Cardinal: Every Catholic Should Evangelize


#1

Santiago Archbishop Looks at Aparecida 1 Year Later

SANTIAGO, Chile, MAY 28, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Being a Christian means being sent to build the Kingdom of God – a particularly urgent mission for the Church in Latin America, according to the archbishop of Santiago.

Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz spoke of the “continental mission” in the latest edition of the Catholic University of Chile’s review “Humanitas.” The continental mission was called for by the 5th General Conference of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean, which Benedict XVI opened near the shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil in May 2007.

Cardinal Errázuriz was a co-president of the conference. His article in “Humanitas” relived his experience and assessed the year-long progress of the continental mission.

“Over the past decade, the number of Catholics has declined as never before in history, while Pentecostal communities and sects continue to multiply,” the cardinal noted. “Indifference and unbelief have increased; the latter, in many countries, among many young people. The urgency to go out and evangelize has become an imperative.”

Rest of the article from Zenit

I couldn’t agree more.


#2

I agree too. One of Jesus’ parables was the parable of the sower. There’s four examples of seed. Some fell on rocks, some on thorns, some on the surface of the path, and some on good soil.

Each of us are seeds. The seed that describes the mature/maturing believer is the seed that “yields 30, 60, and 100 fold.” None of the other types of seed yield anything.

If you are a Christian who claims to be maturing in your faith, an examination revealing that you’ve yielded absolutely nothing- and aren’t really doing anything about it- is not a favorable situation. If you ask yourself what kind of seed you are and you don’t resemble the fruitful seed in any way, that’s not a good place to be.

I realize there’s different ways of yielding fruit, and some people aren’t comfortable with certain ways of evangelizing. These are the people who say “I will display Jesus at all times, using words when necessary.” (Something along those lines). If that is how you yield fruit, good for you. If an honest evaluation reveals that you haven’t yielded any fruit, though, “more of the same” is not going to change that.

That’s all I really have to say. I did just notice, though, that the OP says “every Catholic should evangelize.” I’m not part of the Church of Rome, so I can’t really respond to that in the same way as “insiders.” I will, however, affirm the statement that “every Christian should evangelize.” It’s an important part of any believer’s maturation.


#3

We got our original marching orders from Christ.

Sadly, too many priests/bishops have not ‘encouraged’ the laity to seek the lost … as have the Protestant ministers.

JP2 did his part to right the ship.


#4

I agree with the Cardinal. It’s time for the Catholic Church to start reclaiming the world in its entirety.

I also note that spreading “tare” seed and heretical teaching is NOT meritable evangelizing and even if done through ignorance is probably doing more harm than good.

James


#5

Hello,

The seed in the parable is the Word of God. The good soil is the man who hears and believes His word; the one that hears and believes produces the real fruit.

"And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; (Matt. 13:23)

Just wanted to clarify.


#6

“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.”

That’s the example of Paul in Corinth, and it’s what I’ll be doing this evening with a friend of mine (and tomorrow, and the next day, and over the weekend): Seek the lost so they may know Christ and him crucified. Later this week we’ll go with an orthodox friend of ours if he has some free time, and we’ll gladly go with Catholics if there’s any willing to go with us. We support ecumenical efforts like that, remembering that we are united in Christ. In the end, it doesn’t matter what church you get discipled by, provided that they properly acknowledge who Jesus is and what He’s about- and if a person’s new to Christianity, it’s kind of nice to get exposed to different options so they can decide for themselves. The gospel is the same for all Christians: know Christ and Him crucified. That’s what church unity is all about. I don’t know exactly what you’re up to, but it doesn’t sound like you’ve bought into the fullness of the body of Christ.

Here’s something I want you to seriously think about. In 1 John 4:20, it says “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”

I’m your brother, and so are all the other members of Christ’s Church that aren’t Roman Catholic. Examine your heart attitude toward people like me and ask yourself if you’re storing up hate that hurts your own fellowship with God. You should be working toward an attitude of love for all your brothers and sisters in Christ, and while I’m sure you love Roman Catholics a whole lot, it sounds like you have quite a bit of work to do with other Christians. I plan on building unity through an ecumenical evangelism effort. What are you going to do- sit there casting insults and aspersions via cyberspace, making enemies of your brothers? I submit that nearly any alternative to that would be more beneficial to you and to them. Get out there and do something worthwhile.

I must note one more thing, because you present the opportunity so well…You sounded a bit like Pope Benedict XVI when you told me I’m “probably doing more harm than good.” The thing is, you weren’t talking about condoms- you were talking about all Christians who aren’t part of the Church of Rome. I want to encourage you to stop thinking of Protestants as you would a broken prophylactic and start thinking of them as your brothers and sisters in Christ. That’s a really important step you need to take for the sake of your own relationship with God and your relationship with Christ’s One Universal (that is, ecumenical) Church.


#7

Ahh, you’re right. The seed is the Word of God. We’re not seeds; we’re soil. And if we are good soil, we hear the word and understand it.

And we produce a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.

But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

If you happen to be one who hears the word and is unfruitful, the thorny soil best describes that kind of person.

“The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.”

So we should be good soil by hearing, understanding, and being fruitful instead of thorny and unfruitful- or any of the other kinds of soils. You were quite right in pointing out how the seed is the Word of God, and the general idea is for it to grow fruitfully in good soil and not be choked.

So who’s going to go evangelize this week? It’s important. It also requires commitment- if you win some for Christ, it’s on you to make sure their discipleship happens. It’s a wonderful responsibility to have, though, and certainly something to be desired.


#8

If you think about it for a second, priests and bishops spend nearly all their time ministering to people who already know Jesus. They have so many responsibilities to their flock that they have very little time for themselves, and even less for efforts that bring non-believers into their church. There are perhaps a few dozen Christian men and women in the world that truly have an international platform from which to reach out to a wider audience and accomplish both of these things, but the average priest or bishop is very limited in his ability to reach the lost and win them for Christ.

If priests and bishops are largely unable to reach the lost while at the same time fulfilling their responsibilities, and the sheep in their flock benefit from their constant efforts but make no effort on behalf of others, who is going to reach the lost? You guessed it: No one.

Or…well, you know, Protestants. :tiphat: How ya doin’.

The clergy has its hands full with taking care of the laity, so the laity has to step up and take care of business instead of just receiving this care and doing nothing with it. I know most of the Catholics on this forum are quite capable of initiating religious discussions with people. Maybe if some of them spent a little less time doing this :slapfight: with people who are already part of Christ’s Body and spent a little more time with people who do not yet know Christ and the power of His resurrection…:shrug: that might work out well.

Of course, you have the alternative of leaving the evangelism to the Protestants as a first step, followed by efforts on your part to get them across the Tiber…but do you really think that’s going to work? Where do you think your time and effort is best spent?


#9

Let me not equivocate here and be direct. I do not consider the spreading of Protestantism to be in anyway linked to the building up the Kingdom of God. Spreading a false gospel does not serve The Lord. Baptising people into a fractional truth is not of the spirit of Christ. Paul’s humble words to the Corinthians were his recognition that he was not an original apostle. But I don’t really understand why you identify with Paul here. Paul had the fullness of truth and was selected by Christ to teach the good news. But Paul, perhaps above all the apostles was completely intolerant of those who preached a false gospel that they did not receive from an apostle or an authorized apostolic disciple.

Galatians 1:9. As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

We know that nothing deserving of a curse shall be permitted heaven. So there is no concept of partial merit for preaching fractional truths that contradict true apostolic teaching.

As for working toward an attitude of Love - consider my correction an act of love.

What good does “the lost” seeking “the lost” do anyone? You are assuming wrongly that you can be saved outside of the Catholic Church. Catholics think it is only by unusual exception of invincible ignorance that anyone can be saved outside of the Catholic Church. You may believe that you are united in Christ but I don’t believe that God wants people teaching new gospels that do not agree with His Church - the Catholic Church. He said so as much in:
*
Luke 10:16 “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”

Matthew 12:30 “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”*

“In the end, it doesn’t matter what church you get discipled by, provided that they properly acknowledge who Jesus is and what He’s about- and if a person’s new to Christianity, it’s kind of nice to get exposed to different options so they can decide for themselves?”

There is no such bible verse. Quite the contrary Jesus warns against factions and divisions and it is Protestants who left the unity of the One Faith not the other way around.
In the end those who rejected Christ’s Church, Christ will himself reject (Luke 10:16).

There are no options - one is either with Christ following the one faith or one is outside the faith.

I do not believe that you are “in Christ” while being in separation from His Church anymore so than I believe a fellow Catholic is “in Christ” while in a state of grave sin and disgraced.

As for who is my brother I think I will go with what Christ said:

Matthew 12:49-50 "And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

I don’t consider Protestants disciples and only consider them as marginal Christians by right of The Catholic Church recognizing your Baptism (at least those Protestant sects who still practise it). I do not hate Protestants since all have the potential for Christ in them but I do despise the false teachings, ignorance of history and shallow theology that Protestants spread like wild weeds and cause serious harm, confusion and suffering to the One Church.

[continued]

James


#10

[from prior]

I plan on educating Protestants every where I encounter them that they are laboring toward their own condemnation for spreading a false gospel. The Catholic Church has anathemized Protestant errors and I will do the same everywhere I see it. The secular neo-Christian teachings of Protestants is an insult to the Body of Christ.

You must have a persecution complex since I did not even quote you or use your name or reply to your post. So you must have a guilty conscience. I take it as a compliment if you say I sounded like PBXVI. Only a protestant would bring together “condoms” into a dissertation on love as if prophalactics can prevent the the spread of error by motivating more risque activity. No, I don’t think of Protestants as a broken prophylactic. The closer analogy would be the STD itself that spreads itself with higher frequency the more it opens its mouth and sneezes on the unsuspecting in the act of paying lip service to Christ.

So doctor cure yourself. The really important step is for you to cloister yourself and stop this nonsence of communal ecumenical outreach with other individuals infected with terrible heretical teachings while singing Kumbaya and passing the water-pipe of feel good theology. At least use anti-fungal wipes before you do or give fair warning. :wink:

Ecumenical outreach for Catholics is to invite others into the Church not to water down the theology with universal nonsence. If you want to take your universalists ideas to the limit then you should consider joining the borg-collective of Unitarianists.

James


#11

You are showing your ignorance of the workings of the Catholic Church. Parish Priests are not primarily involved with direct evangelizing. The laity and the other religious members (religious brothers. nuns, monks, and teachers and apologists) are the ones who are most active in bringing in new members. Each Catholic family is responsible for witnessing to its own family members and friends. The international evangelizing is through the various religious outreach ministries (charities, witness, health, teaching etc.). There are entire orders devoted to evangelizing (Jesuits etc.). We also do community events to have many different lay activities where we interface with the public as well as have specific ecumenical outreach programs. But ecumenical outreach is geared toward correcting the many false perceptions of what Catholics believe rather than seeking to compromise our teachings (which we will never do since that would betray the apostolic commission).

James


#12

Hello,

I noticed you have what appears to be a distaste for what you term as Protestants and a false gospel; I will agree with you that a false gospel and false teachers will damn souls, but what makes you believe you know where all the people that God will save is within the Catholic Church. Does this come from the “Church” or from the Bible in your opinion.

I believe you may be guilty of putting God in a box that limits His reach to save whom He chooses from wherever He chooses. I think you intentions are well and good, but I question whether you are defending the “Church” as opposed to defending Jesus and His gospel.


#13

Agreed, to a point. (Don’t overlook our missionary priests)

Yes, but it is in fact Catholic teaching that all the Baptized, by virtue of their baptism, are called to be evangelists. The Great Commission is for all of us, not just the ordained and religious.

That may be the focus of your particular ecumenical outreach. Many of us believe that we can in fact work side by side with our separated brothers and sisters to show the love of God to a world in darkness.

In fact, James, I think you’ve significantly overstepped the boundaries in your statements about heresy and condemnation. I fear you disagree, but I think it’s worth repeating the words of Unitatis Redintegratio:

“The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. . . .all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body, and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.”

You may find that to be “nonsense” but it is the dogmatic teaching of an Ecumenical Council.

And I fear that by spending our energies on internecine fighting we damage our witness to the lost as well as dissapating energy that could be spent proclaiming the Gospel.

I am all about correcting the misunderstandings, and to the extent that my doing so may enable a non-Catholic Christian to enter into the fulness of Truth, I am thrilled. But it’s more important to me that those who are not joined to the Church AT ALL be attracted to the Gospel. And if one nonbeliever looks at me fighting with one of my Christian brothers or sisters and says “why would I want to be part of that?” - how heavy is the millstone around my neck! Jesus said the world would recognize us by our LOVE - not our perfect statements of doctrine.


#14

“A non-Catholic Christian to enter into the fullness of truth”; can you elaborate? Seems to me if you are a Christian you have embraced the person and work of Christ; how much more can you be filled?


#15

I did not say that only those who are formal members of the Catholic Church will be “saved”. Being a Catholic is not a ‘ticket’ to salvation - there are plenty of those who call themselves Catholics who are in practice nothing of the sort. As well, there are others who are not formal members of the Catholic Church but who are nonetheless Catholic becuase of their Baptism & because they through ignorance escaped the necessity to be formal members of the Catholic Church. God can show mercy to whom He will. And for the record I pray daily for God to convert those in fractional truth faiths to the Catholic Faith & to show mercy to those who do not. I don’t hate anyone - not Protestants, not atheists not heathens - not even very ignorant satanic worshipers. Every single person on the planet is called to be a Child of God.

"…But what makes you believe you know where all the people that God will save is within the Catholic Church? Does this come from the “Church” or from the Bible in your opinion?"

My conscience is formed from true apostolic teaching taken together with developed intellectual & reasoning facilities fed by Divine Word. We all have a natural duty & moral imperative to develop a formed conscience. Ever since Christ came all humans have a God given inner gravity that directs toward seeking Christ.

Consider that sacrilege is still a sacrilege irrespective of intention. Harm is still harm irrespective of intent. Accidents can happen & be forgiven - but restitution is still owed - with or without corporeal punishment. Therefore, ignorance is never fully an excuse since it is our obligation to know the truth and to do no harm; when uncertain stepping lightly rather that irresponsibly. Ignorance only mitigates to some degree. But if no lesson is ever learned (ignoring that one gets stung when one puts their hand in the honey bee’s nest) venial offenses can rapidly compound to lead grave error. The gravest error is refusing to learn out of smug pride or indifference.

In your question it is interesting that you break the bible out seperate from The Church as if they can ever be in disagreement. The Bible is a fruit of The Church and reflects the traditions that produced it. So both are consistent and both Church and Bible are telling me and everyone that “The Church is the pillar and foundation of truth”. From the bible we see that Christ gave HIS Church to the charge of Peter (Matt. 16:18 ). That is a single Church - not a plural of denominations. Jesus says there must only be one flock and one shepherd (John 10:16). Jesus prays that His followers may be perfectly one as He is one with the Father (John 17:11,21,23). Jesus states that the visible unity of the Church would be a sign that He was sent by God (John 17:21). This here tells me that we must be of One flock and in One Church to be saved or why would Jesus waste His breath teaching this? Paul also warns us to avoid those who create dissensions and difficulties. This obviously includes those who break away from the Church and create one denomination after another. We are to avoid their teaching and try to bring them back into the one fold of Christ (Rom. 16:17). We are of “one body, one Spirit, one faith and one baptism”. This requires doctrinal unity, not 30,000 different denominations (Eph 4:3-5). There is strength and protection in the One Flock. The Church is the Bride of Christ. Jesus has only one Bride, not many (Eph. 5:25). There are dozens of more scripture verses that all point to the necessity of one faith, one body in Christ and one teaching authority.

That said, the Catholic Church is the only Church on the planet to bring us The Bible and so if we can trust the Church to bring us the bible we darn well should trust it to also teach it properly or else we have nothing but shifting sands to stand on. I stand on The Rock that has been in place for 2,000 years. The Church has affirmed that we must be Catholic to avail ourselves of the sacraments necessary for salvation. No other Church on the planet has attested to having the same sacramental graces nor do any others have any credible claim to apostolic authority.

You are asking me to accept your judgement over my own but I don’t believe you have an informed conscience. If I am putting God in a box then certainly he can save me in a Catholic Church just as easily as He can save me from being wrongly placed in one of the wrong Church among he 30,000+ Protestant denominations that you are asking me to play roulette with don’t you think? :smiley:

I think you are trying to create a false dichotomy between The Catholic Church and The Gospel to justify the legion of competing Bible-Churches that are all asking everyone to place their souls at bet on. Sorry - I will stick with the original Church that the apostles founded before I place my soul into the hands of neo-Christian secular preachers who have no apostolic linkage to a single apostle. The Catholic knew through the apostolic succession the apostles and the early Church fathers - we are all the same family. Protestants have no linkage to the early Church except through us Catholics.

I think you mean well but I question whether you are defending your own roulette bets rather than God’s word that is only know fully within the Catholic Church.

James


#16

That was exactly my point NHInsider - mmmcounts was the one preaching to us about how our Priests are too busy to be evangelizing. I agree with him and that is why I mentioned that the Church counts on the laity and religious orders to get out there and get the word out.

I will be curious to see how well your outreach works within an ecumenical context NHI. My experience is that those who “hang out” too much with Protestants get cross-contaminated with too many heretical ideas and end up bringing them back to their churches and liberalizing them with heretical errors or themselves end up becoming Protestant “bible-only” Christians because they get caught up in the social-fraternal secular aspects of Protestantism and forget their teachings. There are many ostensibly non-denominational groups that lure in Catholics under a pretense of ecumenicalism only to use peer pressure to get them pulled out of their faith and to join their denominations. Our youth who are hungry for peer social interaction are particularly vulnerable to this. I saw this myself in a Christian business men’s organization when I was much younger. As soon as I started talking about Christian concepts that related more to Catholicism than Protestantism I was shunned and socially isolated or “over spoken” and interrupted by the group leaders - who were all Protestant. At one point they even objected me to using a Catholic bible since it always seemed to open to the deuterocanonicals when they asked me to read a random passage from the OT and the NT. I later figured out that it was sham and nothing but a business networking front under a veneer of Christian motive.

You may find that to be “nonsense” but it is the dogmatic teaching of an Ecumenical Counci?.

You are very confused. There was NO dogma proclaimed in Vatican II. I think you should read the actual catechism which teaches that a non-Catholic who through no fault of their own may [possibly] be saved if they are not in any other grave sin. This last aspect is what is so very hard for Protestants to escape. Sin begets sin - that’s its nature. A single unforgiven and unrepented grave sin can land a person in hell and will usually snowball into more sin. Being ignorant of the necessity to “be Catholic” may very well give some few an excuse - but its not a carte blanche statement - it’s THE EXCEPTION. But what will NOT be an excuse for ANYONE going off and committing grave sin: fornicating, committing adultery, lusting, stealing, committing abortions, etc… Grave Sin is deadly and remains so irrespective of what one believes. These are all natural laws written on the hearts of men. It is not because they are not Catholic that these will be condemned - it will be due to having NO WAY TO BE GUARANTEED OF FORGIVENESS GRAVE SIN that many many Protestants will be subject to going to hell for all post-baptismal grave sins. There is only 2 ways a Protestant can escape the severity of grave sin without valid apostolic sacramental confession: 1) To repent AND make PERFECT CONTRITION; real flowing tears, and rather die than offend God and out of pure love for God rather than fear of hell. That is EXTREMELY hard for anyone to do and impossible without a special grant of grace. The other is 2) God’s unfathomable Mercy - most likely from Catholics praying daily for mercy for the entire planet in daily masses.

Yes - God MAY show Mercy on who He will and God is NOT limited to the sacraments but its a very very risky thing to be a Protestant if one has any grave post-baptismal sins. Pandering to Protestants that “they may be saved” is NOT LOVING them - its inviting them to gamble their souls on a very gravely deficient faith. I pray they all make it - but I also believe scripture that few enter by the narrow gate.

Listen, there is a lot of pandering and “fluff” coming out of the ecumenical efforts of many Catholics. It is entirely disingenuous to let non-Catholics ever to believe for a moment that the Catholic Church is going to amend its teachings to conform ourselves to Protestant heresies or bend in anyway. The Catholic Church is only opening the door wide to let in those who through not fault of their own were born into Protestant faiths. That is NOT to imply in anyway that Catholics will ever reciprocate its teachings just to make the Catholic Church appear more appealing to Protestants. ALL conversions back to the Catholic Faith require embracing ALL Catholic Dogmas - including obedience to the apostolic authorities, real-presence, etc.

James


#17

James; you said “You are assuming wrongly that you can be saved outside of the Catholic Church. Catholics think it is only by unusual exception of invincible ignorance that anyone can be saved outside of the Catholic Church.”

I meant to select this post, which was a part 1 of a 2 part post, but clearly you are stating here, that unless you are ignorant, you cannot be saved outside of the Catholic Church. Not to be rude, but you seem to say one thing, than something different, but nonetheless people are saved who believe in the person and work of the Lord Jesus regardless of the denomination or affiliation. God sees the heart, not the affiliation…would you agree with that? What is “invincible ignorance”? I have never heard that term before.

As a side note; John17:21 is a spiritual unity, not a physical as evidenced by the reality of the church.


#18

I misspoke (mistyped?) Only Dei Verbum and Lumen Gentium were Dogmatic Constitutions, the rest are Pastoral Constitutions. Doesn’t mean we should can ignore them.

Paragraph 847. But you’ve added not only “possibly” which as it’s in brackets I assume means you want to be sure we didn’t miss the conditionality of “may,” but also “if they are not in any other grave sin” which I don’t believe is even suggested by the CCC text.

Again, I appreciate your passion but I think what you are saying is contrary to the teaching of the Council.


#19

I can understand why you think it sounds like I am contradicting myself. But there are some subtleties here. No one can enter into heaven without being a a member of Christ’s Church. But here is the kicker - there are some (hopefully many) are supernaturally joined to the Catholic Church either by desire (e.g. “baptism by desire” or “baptism by martyrdom”) or imperfectly by baptism. Baptism is the key profession of faith that links all Christians into the Catholic Church which is the “Body of Christ”. The Church is mystical and is both visible and invisible - but perhaps not in the way most Protestants would hope. Let me explain. The Catholic Church exists in 3 contexts: 1) Church Triumphant (those in heaven) 2) Church Militant (those here on earth) and 3) Church Suffering (those judged worthy of heaven but being purified and perfected in purgatory.

The Catholic Church we mostly speak of is #2 - the Church Militant here on earth. It has a real physical presence under one lead shepherd and his fellow co-shepherds - the Pope and the bishops. The bishops each are responsbile for a specific geographic region called “dioceses” that have seperate parishes/churches with priests that each bishop hand selects and approves or takes authority from a prior bishop. These are all under Christ as High Priest (and heavenly shepherd).

Those living outside of the formal Catholic Church (#2) but who receive a proper trinitarian baptism become “Christian” since this is the minimum requirement for entry into The Catholic Church and anyone may baptise (even a heathen) without special authority as long as intention is to truly invoke this sacred rite and become a Christian. So Protestants, becomes “Catholic” when they are baptised - they just don’t know it. In fact you all are under the authority of the pope and the bishops - but you don’t know it. It’s something like a squatter taking a shelter in the King’s Forrest and imagining that since he does not see anyone lording authority over him that he is a free man - but he is in fact a subject of The King who has rights to the subjects by rite of being on His land. Baptism does the same thing and binds all people to Christ who in turn has given apostolic authority to the Catholic Church. So YOU ARE CATHOLIC but do not know it. :smiley:

But this is good news - since this makes it possible for you to be saved since you are informally “Catholic” bust just are not sitting in the pews with us and celebrating with us (you are “protesting” as a Protestant and are AWOL but you are still part of our family). So now you see how it is possible to be saved since you are a “protesting” Catholic or a person who is ignorant that they are Catholic. Now that you know that you have an obligation to come back and become a formal member and join with us in formal worship.

So this is how it is possible for somone to be saved without being a formal member of the Catholic Church but also makes it consistent that it is impossible to be saved without being Catholic ( you just don’t know you are and are not as culpable for ignorance). Others who never had an opportunity to be baptised (living in uncivilized regions of the world or hostile areas) may receive a baptism by desire - a strong inner urge to be a part of Christ that is not explainable by intellectual facilities but rather spiritual means. In other words God may supernaturally grant anyone who he knows is disposed to being Christian without a formal baptism - BUT the normative way is by water baptism and the supernatural form of baptism is not certain or discernible to us.

[continued]

James


#20

Yes, God sees the heart but let’s not artificially construct the dichotomy that assumes that the heart can rest in anything but the full truth and be happy and at peace with a fraction truth. What is most at stake here is that a person in grave sin, no matter their faith is dead to God unless they repent and are forgiven of their sins before they die. A heart that might appear to love by all outward appearances and demeanor but which has gravely sinned at some long forgotten time in their past life and never repented of it is still in grave sin. God does not just automatically forgive one of their sins. God requires that the heart truly repent and have a radical transformation and strive to stay in holiness. Merely thinking one is forgiven is not going to cut it. It takes real apostolic authority to be forgiven of sins or a really contrite heart with perfect contrition - which no one outside of initial baptism can ever know for certain that they have attained to.

Invincible ignorance is a term that Catholics have for those who lack the intellectual means to understand the truth or who were prevented from knowing the truth through malicious means (e.g. a dominant family who psychologically brainwashed or intimidated their children into being cultists). A mentally ill person has no way to assent to an informed conscience nor does a young child. These are innocent of committing personal sin by reason of their life circumstance. But no one is excused from the obligation to know the truth per say. God knows who maliciously avoided knowing the truth and who was stubborn against the truth.

Here is a good article on invincible ignorance: catholic.com/thisrock/1999/9907chap.asp

Here are dozens of scripture references that tell us that The Church here on earth is visible and real and ONE. There is also a collection of early Church father writings from the early early church that tell us the same thing and how they all followed the apostolic successon under the bishop of Rome (the pope).

scripturecatholic.com/the_church.html

James


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