First, I was trying to use terminology and categories as described in the tract. I do not view myself as incredulous; I was merely trying to identify where the Catholic Church would say I was.
Got it. Teminoligy and semantics can cause confusion.
That is my confusion in a nutshell. I know that I hold to a belief that the Catholic Church has proclaimed as false ,(sola scriptura
, but to the best of my knowledge, I do not think the Church has proclaimed the truth in this. So I was just trying to ascertain what the status of my soul is if I hold to this belief.
Please consider two things about what you wrote. They are definitely fron a Catholic perspective. First is that the Catholic Church makes no claims regarding the status of your soul. Only god knows the secret of the soul. If you are living in serious sin you are in danger. We have no way of knowing this. Your conscience will tell you. God is your judge. There is no other. The second thing is if you do not accept Catholic doctrine why do you care what the Catholic Church says about your soul?
I am aware that a distinction exists, but not of what that distinction entails.
Some people are born in situations and never exposed to the truths of faith. God does not hold us individually responsible for figuring out every doctrine correctly, with or without the Bible. We don’t have a doctrine test on judgement day to see if we have the right answers.
People who are taught error are not held accountable for what they were taught or being unable to see through the error. Their beliefs may be heretical materially, the matter is wrong, but they had no way of knowing.
Others had knowledge of truth, were schooled, and rejected it, publicly and formally. They are made aware that what they hold is in contradiction to the faith and asked to abjure, but refuse and persist in error.
I agree entirely with your thoughts about love.
That is interesting, because this is Catholic doctrine and most Protestants reject it. The Protestant position is that we are saved by faith alone, faith and nothing more is necessary. The Catholic position is that to be saved we must by grace possess the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity (love).
But while this answer satisfies me on one level, at another it misses the point. As a Protestant, I have seen God work powerfully, and I have seen people love God (and neighbor) with all their heart, soul, and might.
So have I.
But they hold to beliefs that necessarily separate them from the Catholic Church (to a greater or lesser degree).
There are two activities that are proper to all spiritual beings, God, angels and men. They are knowing and loving. Knowing is of the intellect, the mind. Loving is of the heart, the core of our being. Notice that Jesus does not say He stands at the door of your mind and knocks requesting entry. Mind and heart are connected it is true if we are to find perfection, holiness. But God can not reject a humble heart. It is impossible. If you call on Him sincerely He will receive you, bless you, lead you, and give His grace to you despite the fact that you don’t have all your doctrines perfected.
Jesus says that if the children of Jerusalem did not cry out His praises as He entered the city the stones would cry out. If stones could sing divine praises, so can Protestants.
One of the commands Christ gives us is to be united. Either the fault is with the Catholic Church who barricade the way to communion due to unessential differences (The Protestant opinion) or the fault is with the Protestants who obstinately hold to unessential beliefs which the Catholic Church has justly defined as wrong (The Catholic opinion), or some mixture of the two.
This is also an interesting perspective this business about minimizing differences to try to overlook them and establish unity. What is unessential? Catholics say the Eucharist is Christ among us as our food. They cite Biblical references. We receive Jesus body, blood, soul and divinity. Protestants have varying beliefs on the matter. Probalby most say the Eucharist is a symbolic presence of Christ. Catholics say there are seven sacraments. Most Protestants say two and some say none. This is not trivial or unessential to us.
But still it is amazing that people who say all that matters is we agree on the essentials (whatever that means to anyone) and since we do seem to agree on them we should forget about the small stuff (whatever that means), that these same people have divided themselves into thousands of different denominations over what they say is not essential. Frankly, this is crazy, totally irrational. Such and such is not that important, but it is important enough that we will set up a new separate denomination over it. This is entirely a Protestant phenomenon.
I have a friend who claims to be a bishop of a fringe sect. They believe strange things and refuse to ever go to a doctor. They let their kids die. His Church split down the middle over divorce and remarriage. He says his group has it right and they have nothing to do, refuse to acknowledge those others who insist divorce and remariage are fine. They agree that it is preferrable that kids should die rather than go to a doctor, but are at war over divorce. They divideo and break Christ’s commandment for unity over