Now to keep my promise…

Posted: January 24, 2010 by datechguy in catholic
Tags: , ,

…to the fans of Fr. Feeney that took exception to my post here. I said the following in comments to reply to them:

But I tell you what, although I’m not going to continue the debate here (particularly since it is an old post) I’ll make it a point to ask my parish priest on the matter to confirm the official church position, and of course I’ll leave up your comments so that if people read the post they can read your rebuttal and make up their own mind.

This is going to get kinda long and I’m going to annoy a lot of people when it’s done so try to read it to the end before you get angry.

I consulted my parish priest Fr. Robert Bruso of St. Anthony di Padua on this matter today after Mass. My commentators are quite correct in one sense, that outside of the church there is no salvation, but they are a bit confused on what constitutes “outside” of the church.

The way that a person enters the church is Baptism and Baptism is necessary for salvation:

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

and in terms of other Christian Denominations it says this:

The sacramental bond of the unity of Christians

1271 Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church: “For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Justified by faith in Baptism, [they] are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.”80 “Baptism therefore constitutes the sacramental bond of unity existing among all who through it are reborn.”81

An indelible spiritual mark . . .

1272 Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation.82 Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated.

Sorry Mr. Hitchens, if you were baptized at one time, it still counts. Now note that Baptism at this point doesn’t guarantee salvation since sin can waste it, but it does constitute the necessary step to be saved. It makes it possible.

This covers the first type of Baptism, the 2nd and 3rd are where things get interesting. “Baptism by blood” is the easier of the two to understand by far:

1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.

Remember Christ’s own words

This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13

Thus a person unbaptized can be baptized by the shedding of their blood, for example in a land where Christians are persecuted a non-christian who dies protecting said Christian would be an example of one who would have recieved Baptism by blood and it thus is considered a member of the Church.

Now here it the part that gets everybody in an uproar, please refrain from the stoning of me until I finish. If you really are keen for a stoning watch this for now:

Ok got it out of your system? Good lets, continue.

The final method of baptism is called Baptism of desire and is explained here:

1260 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.”62 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity. emphasis mine

Thus a Muslim, a Hindu a Jew or a person of any denomination who does not know the Gospel of Christ or a native of Tahiti before the time of Captain Cook would all qualify assuming that they, seek the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it so in the eyes of the Catholic church anyone who does this IS a considered a baptized member of the church (although not in full communion with the Catholic Church).

Many non Catholics and non Christians are offended by this (as are some Catholics) then again some are offended by the teachings on adultery or on celibacy or holy communion or whatever. The church doesn’t change its doctrine based on feelings or polling.

Now again all of this establishes Baptism, which makes salvation possible. Now how do we get into heaven and/or avoid hell?

Lets talk mortal sin

As John mentions specifically there are different types of sin

If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to God and he will give him life. This is only for those whose sin is not deadly. There is such a thing as deadly sin, about which I do not say that you should pray. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not deadly 1 John 5:16-17

Deadly or Mortal sin is sin that brings about damnation. It requires three things:

1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.”

Ok what is a “Grave Matter”?

1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: “Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother.”132 The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.

Well rejection of the Catholic Church is a pretty grave matter. As I’ve said many times the reason to be a Christian in general or a Catholic in particular is because it is true but lets read on…

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. the promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest. all emphasis mine

Thus a person who doesn’t understand the truth of the Church (pretty easy since it is constantly misrepresented in media) and chooses the church they were brought up with. They would not possess the necessary “full knowledge” to achieve mortal sin.

Now lets take the other end of the coin. Lets say you had a pol who understood and believed that the Catholic Church was the true church but for political reasons decided to reject it. That person puts his or her soul at risk.

Thus you have the formula for salvation, Baptism + the absence of Mortal sin = Salvation.

and there is even something for those who fall for that stupid “Blasphemy Challenge” In fact it is addressed specifically:

“Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.” (mk 3:29) There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.

Thus we have covered the lot, although I would think that the letter of the Holy Office dated Holy Office, 8 Aug., 1949 that I linked to the first time explained it pretty well.

Now everybody has their own mind and their own opinions and free will. If people want to believe different from this that is totally up to them, but if they choose to profess it as not the doctrine of the church then I see them as no different than those women claiming “priesthood” and Catholicism, publicly in defiance of the church, both are examples of pride.

Comments
  1. Mike Ryan says:

    You wrote:
    “The final method of baptism is called Baptism of desire and is explained here:
    1260 ‘Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery. 62 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.’
    Thus a Muslim, a Hindu a Jew or a person of any denomination who does not know the Gospel of Christ or a native of Tahiti before the time of Captain Cook would all qualify assuming that they, seek the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it so in the eyes of the Catholic church anyone who does this IS a considered a baptized member of the church (although not in full communion with the Catholic Church).” [END]
    With respect to the desire for baptism, all well and good; however, he who “seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved”, but not where he is. In other words, he cannot be saved without the gift of supernatural faith (or outside the Mystical Body). Benedict XVI, Pius IX and St. Thomas teach the same doctrine: Men of good will (in invincible ignorance) who respond favorably to the graces God bestows upon them “are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace” (Pius IX, Quanto Conficiamur Moerore), which is nothing less than the divine light of faith and sanctifying grace.
    In fact, in Domius Iesus, the CDF and Cardinal Ratzinger took issue with your proposition by clearly highlighting the distinction between theological faith and belief in the other religions (with the latter being “that sum of experience and thought that constitutes the human treasury of wisdom and religious aspiration, which man in his search for truth has conceived and acted upon in his relationship to God and the Absolute”. The latter does not constitute the divine light of theological faith, without which no man can be justified.
    As Cardinal Ratzinger declared “the distinction between theological faith and belief in the other religions, must be firmly held”:
    Dominus Iesus
    7. The proper response to God’s revelation is “the obedience of faith (Rom 16:26; cf. Rom 1:5; 2 Cor 10:5-6) by which man freely entrusts his entire self to God, offering ‘the full submission of intellect and will to God who reveals’ and freely assenting to the revelation given by him”.15 Faith is a gift of grace: “in order to have faith, the grace of God must come first and give assistance; there must also be the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and gives ‘to everyone joy and ease in assenting to and believing in the truth’”.16
    The obedience of faith implies acceptance of the truth of Christ’s revelation, guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself:17 “Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed”.18 Faith, therefore, as “a gift of God” and as “a supernatural virtue infused by him”,19 involves a dual adherence: to God who reveals and to the truth which he reveals, out of the trust which one has in him who speaks. Thus, “we must believe in no one but God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”.20
    For this reason, the distinction between theological faith and belief in the other religions, must be firmly held. If faith is the acceptance in grace of revealed truth, which “makes it possible to penetrate the mystery in a way that allows us to understand it coherently”,21 then belief, in the other religions, is that sum of experience and thought that constitutes the human treasury of wisdom and religious aspiration, which man in his search for truth has conceived and acted upon in his relationship to God and the Absolute.22
    This distinction is not always borne in mind in current theological reflection. Thus, theological faith (the acceptance of the truth revealed by the One and Triune God) is often identified with belief in other religions, which is religious experience still in search of the absolute truth and still lacking assent to God who reveals himself. This is one of the reasons why the differences between Christianity and the other religions tend to be reduced at times to the point of disappearance. [END]
    Look again at your statement that “a Muslim, a Hindu a Jew or a person of any denomination who does not know the Gospel of Christ or a native of Tahiti before the time of Captain Cook would all qualify assuming that they, seek the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it”, and you will see that what you are describing is that “belief in other religons” which cannot constitute the “faith” that saves.
    God will provide the true faith and bring each of His elect into the bosom of His Mystical Body, even, as Pope Benedict XVI taught in Dominus Iesus, in a mysterious way (“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”).
    God bless,
    Mike Ryan

  2. Mike Ryan says:

    Let this be my last word on the subject.

    Again, God will provide the true faith and will bring each of His elect into the bosom of His Mystical Body (“I know mine, and mine KNOW me… And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I MUST bring, and THEY SHALL HEAR MY VOICE, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd”), even if, as St. Aquinas, Pope Pius IX and, as Cardinal Ratzinger taught in Dominus Iesus, He accomplishes this in a mysterious way.

    Through your misreading of a single passage in the CCC on “The Necessity of Baptism” (the INFERENCE that one may be saved without the virtue of supernatural faith by an implicit desire for baptism must be supported by explicit magisterial teaching – which is clearly lacking), you appear to have taken the CCC out of context and beyond what it actually teaches (or simply read too much into it).

    The Church’s teaching on the very real possibility of salvation “IN A WAY KNOWN TO GOD” for those who desire to do the will of God, but who objectively remain ignorant of the true Faith, cannot contradict the full body of the Church’s teaching on God’s WILL and promise to bring the Gospel to each of His elect. As you should know, this promise may even entail revealing the true Faith in a mysterious “way known to God”, such as by missionary (even if, as salvation history attests, by bi-location) or by internal inspiration, as St. Thomas Aquinas, and the Church, has always taught.

    Unfortunately, you appear to be advocating that this is NOT necessarily true, that the Catechism teaches that not all of God’s Elect can HEAR His voice or can KNOW Him; and thus an ignorant Hindu, Muslim or Jew can be saved where he is WITHOUT the gift of supernatural (theological) faith (the acceptance of the truth revealed by the One and Triune God).

    You actually suggest that the Catechism, in opposition to Dominus Iesus (and to perennial Church teaching), teaches that the virtue of Faith, as “a gift of God” and as “a supernatural virtue infused by him”, which “involves a dual adherence: to God who reveals AND to the TRUTH which HE REVEALS”, is not necessary for salvation. In other words, you are suggesting that the mystery of salvation “in a way known to God” does not necessary include the gift of supernatural (faith).

    The “mystery” spoken of by the CCC (though remaining silent on the details), entails the mystery of how God may bring the Faith to the ignorant man of good will. Though it may be easy to misinterpret the passage, the CCC does not suggest that the “mystery” of salvation (in a way known to God alone) means that God will save a man by leaving him in his ignorance. In the objective order, that is how it might appear, but God will fulfill His promise. This is what the Catechism of Trent meant when it taught:

    “…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 RIGHTEOSNESS.”

    In the case of the invincibly ignorant, do you think that this same love, contrition, intention and determination to do the will of God in all things (all gifts of God) will NOT avail this soul to the supernatural gift of grace and righteousness – which is nothing less than the grace of the divine light of faith, which, along with supernatural charity, transforms (re-birth) a soul into a son of God and heir to the Kingdom? Again, what do you suppose Pope Pius IX meant when he declared that these same fervent souls who are mired in invincible ignorance “are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace” (Quanto Conficiamur Moerore)? What do you think “the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace” represents if not sanctifying grace and the divine light of faith (can’t have one without the other)?

    And this is precisely what Cardinal Ratzinger (and the CDF) confirmed when declaring that “Faith is a gift of grace: in order to have faith, the grace of God must come first and give assistance; there must also be the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and gives ‘to everyone joy and ease in assenting to and believing in the truth’”; and “Faith, therefore, as ‘a gift of God’” and as a ‘supernatural virtue infused by him’, involves a dual adherence: to God who reveals and to the truth which he reveals, out of the trust which one has in him who speaks.” Thus, “we must believe in no one but God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”. (Dominus Iesus)

    Why are you silent on this authoritative magisterial teaching and why do you remain silent on the critical distinction between theological faith and “belief” in other religions, which distinction “must be firmly held” by all Catholics? By confusing “theological faith” (“the acceptance of the truth revealed by the One and Triune God”) with “belief in other religions, which is religious experience still in search of the absolute truth and STILL LACKING ASSENT TO GOD who reveals himself”, have you not “reduced … to the point of disappearance … the differences between Christianity and the other religions”?

    In the name of “mercy” you may have unwittingly forsaken the truth; as if God’s mercy can be opposed to His promise that “THEY SHALL HEAR my voice” and “there shall be one fold and one shepherd.” With your rather “rigorous” reading of one passage of the Catechism (on the subject of the “Necessity of Baptism”), you seem to want to overturn almost two millennium of Catholic doctrine on the necessity of supernatural faith.

    Supernatural faith and charity have been required at all times, and for all men, for salvation (this is de fide).

    Let me ask you, do you think that the Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent, and the CCC, can be opposed? Please read carefully what the Roman Catechism of Trent taught as an immutable doctrine of our Faith:

    The Catechism of the Council of Trent, The Apostles Creed, Ch. 9, ARTICLE II: “AND [I BELEIVE] IN JESUS CHRIST, HIS ONLY SON, OUR LORD”:

    “St. John: Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God; and also from the words of Christ the Lord, proclaiming the Prince of the Apostles blessed for the confession of this truth: Blessed art thou, Simon BarJona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. For this Article is the most firm basis of our salvation and redemption.

    “Necessity Of Faith In This Article: The belief and profession of this our redemption, which God declared from the beginning, are now, and always have been, necessary to salvation.” [END]

    Do you believe that the belief and profession of THIS our redemption (I BELIEVE in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord), which God declared from the beginning, are now, and always have been, necessary to salvation? Do you actually believe that the CCC teaches another doctrine?

    The Truth cannot change, and the CCC did not “develop” the doctrine on the necessity of supernatural faith to mean something different than what has always been taught as a matter of revealed truth. The development of doctrine is in the area of the “mystery” of how God may bring those of good will into His Mystical Body and, as Pope Benedict XVI has intimated elsewhere, this is an area theologians are given the freedom to explore (without in any sense changing revealed truth).

    “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” (John 17:3).

    Mike Ryan

  3. smitty says:

    My entree into the discussion is Eph2:8-9.

    The idea that any physical act (to include Baptism, for who but God knows whether it’s getting wet or following Christ’s example?) seems, IMO, to run afoul of Job40:6-14.

    If there is any good coming from the modern chaos, however, that good might be the realization that sincere followers of Christ can be known by their love, even if they have substantial doctrinal/tradition disparities.