Skip to main content

More on the Pope Francis's undercutting of every missionary, everywhere

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. -- Hebrews 11:6, ESV

Thus says Holy Writ. Pope Francis, it seems, disagrees.

It might be useful to compare the Pope's bizarre statement that atheists and agnostics may be saved with a letter on the same subject written in 1949 and promulgated by the Holy Office under the authority of Pope Pius XII, who himself was quoted on the subject in a previous post. Interestingly, the letter was written to correct Father Leonard Feeney's too strict interpretation of the maxim extra Ecclesiam nulla salus ("outside the Church there is no salvation"). Fr. Feeney was ultimately excommunicated for his teaching that only Roman Catholics can be saved.

The letter states:

But it must not be thought that any kind of desire of entering the Church suffices that one may be saved. It is necessary that the desire by which one is related to the Church be animated by perfect charity. Nor can an implicit desire produce its effect, unless a person has supernatural faith: "For he who comes to God must believe that God exists and is a rewarder of those who seek Him"


It is manifest that the teaching of the Catholic church under Pius XII directly conflicts with that of Francis I on the subject of whether a person who does not believe that God exists can be saved.

Mon. Joseph Fenton of the American Ecclesiastical Review explains,

Now most theologians teach that the minimum explicit content of supernatural and salvific faith includes, not only the truths of God’s existence and of His action as the Rewarder of good and the Punisher of evil, but also the mysteries of the Blessed Trinity and the Incarnation. It must be noted at this point that there is no hint of any intention on the part of the Holy Office, in citing this text from the Epistle to the Hebrews, to teach that explicit belief in the mysteries of the Blessed Trinity and of the Incarnation is not required for the attainment of salvation. In the context of the letter, the Sacred Congregation quotes this verse precisely as a proof of its declaration that an implicit desire of the Church cannot produce its effect “unless a person has supernatural faith."

Ever since Pope Pius IX, the Catholic church has taught that Protestants and other non-Roman Catholic theists can be saved if they are "invincibly ignorant" of the character of the Roman church. But as far as I can determine, it never authoritively taught prior to Vatican II that a person can be saved without believing that there is a God. But while a minority point of view in Catholicism has taught the possibility of atheists being saved ever since Justin Martyr's bizarre conclusion that since Jesus Christ is the eternal Logos even atheists who live "by reason" can be Christians (a kind of Second Century version Karl Rahner's oxymoronic "anonymous Christian"), not even it was
Vatican II's Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes teaches that atheists can be saved. It has, as seen above, always officially taught the opposite.

Has the Catholic church changed its teaching on the subject? Or is the Pope in error? Let the rationalizations begin! In the meantime, it's truly a tragedy that the leader of the largest Christian communion on earth has chosen to undercut the efforts of every missionary on the planet so profoundly in the interests of making "nice-nice" with the enemies of the Faith at a time when they are attacking the Truth as never before.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

McMullin, Kasich, Hickenlooper, Huntsman, or somebody else sane in 2020!

I don't expect to be disenfranchised in 2020. I'm looking forward to Evan McMullin running against President Trump and whatever left-wing extremist the Democrats nominate. McMullin may or may not run for the Senate next year, and he may or may not run for president as an independent again next time around, but the nation can't afford to lose its most eloquent and intelligent critic of the populist takeover of the Republican party and the Executive Branch. We need the man in public life.

But interesting alternatives have developed. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been mentioned as a potential primary challenger for Mr. Trump. I hope somebody continues the fight for the soul of my former party, even though I believe it to be a lost cause. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban is reportedly also considering a challenge to Mr. Trump. While I tend to see him at this point as somewhere to the left of where a candidate I would feel comfortable supporting might be, I would wish him well. Still, I see…

A modest proposal for a shocking innovation which is completely within the rules but which would, if adopted, revolutionize college football

I call it defense.

The idea- crazy as it may sound- is to supplement the scoring of points by your offense with an attempt to stop the other team from scoring them. Yeah, I know.  Really "out there," isn't it? But it has a history of winning not only games but championships. Modern college teams should try it more.

I'm a bit bummed about the Rose Bowl outcome but amused by the score. It seems that certain conferences aren't sure whether they're playing college football or high school basketball! I've noticed that in the scores of Sooner games. Last season the nation's college teams set a record by scoring an average of slightly more than 30 points each per game. That's a lot. Historically, that's a REAL lot.

The final score of the Rose Bowl was 54-48, though to be fair that was in double overtime. But to get there, the teams had to be tied 45-45 at the end of regulation! Last year was even worse. Southern Cal beat Penn State 52-49- in regulat…

A third party President in 2020?

I had the pleasure of meeting Joel Searsby, the campaign manager for Evan McMullin last year, at an event for Evan here in Des Moines during the campaign. Here's an interview with Joel by Jon Ward of Yahoo News on the ways in which centrist French President Emmanuel Marcon's out-of-nowhere landslide election last year may serve as an example for the inevitable bid to elect a rational, moderate third party candidate in 2020.

I have a feeling that it will be Evan McMullin again. But names like John Kasich, the Governor of Ohio, and Sen. Lindsey Graham also keep popping up. Word is that Kasich may challenge President Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination, an endeavor in which I'd wish him well but hold out very, very little hope for his success. I sadly expect that my conviction that the Republicans are dead as a vehicle for rationality and the reuniting of our fractured and divided country to be confirmed by the easy renomination of the most unfit and unqualified preside…