Monday
July 7, 2008
vol 19, no. 189

Ellipses can Eclipse Ecclesial Intent

    In an effort not to mix metaphors, but to mine for the gems the Church has always held sacrosanct as divine truth, we hold a Ruby up to a Dimond to show the obvious imperfections in the latter's seemingly brilliant refractions of promoting Feeneyism. However, when looking closer one can see the gaps in the quartz that make its claim to being reliable totally bogus and extremely harmful to the investment of souls. The Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus dogmatic argument stands true as always, but the denial of Baptism of Blood and Baptism of Desire holds no light in the spectrum of the Communion of Saints and, does, in fact, dull the senses and leads to grave error and a serious detriment to unity within the Church.

      "But look at what a serious implication this would say regarding the Church over the past however many centuries! If their claims against Baptism of Blood and of Desire (hereinafter to be shortened to the commonly used BOB/BOD) constituted the real Catholic doctrine, then the Church's popes and bishops have all been heretics (or at least holding to a very serious error) for centuries at least, or even from the very beginning. How can one posit an authoritative and infallible hierarchy of the Church without also claiming that it has been wrong about this matter for practically as long as the question seems to have come up specifically?"

    Part 1 of this series addressed the question of Scholastic Dishonesty in a general manner, using principally the example of the Watchtower Society (Jehovah's Witnesses) teachings, but also a little bit from some of various Protestants, Deists, Secular Humanists, Agnostics, or Atheists who also twisted or misused the Sacred Scriptures. However, it is one particular form of scholastic dishonesty which I wish to address is one which is causing grief and sowing division with the Catholic fold itself. And that is the extraordinary propositions put forth most notably by Fr. Leonard Feeney, but also by his various followers, and most recently by Brother Peter Dimond, O. S. B.

    Peter Dimond's treatise, "Outside the Catholic Church There is Absolutely No Salvation," seems to represent (at least to me) the most exhaustive attempt to gather all the basic material regarding the various debates that have occurred regarding the question of Baptism of Blood and Baptism of Desire under one cover. I suppose that Mr. Dimond can take it as a kind of left-handed compliment that I have elected his work to be the one I most directly refute, for in refuting his attempt to defend his denial of the Catholic doctrines regarding Baptism of Blood and of Desire I will have thereby refuted the others as well. It seems to me unlikely that he will have overlooked more than the barest handful of such arguments and quotations ever put forth.

    And the erroneous treatise (and equally erroneous doctrine almost unique to Fr. Feeney) truly needs to be addressed and refuted in order that the Church may purge Herself of a growing error which has already impaired Her functioning in the United States like a cancer, and is even now beginning to find some few followers in other countries. Interestingly enough, with the exception of Fr. Feeney himself and perhaps some barest handful of other priests (what pitifully few there have ever been, Fr. Michael Jarecki being the only one I know of, though Fr. James F. Wathen was generally known to be rather soft towards this error), the denials of Baptism of Blood and of Desire have been totally a move of the laity.

    In all of Church history, not a single bishop, not even a fallen or schismatic one, has ever advocated such a position. Well, perhaps they may eventually get their first. A recent announcement, dated Epiphany 2005, from the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, states their intention to have one of their members ordained as a priest. The problem shows up in finding a bishop to do it, for no bishop at present would willingly ordain anyone so plainly married to such a grave error. It can only be a matter of time before they (and others like them) begin saying to themselves, "We need to get ourselves a bishop." Given that the Roman Catholic bishops all reject this error, and for that matter so do all known schismatic and/or heretical bishops, there is no way (short of deception) that they will ever get a legitimate bishop (in any sense) to perform this ordination. It can only be a matter of time before they either decide that bishops (and priests) are not essential to the constitution of the Church, or else lower their standards, in that with only a little money there might well be some Old Catholic or Duarte-line cleric who might be willing to give them their first bishop.

    But look at what a serious implication this would say regarding the Church over the past however many centuries! If their claims against Baptism of Blood and of Desire (hereinafter to be shortened to the commonly used BOB/BOD) constituted the real Catholic doctrine, then the Church's popes and bishops have all been heretics (or at least holding to a very serious error) for centuries at least, or even from the very beginning. How can one posit an authoritative and infallible hierarchy of the Church without also claiming that it has been wrong about this matter for practically as long as the question seems to have come up specifically?

    "But all these popes and bishops haven't been wrong, for look at all the quotes we have in support of our claims!" they might protest. Ah, yes, the quotes! Before I get to those, allow me to identify four basic groups who will have to be most directly concerned with this response to their denials of BOB/BOD.

  • The first would be those who themselves are the ones writing the books, preaching their denials, concocting their arguments and cases, and scouring all the dogmatic and historical sources of the Church for useful prooftexts for their cause instead of being edified and imbued with the Mind of the Church.
  • The second group would be their inner circle of most ardent supporters who themselves are irrevocably committed to their teaching past any possible considerations whatsoever.
  • The third group would be the remaining bulk of their followers who have been quite impressed with their claims and have even gone along with them for some season, but who remain nevertheless open to reason and to facts.
  • Finally, the fourth group consists of those new inquirers who may be learning of these issues for the first time and as yet still wondering what to make of their claims.

    Regarding the first two groups, I harbor no illusions of persuading any of the deliberate deceivers among these for they will persist in their claim even in the face of seeing everyone else around them leaving them and saying "give it a rest; you've lost, admit it," even with no leg left to stand on they will continue pulling themselves along with their arms, and when they are with no arms, they would even then squidge and slither along further. In their present state of mind and soul, even if God Himself were to be standing before them in all His glory and announcing to them that yea verily they must abandon their denial of BOB/BOD they would call God Himself a liar to His face.

    It is really the third and fourth groups with which I am concerned. The fourth can here be quickly and fully warned as to what a mistake it would be to pursue such a direction. It is the third group who most sincerely feel obliged to be where they are on the strength of the quotations given, who, had the quotes themselves simply read different, would simply not even be there, but who believe it out of a good motive of loyalty to God and His Church. It is they whom I most principally wish to free from a terrible misunderstanding of Church doctrine into which they have been woefully deceived by the sheer artifice of scholastic dishonesty.

    While I have long wanted to write this series, other writing projects have always seemed to be more immediately pressing, and so this languished as a mere idea in the back of my head. But when a friend, who is also a writer, informed me that he had read the treatise by Mr. Dimond and found it convincing, I realized that I could afford to sit on this project no longer. It is to this fellow writer (you know who you are!) to whom this series is therefore dedicated. Now, to the quotes.

    Allow me to start with the first really persuasive seeming quote, for it appears to speak directly to the question of Baptism of Desire. This quote, from St. John Chrysostom, appears in Section 6, on page 21 of Peter Dimond's "Outside the Catholic Church There is Absolutely No Salvation" (hereinafter to be referred to as "the Treatise"):

For the Catechumen is a stranger to the Faithful… One has Christ for his King; the other sin and the devil; the food of one is Christ, of the other, that meat which decays and perishes… Since then we have nothing in common, in what, tell me, shall we hold communion?… Let us then give diligence that we may become citizens of the city above… for if it should come to pass (which God forbid!) that through the sudden arrival of death we depart hence uninitiated [unbaptized], though we have ten thousand virtues, our portion will be none other than hell, and the venomous worm, and fire unquenchable, and bonds indissoluble.

    How impressive that must be! Here is an ancient Church Father being quoted as saying that even a catechumen (unbaptized) with ten thousand virtues who dies as such must necessarily go to Hell. Does this not prove their claim, or at least show that St. John Chrysostom here has explicitly denied a belief in BOD?

    Ahh, but notice the ellipses. There's something missing.

    What is missing from such a selective quotation is the overall context in which the saint preaches on the sacrament of Baptism, and in the relevant paragraph herein he emphasizes the duty to pursue this course. Looking at the quote in context it becomes quite clear that there are those who become catechumens, but then remain thus long after they have otherwise qualified for water Baptism into the Church, and for no good reason. After all, less persecution would fall on the catechumen who, being such can easily renounce the Lord and then repent of it later, but all still before being baptized. Others may well still have had a life enslaved to some sin they were unwilling to give up, and at least respectful of the fact that they would have to give up their sin once baptized. And those who tarry thus are no better off in the Judgment than those who remain wholly in the world.

    Let us then who have been deemed worthy of such mysteries show forth a life worthy of the Gift, that is, a most excellent conversation; and do ye who have not yet been deemed worthy, do all things that you may be so, that we may be one body, that we may be brethren. For as long as we are divided in this respect, though a man be father, or son, or brother, or anything else, he is no true kinsman, as being cut off from that relationship which is from above. What advantages it to be bound by the ties of earthly family, if we are not joined by those of the spiritual? what profits nearness of kin on earth, if we are to be strangers in heaven? For the Catechumen is a stranger to the Faithful. He has not the same Head, he has not the same Father, he has not the same City, nor Food, nor Raiment, nor Table, nor House, but all are different; all are on earth to the former, to the latter all are in heaven. One has Christ for his King; the other, sin and the devil; the food of one is Christ, of the other, that meat which decays and perishes; one has worms' work for his raiment, the other the Lord of angels; heaven is the city of one, earth of the other. Since then we have nothing in common, in what, tell me, shall we hold communion? Did we remove the same pangs, did we come forth from the same womb? This has nothing to do with that most perfect relationship. Let us then give diligence that we may become citizens of the city which is above. How long do we tarry over the border, when we ought to reclaim our ancient country? We risk no common danger; for if it should come to pass, (which God forbid!) that through the sudden arrival of death we depart hence uninitiated, though we have ten thousand virtues, our portion will be no other than hell, and the venomous worm, and fire unquenchable, and bonds indissoluble. But God grant that none of those who hear these words experience that punishment!

    So there it is in no uncertain terms. It is not catechumens in general (all) whom he has spoken of as being necessarily damned if they have the misfortune to die as such, but only those who needlessly tarry as such, perhaps presuming on their close association with the Church, perhaps even as a benefactor thereof, as being sufficient for salvation. Indeed, down through the ages the Church has long had any number of "fellow-travelers" who have said kind things of the Church or been friendly and even (at times) helpful, and yet have always stopped short of actually converting and joining Her.

    But this distinction is carefully concealed in the quote as given in the Treatise. To paraphrase and adapt some words from a later part of this selfsame Treatise (pages 82-83), "the words 'How long do we tarry over the border, when we ought to reclaim our ancient country?' are removed by Peter Dimond and replaced with ellipses (…).

    Now, of course, it is perfectly justifiable to use ellipses (…) when quoting texts, in order to pass over parts of the quotation that are not crucial or necessary in the discussion. But, in this case, the readers of Mr. Dimond's Treatise would have been well served to see this short, crucial clarification by St. John Chrysostom that baptism of desire would not apply to those catechumens who needlessly tarry. Mr. Dimond deliberately removed it because he knows that it is devastating to his contention that baptism of desire is not a teaching of the Church based on the opinions of saints." In the next installment I will deal with the accusation that Fr. Laisney might have committed anything similar in his book, Baptism of Desire.

    This one misused quotation should be enough to show that Peter Dimond is not above using whatever methods of scholastic dishonesty it takes to make his useful quotes seem to say what they do not in fact say. Nor can he claim to having made a sincere mistake, for he has to have seen the original, in order to cut it down deceptively into a shape so usable to his agenda. It also shows him willing to do what he accuses others of doing. Of course this is just one particular quote, and there are a number of others which will have to be addressed a little more generally.

    As discussed at the very end of Part 1, there is a most significant distinction to be made between "do not" and "have not." And as illustrated with the example of our Lady's virginity and St. Luke 1:34 in the Bible, and again with my example with the group that "does not" vote in elections, the distinction simply has to be recognized.

    This is no mere grammatical issue. It relates to the basic teaching of the Church regarding Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell. For God is just; and those punished in Hell are so damned not for anything which they had no control, but for their own sins. See who gets punished in Hell in the Second Death, as written in the Apocalypse: "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Not those who "didn't accept Jesus Christ as their Personal Savior," nor those who "didn't happen to be baptized in water," but those who commit actual sins, the sins that necessarily follow from a condition of original sin and also the lack of the only remedy for sin, namely God's Grace.

    In Hell, the infliction of an actual pain of sense, is a direct and active punishment from God for actual sins. Only the pain of loss, which is an indirect and passive lack of God, can be for anyone who has against him nothing but that original sin he was born with (and hence the teaching of Limbo of infants).

    Choice is what runs through the warp and woof of all actual sins. For where there is no real choice neither can there be sin (apart from the original sin, and even that was based on a choice made by Adam, in whose flesh we were all born). People go to Hell because they chose something over God, some sin, some idol some whatever other thing of any sort that meant more to them than the Creator - the Father to Whom they owe their very existence and life, the Redeemer Jesus Christ Who died to pay for all their sin (original and actual), and the Sanctifier - the Holy Ghost Who labors to guide and assist them into the ways of righteousness and justice. The person who "does not" get himself baptized has made a terrible choice, and for that he justly does pay (if he does not repent) with the hellish pains of sense. For such is to refuse God, to refuse His gift, though knowing what it is.

    But circumstance is something for which God does not judge. He does not alter His judgment depending on whether the one was born in a mud hut or with a golden spoon in his mouth, on whether one was born a man or a woman, on whether he was born Black or White or Asian, on whether he was born a Jew or a Gentile, on whether his parents paid to send him to the "best schools" or had to scrap about for an education on his own in the "school of hard knocks."

    God is not partial, and those who attempt to attribute such partiality to God besmirch His good character and Name. Getting back to Adam, notice that he is the one always blamed for the fall of mankind, never Eve, despite the fact that she was the first to eat from the forbidden tree, and furthermore preceded Adam's sin with yet another sin on her part, namely that of attempting to persuade Adam (Scandal by bad example? Heresy of teaching that it would open his eyes?). That is because Eve was deceived (2 Corinthians 11:3). Her material sin meant (at most) only her own death, whereas Adam's formal sin meant death for all (including, possibly, Eve).

    Let us compare a "has not" with a "do not" from the official magisterial documents. Pope Julius III in the Council of Trent stated that "the Church exercises judgment on no one who has not previously entered it by the gate of baptism." Although the point being made is quite different (a comparison between baptism and penance), it is interesting to see that no blanket denunciation could be made of all those who "have not" been baptized, for many are catechumens, and perhaps others on a more lengthy and convoluted spiritual journey, who are not hesitating or holding back, but proceeding on schedule and certainly God can see into their hearts to know that they will, if only given the chance, follow through to completion and entry into the Church by water baptism.

    But of those who "do not" get baptized or "do not" believe there is no such mercy. Gospel writer St. Mark records in chapter 16, verse 16 our Lord's crystal clear words "He who believes and is baptized will be saved but he who does not believe will be condemned." Obviously the Church does have the jurisdiction to condemn those who do not get baptized, though by so doing they remain outside.

    The denial of BOB/BOD, were it true, would do nothing but make it so that persons could be damned through no fault of their own. This differs little from the Calvinist idea (and Jansenist) of predestination. Why someone should desire such a state is not clear, apart from instilling terror, despair, and passivity. On the judgment day, God says to the condemned soul, "you must go and burn in Hell because you…" How terrible it would be if God were to say to anyone "you must go and burn in Hell because I…"!

    Another form of scholastic dishonesty is that of overspecification. With this one attempts to refute some clear but narrow limited exception to some rule by mere assertion of the rule itself. It is like citing any number of vehicle codes, posted speed limits, speed laws including the "basic speed law," and so forth for the whole country or even from around the world, as "proof" that driving more than 70 MPH on the Indianapolis 500 Speedway is against the Law.

    It is like the Watchtower Society quoting Deuteronomy 6:4 and 1 Corinthians 8:6 and any number of other Scriptures like them which declare the unity of God as "proof" that the three Persons of the Holy Trinity cannot all be God. And it is like that with the doctrine of Papal Infallibility.

    From the beginning onward, the infallibility of the Pope has always been recognized by the Church, and there does not appear to have been any belief in there being any sort of "exceptions" to that teaching. When "Rome" (in the person of the Pope) spoke, the cause was finished, no matter what. Roma locuta est, causa finita est. I have no doubt that many of the ancient fathers might well have interiorly regarded it as heresy to admit any exceptions to that infallibility.

    But over the years, reason, time to examine and understand the doctrine more carefully, and most of all the painful lessons of history, has forced the Church to admit some small number of exceptions to Papal Infallibility. As none of these exceptions arose in the opening few centuries of the Church, the question of whether any of these sorts of exceptions could theoretically exist was never even considered, and one can only guess what the ancients would have thought if confronted with any such exception as is recognized today.

    One such specific and significant exception pertains to the domain of a pope's infallibility. Many Protestants and other non-Catholics regard the doctrine of the infallibility of the pope as having been falsified by the condemnation of Galileo, never mind the fact that the Pope was actually condemning his attitude, not his scientific findings (to which he was absolutely indifferent). Some have even equated infallibility with impeccability and thus regarded it as falsified by the reprehensible behaviors of certain few corrupt popes. But even if ever a pope were to attempt to condemn a mere material scientific finding or other fact, he could not do so validly since Papal Infallibility only pertains to the domain of Faith and Morals.

    About geology or mathematics or history or archeology or chemistry or physics or psychology or literature, or even for that matter whether a particular Catholic soul should be excommunicated or not, a pope is fully as fallible as any other mere mortal of comparable learning, intelligence, and experience.

    When Pope Honorius I attempted to "resolve" a doctrinal question put to him by drafting a creedal formula which was fully open to the Monophysite heresy, the Church reeled for centuries from that one event, taking that long to decide whether Honorius was even a real pope or not. Eventually the Church realized that an ambiguous declaration (so long as it at least as readily admitted the correct interpretation as any incorrect one) is always possible.

    For example, the Apostle's Creed is sufficiently short and simple as to be equally acceptable to Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and even many of the more "High Church" Protestants. But obviously there is no real fault to the Apostle's Creed. And had the formula by Pope Honorius been published prior to the rise of any Monophysite heresy or even question in that direction, it might well have been recognized and hailed among the basic Creedal formulas of the Church instead of being condemned as it in fact was. For that matter he could have equally refused to address the question put to him by merely sending a copy of the Apostle's Creed itself. So an infallible papal teaching can nevertheless be ambiguous, only so long as the orthodox and Catholic interpretation is readily possible.

    Then again, when Pope John XXII taught his error it took some time for the Church to conclude that the doctrine of Papal Infallibility only applies to the teachings officially given by the pope in his papal capacity as the Successor of Peter to whom the keys of the kingdom and the whole of universal jurisdiction has been given, and not to any other teaching given by the man when not acting specifically in that capacity or office. And of course it is quite probable that the present situation may carve out yet some other exception to Papal Infallibility.

    So what this means is that wide and sweeping generalizations cannot always be meant to apply to some certain limited cases. The Law against murder does not prohibit the execution of those lawfully convicted of a serious crime, nor the random and wanton killing of enemy soldiers in battle. The declaration that "all have sinned" does not include Jesus, Mary, the Father, the Holy Ghost, Angel Gabriel, Archangel Michael, the other good angels, or even Adam and Eve prior to their sin in the garden.

    But important to note here is that this is not about allowing exception after exception to whittle away at some doctrine until the doctrine itself ends up being reduced to a nullity. More than adverse history was needed to justify each and every exception to the doctrine. There always had to be some other reason, some other doctrine, or some logical imperative that not only shows that the exception can and should exist, but even that it could have been deduced a priori had a sufficient inquiry been made into the question, even without the historical event being on record.

    Even the ancient Church would have to have understood the difference in weight between St. Peter announcing that "He who denies that Jesus came in the flesh is a heretic and anathema be upon him," on the one hand, and "This lamb tastes really good, much better than that beef we had last week," on the other.

    In my previous example regarding the difference between "has not" and "do not" there is room for some who "have not" to not be condemned whereas all who "do not" are indeed condemned. This has its basis in the doctrines about the role of the human will in the Divine Judgment, namely that we are judged for what we do and not for our circumstances. And if taking human life was always wrong why did St. John the Baptist not warn the Roman soldiers against it (Luke 3:14)?

    Another point to bear in mind is that, technically, all saved souls are inside either the Church Suffering (Purgatory - being saved but "as through fire"), or else the Church Triumphant. No one as yet remaining in the Church Militant can truly be spoken of as "saved" as yet, for with each there remains, while he is alive, some chance that he could fall into some serious sin and die therein. So in this sense it is absolutely accurate to say that there are no saved souls outside the Church (specifically, Church Suffering and Triumphant only).

    There are no saved souls in the Church Militant, only justified souls (being in a state of Grace), along with any non-justified souls (being Catholics in a state of mortal sin). From a salvationary standpoint, the most one could aspire to in this lifetime would be to be in a state of Sanctifying Grace, such that if they died this very moment they would at least ultimately end up in Heaven. The Protestant idea of "once saved, always saved" for anyone in this life is just that, a Protestant idea, and for that matter not even universally held among the Protestants. It is sheer heresy.

    There is no one this side of the grave who can truly be described as being "saved." And so whenever any official magisterial document of the Church is mentioning saved souls, it can only refer to those who are in either the Church Suffering or the Church Triumphant.

    Once one departs from this life, one goes either to the Church Suffering, or the Church Triumphant, or else they are damned. There is no other alternative in the afterlife. And Church (whether Suffering or Triumphant) is equally as much Church as Church (Militant) is here. One cannot find salvation in going anywhere else. This is also a very close corollary to the fact that the Church is the one and only means to salvation that God has provided.

    No other "church" or group or organization or nation or what not has the power accorded to God's Church alone, and that is the jurisdiction to forgive souls, the authority to speak and teach and rule on behalf of God in Heaven, that "What is bound on Earth is bound in Heaven," and "He who hears you hears Me." There is no other name under Heaven by which anyone can ever be saved. And so whenever any official magisterial document of the Church is mentioning the exclusive value of the Church it refers to this point, but says nothing as to what means the Church, in turn, has for applying graces to souls.

    BOB and BOD are in no way anything like attempts to deny these truths, but quite obviously part and parcel with them. In a case of an actual BOB the question must be asked: what Church was the dying soul baptized into with his own blood? The answer must be: Only the one true Church. In a case of an actual BOD what Church was the soul actively laboring and scheduled to join, in due course of time and procedure? Again, only the one true Church.

    And even those procedures are something to note. If being a catechumen in good standing, progressing straightforwardly towards the waters of baptism, were to be such a hazardous and dangerous state to be in, how could the ancient Church have dared to be so cavalier with souls as to make then wait until the coming Easter to be baptized in water? This is especially cogent when considering the times of the persecutions, when just any Christian could be yanked off the streets and put to death without trial, accountability, or even advance notice, to say nothing of deadly plagues, accidents, famine, health limitations, and so forth that are always possible!

    Obviously the Church could afford to take Her time in receiving converts since She knew that anyone of truly good will would meet God's mercy should circumstance and happenstance, or persecution and martyrdom, intercept that schedule and force them prematurely into the next life.

    Another point to notice is that many of the most damning passages of the magisterial documents refer not to those who never entered the Church, but rather those who were in the Church (baptized in water), but who are not faithful to the Church, whether by heresy, excommunication, or serious sins or what not. One finds in these statements such words as "abides" or "remains" or "holds" which clearly refer to those already in the Church, and their duty before God never to depart from the Church, but to abide in Her always, to remain in Her, and to hold fast to Her teaching.

    Finally, it is true that there is only one way to enter the Church Militant, and that is indeed by water baptism. A catechumen, though associated with the Church, though blessed by the Church, though he himself becomes a blessing to the Church, nevertheless remains outside the Church so long as he remains thus, whether innocently or guiltily. And that innocence or guilt is something that God alone sees in the heart of the individual. And seeing that innocence or guilt in the heart of a soul abruptly forced into eternity ahead of the due time for their baptism by water into the Church Militant, is it not for God to determine on a case by case basis whether that soul shall be damned if guilty (as in the case criticized by St. John Chrysostom), or else admitted directly into either the Church Suffering or the Church Triumphant if that soul be innocent in His sight, and that without their ever having been in the Church Militant?

    So to sum up, there are six realities that must be borne in mind when reading the following quotes, so as to read them in the sense always and forever intended by the Church, and with the Mind of the Church, understanding them exactly as they were written, and not with the alien interpretation foisted upon them by the likes of Peter Dimond and Fr. Feeney:

    1) Those passages referring to damnation of those outside the Church always carry a sense of "do not" and never "have not."

    2) Those passages that make sweeping generalizations would naturally have to admit certain limited exceptions, as can be defended by other doctrines as applicable.

    3) Those passages referring to saved souls can only be speaking of those who are in either Purgatory or Heaven, nowhere else.

    4) Those passages referring to the Church as the only means of salvation mean that no other "church" can save, but do not limit the Church's methods for applying God's Grace to souls.

    5) Those passages referring to the necessity to "abide" or "remain" or "continue" in the Church have no bearing on questions of BOB and BOD and entrance requirements since they speak only to those who are already in the Church Militant.

    6) Those passages which speak of water baptism as being the only means of entering the Church are speaking of how to enter the Church Militant, the only one of the three levels of the Church which one can voluntarily join.

    So, taking into account the above listed six realities, one at last can read the following doctrinal and dogmatic magisterial statements in their true sense, that which the Church has always intended by them from the very beginning:

      Note: Numbers in brackets in bold after each quote indicate which of the above six points apply to the quote.
"… the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ… Nor is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name, under Heaven, given to men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) [4]

"If anyone abideth not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth" (St. John 15:6) [5]

Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos (# 13), Aug. 15, 1832: "With the admonition of the apostle that 'there is one God, one faith, one baptism' (Eph. 4:5) may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that 'those who are not with Christ are against Him,' (Lk. 11:23) and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore, 'without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate" (Athanasian Creed).[5]

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 1, 1215, ex cathedra: "There is indeed one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which nobody at all is saved, in which Jesus Christ is both priest and sacrifice." [3]

Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, Nov. 18, 1302, ex cathedra: "With Faith urging us we are forced to believe and to hold the one, holy, Catholic Church and that, apostolic, and we firmly believe and simply confess this Church outside of which there is no salvation nor remission of sin… Furthermore, we declare, say, define, and proclaim to every human creature that they by absolute necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff." [4,5]

Pope Clement V, Council of Vienne, Decree # 30, 1311-1312, ex cathedra: "Since however there is for both regulars and seculars, for superiors and subjects, for exempt and non-exempt, one universal Church, outside of which there is no salvation, for all of whom there is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism…" [3,5]

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Sess. 8, Nov. 22, 1439, ex cathedra: "Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity." [5]

Pope Leo X, Fifth Lateran Council, Session 11, Dec. 19, 1516, ex cathedra: "For, regulars and seculars, prelates and subjects, exempt and non-exempt, belong to the one universal Church, outside of which no one at all is saved, and they all have one Lord and one faith." [3,5]

Pope Pius IV, Council of Trent, "Iniunctum nobis," Nov. 13, 1565, ex cathedra: "This true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved… I now profess and truly hold…" [2,4]

Pope Benedict XIV, Nuper ad nos, March 16, 1743, Profession of Faith: "This faith of the Catholic Church, without which no one can be saved, and which of my own accord I now profess and truly hold…" [2,4]

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, Session 2, Profession of Faith, 1870, ex cathedra: "This true Catholic faith, outside of which none can be saved, which I now freely profess and truly hold…" [2,4]

Pope St. Gregory the Great, quoted in Summo Iugiter Studio, 590-604: "The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in her and asserts that all who are outside of her will not be saved." [1]

Pope Innocent III, Eius exemplo, Dec. 18, 1208: "By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess the one Church, not of heretics, but the Holy Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church outside of which we believe that no one is saved." [3]

Pope Clement VI, Super quibusdam, Sept. 20, 1351: "In the second place, we ask whether you and the Armenians obedient to you believe that no man of the wayfarers outside the faith of this Church, and outside the obedience to the Pope of Rome, can finally be saved." [1,4]

Pope St. Pius V, Bull excommunicating the heretic Queen Elizabeth of England, Feb. 25, 1570: "The sovereign jurisdiction of the one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside of which there is no salvation, has been given by Him, unto Whom all power in Heaven and on Earth is given, the King who reigns on high, but to one person on the face of the Earth, to Peter, prince of the Apostles... If any shall contravene this Our decree, we bind them with the same bond of anathema." [1,3,5]

Pope Leo XII, Ubi Primum (# 14), May 5, 1824: "It is impossible for the most true God, who is Truth itself, the best, the wisest Provider, and the Rewarder of good men, to approve all sects who profess false teachings which are often inconsistent with one another and contradictory, and to confer eternal rewards on their members… by divine faith we hold one Lord, one faith, one baptism… This is why we profess that there is no salvation outside the Church." [4]

Pope Leo XII, Quod hoc ineunte (# 8), May 24, 1824: "We address all of you who are still removed from the true Church and the road to salvation. In this universal rejoicing, one thing is lacking: that having been called by the inspiration of the Heavenly Spirit and having broken every decisive snare, you might sincerely agree with the mother Church, outside of whose teachings there is no salvation." [4]

Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos (# 13), Aug. 15, 1832: "With the admonition of the apostle, that 'there is one God, one faith, one baptism' (Eph. 4:5), may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that 'those who are not with Christ are against Him,' (Lk. 11:23) and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore, 'without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate (Athanasian Creed)." [1,4,5]

Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio (# 2), May 27, 1832: "Finally some of these misguided people attempt to persuade themselves and others that men are not saved only in the Catholic religion, but that even heretics may attain eternal life." [1,3]

Pope Pius IX, Ubi primum (# 10), June 17, 1847: "For 'there is one universal Church outside of which no one at all is saved; it contains regular and secular prelates along with those under their jurisdiction, who all profess one Lord, one faith and one baptism." [3,4]

Pope Pius IX, Nostis et Nobiscum (# 10), Dec. 8, 1849: "In particular, ensure that the faithful are deeply and thoroughly convinced of the truth of the doctrine that the Catholic faith is necessary for attaining salvation. (This doctrine, received from Christ and emphasized by the Fathers and Councils, is also contained in the formulae of the profession of faith used by Latin, Greek and Oriental Catholics)." [1,4]

Pope Pius IX, Syllabus of Modern Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 - Proposition 16: "Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation."33 - Condemned. [4]

Pope Leo XIII, Tametsi futura prospicientibus (# 7), Nov. 1, 1900: "Christ is man's 'Way'; the Church also is His 'Way'… Hence all who would find salvation apart from the Church, are led astray and strive in vain." [1,4]

Pope St. Pius X, Iucunda sane (# 9), March 12, 1904: "Yet at the same time We cannot but remind all, great and small, as Pope St. Gregory did, of the absolute necessity of having recourse to this Church in order to have eternal salvation…" [1,4]

Pope St. Pius X, Editae saepe (# 29), May 26, 1910: "The Church alone possesses together with her magisterium the power of governing and sanctifying human society. Through her ministers and servants (each in his own station and office), she confers on mankind suitable and necessary means of salvation." [4]

Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (# 11), Jan. 6, 1928: "The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this is the house of faith, this is the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation." [1,4,5]

Pope Julius III, Council of Trent, On the Sacraments of Baptism and Penance, Sess. 14, Chap. 2, ex cathedra: "But in fact this sacrament [Penance] is seen to differ in many respects from baptism. For, apart from the fact that the matter and form, by which the essence of a sacrament is constituted, are totally distinct, there is certainly no doubt that the minister of baptism need not be a judge, since the Church exercises judgment on no one who has not previously entered it by the gate of baptism. For what have I to do with those who are without (1 Cor. 5:12), says the Apostle. It is otherwise with those of the household of the faith, whom Christ the Lord by the laver of baptism has once made 'members of his own body' (1 Cor. 12:13)." [4,5]

Pope Eugene IV, The Council of Florence, "Exultate Deo," Nov. 22, 1439, ex cathedra: "Holy baptism, which is the gateway to the spiritual life, holds the first place among all the sacraments; through it we are made members of Christ and of the body of the Church. And since death entered the universe through the first man, 'unless we are born again of water and the Spirit, we cannot,' as the Truth says, 'enter into the kingdom of heaven'. The matter of this sacrament is real and natural water." [6]

Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis (# 22), June 29, 1943: "Actually only those are to be numbered among the members of the Church who have received the laver of regeneration [water baptism] and profess the true faith." [6]

Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis (# 27), June 29, 1943: "He (Christ) also determined that through Baptism (cf. Jn. 3:5) those who should believe would be incorporated in the Body of the Church." [2,6]

Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei (# 43), Nov. 20, 1947: "In the same way, actually that baptism is the distinctive mark of all Christians, and serves to differentiate them from those who have not been cleansed in this purifying stream and consequently are not members of Christ, the sacrament of holy orders sets the priest apart from the rest of the faithful who have not received this consecration." [6]

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 1, 1215, ex cathedra: "But the sacrament of baptism is consecrated in water at the invocation of the undivided Trinity - namely, Father, Son and Holy Ghost - and brings salvation to both children and adults when it is correctly carried out by anyone in the form laid down by the Church." [6]

Pope Benedict XIV, Nuper ad nos, March 16, 1743, Profession of Faith: "Likewise (I profess) that baptism is necessary for salvation, and hence, if there is imminent danger of death, it should be conferred at once and without delay, and that it is valid if conferred with the right matter and form and intention by anyone, and at any time." [1,2]

Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas (# 15), Dec. 11, 1925: "Indeed this kingdom is presented in the Gospels as such, into which men prepare to enter by doing penance; moreover, they cannot enter it except through faith and baptism, which, although an external rite, yet signifies and effects an interior regeneration." [1,6]

Pope St. Leo the Great, dogmatic letter to Flavian, Council of Chalcedon, 451: "Let him heed what the blessed apostle Peter preaches, that sanctification by the Spirit is effected by the sprinkling of Christ's blood (1 Pet. 1:2); and let him not skip over the same apostle's words, knowing that you have been redeemed from the empty way of life you inherited from your fathers, not with corruptible gold and silver but by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, as of a lamb without stain or spot (1 Pet. 1:18). Nor should he withstand the testimony of blessed John the apostle: and the blood of Jesus, the Son of God, purifies us from every sin (1 Jn. 1:7); and again, This is the victory which conquers the world, our faith. Who is there who conquers the world save one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? It is He, Jesus Christ, who has come through water and blood, not in water only, but in water and blood. And because the Spirit is truth, it is the Spirit who testifies. For there are three who give testimony - Spirit and water and blood. And the three are one. (1 Jn. 5:4-8) in other words, the Spirit of sanctification and the Blood of redemption and the water of Baptism. These three are one and remain indivisible. None of them is separable from its link with the others." [1,2,6]

    It behooves us to look closely at the favorite "authoritative quote" so misapplied in the Treatise and by all opposers of BOB/BOD:

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, "Cantate Domino," 1441, ex cathedra: "The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives; that the unity of this ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the Church's sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church." [1,2,5]

    Look closely at this paragraph immediately above and one sees two basic parts, the first that teaches that "all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives" (in other words, dealing with those who are outside the Church, and the second, "that the unity of this ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the Church's sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church," which deals with those who are inside the Church. Notice that it is clearly referring to the second part (those inside the Church) when it uses the word "persevered" to specify what they must do. To sacrifice all and give any manner of alms etc. but then fail to persevere within the Church is to be in that category in which "nobody can be saved." Only the first part of this paragraph pertains to those who are outside the Church (and hence required to seek baptism), and the only condition it places upon them is to be "joined to the Church before the end of their lives." Since this does not in any manner address what it takes to be "joined to the Church" it in no way excludes whatever means God may elect to use in some specific case where water baptism was not obtainable but nevertheless sought.

    So, what all this means is that the above quotations can therefore be eliminated as valid prooftexts by which some use to deny BOB/BOD. It has to be clear that none of the above quotes even address BOB/BOD, let alone condemn it, for indeed if any of the above could have been so taken, how is it that so many popes, saints, doctors, fathers, and other formal doctrinal sources could ever possibly ignored these in their affirmation of Baptism of Blood and Baptism of Desire?

Griff L. Ruby


      For the first installment of this series, see Part 1


      Griff's book is available from iUniverse.com Books for $26.95 or can be read on-line at www.the-pope.com We at The Daily Catholic strongly urge you to share it with all you can for that could be the gentle shove that moves your friends back to where the True Faith resides forever, rooted in the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church as Christ intended and promised.





    Griff Ruby's STRAIGHT STUFF
    July 7, 2008
    Volume 19, no. 189