A Question on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus
#31
(03-01-2010, 04:29 AM)Walty Wrote: My major question regarding the traditional read of EENS is what about the heahtens?  Nic's response (that those who wish to find Truth and Salvation will invariably find the Catholic Church) is the only read that makes sense with a merciful and just God.

The question was issued shortly after Columbus discovered America: what happened with the Indians, before they had any access to the knowledge about Jesus Christ?

The problem came up in the debate for the Dignitatis Humanae, and that document is the answer of this problem.

To say that today people can understand the superiority of the  Catholic faith as only religion on that level that anything else leads to damnation is empty statment. Due to their cultural, educational background, they have exactly as much real possibilty to understand this, as here some contributors have the real possibility to understand that only those are inside the Catholic Church who are in full communion with the Pope and the college of Bishops regardless how they qualify the pope and the college of bishops.

Their conscience prevents them. The problem is only with those who deny the power of conscience, and say that their clear knowledge is what prevents them. We have no clear knowledge, it is only the temptation of the Adversary, that we can tell the difference between good and evil without the serious possibility of error.
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#32
(03-01-2010, 04:29 AM)Walty Wrote: Also, what are we to make of Protestant baptism?  If it's valid and mortal sin can only be committed with full knowledge wouldn't Protestants make it on ignorance alone?

What of this post-VII idea of "partial communion" by which it can be said that the Catholic Church is both the Church of Christ and the only ark of salvation but also that Protestants may be saved through whatever parts remain in "communion"?  This seems to be a nuiance which does not necessarily contradict the previous infallible statements on EENS.


My major question regarding the traditional read of EENS is what about the heahtens?  Nic's response (that those who wish to find Truth and Salvation will invariably find the Catholic Church) is the only read that makes sense with a merciful and just God.

And still, I don't think the contradictions between the pre and post-Conciliar interpretations of EENS have been fully and clearly sussed out here. 

When I first became a Roman Catholic back in '04 from being a Fundamentalist Protestant my whole life, I had SO very much trouble understanding this very fundamental dogman of the Faith.  Actually, I have an identical twin brother, and we both converted at the exact same time (go figure), and it was actually him that could not fathom the idea that good intentioned Protestants would be forever punished in hell for not submitting to the Catholic Church.  We would both argue on this for hours, and at the time I also had a vague understanding of the dogma.  What finally broke the argument wide open was when I asked my brother:  "If you can be saved as a Protestant, then why did we become Catholic?  Why did we go through six months of intense study in RCIA?  Why do we know adhere to a religion that is 100X harder to adhere to than our former one?"  These questions began to put the subject to rest a bit.

I continued to struggle with EENS for the next couple of years, not fully grasping this essential dogma.  The only conclusion that any Catholic person can come to when the writings of the saints and Popes are studied is this:  There is absolutely NO salvation outside the Catholic Church.  PERIOD. 

We have modern prelates and laity in today's ecumenical Church stating that you don't have to be Catholic to be saved.  You hear the words "invicible ignorance" thrown around alot.  The only logical conclusion to the EENS question, while being 100% faithful to the consistent teachings of the Catholic Church is this:  We all have it hardwired into us to seek out God.  This is innately carved into our very beings.  The call to seek out God pushes us to this end our whole lives - it is up to the individual person who listens and who ignores.  If a person truly, sincererly seeks out God, then he or she will inevitably be led home to the Catholic Church.  This has happened time and time again throughout the history of the world.

Concerning the subject of Protestant baptisms being valid - There is no doubt that when a person is baptized using the Trinitarian Formula (In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost) that a valid baptism has occured.  Protestants who recieve this baptism are washed away from their sins, both Original and personal, at that very moment - and at that very moment they are completely Catholic - they are part of the Body of Christ, pure and without sin.  It is only when they fall back into the heretical rubrics of their Protestant sect is when they virtually excommunicate themselves from the One Church of God.  When this occurs, they are no longer in the Body of Christ - they have chosen a false religion instead and now need to be reintroduced to the Church by listening to their souls which speak to them, telling them to seek out the Lord with all of their hearts and minds.
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#33
(03-01-2010, 04:29 AM)Walty Wrote: Also, what are we to make of Protestant baptism?  If it's valid and mortal sin can only be committed with full knowledge wouldn't Protestants make it on ignorance alone?
No, as the law is written on all our hearts. Plus, most Protestants know the 10 Commandments.  Also, you are assuming all Protestants are "solicitous of the truth" and are willing to follow where ever it leads. This is the problem with the conclusion that only Catholics go to Hell--it only follows logically when it assumes that all Protestants are in good faith and have perfect contrition for their sins but assumes not all Catholics are in such a state of innocence.

Quote:What of this post-VII idea of "partial communion" by which it can be said that the Catholic Church is both the Church of Christ and the only ark of salvation but also that Protestants may be saved through whatever parts remain in "communion"?  This seems to be a nuiance which does not necessarily contradict the previous infallible statements on EENS.
Partial communion makes sense in the context of good faith--which is presumed in the ecclesiology of Vatican II. A baptized person, solicitous of the truth, etc. but not being an explicit Catholic would have communion with the Church by virtue of that Baptism and faith, but obviously it is not the full, explicit, hierarchical, sacramental, and doctrinal unity that all men are called to and have the duty of seeking and embracing. That is why it's called "partial." But, if that person is obstinate or doesn't care about the truth or is not willing to sacrifice convenience/respect of men/etc. to act on the truth, they are cut off completely because that necessary faith is lacking.

Quote:My major question regarding the traditional read of EENS is what about the heahtens?  Nic's response (that those who wish to find Truth and Salvation will invariably find the Catholic Church) is the only read that makes sense with a merciful and just God.
It bears pointing out that even an implicit desire for Baptism sufficing for salvation is taught by Doctors of the Church  (St. Alphonsus Liguori comes to mind) as well as certain Fathers and many theologians. The SSPX also teach this as well as many sedes. The problem with the idea that they will all find the Catholic Church is that certain continents have gone many, many generations without doing so. Was there not a single righteous person among them? It's possible there wasn't, but it seems there may have been. For example, I have a friend who is an expert in certain aspects of Mayan culture, and she has shown me writings from certain groups and individuals who rejected the worship of created things and of the many gods/devils popularly adored, and instead reasoned there must be one Creator of all the universe, and it was Him and His mercy that they abandoned their souls to. This would be no different than those righteous Gentiles in the times of the Old Testament who found favor with God.

It is possible, assuming knowledge of revealed truths is absolutely necessary for salvation, that individuals like the above (provided they had that perfect contrition for their sins and love of God above all else) were enlightened interiorly with those truths before death. If such supernatural truths were not absolutely necessary, natural ones at least were, as St. Paul says there is no excuse for not knowing them. The letter of the Holy Office from the Fr. Feeney affair, cited by Lumen Gentium, explains the bare minimums. Even Lumen Gentium says that those who place their faith in idols cannot be saved in that state when it states that those who do not know God are only given the "helps" necessary to come to salvation, rather than saying they may be saved in their current state (as it does regarding those who know God, presuming an upright conscience). It cannot be forgotten that it is through grace that God draws men to the truth, so that knowledge and love of God only comes at the impulse of grace and by a response to it.

Again, as with the Protestants, even heathens have the natural law. Those who are not contrite for their sins, who are not solicitous of the truth, and who retain the adoration of created things, are not on the way of salvation. I hope I don't cross the line into passing judgment on particular souls, but from everyday experience, how many people just don't care about the will of God, are happy in their own sins and will, are not willing to make whatever sacrifice for truth and love of God?  




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#34
Of course "Baptism of Desire" figures into all of this.  When a person desires baptism, they have already heard the call to seek out God and therefore "desire" to be a part of the only Truth in the world - the Holy Catholic Church.  If they die before this occurs, then it is more than reasonable to assume that they will find salvation.
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#35
(03-01-2010, 07:24 AM)glgas Wrote:
(03-01-2010, 04:29 AM)Walty Wrote: My major question regarding the traditional read of EENS is what about the heahtens?  Nic's response (that those who wish to find Truth and Salvation will invariably find the Catholic Church) is the only read that makes sense with a merciful and just God.

The question was issued shortly after Columbus discovered America: what happened with the Indians, before they had any access to the knowledge about Jesus Christ?

The problem came up in the debate for the Dignitatis Humanae, and that document is the answer of this problem.

To say that today people can understand the superiority of the  Catholic faith as only religion on that level that anything else leads to damnation is empty statment. Due to their cultural, educational background, they have exactly as much real possibilty to understand this, as here some contributors have the real possibility to understand that only those are inside the Catholic Church who are in full communion with the Pope and the college of Bishops regardless how they qualify the pope and the college of bishops.

Their conscience prevents them. The problem is only with those who deny the power of conscience, and say that their clear knowledge is what prevents them. We have no clear knowledge, it is only the temptation of the Adversary, that we can tell the difference between good and evil without the serious possibility of error.

The Vatican II document of Dignitatis Humanae on religious freedom absolutely DOES NOT have the answer to this problem.  This erroneous document is at the forefront of the doctrinal problems being discussed between the SSPX and Rome.  DH is filled with outright error that goes strictly against the constent teachings of the Church, even by popes not a half-century removed from that horrid council.

You are setting aside the infallible consistent teaching of the Church to prefer the fallible teachings of the post-conciliar Church.  You are forgetting that it is DOGMA that outside the Church there is NO Salvation.  You are doing EXACTLY what the holy pope Pius XII spoke about:

Some say they are not bound by the doctrine which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing. Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation. Others finally belittle the reasonable character of the credibility of Christian Faith. These and like ERRORS, it is clear, have crept in among certain of our sons who are deceived by imprudent zeal for souls or by false science."

You are reducing the necessity of the Church to a meaningless formula.  As far as native peoples are concerned, the same goes with ALL people.  We all have to listen to our hearts, and the truth will manifest itself to us somehow.  Why do you think that when the Christians came to the Americas they won so many converts when the natives had been engorged in their own religious systems for centuries?  It is because these people were seeking out truth!  You also are forgetting the possibility of Limbo for souls such as these - not recieving eternal punishment, but also not recieving eternal reward either.
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#36
(02-27-2010, 12:53 AM)SearchingCatholic Wrote: 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.

I may be wrong, but I personally understand that most of the pre-Vatican II pronoucements on this doctrine seem to come from the presumption of bad faith on the part of Protestants.
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#37
(03-01-2010, 08:41 AM)Nic Wrote:  What finally broke the argument wide open was when I asked my brother:  "If you can be saved as a Protestant, then why did we become Catholic?  Why did we go through six months of intense study in RCIA?  Why do we know adhere to a religion that is 100X harder to adhere to than our former one?"  These questions began to put the subject to rest a bit.
I can definitely have compassion on where you are coming from on this, but I think it can be a dangerous way to put the answer to rest if applied generally. For example, one may become envious of those who go straight to Heaven on a death bed Baptism after living a life of pleasure and ease where you have born a heavy cross your entire life. However, I'm willing to bet every saint (and probably yourself) who lived a life of penance and suffering for love of God would have preferred that than to live a life of ease and be saved at the moment of death.  When we love God, His burdens are light and sweet.

More to the point, many people who become Catholic must suffer the scorn or disownment from parents and friends, torture and death, etc., where many are supported by loved ones, not persecuted, etc. Many must lose everything to follow Christ,  while many do not. The key here is that to be saved, one must be willing to suffer these things if they became necessary. Similarly, to be saved, a Protestant would have to be willing to do it all, if in his diligent search for truth it were discovered by him to be necessary.

According to your understanding, that desire and willingness will infallibly be fulfilled by formal conversion to Catholicism in this life--and you very well may be right. But if you are not, I don't think there would be a contradiction with the dogma. Perfect knowledge is not required for salvation, but the willingness with grace to seek it, embrace it, and live it for the love of God, no matter the cost (and repent of it when we fail), is.


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#38
(03-01-2010, 07:24 AM)glgas Wrote:
(03-01-2010, 04:29 AM)Walty Wrote: My major question regarding the traditional read of EENS is what about the heahtens?  Nic's response (that those who wish to find Truth and Salvation will invariably find the Catholic Church) is the only read that makes sense with a merciful and just God.

The question was issued shortly after Columbus discovered America: what happened with the Indians, before they had any access to the knowledge about Jesus Christ?

The problem came up in the debate for the Dignitatis Humanae, and that document is the answer of this problem.

To say that today people can understand the superiority of the  Catholic faith as only religion on that level that anything else leads to damnation is empty statment. Due to their cultural, educational background, they have exactly as much real possibilty to understand this, as here some contributors have the real possibility to understand that only those are inside the Catholic Church who are in full communion with the Pope and the college of Bishops regardless how they qualify the pope and the college of bishops.

Their conscience prevents them. The problem is only with those who deny the power of conscience, and say that their clear knowledge is what prevents them. We have no clear knowledge, it is only the temptation of the Adversary, that we can tell the difference between good and evil without the serious possibility of error.

Are you saying that we can't expect those outside the Church to fully convert in the modern world?  I just want to be clear before I comment further.
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#39
(02-27-2010, 01:15 AM)Walty Wrote: 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.

Oops, sorry, missed this earlier. I can definitely understand your frustration. That implication does seem to be present in the actions and even words of many Catholics. There are probably many who actually believe in indifferentism.  I think generally though, it is simply charity grown cold and faith grown weak.

In the past we might say generally sin X is a mortal sin and therefore charity demanded we would encourage all who commit it to repent and give it up, even though no one could actually judge if any person were actually mortally guilty. Generally this is still done with most grave sins, but not often with those against faith. Now, it seems like "well, it's possible the person is not in a state of condemnation, so I don't have to do anything uncomfortable or that might make the person not like me." At worst, this attitude shows a timid faith, a focus on worldly and temporal things over spiritual goods, and a lack of charity. At it's best, it's good intentioned people trying to soften hearts or be "non-judgmental" in a misguided way. I do believe there are many who, in the context of the ecumenical movement, do desire to see all people embrace the faith, but I am sure there are also those who simply want to make friends and be respected for being tolerant, friendly, and "humble."

Anyway Henri Cardinal de Lubac, summed it up well I think--it's due to weak faith and charity:

Quote:“If heretics no longer horrify us today, as they once did our forefathers, is it certain that it is because there is more charity in our hearts? Or would it not too often be, perhaps, without our daring to say so, because the bone of contention, that is to say, the very substance of our faith, no longer interests us? Men of too familiar and too passive a faith, perhaps for us dogmas are no longer the Mystery on which we live, the Mystery which is to be accomplished in us. Consequently then, heresy no longer shocks us; at least, it no longer convulses us like something trying to tear the soul of our souls away from us.... And that is why we have no trouble in being kind to heretics, and no repugnance in rubbing shoulders with them. It is not always charity, alas, which has grown greater, or which has become more enlightened: it is often faith, the taste for the things of eternity, which has grown less.”

Note, he is not saying that we should not be kind to heretics and other sinners--but the point is, we are often repulsed more by other sins (in which the sinner may also be in good faith), but not by heresy which can be even more destructive--and it's because faith and charity have grown weak.


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#40
Sorry Walty, I was just being cynical. If you did a search of EENS on the forum you'd find volumes already written, and most of it boils down to a few different opinions debated over and over again. Same with "modesty". That's all I meant by "round and round we go". Also, it's a topic that can lead to pretty seriously "radical" positions.
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