Skip to comments.The Unam Sanctam "Problem" Resolved (Can Non-Catholics Be Saved?)
Posted on 02/04/2006 4:55:13 AM PST by bornacatholic
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Vincibility is an interesting topic.
I've seen some folks interpret invincible vs. vincible as whether, in a given set of circumstances, any person could come to knowledge of the truth of the Catholic Church's claims. Thus, we get folks who say that anyone who lives in the United States, or the West, generally, cannot have invincible ignorance, because there are at least SOME individuals, given the circumstances in our society, who can overcome their ignorance. I'm not sure, I don't think you're suggesting that, are you?
My own limited intellect suggests that invincibility/vincibility covers a wide range of issues, including, near the top, the intellectual capacity of the individual. I'm not the dimmest bulb in the box, but I often find these debates approaching the limits of my own intellectual capacity, and sometimes moving beyond those limits.
I imagine there are many folks not born into the Catholic Church who may have even more limited intellectual capacity than I have. It would be unsurprising to me if many of these individuals found themselves unable to decisively choose between the competing claims that they might find on either side of these questions.
That inability, combined with cultural, familial prejudices and other factors, might give rise, in my own opinion, to a lot of invincible ignorance.
To me, vincible ignorance is when an individual withholds from Catholic belief because, even though he senses its rightness, he hides from it to avoid disappointing friends and family, taking on hardship - socially, financially, politically, whatever, or to maintain his position. I've heard it said that Mr. Blair, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, would convert save for his position. I don't know whether that's true or not, but it would seem to me that if that's true, he's actually moved well past ignorance, vincible or not, and is precisely the sort of individual toward whom these teachings are directed.
What do you think?
Dionysiusdecordealcis, I'd appreciate your thoughts, as well.
Pius IX, Allocution Singulari quadam (1854). I don't have Denzinger at hand so I can't give the Latin (it should be Denzinger 2865i)
"It must, of course, be held as a matter of faith that outside the apostolic Roman Church no one can be saved, that the Church is the only ark of salvation, and that whoever does not enter it will perish in the flood. On the other hand, it must likewise be held as certain that those who live ignorance of the true religion, if such ignorance be invincible, are not subject to any guilt in this matter before the eyes of the Lord. But then, who would dare to set limits to this ignorance, taking into consideration the natural differences of people, lands, native talents, and so many other factors."
Especially the last sentence does not sound like Feeneyite-Jansenist rigorism and it sounds an awful lot like Vatican II. I get so tired of those who, from both the right and the left, portray Vatican II as a sudden change of course.
Now, try Pius IX's Encyclical, Quanto conficiamur moerere (1863), addressed specifically to the bishops of Italy in the midst of the Italian Liberal/nationalism chaos:
First a Liberal indifferentism is condemned: "And here, beloved Sons and venerable Brethren, it is necessary once more to mention and censure the serious error into which some Catholics have unfortunately fallen. For they are of the opinion tha those who live in errors estranged from the true faith and Catholic unity, can attain eternal life. This is in direct opposition to Catholic teaching." (Denzinger 2865)
Note that this pararaph is explicitly directed to lapsed Catholics who are alienated from the faith they once held.
Then: "We all know that those who suffer from invincible ignorance with regard to our holy religion, if they carefully keep the precepts of the natural law which have been written by God in th ehearts of all persons, if they are prepared to obey God, and if they lead a virtuous and dutiful life, can, by the power of divine light and grace, attain eternal life. For God, who knows completely the minds and souls, the thoughts and habits of all persons, wil lnot permit, in accord with his infinite goodness and mercy, anyone who is not guilty of a voluntary fault to suffer eternal punishment." (Denzinger 2866)
Pardon me if I say it, but this is exactly the kind of thing I was trying to assert in previous postings: that establishing vincible or invincible ignorance in a particular non-Catholic person is not something that you or I has any business trying to do. Exactly how much one knows and how accountable he is for knowing and not knowing is for God alone to judge.
The encyclical continues: "However, also well known is the Catholic dogma that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church, and that those who obstinately oppose the authority of the definitions of the Church, and who stubbornly remain separated from the unity of the Church and from the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff, to whom the Saviour has entrusted the care of his vineyard, cannot obtain salvation." (Denzinger 2867)
The operative words here are "stubbornly" and "obstinately." Again, I cannot possibly judge who is guilty of obstinate stubbornness in refusing to acknowledge and submit to the claims enunciated here. The Church leaves that judgment to God and I think it would behoove some of the rigorists and crypto-Feeneyites and their fellow travelers to practice a little bit of charity and humility lest they find themselves in hell some day for their stubborn self-righteousness. The lax "all paths lead to God" indifferentists also need to do some conscience examining.
There is at least one more that directly addresses the difference between later generations of cultural Protestants and the 16thc Protestant Reformers who deliberately abandoned the faith, but I can't locate it at the moment.
How does this work out with Orthodox bishops and Patriarchs from a Latin pov?
Because Rome accepts certain episcopal acts among the Orthodox as legitimate, she recognizes a de facto holding of jurisdiction and office by the Eastern Bishops. Since there are many explanations for how this is so it is a debated matter.
The long and short of it is that canonically Rome essentially accepts the Eastern Bishops as legitmate Bishops of the Catholic Church.
The rigorist reading is the doctrine of the Church. It is clearly taught in the Magisterium, especially in the dogmatic definitions of Trent, upheld in the Tridentine and Vatican II Catechisms, contained in the Summa and the writings of the Church's other doctors, is the unanimous belief of the Fathers, and is certainly what I was taught by Opus Dei when I entered the Church just 14 years ago.
The laxist view is essentially very broad and sloppy thinking about the prevelance of Baptism of Desire among heathens, sinless living among Protestants without confession and the eucharist, and Invincible Ignorance among all-non Catholics.
I would characterize the rigorist view as: salvation requries explicit belief in the Trinity, Incarnation and salvific redemptive activity of the Lord, and a future state of rewards and punishment for behavior in this life, necessity of Baptism at least in desire for the cleansing from Original Sin, necessity of Confession at least in desire and with perfect contrition for the remission of post-baptismal sin, necessity of the Eucharist and membership in the Church at least in desire to form the bonds of charity uniting us with the Lord and each other in the Church, necessity of prayer in general and specifically devotion to Our Lady to obtain grace from Our Lord.
We cannot forget that the Church is not merely a way of salvation; it is the only way. This is not a human opinion, but the express will of Christ: he who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. This is why we assert that the Church is a necessary means of salvation. No later than the second century, Origen wrote: If anyone wants to be saved, let him come to this house so that he can obtain salvation... Let no one deceive himself: outside of this house, that is outside of the Church, no one will be saved. Of the deluge, Saint Cyprian says: If someone had escaped outside of Noah's ark then we would admit that someone who abandoned the Church might escape condemnation.
Extra Ecclesiam, nulla salus. That is the continual warning of the Fathers. Outside the Catholic Church you can find everything except salvation, Saint Augustine admits. You can have honour and sacraments: you can sing 'alleluia' and respond 'amen' You can uphold the gospel, have faith in the Father, in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, and preach that faith. But never, except in the catholic Church, can you find salvation.
Nonetheless, as Pius XII lamented little more than twenty years ago, some reduce to an empty formula the need to pertain to the true Church in order to obtain eternal salvation. This dogma of faith is at the root of the Church's co-redemptive activity. It spells out the Christian's grave apostolic responsibility. Among Christ's express commandments is the categorical one to incorporate ourselves in his Mystical Body by Baptism. And our Saviour not only commanded that everyone enter the Church, but also established that the Church be the means of salvation, without which no one can reach the kingdom of celestial glory.
It is a matter of faith that anyone who does not belong to the Church will not be saved; and anyone who is not baptized does not enter the Church. Justification cannot take place after the promulgation of the gospel, without Baptism or its desire, the Council of Trent established.
This is a continual demand of the Church which on the one hand stimulates us to greater apostolic zeal, and on the other manifests clearly the infinite mercy of God with his creatures.
St. Josemaria Escriva, "In Love With the Church", The Supernatural Aim of the Church, 1972
The laxist attitude leads to the following that St. Josemaria observed:
There are many Christians who are persuaded that the Redemption will be completed in all environments of the world, and that there have to be some souls they do not know which ones who will contribute to carrying it out with Christ. But they see this in terms of centuries, many centuries. It would be an eternity, if it were to take place at the rate of their self-giving.
That was the way you thought, until they came to wake you up.
St. Josemaria Escriva, Furrow, 1, 1986
Please note that in your quotations from Saint Joesemaria, he uses "Church" in an unqualified sense. What you quote from him is irrelevant to the debate at hand because the claim made at Vatican II, in Pius XII, in the 19thc documents I quoted in #152 is that there is salvation outside the visible Catholic Church but there is no salvation outside the Church. The claim is that the Church of Christ that subsists in the Catholic Church (that is, in the local churches whose bishops are in communion with the bishop of Rome), this Church of Christ outside of which no salvation is possible, is not identically coterminous with the visible Catholic Church. Saint Josemaria is referring to the broader sense of Church--I cannot imagine that he was unaware of Mystici Corporis or the 19thc documents I quoted or the 1949 Feeneyite letter. He does not specify "visible Catholic Church" or "formal membership"--the qualifying, specifying terms used in the 1949 Holy Office letter to the Feeneyites or the 19thc documents I adduced in # 152.
You read his letter as if he had specified "visible Church" and thus denied Pius XII, Vatican II etc. I'm sorry, but it seems to me that you employ his words in a narrower (yes, indeed, more rigorist) sense than he seems to have meant them. One cannot be absolutely sure that by "Church" he did not mean "visible Church," but since he certainly knew about the "salvation outside the visible church" doctrine, his failure to specify "visible Church" would seem to indicate that he intended to refer to the Church of Christ that is not strictly speaking confined to the visible, formal boundaries of the churches in communion with the bishop of Rome.
"Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, 'Preach the Gospel to every creature',(130) the Church fosters the missions with care and attention." (Lumen Gentium, 16).
To say: "procure the salvation of all of these ... the Church fosters the missions" implies that their salvation is dependent upon that activity. If they were already saved in their ignorance, their would be no need for missions. However, ignorance is a purely negative quality. It doesn't unite one closely to God, rather it blinds one to the truth and leads most souls into hell. Thus:
"And so Our Predecessor, Benedict XIV, had just cause to write: 'We declare that a great number of those who are condemned to eternal punishment suffer that everlasting calamity because of ignorance of those mysteries of faith which must be known and believed in order to be numbered among the elect.'
"There is then, Venerable Brethren, no reason for wonder that the corruption of morals and depravity of life is already so great, and ever increasingly greater, not only among uncivilized peoples but even in those very nations that are called Christian. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Ephesians, repeatedly admonished them in these words: 'But immorality and every uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as become saints; or obscenity or foolish talk.' He also places the foundation of holiness and sound morals upon a knowledge of divine things - which holds in check evil desires: 'See to it therefore, brethren, that you walk with care: not as unwise but as wise ... Therefore, do not become foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.' And rightly so. For the will of man retains but little of that divinely implanted love of virtue and righteousness by which it was, as it were, attracted strongly toward the real and not merely apparent good. Disordered by the stain of the first sin, and almost forgetful of God, its Author, it improperly turns every affection to a love of vanity and deceit. This erring will, blinded by its own evil desires, has need therefore of a guide to lead it back to the paths of justice whence it has so unfortunately strayed. The intellect itself is this guide, which need not be sought elsewhere, but is provided by nature itself. It is a guide, though, that, if it lack its companion light, the knowledge of divine things, will be only an instance of the blind leading the blind so that both will fall into the pit.
"... We do maintain that the will cannot be upright nor the conduct good when the mind is shrouded in the darkness of crass ignorance. A man who walks with open eyes may, indeed, turn aside from the right path, but a blind man is in much more imminent danger of wandering away. Furthermore, there is always some hope for a reform of perverse conduct so long as the light of faith is not entirely extinguished; but if lack of faith is added to depraved morality because of ignorance, the evil hardly admits of remedy, and the road to ruin lies open."
(St. Pius X, Encyclical "Acerbo Nimis")
You don't need to be too versed in the controversies on grace to see the Augustinian emphasis of His Holiness. Also:
"Unbelief may be taken [as] pure negation, so that a man be called an unbeliever, merely because he has not the faith. ... If ... we take it by way of pure negation, as we find it in those who have heard nothing about the faith, it bears the character, not of sin, but of punishment, because such like ignorance of Divine things is a result of the sin of our first parent. If such like unbelievers are damned, it is on account of other sins, which cannot be taken away without faith, but not on account of their sin of unbelief. Hence Our Lord said (John 15:22) 'If I had not come, and spoken to them, they would not have sin'; which Augustine expounds (Tract. lxxxix in Joan.) as 'referring to the sin whereby they believed not in Christ.'" (Summa Theologica, Pt. II-II, Q. 10, Art. 1)
Ignorance of things divine is a horrible curse of a darkened mind. To think that it provides salvation is a quite contrary notion.
When Bl. Pius IX speaks of the invincibly ignorant obtaining eternal life, it is by means of "the power of divine light and grace". Of necessity, this would involve the dispelling of their ignorance.
Duh! I aint no beachcomber. Can I still keep my name? :-)
There is no proper distinction between the visible Catholic Church and some invisible Church which contains more people. Frankly, that distinction is total Protestantism.
Membership by desire in the Church is invisble/informal communion with the visible Church.
Dear Invincibly Ignorant,
"Duh! I aint no beachcomber. Can I still keep my name? :-)"
I can think of no one more worthy of the appellation than you. ;-)
Sir, if you read my post # 156 I did not use the term "invisible Church." I am very well aware that it is a Protestant idea. That's why I did not use it. I did, however, use the language of Lumen Gentium as well as the language of Piux IX and others--that the total Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church, that is, the visible Church consisting in those bishops and their flocks who are in communion with the Bishop of Rome, but that others (your baptism of desire) can be saved and if they are saved they are saved through the Church of Christ that subsists in the visible Catholic Church but that one need not be a formal adherent of this visible Church to be saved.
I wish you would not accuse me of using language I did not, deliberately did not, employ. Your quarrel is with John Paul II, e.g., in Crossing the Threshold of Hope, with Lumen Gentium, with Piux IX.
"The long and short of it is that canonically Rome essentially accepts the Eastern Bishops as legitmate Bishops of the Catholic Church."
That is my understanding; and also vice versa, by the way.
Well, invincible means unconquerable. Theologians define ignorance as invincible when one does due diligence and still cannot overcome it.
Obviously it is not our place to judge that a person's ignorance is vincible; on the other hand it is equally clear that we cannot be certain that one is invincibly ignorant of the Catholic religion. It is an abuse of the Church's doctrine that one who is invincibly ignorant of the truth of the Catholic religion can be saved without formal membership through an implicit desire for formal membership to argue that the absolute necessity for salvation of membership in the Church (through faith, baptism, and submission to the Apostolic See of Rome,) should not be clearly preached to non-Catholics, as it always has been, or that the "Unam Sanctam" does not mean what it clearly says.
Bl. Pius IX says: "as long as we are on earth, weighed down by this mortal mass which blunts the soul, let us hold most firmly that, in accordance with Catholic teaching, there is 'one God, one faith, one baptism'; it is unlawful to proceed further in inquiry."
But what you said was that "earlier papal teaching" was that basically EENS applies only to one who "knowingly and deliberately rejected [the claims of the Church regarding her divine foundation and mission], knowing them to be true but still choosing to remain outside her membership." This is apparently what you hold to be the dogmatic content of the doctrine that outside the church there is no salvation.
Even if Bl. Pius IX agrees with you, that hardly proves what you've said about earlier papal teaching, and I believe leaves intact my statement that "As far as I can tell, the 'rigorist' (i.e., something like this [link to a long book by a Fr. Michael Muller, C.Ss.R.]) reading of the doctrine was fairly common straight up through the 18th century at least, although it wasn't dogmatic." I mean, if you look at, for instance, Cardinal Bellarmine's treatise "de Ecclesia Militante," he takes care to explain how catechumens and those unjustly excommunicated are within the Church and hence can be saved, but there's nary a word in favor of heretics and schismatics, ignorant or not. Many others, so far as I have read, seem to speak similiarly, although not all, e.g., one could evidence Pighius on the matter, or Father Fisher's comments in his debate with Archbishop Laud, and these men do hold out a tenuous hope of salvation for such persons. That being said, it's hardly very far from catechumens to those truly laboring under invincible ignorance, and perhaps one could instance this as a devolopment of doctrine (differing merely in the details of the practical application of the principle "extra ecclesiam nulla salus"). Certainly the Letter of the Holy Office does clearly state that some persons who are invincibly ignorant of the divine mission of the Church can be saved through an implicit votum or desire, and this is the controlling authority for theological speculation today.
That you are in agreement with Bl. Pius IX is by no means clear to me, though. The excerpt from Singulari Quidem speaks of invincible ignorance, sure. But let's look at the whole passage (Denz. 30th edition, Deferrari's translation, no. 1646):
Not without sorrow we have learned that another error, no less destructive, has taken possession of some parts of the Catholic world, and has taken up its abode in the souls of many Catholics who think that one should have good hope of the eternal salvation of all those who have never lived in the true Church of Christ. Therefore, they are wont to ask very often what will be the lot and condition after death of those who have not submitted in any way to the Catholic faith, and, by bringing forward most vain reasons, they make a response favorable to their false opinion. Far be it from Us, Venerable Brethren, to presume on the limits of the divine mercy which is infinite; far from Us, to wish to scrutinize the hidden counsel and "judgments of God" which are "a great deep" [Ps. 35:7] and cannot be penetrated by human thought. But, as is Our Apostolic duty, we wish your episcopal solicitude and vigilance to be aroused, so that you will strive as much as you can to drive from the mind of men that impious and equally fatal opinion, namely, that the way of eternal salvation can be found in any religion whatsoever. May you demonstrate with that skill and learning in which you excel, to the people entrusted to you care that the dogmas of the Catholic faith are in no wise opposed to divine mercy and justice.
For, it must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood; but, on the other hand, it is necessary to hold for certain that they who labor in ignorance of the true religion, if this ignorance is invincible, are not stained by any guilt in this matter in the eyes of God. Now, in truth, who would arrogate so much to himself as to mark the limits of such an ignorance, because of the nature and variety of peoples, religions, innate dispositions, and of so many other things? For, in truth, when released from these corporeal chains "we shall see God as He is" [1 Jn. 3:2], we shall understand perfectly by how close and beautiful a bond divine mercy and justice are united; but, as long as we are on earth, weighed down by this mortal mass which blunts the soul, let us hold most firmly that, in accordance with Catholic teaching, there is "one God, one faith, one baptism" [Eph. 4:5]; it is unlawful to proceed further in inquiry.
But, just as the way of charity demands, let us pour forth continual prayers that all nations everywhere may be converted to Christ; and let us be devoted to the common salvation of men in proportion to our strength, "for the hand of the Lord is not shortened" [Is. 9:1] and the gifts of heavenly grace will not be wanting those who sincerely wish and ask to be refreshed by this light. Truths of this sort should be deeply fixed in the minds of the faithful, lest they be corrupted by false doctrines, whose object is to foster an indifference toward religion, which we see spreading widely and growing strong for the destruction of souls.
Now, his words are clearly directed not against "Feeneyite-Jansenist rigorism" (why the Jansenists? I don't recall any argument between them and the Catholics on the matter) but against indifferentism and denial of the dogma "that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved." Invincible ignorance is introduced here not as an exception, or as uniting to the Church, but only as preventing culpability for failing to join the Church. As membership is not only a necessity of precept but of means, this scarcely asserts that such persons are saved. The rejection of proceeding "further in inquiry" (into the vincibility or invincibility of the ignorance of persons) appears directed at those who pretend to have good hope for the salvation "of all those who have never lived in the true Church of Christ" on account of their supposedly invincible ignorance. The Pope continues on to assert that "the gifts of heavenly grace will not be wanting those who sincerely wish and ask to be refreshed by this light."
He never asks the bishops to reject that "rigorism" which was a very common teaching in the Church. I mean, come on. Look at Cardinal Newman's "On Faith and Private Judgment." He says that pretty much every Protestant in England doesn't even have real divine faith (without which no man can be saved,) and this sort of teaching was all throughout the Church. The Pope's directives here are to teach the faithful that God will come to the help of those who pray for grace and that God's justice is not contradictory to His mercy--not to inform them that thanks to invincible ignorance, they should affirm to non-Catholics that they have no need to fear for their salvation, as you appear to be claiming is effectively the teaching of the Church.
Quanto conficiamur is more explicit and basically affirms what the Letter of the Holy Office to Archbishop Cushing did. Glossing the Pope's statement as teaching only a necessity of precept, as you seem to do, is off-base. He affirms that the Catholic dogma is "that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church, and that those who obstinately oppose the authority of the definitions of the Church, and who stubbornly remain separated from the unity of the Church and from the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff, to whom the Saviour has entrusted the care of his vineyard, cannot obtain salvation." Here we have both the necessity of means ("no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church") and the necessity of precept ("obstinately ... stubbornly"), the same as the Letter of the Holy Office teaches.
You might want to take a look at Msgr. J. Fenton's extensive commentary on both SQ and QCM in his book The Catholic Church and salvation in the light of recent announcements by the Holy See (Westminster, Maryland: The Newman Press, 1958). Msgr. Fenton was dean of theology at CUA, a cofounder of the CTSA, and editor of the American Ecclesiastical Review: very well respected and hardly an eccentric in his theological positions. The "laxist" reading of these two papal documents you seem to be advocating is hardly the only possible or historical one or even the best one.
Your comments about the Church not being "the visible Catholic Church" are puzzling. You then say to Hermann that you don't believe in an invisible Church. So I take it you hold that there are two visible Churches, one the Church of Christ, the other the Catholic Church which is a subset of the Church of Christ? This hardly seems consistent with the teaching that the Roman Catholic Church and the Mystical Body of Christ are one and the same thing, which was reaffirmed by Pius XII in Mystici Corporis, Humani generis, and then by the Council (see Lumen Gentium §8, esp. footnote 10; also the definition of the Church in OE §2). And I cannot see how the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church, which on earth is visible, cannot be identical with the society designated by the term "Church of Christ."
This is a continual demand of the Church which on the one hand stimulates us to greater apostolic zeal, and on the other manifests clearly the infinite mercy of God with his creatures.
This is how Saint Thomas explained it: The sacrament of Baptism may be wanting to someone in two ways. First, in reality and desire, as is the case of those who are neither baptized nor wish to be baptized: which clearly indicates contempt of the sacrament for those who have the use of reason. Consequently those to whom Baptism is wanting thus, cannot obtain salvation: since neither sacramentally nor spiritually are they incorporated in Christ, through whom alone can salvation be obtained. Secondly, the sacrament of Baptism may be wanting to someone in reality but not in desire: for instance, when a man wishes to be baptized, but by some misfortune he is forestalled by death before receiving Baptism. Such a man can obtain salvation without actually being baptized, on account of desire for Baptism, a desire which is the outcome of faith that works by charity, whereby God, whose power is not tied to visible sacraments, sanctifies man inwardly.
God Our Lord denies no one supernatural and eternal happiness, although it is a completely free gift to which no one has a right, especially after sin. His generosity is infinite. It is a matter of common knowledge that those who suffer invincible ignorance of our most holy religion but carefully observe all the precepts of the Natural Law which are engraved by God in the hearts of all men, and want to obey God and lead an upright life, can obtain eternal life through the efficacious action of divine light and grace.
God alone knows what goes on in the heart of each man, and he does not deal with souls en masse, but one by one. No one on this earth can make a judgement about the eternal salvation or condemnation of any individual.
Let us not forget that conscience can be culpably deformed and harden itself in sin, resisting the saving action of God. That is why it is necessary to spread Christ's doctrine, the truths of faith and the norms of Christian morality. That is also why we need the sacraments, all of which were instituted by Jesus Christ as instrumental causes of his grace and remedies for the weaknesses that ensue from our fallen nature. Finally, that is why we need to receive frequently the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist.
The awesome responsibility of all the Church's members and especially of its shepherds is made clear in Saint Paul's advice: I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and in the name of his coming and of his kingdom: Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.
The Christian truth is that the Son of God became incarnate and assumed the form (or rather, nature) of a man. Phil. 2:6-11.
Therefore, in bearing Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Son of Man, the Blessed Virgin truly became the Mother of God, according to the humanity which he assumed. Otherwise one denies the reality of the incarnation: that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
Reading through these posts, it seems that what everyone is condemning is a willful ignorance. Is it fair to say that the question is whether vincible ignorance includes more than just those who willfully choose to remain ignorant of the faith? Or is it simply a matter of determining what is included in this willfulness?
Dion is working from the precept that one cannot be held accountable for what one does not know (Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains. John 9:41) while Hermann is working from the precept that ignorance of truth is always a negative position (" My people are perishing from a lack of knowledge," Hosea 4:6). Both of these precepts belong to the faith, so the question is how to reconcile the two?
Well, I think it has more to do with this. Membership in the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation by a necessity of precept and by a necessity of means. A necessity of precept means that it has been commanded by God under pain of mortal sin. A necessity of means is when something has been established by God as the only means of attaining an end, in this case, salvation. Because of this double necessity which is contained in the doctrine "extra ecclesiam nulla salus," not only one will be condemned if he knowingly refuses to join the Church; he who does not join her because he is vincibly ignorant of the truth of her claims is also rejected.
Invincible ignorance does not create an exception, but those who are invincibly ignorant can belong to the Church by desire if they have true supernatural charity, and would submit to the Church if only they were not hindered by whatever reason from discovering the truth. This is well expressed in the Protocol Letter of the Holy Office to Archbishop Cushing; but Dion seems to reduce the Church's necessity for salvation to a necessity of precept only; or he speaks very unguardedly.
Now, among the commandments of Christ, that one holds not the least place by which we are commanded to be incorporated by baptism into the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church, and to remain united to Christ and to His Vicar, through whom He Himself in a visible manner governs the Church on earth.
Therefore, no one will be saved who, knowing the Church to have been divinely established by Christ, nevertheless refuses to submit to the Church or withholds obedience from the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth.
Not only did the Savior command that all nations should enter the Church, but He also decreed the Church to be a means of salvation without which no one can enter the kingdom of eternal glory.
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 (Denzinger, nn. 797, 807).
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.
These things are clearly taught in that dogmatic letter which was issued by the Sovereign Pontiff, Pope Pius XII, on June 29, 1943, On the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ (AAS, Vol. 35, an. 1943, p. 193 ff.). For in this letter the Sovereign Pontiff clearly distinguishes between those who are actually incorporated into the Church as members, and those who are united to the Church only by desire.
Discussing the members of which the Mystical Body is-composed here on earth, the same august Pontiff says: "Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed."
Toward the end of this same encyclical letter, 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, Singulari quadam, in Denzinger, n. 1641 ff.; also Pope Pius IX in the encyclical letter, Quanto conficiamur moerore, in Denzinger, n. 1677).
But it must not be thought that any kind of desire of entering the Church suffices that one may be saved. It is necessary that the desire by which one is related to the Church be animated by perfect charity. Nor can an implicit desire produce its effect, unless a person has supernatural faith: "For he who comes to God must believe that God exists and is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Heb. 11:6). The Council of Trent declares (Session VI, chap. 8): "Faith is the beginning of man's salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God and attain to the fellowship of His children" (Denzinger, n. 801).
And since the holy Virgin brought forth corporally God made one with flesh according to nature, for this reason we also call her Mother of God, not as if the nature of the Word had the beginning of its existence from the flesh. (St. Cyril, third synodical letter to Nestorius)
but the flesh was not who he was
This is a denial of the incarnation and of the whole salvific economy. If the Word did not become flesh, who suffered and died and rose again for the sake of our salvation?
"Which none of the princes of this world knew; for if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory." (1 Cor. 2:8) But according to you, the Lord of majesty - the Son of God, was not crucified, just as he was not born of his mother the Virgin. Apparently, for you, all that was crucified was the "human form" of God the Son (rather, the human form united to the Son in name only), not God the Son himself in his human nature.
But when our Lord and Saviour himself was by his questions instructing the faith of the disciples, he said, Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am? And when they had mentioned various opinions held by others, he said, But whom say ye that I am? that is, I who am Son of Man, and whom you see in the form of a servant, and in reality of flesh, whom say ye that I am? Whereupon the blessed Peter, as inspired by God, and about to benefit all nations by his confession, said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Not undeservedly, therefore, was he pronounced blessed by the Lord, and derived from the original Rock that solidity which belonged both to his virtue and to his name, who through revelation from the Father confessed the selfsame to be both the Son of God and the Christ; because one of these truths, accepted without the other, would not profit unto salvation, and it was equally dangerous to believe the Lord Jesus Christ to be merely God and not man, or merely man and not God. But after the resurrection of the Lordwhich was in truth the resurrection of a real body, for no other person was raised again than he who had been crucified and had diedwhat else was accomplished during that interval of forty days than to make our faith entire and clear of all darkness? For while he conversed with his disciples, and dwelt with them, and ate with them, and allowed himself to be handled with careful and inquisitive touch by those who were under the influence of doubt, for this end he came in to the disciples when the doors were shut, and by his breath gave them the Holy Ghost, and opened the secrets of Holy Scripture after bestowing on them the light of intelligence, and again in his selfsame person showed to them the wound in the side, the prints of the nails, and all the flesh tokens of the Passion, saying, Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have: that the properties of the Divine and the human nature might be acknowledged to remain in him without causing a division, and that we might in such sort know that the Word is not what the flesh is, as to confess that the one Son of God is both Word and flesh. (St. Leo the Great, Tome to the Council of Chalcedon)
no matter how many words you use, that doesn't make you any more right.
No matter how many times you repeat your Nestorianism, it still won't be compatible with Christian faith.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
I didn't say he didn't I just said that doesn't make Mary the mother of God. She was the mother of the Flesh of Jesus Christ, That doesn't make her the mother of the Godhead. Jesus himself said the father was still in heaven. Jesus and the father are one, but in Christ birth that doesn't make Mary Gods mother. Call it Nestorianism, or whatever you like. My beliefs are compatible with the Christian faith. I am a devout Christian, and when the Holy Spirit reveals to me that Mary is the mother of God, or anything more than a normal person that God blessed by allowing her to be used by him. At that point I will admit folly, but until then Catholic teachings are just that Catholic teachings and nothing more.
Actually, I think the differences lie to a greater degree in how one understands the process of knowing something such that one would be capable of willfully rejecting something known.
[I note in passing that gbcdoj in this posting once more uses "Catholic Church" generically, without specifying when he is talking about the formal, visible Catholic Church and when he is not. I think this ambiguous use of "Catholic Church" makes conversation on these points difficult.]
I am not an indifferentist. For God's sake, had I been an indifferentist, I would never have become a Catholic with all the attendant costs in loss of friends and family and the professional costs it brought me.
But precisely because I am a Catholic convert and have spent many hours trying to convey the seriousness and importance of accepting the Catholic Church's claims to those I know well and love dearly but who cannot even seem to grasp the issues at hand, I have, I think, some understanding of how we humans often talk past each other.
FR threads are a very good example of how someone can have an idea or set of ideas spelled out clearly, held in front of his nose, yet not even begin to make the epistemological steps necessary to even entertain the possibility of being persuaded.
Surely political conservatives, such as I assume all of us on all sides of this thread are, should be able to recognize how hard it is, when arguing for a position one holds but is rejected by one's opponent, to reach even a starting point for persuasion. If in every case of such "talking past each other" one of the interlocutors is willfully and knowingly refusing to accept the other one's arguments then we're all in heap big trouble for being obstinate in the face of truth that has been presented to us.
I cannot simply dismiss those who do not agree with me as being obstinate, willfully ignorant fools. I recognize from long experience, from 25 years of marriage, from countless FR threads, and a host of other conversations, how often the failure to persuade the other rests not on the inadequacy of the arguments or the blockheadedness or willful idiocy of the other person but on the way that pre-judices he is unaware of, misinformation, misunderstood information (what he had for lunch a hour ago--just kidding), etc. contribute to invincible ignorance.
I could write off all my friends, my wife (who gets all her political information from NPR), my liberal colleagues (with whom I cannot get to first base in political, cultural, even religious, conversation because they get all their information from a completely different set of sources than I do) as headed for hell because they willfully refuse to listen to the truth claims that are so obvious to me. After all, how many times have I told them that their universe of knowledge derived from NPR and the New York Times and Commonweal is a parochial, narrow, misinformed universe of knowledge and that, if they'd only read the recommended set of blogs I give them and listen to Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager regularly they'd see how they have tunnel vision and would then come to the light.
I even had one colleague who honestly wanted to dip her toe into this other universe of knowledge with regard to the Terry Schiavo case (she was getting all her information from the NYT). I fed her some stuff from WorldNetDaily and Empire Journal etc. She did the standard, "but this stuff is flawed in its reasoning etc." I argued that, having lived my life both in her universe of knowledge and in mine, whereas she had only lived in one of the two, she needed to do a lot more "converting" and opening up to entertain honestly the information from my universe of knowledge than I had to do to honestly entertain hers. She couldn't see the point. Finally, when I offered what I thought was an axiom that any intelligent observer of American history over the past 40 years could agree to, as a possible starting point for a real conversation, namely, that more than anything else, the cultural shifts of the last 40 years resulted from court rulings, not from representative elections, instead of stipulating my point then arguing that some of these court decisions nonetheless were good and necessary, she simply refused to accept the premise, rambling on about all sorts of other causes of the major cultural changes. (All of which are traceable back to and therefore indirectly caused by the courts decisions, in my view.) I realized at that point we stood no chance of ever even getting to a starting point for discussion. So I stopped trying. She seemed to have realized the same thing, since she stopped seeking conversation.
Some of the people I know who simply cannot even entertain as a possibility the fundamental principles needed in any conversation about Catholic claims are people who genuinely love Jesus Christ, would give their lives for Him, are honest, selfless, generous people. I cannot in honesty call them willful and knowing rejecters of Catholic claims.
I recognize that some people are vincibly ignorant. I regularly teach C. S. Lewis's Last Battle and point out to students that the dwarfs willfully refuse to trust anyone after having been betrayed and hoodwinked once. They end up in hell, which in Lewis's account involves them sitting in the open air and beautiful sunlight of paradise but incapable of seeing paradise around them because they have willfully closed their minds to truth: the "dwarfs are for the dwarfs" and will not trust anyone again. But notice that their sin is a sin against charity, a refusal to trust anyone, having been taken in by a truly untrustworthy, lying Ape. In the same book, the very son of the heathen, pagan captain, because he is full of lived truth (Emeth) and has charity/selfless love in his heart, is admitted to heaven even though he did not know Aslan or the claims about Aslan.
Now, C. S. Lewis was not a formal member of the visible Catholic Church and I don't claim magisterial authority for his books which were written for children after all. Someone like him who certainly knew all the claims of the Catholic Church and whose theology was Catholic in virtually every way except his submission to the Roman Pontiff, he, according to my rigorist brethren, is a prime candidate for the fires of hell. I'm sorry, I can't accompany you folks down that path. For the life of me I can't see why Lewis could not have taken the final step to Rome. Books have been written speculating why (anti-Catholic prejudice from his Ulster childhood etc.). I could care less about speculating why. I just know he did not and I can well imagine him invincibly ignorant despite his great knowledge of all sides of the Catholic/Anglo-Catholic/Protestant debates. Perhaps he did willfully and knowingly reject Catholic claims and is right now suffering in hell. But for my part, I will cut him some slack and say, I don't know
Call me what you wish, but I am invincibly ignorant of the truth of the rigorist position that declares these people damned to hell for not listening to my forthright and (I thought) utterly clear presentation of the truths of Catholicism. And so I entrust them in my heart and my prayers to the mercy of God who alone knows whether they are being willfully, damnably, knowingly, vincibly ignorant or whether they are invincibly ignorant.
I am not an indifferentist and I truly wish that my rigorist fellow Catholics would stop implying that I believe in a sort of cheap grace.
And, since this conversation has apparently reached the point of mutually exclusive invincible ignorances on the two sides of the argument, I will wander off in my invincible ignorance and attend to other matters.
St. Luke 10:16. He that heareth you, heareth me: and he that despiseth you, despiseth me. And he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.
Marginal Note: It is all one to despise Christ, and to despise his Priests and Ministers in the Catholic Church: to refuse his doctrine, and theirs.
St. Luke 13:25. But when the good man of the house shall enter in, and shut the door, and you shall begin to stand without, and knock at the door, saying, Lord open to us: and he answering shall say to you, I know you not whence you are: then you shall begin to say,
26. We did eat before thee and drink, and in our streets didst thou teach.
26. Eat before thee.] It is not enough to feed with Christ in his Sacraments, or to hear his word in the Church, to challenge heaven thereby, unless we live in unity of the Catholic Church. So St. Augustine applieth this against the Donatists, that had the very same service and Sacraments which the Catholic Church, had yet severed themselves from other Christian countries by Schism.
St. John 3:5. JESUS answered, Amen, Amen I say to thee, Unless a man be borne again of water and the Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God.
5. Born again of Water.] As no man can enter into this world nor have his life and being in the same, except he be born of his carnal parents: no more can a man enter into the life and state of grace which is in Christ, or attain to life everlasting, unless he be born and baptized of water and the Holy Ghost. Whereby we see first, this Sacrament to be called our regeneration or second birth, in respect of our natural and carnal which was before. Secondly, that this sacrament consisteth of an external element of water, and internal virtue of the Holy Spirit: Wherein it excelleth John's baptism, which had the external element, but not the spiritual grace. Thirdly, that no man can enter into the Kingdom of God, nor into the fellowship of Holy Church, without it. Whereby the Pelagians, and Calvinists be condemned, that promise life everlasting to young children that die without baptism, and all other that think only their faith to serve, or the external element of water superfluous or not necessary: our Saviour's words being plain and general. Though in this case, God which hath not bound his grace, in respect of his own freedom, to any Sacrament, may and doth accept them as baptized, which either are martyred before they could be baptized, or else depart this life with vow and desire to have that Sacrament, but by some remediless necessity could not obtain it. Lastly, it is proved that this Sacrament giveth grace ex opere operator, that is, of the work itself (which all Protestants deny) because it so breedeth our spiritual life in God, as our carnal birth giveth the life of the world.
St. John 3:18. He that believeth in him, is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten son of God.
18. Is judged already.] He that believeth in Christ with faith which worketh by charity (as the Apostle speaketh) shall not be condemned at the later day nor at the hour of his death. But the Infidel, be he Jew, Pagan, or Heretic, is already (if he die in his incredulity) by his own profession and sentence condemned, and shall not come to judgment either particular or general, to be discussed according to his works of mercy done or omitted. In which sense St. Paul saith that the obstinate Heretic is condemned by his own judgment, preventing in himself, of his own free will, the sentence both of Christ and of the Church.
St. John 10:1 AMEN, amen I say to you, he that entereth not by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbeth up another way: he is a thief and a robber.
1. Climbeth another way.] Whosoever taketh upon him to preach without lawful sending, to minister Sacraments, and is not Canonically ordered of a true Catholic Bishop, to be a Curate of souls, person, bishop, or what other spiritual Pastor soever, and cometh not in by lawful election and holy Church's ordinance to that dignity, but breaketh in against order by force or favor of men, and by human laws, he is a thief and a murderer. So came in Arius, Calvin, Luther, and all Heretics: and all that succeed them in room and doctrine. And generally every one that descendeth not by lawful succession in the known ordinary line of Catholic Bishops and Pastors that have been in all countries since their conversion. And according to this rule St. Irenaeus li. 3 c. 3 trieth the true shepherds from the thieves and heretics. So do Tertul. de Praescr. nu. 11; St. Cypr. de unit., Ec. nu. 7; St. August. ep. 165 and cont. ep Manich. c. 4 and Lirinensis.
St. John 15:4. Abide in me: and I in you. As the branch can not bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine: so you neither, unless you abide in me.
4. Unless it abide.] Whosoever by Heresy or Schism or for any other cause is cut off or separated from the Church, he can do no meritorious work to salvation.
St. John 17:3. And this is life everlasting that they know Thee, the only true God, and JESUS CHRIST Whom Thou hast sent.
3. Life everlasting.] Both the life of glory in heaven, and of grace here in the Church, consisteth in the knowledge of God: that, in perfect vision: this, in faith working by charity; for, knowledge of God without keeping his commandments, is not true knowledge, that is to say, it is an unprofitable knowledge. 1 Io. 2.
Romans 5:14. But death reigned from Adam unto Moses, even on them also that sinned not after the similitude of the prevarication of Adam, who is a figure of him to come.
14. Unto Moses.] Even in the time of the Law of nature, when men knew not sin, and therefore it could not be man's judgment be imputed: and in the time of Moses Law, when the commandment taught them to know it, but gave them no strength nor grace to avoid it, sin did reign, and thereupon death and damnation, even till Moses inclusive, that is to say, even till the end of his Law. And that not in them only which actually sinned, as Adam did, but in infants which never did actually offend, but only were born and conceived in sin, that is to say, having their natures defiled, destitute of justice, and averted from God in Adam, and by their descent from him: Christ only excepted, being conceived without man's seed, and his mother for his honor and by his special protection (as many godly devout men judge) preserved from the same.
1 Corinthians 10:21. You can not drink the chalice of our Lord, and the chalice of devils: you can not be partakers of the table of our Lord, and of the table of devils.
21. Partakers of the table.] Though the faithful people be many ways known to be God's peculiar, and be joined both to him and among themselves, and also severed and distinguished from all others that pertain not to him, as well Jews and Pagans, as Heretics and Schismatics, by sundry other external signs of Sacraments, doctrine, and government: yet the most proper and substantial union or difference consisteth in the Sacrifice and Altar: by which God so specially bindeth his Church unto him, and himself unto his Church, that he acknowledgeth none to be his, that is not partaker of his one only Table and Sacrifice in his Church: and acquitteth himself of all such as join in fellowship with any of the Heathen at their Idolatry, or with the Jews at their Sacrifices, or with the Heretics and Schismatics at their profane and detestable table. Which because it is the proper badge of their separation from Christ and his Church, and an altar purposely erected against Christ's Altar, Priesthood, and Sacrifice, is indeed a very sacrifice, or (as the Apostle here speaketh) a table and cup of Devils, that is to say, wherein the Devil is properly served, and Christ's honor (no less than *by the altars of Jeroboam or any profane superstitious rites of Gentility) defiled. And therefore all Catholic men, if they look to have fellowship with Christ and his members in his body and blood, must deem of it as of Idolatry or sacrilegious superstition, and abstain from it and from all society of the same, as good Tobias did from Jeroboam's calves and the altars in Dan and Bethel: and as the good faithful did from the Excelses, and from the temple and sacrifices of Samaria. Now in the Christian times we have no other Idols, but heresies, nor Idolothytes, but their false services shifted into our Churches instead of God's true and only worship. Cypr. de unit. Ec. nu. 2.; Hiero. in 11 Osee. & 8. Amos. & in 3. Habac.; Aug. in Ps. 80 v. 10. De Civ. Dei li. 18 c. 51.
1 Corinthians 13:3. And if I should distribute all my goods to be meat for the poor, and if I should deliver my body so that I burn, and have not charity, it doth profit me nothing.
3. Deliver my body.] Believe (saith St. Augustine) assuredly and hold for certain, that no Heretic and Schismatic that uniteth not himself to the Catholic Church again, how great alms so ever he give, yea or shed his blood for Christ's name, can possibly be saved. For, many Heretics by the cloak of Christ's cause, deceiving the simple suffer much. But where true faith is not, there is no justice, because the just liveth by faith. So it is also of Schismatics, because where charity is not, justice can there be none: which if they had, they would never pluck in pieces the body of Christ which is the Church. Aus. seu. Fulg. de fid. ad Pet. c. 39. So saith St. Augustine in divers places, not only of Heretics that died directly for defense of their heresy, as the Anabaptists and Calvinists now a days do (for that it is more damnable): but of some Heretics and Schismatics that may die among the Heathen or Turks for defense of truth or some Article of Christ's religion. Aug. de verb. Do. sr. 50 c. 2. & in Psal. 34 conc. 2 prope finem.; Cypr. de unit. Ec. nu. 8.
Ephesians 4:5. One Lord, one faith, one baptism
5. One faith.] As rebellion is the bane of civil Commonwealths and kingdoms, and peace and concord, the preservation of the same: so is Schism, division, and diversity of faiths or fellowships in the service of God, the calamity of the Church: and peace, unity, uniformity, the special blessing of God therein, and in the Church above all Commonwealths, because it is in all points a Monarchy tending every way to unity. But one God, but one Christ, but one Church, but one hope, one faith, one baptism, one head, one body. Whereof St. Cyprian li. de unit. Ec. nu. 3 saith thus: One Church the Holy Ghost in the person of our Lord designeth and saith, One is my dove. This unity of the Church he that holdeth not, doth he think he holdeth the faith? He that withstandeth and resisteth the Church, he that forsaketh Peter's chair upon which the Church was built, doth he trust that he is in the Church? When the blessed Apostle St. Paul also showeth this Sacrament of unity, saying, One body and one spirit, etc. Which unity we Bishops specially that rule in the Church, ought to hold fast and maintain, that we may prove the Bishoply function also itself to be one and undivided, etc. And again, There is one God, and one Christ, and one Church, and one Chair, by our Lord's voice founded upon Peter. Another altar to be set up, or a new Priesthood to be made, besides one altar, and one Priesthood, is impossible. Whosoever gathereth elsewhere, scattereth. It is adulterous, it is impious, it is sacrilegious, whatsoever is instituted by mans fury to the breach of God's divine disposition. Get ye far from the contagion of such men, and flee from their speeches as a canker and pestilence, our Lord having premonished and warned before hand, They are blind, leaders of the blind, etc. Whereby we learn that this unity of the Church commended so much unto us, consisteth in the mutual fellowship of all Bishops with the See of Peter. St. Hilary also (li. ad Constantium Augustum) thus applieth this same place of the Apostle against the Arians, as we may do against the Calvinists. Perilous and miserable it is, saith he, that there are now so many faiths as wills, and so many doctrines as manners, whiles either faiths are so written as we will, or as we will, so are understood: and whereas according to one God, and one Lord, and one Baptism, there is also one faith, we fall away from that which is the only faith, and whiles more faiths be made, they begin to come to that, that there is none at all.
Ephesians 5:23. Because the man is the head of the woman: as Christ is the head of the Church. Himself, the Saviour of his body.
Marginal note: No salvation out of the Catholic Church
23. Saviour of his body.] None hath salvation or benefit by Christ, that is not of his body the Church. And what Church that is, St. Augustine expresseth in these words. The Catholic Church only is the body of Christ, whereof he is head. Out of the body the Holy Ghost quickeneth no man. And a little after, He that will have the Spirit, let him beware he remain not out of the Church, let him beware he enter not into it feignedly.
Hebrews 11:6. But without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him.
6. He that cometh.] Faith is the foundation and ground of all other virtues and worship of God, without which no man can please God. Therefore if one be a Jew, a heathen, or an heretic, that is to say, he be without the Catholic faith, all his works shall profit him no whit to salvation.
1 St. Peter 3:21. Whereunto Baptism being of the like form now saveth 'you' also: not the laying away of the filth of the flesh, but the examination of a good conscience toward God by the resurrection of JESUS Christ.
21. Of the like form.] The water bearing up the Ark from sinking, and the persons in it from drowning, was a figure of Baptism, that likewise saveth the worthy receivers from everlasting perishing. As Noe (saith St. Augustine) with his, was delivered by the water and the wood, so the family of Christ by Baptism signed with Christ's Passion on the Cross. Lib. 12 Cont. Faustum c. 14. Again he saith, that as the water saved none out of the Ark, but was rather their destruction: so the Sacrament of Baptism received out of the Catholic Church at Heretics or Schismatics hands, though it be the same water and Sacrament that the Catholic Church hath, yet profiteth none to salvation, but rather worketh their perdition. Which yet is not meant in case of extreme necessity, when the party should die without the said Sacrament, except he took it at an Heretics or Schismatics hand. Neither is it meant in the case of infants, to whom the Sacrament is cause of salvation, they being in no fault for receiving it at the hands of the unfaithful, though their parents and friends that offer them unto such to be baptized, be in no small fault. St. Jerome to Damascus Pope of Rome, compareth that See to the Ark, and them that communicate with it, to them that were saved in the Ark: all other Schismatics and Heretics, to the rest that were drowned.
1 St. John 1:3. that you also may have society with us, and our society may be with the Father and with his Son JESUS Christ. Marginal note: No salvation but in the Society of the Church
3. You may have society.] St. John showeth manifestly, that whosoever desire to be partakers with God, must first be united to the Church's society, learn that faith, and receive those Sacraments, which the Disciples received of the Truth itself, conversant with them in flesh. So saith Venerable Bede upon this place. Whereby we see there is no society with God in sects or schisms, nor anywhere but in the unity, fellowship, and commandment of that Church which can prove itself to descend from the Apostles.
Undoubtedly, this all qualifies as the "rigoristic" view.
Actually, this is the Allocution Singulari Quadem.
Singulari Quidem was an Encyclical of Bl. Pius IX issued several years later. It reads in part:
Teach that just as there is only one God, one Christ, one Holy Spirit, so there is also only one truth which is divinely revealed. There is only one divine faith which is the beginning of salvation for mankind and the basis of all justification, the faith by which the just person lives and without which it is impossible to please God and come to the community of His children (Romans 1; Hebrews 11; Council of Trent, Session 6, Chapter 8). There is only one true, holy, Catholic Church, which is the Apostolic Roman Church. There is only one See founded on Peter by the word of the Lord (St. Cyprian, Epistle 43), outside of which we cannot find either true faith or eternal salvation. He who does not have the Church for a mother cannot have God for a father, and whoever abandons the See of Peter on which the Church is established trusts falsely that he is in the Church (ibid, On the Unity of the Catholic Church).
Bl. Pius IX, Encyclical Singulari Quidem, March 17, 1856
For very obvious reasons, the partisans of the laxist position never cite this Encyclical. Sounds quite like a recapitulation of Boniface VIII's "Unam Sanctum", doesn't it?
Quanto conficiamur is more explicit and basically affirms what the Letter of the Holy Office to Archbishop Cushing did.
Why not take the simple one line summary of this Encyclical that Bl. Pius IX himself caused to be written and use it as the guide to properly divining its meaning?
17. One ought to at least have good hope for the eternal salvation of all those who in no way dwell in the true Church of Christ. - Encyclical Quanto conficiamur moerore, August 10, 1863, etc.
Syllabus of Errors, December 8, 1864
That was easy, wasn't it? Catholics are bound by faith to reject the idea that there is at least good hope for the salvation of those apart from the Church.
The laxist interpretations of Bl. Pius IX also ignore the clear teaching of the First Vatican Council concerning the nature of the Catholic faith compared to false religions:
And since "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6) and to attain the fellowship of His children, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification: nor will anyone obtain eternal life, unless he shall have persevered in faith unto the end (cf. Matthew 10:22, 24:13). And that we may be able to satisfy the obligation of embracing the true faith and of persevering in it, God has instituted the Church through His only-begotten Son, and has bestowed upon it manifest marks of that institution, that it may be recognized by all men as the guardian and teacher of the revealed word; for to the Catholic Church alone belong all those many and admirable tokens which have been divinely established for the evident credibility of the Catholic Faith ...
... And its (the Catholic Church's) testimony is efficaciously supported by a power form on high. For our most merciful Lord gives His grace to stir up and to aid those who are astray, that they may come to a knowledge of the truth (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4); and to those whom He has brought out of darkness into His own admirable light, He gives His grace to strengthen them to persevere in that light, deserting none who desert not Him. Therefore there is no parity between the condition of those who have adhered to the Catholic truth by the heavenly gift of faith, and of those who, led by human opinions, follow a false religion; for those who have received the faith under the magisterium of the Church can never have any just cause for changing or doubting that faith (canon 6).
Vatican Council I, Session 3, Dei Fillius (Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith), Chapter 3, April 24, 1870
Laxists also studiously ignore other Papal pronouncements of the same period, as if Popes such as Leo XII who proceeded Bl. Pius IX by but a few decades, had nothing relevant to say on the matter. Quite contrary though:
It is impossible for the most true God, who is Truth Itself, the best, the wisest Provider, and rewarder of good men, to approve all sects who profess false teachings which are often inconsistent with one another and contradictory, and to confer eternal rewards on their members. For we have a surer word of the prophet, and in writing to you We speak wisdom among the perfect; not the wisdom of this world but the wisdom of God in a mystery. By it we are taught, and by divine faith we hold, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and that no other name under heaven is given to men except the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth in which we must be saved. This is why we profess that there is no salvation outside the Church.
Pope Leo XII, Encyclical Ubi primum, 14, May 5, 1824
Its really so simple and elementary. The mental contortions and gymnastics needed to prove that the pithy summary of St. Cyprian really means the opposite of its literal reading are quite painful.
When St. Paul says: "God will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth." (1 St. Timothy 2.4), it should immediately spring to mind that the Lord said "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father but through Me." (St. John 14.6) "And this is life everlasting that they know Thee, the only true God, and JESUS CHRIST Whom Thou hast sent." (St. John 17.3)
That this is the authentic interpretation of 1 St. Timothy 2.4 is made clear in the Catechism:
Indeed, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4); that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 851
The universal salvific will of God is accomplished in and by the Church through her missionary work of rescuing souls from ignorance and sin. This is why the Catechism can simply explain this dogma in one sentence that cuts through all the obfuscation.
"Outside the Church there is no salvation"
846. How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? (cf. St. Cyprian, Epitle 73.21; De unitate catholicae Ecclesia.) Reformulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is His Body.
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 846
In other words, the dogma is joyful news. "Salvation can be had in the Catholic Church. Here Almighty God communes with man and divinizes him."
The contrary sad reality is painfully aparent to anyone with eyes and a mind to think. Original sin closed heaven off to mankind, and all the superstitions of Hinduism, of heresies, of Shamanism, of Astrology, of Fertility Cults, and so on can do nothing to change this reality.
Man can beg for forgiveness of sins apart from the Catholic Church - if he is even awake enough spiritually to realize his crimes - but in the Catholic Church he can actually have that forgiveness. Man can ask to be reborn from his filth apart from Christ and His Church - within it he is assured of being and actually is reborn and washed clean. Man can seek grace and blessings without - inside he can have them and rejoice in them.
"No salvation outside the Church" is a proclimation that no longer is religion the spiritual equivalent of the mathematical empty set when it comes to securing man eternal rewards. Now there is a solution for THE problem of mankind. We were apart from God out there. But God is with us here.
How can we contaminate such good news then with placid assurances that salvation is easily available to everyone outside the Church, even if they never join themselves to her? Isn't this really a total rejection of everything we believe?
We Catholics have had quite a fortnight or so on Limbo and EENS. Such easy, superficial, mundane topics :)
We are in agreement. But, what I instinctively am drawn toward you have had to struggle with and are therefore more adept at spelling out. Well, that plus you're a lot smarter.
We Christians have a lot of soul-searching to do this Lent. And it also wouldn't hurt for us to read that Resasourcement site you posted recently. Our Pope is where, IMO, we ought be. And that is Patristics and Ressourcement
Interesting. Writtten by former spx'er McElhinney
Amen, Brother...I agree....:)
The Patriarch of Rome is deserving of the Primacy of Honor,
(Primus Inter Pares) and anything else applies to the Western or Latin Church, not Eastern Christianity. As "Koko" stated earlier, Orthodox choose to overlook the unfortunate ramblings of the medieval Popes, etc. (in the interest of possible reunion)
Orthodox Christians will never accept the type of Primacy that allows the Pope to decide doctrine & dogma.
Not gonna happen.
Orthodox Christians will never accept the type of Primacy that allows the Pope to decide doctrine & dogma.
Not gonna happen.
Kolokotronis is NOT RC...He is Orthodox Christian.
I don't doubt that for one instant, brother! :)
You know, along the lines of heresy and the early Church, I have of late been re-reading The Spiritual Meadow by +John Moschos. I've noticed something which I hadn't picked up on before and that is the multiplicity of heretical sects which were in existence at the time he wrote (late 6th early 7th century). He writes almost continually of encounters between monks of the holy catholic Church and monks or adhereants of heretic sects. Most of these people were Monophysites or variations on Monophysites, but there were others too. There seem to be two common threads among these heretical groups. First, they claim to celebrate a Eucharist with the Real presence and second, they are all hierarchial. They appear to exist side by side in the same towns or adjacent monasteries or even adjacent pillars (stylites) with The Church in a sort of snarling co-existence. He also speaks of a whole series of mini schisms as where he remarks that a certain abbot or bishop, "...at the time being out of communion with the Archbishop of Jerusalem." He doesn't seem to attach much opprobrium to those little schisms. I have yet to run across anything that looks like proto Protestantism.
I mention this because I think we in The Church have an image of the pre-schism days after so many of the big heresies had been suppressed or driven utterly, even geographically, from The Church, as being a sort of fully united Christendom when in fact it appears that that was not necessarily the case, at least in the Holy Land.
By the way, I again recommend that little book.
I will try and get it...By the way, what is your opinion on the current move by the Antiochians to intercommune with the Monophysites? (Copts & Armenians) I understand the Armenians are Nestorians....I mean, the way I understand it, These guys rejected Chalcedon.....
The Armenian-rite Catholics are no longer Nestorians, so that's an exception.
I'm sorry but I cannot just let this pass.
Your prooftexts in this post fail to distinguish between formal membership in the visible Catholic Church and the Catholic Church as The Church of Christ in toto. The "new" theology that you oppose (Lumen Gentium and the other documents of Vatican II, Mystici Corporis, the 19thc documents I cited earlier, JPII in Crossing the Threshold of Hope) is "new" insofar as it makes precisely that distinction.
The "laxist" position does not deny that salvation is impossible apart from the See of Peter and the Catholic Church. On the contrary, we fully affirm that no one will enter heaven apart from membership in the Catholic Church that Christ founded upon Peter.
Our "laxist" position simply disagrees with your "rigorist" position over the nature of "membership" or "adherence" to the Church founded upon Peter--over how absolutely essential formal membership in the visible manifestation of that Church founded upon Peter is. In other words, over the possiblity that the Church Christ founded upon Peter is not exactly coterminous with the visible, historic structure we call the Catholic Church here and now. Please note that I am not thereby claiming a true "invisible Church" different from the visible Church. They are one and the same church but not absolutely identical in their boundaries. That's all the Vatican II documents claim. It is a necessary and important nuancing of "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" to avoid the risk that one totally identifies the visible church on earth with the Church of Christ founded upon Peter, lest one turn the mystery of the universal Church into an idolatry of the Church's visible structures.
PLEASE NOTE the underlying theological issue: the mystery of the Church--a theological mystery that cannot be utterly identical with any historical, visible structure. It would be easy to float away into saying that visible, historical church structures don't matter, that all denominations are equally paths to heaven. I WANT TO BE CLEAR THAT I AM NOT ADVOCATING THAT KIND OF INDIFFERENTISM. But I am insisting that Catholic theology itself requires that we treat the mystery of the Church with rigorous care and not totally reduce the Church to her visible structures.
Christianity is based on the scandal of particularity, the scandal that God saves us through incarnation in time and space. The Gnostics and others wanted to deny that particularity in favor of merely spiritual, universal, invisible salvation. I am not at all interested in that and I denounce that as error. I became a Catholic in large part because Catholic teaching insists that the historical, visible Church founded by Christ on Peter cannot be dissolved into a merely spiritual, invisible aggregate of all believers over time. Against my raving feminist colleagues I insist that Christ's action in time and space, his particularity in choosing only men for apostles carries significance for all time and governs us to this day. They cannot fathom why I would give so much authority to such particularity.
So I am not abandoning or downplaying the importance of formal membership in the visible, historic Church with its center in the See of Peter. But I am saying that the theological mystery of the Church founded by Christ on Peter cannot be reduced to that visible earthly structure. It subsists in it. And, if the Church of Christ is not absolutely coterminous with that visible, earthly structure, then there is room for salvation outside that visible earthly structure but within the Church of Christ founded upon Peter. The wonder of the mystery of the Church is that it is at the same time intensely focused on the visible, particular, historic structure of the Catholic Church with Peter at its visible head and also not identical with that but incredibly and profoundly more than that.
And so, our position (Lumen Gentium etc.) claims that visible formal membership in the concrete structures of the Catholic Church is not always coterminous with membership in the Catholic Church of which the successor of Peter is the earthly head.
Your documents in the post to which I am now responding do not directly address the issue we have been debating. You make them address the issue by your interpretation of them, but they do not explicitly address the exact nature of the "baptism of desire," the characteristics or possibliity of any non-formal membership in the Catholic Church.
In effect, the entire debate is over the nature of adherence by desire--just what that is, how it functions. You accept it in principle, even as you accept invincible ignorance in principle. You interpret both of these narrowly; Lumen Gentium, Mystici Corporis and the documents from the 19thc I cited yesterday explicitly enlarge your narrow definition. Your documents are silent; the ones I cited explicitly address the issue and do so in an "enlarged" way.
In response to my citations from the 19thc you cite other contemporary documents that simply are silent on the question of how the visible, concrete bishop-of-Rome headed historical Catholic Church relates to/overlaps with, is or is not utterly coterminous with the Church of Christ that subsists in the Catholic Church.
Your documents may have a sterner tone (certainly you think they do) and you read sterner tone as prooftexting for your minimalist interpretation of baptism of desire/invincible ignorance. I gave you documents that explicitly offer an enlarged reading of invincible ignorance and you refute them with documents that do not address that point.
Finally, anyone observing this conversation from outside either camp could scarcely fail to see that a lot of invincible ignorance is floating around on this thread. That was my point in my last post, which I thought would be my last. But it didn't seem to register with you: our conversations, with spouses, with adolescent children, with political opponents involve invincible and vincible ignorance. It is very true that often we should be able to understand the other's point--often our inability to disagree with a spouse or a colleague stems from willful pride, greed, animosity (lack of charity) etc. I am not saying that everytime a conversation ends up as "agreeing to disagree" we have invincible ignorance. I am, however, saying that sometimes honest, good faith irresolvable disagreements take place. That is invincible ignorance. Unless you, Hermann, wish to claim that everyone who disagrees with you is always at fault because he is willfully choosing not to entertain your ideas and willing to be persuaded, that his disagreements with you never stem from factors in his or your background for which he and you are not culpable, then you ought to be more generous with allowing for invincible ignorance than you are.
I am not interested in letting everyone off the hook. I am, however, convinced that all of us encounter aspects of invincible ignorance alongside tons of vincible ignorance in our day-to-day lives. Invincible ignorance is very frustrating. To me it's just so obvious that I'm right about X, Y, or Z. I can't see why someone else, someone like you, Hermann, can't see that the interpretation I'm giving (and Lumen Gentium, Pius XII etc. give) to Extra Ecclesiam is the right one. But I am not going to declare that Hermann's inability to see my point stems from Hermann's sinful, willful disobedience to the voice of conscience within him that is telling him, "Oh Hermann, listen up now, Dionysiusdecordealcis is right about this and if you want to escape hell you better listen to him."
No, I ascribe to Hermann good faith, honesty, integrity, when he sets forth a minimalist interpretation of Extra Ecclesiam. I believe that Christian charity requires me to think of Hermann this way and that, if I did not, I, not Hermann, would be guilty of sin.
Why I should not apply the same principles to at least some of those who, despite my best efforts and the best efforts of many Catholics far better skilled at explaining the reasons for accepting Catholic teaching in general, I must confess, I am powerless to understand. I am invincibly ignorant of the reasons why I should not be more generous toward those who are not yet Catholic but who are honest, good faith believers in Jesus Christ or (more rare but not impossible) honest desirers of Truth.
Identical yes, coterminous, no. One has termini that are of a different sort than the other. See # 193. The debate is really about "termini" and boundaries. I'm simply applying a sacramental, incarnational principle: wondrously the Infinite and Absolute Creator stoops to our level and becomes incarnate. He is on th eone hand visible, bounded by his human nature, bounded in space and time. But He, the Divine Person, who is bounded is also obviously at the same time not bounded. The incarnation and his incarnate boundedness cannot be ignored in the manner of the Docetists or Gnostics but neither can the Savior be reduced to his incarnate boundedness.
It would be an awful lot easier to understand if we could go to the one extreme (Gnostic spiritualizing unboundedness) or the other (Adoptionist/Liberal merely human, bounded, prophet with an extra dose of the Spirit's unction) but our faith insists on holding both in tension.
Therefore, the Church is both bounded, terminated, structured in its visible, earthly form and we can be bounded, visible, formal members of that Church but the Church in toto, the Church founded by Christ upon Peter is not coterminous.
You have pointed out a fallacy in my terminology. I should have avoided saying not "identical" because it's potentially confusing--there is identity between the visible Church on earth headed by the successor of Peter and the Church founded by Christ on Peter, identity of subsistence, but not coterminousness because the one has clear, earthly termini and the other does not.
I'm just pointing out the complete teaching on this topic by referencing points you seem to be ignoring. I am not "prooftexting".
The "new" theology that you oppose (Lumen Gentium and the other documents of Vatican II, Mystici Corporis, the 19thc documents I cited earlier, JPII in Crossing the Threshold of Hope) is "new" insofar as it makes precisely that distinction.
How can I be "opposing" Lumen Gentium, Unitatis Redintegratio, the new Catechism, etc. when I explicitly point to where they uphold what I am saying by quoting them and saying I agree with them?
I don't understand where you are going with this at all.
In other words, over the possiblity that the Church Christ founded upon Peter is not exactly coterminous with the visible, historic structure we call the Catholic Church here and now.
Where do you find this anywhere? Lumen Gentium says the Chruch of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church. That means that the Catholic Church is the substance of the Church of Christ just like a singular human being is the substance of a particular human person. If a particular person is able to exist partly outside the substance of his own body and soul, the Church of Christ can extend beyond the Catholic Church, and this sort of explication can be harmonious with Lumen Gentium. The Catholic Church is the complete manifestation of the Church of Christ. Everything outside of her that has fallen away is only "ecclesial" - "Church-like". It partially resembles the reality of the Catholic Church, but it is not a part of the Church that is now missing.
PLEASE NOTE the underlying theological issue: the mystery of the Church--a theological mystery that cannot be utterly identical with any historical, visible structure.
I did note that. That's why I said you are dividing the Church into a physical visible reality - the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and an invisible entity - the Church of Christ. You appear to be saying what Leonardo Boff was condemned by the CDF for.
And, if the Church of Christ is not absolutely coterminous with that visible, earthly structure, then there is room for salvation outside that visible earthly structure but within the Church of Christ founded upon Peter.
Here is where you are speaking in riddles again. "No salvation outside the Church" does not mean its opposite.
You make them address the issue by your interpretation of them, but they do not explicitly address the exact nature of the "baptism of desire," the characteristics or possibliity of any non-formal membership in the Catholic Church.
By making a vow to receive Baptism, the person simultaneously makes a vow to become a member of the Catholic Church. They are of course Catholics, because to make a vow to receive Baptism, even implicitly, one must hold explicitly the rudiments of the Catholic Faith, and the resulting justification of the person unites them to Christ and His members in His spouse the Church in grace. The Catholic Church is defined as the union of all the faithful under the Pope and Bishops sharing in the Sacraments of Christ. Someone who has Baptism of Desire is sharing in the Sacraments in reality although not actually (yet), so they are in reality a member of the Church.
What seems to be confusing you here is that you appear to be trying to extend membership in the Church to people who do not hold the Catholic Faith, but explicitly uphold paganism, Judaism, or heresy. Someone who worships the demons, rejects Christ, or believes in his own fancies instead of divine revelation imparted to mankind through the Prophets and Apostles does not know Christ Jesus, and therefore does not hold the Catholic Faith.
"I will try and get it..."
Its on Amazon.
"By the way, what is your opinion on the current move by the Antiochians to intercommune with the Monophysites? (Copts & Armenians) I understand the Armenians are Nestorians....I mean, the way I understand it, These guys rejected Chalcedon....."
All I know about that is that there is a lot of talk going on along the idea that the distinction between the Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians is only in words and not belief. I know almost nothing about the talks, though. I thought it was the MP who was behind that but I guess it would make sense for the Antiochians to be involved. I have heard that by economia its OK to receive communion in Non-Chalcedonian and Armenian Churches if one of ours isn't available and vice versa but I don't know if that's just a rumor or really true. Never having found myself in that situation, I haven't given it much thought.
I nowhere spoke of an invisible Church. I nowhere said that those who are not formal members of the visible church are members of an invisible church. I did not posit two churches. All I said was what JPII said in Crossing the Threshold and what the Vatican II documents say: although the fullness of the Church of Christ subsists in the visible Catholic church bounded by communion with the bishop of Rome, some can be saved who are not formal members of that visible church (are not within those visible boundaries). If such are saved they are saved through Christ and through the one single Church of Christ but they are not formal members of that Church. I cannot state it any plainer.
Because the mystery named Church of Christ does not have visible boundaries whereas the historical, visible, structured thing called the visible Catholic Church does have visible boundaries these two facts have to be kept in paradoxical tension theologically or the mystery is collapsed into non-mystery. But the reality of these two characteristics of the ONE (get that, ONE) Church of Christ means that the mysterious Church of Christ is not coterminous with the visible Catholic Church. Its fullness subsists in the visible Catholic Church but the visible Catholic Church does not and cannot, simply cannot, exhaust the unboundedness of the mysterious Church of Christ.
It's the same principle as the sacraments: the fullness of Christ, body, soul, divinity is present under the appearance of bread and wine but not present locally or sense-perceptibly. The visible Catholic Church is a time-bounded, space bounded, history-bounded reality on earth. It is the same Church as the one Church of Christ that constitutes the Corpus Mysticus of Christ himiself but the Corpus Mysticus of Christ is not and cannot be coterminous with the visible, bounded historic Catholic Church because the one is bounded and the other is not. And we are bound to believe in both and hold them in theological, mystery-paradox.
I'm sorry you perceive this to be a riddle. Sounds like invincible ignorance, again. Your interpretation is sooooooooooo obvious to you that mine seems a riddle to you. Mine is soooooooo clear to me that yours seems like a riddle to me. This will get us nowhere.
And please don't throw Leonardo Boff at me. It's very rude! ;)
Do I understand you correctly, Hermann, that a baptized (in a Protestant setting, but validly) Protestant is a capital-C Catholic Christian who fell off on the rest of the sacraments? If so, then do you not arrive at a community of Catholic Christians that is larger than the community of practicing Catholic Christians? And then, does Dionysius not speak of the same duality of boundary you do?
...the Latin Church does not hold a blanket condemnation of Holy Orthodoxy or the Orthodox. The condemnation of the Feeneyites, which I assume is authoritative as I said, pretty clearly does.
To be better informed, you ought to know what led up to the so-called excommunication of Fr. Feeney, what the nature of the process was, of what it consisted and how it was eventually "lifted." By the way, the Church does not condemn a group of people, but only a false doctrine or proposition that anyone can hold. The Church cannot condemn a person, either. Excommunication is the extent of her power, which has temporal and supernatural implications, but is not a "condemnation" of the person. In any event, excommunication must be based on some specific denial of dogma. Disobedience, per se, is insufficient, because it presumes the order disobeyed was an absolutely just order.
To be better informed, you should also pay attention to the response the Feeneyites made to a "liberal" (Fr. P.J. Donnelly, S.J.), who published a theological paper at the time, in their next issue of From the Housetops, which includes this:
...in the modern liberal presentation of the Churchs doctrine concerning salvation outside the Church, there are contained THE FOLLOWING ERRORS:
1. One can be saved outside the Church.
2. One can be saved without having the Catholic Faith.
3. Baptism is not necessary for salvation.
4. To confess the supremacy and infallibility of the Roman Church and of the Roman Pontiff is not necessary for salvation.
5. One can be saved without submitting personally to the authority of the Roman Pontiff.
6. Ignorance of Christ and His Church excuses one from all fault and confers justification and salvation.
7. One can be saved who dies ignorant of Christ and His Church.
8. One can be saved who dies hating Christ and His Church.
9. God, of His Supreme Goodness and Mercy, would not permit anyone to be punished eternally unless he had incurred the guilt of voluntary sin.
10. A man is sure of his salvation once he is justified.
11. One can be saved by merely an implicit desire for Baptism.
12. There are two Churches, the one visible, the other invisible.
13. There are two kinds of membership in the Church.
14. Membership in the Church can be invisible or even unconscious.
15. To know and love the Blessed Virgin is not necessary for salvation.
Ever since that reply, there has been a mysterious silence from Rome, except to refer back to the so-called condemnation. These 15 false propositions have not been dealt with, as challenged there in that little old magazine, long ago. So, why the silence? They've had plenty of time. It's been 57 years, now. Are they waiting for the entire generation of people who were alive then to die off or something? Let's keep it in perspective: when Abp. Lefebvre consecrated 4 new bishops, the new Vatican cranked out her response in a couple of days!
You have to recall the climate and history of the time. Post WWII, nuclear warfare, Red China rising, Israel setting up shop, Communist USSR rattling sabers. IOW, lots of problems. It's fairly well known now that he was considering an ecumenical council, but to address the dangers to the faith, which would have had to include Communism. It could be that Pope Pius XII was looking toward the definition of the Assumption, the preparatory texts of which must have been already in the works, even early 1949. Did he expect that would cure all his ills? And remember, it was he who appointed Annibale Bugnini to high office. Not to excuse his reticence, but he was certainly kept busy those last years by ecclesiastics with an undercurrent of common purpose: delay the council until a more liberal pope can be its head.
Any way you look at it, the 15 points above, at odds with Catholic Tradition, have yet to be answered by the Vatican. In fact, each one of them has become conspicuously larger over the years, as successive popes have added to the appearance that the Church officially approves them.
You know, db, it is a minefield. I suppose I should just be pharisaical and say thank God I worhip God the way my people have for 1700 odd years and believe the same things in the same way they did. Truth be told, if there is never a reunion, it won't change my life one whit. Sometimes it does seem to me that if there is a reunion, however, my life might change decidedly for the worse.