For quite some time I have been meditating on the infallible dogma of faith “extra Ecclesia nulla sallus” (Unam Sanctam, Cantate Domino, Nuper ad Nos, Ubi Primum, Traditi Humilitati, Mirari Vos Arbitramur, Summo Iugiter Studio, etc.), puzzled by how many have attempted to attribute personal interpretations to “Ecclesia” despite the warning given in the Vatican I Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius: “that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding”.
Re-reading the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium of Vatican II:
This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation…Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved…
This Sacred Council, following closely in the footsteps of the First Vatican Council, with that Council teaches and declares that Jesus Christ, the eternal Shepherd, established His holy Church…and in order that the episcopate itself might be one and undivided, He placed Blessed Peter over the other apostles, and instituted in him a permanent and visible source and foundation of unity of faith and communion…And all this teaching about the institution, the perpetuity, the meaning and reason for the sacred primacy of the Roman Pontiff and of his infallible magisterium, this Sacred Council again proposes to be firmly believed by all the faithful.
Reading the encyclical Mortalium Animos of Pius XI:
<<…some…seem to have founded…a hope that the nations…will without much difficulty come to agree as brethren in professing certain doctrines, which form as it were a common basis of the spiritual life…Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God…Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little. turn aside to naturalism and atheism>>
<<some are more easily deceived by the outward appearance of good when there is question of fostering unity among all Christians… Is it not right, it is often repeated…that all who invoke the name of Christ should abstain from mutual reproaches and at long last be united in mutual charity?..But in reality beneath these enticing words and blandishments lies hid a most grave error, by which the foundations of the Catholic faith are completely destroyed.>>
<<the Only-begotten Son of God founded His Church on earth…those who call themselves Christians can do no other than believe that a Church, and that Church one, was established by Christ…visible and apparent…agreeing in one and the same doctrine under one teaching authority and government…Christ our Lord instituted His Church as a perfect society, external of its nature and perceptible to the senses, which should carry on in the future the work of the salvation of the human race, under the leadership of one head, with an authority teaching by word of mouth, and by the ministry of the sacraments, the founts of heavenly grace>>
<<These pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches seem, indeed, to pursue the noblest of ideas in promoting charity among all Christians: nevertheless how does it happen that this charity tends to injure faith? … How so great a variety of opinions can make the way clear to effect the unity of the Church We know not… But We do know that from this it is an easy step to the neglect of religion or indifferentism and to modernism, as they call it. Those, who are unhappily infected with these errors, hold that dogmatic truth is not absolute but relative, that is, it agrees with the varying necessities of time and place and with the varying tendencies of the mind…capable of being accommodated to human life>>
<<the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it…Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Let them therefore return to their common Father, who, forgetting the insults previously heaped on the Apostolic See, will receive them in the most loving fashion…Let them hear Lactantius crying out: "The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling>>
<<Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See…not with the intention and the hope that “the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government… >>
<<We desire that Our children should also know, not only those who belong to the Catholic community, but also those who are separated from Us: if these latter humbly beg light from heaven, there is no doubt but that they will recognize the one true Church of Jesus Christ and will, at last, enter it.>>