Salvation & Hope


#1

The Church has always believed and taught that only those who die as Catholics can be saved. It is a dogma of the Catholic Faith, which all Catholics are obliged to believe and to profess, that non-Catholics will not go to heaven. This has been defined at three different councils as an article of the Faith. In regards to the doctrine, “There is no salvation outside the Church”, how did we go from this:

From the Council of Florence, where the Church declared infallibly:

The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics, and schismatics can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the , eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels,’ (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with her; and that so important is the unity of this Ecclesiastical Body, that only those remaining within this unity can profit from the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and that they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, almsdeeds, and other works of Christian piety and duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.

to this:

1058 The Church prays that no one should be lost: “Lord, let me never be parted from you.” If it is true that no one can save himself, it is also true that God “desires all men to be saved” (1 Tim 2:4), and that for him “all things are possible” (Mt 19:26)

.
and this:

1821 We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere “to the end” and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God’s eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ. In hope, the Church prays for “all men to be saved.” She longs to be united with Christ her Bridegroom, in the glory of heaven:

Is the Church changing direction and telling us that we don’t need to believe that anyone is in hell (universal salvation) and that we don’t need to be so concerned about damnation as long as we repent and turn to God? It just seems like hope has replaced dogma. Not that hope is a bad thing, but should we base our salvation on hope?


#2

There has always been a contradiction here. Non-members are denied Catholic funerals, but it has never been forbidden to pray for the soul of any departed person, except a saint.
My own view, which is not the mainstream Catholic theological opinion, is that “Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus” is a teaching for the here and now, not one about eternal destination. Good deeds are virtually futile unless done in unity with the Church. For instance no one tried harder to help the poor than the Communists, but it all turned to dust and ashes, solely because they decided to work outside the Church rather than within it.

However whether the sincere Communist who executed a rich banker to speed the dictatorship of the proletariat will ultimately come to an understanding of the truth, only God can know, and we can pray for people like that, both before and after they die.


#3

Basically, paramedicgirl, what has happened is that theologians who found this doctrine distasteful and an impediment to their ecumenical efforts, and who had enough integrity to at least believe defined dogmas, decided to whittle away at it by redefining Church. SURE, they said, there’s no salvation outside the Church, but pretty much anybody who’s a nice guy now belongs to said “Church”.

That’s why I’ve said over and over again, and even many diehard Traditionalists don’t notice it, this is THE dogma of our times – all the roads to modern errors lead here.


#4

I’m really curious why after three pages of discussion on universal salvation, and other threads that have debated this issue extensively, there is yet another thread asking the same old questions? Could it be to reinforce and reintroduced the concept that is still being ardently clung to despite endless arguments and documents from the Church? Have none of them managed to convince?

It seems redundant to post anything further, but may I simply offer once again the teaching of the Church from BOTH Catechisms, ending with the Baltimore one of old. We’ll see that they are consistent.

CCC:
1260 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.” Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

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.

Baltimore:
Q. 653. Is Baptism of desire or of blood sufficient to produce the effects of Baptism of water?
A. Baptism of desire or of blood is sufficient to produce the effects of the Baptism of water, if it is impossible to receive the Baptism of water.

Q. 654. How do we know that the baptism of desire or of blood will save us when it is impossible to receive the baptism of water?
A. We know that baptism of desire or of blood will save us when it is impossible to receive the baptism of water, from Holy Scripture, which teaches that love of God and perfect contrition can secure the remission of sins ; and also that Our Lord promises salvation to those who lay down their life for His sake or for His teaching.

Finally, Mary’s prophetic declaration:
Lk. 1:50 And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him.

My feeling is that some who would withhold the mercy of God and restrict it solely to Catholics are not hearing the messages in these threads.


#5

[quote=Today’s first reading:]“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth
.”

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
[/quote]

Ah, the Jews of old, always jealous and hateful to the new converts. Could it be said that some radical traditionists of old are of the same spirit, always inciting, stirring up persecution against those who speak the gospel truth?

We know that the Church is always open to new guidance from the Holy Spirit into realms unknown in the past, as the need arises. The Council of Florence, having taken place years before the Reformation, did not address the problem of hundreds of religions.
To vehemently cling to its tenets without considering the current Council’s deliberations and teachings is to earn the name applied to many traditionists, unfortunately. To proclaim and uphold an older truth that is undeveloped for present situations is to lead the faithful into error.

Notice in Council of Florence that the Church rightfully speaks of pagans, heretics, Jews and schismatics.

The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics, and schismatics can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the , eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels,’ (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with her;

One who is a schismatic or heretic would automatically exclude themselves from eternal life, unless they converted prior to death. That is true teaching which nobody would refute and is true even today. A willful pagan or a Jew who rejects the gospel would also be included.

It is error to imply that the gentiles of today who are born into other faiths and have not been granted the grace to embrace Catholicism are not granted salvation unless they enter the Catholic Church —
— even though by desire, they follow the commandments and love God with their whole heart —

Is the Church changing direction and telling us that we don’t need to believe that anyone is in hell (universal salvation) and that we don’t need to be so concerned about damnation as long as we repent and turn to God?

That is a ridiculous fallacy to assume and even more ridiculous to debate, for the Church has never taught this. Repentence at the moment of death is a judgment only God knows, and as we saw with Jesus’s words to the good thief on the cross, may indeed be salvific.

Church teaching nevertheless cautions all of us to guard against the sin of presumption, assuming we will have the grace of repentence and perfect love for God just prior to one’s death. So, yes, we need to be concerned about damnation!


#6

Weren’t there some early Church Fathers who believed that all would be saved?

And didn’t VII in its document Final Restoration of All Things basically maintain that as well? Or am I reading it wrong?

My confusion is, that the Church teaches the truth with its defined doctrines. That means they are unchanging, otherwise they would not be the truth. So how can EENS be modified to include universal salvation? It would be easy to say it is in the name of ecumenism, but there must be more to it than that.


#7

New “understanding” of doctrine.

What was true before—is not true now. What is true now–may not be true in the future.

A wrecking ball—has been taken to the Pillar of Truth
So —what is Truth—and how do we know --when we have it.


#8

Well, you could always “protest” and follow the footsteps of Luther. :wink:

Safety consists in adhering to whatever the Church teaches, even when we don’t fully agree or understand what we “think” we understand. Truth is always truth, but some twist it to their own destruction, as scripture tells us. Witness the zillions of religions who all think they possess the fullness of truth.

I invite those who disagree with V-II’s doctrine on ecumenism and Lumen Gentium to write the Holy See rather than listen to false interpretations of it on the internet. PLEASE!

(But then if there is a belief that the Pope is an anti-Pope and/or the V-II Council is simply pastoral, needing no adherence or infallibility, there is little hope of anyone correcting this mindset.)


#9

OR—we can protest and follow the footsteps of those who fought off the Arians—When Arianism had almost engulfed the Church.


#10

that is simply not true, you have mis-stated Catholic teaching. for the real deal on Salvation and the meaning of no salvation outside the Church please go back to the CA homepage and read the relevant articles, then come back here for a discussion. The Church has always taught that salvation is through the merits and grace of Jesus Christ, that those merits and graces are mediated on earth through the sacramental life of the Church he founded, and that all who are saved, are saved through him. This applies even to those whom God chooses in his infinite mercy to save who on earth did not even hear or know of Jesus.


#11

Annie, honestly, you sound like a high school principal reprimanding me. This* is *a discussion, and since I initiated it, I don’t think I should be excluded from it. Just my opinion.


#12

You know, I have often heard the current state of the Church compared to the Arian heresy. I’m curious to know how this era of the Church will be viewed in the future history of the Church.


#13

who is excluding you? don’t you think a discussion will be much more profitable if it proceeds from a statement of the actual teaching under discussion, rather than a mis-statement of those teachings?


#14

My apologies. I thought when I posted this in the OP, I was posting Church teaching.

From the Council of Florence, where the Church declared infallibly:

The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics, and schismatics can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the , eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels,’ (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with her; and that so important is the unity of this Ecclesiastical Body, that only those remaining within this unity can profit from the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and that they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, almsdeeds, and other works of Christian piety and duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.


#15

There is no committee of wise theolgians sitting there who understand what the Church teaches. The Pope is the individual with final authority, and in Benedict XVI we have a fine mind, but he is not a first rank philosopher. Dogma can be in a mess, and with the “no salvation outside of the Church” issue it is in a mess. Atheists rightly say that the honest thing to do would be to admit that the previous teaching was mistaken, at least for most people, rather than play games redefining the word “Church”.

As I said in a previous post I think I have the answer to the problem, which is that the teaching applies to people in the here and now, not to their souls’ ultimate destinations. However this hasn’t been generally accepted.

If Tony Blair says “I want Earl Grey tea served at cabinet meetings” then the Downing Street tea lady has to accept it, just as if he passed a law saying that Earl Grey tea must be served at cabinet meetings. However to use the full apparatus of government for this matter would be absurd. “Pastoral” does not mean “not binding”.


#16

Here is a good answer that a Catholic pointed out a while back from the Catechism of Pope St Pius X:
Ninth Article, Q29:
29 Q. But if a man through no fault of his own is outside the Church, can he be saved?

    *A.* If he is outside the Church through no fault of his, that is, if he         is in good faith, and if he has received Baptism, or at least has the         implicit desire of Baptism; and if, moreover, he sincerely seeks the         truth and does God's will as best he can such a man is indeed separated         from the body of the Church, but is united to the soul of the Church and         consequently is on the way of salvation.

#17

I would note that when the Council of Florence says “heretics and schismatics,” it is referring to true heretics and schismatics; that is, formal heretics and schismatics. I’m not too well versed on what constitutes formal schism, but I do know what constitutes formal heresy: wrong belief and pertinacity. And pertinacity, in the sense used to describe formal heresy, does not necessarily refer to obstinacy or intentional malice. It essentially refers to knowledge that the wrong belief held is contrary to Church teaching. It does not matter if the person honestly thinks that he’s right and that he holds the correct position on a particular doctrine; what matters is that he knows that what he holds is contrary to doctrine held by the Church as divinely revealed. (I do think this is an important distinction to make because I think many people tend to think that if a person holds a belief he knows to be contrary to Church teaching but honestly thinks the Church is mistaken, he is acting in good faith. Not so. He is defying Christ when he acts thus, for Christ promised infallibility to the Church.)

1058 The Church prays that no one should be lost: “Lord, let me never be parted from you.” If it is true that no one can save himself, it is also true that God “desires all men to be saved” (1 Tim 2:4), and that for him “all things are possible” (Mt 19:26)

I’m not sure I understand what you’re trying to point out with this one; I don’t see too much of a problem with it. My understanding is that the Church has always worked, prayed, and sacrificed for the salvation of all souls. That’s actually quite different from saying that all will be saved or that salvation is possible outside the Church.

1821 We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere “to the end” and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God’s eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ. In hope, the Church prays for “all men to be saved.” She longs to be united with Christ her Bridegroom, in the glory of heaven:

Again, this one is not too far off.

But these quoted by Joysong are way off:

1260 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.” Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

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.

The simple fact of the matter is, an upright moral life and invincible ignorance cannot save. No one can be saved without supernatural faith and Baptism. Baptism of Desire is impossible without supernatural faith and charity. And the supernatural faith spoken of cannot be merely a capacity to believe the truths of faith; it must be explicit as to certain dogmas, of which most theologians are agreed on are: God’s existence, an eternal reward, the Trinity, and the Incarnation.

Thus I think those paragraphs from the Catechism are very misleading, to say the least. They completely leave out the element of faith that is necessary for salvation. Of course, this is somewhat made up for in no. 161; nevertheless, someone who did not make the connection could easily be fooled into believing that someone can be saved without faith in the Incarnation, provided he is in invincible ignorance. But such is not the case.

Exactly. But dogma is immutable; it cannot be done away with by invincible ignorance or mere hope. Invincible ignorance may excuse the breach of law, but it never supplants dogma.

Maria


#18

Maria, what about the invincibly ignorant who obeys the natural law of God, not knowing anything about faith? Do you believe that God will, at some point in his life, enlighten him with the grace to make an act of Divine faith? Of course, if he doesn’t make good use of this inspiration to firmly believe what God has revealed to him, he would be missing out on the further graces with which he could make acts of hope, repentance and charity which would gain him sanctifying grace to save his soul.

Isn’t this what the Church teaches in regards to the invincibly ignorant?


#19

1058 The Church prays that no one should be lost: “Lord, let me never be parted from you.” If it is true that no one can save himself, it is also true that God “desires all men to be saved” (1 Tim 2:4), and that for him “all things are possible” (Mt 19:26)

It’s cruel and uncharitable not to pray for the salvation of all men.

The teaching of Florence is not abjured. One must be united to the Church in some way to be saved.

Pope John XXIII:

“The Saviour Himself is the door of the sheepfold: ‘I am the door of the sheep.’ Into this fold of Jesus Christ, no man may enter unless he be led by the Sovereign Pontiff; and only if they be united to him can men be saved, for the Roman Pontiff is the Vicar of Christ and His personal representative on earth.” (Pope John XXIII, homily to the Bishops assisting at his coronation on November 4, 1958Papal Teachings: The Church, Benedictine Monks of Solesmes, Boston, St. Paul Editions, 1962, par. 1556.)

“And you, venerable brothers, will not fail, in your teaching, to recall to the flocks entrusted to you these grand and salutary truths; we cannot render to God the devotion that is due Him and that is pleasing to Him nor is it possible to be united to Him except through Jesus Christ; and it is not possible to be united to Jesus Christ except in the Church and through the Church, His Mystical Body, and, finally, it is not possible to belong to the Church except through the bishops, successors of the Apostles, united to the Supreme Pastor, the successor of Peter.” (Pope John XXIII, Address on the creation of three new dioceses on Taiwan, L’Osseratore Romano, June 29, 1961.)

**Pope John Paul I:

**“According to the words of St. Augustine, who takes up an image dear to the ancient Fathers, the ship of the Church must not fear, because it is guided by Christ and by His Vicar. 'Although the ship is tossed about, it is still a ship. It alone carries the disciples and receives Christ. Yes, it is tossed on the sea, but, without it, one would immediately perish.” (Sermon, 75,3; PL 28, 475) Only in the Church is salvation. ‘Without it one perishes.’ (Pope John Paul I, First Allocution, August 27, 1978, L’Osservatore Romano, August 28,29, 1978.)

“It is difficult to accept some truths, because the truths of faith are of two kinds: some pleasant, others unpalatable to our spirit. For example, it is pleasant to hear that God has so much tenderness for us, even more tenderness than a mother for her children. Other truths, on the contrary, are hard to accept. God must punish if I resist. That is not agreeable, but it is clear that Jesus and the Church are the same thing: indissoluble, inseparable. Christ and the Church are only one thing. It is not possible to say: ‘I believe in Jesus, I accept Jesus, but I do not accept the Church.’ When the poor Pope, when the bishops, the priests, propose the doctrine, they are merely helping Christ. It is not our doctrine; it is Christ’s: we must merely guard it and present it.” (General Audience, September 13, 1978; Quoted in The Message of John Paul I, Daughters of St. Paul, Boston, 1978, pp. 106,107.)

Pope John Paul II:**

**“The mystery of salvation is revealed to us and is continued and accomplished in the Church…and from this genuine and single source, like ‘humble, useful, precious and chaste’ water, it reaches the whole world. Dear young people and members of the faithful, like Brother Francis we have to be conscious and absorb this fundamental and revealed truth, consecrated by tradition: ‘There is no salvation outside the Church.’ From her alone there flows surely and fully the life-giving force destined in Christ and in His Spirit, to renew the whole of humanity, and therefore directing every human being to become a part of the Mystical Body of Christ.” (Pope John Paul II, Radio Message for Franciscan Vigil in St. Peter’s and Assisi, October 3, 1981, L’Osservatore Romano, October 12, 1981.)


#20

One must understand how dogmas affect our faith. As St. Albert says, we are not like pagan philosphers who seek knowledge of God for its own sake–all revelation from God has a purpose in drawing mankind to Him.

The dogma that there is no salvation outside the Church is not revealed to hit people over the head with, to despair of the salvation of others, to scoff at those of other religions, or glorify one’s own self, or to place limits on either the mercy or justice of God. All of these things will lead one away from God.

The dogma expresses, on the other hand, the fact that Jesus Christ has founded a supernatural society, His Mystical Body, of which He is the head. All of the sanctifying Divine life flows through this Body. To be spiritually alive, one must be united to this one source of life. This dogma therefore is an exhortation to all men to come to the sanctifying life which flows to the members of this supernatural society. It is also a warning not to leave this society to pursue one’s own self-centered pursuits.

On the other hand it is not meant to lead us us to read the hearts, pass judgment, and condemn others, especially those who moved by the grace of God seek this society (and He gives all men the grace of seeking according to St. Alphonsus Liguori and others) and through no fault of their own, at their death do not profess the Catholic faith in perfection. It also is not for us to neglect praying for the salvation of those who have not yet received the Gospel. God offers all men sufficient grace for salvation (according to St. Alphonsus, to say otherwise is Calvin’s heresy) and therefore it is our prayer that their hearts are softened enough to accept it and it is our hope that Our Heavenly Father will answer our prayer. :slight_smile:


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