Contradicting teachings?

I’m hoping I posted this in the right place. I came across a blog post claiming the Church has contradicted Herself and I’m a little bothered by it. Are the selections the author highlights Catholic doctrines or disciplines? My understanding is a doctrine cannot be changed, only built upon, while disciplines can be changed. Would anyone like to take a look and give an educated Catholic’s opinion? I’ll link the post below.

peacebyjesuscom.blogspot.com/2011/09/contradictions-in-roman-catholicism.html

I took a glance. It ignores a lot of subtleties. If there is one in particular that is bothering you, bring it here, but you can find a lot of info on these things with a search on here.

Don’t waste your time reading stuff like that. We could do with a few more that actually KNEW what the truth is. God Bless, Memaw

Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church for Church teaching, not someone’s blog.

Just some comments on this… As I see it you seem to be ‘getting it’ with your comment about doctrine not being changed without needing to ask anyone… A discipline is just that a discipline. The doctrines of the Church cannot be changed but it can be further understood … Look at the CCC and you’ll see that the doctrines are numbered, but never deleted, so it shows a timeline of understanding truths of the Catholic Church…Just look to all of the doctors and Holy people of the Church and how they’ve helped us to further understand ‘truth’… And look to the scriptures and Sts Peter and Paul helped us understand the ‘truths’ of God and His Church. They didn’t understand everything even back then… The Church is the pillar and bulwark of the truth and God has provided the Holy Spirit as an advocate to help teach the truth to the Church…That is an ongoing thing, not just in apostolic days but always the HS leads the Church to the truths of the faith and truth doesnt contradict itself. God is not a liar.

Remember what Jesus said?:

John 14:26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you…

The bloggist from the outside looking in can only scratch the surface of the truth known by the Catholic Church… Will they know the truth of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ offered to us at the Mass? Only if they know will they know… but it is their belief that doubts so they are skeptics. However non-belief or even belief doesn’t change truth because truth is truth… and that’s the truth!lol

Found this which will help explain the differences between doctrine and discipline.

catholic.com/magazine/articles/is-it-a-doctrine-or-a-discipline

The issue here isn’t the distinction between ‘doctrine’ and ‘discipline’. Rather, what the author of the blog is failing to recognize is the audience to which each of the documents are being addressed.

The historical documents are being addressed explicitly to Catholics; and therefore, the pronouncements being made in them are true – a Catholic who leaves the Church cannot find salvation outside of it.

The contemporary documents, on the other hand, are talking about the nature of salvation, and make the assertion that, where salvation is found, its source is Christ, and therefore, His Church. (In other words, the Church is the source of salvation for all who are saved, whether they’re Catholic or not.)

The Catholic church will always be attacked and the pope will always be the anti-Christ as far as some are concerned - there is web page after web page with this kind of stuff on it - one thing I do see is you don’t see Catholics doing the same thing - we simply try to defend the faith - we don’t get ugly like they do. At least I have not seen any.

I’m not sure if the question as to who the audience is holds water for at least some of the items provided in the initial link. For those items it’s clear they are being addressed to Catholics regarding on how they are to interact with non-Catholics. This includes but is not limited to whether Catholics should coerce non-Catholics, allow them to worship as they please, taking their possessions, extorting them, and burning them.

Perhaps, then, you’d be willing to point out the ones which you suspect aren’t addressed to Catholics, rather than just snarking about (non-doctrinal) legal pronouncements of long-gone ages? :thumbsup:

I gave a great number of examples that the author of the original link listed which showed that the idea that the differences between the past and present can’t be explained away by saying the issue was different audiences. I don’t know why we should ignore those many examples since they clearly demonstrate an attitude toward non-Catholics that (thankfully) the Church does not hold to in the present day.

Still, let’s go over each example the author of the link gave and see if the “different audiences” explanation makes sense:

Contra 1: Salvation outside of the Church
The items from the present reflect positively on those outside of the Church but who serve God in their own way. The items from the past are far more negative to those outside of the Church. They are referred to as anathema and belonging to the unclean spirit. I understand the Church’s position held today that while there is no salvation outside the Chruch, God can still save those who have done right by their understanding. This differs from the quote from Eugene IV which says those outside the Church “cannot become participants in eternal life but will depart into everlasting fire” unless in the last moments they become Catholic. There are no qualifiers in Eugene’s statement.

Does this sound like that the Church had a teaching that those outside the Church could achieve eternal life as it teaches now? It doesn’t sound like it at all.

Contra 2: Muslims (Moslems) worship the same God and can achieve eternal life
The present items are a subset of the items from Contra 1. It includes a reference to CCC 847 regarding invincible ignorance. The past items are also a subset of the past items from Contra 1.

Contra 3: The persecution of Jews
The present item from Nostra Aetate makes it clear that the Church is against such persecution and hatred. The past items specifically state that Jews should be punished and subjugated. This certainly doesn’t look like a teaching that is unchanged from the past to the present. And we certainly can’t defend such a change by saying that the intended audiences for those items differed. If Nostra Aetate is correct (and I believe it is) then there is no way that those past items would ever be accurate no matter the intended audience.

Contra 4: The rights of non-Catholics to worship as they see fit.
The two present items make it abundantly clear that non-Catholics should be allowed to practice their religion as they choose and without discrimination. The past items considering such concepts as in error and “insanity”. As before this can not be the same teaching from the past to the present, and the notion of different audiences in no way, shape, or form bridges that discrepancy.

Contra 5: Whether the state should allow people to practice the religion of their choosing.
Quite simply the present items say yes (and that it must be “recognized and respected”). The past items do not budge on such talk. This is a change in teaching and one where the different audiences explanation does not work.

Contra 6: Whether men should be coerced physically in religious matters
The present items say absolute not to maintain the diginity of the person. It even references CCC 2298 explaining that the Church allowing such practices was wrong. The past items explain how the state must get heretics to confess their errors and those of people they know, and could do so by means of torture. Use of shackles was called for, as was the extermination of those heretics who don’t confess by burning at the stake. Excommunicaion was threatened for those state leaders who did not engage in such practices. Can we seriously suggest that this teaching is not changed? Would you use the defense of different audiences to make sense of the evidence the author of the link provided?

Contra 7: Ecumenical celebrations
The present items detail two such events the Church participated in. The past items strenuously state how wrong it is for Catholics to participate in gatherings of non-Catholics, or even communicate with an apostate. Now only is this a change in teaching and practice, but it does so specifically communicating to Catholics.

Contra 8: (the author accidentally listed it as 9) Whether lay people should talk about the faith
It should come as no surprise that the present items say yes whereas the past items say no.

To sum up, even if it was a matter of who these teachings were being communicated to, they vary to such a degree that there is only one word to describe such a scenario: Duplicity. Thankfully this is not accurate and the Church is not duplicitous. It simply has changed some of its teachings, and in my mind has done so for the better. You suggested to AnnaDango that the author of the link in describing these teachings neglected to consider the audiences with the different teachings. I hope I have shown you that is simply not the case.

Mike from NJ respectfully, We are not set apart from the Church, we are the Church. People = Church… The Church is not perfect because people are not perfect and ‘all knowing’ but the truth is unchanging and The Church is kept going by the power of the Holy Spirit…Scratching at the surface of what we believe is not seeing the big picture and distorts truth which is what a cynic would do…Ie., Why this one said what he said at a certain time period, etc and leaving out all the rest… Take care and Peace out…

OK – thanks, Mike!

Salvation outside of the Church
I understand the Church’s position held today that while there is no salvation outside the Chruch… This differs from the quote from Eugene IV which says those outside the Church “cannot become participants in eternal life but will depart into everlasting fire” unless in the last moments they become Catholic. There are no qualifiers in Eugene’s statement.

Does this sound like that the Church had a teaching that those outside the Church could achieve eternal life as it teaches now? It doesn’t sound like it at all.

The document that the quote from Eugene is pulled is the Bull of Union with the Copts, from the Council of Florence. Here, Eugene is addressing Patriarch Andrew and the ‘Jacobites’; this document is the formal agreement on doctrine with them:

For in less than three years our lord Jesus Christ by his indefatigable kindness, to the common and lasting joy of the whole of Christianity, has generously effected in this holy ecumenical synod the most salutary union of three great nations… today indeed the Jacobites, who are a great people in Egypt, have been united with the holy apostolic see.

So, in this document, Eugene formally spells out the articles of faith that both Churches adhere to. In particular, he speaks of divisions that have occurred among the faithful. He speaks to those who have created contrary doctrine and subsequently separated themselves from the Church:

Therefore [the Church] condemns, reproves, anathematizes and declares to be outside the body of Christ, which is the church, whoever holds opposing or contrary views. Hence it condemns Sabellius, … the Arians, the Eunomians and the Macedonians, … the Manichees… It anathematizes also Manes and his followers… Valentinus, …Arius, … Apollinarius, … Theodore of Mopsuestia and Nestorius, … the archimandrite Eutyches… Macarius of Antioch and all others of similar views… [t]he holy Roman church anathematizes all of these and their heresies.

We see (even in the Bible) that there were those who held that the prescriptions of the Mosaic law were necessary, even for Christians, in order to be saved. Eugene addresses these mistaken Christians, too:

Whoever, after the passion [of Christ], places his hope in the legal prescriptions and submits himself to them as necessary for salvation and as if faith in Christ without them could not save, sins mortally. … [the Church] asserts that after the promulgation of the gospel [the Mosaic covenant] cannot be observed without loss of eternal salvation. Therefore it strictly orders all who glory in the name of Christian, not to practise circumcision either before or after baptism, since whether or not they place their hope in it, it cannot possibly be observed without loss of eternal salvation.

It’s important to note that the audience here isn’t Jews who have been Jews since birth – it’s Christians who hold that the Mosaic law is efficacious – even moreso than faith in Jesus!

And now we come to the statement that gets quoted over and over, as if it were devoid of context:

It firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the catholic church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the catholic church before the end of their lives; that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed his blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and the unity of the catholic church.

Let’s look at what he’s saying:

[list]]First, he reiterates the groups about whom he’s already written: those who are presently pagan, Jewish, schismatic, or embrace a heresy (having become so after having been part of the Church)]he affirms that their peril isn’t carved in stone: if they return to Catholic faith and “are joined to the catholic church before the end of their lives”, then they are saved.]he makes it explicit that these are folks who had been Catholics, since he appeals to the “unity of the ecclesiastical body”! Those who were never Catholics previously were never part of that ecclesiastical body, and therefore, their absence doesn’t affect the “unity of the ecclesiastical body”! So, he must be speaking to former Catholics.]finally, he points out what is paramount in importance for Catholics: a Catholic must “persevere in the bosom and the unity of the catholic church.” You can’t believe in something else, and then be a generous alms-giver, and hope for salvation; you can’t even die a martyr’s death and be saved… unless you – as a Catholic – believe in what the Church believes.[/list]

Therefore, it’s pretty clear – if you read the document closely – what Eugene is doing: he’s talking with a patriarch who is allying with the Catholic Church, and affirming what both of them believe, and pointing out how important it is for Catholics to stay within the boundaries of the Church. For a Catholic, leaving the Church is literally a death sentence.

For these reasons, then, we see that this isn’t a departure from the later writings of the Church, but rather, a Bull that discusses the eternal destiny of Catholics who abandon their faith for other traditions.

Mike,

I don’t want to give you too much to chew on, all at once, but let’s take a brief look at #2

We’ve already discussed Eugene at length, and the passage in Cantate Domino, so I’ll skip the reiteration of the claims about him.

Instead, let’s talk briefly about Pope Pelagius I and his Humani generis (not to be confused with the 1950 encyclical of the same name, written by Pius XII).

Your source quotes him as having written:

I confess that the Lord will give over by a very just judgment to the punishment of eternal and inextinguishable fire the wicked who either did not know by way of the Lord or, knowing it, left it when seized by various transgressions, in order that they may burn without end.

In this case, I think, it all comes down to translation. The translation above seems to say that lack of knowledge of Jesus (and by extension, of Christianity) leads to eternal damnation. If this is what were actually written, then you’d have a pretty reasonable case for claiming that this conflicts with current teachings of the Church. However… is that really what Pelagius wrote?

The actual Latin of this passage is:

iniquos autem arbitrio voluntatis propriae vasa irae apta in interitum [Rom 9, 22] permanentes, qui viam Domini aut non agnoverunt aut cognitam diversis capti praevaricationibus reliquerunt

The word “agnoverunt” in the text is what the webpage author translates as “know.” I think that’s a faulty translation, and relying on it gives the wrong impression.

My Cassell’s Latin Dictionary defines agnosco as “to recognize”. In particular, it gives three implications: [list]*]recognition that proceeds by knowing again from previous acquaintance
*]to know by inference or from report
*]to express such knowledge, to admit, to acknowledge[/list]

With this in mind, it seems that translating non agnoverunt as “they did not acknowledge” implies a continuity of current teaching with ancient teaching! That is, what’s being discussed is the situation in which a person knows the truth of the teaching of the Church, but refuses to acknowledge it. (That’s a distinctly different situation from the one that the website author is attempting to claim; namely, that someone disagrees that the Church teaches the truth, and that disagreement is the reason they are not Christian.) The website author quotes Lumen gentium at length. I’m confident, then, that s/he knows that it teaches:

This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.

Notice the continuity there? Just as Pelagius I stated, so too does Vatican II state that acknowledgement that membership in the Church is necessary for salvation creates an obligation in a person. (Literally, in the Latin text of Lumen gentium, it’s “lack of ignorance”.) It almost goes without saying that the subject of this teaching are those who are already Catholic, or who agree that the Catholic Church teaches truth and nevertheless refuse to join or stay in the Church.

Of course, this does not imply that, if you don’t even have the opportunity to acknowledge the Church, you cannot be saved. That’s the implication that the website author is making, and it’s as false today as it was in the time of Pelagius I.

Therefore, yet again, we see that the claim made on that webpage doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. :shrug:

Yet, he says quite clearly that Jews can not achieve eternal life without becoming members of the Church. The intended audience is a moot point. If I make a statement about a subset of people it doesn’t matter if I make that statement directly to those people or not. If somewhere you find that the Church told Jews something different than what the Church told Gentiles about the Jews, then that’s duplicitous. Otherwise this position on the possibility of eternal life for Jews is a contradictory statement by the Church when compared to its more modern position.

And now we come to the statement that gets quoted over and over, as if it were devoid of context:

As we shall see the context is clear. Eugene is speaking in abolute statements about all those outside the Church.

Let’s look at what he’s saying:

First, he reiterates the groups about whom he’s already written: those who are presently pagan, Jewish, schismatic, or embrace a heresy (having become so after having been part of the Church)*]he affirms that their peril isn’t carved in stone: if they return to Catholic faith and “are joined to the catholic church before the end of their lives”, then they are saved.

I don’t think there was any question that salvation was available for those non-Catholics who chose to become Catholic. That’s obvious. The matter at hand (at least for the first two contras given in the intiial link) was whether a person could not become Catholic and still have a chance at eternal life.

he makes it explicit that these are folks who had been Catholics, since he appeals to the “unity of the ecclesiastical body”! Those who were never Catholics previously were never part of that ecclesiastical body, and therefore, their absence doesn’t affect the “unity of the ecclesiastical body”! So, he must be speaking to former Catholics.

Who he is speaking to is not the matter at hand when you consider that he is making a blanket absolute statement about those Jews, heretics, and schismatics not being able to achieve eternal life. There are no exceptions or qualifications whatsoever in the statement. To state that Eugene was indicating that was only saying that people who were once Catholic could not achieve eternal life is to ignore what the words actually say. It’s to add something that is not there. If I am talking to people who were for position X who are now for position Y, and I say in general people who hold position Y are wrong, it doesn’t matter if my audience consists of people who used to hold position X.

finally, he points out what is paramount in importance for Catholics: a Catholic must “persevere in the bosom and the unity of the catholic church.” You can’t believe in something else, and then be a generous alms-giver, and hope for salvation; you can’t even die a martyr’s death and be saved… unless you – as a Catholic – believe in what the Church believes.

And that’s because he is staing that no Jews, no heretics, and no schismatics can achieve eternal life. Full stop.

It’s right there in black and white on paragraph in Session 11, paragraph 14 in the link you provided.

Therefore, it’s pretty clear – if you read the document closely – what Eugene is doing: he’s talking with a patriarch who is allying with the Catholic Church, and affirming what both of them believe, and pointing out how important it is for Catholics to stay within the boundaries of the Church. For a Catholic, leaving the Church is literally a death sentence.

For these reasons, then, we see that this isn’t a departure from the later writings of the Church, but rather, a Bull that discusses the eternal destiny of Catholics who abandon their faith for other traditions.

If what you say was the teaching of the Church, then surely you can provide earlier writings which allow the hope for those non-Catholics to achieve eternal life.

Also would you say beyond the many quotes provided in Contra 1 that weren’t covered that the quotes in Contras 3 through 8 affect how one should gauge the attitude the Church had with regards to the possibility of eternal life for non-Catholics?

Now for the Pelagius I quote if we take the text with the second implication for agnoverunt (“to know by inference or from report”) then “non agnoverunt” may mean “to not have known by inference or from report”. I don’t speak Latin so what I’m saying could very generously be called spitballing, but if I’m accurate then the author of the website the OP posted may be on the right track. Still it’s also quite possible that your interpretation of Humani Generis is accurate, that it’s for those who are knowledgable on the matter of the Catholic faith and have rejected it.

The thing is apologists are always quick to ask that we put things in context. And what is the context when we take into account all of the quotes given on that site, not just 2 or 3. The context shows a Church that is dehumanizing those who disagree with it. Is there some earlier text which express the hope of eternal life for those outside of the Church. When we take into account the ones that say to not communicate with them, to demand leaders round them up, subjugate them, burn them any attempts to express hope for such eternal life feels like it’s been made from whole cloth.

Because the OP and the author of the quoted website talked about more than just the contradiction of the Church’s position on life for non-Catholics, do you have any thoughts regarding contras 3 through 8? Thanks!

Mike from NJ.

The Catholic Church has a very defined view of salvation. On the one hand it recognizes that the message of salvation has been passed onto the Church by Jesus Christ, but at the same time and on the other hand it recognizes that those outside the Church can be saved by desire, and therefore can be joined unwittingly to the message entrusted to the Catholic Church. Therefore being Jewish will not save you by itself, being Muslim will not save you by itself.

On the other hand please tell me what is your message of salvation?

He’s talking about Christians who follow Jewish practices, thinking them to be efficacious. He says it explicitly. Not sure how much clearer it can get than that. :shrug:

If I go on and on about a football team who I say plays dirty, and make it very clear that I’m talking about him, and then finish by saying, “Bengals? Dirty!”… then I’m betting you’d understand that I’m talking about that one bunch of guys, and not every Cincinnati player who’s ever worn the uniform.

Yet, you seem to want to claim exactly the opposite for Eugene. Why? :hmmm:

I don’t think there was any question that salvation was available for those non-Catholics who chose to become Catholic. That’s obvious.

You’re getting it backward, though: he’s talking about Catholics who later decide to follow a non-Catholic way.

Who he is speaking to is not the matter at hand when you consider that he is making a blanket absolute statement about those Jews, heretics, and schismatics not being able to achieve eternal life. There are no exceptions or qualifications whatsoever in the statement. To state that Eugene was indicating that was only saying that people who were once Catholic could not achieve eternal life is to ignore what the words actually say. It’s to add something that is not there.

And I assert that, throughout the document, Eugene is – quite explicitly! – identifying who he’s talking about! And, to ignore the “exceptions and qualifications” earlier in the Bull is “to ignore what the words really say” – that is, the words that lead up to the sentence in question!

Have you ever seen the movie “My Cousin Vinny”? Cute comedy from the 80s or 90s. The police are interrogating Ralph Macchio’s character for a crime he didn’t commit. He keeps telling them that he didn’t do it, over and over. When they say, “you killed him!” he says, in a NY-kinda-way, “I killed him?” (Expression of surprise) “I killed him?” … and bam! They haul him away and charge him with murder. That’s what you’re doing here. Ignoring all the context, and all the explicit explanation in the document, you’re focusing in one one statement – which flows from that context – and, taking it as if it stands devoid of context, you’re attempting to make it say something it’s not saying. Sorry. :shrug:

If I am talking to people who were for position X who are now for position Y, and I say in general people who hold position Y are wrong, it doesn’t matter if my audience consists of people who used to hold position X.

Except that this isn’t what’s going on here. Let’s pick an example that fits the situation better. Suppose you’ve been tapped to give a talk at a high school. You stand up there and tell them, “if the police catch you with even a trace of alcohol on your breath, they’re going to arrest you!”

Is that true for the audience to whom you’re speaking? Absolutely – they’re minors.

Is that true for all people who have alcohol on their breath? Nope.

That’s the problem here: Eugene is speaking about subsets – and those subsets of people fit the definition that give rise to the label – and what he’s saying about those subsets holds true.

And that’s because he is staing that no Jews, no heretics, and no schismatics can achieve eternal life. Full stop. It’s right there in black and white on paragraph in Session 11, paragraph 14 in the link you provided.

Actually, that’s not the quote: you’re adding to what he said. So, this is your interpretation, not his words.

If what you say was the teaching of the Church, then surely you can provide earlier writings which allow the hope for those non-Catholics to achieve eternal life.

Yes, I can. Please read Sullivan’s Salvation Outside the Church? for a thorough exposition of many such writings. :wink:

Also would you say beyond the many quotes provided in Contra 1 that weren’t covered that the quotes in Contras 3 through 8 affect how one should gauge the attitude the Church had with regards to the possibility of eternal life for non-Catholics?

So… demonstrating – at length – that the thesis doesn’t hold, isn’t sufficient? You’re asking for an exposé of all the half-truths and misleading interpretations on that web page? :ouch:

Now for the Pelagius I quote if we take the text with the second implication for agnoverunt (“to know by inference or from report”) then “non agnoverunt” may mean “to not have known by inference or from report”. I don’t speak Latin so what I’m saying could very generously be called spitballing

I’d agree. :wink:

But, that translation wouldn’t make sense. If that were the meaning, then it would imply that even hearing the name “Jesus” obligates a person to believe in Him. The Church has never taught that. So, I think we can safely put away that particular line of thought.

Still it’s also quite possible that your interpretation of Humani Generis is accurate, that it’s for those who are knowledgable on the matter of the Catholic faith and have rejected it.

:sad_yes: Yep… since that’s the teaching of the Church.

The thing is apologists are always quick to ask that we put things in context. And what is the context when we take into account all of the quotes given on that site, not just 2 or 3.

OK, I’ll give you a choice: either pay my salary for a month, and I’ll go research all of them… or pick one more, and we’ll discuss it. It’s really telling, if your best counter is “well… maybe not those two or three… but maybe some other two or three?”

The context shows a Church that is dehumanizing those who disagree with it.

No: what the Church is doing is faithfully following its mandate. Those who are Catholic, and then leave the Church, have placed their eternal reward in grave peril. They have, as it were, dehumanized themselves. The Church’s goal isn’t to revel in their misery, but to make them aware of the very serious consequences of their actions, and invite them to come back to the practice of the faith.

For those who never believed in the Catholic faith or never were a member of the Catholic Church, there is no “dehumanizing.” We – like all Christians – believe in evangelization. But, the Catholic Church – unlike a few Christian denominations – doesn’t teach that, if you’re not a Catholic, you’re going to hell. Somehow, that un-Christian teaching gets laid at the feet of all Christians, and it’s just not accurate.

Because the OP and the author of the quoted website talked about more than just the contradiction of the Church’s position on life for non-Catholics, do you have any thoughts regarding contras 3 through 8? Thanks!

Do me a favor and pick one. After Thanksgiving, I’ll take a look at it and then post here…

Thanks! Happy Thanksgiving!

This is a very interesting conversation. I was reading through the Bull myself, when I came across a passage that seemed to imply the contradiction you guys were discussing.

It firmly believes, professes and preaches that never was anyone, conceived by a man and a woman, liberated from the devil’s dominion except by faith in our lord Jesus Christ, the mediator between God and humanity, who was conceived without sin, was born and died.

Gorgias, before going onto another contradiction, could you explain how we’re to interpret this? I believe in the authority of the Catholic Church, so I want to make sense of it.

Yep… pretty simple, actually…

Is there any salvation through anyone else but Jesus? (Nope.) Simple enough, right? :wink:

But, what about the part that says that it’s faith in Jesus that saves? Does that make a claim that stops us in our tracks?

No, it doesn’t. After all, in Lumen gentium, the Church makes clear that Catholics are saved… through their belief in Christ; that non-Catholic Christians (although their union with the Church is imperfect) are saved… through their belief in Christ; and even those who do not believe in Christ (through no fault of their own) but nevertheless seek the good… are implicitly seeking God (including Jesus) – and therefore, it’s this implicit faith that can save them.

So, whether the belief is explicit or implicit, it’s that search for the good – that is, Jesus – that saves.

(Now, it’s important to recognize that this isn’t saying that it doesn’t matter what religion you believe in: after all, if you acknowledge that the Church is necessary for salvation, or that faith in Jesus is necessary… then you have the obligation to follow that faith. Only when that absence of faith is due to ‘invincible ignorance’ – that is, through no fault of the person – is it possible to appeal to this notion.)

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