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The Catholic Theology of Religions: A Genuine Doctrinal Development

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Many Catholics can perhaps still remember a time when the explanation from Catholic bishops and popes about the Catholic Church’s stance on salvation outside the church was little more than a reaffirmation of the traditional and literal understanding of the ancient Cyprian formula extra ecclesiam nulla salus [outside the Church there is no salvation].  Until the official progressive view endorsed by Vatican II, the traditional understanding of this ancient phrase was fairly straightforward—if you are not visibly a member of the Catholic Church you were excluded from salvation.[1]  Cyprian’s analogy was of Noah’s ark—just like Noah’s contemporaries had to be inside the Ark to be saved from the flood, so one has to be “inside” the Catholic Church to be saved.

This interpretation of the Cyprian formula, however, in spite of its historical pedigree and centrality in the Catholic Tradition in per-modern history, was reinterpreted at Vatican II.  Any genuine doctrinal development that takes place on the official level in the Catholic Church is preceded by progressive views.  To understand this development, however, we must first understand not only the Cyprianic formula, but the theological rationale behind it.  It was argued early on (most notably by Augustine) that since Jesus and the Apostles taught that saving grace came through the sacraments (Mk 16:16; Jn 6:53; Acts 2:38), the Church is therefore necessary for salvation, for she administers the sacraments as Jesus instructed.  Thus the formula was tied initially to a sacerdotal soteriology.  If the progressive view was going to reshape traditional Catholic beliefs about adherents of other religions, this sacerdotal logic had to be addressed.

Vatican II[2] still dogmatically echoes the tradition that salvation comes through Jesus Christ and that this salvation is mediated through the Church. For example:

Basing itself on scripture and tradition, [this holy Council] teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is 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 (cf. Mk. 16:16; Jn. 3:5), and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door.[3]

The analogy used here is also similar to the traditional analogy of Noah’s Ark—baptism is the “door” one must go through to be saved.  Nevertheless, whereas the Cyprianic formula was intended to be interpreted as meaning that visible membership in the Catholic Church was necessary for salvation, Vatican II only requires this as a precondition for the fullness of salvation, not salvation itself.  In the Vatican II documents, different levels of incorporation into salvation are tied specifically to different ways non-Catholics can be incorporated into the Catholic Church without their knowing it.

Fully incorporated into the Church are those who … [are] joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. …

Catechumens who, moved by the Holy Spirit, desire with an explicit intention to be incorporated into the Church, are by that very intention joined to her. …

The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but who do not however profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter. … these Christians are indeed in some real way joined to us in the Holy Spirit for, by his gifts and graces, his sanctifying power is also active in them…

Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways.  There is, first, that people to which the covenants and promises were made [Jews] … But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Moslems [sic] … Nor is God remote from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, since he gives to all men life and breath and all things (cf. Acts 17:25-28), and since the Savior wills all [people] to be saved (cf. 1 Tim 2:4).  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. [4]

Since Baptism is necessary for salvation, all persons saved without a Christian baptism are considered incorporated into the Catholic Church by a baptismo implicitum (an implicit baptism).  This way, the Catholic Church still holds to the wording of the Cyprianic formula without requiring the traditional literal interpretation, thus yielding the original formula dangerously misleading for Catholics unfamiliar with the developments of Vatican II.

This new inclusivist framework still holds that salvation is only through Christ and the Church, and views whatever goodness or truth inherent within other religions and their adherents as finding their true fulfillment in Christ.[5]  In this sense, other religions can be seen as preparatio evangelica [a preparation for the fullness of the gospel].[6]  Although whatever good found in other religions is “preserved … purified, raised up, and perfected” by the Catholic faith, the Church still “snatches them from the slavery of error” when she incorporates them more fully into Christ and “each disciple of Christ has the obligation of spreading the faith to the best of his ability.”[7]  Gaudium et Spes nevertheless adds a comforting qualifier about the necessity of evangelism by teaching that “the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every [person] the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery.”[8]

Popes and Catholic theologians have given various assessments of Vatican II’s theology of religions.  Karl Rahner’s theology of “anonymous Christianity” had a major influence on the question of whether other religions can have salvific potency.  He believed Vatican II left the question “open” and does not finally resolve all ambiguity.[9]  Kärkkäinen says Paul Knitter represents “one extreme” that sees mainstream Catholicism as implicitly affirming a pluralist position.[10]  The majority of post-Conciliar developments, however, “usually hold the more restrictive view according to which followers of other religions may be saved but other religions as such do not have salvific structure.”[11]  Theologians like Gavin D’Costa have become outspoken critics of the pluralist interpretation of Knitter and others.[12]  Later encyclicals such as Pope Paul VI’s Evangelii Nuntiandi (1975) and John Paul II’s Redemptoris Missio (1990) can be seen as pastoral correctives against a de-emphasis on Christ and “the church’s central role in the history of salvation” and “practices of interreligious dialogue that stressed the commonalities among religions rather than Christian uniqueness.”[13]

In sum, the mainline Catholic interpretation of Vatican II can be recapped this way: “Followers of other religions can find salvation, but such salvation is found finally and fully in Christ and his church.”[14]  In this manner, Catholics believe that because salvation comes through Jesus Christ via the Church, Catholics have an obligation and duty to proclaim the Christian faith and seek converts.  On the other hand, because God desires the salvation of all people, his grace is at work outside the Church, leading people who remain in other religions to be nevertheless “incorporated” into the Church in various ways.

Bradley R. Cochran


[1] There were certain exceptions to this that one might easily anticipate.  For example, if you had accepted the Church, embraced her, and were being prepared for baptism, then suddenly died before you were actually baptized, you were considered as baptized anyway (by a “baptism of desire”).  Or if you had accepted the Catholic message but died a martyr’s death before you happened to be baptized, you could still be considered as baptized (by a “baptism of blood”).  But these exceptions were for those who had explicitly accepted Catholicism or the message of Catholics but who were not yet baptized, not for people who followed other religions.  There was a stronger precedent, however, for the doctrinal development that took place at Vatican II.  Kärkkäinen, for example, notes that “as late as 1943, the highly acclaimed papal encyclical entitled Mystici Corporis (“the Mystical Body”) by Pius XII still held to the view that only ‘true’ Catholics are saved,” but he admits also that this same encyclical leaves open the door of salvation for those who have no access to the gospel.  Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, An Introduction to Theology of Religions: Biblical, Historical, and Contemporary Perspectives (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 111-12.  Mystici Corporis taught that people who have no access to the gospel can “by a certain unconscious desire and longing” be “ordained to the mystical Body of the Redeemer.”  Though initially applied only to those who have no access to the gospel, Vatican II would adopt and refine the logic used in this document in order to explain how people who remain as adherents of other religions might also still achieve eternal salvation.

[2] Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, new revised edition, ed. Austin Flannery, O.P. (Northport, New York: Costello Publishing, 1975, fifth printing 2004).  The documents most relevant to the Catholic theology of religions are: Nostra Aetate (NA), Ad Gentes (AG), Gaudium et Spes (GS), and Lumen Gentium (LG).

[3] Lumen Gentium (LG) 14.

[4] LG 14-16.

[5] This is generally known as a “fulfillment theory” of religions.  “That is to say, other religions are ‘fulfilled’ (find their completion and perfection) in Christianity.”  Paul Hedges, Controversies in Interreligious Dialogue and the Theology of Religions (London, UK: SCM Press, 2010), 23.

[6] Kärkkäinen, An Introduction to Theology of Religions, 117.

[7] LG 17.

[8] Kärkkäinen, An Introduction to Theology of Religions, 115.

[9] Ibid., 118.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid., 117.

[12] Gavin D’Costa, ed. Christian Uniqueness Reconsidered: The Myth of a Pluralistic Theology of Religions (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 1990).

[13] Kärkkäinen, An Introduction to Theology of Religions, 120.

[14] Ibid., 120.


36 Comments

  1. Bryan Cross says:

    Hello Bradley,

    I agree with much of your description, but I think there are a couple necessary qualifications. The pre-VII position was not Feeneyite, and it is important not to construe it as Feeneyite. There was always a belief that sufficient grace was given to all men such that no man was without excuse, and this included those invincibly ignorant of Christ and His Church. ENNS was never a declaration by the Church of who is in hell (i.e. those who never become visible members). What you describe as “fairly straightforward” is actually the Feeneyite position, and thus a misconstrual of what the Church has always taught regarding EENS. The Church’s opposition to Feeneyism in the 1940s was not a rejection of the Tradition she had always taught; Feeneyism was never part of the Tradition. So we shouldn’t construe the pre-VII position as showing us who went to hell. Rather, EENS was about the means Christ established as necessary for salvation, and the persons to whom it is addressed are those who are not invincibly ignorant, in much the way the Church understood the necessity of baptism. What has been given to the Church by Christ are the means of salvation; she knows no other means. But she does not conclude, and cannot justifiably conclude, that everyone who has not visibly made use of those means is damned; that would be to undermine God’s omnipotence.

    Vatican II in no way denies the “literal” meaning of ENNS; EENS is still literally true, just as it has always been literally true. Vatican II clarified the qualification regarding invincible ignorance; it didn’t transform EENS into a metaphor.

    It is not true that the Cyprianic formula damned all who were never visible members of the Church; otherwise there would have been no such thing as a recognition by the Church, from very early on, of the possible salvation of catechumens who died before being baptized, and thus before becoming visible members of the Church.

    And your statement that “Vatican II only requires this [i.e. visible membership] as a precondition for the fullness of salvation, not salvation itself” is not accurate. Those who know the Catholic Church is the Church Christ founded, and who nevertheless refuse to enter her, cannot be saved. “Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.” (CCC 846) That’s right out of Lumen Gentium.

    I don’t know exactly what you mean by “progressive.” If by ‘progressive’ you only mean “further unveiling the meaning of the deposit,” then sure, so was Vatican I, Trent, Florence, Fourth Lateran, etc. But in modern language, the term ‘progressive’ typically has other connotations, including dissent. And VII in no way dissented from the dogma and tradition of the Church.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  2. Bryan,

    I certainly respect your interpretation and will keep it in mind as I continue to study other various Catholic appraisals of the Pre and Post Vatican II Catholic perspectives of the religious Other.

    You seem to be arguing that Leonard Feeney was the first Catholic to interpret the Cyprianic Formula as if it meant that people of other religions cannot also be members of the Catholic Church and just not know it yet. I’m very suspicious of this, but also open if it seems to fit the evidence as I continue to study.

    Are you saying that VII’s declaration that Protestants were actually incorporated into the Catholic Church even though they willfully reject that authority of the pope (see quotation from VII above) was merely a further “elaboration” of what was already believed by Catholics before Vatican II?

    Leaving aside for the moment the ambiguities inherent in the ideas of vincible vs. invincible ignorance (ambiguities about the criterion for knowing whether one is vincible or invincibly ignorant): If the Pre-Vatican II position already held that those with “invincible” ignorance could still be saved by following their conscience (see quotation from VII above), it would seem like an almost no-brainer to then add “and some of these people can be members of other religions.” In fact, if this were the only Vatican II development, it seems odd to me that in my study of the Catholic theology of religions VII has received such unprecedented attention and is considered to have taken the Catholic Church in a new direction. So many Catholics interpret Vatican II as a genuine doctrinal development that changed the Catholic outlook in a fundamental way.

    If the Catholic Church has always believed that people of other religions who follow their conscience can be saved (notice I didn’t say “will be saved”) without visible membership in the Catholic Church, and that this wider grace can even include those who are aware of the Catholic message which includes obedience to the pope and yet still reject this message (i.e. Protestants) and who are willfully disunified with the Catholic Church and the successor of Peter, then it’s hard to take you seriously when you say the Catholic Church always has and always will interpret ENNS “literally.”

    Your statement that “Vatican II only requires this [i.e. visible membership] as a precondition for the fullness of salvation, not salvation itself” is not accurate. Those who know the Catholic Church is the Church Christ founded, and who nevertheless refuse to enter her, cannot be saved.

    Your argument here is unintelligible to me. If people of other religions can achieve eternal salvation (see quotations I pulled from the official VII documents above), then visible membership in the Catholic Church is not a requirement thereof.

    Further, are you saying before Vatican II Catholics never saw ENNS as excluding Protestants from salvation and no pope ever used ENNS in such a way as to imply that it applied to Protestants? If “vincible” ignorance does not include Protestants (who are now “separated brethren”), I’m not sure who it would include?

    I’m open to your interpretation, but from my reading so far I haven’t read any Catholics (or Catholics who are summarizing the views of Catholics) who argue the way you are arguing. I understand there was a precedent for the development at VII (see footnote 1 for example, and also I’m aware of the “baptism of blood” and “baptism of desire”), but it seems like our difference in perspective at this point is over what the content of that development actually was. This doesn’t surprise me, since there is a wide diversity of VII appraisals by prominent Catholic theologians themselves (not to mention between Catholics and Protestants). Would you say Gavin D’Costa or John Milbank take the same interpretation as you? Are there any mainstream Catholic theologians in the field of “Theology of Religions” who are interacting with D’Costa, John Cobb, Francis X. Clooney, Pannenberg, Paul Knitter, Jacques Dupuis, et. al. that argue for your interpretation?

    Thanks for your interaction,

    Bradley

  3. Lionel Andrades says:

    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2012/03/bishop-fellay-frschmidbergerfsspjoseph.html
    Tuesday, March 20, 2012
    Bishop Fellay, Fr.Schmidberger,FSSP,Joseph Fenton seem unaware the baptism of desire is not an explicit exception to the dogma
    From Rorate Caeli comments on Who is a Traditionalist?

    Ecclesia Militans said…
    Brother André Marie,
    I’ve studied the articles and I must say that they do not make a convincing argument against the threefold Baptism.

    Lionel:
    it is important to note that there is only one baptism which is explicit. It is the baptism of water.

    Ecclesia Militans
    Other than quoting the many various forms of the dogma extra Ecclesiam nulla salus and discussions and speculations on St. Augustine’s view, there are only two or three marginal quotes by doctors that speak against the threefold Baptism.

    Lionel:
    We can only accept the baptism of desire and martrydom in pinciple. Explicitly we do not know any case, we cannot judge.If the Church declares someone a martyr we accept it.

    Ecclesia Militans
    As for St. Emerentiana, I see that Fr. Feeney decided to deny Tradition by saying she must have been baptised in water before martyrdom, although she has always been counted as an unbaptized cathecumen who died for Christ and received the Baptism of Blood.

    On the other hand, I present you a short list of those important documents, theologians, bishops and doctors that explicitly affirmed the threefold Baptism (most of the quotes are found in the article mentioned in my last comment, if you wish, I can send you the others by mail):

    Lionel:
    In this list it is important to note that none of them said that the baptism of desire and the baptism of blood were explicitly known to us or that we could judge these cases in general or that they were explicit exceptions to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    Ecclesia Militans
    St. Cyprian BM, Tertullian, St. Cyril of Jerusalem BCD, St. John Chrysostome BCD, St. Ambrose BCD, St. Augustine BCD, St. Thomas Aquinas CD, St. Catherine of Sienna V, Ecumenical Council of Trent, Catechism of the Council of Trent, St. Alphonsus Liguori BCD, Pope Pius IX, Baltimore Cathechism (19th century), The Cathechism Explained (1899), Cathechism of Pope St. Pius X, Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Code of Canon Law (1917), Catholic Dictionary (1946), Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office (1949), mons.

    Lionel:
    They all were in agrement with Fr.Leonard Feeney.

    Ecclesia Militans

    Joseph Fenton (1952), Archbishop Lefebvre FSSPX, Fr. Schmidberger FSSPX, Bishop Fellay FSSPX…

    Lionel:
    They seem unaware too that the baptism of desire etc are not defacto exceptions to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    Ecclesia Militans

    The inescapable conclusion is that the doctrine of Fr. Feeney denies or contradicts the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium as expressed through the above teachings of the said theologians, doctors etc.

    Lionel:
    Fr.Leonrd Feeney said that there is only one baptism, the baptism of water . This is the only explicit baptism. For salvation all people need the baptism of water and there are no known exceptions.This is the teaching of the Magisterium as expressed through the above mentioned theologians, doctors etc.This is the teaching of the following:

    St. Cyprian BM, Tertullian, St. Cyril of Jerusalem BCD, St. John Chrysostome BCD, St. Ambrose BCD, St. Augustine BCD, St. Thomas Aquinas CD, St. Catherine of Sienna V, Ecumenical Council of Trent, Catechism of the Council of Trent, St. Alphonsus Liguori BCD, Pope Pius IX, Baltimore Cathechism (19th century), The Cathechism Explained (1899), Cathechism of Pope St. Pius X, Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Code of Canon Law (1917), Catholic Dictionary (1946), Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office (1949), mons.

    Ecclesia Militans

    It even goes against the Code of Canon Law which was valid at the time (canons 737 & 1239).

    Lionel:
    No magisterial document states that the baptism of desire etc are explicitly known to us or an exception to the dogma.

    Ecclesia Militans
    you can see that to assert that so many theologians, doctors, popes and Church documents were in error for so many centuries is to deny the indefectibility of the Church.St. Alphonsus Liguori calls the baptism of desire de fide,…

    Lionel:
    Yes it is de fide and accepted in principle. It cannot be known explicitly and so it does not contradict the dogma or Fr.Leonard Feeney.

    Ecclesia Militans
    and St. Cyprian BM, back in the 3rd century, seems to call those who do not believe in the Baptism of Blood of the cathecumens “aiders and favourers of heretics”.

    Lionel:
    The baptism of blood is not an exception to the dogma.

    Ecclesia Militans
    In short and precise quote:

    “Outside of the Church, nobody can hope for life or salvation unless he is excused through ignorance beyond his control.“

    Lionel:
    Correct and we do not know any case of a non Catholic on earth who is saved in invincible ignorance or is going to be saved.

    Ecclesia Militans
    e Pius IX, SINGULARI QUIDEM
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/encyc/p9singul.htm

    Lionel:
    No where does Pope Pius IX say that the baptism of desire etc are exceptions to the dogma or that they are explicit. On has to make this wrong assumption.The popes do not make this assumption.

    20 January, 2012 23:34
    -Lionel Andrades
    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.it/2012/01/who-is-traditionalist.html

  4. Lionel Andrades says:

    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2012/03/stthomas-did-not-reject-invincible.html
    Wednesday, March 21, 2012
    ST.THOMAS DID NOT REJECT “INVINCIBLE IGNORANCE”: HE KNEW IT DID NOT CONTRADICT THE LITERAL INTERPRETATION OF OUTSIDE THE CHURCH NO SALVATION, WHICH HE HELD
    There is no Church document ,pope or saint who claims that those saved in invincible ignorance or the baptism of desire are known to us and so they are explicit exceptions to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    St.Thomas Aquinas affirmed the ‘rigorist interpretation’ of the dogma outside the church no salvation. He also accepted in principle that a non Catholic can be saved in invincible ignorance .He knew in general that the normal, ordinary way of salvation was Catholic Faith with the baptism of water.

    The ordinary way of salvation is not the baptism of desire or blood since we cannot give ourself this grace. However we can administer the baptism of water and teach someone the Catholic Faith.

    The sedevacantists Most Holy Family Monastery (MHFM) assume that those saved in invincible ignorance are explicitly known to us and so they are exceptions to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus. So they also assume that St.Thomas Aquinas made a mistake.-Lionel Andrades

    ST. THOMAS REJECTED “INVINCIBLE IGNORANCE”

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    by: Bro. Peter Dimond O.S.B. from Most Holy Family Monastery, 4425 Schneider Rd., Fillmore, NY 14735, (800)275-1126 or (585)567-4433.
    Email: mhfm1@aol.com / http://www.vaticancatholic.com/

    It is also very important to point out that while St. Thomas Aquinas was wrong on baptism of desire, he held the dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation and rejected the modern day heresy that people can be saved who are “invincibly ignorant” of Jesus Christ. In numerous places St. Thomas directly addressed the question of persons in so-called invincible ignorance.

    St. Thomas Aquinas, De Veritate, 14, A. 11, ad 1: Objection- “It is possible that someone may be brought up in the forest, or among wolves; such a man cannot explicitly know anything about the faith. St. Thomas replies- It is the characteristic of Divine Providence to provide every man with what is necessary for salvation… provided on his part there is no hindrance. In the case of a man who seeks good and shuns evil, by the leading of natural reason, God would either reveal to him through internal inspiration what had to be believed, or would send some preacher of the faith to him…”[cclvi]

    St. Thomas Aquinas, Sent. II, 28, Q. 1, A. 4, ad 4: “If a man born among barbarian nations, does what he can, God Himself will show him what is necessary for salvation, either by inspiration or sending a teacher to him.”[cclvii]

    St. Thomas Aquinas, Sent. III, 25, Q. 2, A. 2, solute. 2: “If a man should have no one to instruct him, God will show him, unless he culpably wishes to remain where he is.”[cclviii]

    In the Summa Theologica, St. Thomas further taught the truth that all men above reason are bound to know the principal mysteries of Christ for salvation with no exceptions for ignorance.

    St. Thomas, Summa Theologica: “After grace had been revealed, both the learned and simple folk are bound to explicit faith in the mysteries of Christ, chiefly as regards those which are observed throughout the Church, and publicly proclaimed, such as the articles which refer to the Incarnation, of which we have spoken above.”[cclix]

    Saint Thomas, Summa Theologica: “And consequently, when once grace had been revealed, all were bound to explicit faith in the mystery of the Trinity.”[cclx]

    Therefore, St. Thomas, like all of the fathers of the Church, rejected the modern heresy of “invincible ignorance” saving those who die as non-Catholics.

    Lionel:
    St.Thomas was saying that if a man in the forest was in invincible ignorance he could be saved and God would send a preacher to him or have him baptized . So in Heaven there are only Catholics. This is the view also of the religious at the St.Benedict Centers in the USA , inspired by Fr.Leonard Feeney.

    In ‘certain circumstances’ (Letter of the Holy Office 1949 ) a non Catholic can be saved in invincible ignorance or the baptism of desire (followed by the baptism of water) and it would be known only to God. We would not know any of these cases. So it was always assumed that these were not explicit exceptions to the dogma outside the church no salvation.

    MHFM
    His speculation and erroneous teaching on baptism of blood/desire only regarded catechumens.

    Lionel:
    Yes the baptism of desire is with reference to only catechumens who die before having received the baptism of water which they sought.

    However there can be non Catholics in some forest, in invincible ignorance, who can receive the grace of salvation and it would be known only to God. This is a possibility and we accept it in principle. Explicilty, we do not know any case.

    MHFM
    And this point really shows the dishonesty of modern heretics, who like to quote St. Thomas Aquinas on baptism of desire to somehow justify their heretical idea that members of false religions can be saved by “baptism of desire.

    Lionel:
    That members of religions which are false paths to salvation can be saved in principle with the baptism of desire is a possibility we accept and this in no way contradicts the rigorist interpretation of St. Thomas Aquinas or that of the Dimond Brothers at the Most Holy Family Monastery.
    http://onetruecatholicfaith.com/articles.php?id=308&title=St.+Thomas+rejected+%22Invincible+Ignorance%22&category=Catholic+Articles&page=2

  5. Jason Ramage says:

    Another John Paul II encyclical relevant to this topic is “Dominus Iesus: On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church.” A seminarian (now priest) friend recommended it to me a couple years back to learn about this very topic, though I must admit I haven’t yet read it. But another way Catholics might say it is the grace of the sacraments are necessary for salvation, but God is not restricted to the sacraments. God may apply baptismal grace to whomever He pleases. He is God… which is definitely Good News.

  6. Bryan Cross says:

    Bradley,

    I don’t have time at present to enter into a lengthy exchange, so I’ll only say a few things. I did not claim, nor do I believe, that Fr. Feeney was the first Catholic to hold his position. I claimed that “Feeneyism was never part of the Tradition.” It was not something taught by the universal Church, or by pope after pope, or by the consensus of the Fathers. Yes VII’s teaching was an elaboration of what the Church had always believed. That’s what development is. If a teaching were an absolute novelty, or contradicted what the Church had always believed and taught, that new teaching would be heretical. Part of the reason why so many persons claim that VII takes the Church in a “new direction” is that many don’t approach VII according to the hermeneutic of continuity, but instead view it through what Pope Benedict calls the “hermeneutic of rupture.”

    If the Catholic Church has always believed that people of other religions who follow their conscience can be saved (notice I didn’t say “will be saved”) without visible membership in the Catholic Church, and that this wider grace can even include those who are aware of the Catholic message which includes obedience to the pope and yet still reject this message (i.e. Protestants) and who are willfully disunified with the Catholic Church and the successor of Peter, then it’s hard to take you seriously when you say the Catholic Church always has and always will interpret ENNS “literally.”

    According to the Catholic Church, those persons who know the identity of the Catholic Church as the Church Christ founded as necessary for salvation, and refuse to enter her, cannot be saved. Those persons who die without having visibly entered into full communion with the Catholic Church, can be in a state of grace at their death “only if they are in sufficiently non-culpable ignorance regarding the identity of the Catholic Church as the Church Christ founded and to which all men are called to enter for salvation.” (quoting Devin’s most recent post) So in order to determine whether your conditional is true, we would have to disambiguate the “aware of.” If they are sufficiently, culpably “aware of” the identity of the Catholic Church, then the conditional you stated (i.e. “If the Catholic Church … then it’s hard …”) is false because the antecedent of the conditional is false.

    Your argument here is unintelligible to me. If people of other religions can achieve eternal salvation (see quotations I pulled from the official VII documents above), then visible membership in the Catholic Church is not a requirement thereof.

    That conclusion does not follow. A requirement does not have to apply in the same way to everyone, in order to be a requirement. Visible membership in the Catholic Church (or at least the pursuit thereof) is an absolute requirement for all who know the identity of the Catholic Church and Christ’s call to enter His Church, just as baptism (or at least the pursuit thereof) is an absolute requirement for all who know about baptism and know Christ’s imperative concerning it. The fact that persons can be saved without being baptized does no mean that baptism is not a requirement for salvation. You had claimed, “Vatican II only requires this [i.e. visible membership] as a precondition for the fullness of salvation, not salvation itself.” That claim is not true because for those who are sufficiently aware of the identity of the Catholic Church, and of the divine requirement to enter Christ’s Church, visible membership is a condition for salvation itself, not just a condition for *the fullness* of salvation. For those persons, to reject visible membership is to commit a mortal sin, just as for those who know sufficiently about baptism, to reject baptism is a mortal sin, because it is to reject Christ, and to reject love for Christ. He who lives Him will keep His commandments.

    Further, are you saying before Vatican II Catholics never saw ENNS as excluding Protestants from salvation and no pope ever used ENNS in such a way as to imply that it applied to Protestants?

    No and no. It did (and does) apply to Protestants, namely, those who know the identity of the Catholic Church and who nevertheless refuse to enter her, and those who know they should investigate the claims of the Catholic Church but in an act of rebellion against Christ, neglect to do so, and so purposely keep themselves ignorant of the Catholic Church. Not all types of vincible ignorance are mortal sins, but some are.

    For more on this subject, I recommend Thomas Brown’s article “VanDrunen on Catholic Inclusivity and Change,” and my comments in the combox under the article.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  7. Lionel Andrades says:

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012
    VATICAN COUNCIL II REJECTS THE THEOLOGY OF RELIGIONS

    The Theology of Religions being promoted by various liberal groups omits Ad Gentes 7 which says all need Catholic Faith and the baptism of water for salvation ( to avoid Hell ). Vatican Council II like the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus is saying that all Jews, Protestants and Orthdox Christians need Catholic Faith and the baptism of water for salvation. Protestants and the Orthodox do not have Catholic Faith.

    The Theology of Religions being promoted by the liberals omit the teaching of Vatican Council II which says that there is exclusive salvation in only the Catholic Church. This has been the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church for centuries.

    The Center for Christian Jewish Learning in Boston College, which has the support of Jewish Left professors and allies presents its political version of Vatican Council II . -Lionel Andrades

    JEWISH-CHRISTIAN DIALOGUE AND THE THEOLOGY OF RELIGIONS

    Christian M. Rutishauser

    ABSTRACT

    From a historical point of view, the new understanding of the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people was the catalyst for the Second Vatican Council to elaborate a declaration on the non-Christian religions. This is not a mere accident.

    Lionel: Nostra Aetate does not state that Judaism is the ordinary means of salvation or that Jews do not have to convert into the Catholic Church.

    Nostra Aetate says that ‘the Church is the new people of God.’

    The Jewish-Christian relationship does, even from a systematic point of view, play a paradigmatic, critical and corrective function for a Christian theology of religions. It has a character sui generis, for Judaism constitutes the Other within Christian self-identity. The Jewish-Christian relationship helps to formulate the meaning of the particular in the discussion of the universal Christian claim of truth and salvation when facing other religions.

    Lionel: According to Ad Gentes 7 Judaism is not a path to salvation. Jews, and all people need to convert into the Church. Similarly Dominus Iesus 20, the Catechism of the Catholic Church 845,846 and other magisterial documents repeat the Biblical message that Jews need to convert into the Church for salvation.

    Furthermore, it prevents a theology of religion from sliding into abstract, non-historical and purely speculative definitions. Normally, Christology and especially the theology of Incarnation guarantees it, but they have to be linked themselves back to the messianic idea of Judaism and the history of salvation where the Church itself recognizes the unrevoked covenant between God and Israel.

    Lionel: Catholics believe that Jesus made a new and eternal covenant with his death and Resurrection. This is the clear message in the New Testament.

    Only a theology of religions that recognizes the lasting challenge of the Jewish faith for Christian identity will have overcome anti-Judaism at its roots.

    Lionel: Vatican Council II , like the dogma Cantate Domino, Council of Florence 1441 says Jews need to convert for salvation. ALL need to convert.

    The Letter of the Holy Office 1949 to the Archbishop of Boston referred to ‘the dogma’ the ‘infallible’ statement. The infallible dogma says all Jews in Boston need to convert to avoid the fires of Hell.It affirmed exclusive salvation in only the Catholic Church and not the theology of religions.

    The theology of religions was rejected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Notification on Fr.Jacques Dupuis 2001 during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. It is now being enforced politically by the Jewish Left.

    KEYWORDS
    Jewish-Christian Dialogue; Theology of Religions

    KEYWORDS
    Jewish-Christian Dialogue; Theology of Religions

    Full Text: PDF
    http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/scjr/article/view/1356

  8. Jason Ramage says:

    Bryan’s done a good job responding to your points, so I second everything he’s saying. Likewise, I shouldn’t let myself get sucked into a long discussion, but here’s one thing you wrote that cuts to the basic point you’re expounding on:

    “VII’s declaration that Protestants were actually incorporated into the Catholic Church even though they willfully reject that authority of the pope”

    Here I feel you’re seeing only part of the picture. The “incorporation” being referred to here is the sacrament of Baptism and faith in Jesus Christ (see “Who belongs to the Catholic Church?” http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a9p3.htm#III ). All members of the mystical Body of Christ are, by definition, members of the Catholic Church. Obviously, most are imperfectly incorporated, but the truth remains that no person can belong to Christ without belonging to His Bride. For non-Catholics, rejection of the pope’s authority is the most obvious imperfection, but it’s only fair to say that no Catholic should claim to be perfectly incorporated to the Church, lest he excuse himself from the sacrament of Confession indefinitely. Perfect incorporation in Christ cuts through the head to the heart. (can’t help but notice the Latin root of “incorporation)

    Since they were a stumbling block to me for a while, here’s my take on topics like vincible vs. invincible ignorance, mortal vs. venial sin, and others that are by nature subjective: When you read about them in the Catechism, Church councils, etc., you’re reading what is known objectively. There’s always a level of subjectivity to them. This is where we must rely on grace, since only God knows our hearts. For example, the Church defines the concept of mortal sin to help us avoid it, but only God can judge who is actually in mortal sin.

    As it pertains to this topic, obviously there aren’t many Protestants who lack awareness of this institution known as the Catholic Church. Most of them were raised Catholic. But simply being aware that the Catholic Church exists, or even having knowledge of her teachings, is not enough for a Protestant to be guilty of rejecting the Church. By grace a person must come to know the Church is true —- not merely knowing of Her, but knowing Her. Only then could a person be guilty of rejecting the Church.

    Bradley, my impression is you seem more interested in reading various theologians about the Church rather than reading the Church in Her own words, thus you end up with more confusion than clarification. Catholicism is simple. You don’t need a bunch of M. Div’s to “interpret” Her to death. Her catechisms, councils, and encyclicals speak on their own authority.

    If you want to encounter Catholicism, read the saints. And the not-yet-beatified G.K. Chesterton 🙂 The head and the heart meet in the lives of saints. Currently I’m reading St. Louis du Montfort’s “True Devotion to Mary” and surprised by two things: first, that I waited so long to read him, and second, how much he speaks to the Evangelical arguments against Marian devotion —- because so many Catholics of his time had the same concerns. He has some compelling things to say, though they aren’t heavy theology arguments, they are completely in tune with the heart of the Church.

    My advice: Go sit in the silence of a Church before the tabernacle. Pray the Mass. Pray a Rosary.

  9. Bryan,

    I said that if members of other religions can achieve salvation (including those who have never even heard of Catholicism, much less submitted themselves to a Christian baptism), then visible membership is only a requirement for the fullness of salvation, not salvation itself.

    You say this is wrong because:

    According to the Catholic Church, those persons who know the identity of the Catholic Church as the Church Christ founded as necessary for salvation, and refuse to enter her, cannot be saved.

    Visible membership in the Catholic Church (or at least the pursuit thereof) is an absolute requirement for all who know the identity of the Catholic Church and Christ’s call to enter His Church.

    For those who are sufficiently aware of the identity of the Catholic Church, and of the divine requirement to enter Christ’s Church, visible membership is a condition for salvation itself, not just a condition for *the fullness* of salvation.

    Your arguments here seem to concede (even if in passing) that visible membership is in fact not a requirement, for even you admit that “the pursuit thereof” might be sufficient for salvation (e.g. in a baptism of desire or a baptism of blood). Here you admit that group P (those in pursuit of visible membership) may not have to meet the requirement of visible membership.

    Furthermore, your comments in this regard only apply to “those persons who know the identity of the Catholic Church,” which does not apply to all Protestants, much less the rest of the world of non-Christians, much less those who have never even heard the Christian message.

    It doesn’t follow that since visible membership in the Catholic Church is a requirement for group X (those who are sufficiently “aware” of the identity of the Catholic Church) that therefore visible membership is an absolute requirement, that is, for group H (all human beings). If visible membership in the Catholic Church is not a requirement for some sub-group of humans, then it’s not a requirement for all humans. For example, if those who have never heard the Christian message (group Y) do not need to be visible members of the Catholic Church to achieve salvation, then visible membership is not a requirement for salvation for group H (all humans) but only some sub-group of humans.

    When I say that visible membership is not a requirement for salvation, what I mean is that visible membership is not a requirement for humans to be saved (group H), not some sub-group of humans (group X).

    It appears to me that we are getting off on the wrong foot simply because you are interpreting my words as if when I say that according to the Catholic faith visible membership is not a requirement for salvation, I mean that visible membership is not a salvific requirement for some sub-group of humans, when I said no such thing.

    The fact that persons can be saved without being baptized does no mean that baptism is not a requirement for salvation.

    If you are not equivocating on your use of the word “baptism” or using the word “requirement” in an unusual way, or equivocating on the word “salvation” and in both instances you refer to “visible, water baptism,” then your sentence reads like this:

    a) Visible, water baptism is a requirement for salvation
    b) Persons can be saved without visible, water baptism

    Now Jason Rampage has said that Catholicism is easy to understand, but you sure are making it hard for me, for either you are equivocating on the word “baptism,” using the word “requirement” in a non-absolutist sense (which means requirement wouldn’t mean absolute requirement) or equivocating on the term “salvation,” or else your statement here can only be understood by me as a linguistic contradiction: (a) baptism is required for salvation but (b) it’s not required for salvation.

    The following reconstruction would make more sense:

    a) Water baptism is a requirement for salvation, but
    b) Water baptism is not an absolute requirement for salvation

    In this reconstruction, salvation would not be a requirement for group H (all humans) but only for some subgroup of humans.

    Hope that at least helps put us on the same page so that we better understand each other,

    Bradley

  10. Jason Ramage says:

    “a) Water baptism is a requirement for salvation, but
    b) Water baptism is not an absolute requirement for salvation”

    Yes.

  11. Lionel Andrades says:

    I agree with Bryan: ‘Vatican II in no way denies the “literal” meaning of EENS; EENS is still literally true, just as it has always been literally true. Vatican II clarified the qualification regarding invincible ignorance; it didn’t transform EENS into a metaphor.’
    Bryan also says :’It is not true that the Cyprianic formula damned all who were never visible members of the Church;…’
    It referred to all non Catholics alive at that time. Those who are in invinicble ignorance can be saved but they are unknown to us humans.
    ‘Those who know the Catholic Church is the Church Christ founded, and who nevertheless refuse to enter her, cannot be saved.’. Only God alone knows who was in invincible ignorance and who who knew about Jesus and the Church and yet did not enter. So this issue is not a contradiction of the literal meaning of extra ecclesiam nulla salus which says ALL need to convert into the Church for salvation.
    Bryan, Water baptism is necessary for salvation and there are no known exceptions on earth.
    Secondly one of the three defined dogmas on extra ecclesiam nulla salus, specifically mentions Protestants and Orthodox Christians.(heretics and schismatics)
    o “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.)
    o “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.)
    o “The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.) –from Catholicism.org

  12. Bryan Cross says:

    Bradley,

    You wrote:

    Your arguments here seem to concede (even if in passing) that visible membership is in fact not a requirement, for even you admit that “the pursuit thereof” might be sufficient for salvation (e.g. in a baptism of desire or a baptism of blood). Here you admit that group P (those in pursuit of visible membership) may not have to meet the requirement of visible membership.

    We need to be clear about the meaning of our terms. If by ‘requirement’ you mean that no one not in full communion can (in that condition) attain salvation, then visible membership is not a requirement for salvation. But as I explained, in the case of catechumens who die before to being received into the Church, the Church has always recognized the possibility of their salvation. Thus EENS never made visible membership a ‘requirement’ for salvation in that sense of the word ‘requirement.’

    But if by ‘requirement’ you mean that full communion is the divinely appointed means for salvation, and that those persons who willfully and knowingly reject full communion (either by rejecting baptism, entering formal heresy, or joining or remaining in formal schism) cannot attain salvation, then yes, full communion is a requirement for salvation. And that’s what EENS has always meant, just what CCC 846 says. And ‘requirement’ in this sense does not entail that everyone who does not attain full communion does not receive salvation. That’s the Feeneyite mistake.

    Furthermore, your comments in this regard only apply to “those persons who know the identity of the Catholic Church,” which does not apply to all Protestants, much less the rest of the world of non-Christians, much less those who have never even heard the Christian message. It doesn’t follow that since visible membership in the Catholic Church is a requirement for group X (those who are sufficiently “aware” of the identity of the Catholic Church) that therefore visible membership is an absolute requirement, that is, for group H (all human beings). If visible membership in the Catholic Church is not a requirement for some sub-group of humans, then it’s not a requirement for all humans.

    Again, your objection presupposes that ‘requirement’ only can mean ‘absolute requirement,’ such that if a single person receives salvation without having died in full communion, then full communion is not a requirement for salvation. But that’s not the only type of requirement. A requirement can also be universal (i.e. apply to everyone) but have intrinsic qualifications that take both invincible ignorance and the possible operation of the Holy Spirit into consideration. Baptism is a requirement for salvation for every person, but that doesn’t entail that every single person who died without being baptized goes to hell. That’s because this is a necessity of means, according to the teaching the Church received from Christ through the Apostles. But the Church also knows that the Holy Spirit can communicate the sanctifying benefits of baptism to a person, prior to that person’s reception of the divinely established means of baptism. (This is what happens in the case of catechumens who die in a state of grace, prior to receiving baptism. It happened in the case of Cornelius, who received the Spirit even prior to baptism.)

    Similarly, the requirement to enter into full communion for salvation is universal (extends to every person); that’s the divine imperative that requires all persons to be baptized, and requires all persons in heresy to repent, and requires all persons in schism to be reconciled to the Church. But this universal requirement does not entail that every person who dies without baptism, or who dies while holding some heretical belief, or who dies in schism, is damned. That’s because due to the possibility of invincible ignorance, failure to be baptized, to abandon heresy, or to abandon schism, are not necessarily mortal sins, *and* because the Holy Spirit can (and does) work outside the bounds of the visible Church (as we saw in the case of catechumens, and in the case of Cornelius) to bring persons to a state of grace.

    your sentence reads like this: a) Visible, water baptism is a requirement for salvation b) Persons can be saved without visible, water baptism

    Yes. The problem is that you are trying to force ‘requirement’ into a very rigid box. It is like the modern analytic who rejects Aristotle’s ten categories of being, because, insists the modern, being is either on or off, existence or non-existence. He doesn’t realize that reality is much richer.

    The following reconstruction would make more sense: a) Water baptism is a requirement for salvation, but b) Water baptism is not an absolute requirement for salvation In this reconstruction, salvation would not be a requirement for group H (all humans) but only for some subgroup of humans.

    It is a requirement for *all* persons, not just a subgroup. Reducing the scope of the persons to a subset is not the only way a requirement can be qualified.

    But hopefully I’ve beaten that dead horse enough.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  13. Lionel Andrades says:

    Brian says:
    But as I explained, in the case of catechumens who die before to being received into the Church, the Church has always recognized the possibility of their salvation.

    Lionel:
    Yes I agree with you that the case of the catechumen is only one of a possibility.
    It was the Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Richard Cushing and the Jesuits there who assumed that this catechumen was visibly known and so there was salvation outside the church.
    There is no (known) salvation outside the Church. This was the teaching for centuries within the Catholic Church.
    Brian:
    Thus EENS never made visible membership a ‘requirement’ for salvation in that sense of the word ‘requirement.’
    Lionel:
    Since the issue of the visible catechumen never existed before the 1940s visible membership was always the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church.
    Brian:
    But if by ‘requirement’ you mean that full communion is the divinely appointed means for salvation, and that those persons who willfully and knowingly reject full communion (either by rejecting baptism, entering formal heresy, or joining or remaining in formal schism) cannot attain salvation, then yes, full communion is a requirement for salvation.
    Lionel
    Correct. We agree.Full communion is a requirement for salvation.

    Brian
    And that’s what EENS has always meant, just what CCC 846 says.

    Lionel
    Yes. True.

  14. Jason Ramage says:

    “the issue of the visible catechumen never existed before the 1940s” What about catechumen before the 1940s?

    Sounds like you all got everything else figure out… was like traveling from Louisville to Cincinnati by way of hot air balloon through Buenos Aires and Beijing. Guess it’s safe to say I ain’t no theologian 🙂

  15. Lionel Andrades says:

    Jason Ramage
    “the issue of the visible catechumen never existed before the 1940s” What about catechumen before the 1940s?

    For the catecechumen saved with the baptism of desire he would have to be known, to be an explicit exception to every one on earth needing the baptism of water and Catholic Faith for salvation.

    He would have to be visible to be an exception to Cantate Domino, Council of Florence 1441 which says every one needs to convert into the Church for salvation. Similarly AD Gentes 7,Vatican Council II says all need to enter the church for salvation with Catholic Faith and the baptism of water.

    The Church Fathers, Councils, popes, saints and writers of the Catechisms knew of the baptism of deisre but none of them claimed that it was visible. None of them assumed that it was an exception to the dogma.

    It was the Archbishop and the Jesuits who first made this claim in Boston and they were supported by the Jewish Left media there.

    This was a new doctrine- and it was presented as a new finding which was over looked by the Church thoughout the centuries.

    Before the 1940s no one claimed that outside the church there was salvation. Even St.Maximillian Kolbe in the late 1930’s held the rigorist interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

  16. Lionel Andrades says:

    Bryan writes
    According to the Catholic Church, those persons who know the identity of the Catholic Church as the Church Christ founded as necessary for salvation, and refuse to enter her, cannot be saved. Those persons who die without having visibly entered into full communion with the Catholic Church, can be in a state of grace at their death “only if they are in sufficiently non-culpable ignorance regarding the identity of the Catholic Church as the Church Christ founded and to which all men are called to enter for salvation.”

    I agree with Bryan however I just want to clarify that only God can judge who ‘knows’ and who is in invincible ignorance. We do not know. So this is an issue that is not in conflict with Vatican Council II (AG 7) which says ALL need to enter the Church.
    The dogma says all need to convert and does not mention those in invincible ignorance etc and neither does it state only those who ‘know’ need to enter the Church for salvation.

  17. Jason Ramage says:

    “He would have to be visible to be an exception to Cantate Domino, Council of Florence 1441 which says every one needs to convert into the Church for salvation.”

    The Council of Florence says “unless they are joined to the catholic church before the end of their lives.” I realize this is translated from Latin, but “joined” and “convert” are definitely not the same thing.

    On many an issue the Catholic Church is criticized for holding two contradictory beliefs, and this is one of them. Some people are convinced the Catholic Church believes one must be a practicing member of the Church in order to be saved. Others are convinced the Catholic Church believes nobody really goes to Hell. There are some very intelligent, well-educated people on both sides and they will argue this thing out ’til Armageddon. The rest of us, thankfully, can exercise a little common sense.

    To me the stumbling block is how we define the Church. Protestants don’t think of the Church the same way Catholic and Orthodox Christians do. The mystical Body of Christ is a more familiar concept that roughly parallels what we consider being “joined” to the Catholic Church. Once you begin to see the Church as a single body that is the Bride of Christ (not merely as a metaphor, but a true marriage between heaven and earth) then all this other stuff begins to make sense and fall right into place. Until then, it’s all too easy to misinterpret the Church, especially if you’re reading a council from 1445. It wasn’t written with Evangelical America in mind. They didn’t even have Protestants. Any wonder that when the Church begins to write to Evangelical America in the past century that she makes more sense to Evangelicals in America?

  18. Lionel Andrades says:

    Jason Ramage
    The Council of Florence says “unless they are joined to the catholic church before the end of their lives.” I realize this is translated from Latin, but “joined” and “convert” are definitely not the same thing.
    Lionel
    How can you be joined to the Church ? One cannot give himself the baptism of desire. One cannot assume that one will be saved with a good conscience.
    The only way a non Catholic can choose to be joined to the Church is through the baptism of water given to adults with Catholic Faith.

  19. Lionel Andrades says:

    Jason Ramage
    The Great Schism is dated as 1054. It was a gradual process and not a sudden break. So there were all types of heresies and schisms which existed at the time of the Council of Florence.Ex Catholics were in rebellion and protesting against the one true Church.Cantate Domino refers to them as heretics and schismatics.
    Evangelicals are also in rebellion against the original Christian Church which Jesus founded, the Catholic Church. According to Cantate Domino and the other two defined dogmas the Evngelicals are all oriented to Hell.
    This is also the teaching of Vatican Council II. Protestants have the baptism of water but do not have Catholic Faith. So the interpretation of the Bible is different with respective to mortal sins which can prevent a person from going to Heaven even if he has faith in Jesus.So the faith and moral teachings are different. in the faith teachings the Church still teaches that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church.
    This is borne out in also other magisterial texts after Vatican Council II e.g Dominus Iesus 20, the Catechism of the Catholic Church 845,846 etc.
    Protestants are not given the Eucharist since the ecclesiology of the Church e.g in Ecclesia di Eucarestia still says outside the church there is no salvation. Protestants are not saved unless they are joined to the Church with Catholic Faith.

  20. Jason Ramage says:

    Re: Lionel “How can you be joined to the Church ?”

    Baptism is the normal means, but the word “joined” leaves open the movement of the Holy Spirit outside the visible Church… in the end, anyone who dies in the grace of God is joined to the Church. It’s the same thing as saying there is no salvation outside of Christ.

    Paragraphs 818-819 from the CCC are helpful:

    “However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.”

    “Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth” are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: “the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements.” Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to “Catholic unity.”

    The Council of Florence didn’t address Protestantism. It was still 72 years before Luther’s 95 Theses. Yes, there were plenty of heresies and divisions preceding the Reformation, but nearly all of them were pseudo-Christian due to unorthodox teachings on the Trinity and/or the person/nature of Christ.

    My point is if an Evangelical wants to learn about the Catholic Church, it simply makes sense to read documents with an Evangelical audience in mind: the CCC, Vatican II, and encyclicals from the past century. Council of Trent may be helpful too, though keep in mind that at that time Protestantism was still quite novel. For that matter, 500 years is only one-fourth of Christian history, but at least modern developments in Catholic theology take into account how grace and salvation work within Christian communities which are outside the visible Church. All salvation still comes through Christ and the Church, but today we see it happens in ways that were not observed 500 or 1,000 years ago.

  21. Bryan,

    Thanks for your response.

    If by ‘requirement’ you mean that no one not in full communion can (in that condition) attain salvation, then visible membership is not a requirement for salvation.

    Yep. That’s what I meant.

    Again, your objection presupposes that ‘requirement’ only can mean ‘absolute requirement,’

    Not exactly. I was using the word “requirement” in a way that meant “absolute requirement,” but that doesn’t mean I was assuming the word could only be used that way. You were using the word “requirement” to refer to a non-absolute requirement, but I wouldn’t accuse you therefore of assuming that’s the only way the word “requirement” could possibly be used. When two people are using the same word in different ways it doesn’t automatically mean they each think their way of using the word is the only way, it just means they each assumed a different meaning and this caused a miscommunication. No need for uncharitable assumptions about how incredibly narrow minded the other person is (thinking that a word has only one sense).

    The problem is that you are trying to force ‘requirement’ into a very rigid box.

    If all uses of words that imply a sense of absoluteness are thereby being used “rigidly” then I guess so.

    The requirement to enter into full communion for salvation is universal.

    I now suspect we are having a similar miscommunication with our use of the word “universal.” If certain groups are excluded from the EENS requirement (e.g. those that don’t know the true identity of the Catholic Church), this requirement of visible membership does not apply to them and is therefore not universal.

    ____Group E = those excluded from the requirement of visible membership in the Catholic Church for salvation

    ____Group R = those responsible for joining the Catholic Church (or else be excluded from salvation) because they know her true identity

    We might say that the EENS requirement could apply to any given person who (hypothetically speaking) comes to discover the true identity of the Catholic Church, but in such a case they would no longer belong to group E, and thus we would no longer be talking about the same “they” would we? (here I am not mentioning the exceptions of those who do know of the true identity but are excluded from the EENS requirement anyway—namely, those who die as catechumens or martyrs) And given that not everybody (indeed perhaps only a few) in the world moves during his or her lifetime from group E to group R, how can we say the requirement is universal?

    NOTE: I’m using the word “universal” here in the sense of “applies to all.” Since EENS does not apply to Group E (which is a very substantial group), EENS does not apply to all. Perhaps you are using the word differently?

    It is a requirement for *all* persons, not just a subgroup. Reducing the scope of the persons to a subset is not the only way a requirement can be qualified.

    I don’t doubt that many things can be qualified in many ways. But pray tell, in what other way have you opened the door of salvation to those outside the visible church except by qualifying a certain circumstances in a persons life that would exclude them from the requirement of visible membership? People in such circumstances I am referring to as group E, the exclusion of which group from the EENS requirement does in fact reduce the scope of such a requirement inasmuch as the EENS requirement could potentially apply to all (group H = all humans).

    For me it’s real simple :: Either everybody has to be visible members of the Catholic Church to be saved, or only group R (which does not include all humans) is required to be visibly joined to the Catholic Church. It can’t be both. And even if we assume Group R is a majority, it’s still a sub-group of group H (all humans).

    We need to be clear about the meaning of our terms.

    Indeed we do. I cannot always anticipate where we might be using certain words in different ways. And I have tried my best this time around to clarify my sense (requirement = absolute requirement; universal = applies to all).

    Before Vatican II, group E included catechumens and martyrs baptized with “desire” or “blood,” and people who “through no fault of their own” had never heard the Catholic message. As far as I can tell, it did not include Protestants who have heard the Catholic message or Jews who have heard the Catholic message or Muslims who also have heard the Catholic message or people of other religions who have heard the Catholic message. This is where it appears to me that Vatican II went beyond anything previously spelled out in the Catholic Tradition.

    Are you saying that before VII all these things were already affirmed in official Catholic Tradition? Are you saying these things are not affirmed in VII? What precisely would you say is the doctrinal development in VII’s theology of religions?

    Bradley

  22. Jason,

    Thanks for all your helpful comments.

    It’s only fair to say that no Catholic should claim to be perfectly incorporated to the Church, lest he excuse himself from the sacrament of Confession indefinitely.

    That’s an important insight to keep in mind—being a visible member of the Catholic Church doesn’t automatically mean that person is “saved” and also even those who are visibly joined may still not be “perfectly incorporated” to the Church. In this sense, there may be many Protestants more fully incorporated into the Catholic Church than some Catholics.

    Simply being aware that the Catholic Church exists, or even having knowledge of her teachings, is not enough for a Protestant to be guilty of rejecting the Church. By grace a person must come to know the Church is true —- not merely knowing of Her, but knowing Her. Only then could a person be guilty of rejecting the Church.

    This is what makes me think “What if the majority of Protestants (who I find to be ignorant about true Catholic spirituality or theology, having been taught caricatures of Catholicism) are, in a Catholic paradigm of salvation, already saved?” In fact, it’s more than just a question in my mind: if the Catholic teaching is true, most Protestants are already Catholics (they just don’t know it yet)—that is, they are already incorporated into the Church.

    Bradley, my impression is you seem more interested in reading various theologians about the Church rather than reading the Church in Her own words, thus you end up with more confusion than clarification. Catholicism is simple. You don’t need a bunch of M. Div’s to “interpret” Her to death. Her catechisms, councils, and encyclicals speak on their own authority.

    I wish it were true that texts needed no interpretation, or that the core religious texts of a religious tradition could always be understood in the same way so that all one needed to do was read them. But one of the things I am very grateful to Catholics for is this: Catholics have taught me that texts need interpretation—this is why we need a Tradition (with a capital T) if we are going to have any authoritative teachings in the church. This is also why there is a Magisterium in the Catholic Church—a group of people who have (as you put it) M. Div’s (or their equivalent) so they are qualified to interpret Scripture and Tradition. Your comments in this regard sound a lot like Protestants who say “All you have to do is read the Bible for yourself,” which results in the endless emanation of schisms. It appears also, through my dialogue with Catholics (such as the one here with Bryan) that there is a widespread “misinterpretation” of Vatican II by Catholics, and Bryan is doing his best to offer what he thinks is the “correct” interpretation, but this means that the Tradition itself does not always solve ambiguities, but sometimes actually creates new ones, and these two huge volumes of Vatican II documents sitting on my desk at the moment need interpretation.

    In my quest to find out “What is the Catholic view of this?” it turns out that it’s not as easy as simply reading Vatican II (or some other official Catholic document), for either another Catholic helps me see how I have missed something in my reception of these documents, or else that I am misinterpreting it, or that there is a widespread misunderstanding about the document at a popular level, etc. Thus, although I can appreciate your suggestion to stop “interpreting” Vatican II to death, unfortunately I don’t see that I have any other choice.

    Pax,

    Bradley

  23. Lionel Andrades says:

    Jason Ramage
    Baptism is the normal means, but the word “joined” leaves open the movement of the Holy Spirit outside the visible Church…

    Lionel:
    Yes and since we cannot know who these non Catholics the dogmatic teaching, Vatican Council II (AG 7) and other magisterial texts are not contradicted.

    in the end, anyone who dies in the grace of God is joined to the Church. It’s the same thing as saying there is no salvation outside of Christ.
    Lionel:
    True if any one dies in the grace of God and is saved the person is joined to the Church. It still means every one earth needs to enter the Church with Catholic Faith and the baptism of water and there are no known exceptions to the dogma and Vatican Council II.

    Paragraphs 818-819 from the CCC are helpful:
    “However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . .
    Lionel:
    Yes we accept them with respect and affection even though we know that if they do not convert they are lost. Since they do not have access to the Sacraments especially that of the Sacrament of Confession, which alone can erase mortal sin from the soul.

    All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.”
    Lionel:
    Yes they have a right to be called Christians just as a Catholic in mortal sin has a right to still be called a Catholic. We accept a Catholic in manifest mortal sin also as our brother, even though we know he can be lost.

    “Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth” are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: “the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements.”
    Lionel:
    Yes elements of sanctification exists outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church even though the true Church of Christ subsists in only the Catholic Church.
    There can be non Catholics saved outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church ‘in certain circumstances’ and not in general, since the ordinary means of salvation is Catholic Faith and the baptism of water (AG 7).

    Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him, and are in themselves calls to “Catholic unity.”
    Lionel:
    True Christ’s Spirit can use these Churches and ecclesiaL comunities as means of salvation. We accept this in principle. Explicitly we do not know any case. So it is not in contradiction of the Council of Florence, Vatican Council II, Dominus Iesus, CCC 846 etc.

    The Council of Florence didn’t address Protestantism. It was still 72 years before Luther’s 95 Theses. Yes, there were plenty of heresies and divisions preceding the Reformation, but nearly all of them were pseudo-Christian due to unorthodox teachings on the Trinity and/or the person/nature of Christ.
    Lionel:
    It refers to heretics. Protestantism was officialy considered a heresy by the Catholic Church at the time of Luther and later.

    My point is if an Evangelical wants to learn about the Catholic Church, it simply makes sense to read documents with an Evangelical audience in mind: the CCC, Vatican II, and encyclicals from the past century.
    Lionel:
    So I have cited you these documents which have the same teaching as the Council of Florence. It basically says Evangelicals, and all other Protestants need to convert into the Catholic Church for salvation.

    Council of Trent may be helpful too, though keep in mind that at that time Protestantism was still quite novel.
    Lionel:
    There is no different teaching on salvation in the Council of Trent and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    For that matter, 500 years is only one-fourth of Christian history, but at least modern developments in Catholic theology take into account how grace and salvation work within Christian communities which are outside the visible Church. All salvation still comes through Christ and the Church, but today we see it happens in ways that were not observed 500 or 1,000 years ago.
    Lionel:
    The Church has not changed its teachings on salvation over the last 2000 years.

  24. Lionel Andrades says:

    Bradley
    If certain groups are excluded from the EENS requirement (e.g. those that don’t know the true identity of the Catholic Church), this requirement of visible membership does not apply to them and is therefore not universal.

    Lionel:
    There is no group on earth excluded from the extra ecclesiam nulla salus requirement.We do not know any one who is saved not knowing the true identity of the Catholic Church.

  25. Jason Ramage says:

    Re: Bradley “if the Catholic teaching is true, most Protestants are already Catholics (they just don’t know it yet)—that is, they are already incorporated into the Church.”

    Best to stick with the Church’s wording, i.e. “incorporated into the Church” or “separated brethren.” We only call someone Catholic who belongs to the visible Church. The invisible Church extends to wherever the Holy Spirit is at work, primarily among other Christian communities.

    Earlier I stated that Catholicism is simple. My mind isn’t logical enough to follow all your groupings of people… feels like a nightmare of a Southwest flight 🙂 However, you’re likely familiar with this concept from your own background: Do you believe all salvation comes through Christ alone? Do you acknowledge the Holy Spirit is working among non-Christians in ways unseen to us? Is it possible that the Spirit might work in the life of a non-believer, that this non-believer might respond in his heart before death, and Christ might be merciful to him?

    If you agree, then you’ve got essentially the same idea with the Church.

    Yes, Scripture requires interpretation. As for the Catechism, the intended audience is laypeople, so there shouldn’t be much interpretation required. It is the interpretation. Of course, being for laypeople, it only skims the surface, so I understand you’re looking for more depth. At the same time, Catholicism is more open to mystery than Calvinism. Clearing one ambiguity will lead you into a few more. It’s part of the awesome Beauty found in Truth. Salvation is a mystery, so all I can suggest is instead of approaching EENS by grouping humanity into various classes, approach it more as a mystery to be pondered over a merlot and a cigar on a cool spring night.

    In Christ,
    Jason

  26. Lionel Andrades says:

    Jason,
    With reference to the Catechism :
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2012/03/all-catechisms-of-catholic-church-have.html
    Saturday, March 3, 2012
    ALL THE CATECHISMS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH HAVE TAUGHT THE RIGORIST VIEW OF EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS
    Objection 4
    No Catholic Catechism has ever taught the Rigorist view. In fact, three major catechisms of the Church clearly affirm that salvation is not restricted to formal membership. See Appendix 4 for the evidence from the Catechism of St. Pius X, The Catechism of the Council of Trent, and the recent Catechism.-John Pachecho.

    APPENDIX 4
    Catechisms
    Catechism of the Council of Trent (1)
    Lionel: The above passage refers to those who who can be saved with the baptism of desire. The baptism of desire is not an exception to the dogmatic teaching in the Catechism that every one needs to be an explicit member of the Catholic Church for salvation. Since we do not know any case in particular of a person saved with the baptism of desire.

    We accept as a possibility that a person can be saved with the baptism of desire. However we do not claim to know any such case which would contradict the dogma outside the church no salvation.

    Pope St. Pius X Catechism (2)
    Lionel: Q.132. Here the Catechism of St. Pius X affirms the rigorist interpretation of outside the church no salvation when it states ‘outside one does not have either the means which have been established or the secure guidance which has been set up for eternal salvation’.
    Question 280 (3)

    Lionel:Q 280: ‘Without Baptism no one can be saved.’ Defacto every one needs the baptism of water given to adults with Catholic Faith, for salvation. This is the rigorist interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus as held by the Church Councils, the popes, the saints, Vatican Council , magisterial documents after Vatican Council II and Fr.Leonard Feeney.

    Catechism of the Catholic Church

    CCC 846 (4)

    Lionel: The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms the rigorist interpretation of extra ecclesiam nulla salus just as the other Catechisms before Vatican Council II.

    CCC 846 also says:
    Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
    There can be those saved who have received the baptism of water with Catholic Faith and there are those who are saved in invincible ignorance, the baptism of desire etc.

    Those who are saved with the baptism of desire and invincible ignorance are not exceptions to the teaching in CCC 846 that all need Catholic Faith and the baptism of water for salvation.

    So CCC 846 still teaches the rigorist interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    CCC 846 affirms the dogma : (4)
    CCC 846 repeats Ad Gentes 7 which says all need to enter the Church with Catholic Faith and the baptism of water for salvation. They all need to enter the Church ‘as through a door’. As through a door was term used by the Church Fathers for outside the church no salvation.

    CCC 847 (6) – This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church…(LG 16)
    Lionel: Those who through no fault of their own do not know Christ and his Church will be judged by God only and only God will know these cases. We do not know who they are in particular. So CCC 847 does not contradict the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus which says all need convert into the Church.

    The Catechism also mentions the person ‘ who finds himself outside without fault of his own’. That such a person can receive salvation is accepted in principle. The Catechism does not say that we know these cases or that they are exceptions to the dogma.-Lionel Andrades
    ____________________________________
    1.
    “It was ordered by the Council of Trent, edited under St. Charles Borromeo, and published by decree of Pope St. Pius V (1566). Pope Leo XIII recommended two books for all seminarians: St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica and The Catechism of the Council of Trent…Question 132 – Will a person outside the Church be saved? It is a most serious loss to be outside the Church, because outside one does not have either the means which have been established or the secure guidance which has been set up for eternal salvation, which is the one thing truly necessary for man. A PERSON OUTSIDE THE CHURCH BY HIS OWN FAULT, AND WHO DIES WITHOUT PERFECT CONTRITION, WILL NOT BE SAVED. BUT HE WHO FINDS HIMSELF OUTSIDE WITHOUT FAULT OF HIS OWN, AND WHO LIVES A GOOD LIFE, CAN BE SAVED BY THE LOVE CALLED CHARITY, WHICH UNITES UNTO GOD, AND IN A SPIRITUAL WAY ALSO TO THE CHURCH, THAT IS, TO THE SOUL OF THE CHURCH.
    2.
    “On adults, however, the Church has not been accustomed to confer the Sacrament of baptism at once, but has ordained that it be deferred for a certain time. The delay is not attended with the same danger as in the case of infants, which we have already mentioned; should any unforeseen accident make it impossible for adults to be washed in the salutary waters, their intention and determination to receive Baptism and their repentance for past sins, will avail them to grace and righteousness.”
    3.
    Question 280 – If Baptism is necessary for all men, is no one saved without Baptism? – Without Baptism no one can be saved. HOWEVER, WHEN IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO RECEIVE BAPTISM OF WATER, THE BAPTISM OF BLOOD SUFFICES, THAT IS, MARTYRDOM SUFFERED FOR JESUS CHRIST; AND ALSO THE BAPTISM OF DESIRE SUFFICES, which is the love of God by charity, desiring to make use of the means of salvation instituted by God.
    4.
    Outside the Church there is no salvation. 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
    5.
    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.
    6.
    CCC 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. (LG 16)
    http://catholic-legate.com/Apologetics/Ultra-Traditionalism/Articles/ObjectionsToRigorism.aspx

  27. Lionel Andrades says:

    Bradley,
    You are using a defacto-defacto interpretation of magisterial documents. We also have the dejure-defacto option.
    For example:
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2012/03/catholic-legate-canada-uses-defacto.html
    Sunday, March 4, 2012
    Catholic Legate, Canada uses a defacto-defacto interpretation of magisterial texts: who gave them permission? No magisterial document recommends this analysis
    John Pacecho, Art Sippo and Peter Vere are saying every one defacto needs to enter the Church for salvation but some defacto do not have to. Hence the baptism of desire is an exception. This is irrational and contrary to the Principle of Non Contradiction.

    Here is the ‘dogma’ mentioned in the Letter of the Holy Office. Catholic Legate has the choice of using a defacto-defacto interpretation or a defacto-dejure analysis. They choose the defacto-defacto (explicit-explicit) version instead of the rational explicit-implicit interpretation.

    LETTER OF THE HOLY OFFICE

    ‘… none of those existing outside the Catholic Church… can have a share in life eternal… unless before death they are joined with Her… No one… can be saved, unless he (Defacto) remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.)

    (Defacto) ‘… when a person is involved in invincible ignorance God accepts also an implicit desire…’ – Letter of the Holy Office 1949 (Emphasis added).

    POPE PIUS IX (Allocution December 9th, 1854)

    Pope Pius IX was saying: (Defacto):’We must hold as of the faith, that out of the Apostolic Roman Church there is no salvation; that she is the only ark of safety, and whosoever is not in her perishes in the deluge…’ and (Defacto): ‘we must also, on the other hand, recognize with certainty that those who are invincible in ignorance of the true religion are not guilty for this in the eyes of the Lord…’

    The Catholic Legate website says defacto, explicitly every one needs to be a formal member of the Catholic Church for salvation and defacto, explicitly some non Catholics on earth do not have to be a member and these cases are known to us.

    They are known to us so they contradict the dogma outside the church no salvation.This is irrational. This is the interpretation of Fr.Hans Kung .

    The Catholic Legate uses a defacto-defacto analysis of the Letter of the Holy Office 1949.If one uses the irrational defacto-defacto analysis of the above magisterial texts instead of the traditional dejure-defacto interpretation it would mean the popes contradicted themselves and that Vatican Council II contradicted a defined dogma. It would be a criticism of the infallibility of the popes ex cathedra. It would also be contrary to the Principle of Non Contradiction. It is also heresy to claim that there are defacto exceptions to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    With the defacto-dejure analysis we see that the Magisterial texts affirms the traditonal interpretation of the Church Fathers, the saints, the popes and Councils, including Vatican Council II. This was the traditional interpretation of Fr. Leonard Feeney of Boston.

    QUANTO CONFICIAMUR

    (Defacto) 8. ‘… no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church – Quanto Conficamur, Pope Pius IX 1863

    (Defacto) 7. ‘… those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace. Because God knows, searches and clearly understands the minds, hearts, thoughts, and nature of all, his supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments…-Quanto Conficamur

    There is a choice always:

    VATICAN COUNCIL II

    (Defacto) ‘The Church…is necessary for salvation… faith and baptism…for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church.’-Lumen Gentium 14, Vatican Council II.

    (Dejure or Defacto) ‘…those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God…’ (Lumen Gentium 16)

    John Pachecho, Art Sippo and Peter Vere contradict each other on the website. They are obviously sincere and are trying to be faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church not realizing that there was a flaw which originated with the Archbishop of Boston Richard Cushing.

    Explicitly known baptism of desire is the Richard Cushing Error. He assumed that those saved with the baptism of desire or in invincible ignorance are defacto known to us.

    continued

  28. Lionel Andrades says:

    Jason,
    With reference to the Vatican Councils I and II.
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2012/03/vatican-councils-of-catholic-church.html
    Friday, March 2, 2012
    The Vatican Councils of the Catholic Church have clearly taught that formal membership in the Catholic Church IS absolutely necessary for salvation.
    Objection 3
    John Pacecho
    The Vatican Councils of the Catholic Church have clearly taught that formal membership in the Catholic Church is not absolutely necessary for salvation.-John Pacecho, The Catholic Legate.
    Lionel: The Vatican Councils of the Catholic Church have clearly taught that formal membership in the Catholic Church IS absolutely necessary for salvation.

    John Pacecho
    The framers of Vatican I, for instance, rejected the Rigorist view outright. Those who are inculpably ignorant and at the same time respond to the grace that God gives them are not consigned to hell, but can, even in that condition, obtain justification.
    Lionel: ‘Those who are inculpably ignorant and at the same time respond to the grace that God gives them are not consigned to Hell’. These cases are known only to God so they are not explicit exceptions to the dogma outside the church no salvation.
    Vatican Council I affirmed the rigorist interpretation of the dogma according to text quoted here.

    ‘Moreover it is a dogma of faith, that no one can be saved outside the church.’-Vatican Council I. The text of the ‘dogma of faith’, Cantate Domino, Council of Florence is that of the rigorist interpretation.

    John Pacecho
    Vatican II, of course, was quite explicit in accepting the broad view of this question. Those who are not at fault by remaining outside the visible boundaries of the Church can still be saved. See Appendix 3 for the clear evidence of this belief as well as the authority of the Magisterium to authoritatively interpret all doctrines of the Church.-John Pacecho
    APPENDIX 3
    Vatican Councils
    VATICAN I
    7. No one can be saved outside the church.
    Moreover it is a dogma of faith, that no one can be saved outside the church. On the other hand, those who labor under invincible ignorance concerning Christ and his church are not to be damned to eternal punishment on account of such ignorance, since they incur no guilt for this in the eyes of the Lord, who wishes all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, and who does not deny grace to a person who is doing what lies in his power, so that such a one can obtain justification and eternal life. But no one obtains this who dies in a culpable state of separation from the unity of the faith or the communion of the church. Anyone who is not in the ark of salvation will perish in the prevailing flood.” (Sacrorum conciliorum nova collectio, 541-542.)

    Lionel: Vatican Council I clearly teaches that formal membership in the Catholic Church is absoluteley necessary for salvation.’Moreover it is a dogma of faith, that no one can be saved outside the church.’
    ‘Anyone who is not in the ark of salvation will perish in the prevailing flood.’ (Sacrorum conciliorum nova collectio, 541-542.)

    In Session 4, chapter 3, Vatican I says:
    Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both Episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world.
    Lionel: We have above the rigorist interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    John Pacecho.
    Further down this same session says:
    Since the Roman Pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the whole Church, we likewise teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, and that in all cases which fall under ecclesiastical jurisdiction recourse may be had to his judgment. The sentence of the Apostolic See (than which there is no higher authority) is not subject to revision by anyone, nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment thereupon. And so they stray from the genuine path of truth who maintain that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman pontiffs to an ecumenical council as if this were an authority superior to the Roman Pontiff.
    So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema.

    Lionel: The Magisterium of the Church is accepted. The Magisterium has alwys affirmed the dogma of the faith on extra ecclesiam nulla salus. The text of the dogma is that of the rigorist interpretation. It does not mention any defacto exceptions.
    VATICAN II

    CONSTITUTION ON DIVINE REVELATION (Dei Verbum): “10. Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers (see Acts 2, 42, Greek text), so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort. But THE TASK OF AUTHENTICALLY INTERPRETING THE WORD OF GOD, WHETHER WRITTEN OR HANDED ON, HAS BEEN ENTRUSTED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE LIVING TEACHING OFFICE OF THE CHURCH whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.”

    Lionel: The Magisetrium mention in Vatican Council II (Dei Verbum) is accepted. Vatican Council II also like the popes and Councils of the past affirm the rigorist interpretation of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus. It says all need to enter the Church with Catholic Faith and the baptism of water for salvation (to avoid Hell)-Ad Gentes 7, Lumen Gentium 14.

    Therefore, all must be converted to Him, made known by the Church’s preaching, and all must be incorporated into Him by baptism and into the Church which is His body. For Christ Himself “by stressing in express language the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), at the same time confirmed the necessity of the Church, into which men enter by baptism, as by a door.-Ad Gentes 7

    Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism(124) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church.-Lumen Gentium 14

    Other Magisterial documents after Vatican Council II have the same message.

    Above all else, it must be firmly believed 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 (cf. Mk 16:16; Jn 3:5), and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door”. This doctrine must not be set against the universal salvific will of God (cf. 1 Tim 2:4); “it is necessary to keep these two truths together, namely, the real possibility of salvation in Christ for all mankind and the necessity of the Church for this salvation”.- Dominus Iesus 20

    Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium 16 (invincible ignorance) is not an exception to Ad Gentes 7. Since we do not know any explicit case of a non Catholic saved in invincible ignorance or with a good conscience. In principle we accept this possibility. In reality we do not know any such case which would be an exception to the dogma outside the church no salvation.
    Vatican II, LG #16: “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.” _

    The Vatican Councils of the Catholic Church cited here clearly teach that formal membership in the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation.-Lionel Andrades
    http://catholic-legate.com/Apologetics/Ultra-Traditionalism/Articles/ObjectionsToRigorism.aspx

  29. Vincent says:

    Hello Bradley I am Vincent and I am new to this blog so bare with me. I have a question to ask and that is do you know if there is a difference between Aquinas’s understanding of merit and modern day Roman Catholicisms’? I also want to know what the other differences are between
    Aquinas’s salvation views and modern Romes’?

  30. Vincent,

    I can’t answer your question with an extensive well researched answer, but my sense is that the “official” modern Catholic notion of merit is basically the same as Aquinas’s: grace based = all merit is caused by grace, never apart from it).

    As far as “salvation views,” this is too broad of a category to offer a studied answer, but I think in general there are different “strands” of Catholic views, some adhering very close to Aquinas and others (like Bryan Cross) uncomfortable with how strong of an Augustinian emphasis he puts on grace (as you can see from my discussion with Bryan Cross here: http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/05/predestination-john-calvin-vs-thomas-aquinas/comment-page-1/).

    Pax,

    Bradley

    (I hope in time to answer your other comments, just please be patient with me as I am on a tight time crunch)

  31. Here is modern dayRoman Catholicsm .

    December 4, 2012
    Youtube ARCHBISHOP GERHARD MULLER HAS GOT IT RIGHT!

  32. Vincent says:

    Aquinas was very monergistic because of his commitment to Augustine. I think Bryan Cross is more in the molinist camp and so are the majority of modern day rcs though there are exceptions. Did you see my critique of your paper on Aquinas? I just tried to emphasize that for him and Augustine justification was both event and process.

  33. Bryan Cross says:

    Bradley,

    I’m not “uncomfortable” with St. Thomas’s Augustinianism.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  34. Vincent says:

    Hey Bradley do you know what the differences are between Aquinas’s understanding of the righteousness of God that we receive as gift through infusion and modern Roman Catholicisms?

  35. Vincent,

    I see no difference, except perhaps that one could say that since Vatican II opened the door for people to be saved (receive the righteousness of God) apart from an explicit faith in Christ in ways Aquinas did not.

    Molinism, as far as I know, is not official Catholic teaching, so we must keep clear this difference: the Catholic “view” is currently accommodating disparate views on the notion of free will, how it co-operates with grace, predestination, etc., thus we might say that there is no Catholic view on some of these finer questions, only different “views.” I don’t necessarily think that is a weakness of the Catholic Church, but a wise diplomacy that maintains unity in the midst of diversity.

    I wouldn’t say Aquinas is monergistic, however. That is a mistake in my opinion. He clearly believes prevenient grace is monergistic, but not the grace of justification. In Aquinas justification requires the free movement of the will, even if this movement happens “infallibly” by grace. He calls this the co-operation of the will not because he believes God offers the grace of justification and then we either reject it or co-operate with it, but because the will is moved by grace to “operate” in a new direction freely, not by compulsion. In other words, even though grace moves one infallibly to justification, it does not move her in a way repugnant to her own will, but in a way that appeases the will’s appetite so that they believe and repent willingly and delight in their coming to Christ.

    Bradley

  36. Bryan,

    As you could anticipate from our previous discussion on this matter, I can appreciate that you think you are comfortable with Aquinas’s soteriology, but I think that’s only because you are re-interpreting him so that he fits your understanding of an inviolable volition (that is, a notion of free will Aquinas does not have). In other words, I think you are comfortable with your own interpretation (read: spin) on Aquinas, but I don’t think your interpretation does justice to his views. But we’ve already had this debate, and I have no interest in going round in circles again.

    I’m just glad you agree that it’s not a dividing issue.

    Bradley

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