Poll: How do you perceive the relationship of the Church to false religions that contain various elements of divinely revealed truth?
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The Nature of the Church
#61
SaintSebastian,
Thank you!  I'm going to start reading it right away!  ;D

By the way, I had once considered making a thread about whether Protestants can have divine faith, but with the help of Google Translate, I found that two of the more popular manualists (Herve and Tanquerey) both said that material heretics (i.e. Protestants) can have divine faith, with Tanquerey specifically contradicting FF. Brownson and Müller by name, so at least in my mind, that issue appears to be settled.

Thanks again!  I think there's still much to discuss concerning the nature of the Church, and perhaps we can turn our attention to the "means of salvation."

Pope Leo XIII significantly wrote, "There must needs be also the fitting and devout worship of God, which is to be found chiefly in the divine Sacrifice and in the dispensation of the Sacraments, as well as salutary laws and discipline. All these must be found in the Church, since it continues the mission of the Saviour for ever. The Church alone offers to the human race that religion - that state of absolute perfection - which He wished, as it were, to be incorporated in it. And it alone supplies those means of salvation which accord with the ordinary counsels of Providence" (Satis Cognitum, n. 9 § 7).

The Council, it would seem, rightfully says, "All of these, which come from Christ and lead back to Christ, belong by right to the one Church of Christ" (Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 3 § 2). It also goes on to say, however, that, "These most certainly can truly engender a life of grace in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community. These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving access to the community of salvation" (Ibid., n. 3 § 3).

While yes, validly administered baptism does take away original sin and confer sanctifying grace (and "Every valid contract of Marriage between Christians is of itself a sacrament": Ott), do the sacraments of the Eastern Orthodox also engender a life of grace?  I ask because the Council of Florence said rather explicitly that, "that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation" (Cantate Domino, 4 February 1441: Dz. 714).

What are your thoughts?
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#62
My first impression is that for those who belong to the Church in voto, they could be efficacious. A person who belongs in voto receives the means of salvation by virtue of his properly disposed will to receive them. It seems that actually receiving a sacrament would suffice at least with the same efficaciousness as the desire for the sacrament for one who is properly disposed.

The entire quote from the Council of Florence also mentions alms giving as having the same effect (or lack thereof) apart from the Church. St. Robert, on the other hand, explains how the life of faith begins to be brought about (from the article):

"For the pagans to whom the Gospel has not yet been preached, can know from His creatures that God exists; [54] then they can be stimulated by God, through His preventing grace, to believe in God, that He exists and that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him: and from such faith, they can be inspired, under the guidance and help of God, to pray and give alms and in this way obtain from God a still greater light of faith, which God will communicate to them, either by Himself or through angels or through men.”

I guess it depends what is meant by "engender a life of grace" or "give access to the community of salvation" but I don't see how being baptized and then receiving true sacraments and praying Catholic liturgies in good faith could do any less than what St. Robert says alms-giving does above. Plus, the definition from Florence I think is generally interpreted to include those united "in voto." It seems at the least these things can bring about the necessary dispositions for the life of grace in those who are open to them.
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