Can Non-Catholics Be Saved?

Unam Sanctam is the sort of document that gives our Protestant brothers and sisters a real jolt, primarily because it looks at first blush as though it teaches that Catholics cannot have Protestant brothers and sisters. Written by Pope Boniface VIII in 1302, this papal bull concludes with a shocking dogmatic definition:

 
We declare, say, define and pronounce, that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.
 

The average modern reader concludes that these words mean: “We know exactly where the Church both is and is not. It’s in the visible Catholic communion and only members of the visible Catholic Church go to heaven.”

After this basic assumption has been made, most people go on to assume it is simply a matter of deciding what you think about that proposition. Generally, people fall into one of the following groups:

  1. Those nice people who say hopefully, “That statement was not dogma, but just Boniface’s opinion.”

  2. Those progressive dissenting Catholics who say, “That statement used to be narrow-minded Catholic dogma, but Vatican II thankfully contradicts all that. How the Church has grown!”

  3. Those anti-Catholics who say derisively, “That statement used to be unbiblical Catholic dogma but Vatican II reversed all that. Now the supposedly infallible Church has flatly contradicted the Bible and itself!”

  4. Those reactionary dissenting Catholics who say, “That statement used to be glorious Catholic dogma, but Vatican II betrayed all that. How the Second Vatican Council has corrupted the One True Faith!”

  5. Those orthodox Catholics who say, “Unam Sanctam’s definition is still dogma, and the teaching of the Second Vatican Council does not contradict it or the Bible. Rather, the council develops the Faith of the Church infallibly taught since the apostles, a faith that has never demanded we believe that the Church is found solely in the visible Catholic communion, nor that only members of the visible Catholic Church can go to heaven.” 

Let’s look at these five views of Unam Sanctam.

First things first: I must disappoint group one by making clear that the Faith does not allow us the easy out of denying the dogmatic nature of Unam Sanctam any more than it allowed Arius to fudge the difficult and seemingly contradictory proposition that God is One, yet Three. As John Hardon, S.J., points out in his Catholic Catechism, the passage cited above was “solemnly defined and represents traditional Catholic dogma on the Church’s necessity for salvation.” When a pope declares, says, pronounces, and defines, he is using the formula to make crystal-clear that he is delivering not his personal opinion but the dogmatic teaching of the Catholic Church. The fact is, then, Boniface VIII committed the Church to this proposition for the rest of her history. We cannot dodge this with a convenient “that was then, this is now.” If it was dogma once, it still is.

However, neither can we dodge another fact of Catholic history: the Second Vatican Council. At that council, 660 years after Unam Sanctam, the Church formulated Lumen Gentium, in which she declared, “The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter.”

To groups two, three, and four, this sounds like a flat contradiction. For all these folk make the fatal error of placing one or another of the Church’s teachings in opposition to (and superiority over) the other. Thus, progressive dissenting Catholics, anti-Catholics, and reactionary dissenting Catholics all assume that Unam Sanctam was simply vetoed by a newly coined doctrine in Lumen Gentium that essentially declares that our relationship to the successor of Peter doesn’t matter one iota. If we agree about this, all that remains for us to do is to decide whether to cheer along with progressive dissenters (for the Church’s “deepened maturity”), to gloat along with anti-Catholics (over the alleged collapse of the Church’s infallibility), or to grumble along with reactionary dissenters (about those damned modernists who hijacked the Church at Vatican II).

But there is one simple problem with this assumption: It’s not true. First, the Church, centuries before Vatican II, regarded Orthodox sacraments as valid, which is awfully hard to do if you don’t think Christ can be found anywhere but in the Catholic Church. Similarly, it has always regarded the baptism of non-Catholics as valid — and a valid baptism means you are, in some sense, in union with Christ. Still more recently and most plainly (but still well before the council), Rev. Leonard Feeney was excommunicated for insisting that only people in visible communion with the Catholic Church could be saved. So this simplistic “We’re in, you’re out” reading of Unam Sanctam (and the corollary that Lumen Gentium “cancelled” it) doesn’t fly.

So is there a more balanced picture that reverences both Unam Sanctam and Lumen Gentium as authentic magisterial teaching? Yes. To find it, let’s begin with an imperfect analogy.

An Unknowing Disciple

There is a priest I know (call him Father Smith) whom I have come to regard as a second father. I came to do so because, as an Evangelical, I first loved Christ and the things of Christ and did for years before I met this man. As I sought to draw closer to Christ, I then happened to meet Father Smith and to discover that he loved and understood far more deeply than I the things that I myself sought, for he was a disciple of our Lord, too. When I recognized this, I realized our Lord had put into my life a man who could disciple me and to whom my life was inextricably linked in Christ and by Christ. In short, I had been a disciple of Father Smith for years before I met him — because I was first a disciple of Jesus.

Thus, in spirit, Father Smith became my father and I am, so to speak, subject to him in Christ precisely because I desire what he desires — union with Christ.

If this seems difficult to grasp, it should be noted that it’s a concept as old as the New Testament. When we look there, we discover Jesus saying exactly the same thing:

 
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is for us” (Mk 9:38–40, emphasis added).

Jesus’ point is that, in following Him, both the man casting out demons and the apostles — whether the man or the apostles realized it or not — were brought into some kind of union with one another through Him. It didn’t matter whether the apostles or the man were conscious of it. Their mutual obedience to Him put them in relationship to each other, just as the right alignment of spokes to a hub necessarily put the spokes in right alignment to one another. The fact is, it is His Spirit, not we, who is the principle of unity holding His Body together and drawing its members into ever more perfect union with each other. But that does not mean (as I had long believed as an Evangelical) that unity with the Body of Christ doesn’t matter so long as one is “spiritual.” For to be brought into union with the Body of Christ at all is to be brought into the order that Christ has established for that Body, since

His gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:11–13).
 

Or, to put it into the simplest form, if A=B, then B=A. That is, if one is a Christian at all, one is, as Lumen Gentium says, in some kind of union with the Church, the Body of Christ. This is why the Church teaches and has always taught that “outside the Church, there is no salvation.” For the Church is the company of the saved. To talk about salvation “outside the Church” is like talking about swimming outside the water. It is the logical consequence of Jesus’ statement, “He who is not with me is against me” (Mt 12:30).

It therefore follows that to be subject to the gospel to any degree is to be in union, to that degree, with the office of Peter, since the office of Peter was created by Christ for one purpose only: to help bring people into subjection to Christ. It is therefore impossible to accept Christ without accepting the authority of Peter’s office to some degree or other. If you say to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” you are submitting to the judgment of Peter, who said it first (Mt 16:16). If you declare that salvation is by grace through Christ, you are again subjecting yourself to Peter, who was the first to say that by the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:11). If you teach that Jesus is the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, you are simply agreeing with what the Church in council and in union with the office of Peter has always taught. If you acknowledge the canonicity of the New Testament books, you are likewise submitting to the judgment of the Petrine office, which made that call in the fourth century and ratified it in the 16th. In short, it is not possible to be a Christian at all without already submitting (whether you realize it or not and whether you like it or not) to Peter in precisely the sense that Unam Sanctam speaks of.

One With Peter?

Naturally, it will be noted that such union with the Roman pontiff is, for Protestants and Orthodox, imperfect. Just so. But the point nonetheless holds that such union is real. And the reason it is real is precisely because the pope is not the principle of unity, but merely the sign of unity. The principle of unity is the Spirit of Christ Himself. It is He who binds together the apostolic Church with those who appear (like the exorcist in Mark) to be “outside” the Church yet who are, in a real but imperfect way, in communion with her. That’s because it is simply not possible for there to be more than one body. This is true, not because the power-hungry Roman pontiff must have absolute control over all Christians, but because Christ cannot ultimately be divided. What Paul said in Ephesians remains just as true today:

 
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all (Eph 4:4–6).
 

So it is simply impossible for there to be, in any ultimate sense, more than one body. And since that body is, by Christ’s solemn word, founded on Peter the Rock, it is not possible to belong to it without, in some way, being subject to the office of the one who was given the charge to “feed my sheep” (Jn 21:15).

I say the office, mind you, not the person of the pope. As a person, a pope can be a perfect jerk, and some have been. In the same way, the office of the Davidic monarch (also founded by God) was often filled by extremely sub-optimal men. But the office never went away or lost its God-ordained authority.

Dante, a contemporary of the man who wrote Unam Sanctam, makes precisely this point in his famous Divine Comedy. In an age of Da Vinci Code illiteracy and ignorance of the Catholic Faith, it comes as a surprise to many modern readers to discover that so far from running a police state, the medieval Church was, in fact, full of critics who had lots of tart things to say about, among other things, the pope and other clergy of the time. Dante was chief among these critics in his day and, in particular, was chief among the critics of Boniface VIII. Dante, in fact, places Boniface in his Inferno, damned forever. But note this: Dante does not damn him for the teaching of Unam Sanctam, which he takes for granted. He damns him for his moral corruption yet, like a typical Catholic, honors his office. That’s why Boniface is buried upside down in hell: As pope he is oriented toward heaven even when, as a sinner, he is worthy of hell, for the way out of Dante’s hell is not up but down, through the center of the earth, then up Mount Purgatory, and into paradise.

So is this partial and imperfect unity enough? Depends on what you mean by “enough.” If you mean “enough to be saved,” then I submit that this is Minimum Daily Adult Requirement thinking. No lover asks, “What’s the absolute bare minimum amount of contact with my beloved I can get away with?” Similarly, if, as the Church claims, the fullness of revelation subsists in the Catholic communion, then “How little contact with the fullness of revelation can I get away with?” is the exact wrong question for somebody who is serious about discipleship to Christ. Our goal, according to Scripture, is not to achieve bare minimums of love, fellowship, and discipleship with Christ and His Bride, but to “attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. . . . We are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love” (Eph 4:13–16). When people tell us “I’ll be there in spirit!” we know they mean “I won’t be there.” Similarly, a merely partial spiritual unity, while a good start, is a bad finish. That is why we must all continue to work toward full unity in Christ, neither denying our commonalities nor papering over our differences.

So… Who Is Saved?

At this point, members of groups three and four (who tend to take heaven more seriously as something that is there and not simply — as members of group two are wont to say — a “concept” or a “beautiful myth”) are likely to ask, “So does all this boil down to saying the Church thinks Catholics are going to heaven and non-Catholics aren’t? Or does it really mean the Church is now saying that everybody is saved?”

Again, both of these are the wrong questions, which is to say they are nonsense questions. The Church makes no comments on infernal population statistics. Rather, the Church teaches that because validly baptized non-Catholics are real members of the Body of Christ, they share in the life of the Blessed Trinity and therefore share with Catholics the hope of salvation.

That said, mark that it is hope, not certainty, they share with Catholics. For it is important to remember that Catholics don’t assume that even Catholics are automatically going to heaven. The whole point, as Paul says, is that hope means we have not, in this life, attained what we hope for yet.

 
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience (Rom 8:24–25).
 

Catholics don’t believe in “once saved, always saved” any more than in salvation by demographics. So the mere fact that somebody says he is a Christian, whether non-Catholic or Catholic, doesn’t mean we assume he is going to heaven. Till we die, we retain the radical freedom to reject the grace of God and end up among the damned. Catholics leave God to judge all that.

But by the same token, Catholics also don’t assume that anybody (even a non-Christian and indeed even an atheist) is going to hell. The Church has always believed that those who do not know Christ by name may yet respond to the promptings of His Spirit and so ultimately be saved by Him. She believes this because it was taught by Jesus Christ in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, which describes the judgment of people who had no idea they were serving (or rejecting) Jesus as they answered (or refused) the demands of conscience with respect to “the least of these.” That is why both the saved and the damned in the parable reply with astonishment to the King, “Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?” (Mt 25:37–39).

Some of the saved, says our Lord, are going to be astonished at their salvation. They just thought they were doing the right thing and had no idea they were, in fact, answering the prompting of the Holy Spirit to obey the will of Christ. As Paul says, “When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus” (Rom 2:14–16). In short, what matters incomparably more than calling Jesus “Lord, Lord” is obeying Him. Or as St. John of the Cross put it mere sweetly, “At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.”

But again, that doesn’t mean, “It doesn’t matter if you are Catholic or not.” We live in a fallen world and are fallen creatures who need every bit of help we can get from the grace of God to become the glorious, love-filled creatures God calls us to be. And even with that help, history demonstrates our genius for being schleps and sinners. We are like patients in a hospital requiring intensive care, but with the hope and promise that the full panoply of modern medicine could give us back our life if we cooperate with the Divine Physician and let Him use all the treatments He has tucked away in His little black bag. That little black bag is called “the fullness of Christ’s revelation in the Catholic communion.” It includes the common life, common worship, and common teaching of the Church; as well as the seven sacraments, the accumulated wisdom of the Tradition both in Scripture and in the life of the Church, the Magisterium (including the papacy), and the “riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (Eph 1:18). Other churches and ecclesial bodies like to use various items out of that black bag (say, the Bible, or baptism, or the doctrine of the Trinity; or some particular moral teaching like the indissolubility of marriage, or predestination, or free will) in various combinations and to varying degrees, and believers do well to avail themselves of as much of God’s treasury in the Church’s Tradition as they can lay hold of.

But if you are mortally ill (and the whole human race is mortally ill with sin), it’s crazy to say, “I find that I’m most comfortable when the doctor prescribes aspirin, and I do like his penicillin now and then, but I don’t want his other prescriptions and treatments and I won’t allow him to send other hospital staff to treat me.” If we were mortally ill, we’d want whatever the doctor has available to heal us.

All May Be One

Likewise, though the Catholic Church rejoices that real elements of the saving gospel are present and working in other churches and ecclesial bodies, and though she even rejoices that the semina verbi, or “seeds of the Word,” can be found in the various non-Christian religious and philosophical traditions of the world, she nonetheless points out that the best thing of all is to lay hold of the fullness of His gifts. So the Church, of course, encourages anyone who can do so to become Catholic. It doesn’t presume to judge those who do not, for we mortals cannot know the reasons why others make the choices they do. People may refuse the Church out of ignorance, or woundedness, or some other cause that renders them inculpable for rejecting her. However, it is only sensible to point out that, everything else being equal, if we say we want God, but refuse the fullness of His gifts, then it is worth asking ourselves if we really want God after all or are, in fact, seeking something else.

As an Evangelical who discovered how much truth was in the Catholic Faith and how much I agreed with it, I came to the realization that it was not enough for me to say “I share the same goals as Peter, so I am ‘spiritually subject’ to him already and do not need to be sacramentally and ecclesially subject as well.” I realized that the very essence of what Peter proclaims is that the Word became Flesh. Moreover, I came to realize that there was, in fact, nothing in the Church’s deposit of Faith that was either opposed to reason or anti-biblical. So I eventually concluded that it was therefore my duty, in obedience to Christ’s prayer for unity in John 17, to enflesh my faith by becoming really, tangibly, physically, sacramentally joined to the visible Church our Lord commended to Peter’s care and feeding. I could no longer say “I’ll be with you in spirit” to the pope if I were not also willing to really be with him in body as well.

Catholics do not say, and never have said, that they are the sole possessors of revelation. Indeed, the Church does not “possess” revelation at all. Revelation possesses her; and that revelation, who is Christ, has, she teaches, committed Himself fully to her. “God,” said the great Protestant writer George MacDonald, “is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.” On the one hand, God is delighted when the most miserable sinner takes the smallest serious step toward the love of God and neighbor. On the other hand, He will not be completely happy until every last person He came to save is completely perfected in the image of Christ and overflowing with perfect love for God and neighbor. This same pattern is supremely evident in the Catholic Church’s understanding of her relationship with her members, whether in full or very imperfect communion. For the Church is happy to recognize even the smallest commonalities she may share, not only with other Christians, but even with non-Christian religious traditions and the great philosophical traditions of paganism. The Church can even find things to affirm in virtuous atheists. But at the same time, the Church is acutely aware that there is a real difference between imperfect and perfect unity and so she, too — easy to please, but hard to satisfy — labors toward that day when all the members of the Body of Christ will be perfected in faith, hope, and love.

Till that day, we know where the Church is; we do not know where she is not.

Mark P. Shea

By

Mark P. Shea is the author of Mary, Mother of the Son and other works. He was a senior editor at Catholic Exchange and is a former columnist for Crisis Magazine.

  • Stan Gwizdak

    I thought this well done and inspirational while simultaneously left somewhat unfulfilled. It’s not because the author was deficient but because the subject itself is so difficult dogmatically, doctrinally and historically.

    I came from a mixed marriage in the 1950’s. My father was a Polish immigrant’s son from New York and my mother was the daughter of a Methodist minister from Texas. Today, these seems rather easily mitigated – but not then. The marriage did not last and I was raised by my Catholic father. I had the benefit of seeing both sides of this coin. My Methodist grandfather was a writer for various magazines and a man that I am convinced loved and served Jesus Christ. My Polish grandmother was a devout Catholic who prayed and cried daily during WWII for my father and his brother to come back alive. They did.

    I lived a fairly dissolute life until I was 50 and a disaster overtook me and I had to call on the Lord to save me as St. Peter did when he started to sink in the sea of Galillee.

    I went through all the angst of one trying to find his way throught the myriad sects and denominations of Christianity.Someone has said that to know history is to become or be Catholic. I agree with that statement. For me, that began with the ardent and prayerful reading of the Church Fathers. That led me and kept me with the Roman Church.

    Someone once asked an Orthodox priest if someone outside his church could be saved. He responded, “I don’t know.” I think that is an honest answer but we wasn’t just being dismissive. The Holy Spirit does what he wants with who he wants to accomplish the mission of the Father and the Son. He is not hemmed in by the paramaters that we create.

    I also believe, as does Father Corapi, that one of God’s names is MERCY. I have experienced that mercy in my life and it leaves me breathless beyond words.

    My wife was an evangelical Protestant who converted to Catholicism, not because I asked or insisted but because, after going through RCIA, she came to the conclusion that that was where the Lord wanted her to be and because of the doctrines, history and continuity of the Church. She was also impressed by my assertions regarding SOLA SCRIPTURA. For the first 395 years of Christianity, there was no New Testament until the Catholic Church canonized it. During that interim, it was the Tradition of the Apostles and the Holy Spirit which guided the Church under horrific conditions of Roman persecution and 10,000 heresies. The Church kept the Faith in tact and passed it on as it continues to do.

    May our Lord guide us all who seek Him with a whole and sincere heart to His Truth. As Mr. Shea correctly states, the Lord takes great joy in doing this anyway.

    I thank you for a terrific article.

  • I am not Spartacus

    I always liked this explanantion of Unam:

    http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/debate9.htm

  • Austin

    So Boniface VIII wrote in 1302 that unless you are subject to the Roman Pontiff you cannot be saved? Do you actually think tht God, the almightly always does exactly what the Pope tells him to do? Are you actually worried about what Bonifce VIII wrote in 1302? This makes rational debate very difficult.

    I’ll take my chances with the Almighty based on my own actions, sins, etc, and I am not that concerned about medieval mumbo jumbo.

    Catholics laugh at the snake handling fools of Tennessee, but yet some of them actually worry about medieval mumbo jumbo.

    Having had nuns beat the crap out of me many times in my childhood for no good reason, I am not in awe of the clergy.
    The horrific stories of physical and sexual abuse by priests and preening bishops who protect them kind of make you realize how deep the rot can be.

    We will all be judged on our sins, both of commission and omission and what some man wrote in 1302 means nothing.

  • Andy

    So Boniface VIII wrote in 1302 that unless you are subject to the Roman Pontiff you cannot be saved? Do you actually think tht God, the almightly always does exactly what the Pope tells him to do? Are you actually worried about what Bonifce VIII wrote in 1302? This makes rational debate very difficult.

    And the award for Reading the Opening Paragraph, Skipping Over the Rest of the Article, and Going Off Half Cocked goes to…

    AUSTIN!

    *cheers*

  • D.B.

    So Boniface VIII wrote in 1302 that unless you are subject to the Roman Pontiff you cannot be saved? Do you actually think tht God, the almightly always does exactly what the Pope tells him to do? Are you actually worried about what Bonifce VIII wrote in 1302? This makes rational debate very difficult.

    I’ll take my chances with the Almighty based on my own actions, sins, etc, and I am not that concerned about medieval mumbo jumbo.

    Catholics laugh at the snake handling fools of Tennessee, but yet some of them actually worry about medieval mumbo jumbo.

    Having had nuns beat the crap out of me many times in my childhood for no good reason, I am not in awe of the clergy.
    The horrific stories of physical and sexual abuse by priests and preening bishops who protect them kind of make you realize how deep the rot can be.

    We will all be judged on our sins, both of commission and omission and what some man wrote in 1302 means nothing.

    And I’ve talked to Catholics who were grateful for their pre-Conciliar Catholic upbringing, and who actually take seriously Magisterial teachings. Truth doesn’t change because it is a different date.

    It is unfortunate you had a bad experience, but it doesn’t invalidate Church Teaching….NOPE.

    As for the Article: Non-Catholics in invincible ignorance will be saved despite their beliefs, not because of them.

  • Austin

    answer the question Does God always do what the Pope tells him to do? Did God always do what Bonifce VIII told him to do? Julius III (the pederast)? You have painted yourself into a corner where you keep saying the Pope has always been right, even when he contradicts another Pope.

    How generous of you to say that non Catholics can be saved in spite of their beliefs, not because of them. I don’t presume to speak for the Almighty, I am surprised at the arrogance of so many who seem to think that they do.

  • Sarah L

    Rev. Leonard Feeney was excommunicated for insisting that only people in visible communion with the Catholic Church could be saved.

    Does this qualify as irony? I hope he wised up before the end.

    Naturally, it will be noted that such union with the Roman pontiff is, for Protestants and Orthodox, imperfect. Just so. But the point nonetheless holds that such union is real. And the reason it is real is precisely because the pope is not the principle of unity, but merely the sign of unity. The principle of unity is the Spirit of Christ Himself. It is He who binds together the apostolic Church with those who appear (like the exorcist in Mark) to be “outside” the Church yet who are, in a real but imperfect way, in communion with her.

    This passage in particular was very helpful. Great article. Now, I’ll have to go check out IAN Spartacus’s link, too. I remember, when I was becoming Catholic, asking a priest (who was also a friend of mine–someone I came to know while working in a monastery kitchen for three and a half years) about “extra ecclesiam nulla salus.” I’ve wanted to understand this better. It makes sense that those whose souls are in a state of grace when they die, while they may have a layover in Purgatory first, are on their way to Heaven.

    I’ve also wondered, though, if it’s possible for a non-Catholic to go to Confession (to a Catholic priest) and to receive absolution for mortal sins (as well as venial)–even if he has no intention–at least, at the outset–of becoming Catholic.

  • D.B.

    answer the question Does God always do what the Pope tells him to do? Did God always do what Bonifce VIII told him to do? Julius III (the pederast)? You have painted yourself into a corner where you keep saying the Pope has always been right, even when he contradicts another Pope.

    How generous of you to say that non Catholics can be saved in spite of their beliefs, not because of them. I don’t presume to speak for the Almighty, I am surprised at the arrogance of so many who seem to think that they do.

    Your Sour Grapes against the Papacy aside…this isn’t a matter of Papal overindulgence or some other decadence unconnected to teaching….the relation of Non-Catholics to Holy Mother Church is a matter of Doctrine. The Catholic Church is THE Church founded by Christ…no ifs, ands or buts. This is an article of Faith and must be believed by the faithful. If you practice a false religion due to ignorance than you will not go to Hell…the Church has never taught that. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ, and the voice of the Magisterium on these matters IS God’s voice, because it is the Holy Ghost who guides the Church.

    The reality of a few bad Popes gives no one a pass for dissenting or heterodox opinions.

  • Austin

    D.B., nice to know that you speak for God. Your “arguments” have been used before to stifle any independent thought. You can believe what you want and I will believe what I believe. We’ll see who is right. You still didn’t answer the question.

  • Michael

    AUSTIN READ THE ARTICLE!!!!!!

    answer the question Does God always do what the Pope tells him to do? Did God always do what Boniface VIII told him to do? Julius III (the pederast)?

    No but Christ said to Peter whatever you weigh on earth will be weighed in Heaven…

    It would do you so much good to read the article. I can see that your at least literate. No one is stifling your free thought. Just reflect upon the whole article and pray about it. Its not like you will be mesmerized and become a walking zombie for the pope.

    Pax

  • Nick Palmer

    Austin, I don’t believe that anyone is suggesting the God does what any Pope may “tell him to do.” In fact, I’m sure he doesn’t, and similarly sure that no one here asserts that he does.

    For (many?) Catholics, at least, the Pope sits in the role of our shepherd, trying to guide us by interpretations of God’s revelation and of the implications for our lives. As Mark notes, I’m in no position to judge those who either choose not to profess the Catholic faith, or who interpret the faith differently from me. They have their own life stories, and their own reason. I certainly have no inside information on the composition of the queue to Heaven, nor to the nether regions.

    Mark appears to be making a simple point, while reconciling early and medieval Church history with more modern (e.g. Vatican II) documents. The point: salvation is available to all regardless of professed faith and overt religion; the Roman Catholic Church, and the occupant of the Chair of St. Peter occupy an unique place for the human race as the true creations and representative of Christ on Earth.

    Yet, we remain human. Popes have been bums, cads, and heinous sinners. Some have been Saints. Many more have tried. We could say the same about bishops, priests, and the laity — probably you and me, too. It is sad and wrong that you underwent mistreatment and oppression as it seems you have. Those accountable will be judged, and not by us.

    Assume, for argument’s sake, that a particular police officer is also known to abuse his spouse. Would you prevent him from stopping another abusive husband from maiming or killing that husband’s wife? Even sinners can be right, and can make statements that are true and worthy of our attention. Otherwise, we’d live in the extreme isolation of the Tower of Babel.

    Finally, a personal note. You are obviously an active member of the IC community, frequently engaged in these forums. Yet, in your comments I sense a level of anger, frustration, and venom that to me seems quite sad. I see myself, and others routinely vilified with fairly savage and ad hominem attacks. (e.g. “Your “arguments” have been used before to stifle any independent thought.”) You imply an ability to read our minds and hearts, and claim the right to quash us in the nastiest fashion.

    Yes, I “believe what I believe.” And, I look to the magesterium to help and guide me, although I retain my free will. You are totally free to believe what you believe. And in the end we will, indeed, see who was right. I would, however, hope that when we do “see” we can sit back together and laugh collegially about how little we really knew. I don’t have a direct line to St. Peter, nor does the Pope, nor do you.

    Does this answer your question?

  • James

    As a convert from protestantism, I look at it like this: the Catholic Church is the full expression of the Christian faith and Church. Period. However, that one true faith and church is comprised of hundreds of key components and belief-claims and traditions, and as a protestant I professed many of those key components and claims and traditions in exactly the way the Church defines them and teaches them. (For example, the God as Trinity).

    But while I held many of the important truths and components of Catholic Christianity, I did not embrace all. Perhaps I only embraced 3/4 of the whole, for example. And while I would never have admitted it, I received those truths because the early Reformers *were Catholic priests* who maintained much of the Catholic teachings and passed them on to their followers. I was kind of like “Catholic light,” even though I would never have agreed to that label prior to my full conversion.

    Since mainstream protestants hold so many beliefs in common with the Catholic Church, the Church is correct to recognize a certain level of unity protestants share with The One Church, while maintaining that the FULL expression of the truth is found in the Church alone. Moreover, I had hope of salvation only to the extent that I adopted and practiced Catholic beliefs. So, apart from the Church and its teachings I was lost. And if I had attained heaven as an evangelical, it would have been because I held key Catholics doctrines and in spite of my various errors.

  • D.B.

    D.B., nice to know that you speak for God. Your “arguments” have been used before to stifle any independent thought. You can believe what you want and I will believe what I believe. We’ll see who is right. You still didn’t answer the question.

    That is exactly what I am doing…speaking for the Almighty. I also operate a Cotton Candy booth and live on a beach bungalow in Nebraska.

    Who said I was wanting to stifle independent thought? You can believe whatever you want…but is it in accord with the Magisterium? That is the question.

  • D.B.

    …The Pope does not dictate to God, quite the reverse…The Magisterium operates with the Authority of Jesus Christ himself…you know…what it says in the Catechism.

  • catholicmom3

    Pray Austin for God to give you knowledge about the questions and fears you have regarding the Catholic faith. I crossed The Tiber 3 years ago after spending several years of attending Mass, as a suspicious observer, with my Catholic husband. Like scales falling from my eyes,Christ showed me the beauty and truth of the Catholic Church. What I once was so suspicious of, I now embrace. My ignorance was like a veil hiding the Truth. Don’t judge the Church by the actions of a few humans showing their humanity. The Church has withstood 2,000 years of persecution from within and without. The gates of hell shall not prevail against her. I was too fearful for many years to pray and ask to be shown the Truth(for what I secretly feared the most was that I may be wrong). One day Christ spoke to me and said, “What are you so afraid of?” Would your heavenly father ever lead you astray? Pray, pray, pray. Christ always reveals the Truth if we use our free will to seek it.

    Pax.

  • I am not Spartacus

    Do you actually think tht God, the almightly always does exactly what the Pope tells him to do?

    Yes. (Mt 16:19)

    That is to say, no Catholic thinks that the Pope orders God around (as you formulate it) but Catholics do believe that when the Catholic Church Teaches it is speaking/teaching as Jesus (Lk 10:16).

    Because Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon the Church to teach it all truth (Jn 14:26 Jn 16:13 Acts 15:2smilies/cool.gif then the Pope can not issue an authoritative Teaching that is in error because that would mean that the Church that Jesus built upon the Papacy (Mt 16:18,19) would have failed and Jesus promised that even Hell (say nothing about a false teaching)would not be able to defeat it.

    If Jesus, Our Lord and Saviour, is trustworthy (I think He is) then we must belive what His Church teaches. The Catholic Church is His Bride and He is the Church’s eternally vigilant and faithful Bridegroom and He is not about to let some dope of a Pope drag His Bride out into the alley so Satan can rape her and impregnate her with error.

    You can be sure that IF some dope of a Pope tried to issue an authoritative teaching that was false, then that dope of a Pope would rapidly assume room temperature (that is, unless you think some Pope is stronger than Satan).

    If we think that the Church, built upon Peter (Papacy) can Teach error, then we have to conclude that Jesus lied to everyone and that for over two thousand years The Catholic Church He established has taught error and led, literally, scores of billions into Hell.

    Me? I take Jesus at His word.

    Jesus is the Way and He will not let His Church He established lead you off the way.

    He is the Truth and He will not let His Church He established teach lies.

    Jesus is the Life and He would never permit His Church to lead you to eternal death.

    Jesus,fully man and fully God, really is worthy of Trust; heck, He is worthy of Worship, when you get right down to it.

  • Chrissy G

    …is ultimately a question about infallibility, regardless of time period. Does the fact that certain papal statements are infallible mean that God must “do what the Pope says?” I think that the Catholic teaching on this is that the pope is preserved from error on these teachings; in other words, God’s providence is such that He never allows for a pope to make a binding statement on faith and morals that is incorrect. Even so, I think papal infallibility is a difficult teaching. It’s hard to imagine God allowing humans, with their free will and their frailties, such a decisive role in His salvation for the world. Yet, He’s done it before in the Incarnation. For even just the earliest chapters of Jesus’ story to play out, many people’s free will choices were involved: Mary, Joseph, the innkeeper, Herod, and the Magi, to name a few. And the same is true throughout salvation history, both before and after. To truly believe that God is the author of salvation history is to believe that He has worked through the free will choices, right and wrong, of every individual from the beginning of time. The fact that this includes the statements of the popes is not hard to accept, in light of all that.

  • Ted Seeber

    Rev. Leonard Feeney was excommunicated for insisting that only people in visible communion with the Catholic Church could be saved.

    Does this qualify as irony? I hope he wised up before the end.

    I’ve always thought so. Fr. Feeney never recanted, but was reconciled to the church before his death. I have my doubts about some of his followers, however.

    Naturally, it will be noted that such union with the Roman pontiff is, for Protestants and Orthodox, imperfect. Just so. But the point nonetheless holds that such union is real. And the reason it is real is precisely because the pope is not the principle of unity, but merely the sign of unity. The principle of unity is the Spirit of Christ Himself. It is He who binds together the apostolic Church with those who appear (like the exorcist in Mark) to be “outside” the Church yet who are, in a real but imperfect way, in communion with her.

    This passage in particular was very helpful. Great article. Now, I’ll have to go check out IAN Spartacus’s link, too. I remember, when I was becoming Catholic, asking a priest (who was also a friend of mine–someone I came to know while working in a monastery kitchen for three and a half years) about “extra ecclesiam nulla salus.” I’ve wanted to understand this better. It makes sense that those whose souls are in a state of grace when they die, while they may have a layover in Purgatory first, are on their way to Heaven.

    I’ve also wondered, though, if it’s possible for a non-Catholic to go to Confession (to a Catholic priest) and to receive absolution for mortal sins (as well as venial)–even if he has no intention–at least, at the outset–of becoming Catholic.

    That last, depends on how far away from Catholicism his brand of Christianity has drifted.

    Unfortunately, most would never even consider the idea.

  • R.C.

    Austin,

    What’s up, friend? Your normal good self doesn’t write the kind of things you just wrote. I guess I’m just taken aback by your tone and, begging your pardon, your lack of concern for having a defensible position. I’ve read other posts by you and consequently have respect for you. (I’d ask if you’d had a particularly rough week, but I don’t want to seem condescending!)

    With respect, the earlier response by D.B. was correct: Truth doesn’t change because time has passed. It was either true at the time, or wasn’t; if it’s a truth about God, then if it was true then it’s true now, and if it was false then, it’s false now.

    Now, you asked about the Pope, and you deserve an answer.

    Does God go about doing what the Pope tells Him? No! The converse is closer to truth.

    That is, it’s closer to truth, though sadly not always right, that “the Pope goes around doing what God tells Him to do.” It’s not that the Pope told God what the salvation policy would be, but rather that God told the Pope — usually in a very indirect way, namely, through the unanimity of Sacred Tradition on a particular topic.

    Now the first obvious argument against “the Pope goes around doing what God tells Him to do” is to say, “Bull! There were wicked popes, fathering bastard children left and right, who obviously weren’t doing what God told them to do.”

    Which is of course true, but notice that the Church doesn’t teach popes are impeccable (without sin); only that they are very narrowly infallible “when exercising their universal teaching office in matters of faith and morals.”

    The point of this is, simply, that God will not allow a pope to promulgate an erroneous faith/morals doctrine to the Church…even if God has to end a particular pope’s life prematurely and unexpectedly, in order to prevent promulgation of the error.

    (A pope had better be careful about what he’s planning to teach!)

    The origin of this argument is Scriptural and Traditional:

    The Tradition is visible in Bishops of Rome exercising jurisdiction outside their bishoprics from the earliest days of Christianity (e.g. the first Clement sending legates to Corinth to get the Christians there to quit rebelling against their local ordinary).

    The relevant Scripture is: “what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

    Now “binding and loosing” was a Jewish term-of-art for rabbinical authority to (a.) teach religious doctrine, and (b.) interpret the general moral teachings into specific disciplines for the community. In short: Faith & Morals.

    Jesus also gives Peter “the keys of the kingdom of heaven,” a reference to Isaiah 22, where the same phrase was used to describe the selection of Eliakim to replace Shebna as Prime Minister (or Grand Vizier if you prefer a more Levantine term) of the Davidic Kingdom. Such a Kingdom always had many ministers, and as symbols of their office they were said to have keys to “bind and loose” — that is, to set and abolish policy in the kingdom. But the Prime Minister had the “master keys” over all the other key holders — “what he opens, none other shall shut, and what he shuts, none other shall open.”

    So to a Jewish audience longing for the restoration of the Davidic kingdom, this was all very straightforward in meaning, if rather exciting in significance.

    …continued…

  • R.C.

    …continuing…

    It meant the apostles would be the ministers of the kingdom, having authority to make policy, and also rabbinic authority to settle disputes about religious matters and moral dilemmas, and even to enact disciplinary practices.

    Who Has The Veto

    But the prime minister, Peter, would have final authority in such matters; what he “bound” or “shut,” none of the other keyholders could “loose” or “open,” and vice versa. As Prime Minister or Vizier of the restored Davidic kingdom, he is not himself the King, but has final authority to act in the king’s name, overriding the decisions of the other ministers.

    Note again the most astonishing phrasing: “What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

    In short, Jesus is saying: Whenever you exercise this authority in My Kingdom, God will affirm that you’re right.

    How can this be? God will not ever affirm an error.

    The only solution is this: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my Father, who is in heaven.” God will provide Peter and his successors the truth, and the Good Shepherd will see to it that Peter will never, when leading the flock, say anything else but the truth, because if he did, God would have to either affirm error, or break His promise to bind in heaven what Peter had bound on earth.

    Yet Peter didn’t reveal anything to God (!); the direction of information flow was entirely the other direction.

    Applying The Principle

    Hence the only questions to ask about a teaching pronounced by a Pope are these:

    1. Is it just a pope musing or mumbling over his breakfast, or an actual formal exercise of his Prime Minister Of The Church office?

    2. Is it within the powers and duties of his office (i.e., teaching on matters of faith and morals) or on some other topic wherein that office has no authority (e.g. science or economics or advice for the lovelorn)?

    If it’s well within the bounds of faith and morals, and the pope was teaching it to everyone, then, Roma locuta est, causa finita est: The matter is settled.

    Was what Boniface VIII stated within the topic of faith and morals? Yes. Was it a quiet aside to a favorite aide, or a teaching promulgated to the whole church? The latter.

    Therefore either:

    (a.) It is true (but only when understood in context “according to framer’s intent”), or…

    (b.) The entire Catholic faith is a waste of time, utter balderdash, and one is better served by (maybe) Eastern Orthodoxy, (more likely) liberal Protestantism, or (most likely) a nice comfortable agnosticism lived as practical atheism.

    Not that a person who doesn’t agree with (a.) is absolutely required to adopt (b.)! He can keep calling himself “Catholic” and even be faithful to Catholic teaching. But he’ll have given up any pretense of logical consistency in doing so, for he’ll have denied the only thing that gives him any reason to think the Catholic faith reliably true.

  • Chrissy G

    for spelling out so precisely what I was fumbling for in my post. smilies/smiley.gif

  • Sarah L

    That last, depends on how far away from Catholicism his brand of Christianity has drifted.

    Unfortunately, most would never even consider the idea.

    I guess that doesn’t surprise me. Most of the Protestants I knew growing up thought the idea of confessing one’s sins to a priest was a ridiculous invention. Does their imperfect but real union with the Church give them access to the Sacrament of Penance, though? Or is there a way for a baptized non-Catholic to obtain absolution for his mortal sins if he confesses them directly to God, with true contrition, and is in danger of death?

  • Non-Catholics and salvation

    This is my final post on this matter. I have met a great many non-Catholics at Right to Life Marches. Wondeful people trying to save the unborn. Good people who help others and who believe in Jesus, albeit not within the framework of Roman Catholicism {not being a human creature subject to the Roman Pontiff]. If you take Boniface VIII literally, everyone of those Right to Life Protestants will be damned. I don’t believe it. I believe God to be a just God, and not bound by what a Pope said 700 years ago. We keep hearing about the Pope “speaking for Jesus” but would Jesus damn Right to Life Protestants to eternal damnation, simply because they are not subject to the Roman Pontiff?

    This is not a question that I wrestle with. I don’t dredge up meaningless quotations from long dead Popes to justify my position, which I believe is buttressed by common sense and the spirit of the Gospels.

    If appear “cranky” that so be it. I am impatient with people who play intellectual games. Was Boniface VIII speaking “ex-cathedra” when he wrote this? I really don’t care. It’s a stupid statement and given all of the righteous non-Catholics that I have known in my almost 60 years, both Protestants and Jews, for someone of any intelligence to give it any weight makes me wonder about their intelligence.

    We’ve had some rotten Popes over the centuries. This has not totally discredited the office, but given all that has happened, you have to read many of these centuries old Papal Bulls with a grain of salt. The Jesuits seem to be able to reconcile faith and reason, however, some of the “Rad-Trads” and “Uber Papists” seem to have a problem here.

    This brings us back to the starting point: You believe what you will, and I believe what I will. Just don’t try to force it on me. We’ve been down that road and it doesn’t work.

  • R.C.

    Austin:

    Well, certainly no one’s “forcing” anything on you. If anyone ever pulls a gun on you and tries to make you assent to anything your conscience and mind don’t accept, you make sure you let us all know and we’ll all pull more and bigger guns on him.

    No, I just know that your posts generally engage in spirited debate, but they engage; i.e., they advance the argument. You’re someone with respect for reasoning. So all I meant to do here was offer a line of reasoning.

    If you’re persuaded by that, well, persuasion isn’t force, so nobody will have forced you. If you’re not persuaded, fine, nobody’ll thump you with blackjack over that! My zeal for this point (and I think I speak for everyone else around here, unless any jihadists happen to be lurking silently at IC) stops at the upper edge of persuasion, and does not cross the line into intimidation, blackmail, blunt-force-trauma, or the brandishing of projectile weapons.

    Respectfully,

    R.C.

  • Ted Seeber
  • Ted Seeber
  • D.B.

    Austin,

    There is no salvation outside the Catholic Church….that is fact. HOWEVER…Protestants are part of the Catholic Church, whether they like it or not (by virtue of their baptism)…and non-Catholics will be saved by the Catholic Church, whether they know it or not, whether they like it or not…this is the teaching of the Church, Father Feeney erred in his distortion of this teaching.

  • Andrew

    The discussion has been very interesting.

    One thought that came up with me (I`m a newly convert) is that it seems that you are being given higher responsibility AS SOON as you become a Catholic. For a pagan who does not know Christ but obeys His Spirit may be saved. But a Catholic who does know Christ but does not obey His Spirit could well be damned. If you live on in sin AFTER your conversion … you are damned of sure.

    I sense that there is no way of leaving the spiritual orbit of the Catholic Church, once you are “caught” in it. This might be the reason why atheists who were baptized so often burn with hate against their enemy the Church. It would seem to me that the one who was once saved and lost this grace is the saddest creature in the whole universe. I myself am struggling against this war within myself, in the language of old: the forces of Evil against the forces of Light.
    Austin, I would be interested in your personal struggle. Your arguments are always abstract, unpersonal, ideological. They seem concerned with the far-fetched, but who cares that you care or don`t care about what a pope said in 1302? It is possible that you may be more concerned with stupid popes of old (there are too many to fully satisfy your anger) than with your soul. Your anger indicates to me something that I experience myself: That you are caught in the Orbit of the Church but fighting with the Dark Forces because of some serious sin that you have not tackled sufficiently. Spiritual discerning and Confession might change your situation. But it`s important that you change your focus from abstract discussion to personal matters of your own heart.

  • Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick

    Boniface had a lifelong history of intemperate expression. Moreover, he was not addressing the world; nor was he even addressing the subject of non-Christians or non-Catholics. He was addressing Europeans–all Catholics. “Every creature” means a bunch of Catholics in Europe.

    And it is necessary for salvation for Catholics to be subject to the Roman Pontiff. Otherwise, they have knowingly and deliberately exited the Catholic Church. Doing so is a mortal sin.

    Unam sanctam is a most abused and misunderstood document. It is little more than an unfortunate stumbling-block in the history of the Church.

  • Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick

    According to whom:

    Fr. Feeney was never excommunicated for heresy, but merely for disobedience to his Jesuit superiors–proving that he was not a heretic.

    Fr. Feeney was not required to recant his “heresy” before the excommunication was lifted–proving that he was not a heretic.

    Never mind that, if he wasn’t excommunicated for heresy, the lifting the excommunication proves nothing about whether he was a heretic.

    I decided years ago that Feeneyism has nothing to do with documents, the magisterium, or the facts of the Feeney case–but is only an expression of a very deep rage against the world that issues in the desire to see most of the human race damned.

  • Robertz

    Sarah, this is what I have gathered so far in my continuing catechesis (though I could still be inaccurate unknowingly). A non-Catholic may ask for and receive sacramental absolution during moments of immediate dire need; as in on his deathbed, being lined up to enter a gas chamber, or some other serious condition. Outside of this, it is not allowed. For if one was seeking it but not in a potentially deathly crisis, they would seek to enter full communion along the normal process and thereby receive the Sacraments; or they wouldn’t be asking for it in the first place as Ted has pointed out. This would go the same for the Eucharist also I think.

    Now with an awareness mortal sin, we are bound to seek the Sacrament as soon as reasonably possible. By reasonably I mean one does not have to sell his first-born child into slavery to purchase a ticket for an immediate flight on a supersonic jet across the ocean to the nearest priest. In the meantime before one is able to attend Confession, it is important for the person to have a true/perfect contrition in case one does die. There is prayer called the Act of Perfect Contrition that helps one bring to mind what perfect contrition consists of and can be useful. Of course the person still does not have an ‘infallible’ knowledge concerning his state of grace until one receives absolution, which is why it is important to get there soon. One who has ‘true’ contrition and repentance should not despair, and have the highest hope bordering, but not actually at, the infallible level regarding ones state of grace. I believe this is why we are forbidden to receive the Eucharist until we have actually gone to Confession, for absolute surety so as not to receive “unworthily”.[smiley=think]

  • I am not Spartacus

    I don’t dredge up meaningless quotations from long dead Popes to justify my position, which I believe is buttressed by common sense and the spirit of the Gospels.

    Ah… So, it is you who sits in judgment of man, Church, and Divine Revelation and Tradition.

    I remember where in the Bible it is that Jesus established His Church upon the Papacy – Matt 16:18 – but I keep forgetting where it is in the Bible that Jesus gave you authority to oppose the Church He established based upon your common sense and the spirit of the Bible as interpreted by you personally.

    Can you refresh my memory?

  • Alan

    The article is helpful for those of us who tend to need (rightly or wrongly) an intellectually consistent faith. As an ex-Baptist minister who became Catholic 3 years ago, these questions still arise in conversations with my Baptist friends.

    My experience has been that many evangelicals often place too much emphasis on “sound doctrine” to the neglect of prayer and loving behavior. Still, to ignore “sound doctrine” (truth) is dangerous as Pope Benedict warns in his recent encyclical. For me, the Catholic Church provides a wonderful balance between “love” and “truth”.

    Regarding the “truth” aspect of salvation, the article and discussion above is very affirming to me as I often ponder why God would lead me into the Catholic Church, which I wholeheartedly believe He did. I need as much help as I can get as I journey toward Heaven. In that regard, my journey from Baptist to Catholic was like sailing from a beautiful lake into the overwhelming majesty of the Atlantic Ocean. My simple Baptist faith was sufficient, but how much more am I blessed through the Eucharist, the examples of the Saints, the spiritualities (Franciscan, Jesuit, Cistercian, etc.), the unity symbolized by the Pope, and all the other spiritual riches of 2000 years of catholic history!

    As an aside, I am reminded of what Helen Keller said upon finally hearing the Gospel, “I always new Him (Jesus), I just never knew His name.”

  • Ken

    If one can be saved without dying a Roman Catholic in the state of grace, why the heck am I going to confession and getting up early on Sunday mornings for Mass?

  • RJ

    My own image for infallibility comes from taking the kids bowling. The bowling alley folks put up guards to prevent gutter balls.

    Somehow it is not too hard to believe that God can put up those guards when the Pope makes an infallible statement. I am convinced that my kids will not get a gutter ball, but I am placing my faith in the bowling alley owner, not my kids!

  • Michael O.

    Good article.

    One issue – Dante’s Monarchia, which was added to the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, is a direct challenge to Unam Sanctam (or at least the common contemporary understanding of it, as a grasp by Boniface of temporal power). So I don’t agree that Dante never disagreed with the bull. The Monarchia is a pretty terrible work of political philosophy, though, so it’s not necessarily troubling to anyone asserting the truth of Unam Sanctam. Boniface’s political aspirations are much more so.

    Also, technically, Boniface is not in hell yet in the Inferno, but merely prophesied as being there by Pope Nicholas III. Boniface was not yet dead in the year in which the Commedia is set.

    This is what happens when you do your thesis on Dante…

  • Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick

    If one can be saved without dying a Roman Catholic in the state of grace, why the heck am I going to confession and getting up early on Sunday mornings for Mass?

    Simple: The issue is not whether some people can be saved without practicing the Catholic Faith. The issue is you. If you stop practicing the Catholic Faith, you will be committing a mortal sin, and risk dying in mortal sin and going to Hell.

    Another reason: to give glory to God.

  • Claire from DE

    If one can be saved without dying a Roman Catholic in the state of grace, why the heck am I going to confession and getting up early on Sunday mornings for Mass?

    You’re not invincibly ignorant. You know you better stay in the church and get up for mass. To whom much is given, much is expected.

  • Jane

    If one can be saved without dying a Roman Catholic in the state of grace, why the heck am I going to confession and getting up early on Sunday mornings for Mass?

    I would hope you could answer this question yourself. There are so many reasons to do these things, not just to be saved. For starters, in addition to what others have said, you have the opportunity to receive the Eucharist every day if you want to. Confession is also an opportunity, not something to do just to be saved but something to bring you closer to God. But most of all, I hope you are doing those things because you want to show God how much you love Him and want to serve Him.

  • Nathan

    “So Boniface VIII wrote in 1302 that unless you are subject to the Roman Pontiff you cannot be saved? Do you actually think tht God, the almightly always does exactly what the Pope tells him to do? Are you actually worried about what Bonifce VIII wrote in 1302? This makes rational debate very difficult.

    I’ll take my chances with the Almighty based on my own actions, sins, etc, and I am not that concerned about medieval mumbo jumbo.

    Catholics laugh at the snake handling fools of Tennessee, but yet some of them actually worry about medieval mumbo jumbo.

    Having had nuns beat the crap out of me many times in my childhood for no good reason, I am not in awe of the clergy.
    The horrific stories of physical and sexual abuse by priests and preening bishops who protect them kind of make you realize how deep the rot can be.

    We will all be judged on our sins, both of commission and omission and what some man wrote in 1302 means nothing.”

    So Jesus said in 30 AD that no one can be saved except through him? Do you really think that God, the Almighty, always does exactly what Jesus tells him to?
    Are you actually worried about what Jesus said in 30 AD? This makes rational debate very difficult.

    I’ll take my own chances with the Almighty based on my own actions, sins, etc, and I am not that concerned about Ancient Jewish mumbo-jumbo.

    Christians laugh at the snake-handling fools of Tennessee, and yet some of them actually worry about ancient Jewish mumbo-jumbo!

    I am not in awe of ancient Jews. The horrific scandals among the priests and Levites and the corrupt Saducees makes you realize how deep the rot can be.

    We will all be judged on our sins, both of commission and omission, and what some man said in 30 AD means nothing.

    Do you see the problem with the above? Yeah, I thought so.

    See, the thing is, when the person in question, whether Pope or Jesus, wrote or what age or culture he came from simply does not in and of itself disprove what he’s saying, and neither does the fact that some members of his group or hierarchy have been corrupt (unless, of course, his authority is dependent upon the absolute righteousness of that group; which neither the Pope’s nor Jesus’s is).

    What matters when one is trying to determine the truth value of what someone from the past has authoritatively declared is who the person is, what he’s saying, and the authority he has in saying what he says. Now, if he doesn’t have the authority to say what he says (that is, if the Pope isn’t infallible or Jesus isn’t really the Messiah), then of course what he says is unimportant, or at least it rightly possesses no authority over anyone. But if the person in question does possess the proper authority, whether it is Jesus’s authority as Messiah to deliver the Word of Truth or the Pope’s authority as heir of Peter to make dogmatic pronouncements, then of course what he says is enormously important, whether or not what he says was said in 1302 AD or 6000 BC.

    Thus, if you really wish to argue against Papal infallibility, which is what you’ve been attempting to do, I suggest you first actually understand the doctrine, and then try to argue against the root of the issue, which is the authority of the Pope.

    Unfortunately, none of what you’ve said above is at all relevant to such a discussion.

    I did enjoy the article, though, Mark. Good work.

  • Alan from Georgia

    It’s not just about getting to heaven in the sweet by and by, it’s also about living today in the bitter here and now. Jesus said, “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full”. As we sail toward union with God, why not take the most time-tested, safest, best equipped vessel available? All Christian denominations are not equal. There are spiritual riches in the Catholic church that are not found in other traditions. Why travel 2nd or 3rd class when you don’t have to?

  • Bern

    I find that a useful analogy is that of baptized infants. They’re incorporated by God’s grace into the Church even though they’ve never heard of any “Roman pontiff.” Boniface VIII would have taken that for granted.

  • James

    “If one can be saved without dying a Roman Catholic in the state of grace, why the heck am I going to confession and getting up early on Sunday mornings for Mass?”

    Only someone excused due to ignorance of God’s will has hope of being “saved” apart from the Catholic sacramental life. But I’d like to say a hearty “thanks!” to the Catholic Church for introducing me to the sacrament of Penance—it’s an absolutely brilliant concept.

    Just like one has to brush one’s teeth regularly to keep them in good shape, one must perform routine maintenance of one’s conscience/soul to prevent decay and corruption. To be a truly good person one must perform this maintenance.

    As a protestant, my many wrong life choices were treated as one vague and generic thing. I was “a sinner” (generic), and that was that. But the Catholic Church showed me that my individual decisions were what needed to be addressed head on, and the Church had a whole enterprise for maintaining a good conscience in the sight of God and men. For the first time I discovered my conscience, and the Church taught me to examine it regularly. Wow. I had not even realized I had a conscience that worked like that, and yet it was amazing to discover that the human conscience works exactly that way. If humans do wrong acts again and again without performing Penance, the conscience becomes corrupt, and one soon finds oneself complicit in all manner of evil acts. Sins kill good conscience and stain one’s soul, even if one professes to be christian. The remedy is the Sacrament of Confession—it works wonders over time. By addressing one’s own evil inclinations head on, they become concrete and exposed. Once they are seen objectively, it becomes easier to reject them.

  • I am not Spartacus

    If one can be saved without dying a Roman Catholic in the state of grace, why the heck am I going to confession and getting up early on Sunday mornings for Mass?

    2 John 9 Whosoever revolteth, and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.

  • Ken

    Okay, next question: why have missionaries?

    If those who just didn’t know there was a Catholic Church are going to the same place as Catholics in the state of grace, then why waste manpower in the field?

  • Mark P. Shea

    None of your questions seem to betray the slightest notion of the gospel as an expression of or participation in the *love* of God. Your first question was like asking, “If I can be validly married without every having to touch the disgusting skank, then why do I have to kiss my wife?” Your second question is like asking, “Since a certain percentage of people can survive a plague, why should we bother with medicine?” It’s complete and total minimum daily adult requirement thinking that conceives us our relationship with God as a get out of hell card, not as anything having to do with loving God or neighbor.

  • James

    Ken, I hope you enjoyed my “outsider’s view” about the amazingness of the Sacrament of Penance. I discovered that I had a conscience and soul that needed active maintenance. It’s absolutely worth it to take care of your soul, just like it’s worth it to take care of your physical health or dental hygiene. All people would benefit by availing themselves of that sacrament. It’s totally reasonable—it just makes sense.

    But your next question is this: why have missionaries if ignorant people *may* potentially get to heaven. First, an ignorant person does not automatically get to heaven. He/she must respond to fundamental morality as best as they can based on what they know that via the Natural Law. A murderer or liar or thief who senses that certain acts are wrong *but embraces them anyway* is likely to be condemned, and logically so. Christ’s grace is shed upon that person, and he/she is capable of refusing evil, and must refuse evil. But he/she has the free will to rebel.

    Next, ignorance of God and the gospel is not any kind of advantage. For example, I can tell you that my family life was devastated in countless ways by not knowing the Catholic truth about marriage, family, and Penance (with regarding family feuds). Had my family known and followed Catholic teaching on these topics, we would not have been destroyed by our own stupidity and sinfulness. I wish things had been different, and the best I can do now is look ahead to my children and their lives and futures.

    To me, Catholic Church and teachings act like a life mentor to me so that core aspects of my relationships and work can be greatly improved and led by charity and forgiveness.

    If you’re a cradle Catholic, Ken, you may take some things for granted. You may enjoy benefits that you don’t even realize you have, assuming your family was faithful to follow Catholic values. My advice to you is keep asking these questions—keep on learning at a conscious level all the riches of your Catholic faith. Be grateful that that your life could be far worse off if, like me, you had not been raised with Catholic values and virtues.

    Peace to you,

  • I am noty Spartcus

    Okay, next question: why have missionaries?

    Justification for travel expenses

  • Ken

    The key here (and point of these scenarios) is to demonstrate the tangled web weaved when one believes a non-Catholic can attain salvation.

    James, you just withheld absolution from the murderer/liar/thief who is not Catholic. From where do you get these powers?

    There is a reason for Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, thrice defined as dogma. Once folks start creating exceptions to the rule (the rule being you must die a Catholic in the state of grace to be able to go to heaven) then it becomes avalanche of asterisks in your self-written catechism.

  • I am not Spartacus

    Okay, next question: why have missionaries?

    Purchase the fantastic graphic novel, “The Inquisitor,” by the incomparable, John Zmirak.

    Your question is explored in depth there.

  • I am not Spartacus

    There is a reason for Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, thrice defined as dogma. Once folks start creating exceptions to the rule (the rule being you must die a Catholic in the state of grace to be able to go to heaven) then it becomes avalanche of asterisks in your self-written catechism.

    Once an individual takes it upon himself to authoritatively explicate Catholic Dogma he has enthroned protestantism in his own will.

    It is up to The Catholic Church to explain what the Doctrine means. It has done so. It will continue to do so.

    (Luke 10:16) (Mat 18:17,1smilies/cool.gif

  • Mark P. Shea

    cuz the actual Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches both EENS *and* the fact that those who are not in visible union with the Catholic Church may be saved. It’s just the Catechism of Ken that objects to this.

  • I am not Spartacus


    Are Non-Christians Saved?

    In a 1964 sermon, the Catholic priest who later became pope discussed whether there is salvation outside the Church.

    BY: Joseph Ratzinger

    …Everything we believe about God, and everything we know about man, prevents us from accepting that beyond the limits of the Church there is no more salvation, that up to the time of Christ all men were subject to the fate of eternal damnation. We are no longer ready and able to think that our neighbor, who is a decent and respectable man and in many ways better than we are, should be eternally damned simply because he is not a Catholic. We are no longer ready, no longer willing, to think that eternal corruption should be inflicted on people in Asia, in Africa, or wherever it may be, merely on account of their not having “Catholic” marked in their passport.

    Actually, a great deal of thought had been devoted in theology, both before and after Ignatius, to the question of how people, without even knowing it, in some way belonged to the Church and to Christ and could thus be saved nevertheless. And still today, a great deal of perspicacity is used in such reflections.

    Yet if we are honest, we will have to admit that this is not our problem at all. The question we have to face is not that of whether other people can be saved and how. We are convinced that God is able to do this with or without our theories, with or without our perspicacity, and that we do not need to help him do it with our cogitations. The question that really troubles us is not in the least concerned with whether and how God manages to save others.

    The question that torments us is, much rather, that of why it is still actually necessary for us to carry out the whole ministry of the Christian faith

  • Alan from Gerogia

    Thanks for that timely quote from Pope Benedict. This is another example of the richness, depth and broadness of the Catholic Church when compared to other traditions.

    Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

    from The Confessions of Saint Augustine

  • I am not Spartacus

    CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
    DECLARATION
    “DOMINUS IESUS”
    ON THE UNICITY AND SALVIFIC UNIVERSALITY
    OF JESUS CHRIST AND THE CHURCH

    INTRODUCTION
    VI. THE CHURCH AND THE OTHER RELIGIONS
    IN RELATION TO SALVATION

    20. From what has been stated above, some points follow that are necessary for theological reflection as it explores the relationship of the Church and the other religions to salvation.

    Above all else, it must be firmly believed that

  • I am not Spartacus

    121. Q. Are all bound to belong to the Church?

    A. All are bound to belong to the Church, and he who knows the Church to be the true Church and remains out of it, cannot be saved.

    Anyone who knows the Catholic religion to be the true religion and will not embrace it cannot enter into Heaven. If one not a Catholic doubts whether the church to which he belongs is the true Church, he must settle his doubt, seek the true Church, and enter it; for if he continues to live in doubt, he becomes like the one who knows the true Church and is deterred by worldly considerations from entering it.

    In like manner one who, doubting, fears to examine the religion he professes lest he should discover its falsity and be convinced of the truth of the Catholic faith, cannot be saved.

    Suppose, however, that there is a non-Catholic who firmly believes that the church to which he belongs is the true Church, and who has never — even in the past — had the slightest doubt of that fact — what will become of him?

    If he was validly baptized and never committed a mortal sin, he will be saved; because, believing himself a member of the true Church, he was doing all he could to serve God according to his knowledge and the dictates of his conscience. But if ever he committed a mortal sin, his salvation would be very much more difficult. A mortal sin once committed remains on the soul till it is forgiven. Now, how could his mortal sin be forgiven? Not in the Sacrament of Penance, for the Protestant does not go to confession; and if he does, his minister — not being a true priest — has no power to forgive sins. Does he know that without confession it requires an act of perfect contrition to blot out mortal sin, and can he easily make such an act? What we call contrition is often only imperfect contrition — that is, sorrow for our sins because we fear their punishment in Hell or dread the loss of Heaven. If a Catholic — with all the instruction he has received about how to make an act of perfect contrition and all the practice he has had in making such acts — might find it difficult to make an act of perfect contrition after having committed a mortal sin, how much difficulty will not a Protestant have in making an act of perfect contrition, who does not know about this requirement and who has not been taught to make continued acts of perfect contrition all his life. It is to be feared either he would not know of this necessary means of regaining God’s friendship, or he would be unable to elicit the necessary act of perfect contrition, and thus the mortal sin would remain upon his soul and he would die an enemy of God.

    If, then, we found a Protestant who never committed a mortal sin after Baptism, and who never had the slightest doubt about the truth of his religion, that person would be saved; because, being baptized, he is a member of the Church, and being free from mortal sin he is a friend of God and could not in justice be condemned to Hell…

  • Ken

    Missing Sunday Mass is a mortal sin.

  • Bob B.

    Thanks for your superb article.

    I was thinking about this subject when I woke up this morning and your piece has articulated it so well.

    As a convert to th Catholic Faith I had many difficulties resolving my ‘passage across the Tiber.

    Mk 9:38

  • Alan from Georgia

    The incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus was absolutely necessary for human salvation, however, the church seems to teach that understanding it or even knowing about it is not necessary as one begins this journey toward heaven. People living before Jesus was born and people living today who have never heard of Jesus or the church can still experience the grace and salvation provided through Jesus and His church.

    Ultimately, salvation is to experience and grow in oneness with God. Everything else flows from that union. This is the common element in all healthy religion. In Jesus, and through His continuing Presence in the church, God becomes one with humanity so humanity can become one with God. As we die to self and start loving God and others, we experience oneness with God through the power of the Holy Spirit and become mysteriously related to the church. We then grow in our understanding of that relationship based on our circumstances, opportunities, etc.

    This speaks to missions and evangelization. Perhaps our focus should not be so much on theology as on helping people experience oneness with God… helping people experience God’s love and grace in overcoming the downward pull of sin in their lives… helping people on the road that leads to destruction change direction and find the road that leads to life… just as Jesus did. If they have questions about theology, tell them about Jesus and His church; but if their lives are broken, which is more often the case, let them first see Jesus in us and experience God’s grace through our works of mercy and love. Then theology.

    Someday every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord. All humanity will acknowledge “the Lamb of God which takes the away the sins of the world.” Perhaps some will recognize the source of their salvation for the first time? In the meantime, those of us who are already doing that should also do the things He did…take good news to the poor, freedom to the prisoners, release to the captives, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, etc…. allowing others to experience Jesus through us… even if it takes awhile for them to understand all that’s happening behind the scenes.

  • Alan from Georgia
  • Alan from Georgia
  • James

    Ken, I don’t think I realized you had an agenda here to your questions. You are opposed to something, but I guess I haven’t heard you state what it is.

    Listen, it makes sense to me that a person who does not know Christ can still benefit from Christ’s work, especially once we realize that Christ’s work is designed to enable men to flee sins. So, if Christ’s grace enables men to flee sins, and if many specific sins against love can be known via the Natural Law, it makes sense that some men who do NOT know Catholicism may still be able to reform their ways. Do you see how this is possible and reasonable? They would have to resist evil as best as they know it, and Christ’s grace would aid them, even though they do not know the data about Christ.

    Peace to you.

  • I am not Spartacus

    Missing Sunday Mass is a mortal sin.

    Because you can’t even get that right, you really ought to shy away from trying to tell everyone The Magisterium is wrong about EENS.

    Q. 280. What is mortal sin?

    A Mortal sin is a grievous offense against the law of God.

    Q. 281. Why is this sin called mortal?

    A. This sin is called mortal because it deprives us of spiritual life, which is sanctifying grace, and brings everlasting death and damnation on the soul.

    Q. 282. How many things are necessary to make a sin mortal?

    A. To make a sin mortal, three things are necessary: 1.a grievous matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will.

    Q. 283. What do we mean by “grievous matter” with regard to sin?

    A. By “grievous matter” with regard to sin we mean that the thought, word or deed by which mortal sin is committed must be either very bad in itself or severely prohibited, and therefore sufficient to make a mortal sin if we deliberately yield to it.

    Q. 284. What does “sufficient reflection and full consent of the will” mean?

    A. “Sufficient reflection” means that we must know the thought, word or deed to be sinful at the time we are guilty of it; and “full consent of the will” means that we must fully and willfully yield to it.

    Q. 285. What are sins committed without reflection or consent called?

    A. Sins committed without reflection or consent are called material sins; that is, they would be formal or real sins if we knew their sinfulness at the time we committed them. Thus to eat flesh meat on a day of abstinence without knowing it to be a day of abstinence or without thinking of the prohibition, would be a material sin.

    Q. 286. Do past material sins become real sins as soon as we discover their sinfulness?

    A. Past material sins do not become real sins as soon as we discover their sinfulness, unless we again repeat them with full knowledge and consent.

    Q. 287. How can we know what sins are considered mortal?

    A. We can know what sins are considered mortal from Holy Scripture; from the teaching of the Church, and from the writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.

    Q. 288. Why is it wrong to judge others guilty of sin?

    A. It is wrong to judge others guilty of sin because we cannot know for certain that their sinful act was committed with sufficient reflection and full consent of the will.

    Q. 289. What sin does he commit who without sufficient reason believes another guilty of sin?

    A. He who without sufficient reason believes another guilty of sin commits a sin of rash judgment.

  • Mark P. Shea

    off!

    Ken, if you want to dissent from the teaching of the Catechism, you should just say that clearly and stop painting your species of ultra-trad fundamentalism as “real Catholicism”. When you’ve got even the Baltimore Catechism against you, that should be a clue that you’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere.

  • Sarah L

    Your responses greatly helped to answer my question regarding baptized non-Catholics and the Sacrament of Penance. Thanks! smilies/smiley.gif

  • Christopher Sarsfield

    Unfortunately, as Mark and I am Spartacus must know, the current Pope accepts the Feeneyite interpretation of EENS as being one of a number of orthodox interpretations. The Church has never said that any of the writings of Mark Shea on this matter are within the bounds of orthodoxy.

    With regard to the Catechism, the Feeneyites have written to Rome requesting a clarification. For example when the Catechism says that God gives the person who is invincibly ignorant that Faith without which it is impossible to please God, what does that faith consist of? Is it an explicit faith in Christ? Does the person explicitly accept this Faith, with an act of the will? If the answer is yes, well Fr. Feeney is right. If Mark were honest, he would say that he has no idea what the Catechism is binding on this question. Many popular Catholic apologists will not even discuss this question publicly, because they feel that they would be conscience bound to admit the orthodoxy of Fr. Feeney’s position. Mark obviously has no such conscience problems. He implies that Fr. Feeney was a heretic, without ever coming out and saying so. So why doesn’t Mr. Shea step up to the plate and be honest and answer a simple question: Is the opinion of Fr. Feeney on EENS heresy? or is it within the bounds of orthodoxy? Let’s have an honest search for the truth, instead of using cheap/dishonest tactics merely to win a debate!

  • I am not Spartacus

    There is a galactic distance between allowing a theological interpretation of Catholic Dogma and promoting that opinion as normative, say nothing about obsessively badgering the majority of orthodox Catholics (whose theology is not as crabbed and circumscribed as theirs) that the allowed Feeney position is definitive and binding.

    When you do find The Living Magisterium referencing Fr. Feeney as one who holds to THE correct position, please post it for us here or at CAEI.

    ALL evidence is to the contrary as any number of Magisterial Documents – including the most recent Ecumenical Council – Teach.

    Go ahead, make my day. Post for me one statement that indicates Pope Benedict holds to the Feenyite position.

    I have already cited Dominus iesus which ought obviate any attempt, but, stick to your guns and fire away.

  • I am not Spartacus

    “In a case of necessity anyone may baptize. And since nowise ought one to sin, if the priest be unwilling to baptize without being paid, one must act as though there were no priest available for the baptism. Hence the person who is in charge of the child can, in such a case, lawfully baptize it, or cause it to be baptized by anyone else. He could, however, lawfully buy the water from the priest, because it is merely a bodily element. But if it were an adult in danger of death that wished to be baptized, and the priest were unwilling to baptize him without being paid, he ought, if possible, to be baptized by someone else. And if he is unable to have recourse to another, he must by no means pay a price for Baptism, and should rather die without being baptized, because for him the baptism of desire would supply the lack of the sacrament.“(ST. SS. Q.100 A.2 Ad.2)

    I could post such things all day long. But, I won’t. I will wait until the Feeneyites try to prove that theirs is THE Catholic Teaching

  • I am not Spartacus

    Fr Feeney was a disobedient and radical priest who had very strange beliefs and who had odd theological ideas. What he thought and what he did raised more red flags than one could see at a May Day Parade in Moscow.

    http://alcazar.net/Feeney2.html

  • Christopher Sarsfield

    I am not Spartacus,

    Immediately you go to the ad hominem attacks. Why is that always the case? But let us use your logic. Fr. Feeney fought against Cardinal Cushing (then Archbishop) and a bunch of liberal Jesuits of his day. No conservative Catholic pretends the any of these men were orthodox, shouldn’t that send up some red flags?

    As to the the dogma, what you and Mark miss it that the Church defined at Vatican I that the dogmas of the Church are to believed with the same sense and meaning as they had at the time of definition.

    “14. Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.”

    So you and Mark must show that the Church held you understanding of the definition of Boniface VIII back in 1302. Good luck with that one. Your understanding of “living magisterium” is off. Dogmas can never change in meaning, unless you want to hold the opinion that the dogma of Vatican I saying the meaning of dogmas can not changed, has changed.

    As to Vatican II, Br. Thomas Mary Sennott, M.I.C.M., submitted an understanding of Lumen Gentium, which is completely in line with the Feeneyite interpretation, and this was approved by the CDF. So Vatican II is not against Fr. Feeney, rather your private interpretation (never approved by anyone) is against Fr. Feeney.

    As to Thomas Aquinas, he did not hold your view on EENS. He was clear that a person needed explicit faith in Christ, the Trinity, and the redemption in order to be saved. This is the Feeneyite understanding of EENS. The issue of Baptism of Desire and Blood are related to but separate from this dogma. No true disciple of Fr. Feeney holds their teaching on baptism as an article of faith. All Catholics must hold EENS as an article of Faith, with the same meaning and sense it had at the time of definition.

    Finally, Feeneyites do point out the problems with other interpretations of EENS, and ask people to deal with these problems. You may get mad at me for asking you to reconcile your belief that the meaning and sense of EENS has developed since the definition and the condemnation of Vatican I with regard to the development of dogma (if I had to do the impossible, I would be testy too), but this is a legitimate question. You can not hold an interpretation of a dogma, that necessarily leads to the denial of another dogma.

  • Dee

    Greetings!
    As a cradle catholic who was born again, left the church, went to almost every protestant denomination only to leave all of it, and occasionally find myself questioning the catholic/orthodox views, I beg you all to really pray!
    There are a lot of believers (people who are trusting JESUS as their LORD and SAVIOR) who are really struggling right now. Like Franklin Schaeffer, I became thoroughly disgusted with the evangelical denomination. It also sickened me that protestants would rant about catholics and yet not recognize that they practice somehwat like catholics! And to rant on believers in that ‘faith’ as if they were loosers! I thoroughly believe my parents were believers and are in heaven right now. I don’t like it that popes have been terrible, or that my parish priest was a drunk or that my teachers were complete jerks! The ark can get really stinky, but Noah was still following GOD. Perhaps we need to stop looking at each others stinks and try to forgive. Does not the Word tell us that we will be known by our love for one another? We still have a lot to learn.
    Peace,
    Dee

  • Ken

    Dee, if everything and everybody are good, then why have commandments or even the Church? What you preach is, sadly, indifferentism at best and universalism at worst. Both are heresies.

    I can understand your charitable approach to your fellow man, but your logic is why we have abortion and other evils. Sometimes one has to step up and say no.

  • I am not Spartacus

    Immediately you go to the ad hominem attacks. Why is that always the case?

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

    In any event, It isn’t always the case; but, it can be instructive. And, when one learns how much of a crank he was, one will back away from accepting Feeney as an authority on anything. I assume you do know he had no Teaching Authority?


    But let us use your logic. Fr. Feeney fought against Cardinal Cushing (then Archbishop) and a bunch of liberal Jesuits of his day. No conservative Catholic pretends the any of these men were orthodox, shouldn’t that send up some red flags?

    Nope. Not one of them were called to Rome (three times) to defend their, at best, dubious theological ideas. Feeney was and he refused to show (three times).

    As to the the dogma, what you and Mark miss it that the Church defined at Vatican I that the dogmas of the Church are to believed with the same sense and meaning as they had at the time of definition.

    And it is The Magisterium which explicates the meaning of those Dogmas. Not Fr. Feeney. Not you. The First Ottaviani Intervention (Letter to Boston) proves that.

    So you and Mark must show that the Church held you understanding of the definition of Boniface VIII back in 1302.

    Tell that to The Holy Office which slapped Feeney down for his errors. Look, if you think Pope Pius XII, and all who followed him are heretics, step-up to the plate and write that.

    Good luck with that one. Your understanding of “living magisterium” is off. Dogmas can never change in meaning, unless you want to hold the opinion that the dogma of Vatican I saying the meaning of dogmas can not changed, has changed.

    I don’t think so. The Living Magisterium CONTINUES to Teach EENS but has ADDED to that Dogma Doctrine y’all reject. C’es la vie. That is YOUR problem, not mine.

    Feeney was wrong about Salvation and Justification. He was wrong about BOB BOD. For Feeney to have been right the rest of the Church must be wrong. That Feeney refused to go to Rome to defend his theological ideas speaks volumes.

    As to Vatican II, Br. Thomas Mary Sennott, M.I.C.M., submitted an understanding of Lumen Gentium, which is completely in line with the Feeneyite interpretation, and this was approved by the CDF. So Vatican II is not against Fr. Feeney, rather your private interpretation (never approved by anyone) is against Fr. Feeney.

    I haven’t read it but I’ll take your word for it. (I won’t even get into the issues of whether or not he was ordained or whether or not MICM was erected with canonical status etc etc etc etc etc etc etc)

    When I posted the teaching from Dominus Iesus you prolly wrongly assumed that I am Pope Benedict using the S/N “I am not Spartacus.”

    Dominus Iesus is not my personal opinion. It is a Teaching from The Living Magisterium.

    Now, y’all are free to claim Feeney is the authority one must follow but I don’t buy it.

    As to Thomas Aquinas, he did not hold your view on EENS. He was clear that a person needed explicit faith in Christ, the Trinity, and the redemption in order to be saved. This is the Feeneyite understanding of EENS. The issue of Baptism of Desire and Blood are related to but separate from this dogma. No true disciple of Fr. Feeney holds their teaching on baptism as an article of faith. All Catholics must hold EENS as an article of Faith, with the same meaning and sense it had at the time of definition.

    That is not the case and you can not source a single Magisterial Document Teaching that. Good Lord, IF Feeney’s position were definitive, why has he NEVER been footnoted in any Magisterial Document.

    Finally, Feeneyites do point out the problems with other interpretations of EENS, and ask people to deal with these problems.

    Cool. Y’all have jettisoned his errors and now defend only that part of his position which is acceptable to The Living Magisterium. I have no problem with that – as I wrote several posts earlier.

    You may get mad at me for asking you to reconcile your belief that the meaning and sense of EENS has developed since the definition and the condemnation of Vatican I with regard to the development of dogma (if I had to do the impossible, I would be testy too), but this is a legitimate question

    Mad? Not at all. The request made me smile. It is not a legitimate question. I accept with docility what The Living Magisterium Teaches. Your problem is with The Living Magisterium, at least as far as I can tell.

    If you think The Baltimore Catechism, the Universal Catechism, Vatican Two, and Dominus Iesus (As you well know, I could add TONS of other citations from The Magisterium) are in error, just come right out and write that.

  • Christopher Sarsfield

    I certainly hope you do not discuss the faith with non-Catholics like this. I asked you legitimate questions, you responded by refusing to respond. I am not interested in a debate with the “Dirty Harry” of conservative Catholic apologists. I was interested in a discussion of theology. It seems you are not capable of such. You may think your lack of charity, and honesty in this discussion is justified, because you are only “debating” an “evil Feeneyite”, but your behavior does your cause no good, does your soul no good, and certainly does the Church no good.

    You could have just said that you have no answers for the Feeneyite questions. That you have no training in theology and you are being docile to what you believe Church authority requires in this matter, and you do not have the time/inclination/talent to discuss this matter. This is an honorable position, but would require you to refrain from posting comments as if you were some type of authority.

    Regarding the article at hand. Mr. Shea wrote it. It contains misinformation, and he is claiming some expertise on this subject. As such he should be willing to answer legitimate questions, and correct errors lest it appear as though he is not interested in the truth, but merely interested in winning a debate.

    May our Lady keep you forever in the blue shadow of her mantle.

  • I am not Spartacus

    http://tinyurl.com/yjczyhw http://tinyurl.com/yh3yyjq

    Other than posting these links, I really have nothing other to write. There are reasons why even such mild men as Karl Keating (Catholic Answers) refuse to debate with the Feeneyites: By Karl Keating

    As the Internet world watches you back out of another debate, this time to your demise, I would like to rebuke you in [sic] your whinings from your last letter.” That’s how the latest e-mail message started. It was from one of the brothers at the Saint Benedict Center, an offshoot of the movement started by the late Fr. Leonard Feeney, who taught that only those visibly within the Catholic Church have a chance to be saved.

    I had been challenged to debate the doctrine Extra ecclesiam nulla salus – (“No salvation outside the Church”). The original message to me included an insult, but I ignored the uncharitable remark and wrote a noncommittal reply. Only then did I turn to the Saint Benedict Center World Wide Web site, where I found a string of uncomplimentary remarks about my orthodoxy and intelligence. I was termed, of all things, a “Liberal Apologist,” and it was said I disavowed the faith in my public lectures.

    This was not an auspicious beginning to our e-mail exchange: a low-level insult in private correspondence, topped by blatant (and even ludicrous) insults in a public posting. Where did these guys learn their manners-and did they really think the way to obtain an affirmative response was to insult their prospective debate opponent? Somehow I couldn’t imagine myself walking across a wet tarmac in Casablanca, my arm around the shoulders of one of the brothers, saying, “Louie, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.”

    We exchanged further messages. Their proposed debate formats were impracticable, and I told them so. I asked for information about their proposed standard bearer. That seemed a modest request, since any debater should know in advance something about his opponent-at least his name. In answer I received another rude letter, and I complained about it.

    The next message to me said, “You further complain that the name calling was ungenerous (I agree), undiplomatic (who needs to be diplomatic when the truth is at stake?), and gratuitous (not gratuitous at all, but indeed well deserved as we shall see).” All this was uploaded to their Web site, as were the previous and subsequent exchanges. A Saint Benedict Center supporter wrote to me independently, saying, “Who cares if they weren’t courteous?”

    Well, I cared. I figured their treatment of me online might presage their treatment of me in a debate. I had been through that kind of mess before when I debated a minister from the Iglesia ni Cristo, a sect from the Philippines. He and his “seconds” (there weren’t even supposed to be any “seconds”- the debate was supposed to be one-on-one) kept interrupting me during my remarks and did their best, largely successfully, to foster a circus atmosphere in the overpacked gymnasium. I was concerned the people from the Saint Benedict Center might attempt something similar.

    Even if they wouldn’t, I still had to consider whether debating their representative would be prudent. I don’t mean I was concerned whether I might lose the debate. The clumsiness of their letters led me to conclude, perhaps unwarrantedly, that the odds would be in my favor. After all, if they handled themselves in debate with the same aplomb they displayed in correspondence, I figured I’d have a lock on the sympathy of the audience.

    Still, I had so ask myself, Cui bono to whose advantage? The personal advantage of the debaters? Maybe. I imagine the Saint Benedict Center would welcome any publicity it could get. For decades it has received a bad press (largely deserved, it seems), and a debate with a somewhat-known opponent might tend to legitimize the group. But what about the audience? Would it profit from a debate in which basic civilities were not maintained? Could the truth make its way to the ears of the listeners if the debaters were constantly at one another’s jugular? Thinking of the Iglesia debate, I concluded it couldn’t-which is too bad, since the issue of salvation needs to be aired .

    Over the last few years, but a little more intensively recently, I have been engaged in research on the question “Who can be saved?” The more I read, the more I see that the Feeneyites have taken a Protestant approach in formulating an answer. They exalt their own interpretation of “Extra ecclesiam nulla salus” over the interpretation of the magisterium. They dismiss as errors the teachings not just of Vatican II and John Paul II, but even of such a conservative pope as Pius IX. Like Modernists, they dismiss teachings of the last few centuries unless they can be shown to have been issued with the full panoply of infallibility.

    The Feeneyite interpretation of salvation needs to be shown up for what it really is, a misinterpretation. Perhaps the best way to do this would be in a book (I am in the early stage of writing such a book now, with no claim to being the right person to do the job), but a debate might help too- if it weren’t reduced to a zoo.

    Some people may revel in zooish debates. If I ever did, I no longer do. I would like to have a public exchange with someone who knows the topic and who would grant me at least as much courtesy as he grants to a panhandler. I hope that’s not asking for too much.

  • I am not Spartacus

    I certainly hope you do not discuss the faith with non-Catholics like this. I asked you legitimate questions, you responded by refusing to respond.

    Look, I posted what The Living Magisterium Teaches. You don’t accept it. I have posted links to other pro apologists who explain it and you, similarly, reject what they say. C’est la vie.

    I am not interested in a debate with the “Dirty Harry” of conservative Catholic apologists.

    LOL. I like that. I may have to consider a s/n change.

    I was interested in a discussion of theology. It seems you are not capable of such.

    I’m not.

    You may think your lack of charity, and honesty in this discussion is justified, because you are only “debating” an “evil Feeneyite”, but your behavior does your cause no good, does your soul no good, and certainly does the Church no good.

    If you desire to feel wounded, have at it. I didn’t call you an evil feeneyite. I wrote I accepted you at your word vis a vis EENS and Lumen Genitum. Grow a thicker skin, brother.

    You could have just said that you have no answers for the Feeneyite questions.

    I could have. But, I think the questions asked by The Feeneyites are responded to by a tautology that each special-interest-ideological-extremist ignores: That is, The Catholic Church, via The Living Magisterium,is the Teacher. It is not Feeney, Lefevbre, McBrien or Kung.

    You were right when you wrote I am against Feeney. He was a Jew-baiting crackpot who refused to obey legitimate authority. Y’all can consider him a hero and THE individual who restored a neglected Dogma. I believe in Free Will.

    That you have no training in theology and you are being docile to what you believe Church authority requires in this matter, and you do not have the time/inclination/talent to discuss this matter.

    I am a theological autodidact. While I may not have the inclination to “debate” an absurdity (That The Catholic Church accepts Feeneyism – a shape-shifting ideology in search of a settled definition) as Chairman of ABE Ministries I am obliged to confess that I conferred upon myself an Honorary Degree as Dr of Theology due to my long history of being an no-nuance-no-name-know-it-all.

    This is an honorable position, but would require you to refrain from posting comments as if you were some type of authority.

    LOL I sense my rhetorical “voice” is under-appreciated in your neck of the woods. C’est la vie.”

    Regarding the article at hand. Mr. Shea wrote it. It contains misinformation, and he is claiming some expertise on this subject.

    It contains no misinformation and as to Theological Bona Fides, I’d be delighted if you’d post Fr Feeney’s qualifications vis a vis those of Pope Pius IX, Cardinal Ottaviani, Pope John Paul II, all the Bishops of The Second Vatican Council, and Pope Benedict.

    As such he should be willing to answer legitimate questions, and correct errors lest it appear as though he is not interested in the truth, but merely interested in winning a debate.

    I can’t speak for Mr. Shea. I do think he is an admirable man who evinces theological knowledge far superior to what you have so far shown.

    Cheers in Christ

  • I am not Spartacus

    AngelQueen has already conducted the debate you desire to have with me.

    http://tinyurl.com/yfzwawo

    There is an entire Blog (hosted by the gentleman who opposed the Feenyites on Angelqueen) devoted to EENS

    http://tinyurl.com/yg6zly5

  • I am not Spartacus

    Unfortunately, as Mark and I am Spartacus must know, the current Pope accepts the Feeneyite interpretation of EENS as being one of a number of orthodox interpretations.

    Where can I read the CDF’s acceptance of Feeneyism? Do y’all have a link? All I have been able to find are claims such a text/decision exists. I have never seen the actual text.

    My understanding is that Feeneyites reject the Living Magisterium’s Doctrinal Development within the Dogma of EENS.

    To me, this really is not complicated.

    Those who hold to the extreme Feeneyite position believe that a person must submit to the Pope or that person will go to Hell.

    But they do not submit to the Pope when he teaches (as did Pope John Paul II) other than what Feeney personally believed and so they are matriculating down into Hell.

    It is ironic that applying Feenyism to Feenyites reveals that if Feenyism is definitive then it is they who are headed to hell.

    So, they’ve got that going for them; which is nice.

    As to the claim that Vatican Two was not against Feeney, there is Lumen Gentium 16 which clearly teaches other than what Feeney promoted.

    The sole Vatican Two Footnote referencing Fr. Feeney is in Lumen Gentium: #19

  • I am not Spartacus

    This is easy to find using google. I’ll just post what I think is most revealing about Fr. Feeney and his ideas.

    After having examined all the documents that are necessary or useful in this matter, among them information from your Chancery, as well as appeals and reports in which the associates of “St. Benedict Center” explain their opinions and complaints, and also many other documents pertinent to the controversy, officially collected, the same Sacred Congregation is convinced that the unfortunate controversy arose from the fact that the axiom, “outside the Church there is no salvation,” was not correctly understood and weighed, and that the same controversy was rendered more bitter by serious disturbance of discipline arising from the fact that some of the associates of the institutions mentioned above refused reverence and obedience to legitimate authorities.

    Accordingly, the Most Eminent and Most Reverend Cardinals of this Supreme Congregation, in a plenary session held on Wednesday, July 27, 1949, decreed, and the august Pontiff in an audience on the following Thursday, July 28, 1949, deigned to give his approval, that the following explanations pertinent to the doctrine, and also that invitations and exhortations relevant to discipline be given

    We are bound by divine and Catholic faith to believe all those things which are contained in the word of God, whether it be Scripture or Tradition, and are proposed by the Church to be believed as divinely revealed, not only through solemn judgment but also through the ordinary and universal teaching office

    Now, among those things which the Church has always preached and will never cease to preach is contained also that infallible statement by which we are taught that there is no salvation outside the Church.

    However, this dogma must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it. For, it was not to private judgments that Our Savior gave for explanation those things that are contained in the deposit of faith, but to the teaching authority of the Church.

    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

    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

    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

    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. smilies/cool.gif: “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”

    (more to follow)

  • I am not Spartacus

    From what has been said it is evident that those things which are proposed in the periodical , fascicle 3, as the genuine teaching of the Catholic Church are far from being such and are very harmful both to those within the Church and those without[/i]

    From these declarations which pertain to doctrine, certain conclusions follow which regard discipline and conduct, and which cannot be unknown to those who vigorously defend the necessity by which all are bound’ of belonging to the true Church and of submitting to the authority of the Roman Pontiff and of the Bishops “whom the Holy Ghost has placed . . . to rule the Church”

    Hence, one cannot understand how the St. Benedict Center can consistently claim to be a Catholic school and wish to be accounted such, and yet not conform to the prescriptions of canons 1381 and 1382 of the Code of Canon Law, and continue to exist as a source of discord and rebellion against ecclesiastical authority and as a source of the disturbance of many consciences.

    Furthermore, it is beyond understanding how a member of a religious Institute, namely Father Feeney, presents himself as a “Defender of the Faith,” and at the same time does not hesitate to attack the catechetical instruction proposed by lawful authorities, and has not even feared to incur grave sanctions threatened by the sacred canons because of his serious violations of his duties as a religious, a priest, and an ordinary member of the Church.

    Finally, it is in no wise to be tolerated that certain Catholics shall claim for themselves the right to publish a periodical, for the purpose of spreading theological doctrines, without the permission of competent Church authority, called the “” which is prescribed by the sacred canons.

    Therefore, let them who in grave peril are ranged against the Church seriously bear in mind that after “Rome has spoken” they cannot be excused even by reasons of good faith. Certainly, their bond and duty of obedience toward the Church is much graver than that of those who as yet are related to the Church “only by an unconscious desire.” Let them realize that they are children of the Church, lovingly nourished by her with the milk of doctrine and the sacraments, and hence, having heard the clear voice of their Mother, they cannot be excused from culpable ignorance, and therefore to them apply without any restriction that principle: submission to the Catholic Church and to the Sovereign Pontiff is required as necessary for salvation.

    In sending this letter, I declare my profound esteem, and remain,

    Your Excellency’s most devoted,

    F. Cardinal Marchetti-Selvaggiani.

    A. Ottaviani, Assessor
    .

    (Private); Holy Office, 8 Aug., 1949.

    So, as far as I can understand the various acolytes of Fr Feeney, this letter of The Holy Office is essentially nugatory and the True Catholic Doctrine IS what Feeney was teaching even though the Holy Office clearly slapped him down.

    As to this letter being referenced by Vatican Two in Lumen Gentium, I guess it must mean that the Catholic Church agrees with Fr. Feeney.

    I wonder if it is too early to crack open a nice bottle of cabernet?

  • Mark from Memphis

    A stupid question with a stupid answer. Spend sometime on some real questions, for example: “Is Catholic = to Republican”, “Am I a Roman Catholic first or an American citizen first,” or “How man y angels can dance on the head of a pin.”

  • Kelso

    In reading the article by Mr. Shea and the long queue of comments, especially those of

  • I am not Spartacus

    If Fr Feeney was right, why is the sole footnote devoted to him at an Ecumenical Council reference a letter from The Holy Office which totally and completely rejects his explanation of EENS?

    Are you of the opinion that several Popes and an Ecumenical Council are in error and that Fr Feeney is correct?

  • Mark P. Shea

    off!

  • Kelso

    Thank you “I am not Sparticus” for being specific. Please accept a brief answer, maybe not so brief.

    The footnote reference in Lumen Gentium (2,16) to the 1949 Holy Office Letter to Archbishop Cushing does not appear in the relatio, the official report which accompanied the schema of the Constitution.

    I repeat for convenience the relevant text, which you cited:

    Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.

    This is similar to what was written in the 1949 Holy Office Letter, but with the significant omission of the phrase

  • I am not Spartacus

    The footnote reference in Lumen Gentium (2,16) to the 1949 Holy Office Letter to Archbishop Cushing does not appear in the relatio, the official report which accompanied the schema of the Constitution.

    It appears at the Holy See Website: Google Lumen Gentium + Holy See (I already posted it here).

    I am not going to follow you down a special pleading rabbit hole. The Magisteriumm through The Holy Office, approved by The Pope, CLEARLY taught Feeney was wrong so your attempt
    to massage that reality is, literally, meaningless to me.

    Why can’t you just flat out say you think the Church has been Teaching heresy if that is what you believe?

  • kelso

    If you teach that non-Catholics can be saved without embracing the integral Catholic Faith, that is, while denying any article of Faith, then you are teaching heresy. If you teach that a non-Christian can be saved where they are, without Faith in the Incarnation, then you are teaching heresy. Vatican II does not teach that non-Catholics can be saved where they are; it says that “Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life.”

  • I am not Spartacus

    Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.(19*) Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.(20*) She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.(129) Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. 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.

    As far as I can determine, you think Vatican Two taught the same Dogma as Feeney even though Vatican Two footnoted The Holy Office Letter totally and completely rejecting what he was teaching.

    I don’t know how you reconcile The Magisterium’s Doctrinal Explication of Dogmatic Apples with the Orange Errors of Feeneyism and I am not at all interested in trying to untangle the claims you make.

    It is quite clear – from MANY Magisterial sources – what the Catholic Church Teaches. And,that is all I really care about.

    I leave those who are attached to Feeneyism to the good graces of the Holy Ghost.

    Good bye, brother.

  • Lionel Andrades

    In an article, Can Non Catholics be Saved? , InsideCatholic.com, Mark Shea apologist writes Fr. Leonard Feeney was excommunicated for heresy.
    He writes,’ Rev. Leonard Feeney was excommunicated for insisting that only people in visible communion with the Catholic Church could be saved.

  • Lionel Andrades

    LUMEN GENTIUM BROUGHT CHANGE IN CHURCH FOR THE FIRST TIME THEY SAY: PRECEDENTS IN THOMAS AQUINAS AND CHURCH FATHERS IGNORED

    St. Thomas Aquinas taught that a person in ignorance could be saved even if he was not a member of the Catholic Church. St. Thomas saw this as an exception to the visible need of the baptism of water for salvation .Yet St. Thomas Aquinas also taught that everybody without exception needs to enter the Catholic Church for salvation. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus.
    So the exceptions in Lumen Gentium (to the need of the baptism of water for salvation) have been preceded in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas (De Veritate 14, A- 11 ad1.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNiO7NWawCs . Also, in the writings of other saints and the Church Fathers. Lumen Gentium has only repeated those teachings.
    Lumen Gentium 16, Vatican Council II: For they who without their
    own fault do not know of the Gospel of Christ and His Church, but yet seek God with sincere heart, and try, under the influence of grace, to carry out His will in practice, known to them through the dictate of conscience, can attain eternal salvation.”
    St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration 18.5 [at funeral of his father, a convert] smilies/sad.gif c. 374 AD): “He was ours even before he was of our fold.
    His way of living made him such. For just as many of ours are not with us, whose life makes them other from our body [the Church], so many of those outside belong to us, who by their way of life anticipate the faith and need [only] the name, having the reality.”
    St. Justin Martyr, Apology 1.46 (c. 150 AD): “Christ is the Logos [Divine Word] of whom the whole race of men partake. Those who lived according to Logos are Christians, even if they were considered atheists, such as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus.”(

    So over centuries the Church taught that de facto everybody needs to enter the Catholic Church to go to Heaven, extra ecclesiam nulla salus.
    However in principle (de jure) there can be exceptions to the ordinary means of salvation which is Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water. Example even atheists can be saved in principle and as an exception. It cannot be de facto and in general since Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water is the de facto and general means of salvation according to the dogma of Unam Sanctam and the Council of Florence.

    However they are exceptions in principle and known only to God. We cannot judge that someone has a genuine baptism of desire. The Letter of the Holy Office 1949 accepts that in

  • Lionel Andrades

    RULE OF THUMB FOR ANALYSING REPORTS ON EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS
    An easy way to analyse reports on the subject of extra ecclesiam nulla salus is this rule of thumb (Rule I and II)

    RULE I
    If one says in principle (de jure) there are no exceptions to all people needing Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water to go to Heaven-it is heresy.

    If one says de facto, when meeting non Catholics, there are exceptions to all people needing Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water to go to Heaven-it is heresy.

    (The Baptism of water is part of Catholic Faith. I separate it here only for clarity, to differentiate often between the baptism of desire)

    Rule II

    Explicit salvation (Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water) is the ordinary, normal, general means to go to Heaven for all people.

    Implicit Salvation (the baptism of desire; being saved without the Sacraments) is the extraordinary means of salvation, known only to God. We cannot judge implicit salvation in specific cases.

    De facto salvation/explicit salvation is taught by Jesus and the Catholic Church(Council of Florence, Vatican Council II).So we know that every non Catholic needs to convert to go to Heaven. We know this truth without having to judge specifically.

    De jure salvation/implicit salvation is accepted in principle. De facto we cannot judge specifically at the pastoral level, the level of personal contact with non Catholics.

    GENERAL ERRORS
    1. Mixing dejure and de facto salvation .
    2. Mixing the extraordinary way of salvation, the exceptions (to the rule of the Baptism of water and Catholic Faith) with the ordinary way of salvation.
    APPLIED TO SCRIPTURE
    The extraordinary and ordinary means of salvation applied to Bible passages.

    Mark 9:38-40 But Jesus said: Do not forbid him. For there is no man that doth a miracle in my name, and can soon speak ill of me. 39 For he that is not against you, is for you. 40 For whosoever shall give you to drink a cup of water in my name, because you belong to Christ: amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.

    Extraordinary means of salvation.

    Mark 16: 16 He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.

    Ordinary means of salvation.

    John 3:5 Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

    Ordinary means of salvation.

    Matt 28:18-20 And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. 19 Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the worldThe ordinary means of salvation is Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water.(Douay Rheims Bible)

    Ordinary means of salvation is Jesus and the Catholic Church.

    APPLIED TO THE CATECHSIM
    VI. THE NECESSITY OF BAPTISM
    1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.59 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.60 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.61 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

    1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.59 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.60 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.61 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.”

    The Ordinary means of salvation.
    God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

    The extraordinary means of salvation
    845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.334

    The ordinary means of salvation.

    (Message Incomplete)

    FROM THE BLOG : eucharistandmission.blogspot.com

  • Lionel Andrades

    continued.
    “Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    Catechism of the Catholic Church 846: How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    The ordinary and extraordinary means of salvation.

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

    The ordinary means of salvation.

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.337

    The extraordinary means of salvation

    Catechism of the Catholic Church 848: “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”

    The ordinary means of salvation. Defacto all need to be evangelized.

    CONTINUED

  • Lionel Andrades

    November 10, 2009
    RULE OF THUMB FOR ANALYSING REPORTS ON EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS
    APPLIED TO VATICAN COUNCIL II

    Lumen Gentium 16. Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God. In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh. (125) On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.(126); But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator

  • Lionel Andrades

    APPLIED TO MAGISTERIAL DOCUMENTS

    Redemptoris Missio 55 : The fact that the followers of other religions can receive God’s grace and be saved by Christ apart from the ordinary means which he has established does not thereby cancel the call to faith and baptism which God wills for all people.”Indeed Christ himself “while expressly insisting on the need for faith and baptism, at the same time confirmed the need for the Church, into which people enter through Baptism as through a door.” Dialogue should be conducted and implemented with the conviction that the Church is the ordinary means of salvation and that she alone possesses the fullness of the means of salvation.

    The Church is the ordinary means of salvation

    Dominus Iesus 20: From what has been stated above, some points follow that are necessary for theological reflection as it explores the relationship of the Church and the other religions to salvation.

    Above all else, it must be firmly believed that

  • Lionel Andrades

    From the blog: eucharistandmission Thursday, October 8, 2009
    SCOTT HAHN AFFIRMS DOGMA EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS

    I have been privileged to get a letter today from a man, the Catholic Herald, England described as the greatest apologist of our time, Scott Hahn.

    Scott Hahn – affirms the Catholic dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus that, de facto all Jews in Boston need to convert for salvation which is the teaching of the Catholic Church.

    He answered the following three questions with ‘a wholehearted YES.’ -Lionel

    1) Does the Catholic Church teach that non Catholic religions, Hindus, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam etc are not paths to salvation (to go to Heaven and avoid Hell)? Yes

    2) Does the Catholic Church teach that Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water are needed for all people in general, barring the exceptions (invincible ignorance ), for salvation? Yes.

    3) When you meet a Jew in Boston can you tell him or her that he or she needs Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water to go to Heaven and avoid Hell? Yes

    Scott Hahn

  • Lionel Andrades

    UNAM SANCTAM DOGMA EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS IN AGREEMENT WITH VATICAN COUNCIL II
    Vatican Council II says outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus. So does Unam Sanctam of Pope Boniface VIII in 1302.
    The Catholic Church teaches after Vatican Council II (1965) that all people need to enter the Catholic Church to go to Heaven (Ad Gentes 7, Vatican Council II).
    Catholic Faith with the Baptism of water is the normal, ordinary way of salvation for all people (lumen Gentium 14, Vatican Council II).
    The Catholic Church is the ordinary way of salvation for all people (Lumen Gentium 14).Non Catholics however can be saved through the extraordinary means of salvation (Lumen Gentium 16).
    Only God knows who are the non-Catholics saved through the extraordinary means of salvation; the exceptions. We do not know who the exceptions are. We cannot judge.
    Jesus, the Church, Scripture and Vatican Council II indicate that the priority is Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water for all people.
    So everyone needs to enter the Catholic Church which is the like the only Ark of Noah that saves in the Flood (CCC).
    Non Catholic religions have good things in them. However they are not paths to salvation.
    All salvation comes through Jesus and His Mystical Body the Church.
    Those non-Catholics who know the above information and yet do not enter the Church are oriented to Hell (Ad Gentes 7, Lumen Gentium 14).
    Those non-Catholics participating in inter religious dialogue, are educated. They know. They are oriented to Hell.
    Outside the Church there is no salvation. Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water are needed for all people.
    This is Vatican Council II.
    No where in Nostra Aetate, Vatican Council II is it said that non Catholic religions are paths to salvation.
    Vatican Council II is in harmony with John 3:5, the Church Fathers, Unam Sanctam, Council of Florence, Evangelii Nuntiandi, Redemptoris Missio, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Dominus Iesus, Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Notification on Fr. Jacques Dupuis etc.
    Don

  • Linda June

    I’ve really enjoyed this article and discussion. I hope I’m not too late for responses. I still don’t know what to think about the doctrine, but I have a question that I think may pertain:

    Jesus says in the Gospel of John (6:53) that anyone who does not eat His flesh and drink His blood has no life in him. Can one, Protestant or otherwise, be saved without eating the Holy Eucharist worthily? If one never eats and drinks His flesh and blood, or would desire to if only they had known to, do they remain dead even though they may be “saved” according to some of the above authors?

    Protestants have their ways of making this scripture mean what they desire, but having the Blessed Sacrament available to them, regardless of how they despise the Catholic Church, and yet refusing to receive It (since their communion services cannot confect the sacrament), can they be saved outside the Catholic Church?

    If they can, then I think I have to throw in with Ken. Why be a Catholic, with all the inconveniences (Mass instead of football games, fastings, confessing very embarrassing things), severe persecutions from other “Christians” and God-haters alike, when life could be so much easier and end the same way, in heaven? All I have to do is believe in Jesus and be baptized with water. I don’t have to investigate for myself the claims of the Church even though access to her teachings are easily obtained and in spite of my folks having instilled in me a passionate hatred of same?

    If there’s nothing eternally rewarded by believing in, living according to and dying for the truth, that is, the Catholic faith, that’s above and beyond the fates of those outside the faith, then what’s the point??? It’s not that I begrudge the non-believers salvation (as implied by Benedicts’ sermon), it’s just that if the Prostestants’ and pagans’ hatred of the true and full doctrine of Jesus (and, by extension, me the Catholic) is of no matter to the matter of salvation, then why go through the extra difficulties? Why not sleep in on Sunday and watch the games when I can have all the devotions and spiritual delights, as Protestants often claim they have, anyway, and without suffering?! And still attain the beatific vision at the end and never suffer a moment in Purgatory! I can interpret the Bible any way I please! I can sacrifice to some multi-armed goddess and still have eternal life in Jesus!

    Oh, please, somebody clarify this for me.

  • Lionel Andrades

    CATHOLIC CHURCH TEACHES MUSLIM IN LONDON AND JEW IN BOSTON NEED TO ENTER CATHOLIC CHURCH TO GO TO HEAVEN]- Daphne Mcleod,Chairman,Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice
    Daphne McLeod taught for forty years in Catholic Junior and primary schools.She taught Religious Education. She was a member of the Catholic Evidence Guild, and friend of Frank Sheed and Maisie Ward, and spoke regularly at Speaker

  • Lionel Andrades

    Linda June: The Bible(John 6) and the Catholic Church teach that the Eucharist is necessary for salvation.
    There is no salvation outside the Sacraments of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is not just a sign of salvation but also an instrumnt of salvation (Dominus Iesus).
    Only those Catholics in communion with the Catholic Church are permitted to be nourished by the Eucharist.Those in mortal sin need Confession.
    Catholics in mortal sin are not in communion with Jesus and His Mystical Body the Catholic Church.Neither are Muslims,Jews and Protestants. They need to clean their soul with the Sacraments including the Eucharist.
    Everybody needs to enter the Catholic Church through Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water,Protestants included.(Ad Gentes 7,Vatican Council II).
    I agree with your views.

  • Lionel Andrades

    I AM NOT SPARTACUS refers to http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/debate9.htm

    There is AN EXAMINATION OF THE 3 DE FIDE DECREES,ON

  • Lionel Andrades

    Fr. Vincent Fitzpatrick writes:

    According to whom:
    Fr. Feeney was never excommunicated for heresy, but merely for disobedience to his Jesuit superiors–proving that he was not a heretic.

    According to the Church !
    Here is the Decree

    Pius XII

  • Lionel Andrades

    EWTN’s Fr.William Most has an article on the Internet.Here it is.

    TRAGIC ERRORS OF LEONARD FEENEY

    by Fr. William Most

    In the late 1940s Leonard Feeney, S. J. began to teach that there is no salvation outside the Church. He was correct in saying that there were official teachings, even definitions, on that score. But his tragic error came when he adopted Protestant method, thinking that in that way he would be one of the only true Catholics! We spoke of his protestant method with good reason. First, he was excommunicated for disobedience, refusing to go to Rome to explain his position.

    Comment: Fr. Most agrees that he was excommunicated for disobedience and not heresy. This is progress!

    Then the Holy Office, under Pius XII, sent a letter to the Archbishop of Boston, condemning Feeney’s error. (It is known that Pius XII personally checked the English text of that letter). In the very first paragraph pointed out what is obvious: we must avoid private interpretation of Scripture — for that is strictly Protestant.

    Comment: This could also apply to the EWTN website. Fr. Most has an article on it The Church and Salvation
    But then the letter said we must also avoid private interpretation of the official texts of the Church. To insist on our own private interpretation, especially when the Church contradicts that, is pure Protestant attitude.

    What the disobedient Feeney said amounted to this: he insisted that all who did not formally enter the Church would go to hell.

    Comment: They would be oriented to Hell according to the dogma mentioned in the Letter of the Holy Office 1949.
    The dogma is that de facto everybody needs to enter the Catholic Church to go to Heaven and avoid Hell. There are no exceptions.
    This is why he was not excommunicated for heresy.

    Hence he had to say, and he did say, that unbaptized babies go to hell.
    Further, all adults who did not formally enter the Church – get their
    names on a parish register – would also go to hell, even if they
    never had a chance to hear there was a Church, e.g., those in the
    western hemisphere during the long centuries before Columbus.
    Therefore Feeney consigned literally millions upon millions to hell,
    even though He gave them no chance.

    Comment: Lumen Gentium 14, Vatican Council II says those who know about Jesus and the Church and yet do not enter will go to Hell. This means millions of educated people in are present times are oriented to Hell according to Vatican Council II.

    Not just the documents of the Church as interpreted by the Church should have kept him from this: merely common sense, and the realization that God is not only not a monster, but is infinitely
    good – that alone should have stopped him. We have, then, most ample reason for calling his error tragic. Even the sexually immoral do not deny that God is good. Feeney does worse than they.

    Comment: Feeney was citing the dogma and Catholic text. His writings elsewhere show that he affirmed the love of God.

    I regard to the damnation of infants, tragically, Feeney cited a text of Pius IX (quoted below) saying that no one goes to hell without grave voluntary sin – babies of course have no voluntary sin. Feeney actually ridiculed the text of Pius IX and charged Pius IX with the heresy of Pelagianism, saying (in Thomas M. Sennott, They Fought the Good Fight, Catholic Treasures, Monrovia CA. 1987, pp. 305-06): “To say that God would never permit anyone to be punished eternally unless he had incurred the guilt of voluntary sin is nothing short of
    Pelagianism… . If God cannot punish eternally a human being who has not incurred the guilt of voluntary sin, how then, for example can He punish eternally babies who die unbaptized?”

    There is another feature of sound theological method we need to
    recall here. If we seem to have on hand two truths, which seem to clash head on, and they are there even after we recheck our work, we must not try to force one to fit with the other. No, we must faithfully state both points, hoping that sometime someone will find how to make them fit. The Fathers did very well on this matter. For example, in dealing with the difficult texts of Lk 2:52 and Mk 13:32 on the human knowledge of Jesus, most of the Fathers made two kinds of statements, one kind affirming ignorance, the other denying it.
    Finally, on the Lucan text St. Athanasius found how to reconcile the statements; later, Pope St. Gregory the great did the same for the Markan text.

    Comment: Fr. Feeney held the strict interpretation of the dogma which Fr. Most never affirms.Fr. Feeney was not excommunicated for heresy.
    (continued)

  • Lionel Andrades

    (Continued)
    The same situation is found in regard to texts both of the Fathers and of the Magisterium on membership in the Church. One set of texts seems very severe, the other kind, very broad.
    For commentary on each text, please see. W. Most,
    Plan>, Appendix.(Fr.William Most then quotes the Church Fathers. I hav delted it for want of space. They can be seen in the original articl on the internet)

    Comment: Fr. Most calls them

  • Lionl Andrades

    Continued.

    It is likely they had in mind those who culpably reject the Church – the words of Pius IX about those who are contumacious and obstinate fit with this

    Comment: Lumen Gentium 14 clarifies that they are oriented to Hell.

    and did not apply to those who through no fault of their own do not find the Church. The words of Romans 3.29 call for this interpretation.

    Comment: Lumen Gentium 16 indicates that they can be saved. Only God can judge who they are specifically.

    Later Magisterium texts speak of those who pertain to the Church or are joined to the Church by even an unconscious desire, contained in the will to do what is right. John Paul II spoke of a mysterious grace.

    Comment: This is the extraordinary way. The ordinary way is membership in the Catholic Church with Catholic Faith

    Our proposal, expressed above in our comments on LG 5 do not contradict these things. Rather, they try to fill in, taking a lead from St. Justin that some in the past could have been Christians because they followed the Logos, who is in all. We attached the thought of St. Justin to Romans 2:14-16. This is not strained, for when we say the Logos, a Spirit is present, we really mean He is producing an effect: His presence is not spatial. What effect does He produce? He produces the effect of making known to them interiorly what the law requires, so that the law is written on their hearts, as Rom 2:15 said, following Jeremiah 31:33. (All actions done by the Three Divine Persons outside the Divine nature are common work to all
    three. Cf. DS 800. Hence we may say God did it, or the Logos did it,or the Spirit of Christ – all mean the same).

    Comment: Vatican Council II is clear the Church is necessary for salvation.
    It is not enough to believe in the Logos or to believe in Jesus but it is necessary to enter the Church for salvation through Jesus( Council of Florence, Letter of the Holy Office 1949, Dominus Iesus 21 etc).

    (continued)

  • Lionel Andrades

    Continued.

    Then, if, for example Socrates – explicitly mentioned by St. Justin -follows the law on his heart, Socrates does not know the source of that law. It is really the Spirit of Christ who writes it. In accepting it, Socrates objectively accepts the Spirit of Christ.

    Since he accepts and follows that Spirit, he of course follows the Logos. But in Romans 8:9 we hear that “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” So then, one who does have and follow that Spirit, does belong to Christ . But to belong to Christ in St. Paul’s language means to be a member of Christ – which is a member of the Church, by substantial membership, even though without formal external adherence.

    Comment: One needs to become a member by substantial membership (Ad Gentes 7,CCC 1257).However known to God there can be those saved without the Sacraments (CCC 1257, Lumen Gentium 16)

    So people of this sort who follow the law on their hearts are members of the Church, and as such, can be saved. This fits especially well with the words of Vatican II in LG 16.

    We are not saying, of course, that the Baptist church, for example, is a component part of the Catholic Church. No we merely say that some who are Baptists (or other types) can, if they fill the conditions given above, become substantially, not formally, members of the Catholic Church as individuals, and so can be saved.

    Comment: Correct they are saved through the exceptional way this needs to be clarified by Fr. Most otherwise it is heresy on his part. If Fr. Most is saying that de facto some people ,whom we approach in personal contact, can be saved without entering the Church then this contradicts the dogma.

    Fr. Most never ever affirms the dogma that de facto everyone needs to enter the Catholic Church, with no exceptions to go to Heaven and avoid Hell. This is salvation. And that de jure, in principle, there can be those saved with an implicit desire etc and who are known to God only.

    When Feeney was old, some church authorities out of sorrow for him,let him be reconciled to the Church. As part of the unfortunate looseness we se so often today, they did not demand that he recant.

    Comment: This is a personal interpretation.

    There was no need for him to recant since as Fr. Most has said that he was not excommunicated for heresy but disobedience.

    So he did not. As a result, some former followers of his came back to the Church. Others even today insist that the lack of demanding a recantation meant Feeney had been right all along. Of course not. We have proved that abundantly with official texts above and the texts of the Fathers of the Church.

    Comments: The Fathers of the Church and the Church Councils and Vatican Council II (Ad Gentes 7) are all consistent in accepting the strict interpretation of extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    Let us add one more thing. In the parable of the talents, the man who hid his talent told the master he knew the master was a hard man. The master replied that he would judge him out of his own mouth, and condemned him. So when a Feenyite

    Comment: What do you mean by a

  • Lionel Andrades

    EWTN IN CALUMNY AND HERESY

    There is an article on the Eternal Word Televison Network (ETWN)by Fr.William Most titled The Church and Salvation (Click on Faith, Teachings, The Catholic Church and then The Church and Salvation)

    The Letter of the Holy Office supported Fr. Leonard Feeney over Catholic doctrine. It did not condemn him as EWTN asserts.

    The Letter also referred to the ‘dogma‘. The ‘infallible‘ teaching.

    The dogma– according to Church Councils and popes says that all people need de facto to enter the Catholic Church through Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water. All people- means, de facto no exceptions. This has always been the dogma of extra ecclesiam nulla salus.
    No more, after some 60 years, can we say that de jure (de iure) Fr. Leonard Feeney believed there can be no exceptions ( to Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water. The exceptions include invincible ignorance, baptism of desire etc.
    This would be calumny. The website of theSlaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Richmond, NH,USA the Catholic community founded by Fr.Leonard Feeney, is clear on doctrine. So is the website of the St. Benedict

  • Lionel Andrades

    The Letter says:

    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.

    Comment:It is necessary de facto to be incorporated into the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ through the Baptism of water. It is necessary de facto for all people. This is the teaching of the dogma and Fr. Leonard Feeney.

    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.

    Comment: Therefore no one will be saved; no one can be saved, who knowing about the Church (de jure) does not de facto enter it. There is no Church document which says that Fr. Leonard Feeney was excommunicated for heresy. This is implied by EWTN. There is no charge of heresy in the Letter of the Holy Office (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) 1949 to the Archbishop of Boston.
    The Letter does not specify when it is describing de facto or de jure salvation, what it calls the dogma. Since it was a statement of the Magisterium the Letter had to be in harmony with Sacred Tradition.

    From what has been said it is evident that those things which are proposed in the periodical , fascicle 3, as the genuine teaching of the Catholic Church are far from being such and are very harmful both to those within the Church and those without.

    Comment:The material and its interpretation was sent to the Vatican by the Archbishop of Boston. The Archbishop never issued a clarification when the secular newspapers said that the Catholic Church has changed its teachings on extra ecclesiam nulla salus and now everyone does not have to convert into the Church.
    Neither would the Archbishop over time affirm the dogma that de facto everyone without exception needs to enter the Catholic Church.

    From these declarations which pertain to doctrine, certain conclusions follow which regard discipline and conduct, and which cannot be unknown to those who vigorously defend the necessity by which all are bound’ of belonging to the true Church and of submitting to the authority of the Roman Pontiff and of the Bishops “whom the Holy Ghost has placed . . . to rule the Church” (Acts 20:2.
    Hence, one cannot understand how the St. Benedict Center can consistently claim to be a Catholic school and wish to be accounted such, and yet not conform to the prescriptions of canons 1381 and 1382 of the Code of Canon Law, and continue to exist as a source of discord and rebellion against ecclesiastical authority and as a source of the disturbance of many consciences.

    Comment: The above paragraphs refer to the disobedience of the St. Benedict Center to the Archbishop of Boston.
    The SBC believed the Archbishop was in heresy. They refused to follow the doctrinal teachings of the Archbishop and the Jesuit Rector of Boston College. Time would prove St. Benedict Center correct.
    After the Archbishop did not make the Letter public and the media reported that non Catholics no more needed to convert the Vatican intervened. The Archbishop finally made the Letter public – three years after the Letter was issued.
    There was no clarification in the media by the Archbishop of Boston.

    Furthermore, it is beyond understanding how a member of a religious Institute, namely Father Feeney, presents himself as a “Defender of the Faith,” and at the same time does not hesitate to attack the catechetical instruction proposed by lawful authorities, and has not even feared to incur grave sanctions threatened by the sacred canons because of his serious violations of his duties as a religious, a priest, and an ordinary member of the Church.

    Comment: Based on the information given to them by the Archbishop of Boston they assume that the Archbishop was faithful to the Church and Fr. Leonard Feeney was disobedient.

    Finally, it is in no wise to be tolerated that certain Catholics shall claim for themselves the right to publish a periodical, for the purpose of spreading theological doctrines, without the permission of competent Church authority, called the “” which is prescribed by the sacred canons.

    Comment: The Vatican would later realize that it was the St .Benedict Center and not the Archbishop who was affirming Catholic doctrine.
    The Archbishop and the Jesuits would not publically say that de facto all people need to enter the Church for salvation.

    Therefore, let them who in grave peril are ranged against the Church seriously bear in mind

    Comment: He assumes that it is Fr. Feeney, who personally did not defend himself. Fr.Leonard Feeney knew that he was affirming a dogma and so had to be correct. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus was an ex cathedra, infallible teaching from the Bull Unam Sanctam and Council of Florence. It was repeatedly endorsed by other Councils and popes. Over centuries its meaning was the same to all Catholics-including Fr.Leonard Feeney.

  • Lionel Andrades

    (Continued)

    that after “Rome has spoken” they cannot be excused even by reasons of good faith. Certainly, their bond and duty of obedience toward the Church is much graver than that of those who as yet are related to the Church “only by an unconscious desire.” Let them realize that they are children of the Church, lovingly nourished by her with the milk of doctrine and the sacraments, and hence, having heard the clear voice of their Mother, they cannot be excused from culpable ignorance, and therefore to them apply without any restriction that principle: submission to the Catholic Church and to the Sovereign Pontiff is required as necessary for salvation.

    In sending this letter, I declare my profound esteem, and remain, Your Excellency’s most devoted. Cardinal Marchetti-Selvaggiani.A. Ottaviani, Assessor.(Private); Holy Office, 8 Aug., 1949.

    Comment:
    Vatican Council II (1965) would affirm the Letter and say

  • Lionel Andrades

    ( Continued)
    He continues suggesting that the extraordinary means of salvation is the ordinary means of salvation. This is contrary to the dogma, the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church. It is contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Magisterium which has been consistent on this issue.

    Clearly, it is this Divine Word, or the Spirit of Christ, the Divine Word, that writes the law on their hearts, i.e., makes known to them what they should do. If they follow that, although they do not know that that is what they are following, yet objectively, they do follow the Logos, the divine Word. And so St. Justin was right in calling them Christians. We can add that St. Paul in Romans 8:9 makes clear that if one has and follows the Spirit of Christ, he “belongs to Christ.” But, to belong to Christ is the same as being a member of Christ, and that is the same as being a member of the Church. Not indeed by formal adherence, but yet substantially, enough to satisfy the requirement of substantial membership. Indeed, Vatican II even wrote (LG # 49): “All who belong to Christ, having His Spirit, coalesce into one Church.”

    Comment:This paragraph is a repetition of the earlier one. The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary de jure accept the exceptions as did Fr. Leonard Feeney their founder.However de facto there are no exceptions, according to the dogma, the infallible teaching.
    A non Catholic can be saved de facto in invincible ignorance however Fr.William Most cannot judge who specifically is this non-Catholic. Only Jesus can judge.

    So, St. Paul was right: God does take care of them; St. Justin was right too: they can be Christians without knowing it. Otherwise, God would be sending millions upon millions to hell without giving them any chance at all, if they lived far from places where the Church was known, e.g., in the western hemisphere before 1492.

    Comment:Vatican Council II (Lumen Gentium 14, Ad Gentes 7) indicates that God could be sending millions upon millions of people to Hell who are educated, in a world with good means of communication. This is what Fr. Leonard Feeney said in The Bread of Life. Americans are educated. They know. He said Americans knew about Jesus and His Death and Resurrection and His being the only Saviour of the world. Lumen Gentium 14 would say that they are oriented to Hell.
    EWTN suggests that de facto there are exceptions and so all non Catholics do not have to convert.

    That fact that salvation is possible in this way does not mean that there should be no missions or attempts to bring back the Protestants.

    Comment: Why? If you say that Lumen Gentium 16 is the ordinary way. Why?

    Richer and more secure means of salvation are to be had with formal explicit adherence to the Catholic Church.

    Comment: ‘Richer and more secure means of salvation

  • Lionel Andrades

    LEONARD FEENEY

  • Lionel Andrades

    Catholic apologists indicate that Pope Pius XII was fallible. This is the message of Mark Shea and Patrick Madrid. Also Fr. William Most on the Eternal Word Television Network (ETWN).
    Apologist Mark Shea in a feature on InsideCatholic.com, Can Non Catholics be saved? (24.10.2009) states that Fr. Leonard Feeney was excommunicated for heresy.

    He writes,’ Rev. Leonard Feeney was excommunicated for insisting that only people in visible communion with the Catholic Church could be saved.

  • Jeff

    [smiley=happy]
    I liked what was written. I grew up in a Catholic/Methodist mother and father family. I went to catholic church and Catholic grade school and had an awful Catholic pre-Vatican 2 upbringing. The Church I grew up in was led by a Priest who had no love of God, just strict teachings of the church. After high school, I discovered the bible and learned that We are saved by faith and obedient works. (not just faith and Not just works) I also learned that God has forgiven ALL of our sins on the cross and that we are always loved by God. After 20 years of being a Christian, I finally fell in love with Jesus with my whole heart. I still go to the Catholic church and I still agree with much of what the church teaches. However, I would love to see the Church change it teaching on a few subject like: the ever virgin Mary (why can’t Mary have children ? she was married to a good man), the assumption of Mary ( she died and was buried like everyone else – even Peter and Paul, not historical proof), Peter as leader of church – (it was his faith that made Peter a rock – not his person hood, his confession of Faith is the Rock that makes us the church not Peter himself.) The bible and tradition make up truth. (Not any new teaching that don’t reference the bible should be added), The body and blood at the Last Supper to be taken literally ( It represents Jesus and to take it literally make no sense – spiritually makes sense. Is Jesus a door, a light, a Living Water, all the “I am’s” in John make no sense if you take them as literal reading so why do it for the last supper?) So I am in agreement that ALL people that believe in Jesus and have obedient faith/works are God’s Children. Being Catholic by following what Peter says in Act2-15 is what make us Christ’s. Catholic as a denomination does not make us “saved” any more than being in a garage makes us a car. I Love 99% of the Church and the 1% I don’t agree with I don’t worry about. Peace to all. Jeff.

  • Andy

    Off!

  • Andy

    Boldface too!

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