[quote=Servitor]This section of the Catechism is definitely a grey area. The Church (Rome) allows the so called “strict” interpretation of this dogma (ie Feeneyite, Feeneyism, etc.) Beyond this what is the Catechism trying to say:
- Is no salvation outside the Catholic Church a dogma? (It is but why does the Catechism say that it is only “often repeated phrase of the Church Fathers”)
- The catechism appears to be saying that this dogma does not apply to good will non-Catholics. Are they saying that a person can be saved without being incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ? (Most conservatives argue that non-catholics that are saved are really in the Church, they just do not know it.)
- They say that this person receives faith. Is the acceptance of this Faith a free conscious act of the individual’s will, or does God give him this Faith against or at least without the consent of the will? If he gives it to the man with the conscious consent of the will, then there would have to be some kind of Divine Revelation given and received, so what does this act of faith consist? What is the object of the faith he give assent to?
- It says that the person must seek God. So those people who are completely secular and never try to find God are damned?
- Is it saying that God will not lead those who seek him with a sincere heart to His Church? I personally could not imagine a person praying to know the truth about the Eucharist or Mary, and God not giving the person the grace to see the truth. This indeed would seem to make God out to be a monster.
With regard to the quote from Lumen Gentium, when a group of Feeneyites were regularized, they submitted their understanding of Lumen Gentium to the CDF. Their understanding went something like this:
Lumen Gentium 16 states:
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.(19*) 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. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.(20*) She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.(129) Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”,(130) the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.
Their interpretation of this paragraph went like this:
Those people who do not know Christ or His Church can attain salvation, however they can not attain salvation where they are. Because the truths that these false belief systems hold are ONLY a preparation for the Gospel. That is why the last sentence of the paragraph says “to procure the salvation of ALL of these… the Church fosters the missions…” So these people are not saved by their false beliefs which are a PREPARATION for the Gospel, nor their invincible ignorance, but by the missions. How many are saved by the Church’s mission? "ALL of these."
This interpretation was approved as an orthodox interpretation of Lumen Gentium by the CDF. I personally know many different interpretations of this passage, but I do not know another that has been approved by the CDF.
So the issue is very complex, and this is probably why apologists asked Bill Rutland not to debate James White on this portion of the Catechism.
Hope this helps.
In the Heart of Jesus and Mary,
There is nothing gray about this area of the Catechism at all. It is very very clear. Salvation will be determined by the Creator, not us. For those of us blessed enough to hear the Word we are obligated to certain earthly actions in His honor. For those not blessed enough to hear the Word, but who honor the fundamental yearning to know truth and God to the best of their ability, salvation is possible. That cannot be any clearer and only smart alek Catholics like myself will argue it like we argue over how many angels dance on the head of a pin.
Love you all - now, I am off to put my over-educated head in prayer…lolololol