ORthodox perspective of Traditionalist Catholics
#45
(05-14-2012, 09:45 AM)Gerard Wrote:
(05-14-2012, 12:58 AM)INPEFESS Wrote: Gerard, I think the contradiction Silouan is referring to concerns the implications of John Paul's statement. He says:

"For such people salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation."

In essence, what he says is that (1) salvation in Christ is accessible (2) without being formally part of the Church.

The Church has always distinguished between visible and invisible, and actual and virtual membership, but I am not familiar with a distintion between formal and informal membership. "Formal" and "informal" refer to different attributes of the Church's visibility, but not to individual persons' membership. She teaches, for examle, that one can be an invisible member of the Church, and She even distinguishes between virtual and actual (such as when it concerns intention), as the theologians have taught, but that is not the same as being informally part of the Church. All must be formally attached to the Church, if one insists on making a distinction (though I am not aware that any distinction even exists), but we, as humans with limited knowledge, may not know that they are attached. Such an attachment is invisible, but not informal. We get a glimpse of how John Paul defines "formal" attachment to the Church when he says that it "enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation." This is a very dangerous theological path to thread, since it sits upon a very slippery slope. It implies that God will mold the Church to their circumstances rather than that they mold themselves to Christ's Church.

I am not arguing that the statement is heretical, but I do see why Silouan would find it troubling.

For whatever confused language JPII uses, the description is of one who 1) is not a formal member of the Church, 2) has a mysterious relationship with the Church and 3) has been given grace which enlightens them and from that 4) they have access to salvation "in Christ" (which is just another way of saying The Church.) By enlightening them in a way accomodated to their spiritual and material needs, it has to mean that they are given the proper knowledge and circumstances to enter the Church before death as Pope Eugene states. .  As a person who takes the "Feeney" position, I can only see that as something that would be accomplished by a person (angelic or human) in some manner providing a water Baptism with instruction and / or infused knowledge.

I disagree with that interpretation of his statement, since it makes his statement contradictory at best. He says that this grace of enlightenment "does not make them formally part of the Church" yet grants them access to salvation anyway. It is tempting to make his statement say what you have made it say, but if you do that then the statement makes no sense, since it contradicts itself. It says this enlightening grace gives them access to salvation via their own particular circumstances without them being formally a part of the Church. You argue that his statement says that "they have access to salvation 'in Christ' (which is just another way of saying The Church)," but that is an interpolation. He never actually said that; in fact, his words preclude that interpretation since he says that this access to salvation "in Christ" via this circumstantial grace does not make them formally part of the Church. In other words, they can be saved by Christ without being in His Church. It sees that the way you reached your interpretation is by reordering the points in his statement: you placed "is not a formal member of the Church" first and then put "they have access to salvation 'in Christ' (which is just another way of saying The Church)" last. But that is not the order in which he presented his statements. If he did, it would be a self-contradiction. He argues that they have access to salvation "in Christ" first and then qualifies it by adding that they are not formally part of the Church. The order you have given it renders it a contradiction at best and a reflection of the Modernist interpretation of EENS as "salvation through the Church" as opposed to "salvation in the Church" at worst.
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Re: ORthodox perspective of Traditionalist Catholics - by INPEFESS - 05-14-2012, 12:47 PM



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