In response to my post concerning my neighbor the Jehovah’s Witness Lisa Graas wrote an interesting post:
For two millenia, the Catholic Church has named countless saints. These are people we know to be in Heaven. It is important to note, though, that the Church has never once named any individual to be in Hell. There is a reason for that. God saves whom He will.
The saints are people who lived lives of heroic virtue. DaTechGuy’s neighbor demonstrated an act of virtue. He did something that was ‘saintly’. Is he going to Hell because he is a Jehovah Witness? I have no idea. Having said that, I also don’t know if Attila the Hun is in Hell. I do know that St. Augustine is in Heaven. I know that St. Ambrose is in Heaven. I know that St. Jerome is in Heaven. St. Maria Goretti, the Martyrs of Cordoba, St. Joan of Arc, and St. Gemma Galgani are all in heaven ….and so on, and so on, and so on. They were all Catholic. Even Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha was Catholic.
That’s what we know for sure.
That is certainly true, it is also true by definition a Saint is a person who is in fact in heaven. There are a large amount of saints that we have never heard of or may never hear of.
She is also quite correct in the doctrinal errors of the Witnesses. I have regularly debated these errors with them when they come to the door and I let them in as I do with all the Millerite religions.
One must remember however that one of the requirement for Mortal Sin is an understanding of the sin, there is a difference between not knowing the truth and denying it. There is also the question of Baptism of intent as I wrote before:
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..
Thus my friend across the street (assuming his Baptism is not considered valid) may in fact qualify as Baptized via this method.
All of this doesn’t change what I have said over and over: There is only one reason to be a Christian in general and/or a Catholic in particular. Because it is true and on that note there is no compromise, there is no equivocation.
This is an excellent opportunity to bring up my pastor’s excellent message from the Jan 16th bulletin on the subject:
John the Baptist makes a claim about Jesus which every Christian must affirm: “Now I have seen and testified that He is the Son of God.” Jesus is categorically different from any other great religious teacher because He claims for Himself Divinity, to be the fully divine incarnation of God on earth. Either He is delusional or we have to take Him at His word.
There is no middle ground. We cannot say He was mistaken in His core beliefs about who He was while at the same time assert that He is a great teacher. You can’t have it both ways.
There is a very important difference between saying all religions should be respected and all religions are the same. As Catholic Christians, we insist on complete freedom of conscience and religious freedom for all. That is not the same thing as saying all religion is the same. All religions have the same rights, but as Christians, we must assert that Jesus Christ is the unique Savior of the entire human race. In a world of intellectual relativity, where nothing is fact and all is opinion, that seems to be the height of arrogance. But there is also such a thing as Truth. Truth cannot be imposed or forced on anyone. We are called to be witnesses to the truth with love. We are called to affirm our faith in Jesus Christ and to make Him known.
It is the duty of every Catholic in particular and every Christian in general to proclaim the gospel of Christ. As St. Francis of Assisi said:
Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words
Works for me.