Scripture AND Church: Foundational Change?


#1

Maybe you can clarify something for me:
In previous generations, the Catholic Church believed that one had to be in the church and follow the church as well as follow scriptures. People who broke away from the church and followed scriptures only were seen as heretics or NOT Christian. Today, the church recognizes that people can be Christian by following scripture alone. They do not have to be members of the church. This appears to be a big switch in what was once considered Christian and what is now considered Christian. Did Vatican II create this and how is this not a major foundational or doctrine change in the church?


#2

It is not a major foundational change because the church still teaches that one must be part of the Catholic Church. What has changed is who *may *be a member of that church. You do not have to be a Catholic to be a member of the Church. But the church still emphasizes that those who are not Catholic are in greater danger of losing their salvation than those who regularly receive the Sacraments.

The pronouncements of before would have applied and are still applied to those who have the truth but walk away from the truth of the Catholic Church. But now we have generations of people who have part of the truth, but though no fault of their own, not the whole truth.

The Church believes that God has chosen to save through the sacraments of the Catholic Church, but God is not bound to save ONLY through the sacraments.

So one still is only saved through Christ through the Catholic Church. But further understanding now tells us we do not know who may belong to the Church.

God Bless,
Maria


#3

If they are invincibly ignorant that the Catholic Church teaches the Truth, they may be saved. (They don’t have to be ignorant of what the Church teaches, just that what she teaches is true). That being said, a protestant must search for the Truth with an open heart. If they come across Catholic teaching and they are drawn to believe it by grace, but instead reject it because its Catholic and Catholics can’t be right, that person’s soul is in pretty grave danger.


#4

[quote=Genesis315]If they are invincibly ignorant that the Catholic Church teaches the Truth, they may be saved. (They don’t have to be ignorant of what the Church teaches, just that what she teaches is true). That being said, a protestant must search for the Truth with an open heart. If they come across Catholic teaching and they are drawn to believe it by grace, but instead reject it because its Catholic and Catholics can’t be right, that person’s soul is in pretty grave danger.
[/quote]

I have not quite heard that twist before. From what I have run across, the Catholic Church sees itself as the true church and the vessel by which Christ intended for his message to be presented. Although being Protestant is not the best nor the ideal way, people can be Christian and be saved by Christ. I have not heard that one’s personal knowledge or perception of Catholicism has an impact on that salvation. Where do you get the foundation for your comment?


#5

[quote=MariaG]It is not a major foundational change because the church still teaches that one must be part of the Catholic Church. What has changed is who *may *be a member of that church. You do not have to be a Catholic to be a member of the Church. But the church still emphasizes that those who are not Catholic are in greater danger of losing their salvation than those who regularly receive the Sacraments.

The pronouncements of before would have applied and are still applied to those who have the truth but walk away from the truth of the Catholic Church. But now we have generations of people who have part of the truth, but though no fault of their own, not the whole truth.

The Church believes that God has chosen to save through the sacraments of the Catholic Church, but God is not bound to save ONLY through the sacraments.

So one still is only saved through Christ through the Catholic Church. But further understanding now tells us we do not know who may belong to the Church.

God Bless,
Maria
[/quote]

I see that you are clarifying that one does not have to a member of the church to be saved by Christ or be Christian. However, I fail to see how this is not in conflict with the church of previous centuries. In previous times, one had to be a member of the church to be saved or Christian. It didn’t matter how much information you had or whether or not you had an incorrect perception. You were a member or you were not. It was a black and white issue in previous centuries and the position on the matter has become more gray. Don’t people contribute this to Vatican II?


#6

I have not quite heard that twist before. From what I have run across, the Catholic Church sees itself as the true church and the vessel by which Christ intended for his message to be presented. Although being Protestant is not the best nor the ideal way, people can be Christian and be saved by Christ. I have not heard that one’s personal knowledge or perception of Catholicism has an impact on that salvation. Where do you get the foundation for your comment?

Simply from the fact that if with knowledge and consent you reject a teaching that is to be definiteively held by all the faithful, you are a heretic.The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines these three sins against the faith in this way:

2089 Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. “Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.” Code of Canon Law c.751]

The Church’s moral theology has always distinguished between objective or *material *sin and formal sin. The person who holds something contrary to the Catholic faith is materially a heretic. They possess the matter of heresy, theological error. Thus, prior to the Second Vatican Council it was quite common to speak of non-Catholic Christians as heretics, since many of their doctrines are objectively contrary to Catholic teaching. This theological distinction remains true, though in keeping with the pastoral charity of the Council, today we use the term heretic only to describe those who willingly embrace what they know to be contrary to revealed truth. Such persons are formally (in their conscience before God) guilty of heresy. Thus, the person who is objectively in heresy is not formally guilty of heresy if 1) their ignorance of the truth is due to their upbringing in a particular religious tradition (to which they may even be scrupulously faithful), and 2) they are not morally responsible for their ignorance of the truth. This is the principle of invincible ignorance, which Catholic theology has always recognized as excusing before God.

Only God can judge whether one is invincibly ignorant. Are you ignorant because you couldn’t have known or because you didn’t want to know (ie because of pride)? Only God can read our hearts and answer that question.


#7

I see that you are clarifying that one does not have to a member of the church to be saved by Christ or be Christian. However, I fail to see how this is not in conflict with the church of previous centuries. In previous times, one had to be a member of the church to be saved or Christian. It didn’t matter how much information you had or whether or not you had an incorrect perception. You were a member or you were not. It was a black and white issue in previous centuries and the position on the matter has become more gray. Don’t people contribute this to Vatican II?

Things used to be more black and white because you either were a Christian and therefore Catholic or you weren’t. If you were a Christian and left the Catholic Church, you were no longer a follower of Christ. There was only One Church.

Today, that is no longer true. One can be Christian but not a Catholic Christian.

Also, there has been a development of doctrine. Not new, just new understanding of that which has been revealed. I am not saying that one is not a member of the Catholic Church. To be saved, you must be a member of the Catholic Church. What I am saying is that you may not have to be an official member.

Read this here. catholic.com/library/Salvation_Outside_the_Church.asp

from Salvation Outside the Church CA Library
The following quotations from the Church Fathers give the straight story. They show that the early Church held the same position on this as the contemporary Church does—that is, while it is normatively necessary to be a Catholic to be saved (see CCC846; Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 14), there are exceptions, and it is possible in some circumstances for people to be saved who have not been fully initiated into the Catholic Church (CCC847).

God Bless,
Maria


#8

[quote=MariaG]Things used to be more black and white because you either were a Christian and therefore Catholic or you weren’t. If you were a Christian and left the Catholic Church, you were no longer a follower of Christ. There was only One Church.

Today, that is no longer true. One can be Christian but not a Catholic Christian.

Also, there has been a development of doctrine. Not new, just new understanding of that which has been revealed. I am not saying that one is not a member of the Catholic Church. To be saved, you must be a member of the Catholic Church. What I am saying is that you may not have to be an official member.

Read this here. catholic.com/library/Salvation_Outside_the_Church.asp

God Bless,
Maria
[/quote]

What then qualifies you as saved without being fully initiated? Who decides what that is?

As far as my earlier comment, I fail to see how this change of view was not a major change in what it means to be Christian. If you had to be Catholic just a century ago, not having to technically be one now is a major viewpoint change. I see a lot of dog and pony show explanations for the change. However, I personally and respectfully fail to see how it is not a major change in point of view.


#9

[quote=Genesis315]Simply from the fact that if with knowledge and consent you reject a teaching that is to be definiteively held by all the faithful, you are a heretic.The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines these three sins against the faith in this way:

2089 Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. “Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.” Code of Canon Law c.751]

The Church’s moral theology has always distinguished between objective or *material *sin and formal sin. The person who holds something contrary to the Catholic faith is materially a heretic. They possess the matter of heresy, theological error. Thus, prior to the Second Vatican Council it was quite common to speak of non-Catholic Christians as heretics, since many of their doctrines are objectively contrary to Catholic teaching. This theological distinction remains true, though in keeping with the pastoral charity of the Council, today we use the term heretic only to describe those who willingly embrace what they know to be contrary to revealed truth. Such persons are formally (in their conscience before God) guilty of heresy. Thus, the person who is objectively in heresy is not formally guilty of heresy if 1) their ignorance of the truth is due to their upbringing in a particular religious tradition (to which they may even be scrupulously faithful), and 2) they are not morally responsible for their ignorance of the truth. This is the principle of invincible ignorance, which Catholic theology has always recognized as excusing before God.

Only God can judge whether one is invincibly ignorant. Are you ignorant because you couldn’t have known or because you didn’t want to know (ie because of pride)? Only God can read our hearts and answer that question.
[/quote]

I see what you are saying. However, if a non-Catholic truly thought they were in error, they would make the change. I don’t think seeing error and keeping the status quo can really apply to anyone wanting to live and be a Christian. Also, how is your comment not in conflict with the position of the Catholic Church today? I have never seen your comments on Protestant Christianity have these disclaimers in recent decades.


#10

What then qualifies you as saved without being fully initiated? Who decides what that is?

God.

As far as my earlier comment, I fail to see how this change of view was not a major change in what it means to be Christian.

Change means is like the episcopal confirming an openly homosexual bishop who lives with his partner.

Develop means you have the same basics, just greater understanding.

If you had to be Catholic just a century ago, not having to technically be one now is a major viewpoint change. I see a lot of dog and pony show explanations for the change. However, I personally and respectfully fail to see how it is not a major change in point of view.

So everything you learn, and know, you understand perfectly and fully? Good for you. I personally am glad I belong to a living breathing Church that is constantly seeking to understand that which has already been revealed.

I guess it is a good thing you are not Catholic. I see a very simple explanation. I see a greater understanding, not change. Sorry you are unable to see that.

God Bless,
Maria


#11

posted by CatherineofA

I see what you are saying. However, if a non-Catholic truly thought they were in error, they would make the change. I don’t think seeing error and keeping the status quo can really apply to anyone wanting to live and be a Christian. Also, how is your comment not in conflict with the position of the Catholic Church today? I have never seen your comments on Protestant Christianity have these disclaimers in recent decades.

I know you posted this to Genesis, but the “twist” you were refering to is the same thing I was saying with different words. It is due to the “invincible ignorance” that only God knows who may be saved. But we know they will be saved only through Christ and the Church He established.

You seem to think the way Genesis worded it is at odds with the Catholic Church today. What is at odds is your understanding, not Church doctrine past or present.

God Bless,
Maria


#12

[quote=MariaG]I know you posted this to Genesis, but the “twist” you were refering to is the same thing I was saying with different words. It is due to the “invincible ignorance” that only God knows who may be saved. But we know they will be saved only through Christ and the Church He established.

You seem to think the way Genesis worded it is at odds with the Catholic Church today. What is at odds is your understanding, not Church doctrine past or present.

God Bless,
Maria
[/quote]

All Christian churches state that only God knows who he will save. That is not a strictly Catholic view. If you have to be saved through Christ AND the Catholic church, how can the church say that you do not have to be a practicing Catholic in a Catholic Church to be Christian? What you are saying is contradictory to what I have heard and read. It sounds as if you are saying that the church has to be a part of the salvation. How can you say that and yet the church has been known to have said that you do not have to be a church member to be saved? I do not have understanding at odds when a statement is made that Christ AND the church saves by a poster and then hear and read elsewhere that the church says that you do not have to be an official member to be saved. Both cannot exist. It’s either one or the other.


#13

[quote=CatherineofA]Maybe you can clarify something for me:
In previous generations, the Catholic Church believed that one had to be in the church and follow the church as well as follow scriptures. People who broke away from the church and followed scriptures only were seen as heretics or NOT Christian. Today, the church recognizes that people can be Christian by following scripture alone. They do not have to be members of the church. This appears to be a big switch in what was once considered Christian and what is now considered Christian. Did Vatican II create this and how is this not a major foundational or doctrine change in the church?
[/quote]

There has been no foundational change in Church teaching.
The Catholic Church holds to the claim to have been founded by Christ for the salvation of all. The early Fathers held that salvation cannot be achieved outside the Church. However, at about the same time, another tradition was developing through the recognition of the fact that there were God-fearing people outside the Church. An example of this is the account of Cornelius, “an upright and God-fearing man,” from the Acts of the Apostles. This tradition held that such people who, through no fault of their own, were deprived of the Church were open to salvation although they were not professed Catholics. By the twelfth century it was widely held that a person can be saved if, “some invincible obstacle stands in the way of his baptism and entrance into the Church.” (The Catholic Catechism, John A. Hardon, S.J.) This doctrine was later spoken of by Pope Boniface VIII in 1302, by the Council of Florence in 1442, and by the Council of Trent 1537 which defined the dogma of Baptism of desire. The matter of the two traditions was again addressed at the Second Vatican Council which stated, “it would be impossible for men to be saved if they refused to enter or remain in the Catholic Church, unless they were unaware that her foundation by God through Jesus Christ made it necessary.” (ibid) So, Vatican II did not depart from the traditional teaching of the Church in this matter.


#14

[quote=CatherineofA]I see what you are saying. However, if a non-Catholic truly thought they were in error, they would make the change. I don’t think seeing error and keeping the status quo can really apply to anyone wanting to live and be a Christian. Also, how is your comment not in conflict with the position of the Catholic Church today? I have never seen your comments on Protestant Christianity have these disclaimers in recent decades.
[/quote]

Well, are you thinking you are not in error because of pride? Only God can judge that.

The Church still teaches this. The pastoral thinking today says it is best to let the Holy Spirit guide Protestants home rather than to try and force convert them.


#15

[quote=MariaG]God.

Change means is like the episcopal confirming an openly homosexual bishop who lives with his partner.

Develop means you have the same basics, just greater understanding.

So everything you learn, and know, you understand perfectly and fully? Good for you. I personally am glad I belong to a living breathing Church that is constantly seeking to understand that which has already been revealed.

I guess it is a good thing you are not Catholic. I see a very simple explanation. I see a greater understanding, not change. Sorry you are unable to see that.

God Bless,
Maria
[/quote]

I see that you mean God decides. Protestants believe that too. I agree that change would be the view on homosexual bishops with partners. That would be a negative and unBiblical change. Changing whether or not you have to be a member of the Catholic Church to be saved is a change of a basic core belief of the church views and not necessarily Biblical ones. It depends on your Catholic or Protestant interpretation.
I am more than happy to see anything that the Catholic Church can reveal as far as its role in history and place in Christendom. However, change is change. If the church stated that you have to be a member of the Catholic Church to be saved and then later stated you do not have to be a member, that is a change in a basic core belief in the supremacy of the faith. I do not have to be Catholic to see that a change occurred. Going from requiring membership to not requiring it is a change. It may not be serious or a rocky changee. It may be a positive change. However, it is a change that alters what is expected of a person to receive salvation.


#16

It’s really pretty simple CA. If you want the fullness of truth as opposed to portions thereof, you, out of a good and honest conscience before God, will come into the church that Christ Himself founded. Why would anyone with a right conscience settle for less.
Pax vobiscum,


#17

[quote=banjo]There has been no foundational change in Church teaching.
The Catholic Church holds to the claim to have been founded by Christ for the salvation of all. The early Fathers held that salvation cannot be achieved outside the Church. However, at about the same time, another tradition was developing through the recognition of the fact that there were God-fearing people outside the Church. An example of this is the account of Cornelius, “an upright and God-fearing man,” from the Acts of the Apostles. This tradition held that such people who, through no fault of their own, were deprived of the Church were open to salvation although they were not professed Catholics. By the twelfth century it was widely held that a person can be saved if, “some invincible obstacle stands in the way of his baptism and entrance into the Church.” (The Catholic Catechism, John A. Hardon, S.J.) This doctrine was later spoken of by Pope Boniface VIII in 1302, by the Council of Florence in 1442, and by the Council of Trent 1537 which defined the dogma of Baptism of desire. The matter of the two traditions was again addressed at the Second Vatican Council which stated, “it would be impossible for men to be saved if they refused to enter or remain in the Catholic Church, unless they were unaware that her foundation by God through Jesus Christ made it necessary.” (ibid) So, Vatican II did not depart from the traditional teaching of the Church in this matter.
[/quote]

Thank you very much for your post. I have finally received a comment that can possibly be verified or linked to historical precedence! This is what I was looking for with my question! Please do not go away and answer another question for me. Based on what you posted, why has the church been mentioned during the Reformation era as seeing the reformers as heretics and the like? Based on what you stated about the early centuries, why did they not view the reformers differently?


#18

[left][font=Times]This was written by our new pope back when we was a cardinal:[/font]
[font=Times][/font]
[font=Times]CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH [/left]
DECLARATION***
“DOMINUS IESUS”
***ON THE UNICITY AND SALVIFIC UNIVERSALITY
OF JESUS CHRIST AND THE CHURCH

[/font][left]

[/left]

If it is true that the followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the Church, have the fullness of the means of salvation.92 However, “all the children of the Church should nevertheless remember that their exalted condition results, not from their own merits, but from the grace of Christ. If they fail to respond in thought, word, and deed to that grace, not only shall they not be saved, but they shall be more severely judged”.93 One understands then that, following the Lord’s command (cf. Mt 28:19-20) and as a requirement of her love for all people, the Church “proclaims and is in duty bound to proclaim without fail, Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6). In him, in whom God reconciled all things to himself (cf. 2 Cor 5:18-19), men find the fullness of their religious life”.94


#19

Here’s current teaching from the Congregation of the Doctrine and the Faith and it was written by our current pope when he was a Cardinal.

Dominus Iesus

If it is true that the followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the Church, have the fullness of the means of salvation.92 However, “all the children of the Church should nevertheless remember that their exalted condition results, not from their own merits, but from the grace of Christ. If they fail to respond in thought, word, and deed to that grace, not only shall they not be saved, but they shall be more severely judged”.93 One understands then that, following the Lord’s command (cf. Mt 28:19[font=‘Times New Roman’]-[/font]20) and as a requirement of her love for all people, the Church “proclaims and is in duty bound to proclaim without fail, Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6). In him, in whom God reconciled all things to himself (cf. 2 Cor 5:18-19), men find the fullness of their religious life”.94


#20

Here is current teaching written by our new pope when he was a cardinal (my bold)
vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000806_dominus-iesus_en.html

If it is true that the followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the Church, have the fullness of the means of salvation.92 However, “all the children of the Church should nevertheless remember that their exalted condition results, not from their own merits, but from the grace of Christ. If they fail to respond in thought, word, and deed to that grace, not only shall they not be saved, but they shall be more severely judged”.93 One understands then that, following the Lord’s command (cf. Mt 28:19-20) and as a requirement of her love for all people, the Church “proclaims and is in duty bound to proclaim without fail, Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6). In him, in whom God reconciled all things to himself (cf. 2 Cor 5:18-19), men find the fullness of their religious life”.94

In inter-religious dialogue as well, the mission *ad gentes *“today as always retains its full force and necessity”.95 “Indeed, God ‘desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth’ (1 Tim 2:4); that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the promptings of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in God’s universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary”.96 Inter-religious dialogue, therefore, as part of her evangelizing mission, is just one of the actions of the Church in her mission ad gentes.97 Equality, which is a presupposition of inter-religious dialogue, refers to the equal personal dignity of the parties in dialogue, not to doctrinal content, nor even less to the position of Jesus Christ — who is God himself made man — in relation to the founders of the other religions. Indeed, the Church, guided by charity and respect for freedom,98 **must be primarily committed to proclaiming to all people the truth definitively revealed by the Lord, and to announcing the necessity of conversion to Jesus Christ and of adherence to the Church through Baptism and the other sacraments, in order to participate fully in communion with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. **Thus, the certainty of the universal salvific will of God does not diminish, but rather increases the duty and urgency of the proclamation of salvation and of conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ.


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