Salvation and the Church |
Contrary to what many may think, nothing in Holy Mother Church's teaching has changed and therefore we feel confident that these "points of enlightenment" will help more Catholics better understand their faith, especially those who were not blessed with early formation of the faith in the home and their parish school. Regardless of where any Catholic is in his or her journey toward salvation, he or she has to recognize that the Faith they were initiated into at the Sacrament of Baptism is the most precious gift they have been given in life. If they truly want to live their Faith as it was taught from Peter to Pius XII, they must know the Faith and live it as Traditional Catholics. That is the only way to KEEP THE FAITH!
"He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be condemned." Our Lord's certain words to His disciples as recorded in Mark 16: 16
Jesus Christ says in John 15: 4-6, "As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it remain on the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides I me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he shall be cast outside as the branch and wither; and they shall gather them up and cast them into the fire, and they shall burn."
Since Vatican II there have been many who think the term "Outside the Church there is no salvation" - the Dogma Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus - no longer exists, but they are very, very wrong for the Church has not changed their stance because Christ cannot change His stance on what He said: "Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). Since the water and Spirit were given sacramentally to the Church and the first Pope Peter then it stands to reason all are obliged to belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved. By that statement of "outside the Church" is meant that those who through their own grave fault do not know that the Catholic Church is the true Church, or knowing it, refuse to join it, cannot be saved.
While there has been an increased focus on ecumenism, it is not, as many non-Catholics and even some Catholics, especially liberal, modernist and even Novus Ordo Catholics think: a compromise of the faiths for unity. The Church cannot and will not compromise her teachings, doctrines and dogmas. The Catholic Church is the only true sacramental Church possessing all seven sacraments. The Church wants, more than anything else, unity of all faiths - but only under the terms set down by Jesus Christ, which are only carried out and perpetuated in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The Catholic Church is founded on the Apostles, to whom Our Lord gave the commission to baptize; by Baptism one is made a member of the Church. If then Baptism is indispensable, the Church must be indispensable. Christ did not die for a part of, but for all mankind. He did not leave His legacy the Church for the benefit of a few, but for all who were willing to believe. Our Lord said: "He who hears you hears Me; and he who rejects you rejects Me" (Luke 10:16).
Since God commanded all to be members of His Church, those who deliberately disobey His command will not be saved. Whoever, through his own fault, remains outside of the Catholic Church, will be lost eternally.
One who, knowing the Catholic Church to be the true one, leaves it or does not join it because he wants to make his own marriage, to advance his business, or for some other worldly motive, will not be saved. He is a willful and malicious unbeliever.
One who leaves the Church or does not enter it because of human respect, or because its doctrines require personal sacrifice, will not be saved. One who belongs to another church and has doubts about the truth or falsity of his own church, but takes no pains to find out the truth will not be saved. "If you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sin."
It is not enough to belong to the Church. We must also live up to our beliefs, otherwise our membership will only work to our greater condemnation. Only those Catholics who live according to the teachings of the Church will be saved.
The Church is a guarantee of salvation to those only who obey Her. Unfortunately, there are bad Catholics. We must therefore study our religion and then practice it. God has given us the grace to be members of the true Church; we must not waste that grace.
Catholics who have committed grave sins such as murder, arson, adultery, etc., are still members of the Church. As long as a Catholic does not deny a doctrine of the Catholic faith, or is not excommunicated, he is a member of the Church. Though Catholics guilty of mortal sin are dead members, because they are deprived of sanctifying grace, the life of the soul. Nevertheless they remain members, and have the privilege of receiving the sacraments to wash away their sins. Christ Himself predicted that in the Church there would be bad people with the good, cockle among the wheat. Mother Church is a good mother that patiently awaits the return of her sinful children, and does not exclude them from her gifts. Yet She will never, ever compromise herself for man. Yet that is what modern Catholics are confronted with and confused into buying lock, stock and barrel. Many do not realize they've actually self-excommunicated themselves by veering even one iota from solid doctrine.
An excommunicated person is one who has been cut off from membership in the Church for some serious sin against faith. He is excluded from the sacraments, from Catholic burial, and from being prayed for in the public prayers of the Church. In order to become once more a member of good standing in the Church, an excommunicate has to obtain the absolution of the Bishop. In these times that becomes a sticky issue when, in fact, the vast majority of bishops themselves are in apostasy if they have abandoned the True Mass and the doctrines upheld prior to the devastating Vatican II.
Catholics who join Masonry, or marry before a non-Catholic minister, are automatically excommunicated, if they knew the serious nature of their actions. The same holds true for one who knowingly promotes or enables the sins of abortion or sodomy, sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance.
The church of Vatican II has compromised so much and preached that those who remain outside the Catholic Church through no grave fault of their own, and do not know it is the true Church, can be saved by making use of the graces which God gives them. They compound the problem by approving of other religions, thus slapping Christ in the face and, in effect, saying, Christ died in vain. Ah yes, the 'fruits' of aggiornamento and the 'new evangelization.' It is true God condemns no man except for grave sin. Therefore He will not condemn those who, through no fault of their own, are unaware of His command to belong to the True Church. But in these times, there can be few left who have not heard the Gospel. The problem arises in how the Gospel has been skewered to placate man, not God. The modern church approves of those churches which have broken from the vine, giving credence to these dead branches as if they were alive and thriving in grace. The conciliar hierarchy are hindering countless souls from attaining salvation by denying them the opportunity to belong to the True Church by saying they don't have to, as long as they serve God faithfully according to their conscience, have a sincere desire to do God's will in all things (according to their own limited point of view and not guided by the indefectable Church), and therefore implicitly wish to become members of His Church. The modern church avers that they are members of the Church, in desire, and therefore will be saved. This is a false and is made worse when words such as "subsist in" makes all other churches equal to the only Church Christ founded!
True, it is possible for one that has never even heard of Jesus Christ to be saved, for God "wishes all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (Timothy 2:4) and "Christ died for all" (2 Corinthians 5:15). In order that such a one may be saved, it is required that he observe the natural law; with the help of God, everyone having the use of reason can do that. But it never excuses one from seeking the True Church, believing and being baptized for as Christ assured, "He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved, but he that believeth not, shall be condemned" (Mark 16: 16).
Whoever then obeys the natural law will be enlightened by God, at some time in his life, with the grace with which he can make an act of Divine faith. If he makes good use of this grace and firmly believes whatever God has revealed, he will receive the further graces with which he can make the acts of hope, repentance, and charity that must precede before God will bestow on his soul the grace to believe and be baptized, thus meriting eternal life if he remains in the state of Sanctifying Grace given at Baptism, or in the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist.
St. Alphonsus Liguori presents true
Catholic understanding of this doctrine "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus" when he stated in De Baptismo, Chapter 1: "It is de fide [of the faith and required to be believed by all Catholics] that there are some men saved also by the baptism of the Spirit [i.e., of desire, by the grace of the Holy Spirit]." Here he is joined by the the teaching of all the Fathers, Doctors, Popes, and
theologians of the infallible, perennial Magisterium of the Church.
The fact that it is a remote possibility for those outside the Church to be saved because of God's mercy is true because He is God and can do all things, but the modern church has allowed so many to lose sight of the great disadvantages those not in the bosom of Holy Mother Church are under, as compared with Catholics who live in the full light of Divine revelation. Such persons have not the infallible Church to guide them in what they are to believe and do in order to serve God. They have to live without the Sacraments, Holy Mass, and Holy Communion, and the other countless sources of grace which the Church supplies for the sanctification of its children, those professed Catholics who are members of the Mystical Body of Christ - the visible Church.
These disadvantages should make us Catholics realize more fully the many reasons we have for humbly thanking God for the priceless blessings we have received without any claim or merit of our own. They should also spur us on to give Him a more worthy service, and help spread our Faith by knowing our Faith better in order to keep the Faith and attain everlasting life.
Next issue: Schism and Heresy