The Meaning of "Catholic Church"
#1
It is an article of faith that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. The Church tells us now that one may be “inside” the Church without being a member, a baptized individual partaking of the sacraments, united with the Pope in worship, etc. One may be “inside” the Church by virtue of perfect charity and implicit desire.

Quote:LETTER OF THE HOLY OFFICE
From the Headquarters of the Holy Office, Aug. 8, 1949
.

But it must not be thought that any kind of desire of entering the Church suffices that one may be saved. It is necessary that the desire by which one is related to the Church be animated by perfect charity. Nor can an implicit desire produce its effect, unless a person has supernatural faith: "For he who comes to God must believe that God exists and is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Heb. 11:6). The Council of Trent declares (Session VI, chap. 8): "Faith is the beginning of man's salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God and attain to the fellowship of His children" (Denzinger, n. 801).

St. Alphonsus Ligouri's Moral Theology Manual , Bk. 6, no. 95., Concerning Baptism

"baptism of desire is perfect conversion to God by contrition or love of God above all things accompanied by an explicit or implicit desire for true baptism of water, the place of which it takes as to the remission of guilt

Let us define “perfect charity” as “sorrow for one’s sins [i.e. contrition] and love of God above all else” based on St. Alphonsus’s definition above, and “implicit desire” as “a belief in God’s existence and that God is a rewarder of those who seek him” based upon the Holy Office Letter.

Question: Can a Protestant, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew or Hindu who believes and practices the tenets of his faith have sorrow for one’s sins and love of God above all else (perfect charity) and a belief in God’s existence and that God rewards those who seek him (implicit desire)?

I think the answer has to be “yes.” What do you say? And what are the logical or theological, and practical, implications if the answer is yes?

It appears to me that the Church has so broadened the extension of the term “Catholic Church” as to render it meaningless, or not more than a label that you put on a box which simply says, “box,” and tells you nothing about what is in it. Or, if it does, i.e. what is in here has sorrow for one’s sins and loves God above all else, and believes in God’s existence and that God rewards those who seek him, then the term “box” (i.e, “Catholic Church”) is merely a conventional sign or linguistic term that can differ depending upon one’s language, e.g., a Muslim could as properly call a person with perfect charity and implicit desire a Muslim (based on the language of Islam) as a Catholic could call that person a Catholic (based on the language of Catholicism). The breadth of the extension of the concept “Catholic Church” as the Church currently defines it removes the essential differentia that justified the use of the term “Catholic.”

tornpage
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#2
Very good points, but I must interject. Certain priests and bishops may be broadening the defintion of "Catholic Church' but that doesn't mean the Church is doing that. Dogma does not change.The Catholic Church is a congregation of all baptized persons with the same Faith, same Mass, and same sacraments all united under the pope in Rome.

The Holy Office is NOT the Church. They can say whatever they want but they don't actually 'change' the definition.
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#3
didishroom Wrote:Very good points, but I must interject. Certain priests and bishops may be broadening the defintion of "Catholic Church' but that doesn't mean the Church is doing that. Dogma does not change.The Catholic Church is a congregation of all baptized persons with the same Faith, same Mass, and same sacraments all united under the pope in Rome.

The Holy Office is NOT the Church. They can say whatever they want but they don't actually 'change' the definition.
On the same token, a certain priest may be be narrowing the Church's authentic teaching...
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#4
Explain...
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#5
tornpage Wrote:It is an article of faith that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. The Church tells us now that one may be “inside” the Church without being a member, a baptized individual partaking of the sacraments, united with the Pope in worship, etc. One may be “inside” the Church by virtue of perfect charity and implicit desire.

Quote:LETTER OF THE HOLY OFFICE
From the Headquarters of the Holy Office, Aug. 8, 1949
.

But it must not be thought that any kind of desire of entering the Church suffices that one may be saved. It is necessary that the desire by which one is related to the Church be animated by perfect charity. Nor can an implicit desire produce its effect, unless a person has supernatural faith: "For he who comes to God must believe that God exists and is a rewarder of those who seek Him" (Heb. 11:6). The Council of Trent declares (Session VI, chap. 8): "Faith is the beginning of man's salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God and attain to the fellowship of His children" (Denzinger, n. 801).

St. Alphonsus Ligouri's Moral Theology Manual , Bk. 6, no. 95., Concerning Baptism

"baptism of desire is perfect conversion to God by contrition or love of God above all things accompanied by an explicit or implicit desire for true baptism of water, the place of which it takes as to the remission of guilt

Let us define “perfect charity” as “sorrow for one’s sins [i.e. contrition] and love of God above all else” based on St. Alphonsus’s definition above, and “implicit desire” as “a belief in God’s existence and that God is a rewarder of those who seek him” based upon the Holy Office Letter.

Question: Can a Protestant, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew or Hindu who believes and practices the tenets of his faith have sorrow for one’s sins and love of God above all else (perfect charity) and a belief in God’s existence and that God rewards those who seek him (implicit desire)?

I think the answer has to be “yes.” What do you say? And what are the logical or theological, and practical, implications if the answer is yes?

I think you're confusing certain ideas contained in the letter of the Holy Office.  First, it makes a distinction between an "explicit" and "implicit" desire.  The explicit desire is that of the catechumen, who has publically claimed that they wish to join the Catholic Church.  The explicit desire is known to all, and thus a catechumen is considered part of the faithful (the catechumen who dies has always been given Catholic funeral rights).  On the other hand, the implicit desire is not known to all.  Suppose a lifelong Protestant desired to convert to the Catholic Church on his deathbed (of course motivated by faith).  Its possible that none of his family or the local priest knows of this desire.  This desire for baptism could be just as adament as that of the catechumen, but circumstances make him unable to publically express this desire.  Thus, his desire is considered "implicit" since its not known to all.

In both these cases, the individuals had explicit faith.  They both realized that the true Church was the Catholic Church, and adamently desired to join Her (and would have done so if death had not impeded them).  It is these individuals that received the so-called "Baptism of Desire".  Since, they desire membership in the Mystical Body of Christ.

However, the above letter also seems to speak of another group.  In this group, the individuals are invincibly ignorant.  Their ignorance is invincible, because they were unable to learn the Truth even though they were dilligent in their quest for it.  Perhaps the individual is a Muslim living in a country where Catholic missionaries are banned, and the Gospels are not heard.  Despite the fact that he was dilligent in learning, he would not have knowledge of Divine Truth (unless it was extraordinarily infused by God).  Save this supernatural intervention, the person's invincible ignorance would not make them culpable for the sin of being outside the Church.

Yet, invincible ignorance alone is not enough to be saved.  For this Muslim man could have no knowledge of the necessity to convert to the Church, but he could be an unrepentant rapist or murder.  To be saved, the man must have perfect charity.  I think your definition in this regard is sufficient (i.e. "perfect contrition and love of God above all else").  They may have no direct knowledge of God, yet they certainly repent their sins and love God.  If a missionary would have gone their way, it is likely they would have converted.  (I obviously have a Molinist bent...)

tornpage Wrote:It appears to me that the Church has so broadened the extension of the term “Catholic Church” as to render it meaningless, or not more than a label that you put on a box which simply says, “box,” and tells you nothing about what is in it. Or, if it does, i.e. what is in here has sorrow for one’s sins and loves God above all else, and believes in God’s existence and that God rewards those who seek him, then the term “box” (i.e, “Catholic Church”) is merely a conventional sign or linguistic term that can differ depending upon one’s language, e.g., a Muslim could as properly call a person with perfect charity and implicit desire a Muslim (based on the language of Islam) as a Catholic could call that person a Catholic (based on the language of Catholicism). The breadth of the extension of the concept “Catholic Church” as the Church currently defines it removes the essential differentia that justified the use of the term “Catholic.”  tornpage


Again, I think your definitions are incorrect (and thus weaken your argument).  If the Muslim knows the Truth, then he obviously can not be content with staying in his own religion.  A desire to align oneself with a known falsehood would be a false charity; it would be hypocritical if a man said he desired to join the Catholic Church, yet was not willing to make an attempt to join (as much as his condition allows).
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#6
didishroom Wrote:Explain...
You negate the Holy Office to some sort of fallible congregation, yet Father Feeney's ideas are the "authentic teaching".  Fr.  Feeney was not a theologian. He had no Pontifical degrees, nor did he have advanced education beyond the average Jesuit.  Nor was he a bishop.  So its beyond me how anyone can think his ideas are part of the Extraordinary Magisterium or even the Ordinary Magisterium for that matter.

If the Holy Office is fallible when making definitive statements, then how can we ever be sure of the veracity of any doctrine?  For if the Holy Office is fallible when speaking definitively, then it follows that the Pope (who gave them authority) is fallible.  Then, the One who gave the Pope authority would be fallible as well...
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#7
Quote:You negate the Holy Office to some sort of fallible congregation, yet Father Feeney's ideas are the "authentic teaching".

I never said Fr. Feeney had the "authentic" teaching. Never have I EVER asked that anyone accept Fr. Feeney's teachings. I only defend him from false accusations of heresy.
 
I just find it interesting that a letter, that was never registered as an official document of the Holy See, which was singed by one bishop and written to only a fellow one is the biggest PROOF that Fr. Feeney was a heretic.
 
 
Quote:Fr.  Feeney was not a theologian. He had no Pontifical degrees, nor did he have advanced education beyond the average Jesuit. 

Neither did the majority of saints or Fathers of the Church. Do not try and present Fr. Feeney as just 'some priest' who got silenced for erronious teachings. His works were required for Catholic school children in the US. Fulton Sheen said Fr. Feeney was the only one he trusted to substitute for him on his radio show. Fr. Feeney's Jesuit provincial hailed him "the greatest theologian we have in the United States by far." Cardinal Wright went further when he said Fr. Feeney was "The GREATEST theologian in the CATHOLIC CHURCH."
 
 
Quote:Nor was he a bishop.  So its beyond me how anyone can think his ideas are part of the Extraordinary Magisterium or even the Ordinary Magisterium for that matter.
Please direct me to any quote from Fr.'s mouth, his Order or from my posts where you would get such an idea. This is an absurd accusation especially when Br. Andre Marie (MICM) says this:
Lastly I hope I have clarified that we do not regard our theological opinion (which is Father Feeney’s) on this point as equal to the Church’s Magisterium.
 
Fr. Feeney was interested in defending EENS. When he was becoming offensive to the bishop's Protestant and Jewish benefactors he censured him. AFTER he was censured and "excommunicated" Fr. Feeney arrived at the cause of this denial of EENS. He realized people where taking a popular believed theory(but never dogmatically defined) ,which professed that catechumens who already possessed the Catholic Faith but died before baptism could still enter heaven, and twisting it to mean that anyone with a good disposition regardless of the Faith or sacraments. Fr. Feeney was not censured for denying BOD and BOB. Nor did he or his Order condemn those that hold it(in the traditional sense, which ONLY applies to Catechumens), so long as they don't deny EENS. 
 
You say that he was not even a bishop. If he was, would that persuade your mind? Would it persude you to know the bishop of Worster gave a book defending Fr. Feeney's theology a Nihil Obstat meaning that it was free from all doctrinal and moral error? Would you be persuaded if you knew that Bl. John XXIII asked Monsignore Cassano to review Fr.'s theology in his Bread of Life for heresy and that the monsignor reported to the pope that there was none? Would you change your mind if you realised that the Ecclesia Dei Pontifical Commision wrote that Fr. Feeney died in the Church(an impossibility for a manifest heretic) and that his Order is as well? Did you know that his Order which survives today is canonically recognized by the local diocesce, whose bishop and priests administers the sacraments to them? Tell me, in all these speeches about Church authority, who does no care about anything since 1953? Why are all the contemporary declarations from local and Roman authority ignored?
 
Quote:
If the Holy Office is fallible when making definitive statements, then how can we ever be sure of the veracity of any doctrine?  For if the Holy Office is fallible when speaking definitively, then it follows that the Pope (who gave them authority) is fallible.  Then, the One who gave the Pope authority would be fallible as well...
You have a very poor understanding of the pope's infallibility. The Holy Office does not refer to the office of the pope. It is now called the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith. It used to be the Inquisition. It is simply a legal body of Churchmen. A beaurcratic body made to help deal with problems in the Church. It is not infallible. There is nothing to suggest that it is infallible. Only the Extraordinary Magesterium is guaranteed infallibility. The Ordinary Magesterium can be infallible when it is consistent and unanimous in a doctrine. However with thousands of bishops wordlwide, can anyone prove a consensus on BOD and BOB?
Can anyone prove from the Extraordinary Magesterium that BOB and BOD are de fide? No. The biggest support from these theories

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#8
Quote:The explicit desire is that of the catechumen, who has publically claimed that they wish to join the Catholic Church.  The explicit desire is known to all, and thus a catechumen is considered part of the faithful (the catechumen who dies has always been given Catholic funeral rights).

Council of Braga

Neither commemoration nor chanting is to be employed for catechumens who have died without baptism.
Now, even the catechumen believes in the cross of the Lord Jesus, wherewith he also signs himself; But unless he be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, he canot receive remission of his sins nor the gift of spiritual grace.
St. Ambrose, De Mysteriis, chap IV, no. 4
 

St. Gregory of Nazianzen

Of those who fail to be baptized, some are utterly animal or bestial; others honor Baptism but they delay, some out of carelessness, some because of insatiable passion. Still others are not able to receive Baptism because of infancy or some involuntary circumstance which prevents their receiving the gift, even if they desire it. I think the first group will have to suffer punishment, not only for ther sins, but also for their contempt of Baptism. The second group will also be punished, but less because it was not through the wickedness so much as foolishness that brought about their failure. The third group will be neither glorified, nor punished; for although un-Sealed ,they are not wicked. If you were able to judge a man who intends to commit murder solely by his intention and without any act of murder, then you can likewise reckon as baptized one who desired Baptism, without having received Baptism. But, since you cannot do the former, how can you do the latter? Put it this way: if desire has equal power with actual Baptism, you would then be satisfied to desire Glory, as though that longing itself were Glory! Do you suffer by not attaining the actual Glory, so long as you have a desire for it? I can not see it!
Oration on the Holy Lights
Only those who are to be considered real member of the Church who have been regenerated in the waters of baptism, and profess the True faith...consequently, as in the real assembley of the faithful there can be only one Body, one Lord and one baptism.
Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis
 
 

Quote:On the other hand, the implicit desire is not known to all.  Suppose a lifelong Protestant desired to convert to the Catholic Church on his deathbed (of course motivated by faith).  Its possible that none of his family or the local priest knows of this desire.  This desire for baptism could be just as adament as that of the catechumen, but circumstances make him unable to publically express this desire.  Thus, his desire is considered "implicit" since its not known to all.

Why can't he express his desire? If he will not express his will to be baptized for fear of ambarssment or rejection by his family then he is not worthy of it in the first place.
Not to mention a Protestant is a already validly baptized and if he accepted the Catholic Faith he would be counted as a member of the Church as it was only his heresy, not lack of baptism, that was seperating him.

Quote:In both these cases, the individuals had explicit faith.  They both realized that the true Church was the Catholic Church, and adamently desired to join Her (and would have done so if death had not impeded them).  It is these individuals that received the so-called "Baptism of Desire".  Since, they desire membership in the Mystical Body of Christ.

They may receive grace but they are not members of the Church.
 
 

Quote:However, the above letter also seems to speak of another group.  In this group, the individuals are invincibly ignorant.  Their ignorance is invincible, because they were unable to learn the Truth even though they were dilligent in their quest for it.

Athanasian Creed

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

 

If anyone shall say that the commandments are, even to a man who is already justified, impossible to observe ; let him be anathema

Council of Trent.

 

It is error to believe that). A man is capable (capax ) of absolution, however much he may labor in ignorance of the mysteries of the faith, and even though through negligence, be it even culpable, he does not know the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pope Innocent XI

 

All those things are to be believed by divine and catholic Faith...which are proposed by the Church eithe rin solemn judgment or in its ordinary and universal teaching office as divinely revealed truths which must be believed...since without Faith it is impossible to please God, no one may be justified without it, nor will anyone attain eternal life unless he perserves to the end in it.

Vatican I

 

 

 

Quote:
They may have no direct knowledge of God, yet they certainly repent their sins and love God. 

It is error to believe that). A man is capable (capax ) of absolution, however much he may labor in ignorance of the mysteries of the faith, and even though through negligence, be it even culpable, he does not know the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pope Innocent XI

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#9
MeaMaximaCulpa,

I'm not talking about the person with "explicit" desire, nor about the person who has a deathbed conversion to the Catholic faith. Though the "deathbed conversion" idea has within it the elements to interpret the ultimate salvation of the person who comes to the gates of death with perfect contrition and implicit desire in a manner consistent with a more rigorous interpretation of "no salvation outside the Catholic Church."

Let's then cut to the chase. You will note that I said, the Prot, Muslim, Jew etc. who practiced and believed the tenets of their faith. So we are not talking about a Muslim, e.g., who knew Catholicism was the truth but refrained from joining the Church.

You add the idea of "invincible ignorance." What do you mean thereby? A person who hasn't heard the gospel? A person who heard it but rejects it with sincere doubt? 

Clarify. I'd like to get into this more with you.

Thanks,

tornpage

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#10
MeaMaximaCulpa,

Quote:Their ignorance is invincible, because they were unable to learn the Truth even though they were dilligent in their quest for it.  Perhaps the individual is a Muslim living in a country where Catholic missionaries are banned, and the Gospels are not heard.

I believe you intended by “invincible ignorance” that the person didn’t hear the gospel message because of isolation, etc.

In that case, the person who heard the gospel but doesn’t believe it differs from the one who didn’t hear it only in the matter of guilt: having heard it, he is guilty of rejecting it.   He is thus punished for hearing the gospel. The gospel has a negative effect – damnation – on the Muslim who heard the gospel but didn’t believe.

But the fact remains that the gospel still did absolutely nothing to effect the salvation of the Muslim who didn’t hear it and believed and practiced Islam and who loved God above all else, was sorry for their sins, believed that God rewarded those who seek Him.

The concept of “invincible ignorance” broadens, if you will, the negative power of the gospel, it’s power to send one to Hell, but doesn’t broaden it’s positive power in the least, the power of saving a soul. The "invincibly ignorant" soul is saved by loving God above all else, by being sorry for their sins, by believing that God rewards those who seek Him – beliefs consistent with Islam and the Muslim’s faith, and which are not dependent on a belief in Christ or the gospel. What then avails the gospel for such a person? What is its purpose, it’s necessity for the Muslim who doesn’t hear it? It has no purpose. And it’s only purpose for the “hearing” Muslim who loves God above all else, is sorry for his sins, and believes God rewards those who seek Him is to damn him if he doesn’t accept the Christian garb that the Church wraps that message in.

I suppose you could argue net gain - not affecting the essentials of the argument (the necessity of the gospel for salvation) but rather the overall effect of the gospel's proclamation (which is not precisely the issue) - and say that the gospel will save some Muslims who come to it and believe it yet don’t love God above all else, feel sorry for their sins, or believe God rewards those who seek them, but it is hard to see how even believing the gospel will avail a person who doesn’t have these things. And I wonder if one can “believe” the gospel and not love God above all else, feel sorry for their sins, etc.

In any event, the concept of “invincible ignorance” has no effect on the conclusion that a practicing Muslim who loves God above all else, feels sorry for their sins, and believes God rewards those who seek Him may be saved without any belief in Christ or resort to the sacraments of the Church. The only way the concept changes the analysis is that instead of being saved, such a person will be damned if he hears the gospel and doesn't believe it.   

tornpage

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