A Question on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus
#1
Traditionally, where does "Outside the Church there is no salvation" leave Protestants (and non-Christians)?  I want to get a sense of both the defined understanding of the dogma and the common conceptions of the faithful about this teaching before the Council.  In a pre-Conciliar catechism that I own it is stated, "Persons who are not members of the Catholic Church can be saved if, through no fault of their own they do not know that the Catholic Church is the true Church, but they love God and try to do His will, for in this way they are connected with the Church by desire."  The copyright for this edition is 1961 and yet this seems to back up what the post-Conciliar Church talks about in regards to Baptism by Desire. 

Now, would some of you say that this catechism has already been infected by modernism?  If not and this is indeed the traditional read of Extra Ecclesiam then what are the glaring disconnects between VII's language on the matter?

It seems to me that the major issue at play between the traditional and new reading is about where Christ's Church rests or resides.  Is that a fair assesment?  If so, does the "outlook", so to speak, remain the same in both views for non-Catholics or is that necessarily changed as well?
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#2
(02-26-2010, 04:48 PM)Bellringer Wrote:This outlook on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus is fine, indeed, the only correct view. To say that God would hold guilty who through no fault of their own did not believe (and therefore were not culpable), is to make God vindictive. If it is impossible for someone to know Catholic truth and accept the Church in its fulness, then they shall not be held guilty for it, anymore than a person without use of reason could be held guilty.
One must believe everything that has been revealed to him about the true God, God asks nothing more than that. This, along with a supreme contrition for your sins, will bring about implicit baptism by desire - if you desire to do God's will, insofar as you know it, then you implicitly desire to be baptised, for this is God's will.

Right.  Agreed.  But how does this contrast with your reading of ENNS in the documents of Vatican II?
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#3
Here's how I understand it: First, all men are related to the Church, either by act or potential (this is why St. Thomas says Christ is also head of all men)--but only when reduced to act is it salvific. Through Baptism we are born into the Body of Christ, apart from which there is no salvation. Protestant baptisms are valid, so at that moment they are born into the Church. However, heretics and schismatics are cut off from the Church. That being said, there is more to being a heretic than being wrong, as St. Augustine gives an example:

"Those are by no means to be accounted heretics who do not defend their false and perverse opinions with pertinacious animosity, especially when their error is not the fruit of audacious presumption but has been communicated to them by seduced and lapsed parents, and when they are seeking the truth with cautious solicitude and ready to be corrected."

In regards to the unbaptized, those who seek the truth and salvation will not be left unaided--they will receive the means of salvation they desire, either through the usual manner (preachers, missionaries, teachers, etc.) or maybe through some means known only to God (Baptism of desire, interior inspiration, etc.). Even those who deny Baptism of desire affirm this (they usually say an angel or preacher will be miraculously transported to someone in need of Baptism).

This is what Vatican II teaches. However, it comes off as watered down because it applies and explains these principles, especially in the decree on ecumenism, on the presumption that separated communities of Baptized persons are not actually heretics, but are in a kind of "good faith" situation described by St. Augustine. In other words, if the presumption is true, then the traditional principles applied to this presumption yield the prevailing post-concilliar ecclesiology. However, if we apply the traditional principles to the presumption of bad faith, we get the prevailing ecclesiology of previous periods. (I think we can all agree that probably neither presumption is  universally correct, but are practical or "pastoral" in nature--and I'm willing to bet most here are of the same mind as to which approach is most effective).
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#4
(02-26-2010, 05:40 PM)SaintSebastian Wrote: Here's how I understand it: First, all men are related to the Church, either by act or potential (this is why St. Thomas says Christ is also head of all men)--but only when reduced to act is it salvific. Through Baptism we are born into the Body of Christ, apart from which there is no salvation. Protestant baptisms are valid, so at that moment they are born into the Church. However, heretics and schismatics are cut off from the Church. That being said, there is more to being a heretic than being wrong, as St. Augustine gives an example:

"Those are by no means to be accounted heretics who do not defend their false and perverse opinions with pertinacious animosity, especially when their error is not the fruit of audacious presumption but has been communicated to them by seduced and lapsed parents, and when they are seeking the truth with cautious solicitude and ready to be corrected."

In regards to the unbaptized, those who seek the truth and salvation will not be left unaided--they will receive the means of salvation they desire, either through the usual manner (preachers, missionaries, teachers, etc.) or maybe through some means known only to God (Baptism of desire, interior inspiration, etc.). Even those who deny Baptism of desire affirm this (they usually say an angel or preacher will be miraculously transported to someone in need of Baptism).

This is what Vatican II teaches. However, it comes off as watered down because it applies and explains these principles, especially in the decree on ecumenism, on the presumption that separated communities of Baptized persons are not actually heretics, but are in a kind of "good faith" situation described by St. Augustine. In other words, if the presumption is true, then the traditional principles applied to this presumption yield the prevailing post-concilliar ecclesiology. However, if we apply the traditional principles to the presumption of bad faith, we get the prevailing ecclesiology of previous periods. (I think we can all agree that probably neither presumption is  universally correct, but are practical or "pastoral" in nature--and I'm willing to bet most here are of the same mind as to which approach is most effective).

This is an excellent and clear explanation.  I have struggled with this on my journey to tradition.  I have a friend that says is is practically impossible for someone not to know & believe in the Catholic faith and therefore he applies the presumption of bad faith.

As an ex-protestant, I can't quite buy that.  I knew many people who were quite convinced that they were seeking God's will with their whole life.  I saw how devoted to their faith they were and applying it to their daily life.  I was like that.  Also, most protestants are fed an unconscious anti-Catholicism.  It goes very deep.  It usually takes something major to shake it up and make them look again or a very patient, loving Catholic friend who witnesses by example.

I think on of my favorite sayings is from Fulton Sheen (I think) when he says That not one in 100 people hate the Catholic church, they hate what they THINK the Catholic church is.

The best thing we can do is to know our faith, live it, and be ready to answer questions, presuming the best of others until they prove by their actions otherwise.  Those who aren't truly seeking the truth will show that eventually.
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#5
Thanks for the good post St. Sebastian.  I guess I'm trying to suss out exactly where the disconnect is between the ecumenical practices of the post-Conciliar Church and the traditional dogma of EENS.  There is certainly a disconnect there, but I'm having trouble putting my finger on it.  It seems that there is a shift from recognizing the Catholic Church as absolutely synonymous with the Church of Christ and thus we have the abandonment of seeking the conversion of others.  Now it almost seems to be implied that other religions are equally valid, or at least within Christ's Church in some vague way even when they are at odds with the visible Catholic Church.  And this implies EENS is false.  I don't know.  I'm still trying to wrap my brain entirely around what is going on here.
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#6
(02-26-2010, 03:30 PM)Walty Wrote: “Traditionally, where does "Outside the Church there is no salvation" leave Protestants (and non-Christians)?  It seems to me that the major issue at play … is about where Christ's Church rests or resides.  Is that a fair assesment?”

Yes.  What constitutes being “in” the Catholic Church?  One can be in the Church sacramentally as any baptized child prior to the age of reason or as any schismatic Catholic (orthodox, Trads) who receives valid sacraments.  This is the fleshy way of being in the Catholic Church.  Those are spiritually in the Catholic Church who accept its Authority in all matters of faith and dogma.

Ergo, virtually all Novus Ordo Catholics are not sacramentally in the Catholic Church in that they receive doubtful sacraments.  And virtually all others are not in the Catholic Church spiritually in that they do not accept Church doctrine.

Walty wrote: “Does the "outlook", so to speak, remain the same in both views for non-Catholics or is that necessarily changed as well?”

Yes.  Non-Catholics are held to a lower standard than Catholics who were brought up in the Faith and have less reason to put themselves out of the Church.  For non-Catholics, membership in the Mystical Body of Christ, which is His Church, can be had by intent alone. 

It’s all about our free will.  If our will is disposed to the Truth, which is the Way, we are among the few on the narrow path our Lord speaks of.  How far we get on the Way of that narrow path is not as relevant as being on that right path.  Being on the right path is as simple as honestly seeking and accepting in humility all the uncomfortable truths that we are enlightened enough to ascertain.  – Albert

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#7
My conclusion is that there was never a complete consensus before VII about the details of EENS.
The view ranged from water baptised formal Catholics only(I've forgotten the details but I remember there were many threads on this forum about how to interpret and weigh the authority of Trent's statements about Baptism of desire), to including ignorant heathens and ignorant heretics.
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#8
(02-27-2010, 02:07 AM)sheep101 Wrote: My conclusion is that there was never a complete consensus before VII about the details of EENS.
The view ranged from water baptised formal Catholics only(I've forgotten the details but I remember there were many threads on this forum about how to interpret and weigh the authority of Trent's statements about Baptism of desire), to including ignorant heathens and ignorant heretics.

I don't know.  EENS seems to be one of the more well defined dogmas within the Deposit of Faith and the language used to describe precisely what that dogma was changed very little over many centuries.  Contrast that with the novelties about the Church and salvation we find in the Council documents.
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#9
(02-27-2010, 02:07 AM)sheep101 Wrote: My conclusion is that there was never a complete consensus before VII about the details of EENS.

I disagree.  I counted 14 references to EENS through the centuries in Dezinger's Source of Catholic Dogmas. 
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#10
Maybe the question is: if they can be saved in their ignorance and "good faith", then why bother to catechize them?
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