How do Catholics interpret this, what does it mean?
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.”
I’m leaving the question quite vague because I feel that I view this statement very differently to a Catholic and wondered what this statement means with reference to how you view salvation, true faith, having the whole faith etc.
I can comment further if anyone asks but I want to know what you think.
so what counts as ignorance in this statement? If they do not charge those people with the sin of seperation, are they then judged to their own rules…since they themselves did not committ heresy… or do they all have a responsibility to inform their conscience about Catholicism?
We don’t fully know how God judges those outside the Catholic Church. But, yes, in part we do know it is based on what they do know and what they should know by light of reason and by the grace of baptism.
“I do not pray for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their word, that all may be one as You, Father, are in me, and I in You; I pray that they may be (one) in Us, that the world may believe that You sent me.” - Jesus Christ, as recorded in John 17:20-21.
We believe the Church posesses the fullness of truth and is the Body of Christ. We are charged, by Christ, to bring the good news to all who are separated from the truth. We know that membership in Christ’s Church will provide the best model and inspiration for living a good, joy-filled, and peace-filled life. We know that if we are faithful to Christ through the teachings of His Church, we can be hopeful that we will spend eternity with Him in heaven.
Some things are objectively wrong, no matter how personal culpability may be lessened. Some folks belong to Protestant denominations that teach their congregation that pre-marital sex is okey-dokey, or abortion is acceptable under some circumstances, or Christ isn’t really God and man, just a totally awesome teacher/guru/philosopher/mystic. These “teachings” are objectively wrong (and in some cases, evil) and should be corrected when encountered. Even in the case of less heretical teachings, there still remains errors which could be detrimental to a Christian brother’s salvation. We have no way of really knowing for sure where anyone’s soul will end up when they are outside the Catholic Church. Even those of us inside the Church should not ever take for granted that we will be in heaven. But we do know that we are on the one true path and are charged with sharing this truth with others.
I agree with the idea of unity of faith but I believe this quote is referring to the fact that we as a people should all believe in Christianity, in Jesus in the broader sense…not just in the Catholic sense.
but I understand your point from this.
So even though protestants from birth are not held responsible for their views it is still worth teaching them true faith because it will help them live better lives in a sense…?
This is a poor translation, which gives a misleading cast to the highlighted sentence. The Latin typical version reads: “Illi qui hodie in communitatibus ortis ex talibus rupturis nascuntur « et fide Christi imbuuntur, de separationis peccato argui nequeunt, eosque fraterna reverentia et dilectione amplectitur Ecclesia catholica,” (CCC 818). In this sentence the important verb is “imbuuntur.” This means “to wet, moisten, dip, tinge, touch,’ (Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, “imbuo”). To be touched by or tinged by the faith of Christ, is not fairly translated as “brought up in the faith of Christ.”
This weakness of translation is likely to mislead a person who is disposed to take single phrases out of context and to built tendentious interpretations on such “proof texts.” The translation gives the impression that a Protestant could be taught the “faith of Christ” outside of the Catholic Church. This in turn would lead to a notion that there are various “versions” of the “faith of Christ” and that there is a sort of “general Christianity” which is separate from the Faith of the Catholic Church. These are all mistakes.
Protestant groups have a taste of the faith of Christ, some more, some less. This can moisten one with a taste of the faith, like a drop of water on a parched tongue. However, these drops are only significant because they point toward the faith of the Catholic Church – from which they are retained in the various Protestant approaches which take portions of the Catholic faith, but reject others. Even “evangelical” groups offer a taste of the faith, by offering portions of the Scriptures. However, these tastes do not constitute the “faith of Christ.”
It is in this circumstance that the Church welcomes those tinged by the faith to join her and to come to the fullness of faith of the Catholic Church, which is the faith given to us and maintained by Jesus and the fullness of the “faith of Christ.”
I think Mr. Hiner is right. I have been on both sides of this fence, having been born into the Catholic faith, leaving it and then coming back again. Most of the Protestant groups are doing the best they can, but because of the heresy of people like Luther (who I believe was a true heretic), they have been robbed of the fullness of the Catholic Church with the sacraments being taken away. As Mr. Hiner says, the Protestants have a taste of the faith, but because they have not experienced the full faith of Christ, they have no idea what they are missing. How could they possibly be responsible for what they don’t know?
I think the Holy Father answers all these questions in the document he recently released, which you can find here:
“It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them. Nevertheless, the word “subsists” can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe… in the “one” Church); and this “one” Church subsists in the Catholic Church.”
“According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called “Churches” in the proper sense.”
As one who lived many years without the Sacraments, I can say that there is no way to have full union with Christ without them. Our Protestant brothers and sisters are living in a certain darkness because they have ignorantly rejected the Sacraments. But it is a sin of ignorance, and certainly a loving God cannot hold them responsible. But they do pay a price without knowing it in that they cannot enjoy the full relationship with God that Catholics can have.
Anyone who does not have the sacraments is cut off from all of those sources of grace and as a result has a Much Better Chance of falling into Mortal Sin–dying in that state of Mortal sin–and yes Going to Hell as a result of it.
Everyone can committ a Mortal Sin.
Absent either Perfect Contrition for Mortal Sin or the Sacrament of Reconciliation we know of no way that a person can be reconciled to God after committing Mortal Win to avoid Hell.
Could God work outside of the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Perfect Contrition and save someone? Yes–because God is not Bound by those things.
But to Presume that He would is the Mortal Sin of Presumption against the Holy Spirit.
So for any Catholic at any time in the history of the universe to not try to convert those who are not Catholics to the Catholic Faith is Wrong–it shows no charity for their souls because it Does put their souls in danger of going to Hell!
Getting to Heaven is Hard for Catholics who have all the sacraments. Just think how hard it is for those who don’t!
It’s like being blind–if you’ve always had sight you don’t really know what it is like to be blind and if you’ve always been blind then you don’t know what it is like to see.
How cruel would it be to deny a blind person the chance to see if you could give then that chance?
It is just as Cruel to deny someone who does not have the Catholic faith the Fullness of it!
How cold is Indifferentism? It’s so cold that it would tell someone who is blind Jesus said "Blessed are those who believe and cannot see"so don’t worry about gaining sight!!!
I don’t believe they can be guilty of maintaining the only truth they know, and certainly any truth we are brought up with feels more natural to most of us, especially if you are living within a society where protestantism is the norm.