DOMINUS IESUS

I am a recent Catholic convert (it has been 1 year as of Oct. 4). I came from a Calvinist background (the PCA denomination). Several months ago I started an apologetics Bible Study in my parish. During one of our initial meetings I was stunned to hear parishoners express the belief that all good people, regardless of their religious beliefs, go to heaven. This was regardless of whether one was a follower of Moses (Judiasm), Allah (Islam), Buddah or some other faith. I further discovered that a number of American Bishops stated we should not evangelize the Jews, implying that Judiasm is a valid and sufficient path to God.

In looking into the matter I thankfully came across a document called DOMINUS IESUS. I encourage every Catholic to get the document off the web, read it and believe it (I think I got mine from the Vatican website). I would especially point to section VI. THE CHURCH AND THE OTHER RELIGIONS IN RELATION TO SALVATION.

Some quotes (random):
This truth of faith does not lessen the sincere respect the Church has for the religions of the world, but at the same time, it rules out, in a radical way, that mentality of indifferentism characterized by a religious relativism which leads to the belief that ‘one religion is as good as another’.

If it is true that the followers of other religions can received divine grace, it is also true that objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who in the Church have the fullness of the means of salvation"

With respect to the way in which the salvific grace of God - which is always given by means of Christ in the Spirit and has a mysterious relationship to the Church - comes to individual non-Christians, the Second Vatican Council limited itself to the statement that God bestows it “in ways known to himself”.

…it cannot be overlooked that other rituals, insofar as they depend on superstitions or other errors (cf. 1 Cor. 10:20-21), constitute an obstacle to salvation.

…it is clear that it would be contrary to the faith to consider the Church one way of salvation alongside those constituted by the other religions, seen as complementary to the Church or substantially equivalent to her…

Equality, which is a presupposition of inter-religious dialogue, refers to the equal personal diginity of the parties in dialogue, not to doctrinal content…

[End of quotes]
In summary, it is possible for non-Christians “in ways known to God himself” to be saved. But at the same time it is recognized that followers of other religions are in a “gravely deficient situation”. In other words, there is still an urgency for the Great Commission as these people need to be rescued their “grave situation” where they are embracing a false way of salvation.

I hope this helps to clarify (oh for clarity in the teaching of the Church!) our Catholic beliefs of the non-Christians need for Christ.

I think Dominus Iesus was a good document that settled some issues within the Church.
Salvation is open to all. this is true.
But in saying this, we do not beleive in salvation by any religion.

You may also want to look at Redemptoris Missio, an encyclical written by JP2.

cin.org/jp2ency/rmissio.html

[quote=GWitherow]Several months ago I started an apologetics Bible Study in my parish. During one of our initial meetings I was stunned to hear parishoners express the belief that all good people, regardless of their religious beliefs, go to heaven. This was regardless of whether one was a follower of Moses (Judiasm), Allah (Islam), Buddah or some other faith. I further discovered that a number of American Bishops stated we should not evangelize the Jews, implying that Judiasm is a valid and sufficient path to God.
[/quote]

I know what you mean, GWitherow. Sadly, this sort of indifferentism is tragically common at present. It is actually a named heresy (Americanism) and it was condemned forcefully by Leo XIII in his letter Testem Benevolentiæ. As Dan said, Dominus Jesus was a much needed corrective for this sort of thinking. The intellectual rot has spread pretty far, so there is nothing to be done for it but to study and pray and try to do your best to educate your fellow Catholics (many of whom were the unwitting victims of decades of deliberately awful catechesis) about the true teachings of the Church.

I think it is part of the pick and choose mentality people have, as well as not choosing to push their or anyone else’s comfort zone. Kind of a “Well, it is not her fault she was raised Muslim. I don’t want to alienate her from here family. Since it is not her fault, she can still get to heaven.” Can she get to heaven? Yes. But people entirely ignore the fact that we are still required to spread the Good News, and that her salvation is very uncertain by not knowing the Truth. One way IS NOT just as good as any other. There is only one way, through Christ.

[quote=MariaG]One way IS NOT just as good as any other. There is only one way, through Christ.
[/quote]

Is that true?

[for the sake of arguing about something other than our differences… :slight_smile: ]

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http://forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon1.gif Re: DOMINUS IESUS
Quote:
Originally Posted by MariaG
One way IS NOT just as good as any other. There is only one way, through Christ.

Is that true?

[for the sake of arguing about something other than our differences… :slight_smile: ]

Are you joking? Is that true? If you use the very words of Jesus Christ as the Authority…then It Is True.

There are provisions for non-Catholics who have sought God and followed their inner beliefs while living a good life. Too long to put here.

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forums.catholic.com/images/icons/icon1.gif Re: DOMINUS IESUS
Quote:
Originally Posted by MariaG
One way IS NOT just as good as any other. There is only one way, through Christ.

Is that true?

[for the sake of arguing about something other than our differences… :slight_smile: ]
[/quote]

[quote=Exporter]Are you joking? Is that true?
[/quote]

No, not joking, MariaG said "There is only one way, through Christ."

So prove it.

If you use the very words of Jesus Christ as the Authority…then It Is True.

But she didn’t.

There are provisions for non-Catholics who have sought God and followed their inner beliefs while living a good life. Too long to put here.

Paul said good things about them…

Acts 4:12 (a quote from the Apostle Peter)
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

John 14:6 (a quote from Christ)
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

1 John 5:12 (a quote from the Apostle John)
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God has not life.

Peace be with you all,

May God bring us all greater insight and understanding. Amen.

I often state, as a Catholic Christian, that, "I know where grace ‘is’, but I don’t know where it ‘is not’. " I recognize that it is tempting and securing to interpret Holy Scripture as narrowly as possible to insure oneself salvation but I hope that Christ’s Mercy will surprise us all with it’s breadth on the Day of Judgement. Although I take dialog seriously with regard to moral behavior and the greater understanding of Holy Scripture I honestly think it is completely outside of our vocation, as Christians, to condemn others or even assume the limits of Christ’s Grace is but a narrow fence around our little corner of the world. Where there is Good, there is found God.

Judge by their fruits, not by the nametags on the trees.

Peace, Love and Blessings,

[quote=chrisb]Peace be with you all,

I honestly think it is completely outside of our vocation, as Christians, to condemn others or even assume the limits of Christ’s Grace is but a narrow fence around our little corner of the world. Where there is Good, there is found God.

,
[/quote]

There is no one condemning others here, and no one is limiting Christ’s grace. The Vatican Council in both Lumen Gentium and the Decree on Ecumenism plainly state this.

Lumen Gentium 16.

Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God.(18*) In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh.(125) On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.(126); But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohamedans, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things,(127) and as Saviour wills that all men be saved.(128) Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.(19) Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life.* Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.(20*) She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.(129) Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”,(130) the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.

DECREE ON ECUMENISM
UNITATIS REDINTEGRATIO

Chapter 1

The Church, then, is God’s only flock…

This is the sacred mystery of the unity of the Church, in Christ and through Christ, the Holy Spirit energizing its various functions.

3.The children who are born into these (separated) 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.

The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church-whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church-do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ’s body,(21) and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.(22)

It follows that the separated Churches(23) and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means 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 Church.

We also have these:

CCC838
"The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323

CCC 847

This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:
Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337

**CCC 1260 **

“Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, **we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.”**62 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

**Dominus Iesus 16. **(in explaining sec. 8 of Lumen Gentium that describes the Church)
With the expression subsistit in, the Second Vatican Council sought to harmonize two doctrinal statements: on the one hand, that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions which exist among Christians, continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church, and on the other hand, that “outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth”,55 that is, in those Churches and ecclesial communities which are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.56 But with respect to these, it needs to be stated that “they derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.57

Dominus Iesus 17.
“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 **

Dominus Iesus 21.
With respect to the way in which the salvific grace of God — which is always given by means of Christ in the Spirit and has a mysterious relationship to the Church — comes to individual non-Christians, the Second Vatican Council limited itself to the statement that God bestows it “in ways known to himself”.83

Peace be with you Dan-Man916,

May God continue to bring us greater insight and understanding.
Amen.

I am familiar with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and frankly it was a “major” factor in my conversion to the Holy Mother Church. All Thanks be to God!

My concern and comments are not directed toward the Catechism nor on what it instructs regarding ecumenism. What I am commenting on is the following:

In summary, it is possible for non-Christians “in ways known to God himself” to be saved. But at the same time it is recognized that followers of other religions are in a “gravely deficient situation”. In other words, there is still an urgency for the Great Commission as these people need to be rescued their “grave situation” where they are embracing a false way of salvation.

Peace, Love and Blessings,

In summary, it is possible for non-Christians “in ways known to God himself” to be saved. But at the same time it is recognized that followers of other religions are in a “gravely deficient situation”.

This is true and it is Catholic teaching. Dominus Iesus doesn’t deny that statement.

here is what is stated in Mystici Corporis Christi:


  1. Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. “For in one spirit” says the Apostle, “were we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free.”[17] As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith.[18] And therefore if a man refuse to hear the Church let him be considered-so the Lord commands-as a heathen and a publican.[19] It follows that those are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit.

  2. It must also be borne in mind that there is question here of a hidden mystery, which during this earthly exile can only be dimly seen through a veil, and which no human words can express. The Divine Persons are said to indwell inasmuch as they are present to beings endowed with intelligence in a way that lies beyond human comprehension, and in a unique and very intimate manner, which transcends all created nature, these creatures enter into relationship with Them through knowledge and love.[160] If we would attain, in some measure, to a clearer perception of this truth, let us not neglect the method strongly recommended by the Vatican Council[161] in similar cases, by which these mysteries are compared one with another and with the end to which they are directed, so that in the light which this comparison throws upon them we are able to discern, at least partially, the hidden things of God.

  3. As you know, Venerable Brethren, from the very beginning of Our Pontificate, We have committed to the protection and guidance of heaven those who do not belong to the visible Body of the Catholic Church, solemnly declaring that after the example of the Good Shepherd We desire nothing more ardently than that they may have life and have it more abundantly.[194] Imploring the prayers of the whole Church We wish to repeat this solemn declaration in this Encyclical Letter in which We have proclaimed the praises of the “great and glorious Body of Christ,”[195] and from a heart overflowing with love **We ask each and every one of them to correspond to the interior movements of grace, and to seek to withdraw from that state in which they cannot be sure of their salvation.**196] For even though by an unconscious desire and longing they have a certain relationship with the Mystical Body of the Redeemer, they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church. Therefore may they enter into Catholic unity and, joined with Us in the one, organic God of Jesus Christ, may they together with us run on to the one Head in the Society of glorious love.[197] Persevering in prayer to the Spirit of love and truth, We wait for them with open and outstretched arms to come not to a stranger’s house, but to their own, their father’s home.

[quote=GrzeszDeL]I know what you mean, GWitherow. Sadly, this sort of indifferentism is tragically common at present. It is actually a named heresy (Americanism) and it was condemned forcefully by Leo XIII in his letter Testem Benevolentiæ. As Dan said, Dominus Jesus was a much needed corrective for this sort of thinking. The intellectual rot has spread pretty far, so there is nothing to be done for it but to study and pray and try to do your best to educate your fellow Catholics (many of whom were the unwitting victims of decades of deliberately awful catechesis) about the true teachings of the Church.
[/quote]

Poor *Amerigo Vespucci, *first to have this nation named after him, and now to have his name tied to a heresy. I think the hersy should be more properly called jeffersonianism or USism

chrisb,

the reason that other religious systems are gravely deficient is that they lack the Sacraments.
The Sacraments have been instituted to give grace. the grace they give is the grace of justification and sanctification.

Outside of the Catholic Church you do not see the Sacraments of Eucharist, Reconciliation, Holy Orders, Confirmation, and Anointing.

While Baptism and Matrimony are Sacraments that can be received outside of the visible boundaries of the Church, the other Sacraments are not.

Now, in saying this, this does not mean that all people outside of the visible boundaries of the Church are hopelessly lost. Not at all.
But in being outside of this boundary, they are deprived of the gifts God has given us for our salvation.

Now, is it possible that God still bestows these graces extra-sacramentally. Certainly!
However, we have no assurance of faith that this is so. We have Hope, but not the assurance of faith. I believe that God gives everyone enough grace for salvation. It is not for me to know who rejects it and who accepts it.

This is the main difference. The best Hope for salvation rests within the Church of Christ. those who are saved are saved through that Body, even those who may not be full visible members of the Catholic Church. I am content with leaving that determination up to God.

And in saying this, I don’t think I’m condemning anyone.

[quote=Dan-Man916]the reason that other religious systems are gravely deficient is that they lack the Sacraments.
The Sacraments have been instituted to give grace. the grace they give is the grace of justification and sanctification.

Outside of the Catholic Church you do not see the Sacraments of Eucharist, Reconciliation, Holy Orders, Confirmation, and Anointing.
[/quote]

Far be it from me to deny the importance of the sacraments, Dan, but this is not entirely true. The Eastern Orthodox, the Oriental Orthodox, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Anglo-Catholics and the Old Catholics all have these sacraments which you mentioned, and yet they are also “deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church.” In other words, there is more than just the sacraments which is important to salvation.

Those who are not in the Catholic Church (with rare and temporary exception) do not have the Catholic faith. As the council of Trent makes clear we cannot please God if we do not hold the Catholic Faith. Those who are outside of the Catholic Church are not instructed in the Catholic Faith, and this puts them at at least as great a disadvantage as their lack of the sacraments.

[quote=Dan-Man916]chrisb,

the reason that other religious systems are gravely deficient is that they lack the Sacraments.
The Sacraments have been instituted to give grace. the grace they give is the grace of justification and sanctification.

Outside of the Catholic Church you do not see the Sacraments of Eucharist, Reconciliation, Holy Orders, Confirmation, and Anointing.

While Baptism and Matrimony are Sacraments that can be received outside of the visible boundaries of the Church, the other Sacraments are not.

Now, in saying this, this does not mean that all people outside of the visible boundaries of the Church are hopelessly lost. Not at all.
But in being outside of this boundary, they are deprived of the gifts God has given us for our salvation.

Now, is it possible that God still bestows these graces extra-sacramentally. Certainly!
However, we have no assurance of faith that this is so. We have Hope, but not the assurance of faith. I believe that God gives everyone enough grace for salvation. It is not for me to know who rejects it and who accepts it.

This is the main difference. The best Hope for salvation rests within the Church of Christ. those who are saved are saved through that Body, even those who may not be full visible members of the Catholic Church. I am content with leaving that determination up to God.

And in saying this, I don’t think I’m condemning anyone.
[/quote]

Peace be with you Dan-man916,

I recognize that the sacraments are very important vehicles of God’s Grace but I dare not suggest to a devout Buddhist observing the tenets of his faith and their ascetic practices as somehow below the sanctifying Grace of Christ Jesus. Are his metaphysics different? Sure but it is my expectation that at the entrance at the pearly gates we are not going to be asked to take a multiple-choice exam but something more along the lines of “How did you love?” Of course this kind of faith doesn’t cling to particular cultural manifestations of sacramental grace but clings more to Christ’s beatitudes (aka: St. Francis) than the legalism of the kind of Salvation you posit. Of course I am not suggesting you are inaccurate as much as failing to recognize salvic grace of the Holy Spirit that manifests within all men of good will to reach for God. I personally embrace the Catholic Sacraments and I am nourished by them but I don’t suggest to those I find nourished by other methods to be lacking unless they demonstrate such faults. I would almost caution you against idolatry of the Sacraments for even though they are a profound manifestation of Christ’s Grace by are not Christ himself. This is the same error which Christ condemned the Pharisees. We should be caution and humble and make our way to Christ. I see no other way to avoid the error of the Pharisees.

Peace, Love and Blessings,

[quote=chrisb]Peace be with you Dan-Man916,

May God continue to bring us greater insight and understanding.
Amen.

I am familiar with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and frankly it was a “major” factor in my conversion to the Holy Mother Church. All Thanks be to God!

My concern and comments are not directed toward the Catechism nor on what it instructs regarding ecumenism. What I am commenting on is the following:

Peace, Love and Blessings,
[/quote]

I think Dan-Man916 responded quite well to the concerns expressed in frame #12 above. But I’m still trying to better discern and understand the contention in what I outlined at the outset.

When Christ states things like, “no one comes to the Father but by me” and “he who does not believe [in Christ] is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” what are we to believe? That salvation through Buddah is a valid route to heaven? If so, why do missionaries risk their lives to evangelize “the lost”?

In Matt. 7:13,14 Christ said the gate to heaven was narrow and few find it while the gate to destruction is wide and many enter it.

The good news of the gospel isn’t that Buddah or Allah lead us our heavenly Father. It’s through Christ (and him only) that we have access to our Father.

IT IS ALSO TRUE that God, “in ways known only to him” reaches out to people outside the Christian faith and draws them to Himself. God can use the rays of truth in other faiths to lead people unknowingly to Christ and therefore to our Father. But in the meantime we must assume they are in a “grave” situation and in need of the gospel. The Great Commission is still our charge. I think a careful reading of the Church teaching keeps us from veering off in one extreme or the other.

God Bless:)

GW,

i think what we’re talking about is implicit faith as opposed to explicit faith.

take the savage on an island in North America in the year 100 AD.
This person would have never heard of the name of CHrist or knew about Christ’s CHurch. So how can he be saved?

The Scriptures tell us that God desires that all men be saved.
So because of that, we can conclude that God makes a way for salvation for that savage on the island. We know that the entire world was not evangelized by 100 AD.

We know that the Scriptures teach that we cannot be saved without faith and baptism.

How is it possible to reconcile these two things.

The faith that the savage might have would be an implicit faith.

If the savage responds to God’s grace, He may be saved by implicit faith and baptism of implicit desire, meaning that if teh savage had known about the need for explcicit faith and water baptism, he would have received it, but because of invincible ignorance, the grace he receives can save him by his implicit faith.

[quote=GWitherow]Acts 4:12 (a quote from the Apostle Peter)
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

John 14:6 (a quote from Christ)
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

1 John 5:12 (a quote from the Apostle John)
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God has not life.
[/quote]

What about the Mother?

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