Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, Or: Inconvenient Catholic Truths
It seems that being called Catholic is getting more and more difficult for, erm, Catholics. Look at this Remnant article.
We are not discussing fine theological points here. This is 1-0-1. From Cantate Domino ( Council of Florence):
“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the “eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41), unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.”
This is as clear as the sun. Note the usage of the passive: unless one is joined with the Church, when he dies he will separated from God forever.
Every theological book that does not originate from Vatican II, or perhaps, in the other direction, from the Feneeyites, will tell you that, certainly, many Protestants are saved, and some Heathens are saved, too. Those to whom God has given the grace to merit to be with Him in Paradise are joined with the Church before death. They are joined, that is, by the One who can do everything, and can instill in the heart of the Protestant, and in some cases even of the Heathen, a desire and love for Truth that allows him to collaborate with God’s Grace in such a way that he will be joined to the Church before death, the Lord mercifully overcoming their lack of knowledge of the actual, factual Truth. Everybody who is saved dies a Catholic, irrespective of what his official belonging is. Conversely, in Paradise there are only Catholics.
Let us read Pope Pius IX in Quanto conficiamur moerore (emphasis mine) :
“And here, beloved Sons and Venerable Brothers, We should mention again and censure a very grave error in which some Catholics are unhappily engaged, who believe that men living in error, and separated from the true faith and from Catholic unity, can attain eternal life. Indeed, this is certainly quite contrary to Catholic teaching. It is known to Us and to you that they who labor in invincible ignorance of our most holy religion and who, zealously keeping the natural law and its precepts engraved in the hearts of all by God, and being ready to obey God, live an honest and upright life, can, by the operating power of divine light and grace, attain eternal life, since God who clearly beholds, searches, and knows the minds, souls, thoughts, and habits of all men, because of His great goodness and mercy, will by no means suffer anyone to be punished with eternal torment who has not the guilt of deliberate sin. But, the Catholic dogma that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church is well-known; and also that those who are obstinate toward the authority and definitions of the same Church, and who persistently separate themselves from the unity of the Church, and from the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, to whom ‘the guardianship of the vine has been entrusted by the Savior,’ (Council of Chalcedon, Letter to Pope Leo I) cannot obtain eternal salvation. The words of Christ are clear enough: ‘And if he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican’ (Matthew 18:17); ‘He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that dispeth you, despiseth Me; and he that dispiseth Me, despiseth Him that sent Me’ (Luke 10:16); ‘He that believeth not shall be condemned’ (Mark 16:16); ‘He that doth not believe, is already judged’ (John 3:18); ‘He that is not with Me, is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me, scattereth’ (Luke 11:23). The Apostle Paul says that such persons are ‘perverted and self-condemned’ (Titus 3:11); the Prince of the Apostles calls the ‘false prophets… who shall bring in sects of perdition, and deny the Lord who bought them: bringing upon themselves swift destruction’ (2 Peter 2:1).”
From the same encyclical letter:
“God forbid that the children of the Catholic Church should even in any way be unfriendly to those who are not at all united to us by the same bonds of faith and love. On the contrary, let them be eager always to attend to their needs with all the kind services of Christian charity, whether they are poor or sick or suffering any other kind of visitation. First of all, let them rescue them from the darkness of the errors into which they have unhappily fallen and strive to guide them back to Catholic truth and to their most loving Mother who is ever holding out her maternal arms to receive them lovingly back into her fold. Thus, firmly founded in faith, hope, and charity and fruitful in every good work, they will gain eternal salvation.”15]
Again, very clear.
Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus is a saying that reflects Catholic dogma. It needs to be preached and defended by every Catholic. Obviously, it also needs to be properly understood, and those who give of it a wrong interpretation need to be gently thought about its true meaning; but I honestly do not think that the problem of modern times is that the dogma is misinterpreted because it taken too literally. Rather, the climate in which we live is one is which the dogma is ignored because lurv.
Really, we are living in strange and disturbing times. And at the root of them is not father Martin, or Pope Francis.
It is the Second Vatican Council; the greatest rebellion against God, from the very core of the Church, in two thousand years.