
Marc - You err in thinking that our understanding of Revealed Truth can ever be complete and unalterable, that it cannot develop and evolve.
Jan - Here are a few excerpts from the letter of the Supreme Sacred Congregation/Holy Office regarding the erroneous interpretation of "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus" of Fr. Feeney which you, it seems to me, appear to share:
"Now, among those things which the Church has always preached and will never cease to preach is contained also that infallible statement by which we are taught that there is no salvation outside the Church. However, this dogma must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it. For, it was not to private judgments that Our Savior gave for explanation those things that are contained in the deposit of faith, but to the teaching authority of the Church."
"In His infinite mercy God has willed that the effects, necessary for one to be saved, of those helps to salvation which are directed toward man’s final end, not by intrinsic necessity, but only by divine institution, can also be obtained in certain circumstances when those helps are used only in desire and longing. This we see clearly stated in the Sacred Council of Trent, both in reference to the sacrament of regeneration and in reference to the sacrament of penance (, nn. 797, 807)."
NOTE: "The same in its own degree must be asserted of the Church, in as far as she is the general help to salvation. Therefore, that one may obtain eternal salvation, it is not always required that he be incorporated into the Church actually as a member, but it is necessary that at least he be united to her by desire and longing. However, this desire need not always be explicit, as it is in catechumens; but when a person is involved in invincible ignorance God accepts also an implicit desire, so called because it is included in that good disposition of soul whereby a person wishes his will to be conformed to the will of God."
"Toward the end of this same encyclical letter (On the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ), when most affectionately inviting to unity those who do not belong to the body of the Catholic Church, he mentions those who “are related to the Mystical Body of the Redeemer by a certain unconscious yearning and desire,” and these he by no means excludes from eternal salvation, but on the other hand states that they are in a condition “in which they cannot be sure of their salvation” since “they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church” (AAS, 1. c., p. 243). With these wise words he reproves both those who exclude from eternal salvation all united to the Church only by implicit desire, and those who falsely assert that men can be saved equally well in every religion (cf. Pope Pius IX, Allocution, , in , n. 1641 ff.; also Pope Pius IX in the encyclical letter, , in , n. 1677).
Fr. Kavanaugh, it is obviously true that our understanding can change. It is false to say that the change in our understanding changes anything about the thing we are understanding.
Your changing understanding of "Church" doesn't actually change what "Church" means. For more on this, see the post above about relativity.
Since doctrine is not dependent on our understanding, it remains static over time -- it does not change or evolve.
But, again, I think that you're right to suggest that Catholic doctrine evolves. I disagree with that, and I think the Catholic idea of development of doctrine is wrong.
Here's St. Iraneus of Lyons from Against Heresies on "development." I agree with him, and the Fathers seem to share this understand (cf. St. Vincent of Lerins).
"It is not right to say that they preached before they had perfect knowledge, as some venture to say, boasting that they are correctors of the apostles. For after our Lord arose from the dead and they were clad with power from on high by the coming of the Holy Spirit, THEY WERE FILLED CONCERNING EVERYTHING AND HAD PERFECT KNOWLEDGE. They went forth to the ends of the earth, proclaiming the news of the good gifts to us from God and announcing heavenly peace to men. Collectively and individually they had the Gospel of God."
The idea that doctrine can develop is, itself, a development. No thanks.
But, I think that Fr. Kavanaugh and I could agree that doctrinal development presents a heck of a problem for so-called Traditionalist Catholics.
Fr Kavanaugh, the document you refer to does not say that any of the protestant Church have the means to salvation and nor the Jews without belief in Christ. The Churches referred to in Vatican II are only those churches that have an ordained priesthood that are in imperfect union with the Church. Other communities, it has been clarified, cannot be called churches and, therefore, in themselves do not offer a means of salvation - that is the Church's teaching and protestants themself say that the Catholic Church teaches that She is the only means of salvation that is apart from Baptism of desire, invincible ingnorance and God's will for individuals. And certainly the Church teaches that those who leave the Church risk the loss of eternal life.
"Why do the texts of the Council and those of the Magisterium since the Council not use the title of “Church” with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?
According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called “Churches” in the proper sense."
No one who has truly converted to Catholism would ever countenance giving it up.
Jan, you continue to amaze me with your almost supernatural ability to know these things. I did not realise you knew so many people well enough to make this statement.
Also, you both should be aware that the Church teaches that a Catholic who leaves the Faith cannot be saved, so Marc in saying what you do, you are putting Gene's soul in jeopardy.
And yet... if Catholicism is not true, it doesn't matter what 'the Church' says, does it? I have a feeling an omnipotent God can and will save whomever He wishes. The strangest thing is that I've never encountered Russian Old Believers with this attitude, only so-called Traditionalist Catholics.
(As a side-note, why does 'Traditionalist' mean 'post-Tridentine'?)
Two hundred years ago we knew things about electricity and it's properties that were true. Today, we know and understand a lot more about the laws which govern electricity than we did then. What we know to be true today was true two hundred years prior. Our knowledge and understanding back then, the "truth we knew at the time" was just incomplete. God instituted the laws which govern the universe when He created it. The "scripture" written into physical matter are the laws described by mathematical principles which govern its behavior and mark it boundaries and limits. Like the God who created them, these are unchanging. Our discovery
and understanding of these laws which govern the physical universe does not change these laws. Our understanding and knowledge of them is what changes.
Like the laws and constants of the physical Universe, there exists spiritual laws and revealed truth whose source is God and these are not subject to opinion , dispute or arbitration. These laws constitute a true reference frame and guide, one of the purposes of which is to restrain the behavior of men who, having the gift of free will, can misuse that gift by disobeying God. These spiritual laws,revealed to us by God and the Holy Spirit and written down and codified by man, also have the purpose of enlightening us to know and serve God better. These constitute the Truth revealed to us by God and through His Holy Spirit, He enlightens us to discover and know more about His unchanging Eternal Truth.
As far as the "being filled concerning everything and having perfect knowledge"- there were many things the Apostles knew that they did not reveal. They certainly did not author an extensive collection of books. They were filled with everything but revealed only what was necessary to accomplish the mission entrusted to them. Being filled with everything they would have known and understood the theology of the Trinity, but it was left to their successors to formally define it as was eventually done in 325, at the Council of Nicaea.
Being filled with everything and having perfect knowledge they would have known that That Mary was ever virgin, and likewise the Mother of God, but left it to their successors to formally define these truths. What was eventually formally defined did not change anything, but proclaimed what was always true.
Yes, Flavius, you wouldn't have heard Russian Old Believers say this because they knew from whence the Orthodox Church sprung - from the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Christ upon Peter. If you read my posts properly I said that God can save who He wills.
The way you speak I think that you are a Catholic who has left the Church and are now in no man's land - you simply walked away from the truth. Hopefully, you will receive the grace to see your error before you go to your judgment because the Catholic Church teaches:
"Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door. HENCE THEY COULD NOT BE SAVED who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it OR TO REMAIN IN IT. (CCC 846)"
From that I can see why you hope the Church is wrong because you cannot claim invicible ignorance. Therefore, it can seen from what the Church teaches that belief in Christ and baptism are a necessary means of salvation. That is why Pope Benedict had published the document referred to above to correct the erroneous ideas that have developed since Vatican II that all churches are a means of salvation. Evangelisation is, therefore, necessary.
Kavanaugh is clearly a universalist, which is fine, but he ought to just say so instead of beating around his favorite bush...prevarication. Revealed truth neither develops nor changes. These truths are embodied in doctrine. We may say that dogmatics is the study of these doctrines and revealed truths and that dogmatics represents our efforts to understand them more thoroughly, but our understanding of the doctrines is not an essential element in their truth and, in fact, means very little in the course of salvation history. We are commanded to believe and obey, not to understand. Our feelings (subjectivity) regarding revealed truth are simply not important. Do you really think that, when God told Jonah to get up off his butt and go preach the Gospel (as it were) to the people at Nineveh, God gave a hoot how Jonah felt about it or whether he understood it?
Yes, Flavius, you wouldn't have heard Russian Old Believers say this because they knew from whence the Orthodox Church sprung - from the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Christ upon Peter.
Don't be dense. You know good and well they don't 'know' any such thing. They continue to justify their schism from mainline Orthodoxy because the Ecumenical Patriarch has prayed with the Pope.
The way you speak I think that you are a Catholic who has left the Church and are now in no man's land
No, I'm not in 'no man's land' (whatever that is). As I think both Gene and Marc can attest, my beliefs are far from undefined (or whatever you meant by the phrase 'no man's land'); rather, they are quite defined, but in a purely Eastern expression. In fact, I know a rather succinct statement that defines my beliefs—you might even be familiar with it!:
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of light; true God of true God; begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from Heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man. And He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried. And the third day He arose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; Whose Kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spoke by the prophets. In one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
HENCE THEY COULD NOT BE SAVED who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it OR TO REMAIN IN...
As I pointed out to another commenter on here, I clearly 'know' no such thing; otherwise, this conversation wouldn't be happening.
From that I can see why you hope the Church is wrong because you cannot claim invicible ignorance.
My dear, I no more 'hope' that than I 'hope' the sun will rise in the morning.
That is why Pope Benedict had published the document referred to above to correct the erroneous ideas that have developed since Vatican II that all churches are a means of salvation. Evangelisation is, therefore, necessary.
I don't know what this tangent is about. Your last sentence is a total non sequitur. I didn't (and don't) deny the necessity of baptism; but, I also don't believe in an attendence-taking God, either.
I don't care if Catholics think they need to evangelise or not; I was addressing your silly statement about 'Catholics who truly convert &c'. Because you are (you admitted as much) a cradle Catholic, I don't think you're competent to decide who did and did not make a 'true conversion', since you never converted to begin with.
Yeah, Flavius knows his stuff and is confident in what he believes. I don't agree with him on some stuff, but I do agree with him in his "faith seeking understanding" and his devotion. He also has a nice wit about him. I was never able to follow his heterosexual vs neutral sexual vs homosexual argument a while back, though. That one had me scratching my head a while. The only conclusion I could draw was that he is thoroughly heterosexual in potentia, but will not be casting roses at sweet young Southern Belle's windows for a while..."Oh, Rhett, Rhett...." Well, Flavius, be careful...for "tomorrow is another day..."
RE: Doctrine/Dogmatics:Those of you with some theological background and some inkling about the history of doctrine should do this. Purchase and read (purchase because you won't be able to keep it long enough from a library; it is in paperback), the first two volumes of Karl Barth's "Church Dogmatics." These are prolegomena to his vast 12 volume "Church Dogmatics," but these are all you need unless you are a theology student. Do not be put off because Barth is a Reformed theologian. He has dialogued seriously with Ratzinger, Von Balthasar, Brown, and other Catholic theologians. These two volumes will give you a concise history of important doctrines of the Faith and an understanding of the issues between Calvinism and Catholic theology. Barth is the modern protestant Aquinas (Calvin is the original prot Aquinas), the only protestant theologian that Catholic theologians have ever taken seriously. If nothing else, you will be challenged in your understanding and knowledge of the history of doctrine. Warning: these are not easy volumes, but are worth the struggle. Consider this a form of prayer; it will strengthen your faith and understanding.
"knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God"
You're right. "knowing" is the the contingent word here. There are those
who for one reason or another do not know this about the Catholic Church.
This is not to say Jan does not recognize this or is implying otherwise.
Evangelization, and the need for, it is an important issue to be sure.
If a Catechuman dies before he or she is baptized, can anyone say with ontological
certitude that the person is not saved? I know there are many today who, in their own way of seeing things, in their own minds and spiritual attitude, stretch the Mercy of God to where it displaces any consideration or acknowledgement of His Justice. There are also those though, who likewise in their judgment and consideration of certain things, in their inordinate conception , compress His Mercy below even that of what any good person would show.
The cognitive dissonance of complaining about the pope and his machinations whilst asserting that one must be in communion with him to be saved is interesting. Also interesting that Rome officially teaches that Orthodox should not be proselytized, and the children of Catholic-Orthodox mixed marriages should be raised Orthodox.
Apparently, to be saved, one must submit to the Pope. Or not. It depends on when you happen to be alive.
And just a couple miscellaneous points - Russia was never Roman Catholic. And the Orthodox Church refers to itself as the Catholic Church, so Flavius can safely say that he is Catholic. Finally, many of these posts from Jan assume the answer to the question being asked -- Flavius put it well when he said "if Catholicism is not true, it doesn't matter what 'the Church' says, does it?"
Honestly Gene, I don't think I expressed myself there as well as I could have. I'm limited by the fact this is a combox.
My point there, though, was less about doctrine or dogma, and more about canon law. I didn't realise when I wrote those comments that I was really addressing Rome's legal framework and how it implements that framework, and not its teachings. Oh well.
(As an aside, I really think my vocation involves celibacy of some sort. I'm honestly open to the idea.)
Gene - If by "universalist," you mean that I think everyone is going to heaven regardless of their behavior, you are wrong, again.
If by "universalist," you mean that I think that everyone, regardless of the faith they follow, can, by the saving grace of Jesus Christ through the ministry of the Church, attain heaven, then you are right. And since this is what the Church teaches, I am quite happy that you are, in this rare instance, correct about what I believe.
Jan - The letter of the Holy Office from which I quoted regarding Fr. Feeney's erroneous understanding of "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus" is dated August 8, 1949. That's 14 years before the start of Vatican Two and 17 years before the promulgation of Nostra Aetate. To blame, as you do, these "errors" on Vatican Two is preposterous.
Also, John Nolan's quote regarding the possible salvation of those who are not members of the Church - "sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts' and who live 'honest lives ... are able to obtain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace." - comes from Pius IX. As you know his pontificate was from 1846 to 1878. Again, we're a century earlier than Vatican Two.
But Marc, but Marc, the Church of the East, yes founded by Jesus Christ and united to the Vicar of Christ for the most part until 1054, went into formal schism that year, unlike the SSPX which are not in schism, not that that couldn't happen eventually.
But not all of the Church of the East went into schism, many Eastern Catholics shed their blood to avoid schism and were martyred by their schismatic brothers and sisters.
These good and faithful Eastern Catholics eventually would comprise what we now call the Eastern Rite of the Catholic Church which includes not only those who never became schismatic infidels but a whole host of Eastern Orthodox who returned to the full Communion of the true Church under the Vicar of Christ, the Bishop of Rome, who by God's grace were fully reconciled. This is not the case for the Orthodox still in schism.
This is where all the threads of the conversation converge. Of course, the Orthodox would say that the bishop of Rome and his followers left the Communion of the Church through schism and fell into heresy due to the tendency of the West to develop novel doctrines not held in common by the Catholic Church.
Ah, yes. I do now know an important detail of what you believe. In the creed you profess to believe in, there is no "and from the Son."
"due to the tendency of the West to develop novel doctrines not held in common by the Catholic Church. "
Such as the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary?
What of the novel doctrines of Mary as "Mother of God"(The Theotokos - Ephesus in 431) and her Pepetual Virginity( Lateran Council of 649 and the Sixth Ecumenical council of 680)? These were defined and proclaimed well before the schism of 1054 ans accepted by the churches in the East.
The schism between East and West which was made formal in 1054 was already evident in some form at the time of the Photian schism of 866–879. Even up to that time, there had already been over 100 Popes whom the Churches in the East recognized. The institution of the papacy came out of Christ's own words, "upon this Rock I will build my Church". Aside from all differences between them, the one major commonality between the Orthodox and all other Protestants, is that none of them recognize the Pope as the Vicar of Christ on earth.
George, contrary to popular belief, the 1054 schism is a myth. No one then thought the excommunications meant anything serious. The Papal excommunication was invalidated by the Pope's death, and Constantinople's only applied to the legates. Sorry, but this isn't hard information to find. The schism was never 'formalised. Technically speaking, the ability to reunite died in 1204—and even Innocent III excommunicated the crusaders for attacking a Christian city. He had no problem among them after heretics in southern France, did he?
George, everyone believed the Assumption. The Immaculate Conception, though, is a logical extension necessitated by the development of the doctrine of Original Sin. Do you see the difference between that and the proclamation of Mary as Theotokos at Ephesus?
Of course, you're aware of the patristic exegesis of the Rock scripture, which doesn't support the Catholic proof-text. The Orthodox don't accept the pope as Vicar of Christ because they see it as blasphemous since Christ has not left us orphans in need of a vicar.
You've also made an error in equating the papacy as it developed in the 900s and beyond with the word "pope." You're aware there have been popes in Alexandria for longer than there have been popes in Rome, right?
By "made formal", I meant by that point, there was very little hope of reconciliation between the East and West. Going forward,things only got worse. As far as what Innocent III did, there was not any doubt or dispute that those in the Eastern Churches were Christian. The Fourth Crusade did much harm to the image of the Crusades and the Roman Catholic Church. The massacre of Roman Catholics in 1182 did not help the image of the Byzantines. Some Orthodox churches did eventually come back into the Roman Catholic church as Father McDonald mentioned in his comment above. The 1054 Schism may be a myth as you say, but it is a persistent one.
There is always hope for reconciliation though. Hope never goes away.
Flavius - here is how Catholic Answers explains the situation for those who have left the Church. As you know that the orthodox was a breakaway from the Catholic Church then you clearly know that the Church was founded by Christ - you know Her teachings because you have recited part of the creed - omitted the Communion of Saints and the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. So you know all those things but have REJECTED Her. Leaving the Catholic Church as you have done means that you have put your soul at risk:
"If you know and understand that Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church who exists as his Mystical Body on earth, through which he continues to teach, preach and sanctify as he did on earth, upon whom He has sent to Holy Spirit to protect and guide her in this sacred office, and you have been baptized, yet you freely reject the Church and reject her teaching and practice and moral guidance in that full knowledge, yes that objectively is the mortal sin of apostasy. Anyone who dies in a state of unrepentant mortal sin merits hell. That means, when at the moment of death you see God face to face in your personal judgement, and are given full knowledge the meaning and consequences of accepting either heaven or hell, you choose hell, that is where you will go (I am using the editorial "you" in this example). Nobody goes to hell for what they do or fail to do, but for stubbornly refusing to repent and ask for union with God in heaven.
the CCC reminds you that in leaving the Church you have rejected Christ who is her Head, not to mention rejected your fellow Catholics who are your brothers, and have rejected all his teachings and commandments which He transmits through her. Serious stuff, and unlikely to help you in your choice at the moment of death. I agree that you would not be posting here if you were not seeking a reason to return, and that reason is you will be welcome with open arms by your Lord and Savior and your family."
George, I think you should look at the dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus. It is a defined doctrine and unchanged until Vatican II, since which time a more liberal interpretation was placed on it - again, breaking with the traditional teaching which is that salvation is tied to Peter.
We have got a situation where the dogma is unchanged but priests, bishops and so on proclaiming that it's okay to be Muslim, etc. This idea has undercut the whole need for the Church to evangelise. That is the simple fact of the matter. I mean what do you evangelise for if there is no real need to be Catholic?
Can anyone answer: Why - since Vatican II - do we need to be Catholic
Nobody has bothered to address what Pope Benedict said about the Protestants not even being entitled to be called "churches" and so they don't fall under the umbrella referred to by Vatican II. This statement means - to coin Fr Kavanaugh's view - that the Church has become further englightened about the situation of the protestants which means anyone who has family who remain protestant should be praying for their conversion. Yes, we know that God can save who He wills to save but, at the same time, He has given to Peter the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and the power to bind and loose: whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven
So, it's all well and good to talk these things but the bottom line is the Church has the authority and the power to bind and loose and the orthodox and other churches don't have that authority.
Those Catholics who have apostatised are in no man's land - and to make it simple for Flavius what I mean by that is that they are in an indeterminate or undefined place or state because they are in mortal sin for having apostatised and they don't have the escuse of maybe invincible ignorance that may pertain to those born into the other churchess who know nothing of the Catholic Church. Those Catholics who apostisise clearly know what the Church teaches but have rejected Her teaching. They therefore put their souls in jeopardy.
Flavius you clearly know the creed but have rejected parts of it. You have proven that you are not in ignorance of what the Catholic Church teaches and you no doubt made promises before God to accept and hold those teachiings. It is no skin off my nose, Flavius, whether or not you take any notice of what the Church teaches on this matter. If you have left the Church that is the serious state you are in - no man's land - and it can only be rectified by either you returning to the Church or the orthodox reconcile with Rome, whichever comes first, but of course the hard fact is that any of us could die very shortly and go to our judgment in the present state we are in and what the Church teaches as Christ said is bound in heaven.
George, I think you should look at the dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus. It is a defined doctrine and unchanged until Vatican II, since which time a more liberal interpretation was placed on it - again, breaking with the traditional teaching which is that salvation is tied to Peter.
We have got a situation where the dogma is unchanged but priests, bishops and so on proclaiming that it's okay to be Muslim, etc. This idea has undercut the whole need for the Church to evangelise. That is the simple fact of the matter. I mean what do you evangelise for if there is no real need to be Catholic?
Can anyone answer: Why - since Vatican II - do we need to be Catholic?
Nobody has bothered to address what Pope Benedict said about the Protestants not even being entitled to be called "churches" and so they don't fall under the umbrella referred to by Vatican II. This statement means - to coin Fr Kavanaugh's view - that the Church has become further enlightened about the situation of the protestants which means anyone who has family who remain protestant should be praying for their conversion. Yes, we know that God can save who He wills to save but, at the same time, He has given to Peter the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and the power to bind and loose: whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven
So, it's all well and good to talk these things but the bottom line is the Church has the authority and the power to bind and loose and the orthodox and other churches don't have that authority.
Those Catholics who have apostatised are in no man's land - and to make it simple for Flavius what I mean by that is that they are in an indeterminate or undefined place or state because they are in mortal sin for having apostatised and they don't have the excuse of maybe invincible ignorance that may pertain to those born into the other churches who know nothing of the Catholic Church. Those Catholics who apostatise clearly know what the Church teaches but have rejected Her teaching. They therefore put their souls in jeopardy.
Flavius you clearly know the creed but have rejected parts of it. You have proven that you are not in ignorance of what the Catholic Church teaches and you no doubt made promises before God to accept and hold those teachings. It is no skin off my nose, Flavius, whether or not you take any notice of what the Church teaches on this matter. If you have left the Church that is the serious state you are in - no man's land - and it can only be rectified by either you returning to the Church or the orthodox reconcile with Rome, whichever comes first, but of course the hard fact is that any of us could die very shortly and go to our judgment in the present state we are in and what the Church teaches as Christ said is bound in heaven.
"George, everyone believed the Assumption. The Immaculate Conception, though, is a logical extension necessitated by the development of the doctrine of Original Sin. Do you see the difference between that and the proclamation of Mary as Theotokos at Ephesus?"
I was making the point that the Proclamations of Mary as Theotokos and also asEver-Virgin were novel doctrines (at least to some) at the time they were formally defined.
I don't know that everyone believed in the Assumption. This I do know: as a Catholic I am required to believe in the Assumption since it is now a Dogma of the Church and has been since 1950.
This I also know: The Immaculate Conception is also dogma of the Church which again, must be believed by all her members, and it is certainly not accepted and believed by everyone outside the Church.The doctrine of original sin was first developed in the 2nd-century by Irenaeus and was developed further after his death.
"Of course, you're aware of the patristic exegesis of the Rock scripture, which doesn't support the Catholic proof-text."
I am aware of Protestants who have incorrectly interpreted that verse of scripture because they use the Greek and not the Aramaic (kepha).
" The Orthodox don't accept the pope as Vicar of Christ because they see it as blasphemous since Christ has not left us orphans in need of a vicar."
Well, obviously that is not my view of the papacy nor was it St Irenaeus's (see his Against Heresies).
Fr Kavanaugh, in referring to the document you referenced I said: "The document you refer to does not say that any of the protestant Churches have the means to salvation and nor the Jews without belief in Christ" and nor it does. There are exceptions to every rule and I have stated more than once that God saves whomever He wishes to but the common understanding before Vatican II was that GENERALLY in most situations, apart from Batismm of desire, etc, that an individual has to be in union with the Pope. It is not preposterous to say that that concept was widened at Vatican II to erroneously include all faiths and even the Jews seem no longer to need to convert or believe in Christ.
You haven't even addressed how the Church became enlightened (to use your words) in 2007 when Pope Benedict authorised publication of a document correcting the erroneous ideas that had developed since Vatican II and that Protestant groups were not entitled to be called Churches and, therefore, don't come under the umbrella of the Churches referred to by Vatican II. They have no means of salvation. The protestants themselves interpret the Church's teaching as there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church and that is exactly what the Church does teach - if you want to get to heaven you have to be subject to Rome.
Scripture passages pertaining to the Papacy
Isaiah 22:15-25 - Prophecy of the Catholic Papacy foretold in the Old Testament
Matthew 16:18 - Upon this rock (Peter) I will build my Church. And the gates of Hell can never overpower it
Note: Many scholars believe Our Lord most probably spoke Aramaic because it was the native tongue for Jesus' immediate disciples. In Aramaic there is only one word for "rock": Kepha.
Matthew 16:19 - I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven: whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven
Luke 22:32 - Peter's faith will strengthen his brethren.
John 21:17 - Given Christ's flock as chief shepherd
Mark 6:7 - angel sent to announce the Resurrection to Peter
Luke 24:34 - Risen Jesus first appeared to Peter
Acts 1:13-26 - Peter headed meeting which elected Matthias to replace Judas
Acts 2:14 - Peter lead Apostles in preaching on Pentecost
Acts 2:41 - Peter received the first converts
Acts 3:6-7 - Peter performed the first miracle after Pentecost
Acts 5:1-11 - Peter inflicted the first punishment: Ananias and Saphira
Acts 8:21 - Peter excommunicated the first heretic, Simon Magnus
Acts 10:44-46 - Peter received a revelation to admit the Gentiles into the Church
Acts 15 - Peter lead the first Catholic council in Jerusalem
Acts 15:7-12 - Peter spoke saying: "My brothers, he said, .... But we believe that we are saved in the same way as they are: through the grace of the Lord Jesus." The entire assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul describing all the signs and wonders God had worked through them among the gentiles." (pronounces the first dogmatic decision)
Galatians 1:8 - after his conversion, Paul visits the chief Apostle
Matthew 10:1-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, Acts 1:13 - Peter's name always heads the list of Apostles
Luke 9:32, Luke 8:46, Mark 16:7 - Peter and his companions
Matthew 18:21, Mark 8:29, Luke 12:41, John 6:69 - Peter spoke for the Apostles
Peter is mentioned 191 times in the New Testament. All the other apostles names combined are mentioned only 130 times. And the most commonly referenced
Jan - You have said, "I have stated more than once that God saves whomever He wishes..." and you have said, " They [Protestants] have no means of salvation."
It certainly seems to me that these statements are contradictory. If God can save whomever He wishes, then he can save Protestants, no?
Also, Pope Benedict did not say "Because they are not churches in the proper sense, members of Protestant denominations - ecclesial c3ommunities - cannot be saved, cannot attain heaven." That is your erroneous interpretation of Dominus Iesus.
God's saving grace, which is offered to all through Jesus Christ and the ministry of the Church, is not limited by what terms we apply or do not apply to denominations. Thank goodness God is not limited by our limitations.
As to the "widening of concepts," our concept of the nature of Christ's divinity was certainly widened at Ephesus. Also, our concept of the nature of the presence of Jesus Christ under the forms of bread and wine was widened by Aquinas' (and others') use of the term "transubstantiation." The widening of concepts is nothing new - at all.
omitted the Communion of Saints and the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.
Jan, 'communion of saints' isn't in the Nicene Creed. And, if you read my post more carefully, I did say 'resurrection of the dead'. I know mistakes are generally made when grasping at straws, but this is just silly. I suppose in your quixotic (and Boeotian) attempt to—actually, I don't know what your point is. But, I hope you succeed lol! Those windmills haven't been attacked in a while. Axios and many years!
As you know that the orthodox was a breakaway from the Catholic Church then you clearly know that the Church was founded by Christ
Please tell me you aren't being serious here. Especially given this entire thread.
I agree that you would not be posting here if you were not seeking a reason to return...
Don't be obtuse. The only reason I first commented here was because of your asinine comments about 'true conversion'. You then took it upon yourself to write all sorts of nonsense concerning what you 'know' about me—which, considering I've never met you, is further proof you've either consumed some magical draught capable of granting you omniscience, or you're just making random assumptions about other people. Or maybe you're stalking me!? What a creepy thought.
(By the way, since knowing things about strangers is apparently a supernatural gift you possess, I must ask: does it take much practice and effort, or can you just do it without so much a second thought? Like, I can sing Byzantine chant without much of a problem, so can you likewise just 'know' things about internet-strangers?)
George, (I'm speaking to your post at 12h20 yesterday) the Christians living within the Diocese of Rome didn't either until the 11th century (1014 precisely), so I'm in good company.
Jan and Flavius, I like you both and mostly agree with both of you on many issues. "Can't we all just get along," "who am I to judge," "don't be trapped by ideology," "love is God...er, I meant, good," "East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet..." assorted other platitudes, etc, etc. Wish we could all sit down and have a drink or ten.
Fr Kavanaugh, no, the statements are not contradictory because you should be able to see that although, yes, God can save whom He likes GENERALLY the Church teaches that there is no salvation outside the Church, which you have already agreed; the Church has been given power (which I have already stated and which you should know without me having to state it) to bind and loose - I won't quote again the biblical text because you know it. We don't understand why God would give that power to the Church but nevertheless He has.
Indeed, Pope Benedict issued a document in 2007, later than Dominus Jesus, in which he clarifies erroneous beliefs around what Vatican II stated - I have quoted from it above - in which he states that the Protestant communities do not have the right to be called Churches, such as the orthodox and those Churches such as the Church in China that have an ordained priesthood, and do not have the means of salvation. Anyway the teaching is that if they do not accept the primacy of the Pope there is no salvation. Don't tell me you don't know that? And the protestants themselves are saying that the Church teaches outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation. Aside from what has been added since Vatican II. Vatican 1 stated as regards dogma: "The meaning of Sacred Dogmas, which must always be preserved, is that which our Holy Mother the Church has determined. Never is it permissible to depart from this in the name of a deeper understanding", which covers your erroneous view.
"The Catholic Church has solemnly defined three times by infallible declarations that outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation. The most explicit and forceful of the three came from Pope Eugene IV, in the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441, who proclaimed ex cathedra: "The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, also Jews, heretics, and schismatics can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the eternal fire 'which was prepared for the devil and his angels' (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with Her... No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church."
The other two infallible declarations are as follows: There is one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one at all can be saved. Pope Innocent III, ex cathedra, (Fourth Lateran Council, 1215).
We declare, say , define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff. Pope Boniface VIII, (Unam Sanctam, 1302).
This means, and has always meant, that salvation and unity exist only within the Catholic Church, and that members of heretical groups cannot be considered as "part" of the Church of Christ. This doctrine has been the consistent teaching of the Popes throughout the centuries.
Further, it is dogmatically set forth that no authority in the Church, no matter how highly placed, may lawfully attempt to change the clear meaning of this (or any) infallible dogma. Vatican I taught: "The meaning of Sacred Dogmas, which must always be preserved, is that which our Holy Mother the Church has determined. Never is it permissible to depart from this in the name of a deeper understanding." This same Vatican I defined solemnly that not even a Pope may teach a new doctrine.
Naturally, the truth that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church has been supported by all the saints from every age."
Here is what some of the saints have had to say about no salvation outside the Church:
Following are several examples:
St. Irenaeus (130-202), Bishop and Martyr: "The Church is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers. On this account we are bound to avoid them . . . . We hear it declared of the unbelieving and the blinded of this world that they shall not inherit the world of life which is to come . . . . Resist them in defense of the only true and life giving faith, which the Church has received from the Apostles and imparted to her sons."
St. Augustine (354-430), Bishop and Doctor of the Church: "No man can find salvation except in the Catholic Church. Outside the Catholic Church one can have everything except salvation. One can have honor, one can have sacraments, one can sing alleluia, one can answer amen, one can have faith in the Name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and preach it too, but never can one find salvation except in the Catholic Church."
St. Fulgentius (468-533), Bishop: "Most firmly hold and never doubt that not only pagans, but also Jews, all heretics, and all schismatics who finish this life outside of the Catholic Church, will go into eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."
Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604): "The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in Her and asserts that all who are outside of Her will not be saved."
St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226): "All who have not believed that Jesus Christ was really the Son of God are doomed. Also, all who see the Sacrament of the Body of Christ and do not believe it is really the most holy Body and Blood of the Lord . . . these also are doomed!"
St. Thomas Aquinas (1226-1274), the Angelic Doctor: There is no entering into salvation outside the Catholic Church, just as in the time of the Flood there was not salvation outside the Ark, which denotes the Church."
St. Louis Marie de Montfort (1673-1716): "There is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. Anyone who resists this truth perishes."
St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), Bishop and Doctor of the Church: "Outside the Church there is no salvation...therefore in the symbol (Apostles Creed) we join together the Church with the remission of sins: 'I believe in the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins"...For this reason the Church is compared to the Ark of Noah, because just as during the deluge, everyone perished who was not in the ark, so now those perish who are not in the Church."
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1696-1787), Bishop and Doctor of the Church: "All the misfortunes of unbelievers spring from too great an attachment to the things of life. This sickness of heart weakens and darkens the understanding, and leads to eternal ruin. If they would try to heal their hearts by purging them of their vices, they would soon receive light, which would show them the necessity of joining the Catholic Church, where alone is salvation. We should constantly thank the Lord for having granted us the gift of the true Faith, by associating us with the children of the Holy Catholic Church ... How many are the infidels, heretics, and schismatics who do not enjoy the happiness of the true Faith! Earth is full of them and they are all lost!"
Pope Pius XII (1939-1958): Some say they are not bound by the doctrine which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing. Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation. Others finally belittle the reasonable character of the credibility of Christian Faith. These and like ERRORS, it is clear, have crept in among certain of our sons who are deceived by imprudent zeal for souls or by false science."
Flavius, if you look closely you will see the quotes outside of "I agree that you would not be posting here if you were not seeking a reason to return." This is part of the post from Catholics Answers not my comment to you. I should have ended the last paragraph here:
"the CCC reminds you that in leaving the Church you have rejected Christ who is her Head, not to mention rejected your fellow Catholics who are your brothers, and have rejected all his teachings and commandments which He transmits through her. Serious stuff, and unlikely to help you in your choice at the moment of death."
The person who is obtuse is yourself Flavius because "the communion of saints" is in the Apostles Creed, which you would have professed when you were a Catholic. That time when you were all aglow and promised to be faithful and true.
The simple thing is you have left the Catholic Church, knowing what She professes. You have rejected that teaching. Therefore, bottom line, your soul in jeopardy. You can make a mockery as much as you like but that won't change the facts. I don't know if you converted to Catholicism or are a cradle Catholic but, either way, you have rejected the truth and you cannot claim invincible ignorance. To put it simply you have been unfaithful. How long you will even remain faithful to the Orthodox church is anyone's guess because I imagine the Orthodox are be No. 3 by now. Perhaps instead of admitting you to their ranks the Orthodox should instead have sung the old song by the Four Preps - Down by the Station:
"Just head on down by the station early in the morning
Catch yourself a trolley car that goes into the sea
I want a love that's true sir, not a love like you sir
You weren't true to one and two
You won't be true to me!"
How long you will even remain faithful to the Orthodox church is anyone's guess because I imagine the Orthodox are be No. 3 by now.
Once again, you astound me with your omniscience.
But hey, I was loyal to Orthodoxy as a Catholic, so, you know, I'm not worried. I shouldn't have converted to Catholicism, but I did. Oh well. I don't regret it, honestly. Were it not for some of the people I met during RCIA (Gene included) I likely would have committed suicide. You can judge from your high horse all you like, but it doesn't change anything.
Perhaps instead of admitting you to their ranks the Orthodox should instead have sung the old song by the Four Preps...
I'll forward this to my priest. He might just do it lol!
claim invincible ignorance,
Didn't realise I was trying to. Whatever.
You can make a mockery
Please cite examples of this.
Jan - I have never agreed to this statement: "God can save whom He likes GENERALLY the Church teaches that there is no salvation outside the Church"
Is it "God can save whom He likes GENERALLY" or is it "GENERALLY the Church teaches that there is no salvation outside the Church"?
Flavius and Jan, Both of you are devout believers. I would want either or both of you on my side in an argument. We need to have beer and talk face to face. Flavius, email me with where you are now. Maybe we can actually have lunch or beer.
This is a very difficult topic. If I understand Pope Benedict correctly, he said that protestant churches are "ecclesial communities"
who, through the graces manifest in the Church through Jesus Christ, are subject to salvation. They are in there process of being drawn to Him through salvation history. Of course, God's grace and His perfect and inscrutable will trump even Church teaching, but this is an exception. We must take the Church teaching seriously and view it as a summons to all who are not in the Church.
"George, (I'm speaking to your post at 12h20 yesterday) the Christians living within the Diocese of Rome didn't either until the 11th century (1014 precisely), so I'm in good company."
Just as water seeks its own level,there is a right and proper time for everything to settle, and arrive at it's destined and proper place. Yes, you are in good company-being in the company of Roman Catholics is always good.
I shouldn't have been such an *** on my first comment, but Jan went wayyy beyond that in his/her first response. He/she can continue to spew misconceptions about Orthodoxy all he/she wants, but if he/she wants to go on (unwarranted) screeds about me, I'm going to stuff every syllable he/she utters back down his/her throat.
I have shown enormous restraint, so I don't consider anything here that bad. On the other hand, if you of all people suggest toning things down, I might need to cool down a little bit.
Jan could have just responded to my first comment; the second part was a more theoretical question. Instead of actually explaining how he/she knows whether or not someone 'truly converts', s/he launched into a tirade about me. The second part I more expected to be addressed by others, not Jan.
As for myself, I can only offer this statement (about my behaviour on this page): ἡ σοφἱα ου νικα— wisdom prevaileth not.
Well, Flavius, no, you shouldn't have converted to Catholicism if you didn't believe the truths of the Church.
I think making statements such as "(By the way, since knowing things about strangers is apparently a supernatural gift you possess, I must ask: does it take much practice and effort, or can you just do it without so much a second thought? Like, I can sing Byzantine chant without much of a problem, so can you likewise just 'know' things about internet-strangers?)" are what I consider making a mockery or failing to take into account the seriousness of your situation.
I know priests who refuse to baptise children if their parents aren't practising because of the ramifications of being baptised Catholic but not being brought up Catholic by their parents. Of course, only God can judge someone in the long run and perhaps you received bad advice. Certainly from what I know of the RCIA programme from those who have been through it, they weren't made aware of what the dogmas they were required to assent to, so maybe you fall under that category.
Anyway, I am sure with prayer things will be okay in the long run.
Fr Kavanaugh, there should have been a comma there, so the part I am saying you assented to is that there is no salvation outside the Church, as you said: "Marc - The Church does teach that outside the Church there is no salvation." And then you say, "This has not been changed. What has changed is our understanding of what and who constitutes the Church."
The second part of your statement fails because of what was stated at Vatican 1:
"The meaning of the sacred dogmas which must always be preserved, is that which our Holy Mother the Church has determined. Never is it permissible to depart from this in the name of a deeper understanding" (Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, Dz.1800)."
Flavius, I did not suggest toning things down. LOL! I love a good fight. I just hate to see it between believers. Carry on... the fractious side of me is enjoying it.
Jan - What you fail to understand is what is stated in the passage you cite from Dei Filius: "...is that which our Holy Mother the Church has determined."
The Church, not you, determines the meaning of the Church's teaching.
The Church has determined that the meaning of "Outside the Church there is no salvation" is wide enough to mean that those who are 1) members of the Catholic Church, 2) members of other Christian denominations, 3) members of non-Christian religions can attain salvation.
Dominus Iesus reminds us that those who are saved - Catholics, Christians of other denominations, non-Christians - are saved by the saving grace of Jesus Christ through the ministry of the Church.
Now, you don't like what the Church teaches, or you don't understand how the Church comes to this understanding of "Outside the Church there is no salvation," so you have decided to adopt the interpretation of Fr. Feeney. This rigorist interpretation has been condemned as false.
Father Kavanaugh, I have used the word "generally". There are exceptions but generally the Church teaches that outside Her there is no salvation. Catholic Answers sums it up:
"There are six key points that I believe we need to remember here:
1. No one who knowingly and deliberately rejects the truth will be saved. It doesn’t matter how good of a Muslim, Jew, Baptist, or anything else he may be. If anyone rejects the truth of Christ and his Church—even one definitive teaching—they will be lost.
2. Religions that have as tenants of their respective faiths the rejection of Jesus and his Church have no power to save anyone. It is “the truth that makes us free” (cf. John 8:32), not falsehood.
3. In the case of one who is ignorant of the truth of the Catholic Faith, “through no fault of [his] own,” he can be saved, if he is truly “invincibly ignorant, [is] given the supernatural virtue of faith and [has] perfect charity in [his heart]” (cf. Instruction of Holy Office of Dec. 20, 1949).
4. We must remember that we are not the judges of salvation. God is the sole and final judge. We do not know who is truly “invincibly ignorant” and who is not. Therefore, we must be careful to “evangelize all men” as the Catechism commands us and leave the judging to God.
5. “Whatever good or truth is found amongst [other world religions] is considered by the Church to be ‘a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life’” (Lumen Gentium 16). And if they seek the true God given the light they have received, they have the possibility of salvation.
6. This does not mean they are not in need of the Eucharist! Without the grace that comes from the sacraments, one is at a decided disadvantage to get to heaven. And if one has rejected the truth, then there is no way he can merit heaven apart from repentance and the acceptance of the truth. The Church makes very clear: “The words bind and loose mean: whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God; whomever you receive anew into your communion, God will welcome back into his. Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God” (CCC 1445).
If anyone makes it to heaven apart from what the Church refers to as “the ordinary means of sanctification that comes through the sacraments,” or a “formal union with the Church,” they will only do so through a salvific link with the Church that comes via extraordinary means."
My original comments were for Gene who appeared to be wavering and thinking about leaving the Church - although those thoughts may just be the result of the current confusion we are in and in reality he has no such plans. But Gene may find these comments from Catholic Answers beneficial:
"1. “What about Catholics who have left the Faith? Are they okay, or are they lost?”
Anyone who knowingly and deliberately rejects the Church will be lost, as I said above. So it would be the height of presumption to say that someone who has left the Faith “is okay.” Now, it may well be that a person who left the Faith may have had such a distorted notion of what the Church truly is and what she teaches that there may not be culpability. Again, we don’t know. However, it may well be that they are culpable. And no amount of “church” attendance or prayer apart from the Church Jesus established, the Catholic Church, will get them to heaven if that is the case. One might even “deliver [one’s] body to be burned” (I Cor. 13:3), but it will “profit nothing” apart from union with Christ and his Church because it is only the divine life and charity of Christ in us that can save us. So we must take extremely serious anyone who has left the faith or anyone who is not in union with the Church because objectively speaking, (barring invincible ignorance, etc.) souls are on the line!"
Jan, there is no Church teaching that states "Generally, outside the Church there is no salvation." The teaching is absolute: Outside the Church there is no salvation.
What you don't understand is that anyone who is saved - gets to heaven -is saved through the saving grace of Jesus Christ which is mediated by the Church. If Jews, Muslims, atheists, Catholics (!), Presbyterians, Rastafarians, etc., are welcomed into heaven, they have arrived there through Christ and the Church. There is no other way.
For Catholics it is an error to understand this teaching to mean that, to arrive in heaven, one must have been an active, practicing Catholic - Baptized a Catholic, sacramentalized as a Catholic, registered and active in an Catholic parish.
This was Fr. Feeney's error and it has been condemned.
That being said, it seems to me that we are in agreement on this question.
Fr Kavanaugh, would you care to explain then how a non-Catholic might enter heaven a Jew, say, who doesn't believe in Christ. Will he be saved? If so, how will he be saved? Will every Jew and Muslim be saved? If not, why not?
I understand the temptation that everyone has to challenge Fr. Kavanaugh on this issue, but as far as I can tell, he is telling you all precisely what the Church has always taught about the salvation of those outside the Church. If non-Catholics are saved, they are saved through the merits of the Church and despite their adherence to a non-Catholic sect.
How would a Jew or Muslim be saved? Through the infinite merits of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and as mediated through the Catholic Church. Why would God save a Jew or a Muslim? Because God can save whom he wills and damn whom he wills -- he is not bound to act within the system that he established.
It makes sense to say that everyone who is baptized is baptized into the Catholic Church since we know that there is only one baptism for the remission of sins. Such a one could defect from the Church by joining some other sect. It is still possible for such a person to have perfect contrition and to obtain salvation.
The remaining issue, then, is how God saves those who are not baptized. To this I would say again that God is not bound by the sacramental system that he has established -- he can save whomever he wishes to save. Since those that are saved are predestined for salvation from all eternity, then it follows that the non-baptized who are saved (if there are any such people) have received whatever grace is necessary for their salvation and have not let that grace be wasted.
Marc, Fr. K is correct. However, what is left out is when does a person, who through no fault of their own, experience the salvation that the Church mediates to the world?
I was challenged by Fr. K many years ago when I wrote a bulletin letter here saying that those who through no fault of their own can be saved and they are saved by becoming completely Catholic or members of the Church through purgatory. They are purified of falsehood, come to know Jesus Christ and in purgatory God in fact makes them members of the Church suffering which through the prayers of the Church Triumphant and the Church Militant will lead them to become members of the Church Triumphant in heaven eventually.
Fr. K. seem to make a false distinction between the Church Triumphant and the Church Militant not being identified with each other since the pope is the visible head of the Church on earth as Christ's vicar but in heave there is no pope, at least we don't think so, but who knows? Jesus wasn't a one man show on earth and we can presume He isn't in heave either.
So whose right and wrong here. I knnow I can't be wrong, I'm the blogger!
Father, I would take issue with your idea that people can come to know Christ in purgatory since it is the teaching of the Church that the souls in purgatory cannot merit. The souls in purgatory do not gain in knowledge or experience. I think it would be more proper to say that such a soul knew Christ on earth but in a mysterious way unknown even to the person. In a sense, such a soul would be "Catholic" in purgatory to the extent that such a person, being in the presence of God himself, would have a perfect understanding of the Truth revealed on earth through the Catholic Church. Of course, they are members of the Church suffering by virtue of their being in purgatory, but these distinctions and definitions of the Church are for us on earth and are somewhat meaningless in eternity.
Generally, I don't think that we can say with any specificity how a person who is not Catholic experiences the salvation mediated by Christ through the Church on earth. This is an inscrutable mystery of God that some souls are predestined to salvation and others are not.
I am not saying that their learning is of any merit, but their understanding comes from God as a gift--the mystery is how this would occur in purgatory in terms of purification. The knowledge of Christ is imputed or I guess one could say that since everyone is created in the image and likeness of God and was in God's mind from all eternity, that knowledge of God is locked in the mind and it is up to the Church to unlock that for the individual beginning on earth and competed through purgation?
The part of your thought process that I am having trouble with is the idea that purgatory is a state of being in which some lacking knowledge is completed. Being a part of heaven, it must be the case that purgatory is in the presence of God. A soul in this state of being cannot gain more knowledge other than the immediate experience of God. That immediate experience is, in a sense, what makes purgatory a purgative experience as we see the necessity for the temporal punishment for our sins.
So I think that the purpose of purgatory as a place for the remission of temporal punishment is muddled by the idea that it is also a place wherein knowledge is imparted. Whatever "knowledge" that the deceased "gains" would come from the immediate apprehension of God in his majestic purity.
Furthermore, there is no need for knowledge since knowledge does not equate to salvation. On the other hand, it is unity with God that is the essence of salvation. On earth, we attempt to get closer to that unity by having the right belief about the nature of God. In heaven (and purgatory), we no longer need that knowledge since it will be replaced with pure experience.
You might be interested to know that what you're suggesting is part of the Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) afterlife schema -- they believe that deceased people can come to more knowledge and accept Christ after death.
The challenge remains, Good Father. Where does the Church teach that souls, after death, can make a choice to become members of the Catholic Church?
Re: Purgatory - CCC 1472 "This purification frees one from what is called the "temporal punishment" of sin."
What "sin" are those who you suggest may "become completely Catholic" in purgatory guilty of? If their non-membership is "through no fault of their own," how can they be considered in need of purification from the temporal punishment due to sin, since one cannot sin through no fault of his/her own?
Anonymous: No, every Muslim or Jew is not saved. Neither is every Christian. See Matthew 25 for the reasons.
CCC 1283 With respect to children who have died without Baptism, the liturgy of the Church invites us to trust in God's mercy and to pray for their salvation.
So we have established the principle that the non-Baptized can be saved. (The Church would not encourage us to pray for their salvation if this were an impossibility.)
Here's a good summary of the Church's teaching on "how" non-Christians can attain heaven:
The Salvation of Non-Christians By Fr. Bernhard Blankenhorn, O.P.
First, Vatican II affirms that God calls all peoples to life with him. The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) 22 states that “the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery.” Second, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) 16 specifies how this might happen even for those who do not explicitly believe in God, a group that would include Buddhists:
"Nor shall divine providence deny the assistance necessary for salvation to those who, without any fault of theirs, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God, and who, not without grace, strive to lead a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is considered by the Church to be a preparation for the Gospel."
In other words, by recognizing elements of the moral law whose author is God, and by a mysterious reception of Christ’s grace, someone who does not explicitly believe in God can move towards salvation. Thirdly, the Council also recognizes that other religions may include elements that help some of their members along this path to salvation. In the Declaration of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (Nostra Aetate 2), Vatican II states that “the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions … the precepts and doctrines which ... often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all.” Christians are exhorted to “preserve and encourage the spiritual and moral truths found among non-Christians.” In other words, non-Christian religions can play a positive role in preparing the way for the gift of salvation. However, the Council refuses to acknowledge other religions as true mediators of salvation in the full sense. This is because the “elements of truth and grace which are found among peoples” also must be “purged of evil associations,” as the Declaration on the Church’s Missionary Activity (Ad Gentes 9) states. It is undeniable that this warning includes non-Christian religions. It is noteworthy that the same Vatican II document also insists that “Everyone ought to be converted to Christ” (Ad Gentes 7).
Non-Christians can enter into communion with God through Christ by reaching what the tradition has called an implicit faith. They can accept an offer of eternal life in the depth of their minds and hearts whose specifics largely escapes them, attaching themselves to God and Christ without fully realizing it. Secondly, in their desire for unending communion and liberation, the person can attain a kind of baptism by desire. Both this faith and this baptism by desire may be attained in part with the help of non-Christian religions, but in a way that will escape our understanding. The 2000 Vatican document Dominus Jesus, which was authored by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, notes that “some prayers and rituals of the other religions may assume a role of preparation for the Gospel, in that they are occasions or pedagogical helps in which the human heart is prompted to be open to the action of God.” Vatican II implies a similar function for the doctrines of other religions, especially their moral doctrines (see Nostra Aetate 2). As one example, Pope John Paul II has proposed the practice of ancestor worship found in China and other parts of the world as a kind of preparation for the doctrine of the communion of saints. Notice the difference between these cautious affirmations and the exaggerated claim that non-Christian religions are normal, sufficient means to salvation for their members.
Marc, other than the fact of purgatory being a dogma for the temporal punishment due to forgiven sins (sins of course are not forgiven in purgatory) and the purification of the soul to make the soul perfect, I think we can use a variety of metaphors to describe purgatory acknowledging this is only speculative.
It seems to me that purgation of forgiven sins might entail becoming quite aware, painfully so, what one's personal sins have done and how even forgiven sin still haunts those affected. Wouldn't that be a learning curve or a revelation at least.
If one is in Purgatory good Fr. K, it isn't because of their choice, but God's choice to allow them to be there for purgation and temporal punishment due their forgiven sins. The choice to be forgiven on earth seems to play into the ministry of Christ although experienced imperfectly and in a non-sacramental way. Of course one has to know that something is a sin for it to be a personal sin, whether venial or mortal.
Then we have to deal with the reality of the necessity of baptism for salvation which is the primary sacrament of forgiveness and initiation into the Church--baptism of desire or of blood or the desire that the Church has for the entire world to be baptized?
I think on another post, Marc speaks of Pelagism and that Pope Francis' homily this morning might be tinged with it.
What we do and how we live is a gift of God, not imposed on us but to be received, opened and used.
So the point that is exposed by Fr. Kavanaugh's accurate distillation of the current Catholic teaching is a logical inconsistency in the doctrines flowing from the Church's teaching on original sin.
It is not Fr. Kavanaugh's fault that the Church's doctrine has "developed" in such a way that it is logically inconsistent with itself.
I would suggest that those who are taking issue with what Fr. Kavanaugh is saying about this topic are really taking issue with the Church's explanation of doctrine in a way that reveals a rather glaring inconsistency. Now, I'm sure that Fr. Kavanaugh would say that the current trend is a proper correction to a logical system that turned God into a boxed-in being bound by human logic. I would probably agree with that.
I have to confess that as one who just had his first child born a week ago today, it is very difficult to hold fast to the Church's draconian understanding of original sin and original guilt in the face of that actual experience. Since I think that the Church's teaching of the limbo of the infants flows logically from the teaching on original sin, I can understand Fr. Kavanaugh's disagreement with this as a purely practical matter. I would hope, though, that he would concede that the proposition is entirely logical (albeit again, a distortion of God).
I think I had an insight that should be developed concerning baptism of desire. I have had situation when I was first ordained of babies dying before baptism but in fact the parents had every intention of baptizing the child. Can't we say there was a baptism of desire on the part of the parents.
If so, can't we also say that Holy Mother Church has a desire that everyone be baptized, the entire world. Would that not be sufficient for those who through no fault of their own are not baptized and haven't chosen to become baptized through no fault of their own?
Marc congratulations on the new baby, certainly a life-changing event. After the baby has kept you and your wife up for several hours at night wanting to be fed, changed, hugged and so on, you will see the roots of original sin (narcissism) which for a new born is a matter of survival but when your baby is 16 years old and still demanding these narcissistic attentions regardless of the imposition on you, you'll understand original sin better than you ever have understood it until now.
With regard to the operation of purgatory, we are in the realm of the entirely speculative. I understand the idea that you're suggesting, but it seems to me that it is incongruous with the purpose of purgatory. Here's why I disagree with you:
You're suggesting that coming to a knowledge of the effect of sin entails a learning curve that demonstrates that knowledge can be gained during the purgatory experience. Perhaps the purgation would involve this sort of knowledge, but the knowledge is just a method to bring about the effect of purgation, a secondary aspect of the temporal punishment.
The lack of knowledge of doctrine (or more correctly, the lack of knowledge of God as he is in himself) is not something to be purged by temporal punishment. A person in heaven (of which purgatory is part) would be in the immediate presence of God so that there is no need of doctrine. Such a person would know God in himself, which obviates any need for a knowledge imparting process like what you're suggesting.
Doctrine is not a necessity except as a description of the reality we only see through a glass, darkly. In heaven, there is no doctrine since there we will see clearly through the state of being united with God.
Father, I think that the Church has rejected your idea that baptism of desire can operate as you suggest, but I don't have the time to find the reference right now. I have a World Series Champions parade to get to!
Thank you for the well wishes. I have no doubt that the concept of concupiscence is a reality. It is the idea of original guilt and the damnation of the unbaptized infants that I have problem with. And, as I said, I cannot get around the fact that the limbo of the infants is (a) a doctrine of the Church (I know you and Fr. Kavanaugh will disagree with this), and (b) absolutely logically flowing from the Church's teaching on original guilt.
Marc, not in the Church Militant or the Church Suffering are we in the perfect presence of God seeing Him face to face as it were. In the Church Militant we see God through the veil of a sacrament. I suspect too, for those in Purgatory it is connected with the sacramental, but not the perfection of God as you describe it for the soul who is a part of the Church triumphant. Just as we as member of the Church Militant come to a realization of what God is revealing to us in Word, Sacrament and Creation and through our brothers and sisters on earth, the same would be true of the Church Suffering but in a more immediate way.
Good Father, I didn't ask why people were in Purgatory by choice or not, so your answer, "If one is in Purgatory good Fr. K, it isn't because of their choice, but God's choice to allow them to be there for purgation and temporal punishment due their forgiven sins" doesn't apply.
Here 'tis again: Where does the Church teach that souls, after death, can make a choice to become members of the Catholic Church?
If they do not have a choice, but are simply "whooshed" into the Catholic Church without so much as a "Would you like?", then, Houston, we have a problem.
Good Fr. K! Are you telling me that as an infant you chose to be baptized and thus chose to be a member of the Church? Just what Church did you get your formation? I suspect you think that First Holy Communion was your choice as was Confirmation! All the more reason to follow the Eastern Rite, for all three sacraments to be celebrated in infancy!
Allan, that's a diversion. Your assertion is that people become members of the Catholic Church when they are in Purgatory. Is there some Church teaching that supports this notion that people can make such a choice at this time? And does a non-Christian have a choice to opt-out, inasmuch as he/she has no desire to be a Catholic?
why do you, oh why, do you assert something over and over again which is what you are saying and not me? I never said someone joins the Church in purgatory. If they are there and not in hell, God has made them members of the Church just as you were made a member of the Church through your infant baptism. You had no choice. The decision was made for you by God through your parents and Holy Mother Church--capice?
If I could attempt to mediate this contentious point, I think that Fr. McDonald's point is not so subtle as Fr. Kavanaugh is trying to make it.
Fr. McDonald's point seems to be that the souls in purgatory are members of the Church suffering. So, anyone who is in purgatory is ipso facto a member of the Church by being so designated. This is less of a theological point and more of a statement of classification and nomenclature.
Marc - Good Father McDonald asserts: "...I wrote a bulletin letter here saying that those who through no fault of their own can be saved and they are saved by becoming completely Catholic or members of the Church through purgatory."
"Completely Catholic" is the phrase that is problematic. I don't know of any Church teaching that speaks to Good Father McDonald's assertion of conversion in Purgatory. Or change of denomination in Purgatory. Or choice to become what one was not whilst on earth.
I think there is more than nomenclature here.
Good Fr. K, you became a part of the Church on earth (Church Militant) not of your own accord but by a act of God through Holy Mother Church. I stand by my bulletin comment, but it is all an act of God through Holy Mother Church. Capice?
I would tend to think that heaven and purgatory are non-sectarian.
Let's see what Fr. M says about my reading of his idea... I agree that "completely Catholic" doesn't make much sense here.
Good Father - You're still not offered any Church teaching to back up your assertion that everyone is converted to the Catholic Church in Purgatory....
Marc - I wonder if, since we will all be the Church Triumphant in heaven, we will discover that in this Church there are Jews, Muslims, atheists, Presbyterians, Catholics, and others... All children of God, all redeemed by the Blood of Christ, all judged worthy to worship at the Throne of God.
Ad yes, the heresy of universalism brought to heaven. Yikes. And Marc, non sectarian like Stratford Academy?
Fr. Kavanaugh, of course we will find all of those people and more in heaven. There is no Catholic heaven. God established the Church as the surest path to salvation, but not the exclusive path.
What justice would there be in persons of varying degrees of goodness and sanctity all entering into Heaven where one person might be very holy and another only good? It would not be just for each person to receive the same reward, when one person is not as liable to God’s Justice to the same degree another person according to how each one has offended God nor as prepared to be in His Holy Presence. The Divine Justice must be satisfied and in whatever way it happens, in this life or the next, we must be cleansed and purified.
Yet in God and His Mercy is our hope because His Son, by His suffering and death, has merited our salvation.
If there were no place of purgation, it would violate the law of consequences and the satisfaction to God’s Justice, because there would be offense done to God and harm our neighbor, without any repair to the offense inflicted by our sinful actions (if we were to die in a state spiritual indebtedness or imperfection). Things must be set right. God’s justice must be satisfied. We must be purified. As it written in Matthew 26: “Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”
An exception would be those who die immediately after baptism which cleanses one of sin and any temporal punishment due to sin. We also know that Jesus promised the Good thief on the cross that he would be in Paradise that day. He was in the presence and received the forgiveness of the Son of God Himself. After suffering and dying the brutal death of a Roman crucifixion, what more purgation was needed to pay off the debt of his sin? He was forgiven and absolved by the Divine Priest Himself.
If somehow a young child could be immediately transformed into an adult without experiencing the intervening years, the shock would be too much. Likewise, for many of us, to go from this earthly existence directly to Heaven without the preparation and purification of Purgatory is just not possible. As Hebrews 12:14 states we must strive "for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord."
Good Father - Another issue with your "Conversion in Purgatory" thought is this: Why, if everyone who gets to Purgatory is whooshed into be a "Complete Catholic," with or without their consent, why are you running an RCIA program?
If the conversion is certain and unavoidable in the life to come, what purpose is seeking to make others members of the Catholic Church in the here and now?
I don't know about your RCIA Process (not a program) but in mine, those that are there have responded to God who initiated their desire to come and they have responded of their own free will. But God is the instigator, motivator. If someone is in purgatory (who was not a Catholic or a Christian but simply a good person who responded to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, they are predestined by God to be there as He knows their hearts and what they would have been like if they had been baptized. They make the best Catholics you know even in purgatory.
To all, it seems to me that there is a lot of twisting and turning going on to try to make sense of this now garbled doctrine since V2. Christ Himself said, "Unless you are born of water and the Holy Spirit you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven". That, therefore, puts pagans, Muslims and Jews in a difficult situation. In fact, plumb right out of heaven.
On top of that it has already been infalliblly stated by the Church that these people, remaining in said state, cannot enter heaven. It is also infallibly stated that:"The meaning of Sacred Dogmas, which must always be preserved, is that which our Holy Mother the Church has determined. Never is it permissible to depart from this in the name of a deeper understanding".
Therefore, it seems to me that except for those whom God may decide are saved that the vast majority, remaining outside the Church without baptism are not saved. That is what the Church has, after all, infallibly stated. The Church did not arise after Vatican 2 so we must also take into account the magisterium before Vatican 2. Pope Benedict has also stated that the protestant from the reformation are not churches and as such do not come under what was stated at Vat 2.
It seems to me that all these contortions you have had to go through are to try to explain the doctrine, while admitting that the dogma extra Ecclesiam nulla salus is unchanged. It is like trying to push a square peg into a round hole - it just doesn't work. And the real danger is that souls are being lost in the mistaken belief that they will be saved through some mysterious, unable to be explained, PC explanation that conveniently overlooks the words of Our Lord Himself: Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Just as He said no to divorce and liberals are trying every which way to give valid reasons why a divorced person can receive Holy Communion, so to have liberals twisted this doctrine which all can see is going to have to be looked at long and hard again because no one can simply explain it.
And Fr k, if everyone is whooshed into heaven, whether Pagan, Jew or Muslim, Protestant, baptised or unbaptised, what then is the reason for the Church and why did Our Lord tell the apostles to go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them, when if anyone can be saved - according to Pope Francis even the atheist who doesn't believe in God - there is no reason for conversion to the Catholic Faith or to Christianity for that matter, no reason for the Gospel and no reason even to believe in God at all.
In reality, looking at it all in the cold light of day there is no reason even for the sacraments, is there? We're all going to be one happy PC family up there in heaven with God (except for the Traditionalists that is), even those who don't beleive in Him. What a shock for them! No reason either for the saints, the martyrs, the priesthood and perhaps no reason for Christ to have died on the cross, taken to its logical conclusion, if we have a God who is so all embracing that everyone gets to heaven anyway ...
Jan says: "To all, it seems to me that there is a lot of twisting and turning going on to try to make sense of this now garbled doctrine since V2. Christ Himself said, "Unless you are born of water and the Holy Spirit you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven". That, therefore, puts pagans, Muslims and Jews in a difficult situation. In fact, plumb right out of heaven."
Jan, this is completely wrong. It is Feeney-ist rigorism and has been condemnd.
Jan says also: "On top of that it has already been infalliblly stated by the Church that these people, remaining in said state, cannot enter heaven. It is also infallibly stated that:"The meaning of Sacred Dogmas, which must always be preserved, is that which our Holy Mother the Church has determined. Never is it permissible to depart from this in the name of a deeper understanding"."
Again, Jan, this is wrong. You have ignored the Church documents I cited showing you just why it is wrong.
Jan said: "Therefore, it seems to me that except for those whom God may decide are saved that the vast majority, remaining outside the Church without baptism are not saved."
So... in your first paragraph you said that only the baptized could be saved, but here you concede that God can save whomever God wills to be saved.
I don't think that anyone here is arguing that people should remain in error outside the Church. And I think everyone would agree that such people are susceptible to not reaching heaven by virtue of their remaining in error outside the Church.
It is not being PC to suggest, though, that people who are not members of the Church in this life will be in heaven -- even the unbaptized Jews, Muslims, and others. The error would be to say that such people are saved as a result of their false beliefs. If they are saved, they are saved despite their false beliefs.
To believe that God is bound by the system he chose to establish is the height of legalism -- it suggests a limited God. And it suggests a God who creates millions of souls just to see them perish into eternal hellfire. Such a God would not be worthy of worship, but of contempt.
Thankfully, our God is a God who loves us and wants us to grow in union with him and be with him in paradise forever, after we have used our time on earth wisely by knowing and spreading the Truth of his loving Incarnation and re-Creation of our wounded souls.
Marc I think your statement, "people who are not members of the Church in this life will be in heaven -- even the unbaptized Jews, Muslims, and others. The error would be to say that such people are saved as a result of their false beliefs. If they are saved, they are saved despite their false beliefs" is an example of the contortions you have to go through to try to explain this doctrine. It is really an absurdity to say that someone is saved despite their false beliefs.
Christ is the Son of God, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. How can you imply that He was being legalistic when He said: "Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." You appear to be denying the very words of Christ Himself that are plain and unequivocal. Christ was saying that they are more than susceptible to the loss of heaven. He said that water and the Holy Ghost are prerequisites to entering heaven.
Cardinal Burke and others have written "Remaining in the Truth of Christ" where they clearly state that what Christ says about divorce is still true today. So then what he said about baptism and the Holy Ghost still holds true today and anyone who is saved, despite himself, must be few indeed and, therefore, we have a duty to evangelise everyone to the Catholic Church. That is the safest and surest way. The rest is just dangerous PC contortions to me.
Fr Kavanagh you have clearly stated that outside the Church there is no salvation. Therefore, can you define what set of people the term "the Church" embraces?
New Advent sums it up well and shows that there has to be at a minimum for salvation: "an act of perfect charity and of contrition".
"... there is but one conclusion: Union with the Church is not merely one out of various means by which salvation may be obtained: it is the only means.
This doctrine of the absolute necessity of union with the Church was taught in explicit terms by Christ. Baptism, the act of incorporation among her members, He affirmed to be essential to salvation. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: he that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark 16:16). Any disciple who shall throw off obedience to the Church is to be reckoned as one of the heathen: he has no part in the Kingdom of God (Matthew 18:17). St. Paul is equally explicit. "A man that is a heretic", he writes to Titus, "after the first and second admonition avoid, knowing that he that is such a one is . . . condemned by his own judgment" (Titus 3:10 sq.).
The doctrine is summed up in the phrase, Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. This saying has been the occasion of so many objections that some consideration of its meaning seems desirable. It certainly does not mean that none can be saved except those who are in visible communion with the Church. The Catholic Church has ever taught that nothing else is needed to obtain justification than an act of perfect charity and of contrition. Whoever, under the impulse of actual grace, elicits these acts receives immediately the gift of sanctifying grace, and is numbered among the children of God. Should he die in these dispositions, he will assuredly attain heaven. It is true such acts could not possibly be elicited by one who was aware that God has commanded all to join the Church, and who nevertheless should willfully remain outside her fold.
For love of God carries with it the practical desire to fulfill His commandments. But of those who die without visible communion with the Church, not all are guilty of willful disobedience to God's commands. Many are kept from the Church by ignorance. Such may be the case of numbers among those who have been brought up in heresy. To others the external means of grace may be unattainable. Thus an excommunicated person may have no opportunity of seeking reconciliation at the last, and yet may repair his faults by inward acts of contrition and charity.
"It should be observed that those who are thus saved are not entirely outside the pale of the Church. The will to fulfill all God's commandments is, and must be, present in all of them. Such a wish implicitly includes the desire for incorporation with the visible Church: for this, though they know it not, has been commanded by God. They thus belong to the Church by desire (voto). Moreover, there is a true sense in which they may be said to be saved through the Church. In the order of Divine Providence, salvation is given to man in the Church: membership in the Church Triumphant is given through membership in the Church Militant. Sanctifying grace, the title to salvation, is peculiarly the grace of those who are united to Christ in the Church: it is the birthright of the children of God. The primary purpose of those actual graces which God bestows upon those outside the Church is to draw them within the fold. Thus, even in the case in which God saves men apart from the Church, He does so through the Church's graces. They are joined to the Church in spiritual communion, though not in visible and external communion. In the expression of theologians, they belong to the soul of the Church, though not to its body.
Yet the possibility of salvation apart from visible communion with the Church must not blind us to the loss suffered by those who are thus situated. They are cut off from the sacraments God has given as the support of the soul. In the ordinary channels of grace, which are ever open to the faithful Catholic, they cannot participate. Countless means of sanctification which the Church offers are denied to them. It is often urged that this is a stern and narrow doctrine. The reply to this objection is that the doctrine is stern, but only in the sense in which sternness is inseparable from love. It is the same sternness which we find in Christ's words, when he said: "If you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sin" (John 8:24). The Church is animated with the spirit of Christ; she is filled with the same love for souls, the same desire for their salvation. Since, then, she knows that the way of salvation is through union with her, that in her and in her alone are stored the benefits of the Passion, she must needs be uncompromising and even stern in the assertion of her claims. To fail here would be to fail in the duty entrusted to her by her Lord. Even where the message is unwelcome, she must deliver it.
It is instructive to observe that this doctrine has been proclaimed at every period of the Church's history. It is no accretion of a later age."
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