Law of Abrogation


#1

Any honest person who has read the Koran will immediately spot contradictions. Muslim ‘theologians’ solve such contradictions by invoking the ‘law of abrogation’, which basically states that where there is a conflict the later statements cancel the earlier ones.

Does the ‘law of abrogation’ apply to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church?

I look forward to your opinions.

‘Semper Idem’


#2

No. Does it apply to non-Catholic fundamentalist teachings the same way it seems to apply to fundamentalist Moslems?


#3

Are sure about that?

Many popes in the past have declared quite emphatically that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic church!

The Council of Florence makes it very clear:

*"The holy Roman Church believes, professes, and preaches that no one remaining outside the Catholic Church, not just pagans, but also Jews or heretics or schismatics, can become partakers of eternal life; but they will go to the ‘everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels’ (Matt. 25:41), **unless before the end of life they are joined to the Church. ***

This seems to clearly teach that Pagan, Jew, Heretic and Schismatics are eternally damned.

*For the union with the body of the Church is of such importance that the sacraments of the Church are helpful to salvation only for those remaining in it; and **fasts, almsgiving, other works of piety, and the exercise of Christian warfare bear eternal rewards for them alone. And no one can be saved, no matter how much alms he has given, even if he sheds his blood for the name of Christ, *unless he remains in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church." (Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, 1438-1441)

Again this seems to teach that even if you try to live a good life and are martyred for Christ’s sake you cannot be saved!

However, since Vatican II it appears that Muslims, Jews, Protestants etc can be saved outside the church.

I remember in the 60’s being told by my parish priest that ALL Protestants were heretics and that they were going to burn in hell.

So, to me, a lay person it seems that the ‘Law of arbrogation’ does apply???


#4

No, this is one thing about Catholicism that distinguishes it from all other faiths. We never change dogma and official teachings. All we do is update or revise customs and some ecclesiastical practices. We do however occasionally add deeper insights to core dogma as new revelation comes out of better translations and research and as prompted by the Holy Spirit (e.g. Immaculate Conception, Assumption of Mary etc.). But once a dogma is defined - it is eternal since it is infallible truth.

The Catholic Church, as Jesus’ Church is guided by the Holy Spirit. We believe completely that while individuals, even bishops and popes can be less than perfect and are not impeccable that The Church itself is mystical and a supernatural entity itself. It is a bridge between heaven and earth and is the first fruits of God’s kingdom on earth. We believe that The Holy Spirit is the soul of The Church and the head is Jesus. As such The Church simply can not be in error in its dogma in spite of occasional individual human failures and imperfections of a sinful human congregation. But The Catholic Church has its members both here on earth and in all the Saints and Angels of Heaven and in the holy souls of purgatory who are waiting to enter into the eternal glory of heaven. Most non-Catholics never understand this aspect of Catholicism -The Church is mystical and is both physical and spiritual. It is unassailable and undefeatable.

Contrast that with the legion of non-Catholic teachings who spin off new churches for accommodate every new variation of scripture interpretation one comes up with through the error of private interpretation. Ironically, all 32,000 such sects call them selves “biblical” while using the same bible. Clearly at least 31,999 are partially wrong. We claim they are ALL partially wrong and only The Catholic Church has the fullness of truth. The long 2,000 year old history of The Catholic Church that has seen empires and every sort of heresies come and go is a strong testament to the legitimacy of The Catholic Church.

As for Islam - it is dead but does not yet know it. The principal of abrogation in Islam guarantees it is wrong since the early more peaceful teachings of Islam where lifted and copied from a combination of Coptic Christian texts and Jewish scriptures but deprecated and abrogated by the nontolerant jihadist violence of latter teaching. This is not to mention the absurd extraction of the Satanic verses by Mohammad who for political expediency permitted his political superiors to worship multiple pagon gods until he got enough military might to defeat, subjugate and kill them all.

James


#5

I understand what you are saying, however, eternal salvation is of paramount importance. Are you saying then that pre-Vatican II there was in fact no salvation outside of the Church, but now there is-is this a contradiction or is it the mystical guidance and progressive revelation claimed by the Church?

If so where did the souls of the Jews, pagans, heretics &schismatics go when they died in the 15th century?


#6

" Are you saying then that pre-Vatican II there was in fact no salvation outside of the Church, but now there is…"

No.
There is still, and always will be, no salvation outside the Catholic Church.

“…If so where did the souls of the Jews, pagans, heretics &schismatics go when they died in the 15th century?”

Nobody knows what happens to pagans, protestants, etc.
(Protestants did not exist, per se, in Biblical times. Their nature is to be a movement in opposition to the Church Christ founded, - they acknowledge it is the Church He built because they say that His Church went astray at some point. But Christ contradicts them saying He Himself will preserve this Church - even from the onslaughts and resistance of hell.)

Pagans, though less likely now, may never have the opportunity to hear the truth, but may be naturally inclined to Truth.
But do we Know what will happen to those? No.
We were only told of one place where Life can be gained.
We only know that if you want Life, you will gain it through the Church He built.
Go and read your second post again, and this time emphasise the word ‘remains’ in the quotes you give.


#7

I believe the other person answered this for you. I will add that nothing has really changed from pre-Vatican II and post Vatican II. All The Church has done is acknowledge that The Church is universal and that even those with a partial truth, an imperfect truth are whether they know it or not part of the Universal Catholic Church. Just as within Catholicism we have differing degrees of practising Catholics (clearly not everyone is as pious as a saint) who are in varying stages of growing in their faith and dealing with life’s challenges we have those in other faiths who are facing the same trials and journeys in their individual understandings and response to the Holy Spirit. If anything, the Church is giving some hope that those who are struggling outside the Catholic Church to perfect their faith may be saved by the grace that Jesus channels through The Catholic Church for the benefit of the entire planet. In other words The Church is saying that other faiths are imperfect members of the Catholic Church by the fact that they are baptised into Christ; whether they believe it or not. But those that utterly and consciously reject the Catholic Church are not saved. Children of other faiths who rely on their parents to teach them and are not of the age of consent likely are extended God’s mercy if they are baptised and have not committed any grave sins and die before becoming adults.

Jews are held to the letter of the law of the Old Testament. It is likely that few in this modern time can meet the strictness of the old law. Only God knows for sure.

The sobering truth is there are probably a lot of mediocre Catholics “in name only” who are also going to hell.

James


#8

James,

…* nothing has really changed from pre-Vatican II and post Vatican II. All The Church has done is acknowledge that The Church is universal and that even those with a partial truth, an imperfect truth are whether they know it or not part of the Universal Catholic Church. *

**This is completely contrary to what St John said: “He that believeth on the Son hath [present tense] EVERLASTING LIFE: and he that believeth not the Son shall NOT SEE LIFE; but the WRATH of God abideth on him” (John 3:38)

Also, St John says: “Who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the FLESH. This is a deceiver and an ANTICHRIST” (2John7)

Every Muslim and orthodox Jew denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and God Himself manifest in the flesh.**

If anything, the Church is giving some hope that those who are struggling outside the Catholic Church to perfect their faith may be saved by the grace that Jesus channels through The Catholic Church for the benefit of the entire planet. In other words The Church is saying that other faiths are imperfect members of the Catholic Church by the fact that they are baptised into Christ; whether they believe it or not. But those that utterly and consciously reject the Catholic Church are not saved. Children of other faiths who rely on their parents to teach them and are not of the age of consent likely are extended God’s mercy if they are baptised and have not committed any grave sins and die before becoming adults.

How can they be imperfect members of the Church and how can they be baptised into Christ WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING? My understanding is that Christ’s merits are imparted through the sacraments. If these folks do not partake of the sacraments how on earth can they be part of the Church, even imperfectly?

This sounds all very nebulous!

Jews are held to the letter of the law of the Old Testament. It is likely that few in this modern time can meet the strictness of the old law. Only God knows for sure.

We are no longer living under the OT. The OT ordinances were nailed to the cross and done away by the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. No Jew trying to live by the Law can be saved unless he trusts Jesus Christ.

The sobering truth is there are probably a lot of mediocre Catholics “in name only” who are also going to hell.

Yes, I would agree.


#9

Doctor Bible,

Apparently you do not understand the idea that doctrines can remain unchanged, but better understood and more clearly state. Nor apparently, do you have a fully developed concept of the mercy of God, especially for those who desire to find the glory of God, and would readily accept Him, but have never heard the Gospel.

Other than the “no salvation outside the Church” non-issue, are you able to state any other so-called examples of abrogated doctrine?


#10

Thing,

*No.
There is still, and always will be, no salvation outside the Catholic Church. *

**But Vatican II and many popes including John Paul II and Benedict XVI state that there is salvation outside the Catholic Church.

Both cannot be correct-which is it?**

We only know that if you want Life, you will gain it through the Church He built.

So, therefore we can know that pagans, Jews and protestants will be going to hell as proclaimed by the Council of Florence-Right?


#11

Oh, but I do understand the mercy of God because without His mercy of sending His only begotten Son the Lord Jesus Christ to die for my sins I would still be a hell bound sinner.

At one time eating meat on Fridays was, if I remember correctly what I was taught by my parish church and the Catholic school I attended, a MORTAL SIN. But now we are allowed to eat meat on Fridays except ‘Good’ Friday.

So the present teaching abrogates the previous one???


#12

No.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

**Who belongs to the Catholic Church? **

836 "All men are called to this catholic unity of the People of God. . . . And to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God’s grace to salvation."320
837 "Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who - by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion - are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but ‘in body’ not ‘in heart.’"321
838 "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 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist."324

**The Church and non-Christians **

839 "Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways."325
The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People,326 "the first to hear the Word of God."327 The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God’s revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews “belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ”,328 "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."329
840 And when one considers the future, God’s People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.
841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day."330
842 The Church’s bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:
All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .331
843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life."332
844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:
Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.333
845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.334

**“Outside the Church there is no salvation” **

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336
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
848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338

scborromeo.org/ccc.htm


#13

Here Dribble, I post the quotes you gave from the Council of Florence;

The Council of Florence:

"The holy Roman Church believes, professes, and preaches that no one remaining outside the Catholic Church, not just pagans, but also Jews or heretics or schismatics, can become partakers of eternal life; but they will go to the ‘everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels’ (Matt. 25:41), unless before the end of life they are joined to the Church.

For the union with the body of the Church is of such importance that the sacraments of the Church are helpful to salvation only for those remaining in it; and fasts, almsgiving, other works of piety, and the exercise of Christian warfare bear eternal rewards for them alone. And no one can be saved, no matter how much alms he has given, even if he sheds his blood for the name of Christ, unless he remains in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church." (Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, 1438-1441)

CCC.

“Outside the Church there is no salvation”

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

We only Know where Life is to be found and gained.
We do not Know the state or fate of every individual Catholic or non-Catholic.
Only God Knows the state or fate of people.
We Know paganism, judaism, protestantism, heresies - are not systems through which Life is to be found.
Because He built His Church for that purpose and everyone must enter through Him, as He said.
But, I do not Know if you as an individual can or will enter through Him.
Only God Knows that.
But I do Know that only His Catholic Church has that offer of life, which no other system has.
I Know it because I know it is the same Church He founded.
This is what the Council of Florence quotes, the Popes, and CC say, if one remains outside the CC he will not be saved. To remain outside implies an awareness of ‘the inside’, that the Truth is only to be found within the bosom of the Catholic Church. There is only one Known way to life.


#14

This is faulty rationale. My statement does not contradict scripture in the least. The statement I made in context makes no assertion that those with a partial faith will be saved. It only leaves open the door for a perfection of the faith with the Holy Spirit operating THROUGH the channel of the Catholic Church. Just as there are deficient faiths within those not physically present in the pews of the Catholic Church there are deficient and imperfect confirmed individuals sitting in the pews of the Catholic faith who all still strive and hope to perfect their faith before they go to meet The Lord. While there is life there is hope and opportunity for salvation. Where there is complacency there is atrophy.

How can a deaf, dumb and blind person know God and be saved? Are you assuming that only high IQ individuals with a mountain of intellect can know God? Is salvation now a matter of mental agility? Can only adults be saved? What of Jesus’ statement ‘let the children come to me’ and ‘unless you become like a child you can not enter the kingdom of heaven’.

The Jews are still part of God’s salvation plan. At the epoch of His plan a remnant of the Jews will be saved. The Jews still play a vital role of repentance in the final fulfillment of scripture. A Jew living by the law and spiritually repenting at or near the time of death or at the time before the 2nd coming will be saved.

Please know that in the general case we have no way of knowing what God whispers into the spiritual ears of any soul in the private moments on their deathbed. It is my personal belief [that is derived from the private revelations of Divine Mercy by St. Faustina] that God permits every person to make a final deliberate decision for Mercy or for rejection. This may sound as though everyone is saved but this is certainly not so. The truth is, human pride is so arrogant that even when the spiritual scales are removed and one knows objectively that God is very real, many many corrupted souls just as Satan did, will chose to take their own company for an eternity in hell rather than submit themselves to an eternity of conforming to God’s will in His presence. It is only because of God’s grace that any of us can stand to be in the presence of people we consider “reasonably good” even when they are spiritually dead in mortal sin. When God’s universal grace is stripped away and the veil is removed those in mortal sin will appear to the elect as spiritually grotesque with souls consumed in leprosy and incapable of empathy with any but themselves. Satan knew full well the punishment he faced in hell before he fell. Yet it was in pride that he chose eternal torment and separation from God over an eternity of serving God in a capacity that was any less than being God himself. So shall it be with all who seek to grasp equality with God by “doing it their way” and by squandering their personal freedoms for earthly trinkets of temporal sensuousness, wealth, power, glory, vanity and so on. So shall it be with all who choose to become their own gods and in so doing become the children of Satan.

If one wants to speculate on numbers saved vs. numbers lost one only needs to read scripture to see what the sobering truth probably is. A tithe, a remnant, is the traditional number that The Lord requires be left to Him from the harvest.

Fear of The Lord could be the single wisest think that any of us can do to cooperate with God. Only the Catholic Church has sacramental confession and the means by which God fearing souls can confidentiality and sincerely come before God to ask His pardon and for His help.

James


#15

I thank you all for your opinions and comments.

My conclusion from what I have read in official documents of the RCC and your interpretations thereof is that on one know’s anything for sure!

One minute the Church is necessary for salvation for it dispenses the sacraments in particular baptism which washes away original sin. The next minute a Jew, Muslim, Protestant or Pagan can be saved either partially or fully (whatever that means) if he/she doesn’t know that the Church is necessary and the ONLY means of salvation. However, if they know that the Church is necessary and they refuse to enter it or remain in it then they are eternally damned. But if they are following their conscience and their conscience tells them not to enter the Church, then they, if God grants them mercy, can be saved!

I would suggest to you that God does not impute sin to a person who does not know the difference between good and evil eg an infant, child or imbecile. However, a person who has the knowledge of good and evil whether it be a Catholic, Jew, Pagan , atheist or Protestant and breaks ONE of God’s law’s is a sinner and is therefore under condemnation and hell bound unless they come to Jesus Christ for salvation.

Jesus said:*“I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH and THE LIFE NO man cometh unto the father but by me” *(St John 14:6)

Now that is an ABSOLUTE STATEMENT.


#16

No one has commented about eating meat on Fridays being a mortal sin at one time.

Law of abrogation?

At one time the Mass to be valid had to be in recited in Latin otherwise it was invalid.

But not so now!

I believe there are thousands of ultra-traditionalists who would claim that consecration of the Eucharist does not occur unless the priest speaks the words in Latin???

Law of abrogation?


#17

Fasting from meat on Fridays was never dogma it was a custom and an official expression of subordination to Church Authority that was also an integrative act od Christian empathy and solidarity with Christ’s suffering on Good Friday. It only was a grave sin because willful disobedience was taken as a rejection of a minimal act of felial subordination to the authority that Christ bestowed through the papacy and the bishops. As such The Church leadership could change its requirements and customs as it saw fit. In fact, it is still expected that Catholics will still self direct some small personal act of personal sacrifice be followed if they elect to eat of meat.

Latin was originally used since it was the common language of the educated world and of the nations. Don’t forget that in the early days there were very few bibles and not many other language translations were available. The Church used Latin as a way to speak to the widest range of the Church members across the world as a universal language. As the printing press became available and the church grew and empires came and went and the people became increasingly more educated it made more sense in latter years to permit masses spoken in native languages but to use the same common liturgy and teachings. This brought more opportunity for the laiety to grow in the faith and to even help more in the non sacerdotal functions of the mass the Church activities. Again, Latin was never dogma - but rather just a pragmatic custom. We retain still the option to use Latin in masses where there is a desire and a means to use it. It is very common now to have in the same parish masses said in multiple languages (including sign language for the deaf) at different masses (in particular English and Spanish).

I do not know of any Catholics who associate the language “Latin” with validity of the sacraments - especially given that Jesus spoke Aramaic and perhaps a little Greek. There are some traditionalist however how would insist on the older tridentine rites - but it’s the rite more so than the language that has significance to these individuals. I myself love the tridentine mass said in Latin since it is so beautiful and traditional and part of our rich Catholic heritage. But some object to the change of rites coming out of Vatican II. In truth though the modernized rites have more depth of prayer and liturgy that some just do not realize. But this change was no different than the change of rites and the tension of sentimentality that was present in the early church when adaptations were made for the Jews and the Gentiles (i.e. ritual foods and circumcision in Christian life).

So, there is no abrogation at all in the Catholic Church - just some changing of customs and adaptations - for the greater good. And thank God we decided to do away with the traditions of holding mass in caves and catacombs at night under candlelight!! Not to mention public confessions and walking around in sack cloth outside the church for months anytime we confessed serious sins and had to face the ire of our offended brothers and sisters and beg for their prayers before we could rejoin them in mass!

James


#18

James,

…Fasting from meat on Fridays was never dogma it was a custom and an official expression of subordination to Church Authority that was also an integrative act od Christian empathy and solidarity with Christ’s suffering on Good Friday. It only was a grave sin because willful disobedience was taken as a rejection of a minimal act of felial subordination to the authority that Christ bestowed through the papacy and the bishops.

**Is a grave sin the same as a mortal sin?

If it is does, does that mean when abstaining from meat on a Friday was expected and a person deliberately eat a beef steak in defiance of Church law/custom and choked to death without having an opportunity to confess their sin, they would have gone to hell?**

Latin was never dogma - but rather just a pragmatic custom.

My understanding is that some theologians would strongly disagree with you, claiming that because Latin is a dead and therefore unchanging language it is the ONLY language in which the wafer can be transubstantiated!


#19

The stance of the Church has always been that one can only be saved when they are a member of the Universal Church which is possible for everyone whether they call themselves an Irish Catholic, German Protestant or Indian Hindu.


#20

This is what Purgatory is for.

My understanding is that some theologians would strongly disagree with you, claiming that because Latin is a dead and therefore unchanging language it is the ONLY language in which the wafer can be transubstantiated!

Those theologians are wrong.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.