Good fruits without the Faith?

I mistakenly posted this over at Non-Catholic Religions - maybe a moderator can delete that one?

I’ve been thinking a lot about our separated brethren, those Christians that do not share in the fullness of our Catholic faith. I have a hard time understanding how they can be so on fire for the Lord without the truths of the faith. Many of them seem to be doing much more for God’s kingdom than some Catholics.

For example I stumbled upon a Youtube video of a man that attends a Church of Christ church in the south. He was a hardened sinner that almost destroyed his family but was converted forty years ago and still to this day is extremely active in his church. He preaches about Jesus and loving Him and loving your neighbor, and baptizing people into Christ, and all of those things. I have a hard time condemning these people or even thinking they are doing wrong.

How can something that produces good fruit (drunkards and adulterers and other sinners give up their sin and coming to God) be bad. Is it? How can we be so divided and have the same goal? Someone help me out here. Thanks and God bless you.

It seems you are laboring under the mistaken notion that God only operates within the boundaries of the visible Church or within her sacraments. That’s simply not the case. :slight_smile:

What the Church says about herself is that the fullness of truth, of God’s graces necessary for salvation, subsists within her. This means that God does extends his graces beyond the Church. Indeed, St. Paul told us that every man has a “measure of God’s grace” to make it possible for us to be saved.

All the baptized are members of Christ’s body, even if they are not in full communion with the Church.

The relevant paragraphs from the Catechism:

Wounds to unity
817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."269 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ’s Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270 - do not occur without human sin:
Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.271
818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272
819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276

Perhaps the man is following his conscience.

Matthew 12:50
“For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

I would think this is referring to everyone, not just Catholics today or Jews in Jesus’ day.


"for those who knowingly and deliberately (that is, not out of innocent ignorance) commit the sins of heresy (rejecting divinely revealed doctrine) or schism (separating from the Catholic Church and/or joining a schismatic church), no salvation would be possible until they repented and returned to live in Catholic unity. "

From Salvation Outside the Church


Protestantism no matter the stripe, is one of the [FONT=&quot]Great Heresies [/FONT]in history

Regarding one’s ignorance

*][FONT=&quot][FONT=&quot]1791[/FONT] ignorance isn’t always innocent[/FONT]

Of course, but most of our separated brethren are material not formal heretics, which means they are ignorant of their need to be fully united with the Church. Indeed, they are told repeatedly that there is no such need by well-meaning people inside the Church and outside it, misunderstanding that we are all to be one no matter what we’ve been taught or in which ecclesial body we’ve been brought up. In any case, we cannot judge for ourselves who is a formal heretic and who isn’t. That’s above our pay grade as ordinary lay people.

The following Bible passages come to mind:

John answered, “Master, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him; for he that is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:49-50)

Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, well versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and expounded to him the way of God more accurately. (Acts 18:24-26)

Isn’t assuming someone is a “material” not a “formal” heretic a judgement?

Isn’t assuming one is “well meaning”, a judgement?

Why even give definitions of what is right and wrong , if one isn’t to apply the definition to anyone because that’s a judgement?

How is one to apply the following instruction from Paul?

Titus 3:10
“As for a man who is factious ( [FONT=&quot]αρετικν[/FONT] heretic ), after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned.”

Obviously we can and do judge actions.

I never said we couldn’t make distinctions. Indeed, I made distinctions. I only meant that we cannot always know who knows what and why. In St. Paul’s time the demarcations between those who believed the truth and who didn’t were more defined. In our day not as much. Besides, he is talking about those who did know better, but still chose to teach/preach "another gospel’, most especially the Judaizers of his day. Most Protestants are not formal heretics. In our day there aren’t many, I wouldn’t think. Most former Catholics left the Church due to personal difficulties with Church leaders or not understanding Church teachings or who had a spiritual awakening in another ecclesial community and equated that with now having the truth, etc. I will leave it to their confessors to decide if they are formal heretics or not.


For one to be a heretic by definition is

2089"*[FONT=&quot]Heresy *is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same;[/FONT]

One can also see from that link the definition of one in schism as well.

You’re assuming “most Protestants” are innocently ignorant of the truth. All I’m saying one can’t automatically assume one is innocently ignorant. [FONT=&quot][FONT=&quot]1791[/FONT][/FONT]

Information and knowledge today, has NEVER been in history, so easy to access and attain.

Again, I would suggest, one might want to, but can’t side step their own personal responsibility in finding the truth [FONT=&quot][FONT=&quot]1791[/FONT][/FONT]

I’m sure the OP doesn’t need his thread taken off on tangents, Steve, old man. But have fun parsing terms if it makes you happy. :stuck_out_tongue:

I entered here #5
I was merely responding to your points (your text I was responding to I highlighted)

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