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 Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus 
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New post Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus
Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus: Outside the Church, there is no salvation.

This is the dogma which Pope Pius IX, of blessed memory, referred to as notissimum: perfectly known to the bishops he was addressing, as well as to the world at large.

(I need not mention that this Pope is one of the great heroes of our Traditional resistance, an inveterate and uncompromising enemy of all liberalism. Fr. Feeney shared our admiration of him for precisely this reason.)

This is not a dogma of considerable subtlety, requiring theological training to comprehend the terms, as, for instance, the consubstantiality of the Father with the Son. A child, or an unbeliever otherwise unacquainted with Catholic doctrine, can understand it readily. Its simplicity conceals profundities which the greatest minds have tried to fathom, but this is true of every Catholic dogma. A child can understand "This is My Body", but no human mind can exhaust the mysteries of Transubstantiation.

This dogma was being publicly denied at Boston by the liberals who were increasingly infesting the hierarchy and the clergy in this country long before Fr. Feeney's time. For proclaiming this dogma and defending it against its deniers, Fr. Feeney was attacked and suppressed by an illegal and abusive appeal to obedience. The world knew at the time, and has never forgotten, the true grounds of this suppression. His enemies knew as well as Fr. Feeney did that no priest can be punished for teaching the traditional doctrine of the Church. But it was sufficient for their purposes that Fr. Feeney be silenced, or, failing that, discredited as a Catholic teacher. (A method used by heretics since at least the time of St. Athanasius.)

Fr. Feeney was never accused, much less condemned, of heresy or of any doctrinal error by any level of the Church's authority. It seems self-evident that a Catholic Bishop, not to mention the Holy Office, would have condemned Fr. Feeney's heresy, if there had been any. Fr. Feeney always maintained that they could not, without condemning the traditional teaching of the Church. His worst enemies are unable or unwilling, to my knowledge, to suggest any other plausible explanation for this anomaly; so they blithely ignore it.

Those Traditionalists today, who for whatever reason have made it their business to attack Fr. Feeney, should ask themselves how that could be. It's particularly difficult for them, because they seem to be carrying on the old disease of subservience to the hierarchy which was a major element in the collapse of the Faith since Vatican II. (By subservience, I mean, of course, not legitimate obedience, but the vice of an excessive obedience, unreasonable, sinful, contrary to the obedience owed to God.) On their showing, a red hat or a tiara makes a man a saint or a god, so that it's impossible a priori to find any fault with any of their dealings, explicit or implicit. So this would imply a perfect care for orthodoxy on their part which, obviously, would have led to a condemnation of Fr. Feeney's heresy; a heresy which they think is practically self-evident (regardless of which one it was, in their view). But this is exactly what did not happen.

In my next message, I'll post the actual casus belli or the opening of the hostilities, the heretical teaching taking place at Boston. Following that, when time permits, I'll post a summary of the elements of the doctrine "Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus," followed by further postings dealing with particular issues in detail.

James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.

"Da mihi virtutem contra hostes tuos."


Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:22 pm
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New post Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus: Public Heresy (1948)
Here is the heresy being taught at Boston, which Fr. Feeney opposed, and was the fundamental cause for the hostility against the St. Benedict Center. This is not the earliest event in point of time, but perhaps the clearest.

The following is the contemporary account of an eyewitness of the events, a follower of Fr. Feeney, quoted from After the Boston Heresy Case by Gary Potter (Monrovia, CA: Catholic Treasures Books, 1995):

"[Raymond Karam] was just then [in December 1948] taking a course in Modern Science and Philosophy in the Graduate School of Philosophy at Boston College. The course was given by Rev. Joseph P. Kelly, S.J. That December Karam recorded into the center Log some of the statements he had heard Fr. Kelly make. Among them:

"'Any man who would say that there is no salvation outside the Church is a heretic.'

"'If you say that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church, you are a heretic and cannot save your soul.'

"'The Catholic Church never defined or even suggested that there is no salvation outside it. No pope, no council, no Doctor of the Church ever taught that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church.'

"'Not only is it possible to be saved outside the Catholic Church, it is even possible to be saved while being an enemy of the Church and actively fighting against it.'

"'St. Paul was not sinning while persecuting Christ and His Church.'

"'The dogma that there is no salvation outside the Church [this was said after Karam pointed out to Fr. Kelly that it was a defined dogma [bracketed comment in the original text]] applies exclusively to Catholics who have personally left the Church.'

"'When a pope or council, or when a Doctor of the Church says that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church, the meaning of this statement depends on what is meant by the Catholic Church.'

"'Baptism is not necessary for salvation.'

"'Many people who are totally ignorant of Christ and His Church can be saved because their ignorance excuses them and confers on them baptism of desire.'

"'A person can have baptism of desire, even if he is ignorant of the baptism of water, even if he refuses to be baptized by water.'"


Thu Dec 07, 2006 10:47 pm
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Pax Christi !


Dear James,

Before you continue with your presentation, small favor to ask, please answer one question ;

Do you hold the Letter from the Holy Office Aug 8th 1949 to be heretical or erroneous in its presentation of EENS, Baptism of Desire and Blood? For simplicity a yes or no would suffice.

Thanks in advance !

In Xto,
Vincent


Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:46 am
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New post Re: Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus: Public Heresy (1948)
Dear Jim,

James Larrabee wrote:
Here is the heresy being taught at Boston, which Fr. Feeney opposed, and was the fundamental cause for the hostility against the St. Benedict Center. This is not the earliest event in point of time, but perhaps the clearest.

What evidence have we for any earlier heresy?

James Larrabee wrote:
That December Karam recorded into the center Log some of the statements he had heard Fr. Kelly make. Among them: ...

Hair-raising stuff, to be sure.

James Larrabee wrote:
"'When a pope or council, or when a Doctor of the Church says that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church, the meaning of this statement depends on what is meant by the Catholic Church.'

Ah, the heresy of the V2 era - the denial of the true definition of "ecclesia." Of course, the Feeneyite response is to deny the proper definition of "extra." What a mess.

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Fri Dec 08, 2006 1:13 pm
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Vince Sheridan wrote:
Pax Christi !


Dear James,

Before you continue with your presentation, small favor to ask, please answer one question ;

Do you hold the Letter from the Holy Office Aug 8th 1949 to be heretical or erroneous in its presentation of EENS, Baptism of Desire and Blood? For simplicity a yes or no would suffice.

Thanks in advance !

In Xto,
Vincent


Not a small favor, Vince, given the complexity and sensitivity of the issues. Promise you'll reciprocate?

I would answer with a qualified "yes", in other words, "yes" but further explanation and qualification will be necessary to avoid possible incorrect inferences. This is the sort of answer I wanted (still want) from Mike, and I think it's a fair expectation. No one is trying to trap anyone unfairly here.

Regards, have to run,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Sun Dec 10, 2006 2:49 am
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Pax Christi !

Dear James,

Many thanks for the answer. So there is no confusion, this Letter from the Holy Office is " authoritive" i.e. approved by Pope Pius XIIth, yet you hold it to be heretical ( with qualifications) ?

In Xto,
Vincent


Sun Dec 10, 2006 3:39 am
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New post Definitions and Grades of Theological Certainty
Not everyone has a copy of the following book. Indeed, many may not have read the following even if they do have it. Perhaps it is timely, then, to state the Church’s official classification system on Grades of Certainty regarding dogma. The book from which this is taken is familiar to most. It has the 1952 imprimatur in German and the 1955 imprimatur in English:

“Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma
Dr. Ludwig Ott
§ 8. The Theological Grades of Certainty
Introduction pp. 9-10
“1. The highest degree of certainty appertains to the immediately revealed truths. The belief due to them is based on the authority of God Revealing (fides divina), and if the Church, through its teaching, vouches for the fact that a truth is contained in Revelation, one’s certainty is then also based on the authority of the Infallible Teaching Authority of the Church (fides catholica). If Truths are defined by a solemn judgment of faith (definition) of the Pope or of a General Council, they are “de fide definita.”
“2. Catholic truths or Church doctrines, on which the infallible Teaching Authority of the Church has finally decided, are to be accepted with a faith which is based on the sole authority of the Church (fides ecclesiastica). These truths are as infallibly certain as dogmas proper.
“3. A Teaching proximate to Faith (sententia fidei proxima) is a doctrine which is regarded by theologians generally as a truth of Revelation, but which has not yet been finally promulgated as such by the Church.
“4. A Teaching pertaining to the Faith, i.e., theologically certain (sententia ad fidem pertinens, i.e., theologice certa) is a doctrine on which the Teaching Authority of the Church has not yet finally pronounced, but whose truth is guaranteed by its intrinsic connection with the doctrine of revelation (theological conclusions).
“5. Common Teaching (sententia communis) is doctrine which in itself belongs to the field of the free opinions, but which is accepted by theologians generally.
“6. Theological opinions of lesser grades of certainty are called probable, more probable, well-founded (sententia probabilis, probabilior, bene fundata). Those which are regarded as being in agreement with the consciousness of Faith of the Church are called pious opinions (sententia pia). The least degree of certainty is possessed by the tolerated opinion (opinio tolerata), which is only weakly founded, but which is tolerated by the Church.

“With regard to the doctrinal teaching of the Church it must be well noted that not all the assertions of the Teaching Authority of the Church on questions of Faith and morals are infallible and consequently irrevocable. Only those are infallible which emanate from General Councils representing the whole episcopate, and the Papal Decisions Ex Cathedra (cf. Denzinger 1839). The ordinary and usual form of the Papal teaching activity is not infallible. Further, the decisions of the Roman Congregations (Holy Office, Bible Commission) are not infallible. Nevertheless normally they are to be accepted with an inner assent which is based on the high supernatural authority of the Holy See (assensus internus supernaturalis, assensus religiosus). The so-called “silentium obsequiosum,” that is “reverent silence,” does not generally suffice. By way of exception, the obligation of inner agreement may cease if a competent expert, after a renewed scientific investigation of all grounds, arrives at the positive conviction that the decision rests on an error.

Ҥ9. Theological Censures
“By a theological censure is meant the judgment which characterises a proposition touching Catholic Faith or Moral Teaching as contrary to Faith or at least is doubtful. If it be pronounced by the Teaching Authority of the Church it is an authoritative or judicial judgment (censura authentica or iudicialis). If it be pronounced by Theological Science it is a private doctrinal judgment (censura doctrinalis).
“The usual censures are the following: A Heretical Proposition (propositio haeretica). This signifies that the proposition is opposed to a formal dogma; a Proposition Proximate to Heresy (propositio heresi proxima) which signifies that the proposition is opposed to a truth which is proximate to the Faith (Sent. fidei proxima); a Proposition Savouring of or Suspect of heresy (propositio haeresim sapiens or de haeresi suspect); an Erroneous Propositon (prop erronea), i.e., opposed to a truth which is proposed by the Church as a truth intrinsically connected with a revealed truth (error in fide ecclesiastica) or opposed to the common teaching of theologians (error theologicus); a False Proposition (prop. false), i.e., deviating without reason from the general teaching; a Proposition Offensive to pious ears (prop. piarum aurium offensive), i.e., offensive to religious feeling; a Proposition badly expressed (prop. male sonans), i.e., subject to misunderstanding by reason of its method of expression; a Captious Proposition (prop. captiosa), i.e., reprehensible because of its intentional ambituity; a Proposition exciting scandal (prop. scandalosa).
“As to the form of the censures a distinction is made between Damnatio Specialis, by which a censure it attached to an individual proposition, and the Damnatio in Globo, in which censures are imposed on a series of propositions.”

Most of us can vaguely find our way through the definitions of the general meanings above, and only theologians and scholars are really able to discern the Church’s meanings. Yet, without knowing that there are different grades, we may assign EVERY doctrine to a de fide status, and the Church does not do that herself. The different grades apply when questions arise concerning dogmatic statements, and here is where even Gratian, Polycarpus, Anselm and Ivo struggled to know the answers and to explain what must be believed.

Another note: during the last years of Pacelli, his life was heavily “managed” and to what level is only known to private sources, probably vatican documents, and this means in regard also to the questionable capabilities and reported severe illness of Pacelli during that time, prior to his death. Valid pope he was, but controlled by other forces, perhaps forces even beyond his knowledge. I like to think so. People at the time thought so. Newspapers opined about it, and many records of the sicknesses of Pope Pius XII were publicly reported then and can be located in microfiche archive.


Sun Dec 10, 2006 4:16 pm
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New post Looking up from the Pew.
J. Larrabee wrote:
This is not a dogma of considerable subtlety, requiring theological training to comprehend the terms, as, for instance,


Jim, I must say that my experience has been much the opposite. Now this may be from my own failings or from those of my sources, but here's how I have found myself. Please feel free to clear up the perceived problems on my part.

Treacherous. There are at least three dictionary meanings for this word. 1. Faithless or likely to betray trust; 2. providing insecure footing; and 3. marked by hidden dangers, hazards, or perils. Let me emphasis that I am referring mostly to the third meaning when I characterize this topic as treacherous.

I would appreciate the chance to express some of the consternation (and maybe even “anxiety” may not be too unsuitable a word) that some of those less schooled and less insightful about this topic may feel as we try to make sense of it while kneeling in prayer and asking for guidance. If this is no more than an unhelpful distraction, I beg you ignore it. If I have over-stepped my bounds in any of the following for anyone, I beg your forgiveness, and that of the Church, and I hope I say nothing to scandalize anyone.

A. Quanto Conficiamur Moerore

Two statements are made in this encyclical which I shall reproduce out of context in what I believe is Msgr. Fenton’s translation:

1. "It is known to Us and to you that those who labor in invincible ignorance of our most holy religion, and who, carefully observing the natural law and its precepts which God has inscribed in the hearts of all, and who, being ready to obey God, live and honest and upright life, can through the working of the divine light and grace, attain eternal life, since God, who clearly sees, inspects, and know the minds, the intentions, the thoughts, and the habits of all, will by reason of His goodness and kindness, never allow anyone who has not the guilt of willful sin to be punished by eternal suffering".

2. "But it is a perfectly well known Catholic dogma that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church, and that those who are contumacious against the authority of that same Church and from Peter’s successor, the Roman Pontiff, to whom the custody of the vineyard has been entrusted by the Saviour, cannot obtain eternal salvation".

Now, with some trepidation, I must admit that these two ideas are a very difficult pairing for me. Let me give you an idea of how difficult. If you were to make up the following categories: W) Mysteries like the Trinity which are very difficult for the mortal mind to grasp in their entirety at this point. Y) Difficult theological disputes that require much study and a penetrating mind to resolve, and Z) simple matters taught in the catechisms, I would need to invent a category for this one--X) somewhere between W and Y.


B. Enter Monsignor Joseph Clifford Fenton

In 1958 Monsignor Fenton published a book titled The Catholic Church and Salvation In Light of Recent Pronouncements by the Holy See. Various sources of essays by Msgr. Fenton have been pointed to on this forum, and I assume they were in some way preparatory or drawn from the research for the book. Msgr Fenton appears to be the only comprehensive source of commentary on this doctrine done in the last 50 years that a traditionalist may in any way rely on. The problem is we have no criticism of Msgr Fenton from a competent traditional source, so we are basically left with a firm appreciation of some of the things he wrote, and a pronounced tendency to trust him on other matters.

At one point in his rather densely packed 200 page book Fenton states: “The Catholic truth on this point is comparatively complicated”. Well, yes, at least for me, following him. What he tries to do is argue that the subject falls under my category Y above, a demanding but explicable theological subject. I have read the book clean through twice, and several sections many more times. I don’t feel I am much closer to being able to grasp the subject without falling into some grave errors or causing myself further bewilderment than I possessed when I began. To me it has become like unto one of those mobius strips that the engineers twist before joining into a loop so that as you travel you remain on the same surface, but sometimes you’re above and sometime below.

C. The Holy Office Letter “Suprema haec sacra”.

To me, the letter is as difficult to deal with as anything Fenton proposes. In addition it seems to add a nebulous “implicit” desire to belong to the Church while at the same time insisting on former Church teaching that membership in the Church is required as a necessity of means and a necessity of precept. Whatever the clarity of this for the more astute mind may be, we certainly see where the modernists went with it.


D. Invincible Ignorance and Salvation that appears outside the Church but actually isn’t.

Ah, here the path deteriorates from the merely treacherous to the minefield. Should we throw out Fenton, and, if so what and whom else should we nominate for suspicion? At some point we saw this small opening widen into “subsists in” and Karl Rahner’s “anonymous Christian”. But worse than this was the Novus Ordo multitude who quickly adopted the attitude that it didn’t really matter what one did to achieve salvation.

Whom do we blame? Us? Them? And which “them”? I was hoping there would be a basic truth that is immediately recognizable while being consistent with complete theological explanation. If someone can do that , please proceed.

Geoff


Mon Dec 11, 2006 4:32 pm
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Pax Christi !


Dear Geoff,

Sorry to just jump in here, but please allow me a quick response. In light of all the theological writings on EENS, BOD/BOB, I have found Patrick Omlor's summation of this topic most helpful. ( The Robber Church part iii;pp 190-215)

And with any theology topic which uses terms, those terms must be understood correctly when used, otherwise great confusion arise's. That is why I found Patrick Omlor's summation so helpful.

In Xto,
Vincent


Mon Dec 11, 2006 5:22 pm
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New post Re: Looking up from the Pew.
Geoff Tribbe wrote:
J. Larrabee wrote:
This is not a dogma of considerable subtlety, requiring theological training to comprehend the terms, as, for instance,


Jim, I must say that my experience has been much the opposite.


Geoff, I appreciate what you are saying, but you are missing my point. My point is that it is perfectly easy for anyone to understand the meaning of the words "No salvation outside the Roman Catholic Church." I was just drawing a contrast with other doctrines where only a theologian would even understand the terms. (For example, the doctrine of Circumincession in regard to the Trinity.)

You are getting into the question as to whether the words are to be taken literally and simply or not. That is one area where complications arise. In addition, for a full comprehension (if that is possible) of this dogma, certainly theologians have developed extensive treatises on all aspects of the nature of the Church and of the necessity of membership in it, which laymen (not to mention children) have no need at all to concern themselves with.

It is evident from a brief study of the history of this doctrine that never was there any controversy about it until about the Middle Ages, i.e. no one ever claimed that it meant something other than the obvious meaning of the words.

This discussion, which of course would have been raised by traditional Catholics after Vatican II even if Fr. Feeney had never lived or engaged in controversy over it, is necessary for the same reason that discussion of Baptism of desire is necessary: because the faith of many has been disturbed by public denials of Catholic doctrine, or theories which are or appear to be denials, which have been publicly taught. If these matters had never left the academic circles of theological discussion, like many other matters completely unknown to the theologically unsophisticated public, no discussion would have been necessary; indeed, it never would have arisen. Pious laymen would be shocked by many theories which have been defended by Catholic theologians. I am shocked by some of them.

The issues you raise in this post are, of course, issues which I have set out to treat somewhat systematically in this topic.

Regards,
James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Mon Dec 11, 2006 5:57 pm
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James L. wrote:
...you are missing my point. My point is that it is perfectly easy for anyone to understand the meaning of the words ...


Ah, yes. I see.

J.L. wrote:
...certainly theologians have developed extensive treatises on all aspects of the nature of the Church and of the necessity of membership in it, which laymen (not to mention children) have no need at all to concern themselves with.



Most certainly. But this is a fight most pious Catholic laymen had no use for, and weren't looking for. They were brought to the battlements on this by that horrendous cultural pressure that had built up since the Middle Ages, by their very teachers in what they thought was the Church, and eventually, sometimes, by their own friends and family. I agree that in steadier times it would have been a non-issue for your average member of the Church. Thus I can understand your sympathy for Father Feeney. Sometimes one is just sitting at the kitchen table nibbling at his toast and the ceiling decides to give way.
:)



Quote:
The issues you raise in this post are, of course, issues which I have set out to treat somewhat systematically in this topic.

The floor is yours.


Vince,

I forgot that Mr. Omlor had dealt with this. I've re-read the "The Robber Church" sections that deal with this and he is easier to understand than Fenton, partly because he's not afraid to throw in a qualifier when it seems badly needed.

Thanks,

Geoff


Mon Dec 11, 2006 7:10 pm
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I believe that many of the problems arising today are from the buying into Avery Dulles concept of what the Catholic Church is or should be and Fr.Ratzinger buing into it.

Quote:
"The traditional doctrinal formulations were forged in the light of a general world-view that has by now become obsolete; an unconditional allegiance to any single view of the universe, such as the Christian, seems to demand, impresses the modern mind as fanatical and unscientific... The claim that some privileged source... contains the totality of saving truth is likewise distasteful... The assertion that divine revelation was complete in the first century of our era seems completely antithical to the modern concept of progress."

Avery Dulles, S.J.,
Doctrines do Grow.


And if one discussed BOB, BOD, ecumenism and anything else in the llight of this concept of the global church then indeed Ratzinger is right that the Catholic Church "subsistit" in it and we all worship the one God and should be true to our own religions. Ahh Moses how wrong you were in condemning the sacred cow!


Mon Dec 11, 2006 9:27 pm
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New post Summary position of St. Thomas
(This is from a message I posted (on Dec. 8) under the topic of Mr. Matatics and Fr. Feeney. I've copied it over here for convenience and to keep it before people's eyes. It's just a summary of his position. If necessary, I'll post quotes later on to prove the different points.)

St. Thomas teaches clearly that only those who belong to the Catholic Church by supernatural faith and charity can be saved. Those who die in invincible ignorance, if there are any, are damned; not on account of their ignorance but on account of their sins, which cannot be forgiven outside the Church. By faith is meant the profession of and belief in all the teachings of the Catholic Church, explicitly at least in the Trinity and the Incarnation, implicitly in all the others (i.e. by a global acceptance of all the Church's teachings, denying none); by charity is meant abiding in communion with the Church and in submission to its lawful authority. Infants dying without Baptism, and therefore without membership in the Church, despite not only their invincible ignorance but their complete innocence of actual sin, are damned. Ignorance, whether or not culpable, is a punishment by God for sin, whether original or actual. Knowledge, on the other hand, its remedy, is a grace, a gratuitous gift, which nevertheless is withheld from no one who sincerely seeks it. I do not know of any Father or Doctor of the Church who teaches otherwise on this matter.

The infant-raised-in-the-woods-out-in-Patagonia is specifically answered by St. Thomas. If such a one truly strives to serve God by obedience to the natural law, God will send an angel, a missionary, or His own direct inspiration to enlighten him in the truths of the Faith necessary to salvation; thus coming to the knowledge of the truth. "God wills that all men be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth" (I Tim. 2:4).

James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:04 am
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New post The Church is a visible assembly
Here is the famous definition of the Church by St. Robert Bellarmine:

"Coetu[s] hominum eiusdem Christianae fidei professione, et eorundem Sacramentorum communione colligatum, sub regimine legitimorum pastorum, ac praecipue unius Christi in terris Vicarii Romani Pontificis."

"The assembly of men bound together by the profession of the Christian faith, and by the communion of the same Sacraments, under the government of their legitimate shepherds, and especially that of the one Vicar of Christ on earth, the Roman Pontiff."

(De Ecclesia militante [On the Church Militant], bk. 3, ch. 2, par. 9) (Pragae, 1721, II, p. 65a)

In another place, he equally famously said that the Church is as visible as the Republic of Venice (a very visible thing in those days).

The Protestants denied the visibility of the Church, claiming that it was, in one way or another, a purely invisible assembly, composed variously of the elect, the just, etc. Therefore the necessity of belonging to the Church for salvation was not an issue for them; it rather amounted to a tautology. Thus St. Robert Bellarmine did not treat the subject ex professo in his controversies, so far as I am aware.

Among Catholics, however, a controversy arose about the same time, not directly over the necessity of belonging to the Church, but over the necessity of professing the Catholic Faith, for salvation. This was possibly motivated by the idea of some theologians (mostly Spanish) that the natives of the New World had somehow not been adequately accounted for by previous explanations of the requirements of salvation, and professed to be scandalized at the supposed idea that all these were destined to Hell, for want of any knowledge of Christ or the Church. Some went so far as to claim that a "faith" based on a purely natural knowledge of God could suffice for their salvation. (This was referred to as fides late dicta--faith in a broad sense--by some of them.) This doctrine was implicitly condemned by the definition of the Council of Trent, which clearly required supernatural faith for justification, and then again by Blessed Innocent XI, who condemned the "broad faith" idea explicitly.

There remained a position short of this denial of the need for supernatural faith, based on the same motivation, but more subtle. Suarez, in particular, excogitated a theory that, in a merely natural intention of pleasing God (of conforming to the natural law), the desire to do all that God commands is involved. Therefore, it would implicitly include the intention of professing the Faith and belonging to the Church. It does not appear how any supernatural act could be implicit in a merely natural one (even if elevated from without by grace). However, the main point I wish to make in this context is that it makes the Church invisible by making its membership invisible, in some degree or other. In effect, it reduces the necessity of belonging to a visible assembly of men to an empty formula.

Some modern theologians (beginning perhaps with Cardinal De Lugo in the 17th century) go further, by admitting this possibility not only in the case of those who have never heard of the Gospel, but of heretics, Jews, etc., to whom the existence and claims of the Church are perfectly well known, but who are invincibly ignorant of the truth of its teaching. One version of this is conveniently stated by A. Tanquerey, a French Sulpician whose texts were widely used in American and French seminaries in the earlier part of the last century (italics are in the original Latin):

"(a) It is necessary by a necessity of means to belong to the soul of the Church: for this means nothing other than that faith and charity, or the state of grace, is necessary in the present order of things; which all Christians concede. Now, any adult who is sincerely following the dictates of his conscience, can attain to these dispositions, with the help of God's grace, as is expounded in the Tr. de Gratia [i.e. his own treatise on Grace], (no. 88).

"(b) It is equally necessary by the necessity of means to belong to the body of the Church at least in voto, i.e. to have a sincere desire of entering the body of the Church; however, in the case of those who do not know [or recognize] the true Church of Christ, an implicit intention [votum] is sufficient; i.e. that intention which is included in a perfect act of contrition or of love of God, by which one sincerely wills to keep his commandments; and since one of the divine commandments is to embrace the Church, he who loves God wills implicitly to carry out this command.

"(c) However, it is not necessary by a necessity of means to belong to the body of the Church in fact, but it is only necessary by a necessity of precept; and therefore, he who remains outside the Church inculpably is not damned by that very fact, but can be saved, granting the conditions we have posited." (A. Tanquerey, S.S. Synopsis theologiae dogmaticae fundamentalis, Treatise "De Ecclesia Christi", ch. 1, no. 161 (Tornaci: Desclee, 1899), p. 444.

He then explains the axiom "No salvation outside the Church" in part as follows: "He who remains culpably outside the Church until the end of his life, cannot be saved ... He who remains inculpably outside the Church, can be saved." (Loc. cit. p. 445, 446; nos. 162 & 163) In proof of this, he alleges not a single text from the Fathers, theologians, or Popes, except for two quotes from Pope Pius IX, the ones familiarly brought forward in this context. On the other hand, he attempts to bring in Scripture by citing the example of Job, even though the conditions of salvation were naturally quite different in the Old Testament, when the Church did not yet exist. And that's it, so far as any proof from authority is concerned.

Anyone can see from this where the quotes from the Baltimore Catechism originated. As the latter half of the statement above is directly opposed to the teaching "Outside the Church there is no salvation," it would appear to be heretical, since it logically implies that the statement "Some can be saved outside the Church", which is the contradictory of the statement "No one can be saved outside the Church," is true.

This is intended mainly as an overview of the state of the question (at least one side of it; the other side, the traditional one, seems to need no explanation at all in a preliminary sense). Next, I will back up a bit to consider some points of methodology and definition, and then take up the theological elements of the question as presented in St. Alphonsus, St. Thomas and other theologians.

James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Thu Dec 21, 2006 1:39 am
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New post Summary of my thesis
There is no doubt that it is a divinely revealed dogma that there is no salvation outside the Church, nor forgiveness of sin.

Let us keep the key quotes from the Popes before us:

There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which absolutely no one is saved. (Pope Innocent III, IV Council of the Lateran, 1215 A.D.) (Dz 430)

It is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature that he be subject to the Roman Pontiff. (Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, 1302 A.D.) (Dz 469)

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 unity of the Catholic Church (nisi in Catholicae Ecclesiae gremio et unitate permanserit). (Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, 1442 A.D.) (Dz 714)

The thesis I hope to demonstrate is the following:

1) Since the promulgation of the Gospel, no adult can be saved without explicit, supernatural faith in the Christian mysteries, at least the Trinity, and the Incarnation and Redemption, without supernatural charity, i.e. contrition for sins, and without the firm intention of entering the Church in voto explicito vel implicito, by an explicit or implicit intention. This intention necessarily includes the intention of being baptized.

2) When Baptism is not actually received, perfect contrition is necessary.

3) Faith and charity (as in #1) exclude all involvement, external or internal, with false religions, whether heretical, schismatic, or simply unbelieving. In a positive sense, they require belief in all the Church's teachings and submission to her governing authority, both outwardly and inwardly expressed.

Comments: supernatural faith and charity have been required at all times, and for all men, for salvation. (This is de fide). We are not directly concerned with the Old Testament period, when the clear Revelation of Christ had not been given, nor the Church instituted. We are concerned only with adults, that is, those who have attained the use of reason. Infants who die after Baptism are unable to make an act of faith or charity, but are saved by the virtues infused by Baptism, so they are not saved without faith and charity in a manner compatible with their condition.

I will have occasion to show in my exposition that the Holy Office letter of 1949 presents the very same elements as I am presenting, and contains nothing inconsistent with my conclusions.

Also, I will have occasion to refer to a work probably familiar to many traditional Catholics in this country (I don't know if it has had a wide circulation in the rest of the world), Fr. Francois Laisney's Is Feeneyism Catholic? (Kansas City, Mo., Angelus Press, 2001). Fr. Laisney presents many useful texts and comments which, as will be seen, prove most of my thesis. Unfortunately, he ultimately draws no clear conclusion from his premises in a manner adequate to satisfy, as he charitably hopes (charity hopes all things), the difficulties of his opponents (genuine difficulties in my opinion, not just the captious ones which are only too abundant), and still more unfortunately, he seems to admit, by implication, conclusions which are false, and contradictory to his premises and to Catholic tradition. This I also hope to show in my exposition.

James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Sun Dec 24, 2006 2:08 am
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New post St. Thomas on Faith, Charity, and Belonging to the Church
We have seen from St. Robert Bellarmine that the Church is a visible organization. Now let us consider how St. Thomas explains the necessity of belonging to the Church:

"Next, he [Pope Innocent III] comes to the article about the effect of grace. First, he speaks of the effect of grace with regard to the unity of the Church, saying: "There is one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one at all is saved." Now, the unity of the Church is nothing other than the congregation of the faithful. Since it is impossible to please God without faith, there can be no place of salvation other than in the Church. Furthermore, the salvation of the faithful is consummated through the sacraments of the Church, in which the power of Christ's Passion is operative."

--In I. Decret., Op. omnia, of St. Thomas Aquinas, Parma ed., v. 16, p. 305. (Commentary on the Decree Firmiter of Pope Innocent III, IV Council of the Lateran, 1215). Cited in: Francis A. Sullivan, S.J. Salvation Outside the Church? (N.Y., Paulist Pr., 1992). [n.b. Sullivan's book is not an orthodox Catholic source, so I am by no means recommending it!]

Unfortunately for our purpose, St. Thomas never treated ex professo (that is, in a fully developed treatise) the doctrine of the Church or the necessity of belonging to it. However, in this quote he pierces, with his usual laser-like insight, to the heart of the manner.

Faith and charity are two of the three theological, or divine, virtues, by which we are united directly to God. (The third, hope, does not seem to enter into the question of belonging to the Church, so far as external membership is concerned.) It is God's plan, and the purpose of our existence, to unite us to Himself, to divinize us in an analogous but true sense, by knowledge of Him as infinite Truth, and love of Him as infinite Goodness. In this knowledge and love in Heaven, the Beatific Vision consists. On earth, in place of the direct vision of God's essence, we have a limited knowledge of Him by faith in His Revelation (we see now through a glass in a dark manner) [I Cor. 13.12]; our love for Him is not the full and blissful possession in Heaven, but a limited, difficult, perfectible clinging to Him, subject to loss and failure, based on the dim light of faith. Thus by faith and charity we are united to God in this life, imperfectly; in Heaven, by vision and charity, perfectly.

In this manner, the two spiritual faculties of the soul in which chiefly consists our image and likeness to Him, are healed and elevated: the intellect by knowledge of Him, the ultimate Truth; the will by charity, or love, of Him, the ultimate Good. And it is in this that the supernatural life of the soul, salvation in bud, consists.

From this it should appear that faith and charity, in our present condition, are not simply means of salvation, but its very essence, though faith contains vision as in a chrysalis. Faith will grow into vision in Heaven.

As opposed to this, Christ provided means and helps to salvation by His institution, which are not of the essence of union with God in themselves. As such, they will no longer exist in the next life. Such are the sacraments, the Mass, the institutional Church, the Church Militant under the Supreme Pontiff and his hierarchy.

Here arises the distinction, made in the Holy Office letter, between means of salvation which are intrinsically necessary for salvation, and those which are necessary only by divine institution. The latter, clearly, were not necessary at all times, because they did not exist until Christ's coming. In the Old Testament, those means which existed by divine institution, such as circumcision, and the various provisions of the Mosaic law--the sacrifices, the ritual purity, etc.--were necessary only for the Jews. (The exact nature of their necessity does not concern us.) In the New Testament, as theologians teach, "God's grace is not bound to the sacraments." It is clear from the Deposit of Faith that such necessary means as Baptism and the Holy Eucharist can be omitted, so far as their actual use is concerned, under certain circumstances. But faith and charity cannot be omitted or dispensed from without omitting the very life of the soul itself.

Now let us look at how St. Thomas links these virtues to membership in the Church. By its very definition, the Church is a communion in faith. It is the assemblage of those who believe the Revelation of God, which is the Catholic Faith. (That is why they are called the faithful.) Therefore, whoever possesses faith is, to this extent, in that assemblage. He is by that fact a member of the assembly, in this one aspect. And since the Church has both an inward and outward aspect, belief alone is not enough; profession of belief is also necessary. It is by that profession, an external, visible, perceivable act, that one is associated to the external unity of the Church in faith. This is clearly taught by St. Paul: For with the heart, we believe unto justice; but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation. (Rom. 10:10) Secondly, the Church is a unity in the sacraments. We are united to the Church in the union of the sacraments, by which sins are forgiven and charity (love of God, by which we turn away from sin and keep His commandments) is conferred. This union in the sacraments, if worthily received, unites us spiritually to the Church. It unites us also visibly and externally to the Church, since it also is a visible and perceivable association with the assembly of the faithful. In both instances, one is subject to the Church by obedience to the hierarchy and the Supreme Pontiff, because one is subject to the twofold authority of the Church: to her teaching power by profession of the Faith ("I believe all the truths which the Catholic Church teaches") and to her governing power by charity, which consists first in submission to her laws, which are the laws of God (first of all, of course, the Ten Commandments).

Thus, with the internal and external profession of faith, one is united to the Church as the assembly of the faithful; without it, one is not so united. With communion in the sacraments, one is united, internally and externally, to the assembly of the people also so united. Without it, one is not. When these conditions are present, one is "in the bosom and unity of the Church," and when they are not, he is not so united; he is "outside the Church" (extra Ecclesiam).

Now, the communion of the sacraments clearly requires Baptism, the sacrament of regeneration and the doorway to the other sacraments. But the sources of Revelation, as will be explained below, make it certain that Baptism need not always be received in fact. For one who is already united to the Church in faith and charity, and who, therefore, has the firm intention of receiving the sacrament, but dies through no fault of his own without actual Baptism, this means is dispensed with, so far as its actual reception is concerned. Since this is a means necessary by divine institution, it can be dispensed with; faith and charity can never be dispensed with. "God's grace is not tied to the sacraments." This is not a theory of theologians; it is a generalization of facts contained in Tradition, and therefore in the Deposit of Faith. This will be the subject of the next part. Later on, I will return to the nature and requirement of perfect contrition, to show, with God's help, why that requirement exists and how union with the Church can be perfected even without the actual reception of Baptism. From this, it will follow (if it is not already sufficiently clear from the above) that union with the Church is perfected even in one who is not a member of the Church in fact; and, if one carefully considers the declarations of the Popes and councils, such as the ones I have posted (the "key" ones which must necessarily found any discussion), do not in so many words require membership in the Church. What they require is not being "outside the Church" (extra Ecclesiam exsistentes), submission to the Supreme Pontiff, and persevering "in the bosom and unity of the Church."

James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Sun Dec 24, 2006 5:14 am
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New post Method and Distinctions in Theology
The truth of the Faith is known by God revealing, and the Church proposing. The contents of this Revelation and Proposition, known as the Deposit of Faith, are found in two sources: Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. The hierarchy of the Church exists, in the first place, to teach this Deposit to all nations and preserve it intact, as handed down by their predecessors who ultimately received it from the Apostles. Therefore, all of the doctrinal teaching must necessarily be derived from Scripture and Tradition. When a definition of a dogma is made, either by the Pope personally or by a papally-approved ecumenical council, the Pope and the bishops of the Church are acting as judges, not as legislators. They are judging, infallibly, as to whether or not the doctrine is divinely revealed, and equivalently, whether or not it is contained in the sources of Revelation. For our purposes, Tradition is equivalent to the writings of the Fathers of the Church, though it may also consist in other evidences such as the records of early Popes and councils, early canon law, liturgical records, etc., from which the belief and practice of the early Church may be known.

In the history of the Church, various doctrinal (or other) disputes have arisen, not on account of heretical depravity as in most cases, but because of certain inherent difficulties in the actual sources of Revelation. In other words, there is a certain appearance of contradiction between two facts of Revelation, each certain, each handed down by Christ and the Apostles.

It must be understood in this connection that the teaching of the Church, the Divine Deposit, is not a matter of just a few key doctrines such as the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Redemption, as some Protestants believed. (They logically called themselves, or were called, Fundamentalists, because they wished to achieve a unity based on what they considered fundamental doctrines. This original meaning seems to have been lost sight of in the more recent and common use of the term for conservative-leaning evangelicals in this country.) Catholics, of course, believe otherwise. The Deposit contains an enormous number of doctrines, principles of law, details as to the number of the sacraments, their matter and form in precise detail, etc. They include such things, probably, as the correct materials to be mingled with olive oil in confecting the sacred oils. They include, quite certainly, the fact that Baptism can only be received once; and the fact that it can be administered by any adult whatsoever, even a heretic, even a pagan, so long as he does what the Church intends.

From this particular teaching, a major controversy arose in the early Church, which eventually resulted in the serious schism of Donatism in North Africa. On the one hand, it was obvious from Catholic teaching that Baptism is the sacrament of grace and the entrance way into the Church. On the other hand, Baptism was administered by those outside the Church, and when those who had so received it converted and were admitted to the Church, they were received by reconciliation, but were not again baptized. Thus, the Baptism received outside was acknowledged by the Church. Therefore it was clear that the sacrament of regeneration could be received by those who were not thereby regenerated, and the means of entry into the Church could be used, without thereby entering the Church.

(In passing, we may note that this controversy could hardly have arisen if, as in the view of the laxists, sanctifying grace could exist outside the Church. It was a self-evident fact of Revelation, assumed by both sides in the Baptism controversy, and obviously by St. Cyprian in the first place, that regeneration and the life of grace can only be found within the Church. This, of course, is also the teaching of Unam Sanctam and Mystici Corporis. I have cited these texts in other postings. If these Fathers and early bishops had believed as the laxists, they would have proposed the obvious solution: that one could receive Baptism and hence regeneration outside the Church. The immediate implication, then as later, would have been that such people were, somehow, really members of the Church--though invisibly, so far as being really a part of the assembly of the Faithful; and this also is the teaching of some of the laxists.)

I have treated this particular controversy in some detail because it directly bears on my argument. (For an unrelated example, consider the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. There, the apparent dilemma was between the universality of the Fall and the consequent universality of the Redemption, on the one hand, and Our Blessed Lady's freedom from original sin on the other, both given in the sources of Revelation.)

Therefore, it is essential to any understanding of this question, as to salvation outside the Church, to keep always in mind two apparently conflicting doctrines, equally contained in the Divine Deposit: that outside the Church no one at all is saved ("nullus omnino salvatur"), no one at all is regenerated ("nor forgiveness of sins"), and that some have certainly been saved without actually being members of that same Church, the Church Militant on earth.

So here we have, not two extremes, but simply two doctrines, which appear to conflict. It is possible to overcome a dilemma by denying one horn or the other. Laxists (in the sense of this dogma, not necessarily laxists in the sphere of moral theology generally) among whom, historically and surprisingly, have been many Dominicans up to and including Garrigou-Lagrange, deny, either openly or in effect, the necessity of belonging to the Church (by a necessity of means, the only relevant meaning in this discussion). Fr. Feeney proposed a theory leading to a denial that anyone has been saved without actual membership in the Church. Thus, each horn of the dilemma is denied by one side or the other. Whether any of these men, many of them deserving of the highest respect, all of them living and dying in the unity of the Church, contumaciously denied either doctrine, seems to me unbelievable; but in view of my thesis, they are both in the same boat (or out of it, if you will).

Therefore, there is the third course: passing between the horns, by reconciling them and preserving the truth of both. And this is the course of St. Thomas, St. Albert the Great, St. Alphonsus, St. Augustine, etc., teaching the "common and apparently more probable" doctrine, as St. Alphonsus judged it. Outside the Church no one at all is saved; but some are saved without actual Baptism, so they are not members of the Church, but by faith and charity are "in the bosom and unity of the Church"; and by faith and charity visibly expressed, they are within the visible unity of the Church.

The typical example is the catechumen. He is not a member of the Church; he professes the Faith; he is obedient to the authority and laws of the Church, even to the point of deferring his Baptism and reception into the Church until the time the Church appoints. Thus, he submits visibly to both the teaching and the governing authority of the Church. Only the communion of the sacraments is still lacking to him. This is a condition where Baptism of desire (in voto) is possible, but it is not yet necessarily present. And because without Baptism in voto, a difficult condition to attain, he cannot be saved if he were to die unexpectedly, the Fathers so frequently warned them in the strongest terms of their danger of damnation if they deferred their Baptism unnecessarily. Anyone, of course, so deferring his Baptism would evidently not have Baptism of desire, and hence clearly must be damned if he died in that condition.

James Larrabee

A.M.D.G.


Sun Dec 24, 2006 6:24 am
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