This is done for the love of Holy Mother Church, her Lord and our Queen.
by Adam S. Miller
Founder and Director of
Tower of David Ministry
THE CASE AGAINST FEENEY AND FOR BAPTISM OF BLOOD AND DESIRE
The Catholic Church teaching on No Salvation outside the church is a controversial doctrine to many people. In the latest catechism, the magisterium's understanding of the doctrine is spelled out here:
There are two erroneous presumptions present with the above opening statement.
1. Presumes that the text of the CCC is a Magisterial document. On the bottom of page 3 of the Pope's introduction to the CCC, we are told that it was compiled and put together by an "editorial committee". The Church has never exercised her binding (let alone infallible) teaching authority by means of an "editorial committee." The Magisterium is not an "editorial committee."
Also, not everything stated in the CCC is necessarily Magisterial in nature. In other words, there are numerous statements in the CCC which, IF said statements do not teach what the Church has always taught throughout her history (i.e. tradition), THEN these particular statements cannot be properly attributed to the Magisteium of the Church. They are simply the statements of Churchmen.
If certain statements are ambiguous, then, even though they may be faithful to authentic traditional Church teaching, they are still not properly magisterial statements, but simply the statements of churchmen. For the Magisterium, even in her ordinary and universal exercise, always teaches with clarity. In "Humani Generis" (1950; #21), Pope Pius XII declared:
"God has given to his Church a living Teaching Authority [i.e. Magisterium] to elucidate and explain CLEARLY what is contained in the Deposit of Faith only obscurely and implicitly... If the Church does exercise this function of teaching, either in the ordinary or the extraordinary way, it is clear how false is a procedure which would attempt to explain what is clear by means of what is obscure. INDEED THE VERY OPPOSITE PROCEDURE MUST BE USED." (capitals added)
2. Fatal to Mat.1618's entire argument: The opening statement presumes that once a dogma is defined that there is (or at least may be) an understanding and meaning which goes beyond the actual words of the dogmatic formula. This very notion has been solemnly condemned by the Church.
When the Church defines a dogma, in this very act (of defining) she is giving to us the EXACT way we are to believe it, understand it, profess it, spread and defend it. In other words, she IS giving us the one and only interpretation by which we must believe and understand it. Vatican I defined for us that dogmas are to be believed precisely as they are declared and that the Church "understands her dogmas by the very words she has once declared, and there must never be a recession from this meaning..." ("Dei Filius", ch.3 & canon 3). And the Church has solemnly condemned the notion that dogmas have meaning which go beyond the words of the dogmatic formula (see Lamentabili, #22,26,54,64 and Pascendi: Denzinger 2079-81, 2087 promulgated by Pope St. Pius X, 1907).
CCC 846 - Outside the Church there is no salvation. How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it. LG 14
CCC 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 throuh the dictates of their conscience-those too may achieve eternal salvation. LG 16:
These paragraphs from the CCC do not necessarily qualify or modify, let alone deny, the nessecity of water baptism and Church membership for salvation without exception. When read in light of and in subjection to what has been infallibly defined, they can (and MUST) be understood as upholding EENS and the absolute necessity of water Baptism.
Notice the first sentence in # 847 gives NO reference WHATSOEVER to ANY infallible Magisterial document. Why? Because none exists which asserts this opinion. It is therefore NOT infallible and thus open to error. This means that this novel statement is of a non-binding nature and authority. Even worse, it is a non-infallible opinion attempting to interpret that which is infallible. This turns upside-down the entire basis of authority and infallibility.
Also, that which has been infallibly defined, needs no interpretation (other than a literal reading). There is NO meaning to this, or any dogma, beyond what the words themselves declare. As pointed out above, to believe that there is has been condemned by the Church (see DNZ 2026, 2054, 2079-81, 2087)
3. Remember, according to what Vatican I defined, once a dogma is defined by the extraordinary Magisterium, then the meaning of that dogma has ALREADY BEEN determined and DEFINED for all time. This is the very PURPOSE AND NATURE of a dogmatic definition: TO DEFINE for ALL time what the Church means and HOW we are to understand and believe it. And, as Vatican II confirmed, these definitions are "irreformable by their very nature" (Lumen Gentium, 25).
The entire working premise of Mat.16 presumes the opposite to what is intrinsic to the very nature of defined dogmas and to what the Church has defined concerning dogmas.
There are many on both sides of the equation who do not accept this teaching. Protestants do not accept that Christ set up a church as the means necessary for salvation. In this paper, I will rebut the errors of Feeney, who taught that if one who is not a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church, that person has no chance of salvation. They see former dogmatic statements from Church Councils as determining exactly this.
They see the latest Catechism on this issue as a departure from the long held truth that no one can be saved unless they are baptized Roman Catholics. There are no exceptions not only for those of other religions, or Protestants, but there is no salvation for those who die without baptism as Catechumens, or even if one is martyred for Christ without water baptism.
If one does look at some of the statements made by Church Fathers and the magisterium, there may seem to be some support for the position of Feeney. However, when we go back in history, we see that many of the same Church Fathers who seem to make Feeneyite statements, at the same time make statements that give a broader understanding of salvation. We also see even during the dogmatic definitions of the doctrine (in 1208 and 1215), the reigning pope, Pope Innocent III understood salvation to be extended to those who desired baptism, but died before receiving it. We also see the Council of Trent affirming baptism of desire, and if there were any questions at all, the Trent catechism affirms the salvation of adults who died before receiving water baptism. In fact, in the three Catechisms promulgated by the magisterium (Council of Trent Catechism, Pius X Catechism, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church), all three of them in effect categorically deny the Feeneyite view of salvation. There are no Catechisms produced by the magisterium of the Catholic Church that affirms the Feeneyite view. :
What I intend to do here is show that the above definition (CCC 846-847) in the New Catholic Catechism is not to be ignored. This definition is not irreconcilable with past definitions of the magisterium and those who are faithful Catholics must agree with this definition.
He has misused the term "definition." In ecclesiastical matters of faith and morals, the word "definition" has a precise and, yes, DEFINED meaning.
The author of this article misleads his readers by equating the statements from the CCC with solemn infallible dogmatic definitions of the Church. They are not the same. Catechisms certainly can quote dogmatic definitions, but NO catechism can in and of itself pronounce its OWN dogmatic definition. Catechisms are not SOURCES of the Catholic Faith. They are simply compendiums and/or systemized presentations of Church teaching. It is the Magisterium ALONE, in her binding documents, where we have our immediate source of the Faith. (Scripture and Tradition are our remote sources of the faith.)
Therefore, paragraphs 846-848 are NOT definitions in the proper sense. As NON-infallible statements, they MUST be read in light of (subject to) what the Church has already infallibly defined as dogma.
[Matt.1618 simply states what he intends to show.]
In this paper, there will be five parts:
Part 1 The Authority of Vatican II and the Ordinary Magisterium on the
Part 2 Church Fathers
Part 3 Trent (Including texts that show that one who is justified is in state of salvation)
Part 4 Magisterial Pronouncements and Early Popes
Part 5 Feeney, Extra Ecclesiam
PART 1 THE AUTHORITY OF VATICAN II AND THE ORDINARY MAGISTERIUM ON THE ISSUE
When we see the next part on the Church Fathers, we see that the current teaching on No Salvation Outside the Church is is indeed in concert with many Church Fathers. In relation to the magisterium, this is no doubt a development of doctrine (as affirmed by St. Pius IX, SINGULARI QUIDEM, 1856).
"8. We should not conclude that religion does not progress in the Church of Christ. There is great progress! But it is truly the progress of faith, which is not change. The intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge of everybody should grow and progress, like that of the whole Church of the ages. In this way we might understand more clearly what we used to believe obscurely.)"
The only authentic interpreter of past magisterial statements are not individuals, but the living magisterium, as affirmed by the DOGMATIC (not merely pastoral) CONSTITUTION ON DIVINE REVELATION.:
"10. Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers (see Acts 2, 42, Greek text), so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort. But THE TASK OF AUTHENTICALLY INTERPRETING THE WORD OF GOD, WHETHER WRITTEN OR HANDED ON, HAS BEEN ENTRUSTED EXCLUSIVELY TO THE LIVING TEACHING OFFICE OF THE CHURCH whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed." The magisterium is thus the only authentic interpreter of past magisterial documents.
In using these two quotes (Pius IX and Vat.II), the author implies by
using these quotes that this DEFINED DOGMA of EENS and the Canons on Baptism
from Trent need further explanation:
*as if definitions were not clear enough;
*as if its meaning goes beyond words of the dogmatic definition itself. See #2 of "Section I" above.
In other words, he presumes that once a dogma has been defined that the Church still needs to expound upon its meaning. This is clearly erroneous and goes directly against what Vatican I defined concerning dogmas.
The author of this article has a FUNDAMENTAL misunderstanding of the nature of dogmas and dogmatic definitions. This fundamental error of his affects the rest of this article. For the rest of his arguments depend on his erroneous notion of dogmas as being true. Hence, there is no need to go any further.
What about the authority of Vatican II, which was the foundation for the recent Catechism. Was it merely pastoral? If that is so, does that mean that we can ignore its teachings on the issue of salvation? Do we only affirm what we believe to be in view of the past tradition, and use our own interpetations of past papal and magisterial documents?
Section V: Again, with these questions he presumes that there is a meaning, an interpretation of this dogma beyond that which the Church has used to declare and define it. His entire presentation is based on this fundamental error in direct contradiction to both Vatican I and Pope St. Pius X..
We must first examine some statements of Vatican I, which taught of papal infallibility, but also papal authority. Did Vatican I give us the freedom to dissent from papal teaching on doctrine, if we interpret the current pope as departing from the truth on doctrine? This is after all, the claim of Feeneyites. Vatican 1 in session 3, chapter 3 says:
8. Wherefore, by divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in Scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium.
In Session 4, chapter 3, Vatican I says
2. Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world.
Further down this same session says:
8. Since the Roman Pontiff, by the divine right of the apostolic primacy, governs the whole Church, we likewise teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, and that in all cases which fall under ecclesiastical jurisdiction recourse may be had to his judgment. The sentence of the Apostolic See (than which there is no higher authority) is not subject to revision by anyone, nor may anyone lawfully pass judgment thereupon. And so they stray from the genuine path of truth who maintain that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman pontiffs to an ecumenical council as if this were an authority superior to the Roman Pontiff.
9. So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema.
None of us who hold to the exact and literal meaning of the domgas on salvation and Baptism are denying the above, nor acting in opposition to it.
So far, these quotes have no direct bearing on the matter at hand. A papal "sentence" (#8 above) is a binding Papal judgment on a matter. This is completely different from the encyclicals, constitutions, catechisms, etc., of the last four popes.
Before we even get to Vatican II, we see that Vatican I, which the Feeneyites hold as absolutely true, as destroying the ground that Feeneyites work from. Those items which are to believed are not only those ones that are defined excathedra. We must also believe and hold those items that are of the ordinary magisterium. One is bound to submit to the teaching of the Roman Pontiff in matters of faith and morals.
The teaching on salvation is of the level of the ordinary magisterium, as we will see, and one must submit to that teaching. The judgments of the Pontiffs are to be submitted to, and one can not appeal to ecumenical councils instead. The context is about appealing to a current ecumenical council over the current pope. Nevertheless, this implicitly condemns also the Feeneyite attempt to appeal to their own interpretation of past ecumenical councils (i.e. Florence,) over the judgments of the pope.
Smoke screen! Smoke screen!
This is a complete MISrepresentation of the Feeneyite position. Which is nothing other than the traditional teaching of the Church. The real issue is whether NON-infallible teachings are to be understood in light of, and thus subject to, infallible teachings. This is the REAL issue which he completely ignores. He puts up this smoke screen by confusing the issue and thus confusing his readers. Mat.1618 has no real Magisterial ground upon which to stand.
Another test of the issue is whether the teaching of Vatican II's Lumen Gentium, which laid the groundwork for the teaching of the Catechism, is part of the ordinary magisterium. If it is, then all Catholics MUST submit to the doctrinal teaching on salvation, precisely according to the definition of Vatican I.
First, it must be admitted that there are some parts of Vatican II that are purely disciplinary in nature, and admitted to be so (i.e. Constitution on Liturgy and the Decree on the Media for Communication, said (Osservatore Romano Nov.30,1963.p.3): "The schemas which are to be voted and promulgated the next Dec.4 are of a solely disciplinary nature." Nevertheless, the doctrinal value of the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium is spelled out here:
(6)Doctrinal Commission on Lumen Gentium: Nov 16.1964. The Commission was asked about the doctrinal note of LG. It referred the questioner back to its own declaration of March 6,1964: "Considering the Conciliar custom and the pastoral goal of this Council, this Holy Synod defines that only those things about matters of faith and morals are to be held by the Church which it will have declared clearly as such. As to other things which the Holy Synod proposes as the doctrine of the Supreme Magisterium of the Church, all and individual faithful persons must accept and embrace them according to the mind of the Holy Synod itself, which becomes known either from the subject matter or from the manner of speaking, according to the norms of theological interpretation."
Ah, but no where did Vat.II "declare clearly as such" on a matter of faith and morals. It was more exposition and explanation, NOT declaration "clearly as such" (i.e., not declaration clearly as DECLARATION.) Luman Gentium states in its introduction:
"[the Church's] purpose is, for the benefit of the faithful and for the world, to set forth, as clearly as possible, and in the tradition laid down by earlier councils, her own nature and mission."
To simply "set forth' something is to simply provide an explanation. To "set forth" does not mean to define a dogma by "declaring clearly as such." To "set forth" for the "benefit of the faithful" clearly means that it is not definitive nor absolutely binding (as stated) on the faithful. The language is clearly NOT definitive nor binding as a de fide statement.
Also, the "norms of theological interpretation" include the principle that non-infallible statements/documents MUST be read and understood (i.e. interpreted) in light of what has been previously infallibly defined. Otherwise the notions of both authority and infallibility are undermined and even turned upside-down. Hence, the author defeats himself in quoting this statement from the commission, for when Vatican II documents are read in the proper manner, as ambiguous many are, they still can be understood as supporting EENS and the necessity of Baptism in water for salvation - WHEN UNDERSTOOD IN LIGHT OF WHAT HAS BEEN INFALLIBLY DEFINED.
Therefore, this statement from the doctrinal commision cannot be used to support MATT 16's position. Rather, it can be used to defeat his heretical opinion.
(7)Paul VI, opening speech to Third Session (AAS 56,808-09), referring to coming work on the Constitution on the Church: "In this way the doctrine which the Ecumenical Council Vatican I had intended will be completed.... It is proper for this solemn Synod to settle certain laborious theological controversies about the shepherds of the Church, with the prerogatives which lawfully flow from the episcopate, and to PRONOUNCE A STATEMENT ON THEM THAT IS CERTAIN. We must declare what is the true notion of the hierarchical orders and to decide with authority and with a certainty which it will not be legitimate to call into doubt [emphasis added]."
From the underlined words, it seems there was an intention to be definitive, and so, infallible, even without the solemn form of a definition.
Is the author of this article an idiot? Can he not comprehend what he reads. Pope Paul VI did not say that the entire document "Luman Gentium" was a dogmatic pronouncement. Pope Paul VI was saying that a pronouncement would be proper for the concerns of "the perogatives which lawfully flow from the episcopate" and "what is the true notion of the hierarchical orders and to decide with authority and with a certainty which it will not be legitimate to call into doubt." He said NOTHING else. In other words, it was only chapter 3 from LG to which Paul VI was refering.
However, Pope Paul VI was ONLY saying what was PROPER for the Council to do (future tense), he was not saying that the Council DID in fact make a binding dogmatic pronouncement. And, as is known, the Council did NOT make such a binding dogmatic pronouncement.
Pope Paul VI's opening speech had nothing to do with the authority or binding nature not only of the Council in general, it also had nothing to say concerning the document LG itself; only "what is the true notion of the hierarchical orders and to decide with authority and with a certainty which it will not be legitimate to call into doubt."
Therefore, this quote cannot be used in support of MATT1618 position.
Go to the part 1a