Is explicit faith in our Lord necessary for salvation?
#1

Is explicit faith in our Lord necessary for salvation?

As the thread “God Can Deliver the Damned From Hell?” is about to be locked (and given a one week’s rest), I hope I am not violating the spirit of our fearless leader’s intentions if I post a new topic which picks up where the other thread left off.  I am Johnny come lately to the discussion so I thought that by giving a specific example of a near unanimous teaching of later theologians we can perhaps clear away some of the confusion (no small task). Also, the example I chose is a tough one - I do not know the answer (though I thought I did) - but I do see glaring inconsistencies with the teaching of later theologians.   

Is it a matter of faith (de fide) that it is necessary for salvation that one must believe
and profess an explicit faith in our Lord and in the essential mysteries of the Incarnation and Resurrection?


Before examining the proofs in the affirmative, we shall examine what I perceive to be a contrary opinion as proposed in “A Manual Of Catholic Theology, Based On Scheeben's ‘Dogmatik’, Joseph Wilhelm, D.D., PHD. And Thomas B. Scannell, D.D., With A Preface By Cardinal Manning”, Volume I, Third Edition, Benziger Bros., 1906.  First, here is a brief citation of what the Manual teaches on the certitude of faith and the evidence of human certitude:

Quote:SECT. 44.— The Supreme certitude of Faith.

I. …The Vatican Council [VCI], as we have seen, declares Faith to be a complete submission of the mind, consisting in the perfect subjugation of the created intellect to the uncreated Truth. And the council also enjoins the unconditional rejection of any scientific inquiry at variance with the Faith (sess. iii. c. 4).

II. In order to understand this, a threefold distinction must be made…

3. That the certitude of Faith is supreme does not imply that all other certitude is untrustworthy, or that we must be ready to resist evident human certitude apparently conflicting with the Faith. A real conflict between Faith and reason is impossible.

The First Vatican Council’s declaration of “unconditional rejection of any scientific inquiry at variance with the Faith” is confirmed by some of our more recent popes:

Quote:Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi dominic gregis, Sept. 8, 1907: “It goes without saying that if anything is met with among the scholastic doctors which may be regarded as an excess of subtlety, or which is altogether destitute of probability, We have no desire whatever to propose it for the imitation of present generations.”

Pope Benedict XIV, Apostolica,
June 26, 1749: “The Church’s judgment is preferable to that of a Doctor renowned for his holiness and teaching.”

Pope Pius XII, Humani generis,
Aug. 12, 1950: “This deposit of faith our Divine Redeemer has given for authentic interpretation not to each of the faithful, not even to theologians, but only to the Teaching Authority of the Church.”

However, Wilhelm And Scannell also suggest, since faith and reason cannot be opposed, we should not be ready to resist all cases where evident human certitude apparently conflicts with the Faith.  It would appear that “unconditional rejection of any scientific inquiry at variance with the Faith” is actually conditioned upon whether a scientific inquiry can lead to “evident human certitude”; an evident certitude which cannot be opposed to the faith even if it appears that it is (imagined, not real).

Which brings us back to the definition of “consensus” and "certitude" as it relates to a particular doctrine held by a few, by most or by all theologians; and whether what is held by almost all theologians in a later age can be opposed to what was universally held in a former age.  Continuing now to Wilhelm's and Scannell's response to the question of whether explicit faith is necessary for salvation:  

Quote:SECT. 45. — Necessity of Faith.

2. It is an open question whether, after Christ's coming, Faith in the Christian economy is not indispensable. Many texts in Holy Scripture seem to demand Faith in Christ, in His death and resurrection, as a necessary condition of salvation. On the other hand, it is not easy to understand how eternal salvation should have become impossible for those who are unable to arrive at an explicit knowledge of Christian Revelation. The best solution of the difficulty would seem to be that given by Suarez (De Fide, disp. xii., sect. iv.). The texts demanding Faith in Christ and the Blessed Trinity must not be interpreted more rigorously than those referring to the necessity of Baptism, especially as Faith in Christ, Faith in the Blessed Trinity, and the necessity of Baptism are closely connected together. The Faith in these mysteries is, like Baptism, the ordinary normal means of salvation. Under extraordinary circumstances, however, when the actual reception of Baptism is impossible, the mere implicit desire (volum) suffices. So, too, the implicit desire to believe in Christ and the Trinity must be deemed sufficient. By “implicit desire” we mean the desire to receive, to believe, and to do whatever is needful for salvation, although what is to be received, believed, and done is not explicitly known. The implicit wish and willingness to believe in Christ must be accompanied by and connected with an explicit Faith in Divine Providence as having a care of our salvation; and this Faith implies Faith and Hope in the Christian economy of salvation (see St. Thom., 2a 2ae, q. 2, a. 7).


According to Wilhelm and Scannell, Scripture and tradition only “seem” to demand Faith in Christ; however, because human reasoning cannot easily understand “how eternal salvation should have become impossible for those who are unable to arrive at an explicit knowledge of Christian Revelation”, the “best solution” would seem to be that given by Suarez who posits that “texts demanding Faith in Christ and the Blessed Trinity must not be interpreted more rigorously than those referring to the necessity of Baptism”. So the theological arguments underpinning BOD are used to support the doctrine of “implicit faith”.

I would also venture to say that the majority of the very same theologians presented by Fr. Cekada who support BOD in one form or another, also support the doctrine of “implicit faith”. This is the same doctrine taught in the seminaries, including that of the SSPX.    

I will cite Fr. Cekada’s commentary on the rules for belief for resolving theological issues. I have simply replaced the reference to BOD with explicit faith: 

Quote:Once again, before a Catholic can resolve a specific theological issue, he must first understand and accept the general theological principles the Church lays down as criteria for determining what must be believed.

Vatican I and the Roman Pontiff have unambiguously specified the type of teaching you must believe and adhere to:

A. Solemn pronouncements of the extraordinary Magisterium.
B. Teachings of the universal ordinary Magisterium.
C. Teachings held by theologians to belong to the faith.
D. Doctrinal decisions of the
Vatican congregations.
E. Theological truths and conclusions so certain that opposition to them merits some theological censure short of “heresy.”


[I maintain that] The standard teachings on [the necessity of explicit belief and profession of faith in our Lord and the essential Mysteries] fall into these categories.

You must therefore adhere to these teachings.

Further, no matter what category theologians have assigned to these teachings — theologically certain, Catholic doctrine or de fide — rejecting them has the same consequences in the moral order: you commit a mortal sin against the faith.



Now for our proofs on the necessity of explicit faith for salvation:

Quote:‘Pope Pelagius I, promulgated for the universal Church in the year 557, affirms the de fide doctrine that on judgment day, God will hand over “to the punishment of eternal and inextinguishable fire” all of the wicked, who (he says) consist of “[those] who either did not know the way of the Lord, or, having known it, abandoned it, ensnared by transgressions of various kinds”. (qui viam Domini aut non agnoverunt aut cognitam diversis capti praevaricationibus reliquerunt” (DS 443, my translation and emphasis). In other words, it is proposed as de fide by Pope Pelagius that a pagan’s or Jew’s ignorance of the Christian Gospel at death does not in any way diminish the certainty that he will be damned.’ (“CAN AN ‘IMPLICIT FAITH’ IN CHRIST BE SUFFICIENT FOR SALVATION?” by Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S, Pg. 9)


The Athenasian Creed declares that one must “believe rightly” in the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Quote: “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the Catholic Faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity … it is necessary to everlasting Salvation, that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ …This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.”

It is a well-documented fact that “medieval theologians, led by St. Thomas Aquinas, were unanimously insistent that an explicit faith in Christ has been universally necessary for salvation ever since the New Law of grace was revealed in the first century A.D.” (Brian Harrison, Pg. 9, emphasis mine)

We can add to this the magisterial testimony of the Holy Office under Pope Clement XI in 1703 which:

Quote:'answered two questions from the Bishop of Quebec. The first is whether a missionary can baptize a perilously ill (moribundus) Indian who so far knows nothing of Christian truth, but who promises to take instruction in the faith in the event that he should recover from his illness. The second question also has to do with such an emergency situation, but prescinds from whether or not any such promise to take instruction is given. This time it is simply postulated that the dangerously ill Indian’s explicit knowledge is limited more or less to that described in Hebrews 11: 6. That is, he knows only “of God and some of his attributes, especially his justice in rewarding and punishing”. In other words, any belief such an Indian might have had in Jesus Christ would so far be only implicit at best. The response of the Holy Office is negative to both questions: “A missionary should not baptize one who does not believe explicitly in the Lord Jesus Christ, but is bound to instruct him about all those matters which are necessary, by a necessity of means, according to the capacity of the one to be baptized”’ (Fr. Brian Harrison, Pg. 15)

Furthermore, “4. …The profession of the Catholic faith is uniquely true, as the apostle proclaims: one Lord, one faith, one baptism… Indeed, no other name than the name of Jesus is given to men, by which they may be saved. He who believes shall be saved; he who does not believe shall be condemned.” (Pope Pius VIII, Traditi Humilitati, 1829)

To assent, to profess, to believe, to consent, to embrace, to persevere, and to keep the rule of the right faith; faith in Jesus Christ - he who does not believe shall be condemned. “This true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved...” “For if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For, with the heart, we believe unto justice: but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.” (Rm. 10:9-10)

This is the constant teaching of the Church’s universal and ordinary magisterium, as expressed also through her Doctors and through her saints, to cite just three:

Quote:St. Ignatius of Antioch (A.D. 107): “Let no man deceive himself. Unless he believes that Christ Jesus has lived in the flesh, and shall confess His cross and passion, and the blood which He shed for the salvation of the world, he shall not attain eternal life, whether he be a king, or a priest, or a ruler, or a private person, a master or a servant, a man or a woman. (Epistle to the Smyrnaeans)

St. Thomas Aquinas: “After the Incarnation all men if they wish to be saved... are bound to explicit faith in the mysteries of Christ as regards those which are observed throughout the Church and publicly proclaimed, such as the articles that refer to the Incarnation.” “After the Incarnation...all men in order to be saved...are bound to explicit faith in the mystery of the Trinity.” (Summa Theologica, Part II-II, q. 2, art. 7; and idem art, 8; Refer - Prima Secundae, q. 76.)

St. Peter Canisius (1521-1597), in his Catechism of Catholic doctrine, writes: “Outside of this communion (as outside of the Ark of Noah) there is absolutely no salvation for mortals: not to Jews or Pagans, who never received the faith of the Church; not to heretics who, having received it, forsook or corrupted it; not to schismatics who left the peace and unity of the Church; finally neither to excommunicates who for any other serious cause deserved to be put away and separated from the body of the Church, like pernicious members. . . . For the rule of Cyprian and Augustine is certain: he will not have God for his Father who would not have the Church for his Mother.”


We can go on and on, but let’s close with The Catechism of the Council of Trent, The Apostles Creed, Ch. 9, ARTICLE II: "AND [I BELIEVE]
IN JESUS CHRIST, HIS ONLY SON, OUR LORD":

Quote:“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".

On the necessity of explicit faith in our Lord for salvation, we have the solemn de fide papal pronouncements of the universal and ordinary magisterium, we have the Teachings held by theologians to belong to the faith, and we have Doctrinal decisions of the Vatican congregations. By every defined measure of what constitutes a de fide truth of the universal and ordinary magisterium of the Church, the very same rules for belief laid down by Vatican I and Pius IX, the question of the necessity of explicit faith was considered a revealed doctrine which was believed, professed and settled for over 16 centuries. So how, may we ask, can the sudden sentimental challenge in the 17th century open the status of this de fide doctrine as if it were a matter of mere opinion and open to another meaning all along?

The very notion that a de fide doctrine of the Church can be given a different meaning from that which was once revealed and always held by the Church - and
with the same understanding - is condemned:

Quote:If anyone shall say that, in accordance with the progress of science, it can happen that dogmas proposed by the Church must be given a meaning different from that which the Church has understood and still understands, let him be anathema.(Denzinger, 1818).

St. Thomas Aquinas:

Quote:“Our Faith is identical with that of the ancients. Deny this, and you dissolve the unity of the Church. We must hold this for certain: that the faith of the people at the present day is one with the faith of the people of past centuries. Were this not true, then we would be in a different church than they and, literally, the Church would not be One.” (On the Truth of the Catholic faith, Q.14, art.12)

Back to the original question: Can a universal doctrine which was never challenged for over 1600 years suddenly take a new “lawful” meaning which renders the previous (and opposing) universal teaching not only suspect, but even false? Is it not a theologian’s responsibility to demonstrate how this new doctrine is not actually “new” or “novel”, but is at least implicitly revealed in the deposit of faith; even though not a single Apostle, Saint, Pope, Doctor or Theologian (for over 15 centuries) ever posited such a doctrine exists? And if it did exist, it would be in stated opposition to, and/or on equal footing with, the universal doctrine of explicit faith. Doesn’t the theologian have the obligation and duty to demonstrate how this new doctrine is not opposed to the universal teaching which was expressed with typical precision by Sts. such as Augustine, Aquinas and Liguori and by the Church in every age? What is the role of a theologian if not to demonstrate the continuity of a proposed doctrine with revealed truth?

Let those who consider explicit faith an “open question”, explain how and why the universal teaching of over 16 centuries can be rendered "open" and even "doubtful" by later theologians; and why, by the very definition of the rule of faith proposed by Fr. Cekada and VC1, the necessity of explicit faith is not a de fide article of faith.

 

 

Reply
#2
Yes, explicit Faith in Christ is necessary for Salvation.
Reply
#3
Quote:'answered two questions from the Bishop of Quebec. The first is whether a missionary can baptize a perilously ill (moribundus) Indian who so far knows nothing of Christian truth, but who promises to take instruction in the faith in the event that he should recover from his illness. The second question also has to do with such an emergency situation, but prescinds from whether or not any such promise to take instruction is given. This time it is simply postulated that the dangerously ill Indian’s explicit knowledge is limited more or less to that described in Hebrews 11: 6. That is, he knows only “of God and some of his attributes, especially his justice in rewarding and punishing”. In other words, any belief such an Indian might have had in Jesus Christ would so far be only implicit at best. The response of the Holy Office is negative to both questions: “A missionary should not baptize one who does not believe explicitly in the Lord Jesus Christ, but is bound to instruct him about all those matters which are necessary, by a necessity of means, according to the capacity of the one to be baptized”’ (Fr. Brian Harrison, Pg. 15)

Just out of curiosity, how does that jive with the baptism of infants?
Reply
#4
neel Wrote:Just out of curiosity, how does that jive with the baptism of infants?

The teaching has not changed - the Church supplies the faith for infants.   

Reply
#5
"The teaching has not changed - the Church supplies the faith for infants."

Yes, because we all know that faith can be exchanged like money. ;)

Sorry, I don't buy this. God saves the child through the grace imparted to him at baptism, or better yet, through a means unknown to us. In fact, I would venture to say that it cannot be known whether explicit or merely implicit faith is required, because the words "explicit" and "implicit" are so poorly understood in this context.

What constitutes "explicit" faith? We shall start from there.
Reply
#6
SaintGeorge Wrote:"The teaching has not changed - the Church supplies the faith for infants."

Yes, because we all know that faith can be exchanged like money. ;)

Sorry, I don't buy this. God saves the child through the grace imparted to him at baptism, or better yet, through a means unknown to us. In fact, I would venture to say that it cannot be known whether explicit or merely implicit faith is required, because the words "explicit" and "implicit" are so poorly understood in this context.

It’s quite simple; children are baptized into the faith of the Church and receive the gift of faith. Whether you “buy” it or not is quite irrelevant; though perhaps you should read the Catechism of Trent before re-writing the doctrine:  
Quote:Infants Receive The Graces Of BaptismIt may not be doubted that in Baptism infants receive the mysterious gifts of faith. Not that they believe with the assent of the mind, but they are established in the faith of their parents, if the parents profess the true faith; if not--to use the words of St. Augustine--then in that of the universal society of the saints; for they are rightly said to be presented for Baptism by all those to whom their initiation in that sacred rite is a source of joy, and by whose charity they are united to the communion of the Holy Ghost.
Dispositions for BaptismIntentionThe faithful are also to be instructed in the necessary dispositions for Baptism. In the first place they must desire and intend to receive it; for as in Baptism we all die to sin and resolve to live a new life, it is fit that it be administered to those only who receive it of their own free will and accord; it is to be forced upon none. Hence we learn from holy tradition that it has been the invariable practice to administer Baptism to no individual without previously asking him if he be willing to receive it. This disposition even infants are presumed to have, since the will of the Church, which promises for them, cannot be mistaken.
Insane, delirious persons who were once of sound mind and afterwards became deranged, having in their present state no wish to be baptised, are not to be admitted to Baptism, unless in danger of death. In such cases, if previous to insanity they give intimation of a wish to be baptised, the Sacrament is to be administered; without such indication previously given it is not to be administered. The same rule is to be followed with regard to persons who are unconscious.
But if they (the insane) never enjoyed the use of reason, the authority and practice of the Church decide that they are to be baptised in the faith of the Church, just as children are baptised before they come to the use of reason.

Can we move on to the subject of explicit faith? I think you were going to provide a definition?    
Reply
#7
I am waiting for you to provide a definition.
Reply
#8
As far as I understand for baptizing babes, we do this to get rid of original sin. Not to say that they will not sin, but that they may start life on the right foot. That is simply my understanding.

As far as the other question at hand thus far, about expliciticy and impliciticy, given the quote from PastorAeternus
To assent, to profess, to believe, to consent, to embrace, to persevere, and to keep the rule of the right faith; faith in Jesus Christ - he who does not believe shall be condemned. �This true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved...� �For if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For, with the heart, we believe unto justice: but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.� (Rm. 10:9-10)

This is explicit.  And here is the definition :

explicit
One entry found.
Main Entry:
ex·plic·it [Image: audio.gif]
Pronunciation:
\ik-ˈspli-sÉt\
Function:
adjective
Etymology:
French or Medieval Latin; French explicite, from Medieval Latin explicitus, from Latin, past participle of explicare
Date:
1607
1 a: fully revealed or expressed without vagueness, implication, or ambiguity : leaving no question as to meaning or intent <explicit instructions> b: open in the depiction of nudity or sexuality <explicit books and films>2: fully developed or formulated explicit plan> explicit notion of our objective>3: unambiguous in expression explicit on how we are to behave>

synonyms explicit , definite , express , specific mean perfectly clear in meaning. explicit implies such verbal plainness and distinctness that there is no need for inference and no room for difficulty in understanding <explicit instructions>. definite stresses precise, clear statement or arrangement that leaves no doubt or indecision definite in such cases>. express implies both explicitness and direct and positive utterance express wishes>. specific applies to what is precisely and fully treated in detail or particular specific criticisms>.

And so, as far as whether a person need have explicit versus implicit faith, a person needs explicit faith, for how can he affirm ambiguously to the Church of Christ when he has the opportunity to learn explicitly ?

Here is my question :

What about those that never got the chance to explicitly learn about Christ and His Church ? i.e. The chinese who would f lived at the same time as the era of the apostles, or the native americans  and so on and so forth. How are they saved
Reply
#9

Quote:

What about those that never got the chance to explicitly learn about Christ and His Church ? i.e. The chinese who would f lived at the same time as the era of the apostles, or the native americans  and so on and so forth. How are they saved


 

 

 

Taken from Catholicism.org

 

This article appeared in abridged form in a small Catholic archaeological journal Ancient Man, Information Exchange , Volume 7, 1989, Tekakwitha Institute, Woodbridge, Virginia.
The salvation of the American Indians before Pentecost, the birthday of the Catholic Church, has never been considered a problem by theologians.

[-]
  •
Reply
#10
Here's a more in depth discussion.



http://www.catholicism.org/downloads/FrH...-Faith.pdf
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)