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Why do so many Catholics drop the ball when it comes to EENS? - Printable Version

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Re: Why do so many Catholics drop the ball when it comes to EENS? - James02 - 08-05-2009

Quote: Now let's further say that a person desires to be baptized and live as a Catholic (even if they do not know what it really means to be a Catholic) but lacks either the freedom or possibility of actually doing it. If they die without the ritual of baptism in this case, we can still admit they are probably saved, because they had already begun the action of attempting to become a Catholic to the extent that is was possible for them (by living in accordance with the natural law, etc.).
First off, a pigmy in the jungle does not desire water baptism.

Second, if such a person had some sort of theoretical "implicit" desire, then that desire would be a grace from God.  Now wouldn't God supply a missionary if He wanted to save that person?  Or perhaps the Lord would miraculously give that person water baptism on his deathbed, in the blink of an eye, maybe even stopping time while he transported a monk to perform the baptism?

Now there may be other ways, but these other ways have never been revealed.  I won't presume to limit God, however we have never been told about any other way to salvation, except through baptism.  Also, there is mention of explicit desire of baptism, but even that is not fleshed out.

We have to be very careful about saying a person wants to do good, and thus it would be unjust if he went to Hell.  Or that he earns his salvation.  You can not earn your initial justification.  You have to be very careful about the Pelagian heresy.



Re: Why do so many Catholics drop the ball when it comes to EENS? - James02 - 08-05-2009

Council of Orange Wrote:CANON 4. If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself who says through Solomon, "The will is prepared by the Lord" (Prov. 8:35, LXX), and the salutary word of the Apostle, "For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).

CANON 5. If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism -- if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles, for blessed Paul says, "And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). And again, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). 

CANON 6. If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).

CANON 7. If anyone affirms that we can form any right opinion or make any right choice which relates to the salvation of eternal life, as is expedient for us, or that we can be saved, that is, assent to the preaching of the gospel through our natural powers without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who makes all men gladly assent to and believe in the truth, he is led astray by a heretical spirit, and does not understand the voice of God who says in the Gospel, "For apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5), and the word of the Apostle, "Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God" (2 Cor. 3:5).

Catholics believe in predestination.  That is, we are saved by Grace.  To be precise, we receive our initial justification via Grace.  That is why we baptize infants.  Furthermore, we receive additional graces which sanctify us.  Calvinists and Catholics are in agreement up to this point.

  Now we have free will, so we cooperate with Grace, and we can reject it.  However we are sanctified by Grace.  By cooperating with Grace, we merit salvation, or a higher place in heaven.  Furthermore, if we reject Grace and sin, we freely choose to do it.  This is where Calvinists strongly disagree, and we differentiate this by calling it "double predestination".  A Catholic believes that when a person sins, he freely chooses to do it.  (Note that in some cases, God hardens the hearts of sinners, but this is after they sinned.  Pharoah is an example.)  A Calvinist believes a sinner has no choice, he is predestined to sin, and has no free will.

Now it is a mystery that we are predestined according to God's sovereign plan, yet we also have free will.  One system that solves this mystery is the Molinist system.  Wikipedia has a good write-up on it.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molinism  A Catholic is allowed to be a Molinist.  There are also Augustinians and Thomists with regard to predestination.  I am of the latter, though I like the Molinist argument since it shows that the Catholic understanding of predestination is entirely possible.  I disagree with it since it presupposes time, and God is outside of time, therefore it is not correct.  We can't understand "before Abraham, I AM", but the Molinist argument helps.

So denying EENS will lead to you having a problem with predestination, which leads to you judging it "unfair" that the pigmy in the jungle has Original Sin. 

We don't know the "why" behind God's sovereign plan.  We do know that the elect are predestined to salvation, and are justified through unearned grace.  We also know that a sinner freely chooses to sin.  But why did Dutch Shultz and Oscar Wilde, two horrible sinners, convert on their death bed, but that nice Jewish lady die a Jew?  We can't know.


Re: Why do so many Catholics drop the ball when it comes to EENS? - James02 - 08-05-2009

Quote: However we are not Calvinists, who believe that God wills some people to be saved and some people to be damned. Could somebody explain to me then what is the difference between the thinking of Fr. Feeney and John Calvin on predestination?  Because right now I don’t see a big difference.
Sorry, I didn't answer you.  Fr. Feeney believed in  free will.  Therefore, God won't force salvation on someone.  One possible thing to consider, is that maybe the pigmy, if he had been baptized, would have fallen into serious sin and suffered worse punishment in hell.  There are thousands of possibilities, and to figure out why God did it this way, that is impossible while on earth.  Furthermore, we can't say that there isn't another way, however we must always keep in mind that this "other way" has never been revealed to us, so we would be foolish to have great hope in it.


Re: Why do so many Catholics drop the ball when it comes to EENS? - PeterII - 08-05-2009

Quote:Water baptism is a necessary sign of election, but not definitive.  However, we do not know for certain if someone did NOT receive water baptism.  And I am open to there being other ways, though I have no great hope in it, and these "other ways" have never been revealed to us.  At the same time, you have to be open to the fact that there is no "other way", and every professed Moslem, Jew, Pagan, or whatever won't be saved.  We can't judge God.

The magisterial statements are unequivocal in teaching that it is possible not to receive actual water baptism and be saved, which Tradition backs up with numerous examples.  The "other ways," namely a direct infusion of Sanctifying Grace from God has been revealed and is a part of the deposit of Faith.  It was not pulled out of the blue by the Church Fathers and it doesn't make sense to say for a fact there is no other way but hoping there is.  There is or there isn't.

And you can't state for a fact that every professed Moslem, Jew, pagan or whatever is in the state of mortal sin.  They may be united to the Catholic Church in a hidden way, but will never know with certainty until they become formal members with water Baptism.  But even a formal member can't know with absolute certainty whether they are in the state of grace or not.    


Quote:How much "punishment" someone with Original Sin only receives is debatable.  Some believe that Limbo, the upper level of hell, is actually a pleasant place.   However, it is not unjust for God to send those with Original Sin to hell.  You are judging God.

You have to make the distinction between Original Sin and actual sin.  Those with Original Sin only are not punished with damnation, they are merely excluded from Heaven.  The Magisterium teaches that one cannot be punished eternally except for committing a voluntary sin, and Original Sin (except for our first parent's) is not voluntary.  


Quote:This in a microcosm shows the problems before Vatican II.  If you deny EENS, then before long you deny Original Sin, and/or judge God for not saving the reprobate.  Eventually you end up calling abortion a sacrament that saves the unbaptized babies who were slaughtered.

True, but that can work the other way too.  If one has the Feeneyite understanding of EENS, you fall into a kind of Jansenism and Calvinism which is also erroneous.  We shouldn't combat one error with another.  


Re: Why do so many Catholics drop the ball when it comes to EENS? - James02 - 08-05-2009

Quote: The magisterial statements are unequivocal in teaching that it is possible not to receive actual water baptism and be saved, which Tradition backs up with numerous examples.  The "other ways," namely a direct infusion of Sanctifying Grace from God has been revealed and is a part of the deposit of Faith.  It was not pulled out of the blue by the Church Fathers and it doesn't make sense to say for a fact there is no other way but hoping there is.  There is or there isn't.
There is no infallible statement I am aware of that says there is salvation apart from water baptism.  I don't presume to limit God and say that it is possible for there to be another way to salvation.  However, it certainly has NOT been revealed that there is this "other way".  If so, what are the parameters?  Can we know if someone was saved by this "other way"?  Are we sure they weren't baptized in a miraculous way?

Quote: And you can't state for a fact that every professed Moslem, Jew, pagan or whatever is in the state of mortal sin. 
But I can state that they are lacking Sanctifying Grace if they are indeed Moslem, Jew, or pagan.

Quote: You have to make the distinction between Original Sin and actual sin.  Those with Original Sin only are not punished with damnation, they are merely excluded from Heaven.  The Magisterium teaches that one cannot be punished eternally except for committing a voluntary sin, and Original Sin (except for our first parent's) is not voluntary. 
It is generally believed that Limbo does not involve punishment.  But you make a good point.  Since every Moslem, Jew, or pagan adult  (who really is Moslem, Jew, or Pagan)  is guilty of actual sins, and they don't have the Blood of Christ to propitiate God's just wrath, they aren't even in the Limbo level of hell.



Re: Why do so many Catholics drop the ball when it comes to EENS? - JacafamalaRedux - 08-05-2009

(08-05-2009, 04:54 PM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: We humans love our extremes –leaning either toward universalism or choking legalism. I understand that those who hold a strict interpretation of EENS believe that God will provide a way for every man who desires baptism to be baptized in water. The problem I have is that when many (including a few catechumens) do not, in fact, make it to the baptismal font, I am left to conclude that God has not really willed their salvation after all, which contradicts Scripture: “that God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4). 

As Catholics we can certainly believe in a predestination that says, for example: “God wills all men be saved – unfortunately all men do not cooperate with God’s Will.” However we are not Calvinists, who believe that God wills some people to be saved and some people to be damned. Could somebody explain to me then what is the difference between the thinking of Fr. Feeney and John Calvin on predestination?  Because right now I don’t see a big difference.

- Lisa

Really? What makes you say that Lisa? Catechumens may not make it to the font for many reasons. What reasons in particular did you have in mind when you wrote this?


Re: Why do so many Catholics drop the ball when it comes to EENS? - Stubborn - 08-05-2009

(08-05-2009, 04:54 PM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: We humans love our extremes –leaning either toward universalism or choking legalism. I understand that those who hold a strict interpretation of EENS believe that God will provide a way for every man who desires baptism to be baptized in water. The problem I have is that when many (including a few catechumens) do not, in fact, make it to the baptismal font, I am left to conclude that God has not really willed their salvation after all, which contradicts Scripture: “that God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4). 

As Catholics we can certainly believe in a predestination that says, for example: “God wills all men be saved – unfortunately all men do not cooperate with God’s Will.” However we are not Calvinists, who believe that God wills some people to be saved and some people to be damned. Could somebody explain to me then what is the difference between the thinking of Fr. Feeney and John Calvin on predestination?  Because right now I don’t see a big difference.

- Lisa

Well certainly we are all predestined for heaven - to think otherwise makes God out to be a very mean God. After all, the very reason He made us is to know love and serve him here so we can be happy with him in Heaven.

Certainly "God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" but we have to put forth some effort or we should expect to face God's wrath when we meet Him.

This effort is one of the "works" Calvin denies - and is of which James speaks: For even as the body without the spirit is dead; so also faith without works is dead. and Do you see that by works a man is justified; and not by faith only?

OTOH, Fr. Feeney taught what the Church has always taught: "take heed, watch and pray for we know not when the time is".

God chose to leave us in this uncertainty purposely so that we may always be prepared for it. For, if we knew the precise period, this assurance would give occasion of living more unguardedly, and of sinning more freely.
We are taught to watch, because we are charged with the care of our soul, which is the temple or house of God, and which is to be His temple for all eternity.

He taught that God has sufficient grace waiting for every man in the world, would he but take it! Were God to see that he would take it were it offered to him, it would be given. "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2:3,4.)

Far as I know, St. Paul the Apostle is the only "Chosen Vessel of Election", the rest of the human race must work at and succeed in "persevering unto the end", or we should not expect the reward of heaven.

Brings to mind this from Dies Irae:

....For now before the Judge severe
All hidden things must plain appear;
No crime can pass unpunished here.

O what shall I, so guilty plead?
And who for me will intercede?
When even Saints shall comfort need?....
 

I mean, when even saints shall comfort need?




Re: Why do so many Catholics drop the ball when it comes to EENS? - PeterII - 08-05-2009


Quote:There is no infallible statement I am aware of that says there is salvation apart from water baptism.  I don't presume to limit God and say that it is possible for there to be another way to salvation.  However, it certainly has NOT been revealed that there is this "other way".  If so, what are the parameters?  Can we know if someone was saved by this "other way"?  Are we sure they weren't baptized in a miraculous way?

Cornelius the Gentile: "A religious man, and fearing God with all his house, giving much alms to the people and always praying to God" was a just man and performed miracles before he was baptized by St. Peter.  Obviously, despite not being baptized, he was not worshipping a false God. 

Quote:But I can state that they are lacking Sanctifying Grace if they are indeed Moslem, Jew, or pagan.

You don't know whether someone has Sanctifying Grace or not, nor how much of it they have. This is all part of the invisible internal forum which no man can judge.

Quote:It is generally believed that Limbo does not involve punishment.  But you make a good point.  Since every Moslem, Jew, or pagan adult  (who really is Moslem, Jew, or Pagan)  is guilty of actual sins, and they don't have the Blood of Christ to propitiate God's just wrath, they aren't even in the Limbo level of hell.

The Muslim, Jew or Pagan has to be guilty of mortal sin which requires full knowledge, just like a Catholic who is a material heretic has to have full knowledge before being a damnable heretic. 


Re: Why do so many Catholics drop the ball when it comes to EENS? - Stubborn - 08-05-2009

(08-05-2009, 11:03 PM)PeterII Wrote:
Quote:There is no infallible statement I am aware of that says there is salvation apart from water baptism.  I don't presume to limit God and say that it is possible for there to be another way to salvation.  However, it certainly has NOT been revealed that there is this "other way".  If so, what are the parameters?  Can we know if someone was saved by this "other way"?  Are we sure they weren't baptized in a miraculous way?

Cornelius the Gentile: "A religious man, and fearing God with all his house, giving much alms to the people and always praying to God" was a just man and performed miracles before he was baptized by St. Peter.  Obviously, despite not being baptized, he was not worshipping a false God. 

Quote:But I can state that they are lacking Sanctifying Grace if they are indeed Moslem, Jew, or pagan.

You don't know whether someone has Sanctifying Grace or not, nor how much of it they have. This is all part of the invisible internal forum which no man can judge.

Quote:It is generally believed that Limbo does not involve punishment.  But you make a good point.  Since every Moslem, Jew, or pagan adult  (who really is Moslem, Jew, or Pagan)  is guilty of actual sins, and they don't have the Blood of Christ to propitiate God's just wrath, they aren't even in the Limbo level of hell.

The Muslim, Jew or Pagan has to be guilty of mortal sin which requires full knowledge, just like a Catholic who is a material heretic has to have full knowledge before being a damnable heretic. 

I thought this was a traditional Catholic Forum. What is an "invisible internal forum"?




Re: Why do so many Catholics drop the ball when it comes to EENS? - James02 - 08-06-2009

Quote: Cornelius the Gentile: "A religious man, and fearing God with all his house, giving much alms to the people and always praying to God" was a just man and performed miracles before he was baptized by St. Peter.  Obviously, despite not being baptized, he was not worshipping a false God.
Protestants love this quote.  But read further: "Then Peter answered: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized (saved -- added), who have received the Holy Ghost, as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. "  From the context, forbidding water is forbidding salvation.  The Holy Ghost also descended on the Old Testament prophets.  And yet they had to wait in Limbo for Jesus to be saved.  The Holy Ghost was poured out on these Gentiles to prove that they should be allowed to be baptized, not to show that by works they could save themselves.

This also shows that God sent a missionary to baptize them.