Medieval teaching on salvation of non-Catholics?

The medieval Roman church taught:

“Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity.”
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Sess. 8, Nov. 22, 1439, ex cathedra

And the modern Roman church teaches:

“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. 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”
Second Vatican Council, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium

So, how can someone “hold the Catholic faith … whole and inviolate” but “do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church”?

Does the Catholic faith not include the Gospel?

In what sense do Protestants “hold the Catholic faith … whole and inviolate”?

Moreover,

“Furthermore, we declare, say, define, and proclaim to every human creature that they by absolute necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff.”
Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, Nov. 18, 1302, ex cathedra

In what sense are Protestants “subject to the Roman Pontiff”?

This subject was well addressed in last nights Catholic Answers Live show. Does your Lutheran faith not include a radio?

Taking your last point first we need to consider what is the Mystical Body of Christ? As the Mystical Body of Christ how is the Gospel not intrinsically inclusive? Christ is The Word made Flesh - the entire Word of God - The Bible, not just the Gospel. Christ is the Good News, and so, the Mystical Body of Christ is a living Gospel. You tell me how Protestants are subject to Christ?

Your other two excerpts define one of the greatest misunderstandings about the 2nd Vatican Council. There is no change in the church teachings by this statement. If the previous assertion, that the church is the mystical body of Christ is to hold true then there can never be a modification of church teaching in an absolute sense. There may be a need for an explanation in terms that a decadent modern man may start to infuse in a more wholesome manner than his more salt of the earth predecessors should require.

The first “medieval” statement (does being from the medieval period imply that the statement must be in error?) is about what it states. Your ear does not appear to be in tune with the language.

“… needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate …”

If you never held the Catholic faith – how could you preserve it whole and inviolate? This is about the “Communists insurgents in France under Francesco Franco.” Well, perhaps that was not Franc enough. No, the idea being taught is that heretics face the great new opportunity to enjoy the vista of Hell for eternity. But to be a heretic you would need to have once held the Catholic faith. So, where is the contradiction with the 2nd Vatican Council statement? There is none.

Perhaps you believe that you need to be a Protestant from over four generations to be “immune” to the Hell of heretics? That could be biblical, let’s work on that idea for a while. :slight_smile: I won’t reject it entirely should it draw you nearer to the true faith.

I encourage you to read this thread:

Scripture, Church Fathers, and Medieval Doctors on the Possibility of Salvation for Non-Catholics
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=884499

It shows that the “medieval” Catholic Church taught the same thing that the “modern” Catholic Church teaches on this subject.

For example, read this statement which was taught at the Catholic University of Salamanca in 1532 A.D.: “For [those] to whom no preaching of the faith or Christian religion has come…if they do what in them lies, accompanied by a good life according to the law of nature, it is consistent with God’s providence [that] He will illuminate them regarding the name of Christ [so that they may be saved]… [And] if before hearing anything of the Christian religion they were excused [from the sin of unbelief], they are put under no fresh obligation by a simple declaration and announcement of [the gospel], for such announcement is no proof or incentive to belief… Nay…it would be rash and imprudent for any one to believe anything, especially in matters which concern salvation, unless he knows that this is asserted by a man worthy of credence…[therefore] matters of faith are seen and become evident by reason of their credibility.” (Francisco de Vitoria, De Indiis) As you can see, the Church knew about innocent ignorance even in so-called “medieval” times. The statement by the fifteenth century pope you quoted simply isn’t aimed at innocently ignorant non-Catholics, and doesn’t apply to them in the same way it applies to those who know that the Catholic faith is true.

You might also like this post, which addresses this topic and answers your question with two examples of how to reconcile the “medieval” Church’s teaching with the “modern” teaching:

Historical Papal Stance on Salvation
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=12105458
Is that helpful?

I thought this question sounded mean-spirited. Do you expect all non-Catholics to have listened to that particular show or something? Like if he didn’t hear it, he did something wrong? That’s the impression I got, and I hope you’ll clarify.

This is actually a more complicated matter than many good Catholics even think.

The teaching of the Church is constant: Outside herself, there is absolutelty no salvation whatever.

In order to enter into the Church, one must have three things: 1. Catholic faith, 2. valid baptism, and 3. communion with the Roman Pontiff.

Now, as you point out, the Council of Florence quotes the Athanasian Creed that whosoever does not hold the Catholic Faith fully will be damned. This is correct. Without the Faith, there is no means of justification of sins, and since even original sin alone will condemn to hell, everyone stands in need of justification.

Now, as to what needs to be believed explicitly vs. what needs to be believed implicitly, the Church has generally taught that there are four fundamental mysteries that embody the Faith that need to be believed explicitly by all: 1) that there is one God, incorporeal, eternal and benevolent, Who created all things, 2) that God is a good and just judge, and that He rewards the good, and punishes the wicked, 3) that this one God is three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, distinct from each Other, yet each fully God, 4), that Jesus Christ, God the Son, true God and true man, came into this world, was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered and died on the Cross for man’s salvation, resurrected on the third day, ascended into heaven, that He will come again to judge the world, when all the dead will rise with their bodies. In short, every Christian is obliged to know and have a basic yet sufficient understanding of the articles of the Creed.

Now, of these four principal mysteries, any person of sound reason can come to know the first two without the aid of Divine Revelation and hence the author of Hebrews says “He that wishes to draw near to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder o those Who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). No one of normal reason can be excused from believing in these truths, wherever he may be in the world.

Now, the Trinity and Incarnation and Paschal Mysteries must be believed explicitly as well (cf. S. Th. II-II, q. 2, a. 7-8; Rom. 10:14). However, one may rightly ask, how can someone believe in these explicitly, who has never had them presented in such a way as He can understand? To this the Church responds: For a man who has never heard of these mysteries, he is not bound to believe in these mysteries explicitly. Pope Boniface VIII codified the dictum Nemo potest ad impossible obligari - “No one can be bound to the impossible” - in his 1298 Regulae Juris. The man would still be bound to believe in the two mysteries (mysteries 1 and 2 above) which all can without aid of revelation, and make an act of supernatural Faith in God. Now, if such a man, believed faithfully in these mysteries, and did his best to live up to the dictates of his conscience, repenting to God when/if he fell, then God would find some way to bring him to the explicitly. He would either send someone (the best), if not a member of the Church, then an angel from heaven, or He would simply preach it to Him by an internal inspiriation. This is precisely what the Second Vatican Council declared by saying what it says in the quote you provide from Lumen Gentium.

Notice, it does not say those who have never believe explcitly, but only those who have not yet believed explicitly. A famous scholastic axiom declares: Facienti quod est in se, non denegat Deus gratiam - To the one who does what is in his power, God does not deny the grace. This applies to the religious truths as well. If a man believes what he can, and do what conscience commands, God will not leave there to perish in his ignorance, but will, by “ways known to God Himself” lead him to a knowledge of the necessary truths of salvation.

If this faith, is animated by charity of God (which implicity includes the will to do all God commands, such as being baptized an being in communion with the Church), and he dies in this state of grace, he will be saved. This is called baptism of desire, and it’s sufficiency for salvation can be proven by the decree Apostolicam Sedem by Pope Innocent II (r. 1130-1143):

To your inquiry we respond thus: We assert without hesitation (on the authority of the holy Fathers Augustine and Ambrose) that the priest whom you indicated (in your letter) had died without the water of baptism, because he persevered in the faith of holy mother the Church and in the confession of the name of Christ, was freed from original sin and attained the joy of the heavenly fatherland. Read (brother) in the eighth book of Augustine’s “City of God” * where among other things it is written, “Baptism is ministered invisibly to one whom not contempt of religion but death excludes.” Read again the book also of the blessed Ambrose concerning the death of Valentinian * where he says the same thing. Therefore, to questions concerning the dead, you should hold the opinions of the learned Fathers’ and in your church you should join in prayers and you should have sacrifices offered to God for the priest mentioned.

  • Pope Innocent II, Apostolicam Sedem D 388

By priest, we must assume that he meant someone studying to be one, or thought to be one, but the principle holds.

Pope Innocent III (r. 1198-1216) declares similarly in his letter Debitum Pastoralis Officii of August 28, 1206 D 413.

Anyone believes these truths and is baptized, and does not willfully separate himself from the Church, is connected in some way to the mystical Body of Christ, and will be saved, provided they die in a state of grace.

Sorry about the long post, but it is complicated,
Benedicat Deus,
Latinitas

Alright, so

A) A man is invincibly ignorant
B) He holds to mysteries 1 and 2 (there is one God, eternal …), and has faith in God
C) He “does not know the gospel of Christ”, solely because he is ignorant of the gospel

You seem to be saying

D) God will reveal himself to this man, and teach him mysteries 3 and 4
E) If God has revealed mysteries 3 and 4, the man may be saved

But which of the two below approaches is true

F.1) If God has not revealed mysteries 3 and 4 to him, the man is definitely damned

F.2) If God has not revealed mysteries 3 and 4 to him, the man may be saved if he believes mysteries 1 and 2
G.2) This man “holds the Catholic faith … whole and inviolate”

Lumen Gentium seems to support F.1. Or am I misunderstanding it?

"Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church

But you seem to be saying F.2 and G.2. Or am I misunderstanding you.

Or, is God guaranteed to reveal mysteries 3 and 4 if the man believes mysteries 1 and 2? If so, then Lumen Gentium seems to be mentioning an impossible scenario - someone who “does not know the Gospel of Christ” and yet is saved.

So, your typical Protestant or Orthodox person

1.Believes the four mysteries
2.Is baptized
3.Has not willfully separated himself from the Church

And is thus inside the church.

However, a

1.Jehovah’s Witness
2.Mormon
3.Oneness Pentecostal

Denies the Trinity, and is thus not in the Church. Also a

1.Quaker
2.Member of the Salvation Army

Is not baptized, and is thus not in the Church. Also a

1.Liberal Protestant that denies that Mary was a virgin

Is not in the Church, because he denies a part of Mystery 4

First it is necessary to emphasize that the teaching of the church on this matter has never changed. The OP gives the impression that there was an old church teaching and a modern church teaching. That is not true. The teaching was, is and has always been that there is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ and the catholic church. What the second quotes is about is the only exception, which has always existed too of invincible ignorance. If someone “through no fault of their own” do not know the gospel or Christ, and it has been just, through invincible ignorance can be saved. Again this rule and exception are not new and have always existed.

The debate is to as to what we consider no fault on their own. Personally, every priest I have spoken, every theologist, father of the church and church book that I have read, has agreed in that this condition in the current world is very hard to meet as no fault of their own means that has person never has made a decision about rejecting the gospel. Basically is anyone at some point has ever heard about the gospel or the church and remains in their position they don’t qualify for invincible ignorance. In this forum I have seen several arguments saying the opposite. However the point is the exception of invincible ignorance has always existed.

The cynic in me would point that Vatican II looks like it was intentionally written to be misunderstood. A more positive view of Protestants, that just happens to coincide with the growth of ecumenicism.

I would probably assume that Vatican II is the deviation from the historic Roman faith. Not that I believe the historic Roman faith.

I’m not sure what you mean about Communists and Franco.

So are you saying that those who do not hold the Catholic faith may be saved? I assume you believe Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Sallus. So someone can be inside the Church, and yet not believe the Catholic faith?

Catholic theology changed significantly during the development of scholasticism. I’m fully aware that the Orthodox church, and pre-scholastic Roman church tended to believe those who did not hold to the whole Catholic-Orthodox faith may be saved.

I don’t see any statements by a Pope or Doctor of the Church that those who do not believe the Catholic faith church may be saved. Baptism of Desire only extends to baptism, I assume. I’m not claiming that the medieval church didn’t teach Baptism of Desire.

Historical Papal Stance on Salvation
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=12105458
Is that helpful?
Not really. Do the people who are invincibly ignorant “hold to the Catholic faith … whole and inviolate”? If no, they cannot be saved. If yes, then the “Catholic faith” does not include the “Gospel of Christ”?

"Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church

I could see how they might be subject to the Pope in some sense, but a rather weird and unintuitive sense.

So there is an exception to Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Sallus?

I always thought that non-Catholics were in some kind of “mystical union” with the Catholic church.

Per the OP:

There is the idea of implicit faith. When a person unconditionally desires to believe all that God has revealed, but he innocently has mistaken opinions as to what is contained in the true faith, he implicitly holds the true faith, not his false opinions. Pope Innocent IV (a medieval Pope), taught this, for example:

[quote=Pope Innocent IV]In that case, the faith of the Church replaces his opinion, though his opinion is false, it is not his faith, but his faith is the faith of the Church." (Innocent IV, Commentaria in quinque libros decretalia, Ad liber I)
[/quote]

The first quote in the OP is from a restatement of the Athanasian Creed made by the Council of Florence.

Here’s what the old Catholic Encyclopedia says about that clause:

[quote=CE]The “damnatory”, or “minatory clauses”, are the pronouncements contained in the symbol, of the penalties which follow the rejection of what is there proposed for our belief. It opens with one of them: “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith”. The same is expressed in the verses beginning: “Furthermore, it is necessary” etc., and “For the right Faith is” etc., and finally in the concluding verse: “This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved”. Just as the Creed states in a very plain and precise way what the Catholic Faith is concerning the important doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, so it asserts with equal plainness and precision what will happen to those who do not faithfully and steadfastly believe in these revealed truths. They are but the credal equivalent of Our Lord’s words: “He that believeth not shall be condemned”, and apply, as is evident, only to the culpable and wilful rejection of Christ’s words and teachings.
[/quote]

newadvent.org/cathen/02033b.htm

Also, elsewhere in Vatican II, the Council explains how those described in the second quotation may be saved:

[quote=Vatican II]God in ways known to Himself can lead those inculpably ignorant of the Gospel to find that faith without which it is impossible to please Him (Heb. 11:6)
[/quote]

vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19651207_ad-gentes_en.html

Note, from all of the above, the true faith is necessary, but it can be either explicit or implicit.

He appears to be talking about material and formal heretics. Not the invincibly ignorant. Two different subjects.

So does this person “hold the Catholic faith … whole and inviolate”? If yes, how can someone disagree and agree with the Catholic faith at the same time? How can you implicitly hold a faith, without explicitly holding to it?

I agree that you have to hold to the whole Catholic-Orthodox faith in order to be saved. I don’t think Vatican II says otherwise. In fact, I believe it says so clearly: “Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation.” “[Jesus] 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.” (Lumen Gentium 14) The context of Lumen Gentium makes it clear that this affirmation is not aimed at those who are innocently ignorant. Do you have any evidence that the documents you quoted were aimed at the innocently ignorant? Because I have linked to more than a dozen Fathers and Doctors, from the so-called “medieval” period and before, who taught that a person who is seemingly outside the Church can be saved in a state of innocent ignorance.

Do you think the Church deviated from the statements I quoted in this post? IF so, during what century?

1.Protestants may be saved
2.Protestants do not hold to the whole Catholic faith

Which of those is wrong?

Vatican II is a weird document, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it had some contradictions. Regardless, this statement is about salvation outside the church, not whether one needs to hold to the entire Catholic faith to be saved.

Since there were about 500 years between the two statements, I doubt it provided much context. It might correct a misinterpretation of the Council of Florence.

It says “Whoever wishes to be saved”, which seems to include everyone.

Also, it was written to the Armenians, a schismatic church. So, they seem to be warning them about what happens to those who do not hold to the entire Catholic faith. Not about the invincibly ignorant specifically, but certainly about those outside the visible Catholic church.

The only medieval quotes that explicitly supports your position is Pope St. Gregory the Great and Francisco de Vitoria. The second was not a saint, but a philosopher. The first was in the early medieval period, and certainly prior to scholasticism. I acknowledge you have a point, but he was nine hundred years before the Council of Florence.

If I understand the doctrine of invincible ignorance correctly, #2 is wrong. There is a sense in which those who reject the Church from a position of invincible ignorance are not actually rejecting the Church. Does that make sense?

Perhaps this quotation from Archbishop Fulton Sheen may help illuminate the point:

“There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church.”

Regardless, this statement is about salvation outside the church, not whether one needs to hold to the entire Catholic faith to be saved.

It seems to me that if you hold to the entire Catholic faith, you are bound under pain of damnation to enter the Church. Therefore, I don’t think there is much difference between the two statements, the one about salvation outside the Church, and the other about needing to hold to the entire Catholic faith in order to be saved. Do you think that’s reasonable?

Since there were about 500 years between the two statements, I doubt it provided much context. It might correct a misinterpretation of the Council of Florence.

That seems reasonable.

It says “Whoever wishes to be saved”, which seems to include everyone.

I think the reference to those who wish to be saved may be a reference to those who are not ignorant. I’m not sure the ignorant would know about salvation.

Also, it was written to the Armenians, a schismatic church. So, they seem to be warning them about what happens to those who do not hold to the entire Catholic faith. Not about the invincibly ignorant specifically, but certainly about those outside the visible Catholic church.

I’m not sure what point you are trying to make by these words. If the Florence document is talking about a schismatic church, and “not about the invincibly ignorant specifically,” that seems to confirm what Vatican II says: it is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the true Church. See what I mean?

The only medieval quotes that explicitly supports your position is Pope St. Gregory the Great and Francisco de Vitoria. The second was not a saint, but a philosopher. The first was in the early medieval period, and certainly prior to scholasticism. I acknowledge you have a point, but he was nine hundred years before the Council of Florence.

First, I don’t think you and I agree about when scholasticism started. I consider scholasticism to be a feature of civilizations from long before Christianity, and I think Christian scholasticism begins with the advent of Christianity among Roman civilization’s educated “elite,” among whom I would include St. Paul, St. Justin Martyr, and many of the early Fathers. This is also the time from which the Catholic Encyclopedia traces the beginnings of scholasticism.

Second, I think Haymo of Halberstadt supports my position as much as Oecumenius and St. Thomas Aquinas. I don’t see why you come to a different conclusion. Haymo and Oecumenius both refer to non-Christians (“Saracens” and pagans) who follow their conscience and end up in a positive position on the day of Judgment. How is that different from the possibility of salvation mentioned by Vatican II?

I was talking about the “Catholic faith”, specifically. It doesn’t really make sense that Protestants believe the “Catholic faith … whole and inviolate”. Whether they are “in the Church” is a slightly different issue.

Given the whole “Black Mass” stuff, I think this is likely wrong.

Let me restate my problem.

How can some one be invincibly ignorant, while at the same time, holding to the entire Catholic faith? Those seem to be a logical contradiction. Can someone hold to a faith they do not know? If you say that they are not required to hold to the whole thing, because they are ignorant, that seems like a cop-out.

That would be a valid solution. But in the same section in the Council of Florence, there is this statement:

This is the catholic faith. Unless a person believes it faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.

Which would seem to exclude the idea that “those who wish to be saved” is a reference to the non-ignorant. The quote is at the end of the Athanasian creed, which could not be believed by someone who is ignorant.

Let me clarify. The Athanasian creed includes the Filioque. Orthodox churches do not believe the Filioque. Rome is telling the Armenians, that they are not saved, unless they convert to Catholicism. This was the whole point of the Council of Florence - the Eastern churches were trying to reunite with Rome, and the central issue was Papal Supremacy.

Wouldn’t there be Armenians who were invincibly ignorant? Presumably somebody who couldn’t read, lived in rural Armenia, and was only taught the ideas of Armenian schismatics might have been invincibly ignorant.

If you believe there are invincibly ignorant Protestants, presumably you believe there are invincibly ignorant people in the Armenian Orthodox church. As Christian groups go, Protestantism is much farther from Rome than the Orthodox.

Firstly, Aquinas talks about whether invincible ignorance is a sin. He does not say the invincibly ignorant may be saved, or anything about salvation. And nothing about something directly connected with salvation (i.e. membership in the church).

Secondly, Haymo of Halberstadt only says that their consciences will “bear witness to them” on judgement day. Again, nothing about salvation. He could be talking about their consciences condemning them for their sins on judgement day.

There is no possibility of any of these happening - God’s goodness forbids it. God wills that all men would be saved - He created them for this purpose. Hence, God will not deny a man the graces necessary for him who does what he can do to attain that end of salvation, to actually attain that end in what He cannot do, namely believe in the Mysteries of Faith knowable only by Divine Revelation. See the axiom Facienti.

Lumen Gentium seems to support F.1. Or am I misunderstanding it?

But you seem to be saying F.2 and G.2. Or am I misunderstanding you.

Or, is God guaranteed to reveal mysteries 3 and 4 if the man believes mysteries 1 and 2? If so, then Lumen Gentium seems to be mentioning an impossible scenario - someone who “does not know the Gospel of Christ” and yet is saved.

Again, since there is no possiblity of this happening, the question is meaningless.

So, your typical Protestant or Orthodox person

1.Believes the four mysteries
2.Is baptized
3.Has not willfully separated himself from the Church
And is thus inside the church.
However, a
1.Jehovah’s Witness
2.Mormon
3.Oneness Pentecostal
Denies the Trinity, and is thus not in the Church. Also a
1.Quaker
2.Member of the Salvation Army
Is not baptized, and is thus not in the Church. Also a
1.Liberal Protestant that denies that Mary was a virgin
Is not in the Church, because he denies a part of Mystery 4

Good questions by careful. The Church is visible structure - the Catholic Church is very clear on this, and does not accept the Protestant idea of an “invisible church” as seperate from the “visible church”. Now membership in the Church is determined by the outward confession of Faith. But a Protestant or an Orthodox Christian outwardly professes to believe in things that are contrary to the teachings of the Church, and hence, outwardly, and hence really ceases to be a member of the Church. The Church governs both the internal forum (that of the soul and conscience) as wel as the external forum (what’s visible), but she can only determine what is in the internal forum by what is said externally, even in the confessional. In this way She is not like God, who searches the heart of man, and knows perfectly the internal forum without the mediation of the external forum. Hence, a Protestant, even one who is not willfully disbelieving in the Church’s teaching on say, Mary, or the Eucharist, is still outside the Church in the strictest and best sense of the term. In the same way, a catechumen about to enter the Catholic Church, but who has not received baptism, is not a member of the Church in this same sense. But, for the purposes of salvation, God looks at the soul directly, and if the soul did what was pleasing in His sight, cooperated with His graces (including believing in the Mysteries as He [God] revealed them to the soul), and perservered to the end, then God will save such a soul, since the soul, by cooperating with the graces that God did give it, proved itself willing to cooperate in areas even where God did not, this accounts to the soul as being willing to enter the Church and receive baptism.

Now, about the liberal Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the like, as well as Muslims and Jews etc., we cannot comment on anyone of their salvation - God could have, in a persons’ last moments, revealed the Truths of Faith to the man, and he could have cooperated with that grace, repented sincerely and been saved, even though to us, we would think he died a Muslim, a Jew, a Jehovah’s Witness etc. What we can say is that, in any of these cases, should they do what their sincere and reasoned conscience tells them, and believe in the mysteries they can, then God will somehow and in some way find a way to bring them to the Faith and be saved. If a person were brought up a pagan, who believes in many gods, but did his best to do what he thought was pleasing to the gods, God would surely help him to even believe in the first mystery, and enlighten his reason, so that he may believe truthfully.

All we can say in this matter is, that the Faith is absolutely necessary to salvation, and that without it, “it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6). God “does not will the death of the sinner” (Ezek. 33:11), and hence, when a man does what he can, God will help him do what he cannot.

I hope this was helpful,
Benedicat Deus,
Latinitas

Which, of course, would end a discussion with any Catholic not personally interested in being abused.

Pope Eugene IV’s teaching was more expansive than one sentence, so selecting a “proof text” as you did doesn’t say much at all.

We already know that the Church has always recognized Baptism of Blood and Baptism of Desire, noting the inclusion of the Holy Innocents and John the Baptist in the Church’s calendar early in its life.

We also know that before the Vatican II council Leonard Feeney, SJ, and others were excommunicated for advocating positions consistent with your take on Eugene IV’s single sentence out of context.

So we know that the “proof text” cited is a red herring and there is no need on the part of a Catholic to respond beyond that which I have just provided, since there is no inconsistency in the Church’s actual teaching.

.

If you read the section of the council it came from, it supports my understanding of the text. This is not a cherry-picked quote. If you have something Pope Eugene IV wrote, that would clarify the situation, I’d be glad to receive it.

I didn’t dispute either of these.

I’m not aware of SJ, but Feeney was excommunicated for refusing to appear to a summons, not for doctrinal reasons (or not for doctrinal reasons alone). He was later re-communicated, without a requirement that he recant his ideas.

That’s obviously not an answer, and there certainly appears to be an inconsistancy.

It is far beyond than a “more positive view of Protestants.” Prior to the Reformation, there were not Christians in the West that were not Catholic. Those who drifted from the Catholic faith were considered heretics, and thought to have willfully rejected the One revelation of God by Himself.

Vatican II was a formal recognition that there are Christians who are not Catholic, but are not he

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.” (1271)

819 “Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth” 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, and are in themselves calls to “Catholic unity.”276

Catholic Church. (2000). Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd Ed., p. 216). Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference.

The Church is not permitted to change the once for all one deposit of divine faith that was given to her by the Apostles. We cannot deviate or alter any of it. This is why Catholics consider the doctrinal changes created in the Reformation as “a different Gospel” than the one that was entrusted to us.

Our understanding of the faith may change, but we cannot deviate in any way.

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