Comments from deacon on catholic teaching on true church and ecumenism

on another forum, in a discussion about sedevacantists a Catholic deacon made the following comments:

"With regard to Ecumenism, it is clear that before V-II the majority opinion was that that Catholicism and Catholicism alone was the only authentic religion in the world. Furthermore, it was often stated, “there is no such thing as ‘schism within the Church,’ only schism from the Church!” By speaking of “reunion” with “other Christians,” Vatican II essentially bade this old concept farewell, with the result that the very way Catholics understood themselves was radically altered.

Moreover, it was the best, most devout Catholics who belived deeply that theirs was the only true religion, while those who weren’t so sure were considered “lax” Catholics. Is it any surprise, then, that people should feel as though “we haven’t left Rome, Rome has left us!” (In other words, while I disagree with this position, I can also sympathize with it.)
"

Is what he has to say an accurate portrayal of Catholic teaching? Especially in regards to other Christian Churches such as the Eastern/Oriental Orthodox? Is Dominus Iesus a genuinely authoritative document (such as "it can’t be because it contradicts an ecumenical council (V2)!)? The Catholics who hold to position such as the deacon above from my experience seem dismissive of it…

This concept has actually been bothering me for months after some friends have been basically telling me same thing in person and this quote above pretty much sums up what they have to say. I’ve also been reading Vatican 2 and post Vatican 2 documents on the Jews (another thread) but it seems to confirm what this deacon has to say. I have no problem with Church teaching on how non-Catholics can be saved, but if Catholicism no longer teaches it is the true religion, then how can I know those outside the Church (or whatever religion is true) can truly be saved?

So for people who agree with this deacon, if Catholic Church changed her dogma and no longer views herself as the true religion (or in this case, “only” true religion, which I guess implies there are multiple true religions), why bother being Catholic? (personally I’d have a much less stressful spiritual life as a Polish National Old Catholic or Anglican)

It’s unclear if the deacon refers to schism such as SXPX (from the Church) or the Eastern Catholics (within the Church). Surely both forms exist.

The Church doesn’t use the term “true religion.” Rather, it is the “fullness of the Faith.” Other Churches have a measure of faith, and a measure of error (the ratio varies). It is possible to find salvation in some of these other faiths because they practice valid Christian Baptism.

The Church has never changed the teaching that outside of the Church there is no salvation. But the Church has recognized a broader concept of what it means to be in the Church. She has taught that it is possible for someone to attain salvation without any outward connection to the Church. However, She has not said if anybody has ever done so. It’s possible that many have, or few have, or none have. This lack of assurance is why it is important to Baptize (which works 100% of the time).

thank you, that makes more sense

Excellent response. I see time and time again Catholics wanting to hang their hat on the idea people out side the church are saved.

Maybe maybe not, we don’t know. That is why the church evangelizes , to bring everyone into the ark where we know it is safe.

Good thoughts, David. I do enjoy when you chime in on topics.

Scythian #1
Is Dominus Iesus a genuinely authoritative document (such as "it can’t be because it contradicts an ecumenical council (V2)!)? The Catholics who hold to position such as the deacon above from my experience seem dismissive of it…
I’ve also been reading Vatican 2 and post Vatican 2 documents on the Jews (another thread) but it seems to confirm what this deacon has to say. I have no problem with Church teaching on how non-Catholics can be saved, but if Catholicism no longer teaches it is the true religion, then how can I know those outside the Church (or whatever religion is true) can truly be saved?

The first truth to understand is that: “It must be stated that Vatican II is upheld by the same authority as Vatican I and the Council of Trent, namely, the Pope and the College of Bishops in communion with him, and that also with regard to its contents, Vatican II is in strictest continuity with both previous councils and incorporates their texts word for word in decisive points…” (The Ratzinger Report, p 28).

The second truth to imbibe is that the *Dogmatic Constitution On The Church *(Lumen Gentium) #8 (Vatican II) teaches that “The one mediator, Christ, established and ever sustains here on earth His holy Church…(T)his is the sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic.” Fr John Hardon, S.J., describes as “unequivocal” (= clearly defined), “for the first time in conciliar history — the Church is not one of many branches.” [See *The Catholic Catechism, 1975, Doubleday, p 213].

The sole Church of Christ! Only the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth – and teaches that She is “the true religion.”

“The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all. But it is clear that today, as in the past, many people do not have an opportunity to come to know or accept the gospel revelation or to enter the Church. The social and cultural conditions in which they live do not permit this, and frequently they have been brought up in other religious traditions. 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. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his Sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit. It enables each person to attain salvation through his or her free cooperation.” (Bl JPII, Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, 1990).

Here in Dominus Jesus, On The Unicity And Salvific Universality Of Jesus Christ And The Church, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith affirms the truths of salvation.

In fact, “**the elements of this already-given Church exist, joined together in their fullness in the Catholic Church and, without this fullness, in the other communities”.65 “Therefore, these separated Churches and communities as such, though we believe they suffer from defects, have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.66
Notes:
(65) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint, 14.
(66) Second Vatican Council, Decree
Unitatis redintegratio
, 3.

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