Next, we get a discussion as to the question of two kinds of membership in the Church. Fr. Donnelly in no way means to imply that membership "in voto" in the Church is some different kind of membership than membership in mere fact by virtue of having been baptized into Her. To put it in terms that Fr. Donnelly might have been well-advised to use, there is one kind of membership in the Church, period. The only distinction relevant here to the question of BOB and BOD is whether that membership is actualized in life (through water baptism), which continues unchanged in death provided the soul in question has not subsequently fallen into and died in serious sin, or if it was actualized at the point of death (in death) by BOB or BOD. In this case all the quotes given pertain specifically to membership in the Church Militant, since that must be sought for salvation to be possible, and obtained for a person to be recognized in life as a member of the Church by the visible Church.
But soon once again we are hijacked by a side trip into the speculative opinions of Bainvel, and the claim is made that Bainvel is some "secret source" behind Fr. Donnelly's teaching, something Fr. Donnelly would have readily rejected out of hand. As we have already explored Bainvel's explanation for implicit BOD, we need not reiterate it here. The Reply piece claims that Bainvel's solution was that "we can be members of the Church in two ways, externally (visibly) and internally (invisibly)," something that Fr. Donnelly himself does not state. The "internally (invisibly)" way of being a member of the Church would be how Bainvel would describe someone who has attained the state of justification prior to their water baptism, in that period of time before baptism that they possess it. The difference really is just semantics.
Caperan, one of Fr. Donnelly's main two sources, does not speak of two different kind of membership in the Church, but merely of implicit desire being able to take the place of "incorporation into Catholic society" (in other words, "membership") towards salvation, but clearly does not posit this implicit desire as itself being some other form of "membership":
Now, Caperan, one of Father Donnelly's main authorities, says the same thing in the following two quotations:
When, by reason of invincible ignorance, incorporation into Catholic society is not realized in fact, even an implicit desire to be so incorporated takes the place of actual incorporation.
And again, Caperan says,
Concerning the necessity of Baptism and the necessity of membership in the Church, an implicit desire which is included in the general will to do God's will is sufficient.
So all the following stuff in the second section of Part 2 of the Reply piece about two churches, one visible and one invisible, and details about the nature of the visible Church, has no real bearing. No one here is seriously positing some additional "invisible" church; that is mere insinuation on the part of the Reply piece.
Next, the Reply piece takes up the question of someone remaining outside the Church ever being saved. Again, it claims that those who are innocently outside the Church will all somehow be brought into the Church (or else they won't be saved, apparently), and that those who are not are therefore all of bad faith and ill will. It mentions a distinction between those who have not heard of the Catholic Church, versus those who have heard of it but for some innocent reason nevertheless fail to join it somehow, which latter category it seems to regard as fictitious or else some speculation of Fr. Donnelly, or of "liberals" in general.
Now it is a fair question as to whether it is possible to have "heard of" the Catholic Church in some sense, but still not join it, and continue to be innocent. Many Protestant "Bible Belt" Christians were well aware that there existed "out there" somewhere something called the "Catholic Church," which they rejected as being just another denomination, and furthermore one seriously tainted with pagan beliefs and practices quite alien to Christianity. Can anyone truthfully say that each and every last one of them were all culpably and criminally distancing themselves from the Church and Faith? There most certainly seems to be a big difference between the Church's claims as taught by the Church versus how the Church would be presented by those who oppose it. For many of these Protestants, the "Catholic Church" is merely something that worships statues, sells indulgences, and burns its enemies at the stake. (Protestants often forget that Calvin burned his enemies and that the Salem Witch trials occurred within a Protestant community.) On the basis of knowing nothing of Catholicism but that, they should join it? Or even bother to listen to its own claims about itself? Would serious and sober representatives of the Catholic Church be so willing to recommend to the rank and file that they should take the time to listen to every other religious flake and oddball there is out there and decide for themselves who is right? The Rev. Fulton Sheen once commented:
There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church - which is, of course, quite a different thing. These millions can hardly be blamed for hating Catholics because Catholics "adore statues"; because they "put the Blessed Mother on the same level with God"; because they say "indulgence is a permission to commit sin"; because the Pope [Pius XI, at the time he penned these words] "is a Fascist"; because the "Church is the defender of Capitalism." If the Church taught or believed any one of these things it should be hated, but the fact is that the Church does not believe nor teach any one of them. It follows then that the hatred of the millions is directed against error and not against truth. As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do. (Preface to Radio Replies, Volume One, 1938)
Certainly there is considerable room for invincible ignorance to take forms other than sheer physical separation from the preaching of the Gospel or else mental incompetence due to infancy or idiocy, though in balance I must also admit that one need not be terribly generous in speculating on excusing invincible ignorance existing in those too bigoted or prejudiced to look honestly and squarely at the actual teachings of the Church. And once again, the lack of contumacious or obstinate refusal on the part of infants who lose out on salvation because they happen to be unbaptized is brought in, with the subtle (unstated but intended) implication that others also who lack any contumacious or obstinate refusal to enter the Church will nevertheless be damned, and these, not being infants, with also the eternal pain of sense.
We next pass into the question as to whether Protestants can be saved (as such), and whether they are formal heretics or only material heretics. First of all it has to be admitted that even Protestants can (and typically do) baptize validly, and some few sects of theirs even baptize babies. A child thus baptized who dies before abusing the use of reason could be saved. And even for some time after the use of reason, providing it is not abused with deliberate serious sin. Picture a baptized 8-year-old whose religion has been about being obedient to his parents and other authority figures, sharing toys and food with his friends, being honest and not cheating on schoolwork, and about being regaled with stories from the Bible about Adam and Eve and the Fall of Mankind, Abraham and Moses and Kings David and Solomon, Jonah and the Whale, the Sermon on the Mount, the miracles of Jesus, the death of Jesus on the Cross and how that paid for our sins, the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, and that He will come again one day to judge the world, of "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so," and who has not been exposed (or at least not persuaded) to the Protestant denials of any particular Catholic doctrines. If also diligently avoiding sin, such a child could really be a Catholic living in a non-Catholic cultural milieu, and is not really a Protestant at all. Perhaps if he dies at this point he may yet still be as saved as if he died before attaining the use of reason.
But assuming he lives, even so he is at a considerable disadvantage. Not having heard of the Catholic Sacrament of Confession he has not done it, but neither has he denied it, so he is not a heretic, but a substantial source of grace is not present in his life. And already he has acquired the mental habit of looking up to certain individuals for spiritual guidance who have a defective and twisted "gospel." His trust is gravely misplaced. And sooner or later the inevitable heresy itself must come, if he remains in that world, which by ties of family and friends and sentimental attachment he may very likely do. At some point necessarily comes the question "What about that other Church [Catholic] over there across the street? What do they believe and why don't we believe what they believe?" And the answer, if they feel it to be persuasive, formally introduces them into the world of heresy.
But is that only material heresy or is it formal heresy? Certainly the famous founders of Protestantism, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Cranmer, and the like all had to be formal heretics. For they were all born and raised in the Catholic Faith, and then subsequently turned against what each of them knew to be true. They were therefore one and all knowing and deliberate deceivers, and there is no room to deny that their heresy was formal. Their immediate followers were likewise born and raised in the Faith, and many consciously gave consent to their being led into error, though some were innocently led slowly and gradually away by being misled by the same Catholic priests (now ex-Catholic priests) who had baptized them, but were gradually led away, often along nationalistic lines. But can the same be said of each and every individual Protestant today? On the one hand are those who were born and raised in heresy, and had been for generations, but on the other hand are those who might have been innocently led away in the beginning but by now must be conscious that they have departed from the Catholic Faith. Both may be conscious that they depart from the Catholic Faith, but given their upbringing and cultural outlook, can they distinguish the difference between departing from the Catholic Faith versus departing from the Methodist Faith (themselves being, for example, Baptists, Presbyterians, or Episcopalians)? Again, issues of culpability must enter in, and God alone knows who has it in them to desire and seek the Catholic Faith and who does not.
It is not a question, as the Reply piece insinuates, one of it being merely "harder" for a Protestant to be saved. A Catholic need only be guided by his Church, following its advice and accepting its teachings. A Protestant, as with any other religion, is obliged to "rebel" against his church in quite a number of things. When told that the communion bread is only a symbol of Christ's Body he recalls that Jesus did not say "This symbolizes My Body," but "This is My Body," and so admits to himself that maybe the Catholics might be on to something. When told that his wife should install a diaphragm to limit the number of children he balks at the suggestion. And so on it goes throughout all other deviations from Faith as are being taught by the ministers he still habitually looks to for guidance. There will be so many opportunities for the divine spark in him to be tested, and so many possibilities of failure and loss of the spiritual life confronting him from the very people he has been given to trust. Each of these poses a serious challenge and it is a rare Protestant who surmounts them all. It's quite a bit like driving somewhere blindfolded. It is not physically impossible to arrive at the destination safely and in a timely manner, but the odds are quite heavily against it.
The Reply piece passes over in silence one significant complaint against the St. Benedict's Center that Fr. Donnelly makes, and indeed they have quite seldom responded to this fact in any way. Fr. Donnelly writes, "Pius IX likewise forbids unconditionally any manifestation by Catholics of a spirit of enmity toward those outside the Catholic Church. 'But let the children of the Catholic Church in no way whatsoever be hostile to those who are not one with us in faith and love ...' (Denz. 1678). As for that spirit of hostility manifested in the scarcely veiled assumption that Protestants are to be convicted of bad faith, and henceforth to be treated as formal heretics, the same Pope said" - and he goes on to provide the quote from Pope Pius IX about invincible ignorance which has already been discussed above.
The issue here is one of attitudes towards people. Do Fr. Feeney and the St. Benedict's Center membership really believe that all Protestants are necessarily so due to being "in bad faith" (that is, being contumaciously obstinate in heresy)? Sometimes, they claim not, but then that gets back to their claim that God really would punish (damn to the fires of Hell) even those who are neither contumacious nor obstinate in heresy. Again, they hint at what they avoid saying, because they know (and know that we who read their work would know) that their teaching smacks of fiendishness on the part of God. Other times it seems as if they really do claim that all Protestants (and other non-Catholics) are necessarily of bad faith and as such not worth talking to, and indeed worthy of hostility.
For some reason, over the course of the mid to latter 1950's, the real focus of this venom of hostility would come to be principally vented at the Jews. In time it got so bad that the St. Benedict's Center has even come to be accused of outright anti-Semitism, and perhaps with some real justification. It is true that Fr. Feeney himself would often make claims about how much he cared about the Jews, even citing instances in which he had conversed freely with them, and even brought some into the Church. But what is not told is that these conversations and conversions all occurred long before this new vituperative attitude acquired over the course of the 1950's, and that since that time the St. Benedict's Center has not been the occasion of the conversion of even a single Jew to Catholicism.
This easily illustrates the horns of a dilemma that the error of Fr. Feeney and his St. Benedict's Center has made, namely that one either makes God out to be some sort of fiend who would damn the innocent, or else which provides a logical basis for bigotry and prejudice against any and all non-Catholics. The declarations that we must be charitable end up ringing hollow and are deprived of any logical basis or meaning. The clever (and slippery) way of responding to this dilemma is to mask it in silence. This way, when someone accuses them of teaching that God is a fiend who would damn the innocent, they can say "We never said any of those condemned were innocent." And when a (hopefully different) someone accuses them of teaching bigotry and prejudice against non-Catholics, they can say "We never said that all those condemned were guilty." Well, which is it? The answers privately given to some cannot be reconciled to the answers privately given to others.
Look at the careful dodge by which it is not clear whether Protestants are to be considered formal heretics or not:
Saint Augustine says,
Certainly those founding Protestants had to know within themselves that their opinions were "false and new" for they themselves had devised them. But obviously, their followers, coming centuries later, could easily and frequently have been fully and sincerely mistakenly persuaded (misled into believing) that their opinions were in fact ancient and that the teachings of the Catholic Church were the "false and new opinions." And why phrase it as "It is not necessary to tell So-and-so that the Protestants are formal heretics" except to introduce the deliberate ambiguity that So-and-so would not need to be told it, either because he knows it already (suggesting that Protestants really are always in bad faith), or else because it might not always be true (allowing that Protestants, or some of them anyway, might not actually be in bad faith).
A heretic is one who either devises or follows false and new opinions.
It is not necessary to tell Father Donnelly that the teachings and opinions of Protestants fall under this last designation, and that Protestants, therefore, hold heresy formally. Of course, if Father Donnelly is referring to those millions of former Protestants who are neither baptized nor call themselves Christians, then we would agree that they are not formal heretics, but pagans.
The Reply piece then falls into the patently false accusation that Fr. Donnelly would be supposedly advocating that Catholics should be "nice" to Protestants by being "completely disinterested in their eternal salvation" or even changing "the doctrines of the Church concerning salvation and the necessary means of salvation." What is not going to win Protestants (or anyone else) over to the Catholic Faith is claiming that all such are necessarily of bad faith. There is a world of difference as to how one deals (or should deal) with a person who really is in bad faith (impose Church disciplinary measures if one possesses the ecclesiastical authority to do so, or else widely and publicly expose the error and deception if one doesn't), versus how to deal with a person who is sincerely mistaken (simply show them the truth, and show how they have been lied to). Expose the villains and win the following over to the Truth.
False accusations of all non-Catholics of being in bad faith and contumaciously obstinate in heresy (or error or schism or pagandom, etc.) will not achieve anything towards the Pope's stated goal to "strive to snatch them away from the darkness in which they lie miserably, and lead them back to the Catholic truth and to the most loving Mother the Church, who never ceases to extend Her maternal arms lovingly to them and to call them back to her bosom, so that, being grounded and made firm in faith, hope and charity, and being "fruitful in every good work" (Col. 1, 10), they may attain eternal salvation." And there is nothing in what the Pope said here to imply that everyone who isn't entirely and successfully rescued from darkness and into the bosom of the Church is necessarily damned.
To paraphrase and adapt a sentence from the Reply piece, "Can a more deliberate misrepresentation of a Pope's utterance [and the teachings presented by Fr. Donnelly] be found than Raymond Karam's?"
Did Pope Pius IX actually say that all the Ancient Fathers, the Doctors, the Popes, the Councils, the Roman Theologians, and the Catechisms I have quoted in depth and detail throughout the first Round of this series are all criminals? Let us see if anything else can be implied by the Reply piece when it states:
Again: we could also ask Father Donnelly not to take the trouble of underlining sentences in his quotations, because they always turn to his disadvantage. For example, in one of the passages which Father Donnelly quotes from Pius IX, the emphasized phrase proves our point, and not Father Donnelly's! This is the passage:
But let us, so long as here on Earth we are weighed down by this mortal body which dulls the soul, hold firmly to our Catholic doctrine: 'one God, one faith, one baptism;' to try and probe deeper is criminal . . .
What does this mean? To try and probe deeper than what is criminal? Deeper than the Catholic doctrine: "one God, one faith, one baptism!" Who is probing deeper than this doctrine? Is it the man who confesses one God, one faith, (the Catholic Faith), and one baptism (the gate to the Catholic Church), as the necessary means for salvation? Is it not, rather, the liberal, who goes around dispensing the name of faith to any arbitrary and false opinion and the name of baptism to any feeling or sentiment, however anti-Christian?
Given Fr. Feeney's and the St. Benedict's Center's drive to simplify and reduce the Gospel to one of water baptism, I don't see how any of the numerous mentions of BOB and BOD throughout the history of the Church could possibly be viewed as anything but criminal. By this criteria, Pope Innocent III was a criminal liberal because he opined that a Jew who wanted to become a Christian and who mistakenly attempted to baptize himself (sacramentally invalid) was nevertheless saved. By these criteria, Doctor/Saints Ambrose, Augustine, Chrysostom, Nazianz, Bernard, Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, Robert Bellarmine, and Alphonse Liguori were all criminal liberals for "speculating" on the possibility of salvation to some who are not baptized in water.
So seriously, what further probing is considered "criminal" by the Pope? The "exceptions" of BOB and BOD have been long carved out in Scripture and by the Church as an expression of natural justice. Hence they are not mere whimsical speculations but necessary doctrines, infallibly taught within the scope of the Ordinary Magisterium. To probe "deeper" however is (so at least they are correct about this) something done by liberals who would extend BOD to practically everyone but the most obviously vile and evil crooks and monsters, the most miniscule number of exceptions possible, or to be attempting to decide where to draw the line between saved and lost, as if there were some specific and definable threshold over which a soul could cross in coming towards the Kingdom (but short of actually entering through water Baptism (or admission to the Church for those already baptized in some heretical or schismatic sect), and then turn around and say, "OK, I'm good enough now, I'll be saved."
Finally, we get a long disquisition about ignorance and whether it excuses sin. While the Pope plainly taught that ignorance, when plainly not culpably caused (nor resulting from culpable negligence), can excuse one from specific demands of the Faith and Church (such as being baptized, or observing the feasts, fasts, and seasons of the Church, or recognizing its hierarchy), such ignorance does not excuse one from sins against the Natural Law written by God upon the hearts of all persons.
A meaningless side trip is taken into Mortalium Animos by Pope Pius XI, but this really pertains to questions of worshipping with believers of false religions, thus running the serious risk of encouraging them in their false religions, and not with invincible ignorance. One could hardly claim invincible ignorance in a case where a person plainly has contact with the Church, and is even willing to worship with or alongside the Church in some "ecumenical action" which the papal encyclical condemned. Where such friendly and cooperative contact exists there is no "right" to leave a person in ignorance, nor for someone thus contacted to remain in their ignorance. And Fr. Donnelly never even pretended to defend any such "right" no matter how much the Reply piece insinuates that he did.
Although some phraseology used by St. Bernard in the quoted portions would seem to imply that ignorance itself is a sin, on closer reading, it is that ignorance can cause inadvertent sins. The fact of ignorance indeed mitigates the seriousness of the sin, and reduces the punishment due for their commission (or else one could say the lack of ignorance augments the seriousness of a sin, since the person would not simply be making a mistake but deliberately committing a sin). But ignorance is not normally itself a sufficient excuse for sin. Those who crucified Christ, or St. Paul while he yet persecuted the Church, may both have been ignorant of the seriousness of what they were doing, not realizing that they were not merely committing the crime of murder but also of sacrilege (Saul murdering the Christians), and even Deicide (the murdering of Christ).
But that they were blatantly and most criminally committing the gravely serious sin of murder they cannot have claimed ignorance. It is inconceivable that Caiaphas and Saul could both be so blatantly ignorant of the Jewish Law as to be ignorant of the commandment that "Thou shall not kill." And though the Romans might well be excused from being familiar with all the details of Jewish Law, did they not also have laws of their own against murder? And did not their own imperial representative Pontius Pilate "find no fault in this man"? Does anyone seriously maintain that those involved with crucifying Christ and later with persecuting the Church through killing Christians could ever have been able to get away with the excuse before their Maker of saying on Judgment day, "Well gee, I didn't know it was wrong to kill people!"
The ignorance they had (and for which Christ prayed forgiveness) was not of the fact that what they were doing was wrong, but only of the full extent of the seriousness of the wrong they were doing. Those who crucified Christ sincerely thought they were merely killing an innocent man. Little did they know they were actually killing their own Maker and Judge! What an inconceivably heinous crime that is, and what superlative degree of guilt would attach to anyone who knowingly did that. When Christ forgave them for what they did not know, He forgave them for committing Deicide, since they did not know that that was what they were doing. And with that forgiveness one soldier even repented of the murder right on the spot, confessing with newfound faith that "Truly, this Man was the Son of God!"
Likewise, Paul (as Saul) knew perfectly well that he was murdering hundreds (or thousands or however many) innocent men women and children, but he was ignorant of the fact that these whom he murdered were not merely innocent, but actually part of Christ's Mystical Body, and their death (or injury) in each case not only murder, but the gravest of sacrileges. For this reason he was not innocent in his ignorance in the days that he fought the Church, but at least he had not been aware that it was the Church, and Christ Himself in the person of His Mystical Body, whom it was that he was wrongly injuring. That was why Christ had to set him straight during his travels to Damascus in which He asked of Paul "Why do you persecute me?" (Acts 9:4)
No one should have to be told that murder is wrong. But no one could possibly know that eating meat on a Friday is wrong unless he has been informed. No matter how much a person might claim ignorance of the first, he is no less the murderer. But ignorance of the latter would significantly mitigate the "sin" of having eaten meat on a Friday, so long as the ignorance itself is not the result of any culpable negligence. Whatever punishment for sin remaining in such a case would be venial at the most. The person need not be damned. One nevertheless does penance (or sacrifices an unblemished ram under the Jewish Law) material sins committed due to this kind of ignorance.