"The axiom 'There is No Salvation Outside the Church' and the belief that 'One must be a formal member of the Church in order to be saved' are two different phrases with two different meanings. For those who are paying attention, the solemnly defined formula is 'No Salvation Outside the Church' not 'No Salvation for all non-Members of the Church without exception'. No one is saved by a false religion. Everyone who is saved is saved by the Catholic Church. There are members of the Church who are damned, and non-members who can be saved. That is the infallible teaching of the Church. God judges the heart and knows our sincerity, He knows if we are inculpably ignorant of the truth or if we avoid it for convenience. No need to worry about people sliding in to Heaven because they came up with a good excuse."
After setting the table, so to speak, with last week's first part, the foregoing analyses will enable us to define an act of Divine supernatural faith as "the act of the intellect assenting to a Divine truth owing to the movement of the will, which is itself moved by the grace of God" (St. Thomas, II-II, Q. iv, a. 2) Definition of faith.
Fulfilling the five requirements listed in my previous installment No Salvation Outside the Church, only make salvation possible for one who is not a visible member of the Church, for "they cannot be sure of their salvation" since "they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church."(Pope Pius XII) The Novus Ordo Church does not have these heavenly gifts and helps which are ruling the people in a way that keeps them on the path to salvation, infallible teaching that prevents them from embracing heresy and losing the faith, and valid Sacraments which cleanse the soul of mortal sin and fortifies them against future temptations. The italicized quotes above in this paragraph from Pope Pius XII fit perfectly with the the paragraph below in Cantate Domino, by Pope Eugene IV:
"...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."
How many non-card-carrying Catholics are united to the One, True Church by desire and longing, are invincibly ignorant that the Catholic Church is the one true Church, have a good disposition of soul whereby "he wishes his will to be conformed to the will of God", has perfect charity, and a supernatural faith? And even those who have all the above are still not assured of their salvation, but it is infallibly taught that their salvation is possible. To speculate on who is saved, and who is not, is obstinate wrangling. Those who know the Catholic Church is the One, True Church, and join or remain in the Novus Ordo because they truly, and in all sincerity, believe that is the Catholic Church can only be judged by God as He knows their hearts and their sincerity. God does not damn souls on a perceived technicality. He is not trapped by any divine institution which is imposed on man, not on God. Picture God saying to Himself, "Oops. Darn it to heck, this soul with a heart like unto mine, who is more Catholic in interior disposition than most formal Catholics, just has to be damned; because after all, according to the Feeneyites, water must be poured on his head, and or he is not a member of/within the Catholic Church." God can neither deceive nor be deceived, but He can cleanse the soul of Original Sin without someone pouring water on one's head, and has done so with John the Baptist, the Holy Innocents, the Good Thief, and, as has already documented in this series and will be documented again here and in future installments, New Testament Saints, who died long after the Sacrament of Baptism was instituted by Christ.
It is basic theology that a person is judged according to his conscience. If he is culpable of not properly forming his conscience he will be judged on that. If he steals a penny and believes that stealing a penny is a mortal sin and dies unrepentant, he will be judged as being culpable of mortal sin. If he truly and inculpably believes fornication is not gravely offensive to God and dies with this sin on his soul he will not be damned for that sin. Check with any reliable Priest or theology manual. God does not damn one who has reached the age of reason and is not culpable of a mortal sin. All this is common sense, and has been infallibly explained by several Popes and authoritatively explicated by many theologians, Saints, Fathers and Doctors of the Church throughout the history of the Church. You know, all those Popes, Saints and Doctors who spoke to the issue after Cantate Domino was issued but (supposedly) just never read or understood it. (Obviously that is a joke, these saintly, learned theologians, Doctors and Popes certainly did read and understand Cantate Domino). Yet some Feeneyites would have us believe they all really just missed the boat on that one. Dealing with some Feeneyites reminds me of anti-sedevacantists, inculpable ignorance aside, who refuse to accept the fact that a public heretic cannot legitimately hold ecclesiastical office, and refuse to admit that one must submit to what a valid Pope binds on the Church in order to be a member of the Catholic Church and if he knows this and refuses submission he cannot be saved. The same is true in regards to many contemporaries, who are "no longer in the dark ages" because they believe that an unborn baby is just a blob of tissue. I am not comparing the last two issues with BOB/D, just the thickness of the skulls of those who will not accept obvious truth on any matter when and because that truth is inconvenient or displeasing to them. Those who do not accept truths in all sincerity are a different story. I do not lump all Feeneyites into a bad willed category any more than I lump all those who pay lip service to the "Pope" while disobeying him as being culpably ignorant, willfully blind and or intellectually dishonest. I speak only of those who are aware of the truth and reject or ignore it for convenience or for whatever other reason they refuse to accept it.
Why is Baptism of Blood/Baptism of Desire not a solemnly defined dogma? "No Salvation Outside the Church" is a solemnly defined dogma. Perhaps the Church has not been in the habit of making explanations of solemnly defined dogma such as BOB/D into solemnly defined dogma; one dogma that explains a previous dogma shall we say. Perhaps the next Pope will do this for us. One must keep mind that an infallible teaching is an infallible teaching whether solemnly defined or not.
Logic, and sacramental theology dictate that we cannot sincerely desire to be Confirmed or Ordained and then have it be so; therefore does not logic also dictate that one cannot merely "desire" to be baptized either?
In sacramental Baptism, it is not water that cleanses Original Sin but God who cleanses Original Sin. The same is true in regards to "baptism of desire". God has decreed that water be used, and God cleanses the soul through the instrumentality of the water, but God does not need water in order to cleanse the soul of Original Sin.
We have already shown that Baptism with water is not the only way to be cleansed of Original Sin, Baptism like the Trinity is a great mystery, there are three types of the one Baptism which cleanses from Original sin; the ordinary sacramental means, by Divine Institution which is administered with water, and extraordinary means, where the just are not damned over a perceived technicality, which are baptism of blood, and baptism of "desire".
But what about the above "logic"? If you can't merely desire some Sacraments how can merely desiring Baptism, implicitly [!?!] save one? Good question. Let me give you some more "logic". My driveway gets wet when I wash my car. My driveway is wet. Therefore I washed my car? No. Therefore it rained. Not all things that appear logical on the face of it are definitively conclusive. All legitimate theologians understand that proper distinctions need to be made in order to accurately comprehend a thing.
Sure, one cannot wish himself to be a Priest and therefore become one. But one, united/joined/attached to the Church in desire and longing, is invincibly ignorant that the Roman Catholic Church is the One, True Church, has a good disposition of soul whereby he wishes his will to be conformed to the will of God, has perfect charity, and a supernatural faith, dying without guilt of conscience, or unrepentant of any mortal sin that he was aware of committing, is a lot different than just wishing to be a Priest. For the one determines where a soul will spend eternity; the other is a classification of rank on earth, hardly synonymous in gravity. Christ died in order to make it possible for all to be saved, not so that all could be validly Ordained. The Church, representing the Will of God, does not demand the impossible. When a Bishop is not available to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation for one or many, the Church allows a Priest to do so under grave necessity, such as death approaching, or a Bishop not being available for an extended amount of time, where the Sacrament would unduly be put off. I wonder if there are any Confirmation Feeneyites; "No Bishop? Too bad. Bishops alone can administer the Sacrament of Confirmation. No Confirmation for you sonny boy."
God, through His Church supplies where the rule of law is defective. Especially when pertaining to salvation, as Baptism, and the forgiveness of the Mortal sins of repentant souls do. If it is absolutely impossible for one of good will to be baptized or confess a mortal sin when he intends to do so, or would do so if he knew he had to, God will supply for the defect and does. Keep in mind that a culpable habitual sinner who plays games with his soul, and sinned yet again, and did not go to Confession as soon as he reasonably could have, and died before he did confess, might not be forgiven, even though he really did plan on confessing . . . some time. God is not played with like a fool. As one is not damned by a perceived technicality, one is not saved by a technicality. "But I was gonna go to Confession." "And then go right on sinning again." I'll say it again, we are not damned over a perceived technicality, and God is not trapped by what He imposed, outside of intrinsic necessity, on mankind. God judges the heart. Many will be damned who appear to be holy. And I would venture to say that many will be saved who do not appear to be in such good shape. Because God alone can judge the heart and knows the culpability of each and every soul He shed every drop of His blood for. He did not go through all that led to His ignominious death to be caught on a false technicality that the Feeneyites bring up. Can you picture poor God saying after realizing just souls would be damned over a purported technicality, "Oh why oh why did I insist on water baptism alone?" Some Feeneyites appear similar to the "Faith alone" Protestants who insist that Faith is all you need to be saved. They just replace "Faith alone" with "water alone". It is that ridged self-interpretation which takes up Scripture verses that appear to make their point while ignoring other Scripture that contradict their point.
God is not played with like a fool. As one is not damned by a perceived technicality, one is not saved by a technicality. "But I was gonna go to Confession." "And then go right on sinning again." I'll say it again, we are not damned over a perceived technicality, and God is not trapped by what He imposed, outside of intrinsic necessity, on mankind. God judges the heart. Many will be damned who appear to be holy. And I would venture to say that many will be saved who do not appear to be in such good shape. Because God alone can judge the heart and knows the culpability of each and every soul He shed every drop of His blood for. He did not go through all that led to His ignominious death to be caught on a false technicality that the Feeneyites bring up.
When apparent contradictions appear in Scripture or in Church teachings, we do not look to ourselves but look to the Church who makes the proper distinctions that we are not aware of. For those trained in theology and immersed in the teachings of the Church are aware of distinctions and see no contradiction. Additionally, the Church is infallibly guided and we are not. When we come to a conclusion that contradicts what the Church has always taught, guess who is wrong/
Now who, not outwardly united to the visible Church, has "perfect charity"? That is one of those things that only God knows. But what is perfect charity? Love of God above all things for God's Own sake.
On the contrary, Augustine says (In prim. canon. Joan. Tract. v) "Charity is perfected by being strengthened; and when it has been brought to perfection, it exclaims, 'I desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ.'" Now this is possible in this life, as in the case of Paul. Therefore charity can be perfect in this life.
I answer that, The perfection of charity may be understood in two ways: first with regard to the object loved, secondly with regard to the person who loves. With regard to the object loved, charity is perfect, if the object be loved as much as it is lovable. Now God is as lovable as He is good, and His goodness is infinite, wherefore He is infinitely lovable.
But no creature can love Him infinitely since all created power is finite. Consequently no creature's charity can be perfect in this way; the charity of God alone can, whereby He loves Himself.
On the part of the person who loves, charity is perfect, when he loves as much as he can. This happens in three ways. First, so that a man's whole heart is always actually borne towards God: this is the perfection of the charity of heaven, and is not possible in this life, wherein, by reason of the weakness of human life, it is impossible to think always actually of God, and to be moved by love towards Him. Secondly, so that man makes an earnest endeavor to give his time to God and Divine things, while scorning other things except in so far as the needs of the present life demand. This is the perfection of charity that is possible to a wayfarer; but is not common to all who have charity. Thirdly, so that a man gives his whole heart to God habitually, viz. by neither thinking nor desiring anything contrary to the love of God; and this perfection is common to all who have charity. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa, Article 8: Whether charity can be perfect in this life?
See also The Purgative Way
Saint John the Baptist was cleansed of Original Sin while he was in the womb of his mother. No one went and poured water on his head. This should be obvious. God can cleanse the soul of Original Sin apart from utilizing a minister to do so, and no, God does not need water to do it. This is true in the Old Testament and this ability has not been taken away from God since.
For those with Faith, no proof is necessary, and for those without Faith, no proof will suffice. Let us go to the New Testament era and prove that souls can be and have been saved apart from Baptism with water, so that Faith will not be necessary, but merely the ability to read:
ST ALBAN AND HIS FELLOW MARTYR: The Venerable Bede tells us in the Ecclesiastical History of the Church of the English Nation tells us the story of an early English Martyr. The story is well summarized by Dom Gueranger (who St. Theresa of Lisieaux considered to be a saint) in his Liturgical Year:
"When the mandates of the emperors Diocletian and Maximian were raging against the Christians, Alban, as yet a pagan, received into his house a certain priest fleeing from persecution. Now, when he [Alban] beheld how this priest persevered day and night in constant watching and prayer, he was suddenly touched by divine grace, so that he was fain to imitate the example of his faith and piety; and being instructed by degrees, through his salutary exhortations, forsaking the darkness of idolatry, he with his whole heart became a Christian."
"The persecutors, being in search of this cleric, came to Alban's house, whereupon, disguised in the cleric's apparel - namely, in the caracalla - he presented himself to the soldiers in the place of his master and guest; by them he was bound with things, and led off to the judge. This latter finding himself thus deceived, ordered that the holy confessor of God should be beaten by the executioners; and, perceiving at last that he could neither overcome him by torments, nor win him over from the worship of the Christian religion, he commanded his head to be struck off."
"Alban having reached the brow of the neighboring hill, the executioner who was to dispatch him, admonished by a divine inspiration, casting away his sword, threw himself at the saint's feet, desiring to die either with the martyr, or instead of him. Alban, being at once beheaded, received the crown of life, which God hath promised to them that love him."
"The soldier who had refused to strike him, was likewise beheaded [Note from Feeneyites: Tough luck, dude, if you weren't baptized with water]: concerning whom it is quite certain that, albeit he was not washed in the baptismal font, still was he made clean in the laver of his own blood and so made worthy of entering into the kingdom of heaven. Alban suffered at Verulam, on the tenths of the Kalends of July. And the judge, astonished at the novelty of so many heavenly miracles, ordered the persecution to cease immediately, beginning to honor the death of the saints [only St. Alban and the soldier had been executed], by which [death] he had before thought that they might be diverted from the Christian faith."
As Martin Gwynne points out, this last paragraph is taken verbatim from the writings of Bede, and Bede is a Doctor of the Church. Moreover, St. Alban, who died on June 22 in the year 303, is considered to be the proto-martyr of the English Church.
SAINT EMERENTIANA: Those familiar with the traditional Breviary (dropped from the Novus Ordo "missals") will know the story of this virgin and martyr. The idea that the Church would have her religious commemorate such a person who was - according to those who deny Baptism of Desire and Blood - on a yearly basis for some 1800 years - is to say the least "offensive to pious ears." Let us quote the Breviary directly:
"Emerantiana, a Roman virgin, step-sister of the blessed Agnes, while still a catechumen, burning with faith and charity, when she vehemently rebuked idol-worshippers who were stealing from Christians, was stoned and struck down [Note from Feeneyites: Tough luck, dudess, if you weren't baptized with water] by the crowd which she had angered. Praying in her agony at the tomb of holy Agnes, baptized by her own blood which she poured forth unflinchingly for Christ, she gave up her soul to God."
This virgin and martyr died in Rome about the year 350. A church was built over her grave. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (1908), some days after the death of St. Agnes, Emerentiana who was still a catechumen, went to the grave to pray, and while praying she was suddenly attacked by the pagans and killed with stones. Her feast is kept on January 23 and she is again commemorated on Sept 16 under the phrase in caemeterio maiore (where she is buried). She is represented in the iconography of the church with stones in her lap and a palm of lily in her hands. Some have argued that she was baptized - but such is absurd as she is both called a catechumen, and the Church states in her liturgy that she was "baptized in her own blood."
Yet another example, enshrined in the Breviary in the office of Nov. 10, is that of -
ST. RESPICIUS: "During the reign of the emperor Decius, as Tryphon was preaching the faith of Jesus Christ and striving to persuade all men to worship the Lord, he was arrested by the henchmen of Decius. First, he was tortured on the rack, his flesh torn with iron hooks, then hung head downward, his feet pierced with red hot nails. He was beaten by clubs, scorched by burning torches held against his body. As a result of seeing him endure all these tortures so courageously, the tribune Respicius was converted to the faith of Christ the Lord. Upon the spot he publicly declared himself to be a Christian. Respicius was then tortured in various ways, and together with Tryphon, dragged to a statue of Jupiter. As Tryphon prayed, the statue fell down. After this occurred both were mercilessly beaten with leaden tipped whips and thus attained to glorious martyrdom." [Note from Feeneyites: Tough luck, dude, if you weren't baptized with water]
ST AMBROSE: Here is another doctor of the Church, who provides us with the fourth example. He has the following to say with regard to the death of Valentinian II, who was murdered at Vienne in the year 371. Valentinian II was the son of the Emperor Valintinian I, Emperor of the West, and his second wife Justina. Valintinian I and Justina had been displaced by Mangus Maximus, and had sought support from the Arian Theodosius, who was Emperor of the East. As a result Valentinian II for many years he sat on the fence and tried to bring about a compromise in the arguments between the Arians and the Orthodox. In this he was opposed by St. Ambrose. When his mother died, Valentinian II abandoned Arianism, became a catechumen, and invited St. Ambrose to come to Gaul and administer baptism to him. He was however assassinated before this could happen [Note from Feeneyites: Tough luck, dude, if you weren't baptized with water] and his body was brought to Milan where the saint delivered his funeral oration "De obitu Valentiniani consolatio" which dwelt on the efficacy of baptism of desire. The following is extracted from this oration:
"But I hear that you are distressed because he did not receive the sacrament of baptism. Tell me, what attribute do we have besides our will, our intention? Yet, a short time ago he had this desire that before he came to Italy he should be initiated [baptized], and he indicated that he wanted to be baptized as soon as possible by myself. Did he not, therefore, have that grace which he desired? Did he not have what he asked for? Undoubtedly because he asked for it he received it. Whence it is written, 'The just man, by whatsoever death he shall be overtaken, his soul shall be at rest'(Wisdom, 4:7)."Is Baptism of Desire and Blood a Catholic Teaching?, Rama P. Coomaraswamy, M.D.
The Feeneyites who are stuck on the Baptism by water alone error (or heresy) will claim the above were either miraculously baptized with water, that the source of the account is unreliable, or anything else they can come up with to undermine the obvious conclusion. What was that phrase for those who have not the Faith? "No proof will suffice"? Yeah. I think that's the one.
Think of a baptized person without the Faith and a non-baptized person with it. Is water Baptism more essential to salvation than the Faith? Has not the Church taught for 1925 (between 33 and 1958, she continues to teach it now through her valid Bishops united to Eternal Rome) years that before all else we must have the Faith? Faith is not the only thing but it is the primary thing essential for those who have reached an age where they can accept or reject the Catholic doctrine. For instance, a baby of Protestant parents validly baptized by a Protestant minister is a Catholic. That is correct; he is cleansed of Original Sin and infused with the three supernatural and theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity and is a Catholic until he consciously rejects the Catholic Faith or refuses submission to legitimate ecclesiastical authority. Check with any theologically sound Priest for confirmation of this fact.
God does not damn to eternal Hell-fire anyone for sins they are not culpable of. He did not say from the Cross, "Father forgive and damn them, punishing them in extreme agony for all eternity, even though they are culpable of no damnable sin, because they know not what they do." The implication of forgiving them is to not condemn them for their sins due to their invincible ignorance. "Father forgive them, but have them spend their eternity the same as if they have not been forgiven." What is the use of God forgiving someone if he is going to damn them to the severe beyond description punishments of Hell anyway?
We have this from Monsignor Joseph Clifford Fenton:
Undoubtedly there is a certain amount of confusion in theological literature today on the subject of membership in the Church. The same conditions which prompted Patrick Murray to assert that most of what was written on this subject was a matter of conjecture, and which brought Mazzella (himself a proponent of the doctrine that manifest heresy excludes a man from membership in the Church) and Zubizarreta to declare that the disputes on this point were mostly a matter of words, exist today. These conditions include a studiously elastic use of the term "member of the Church" and a desire, on the part of some theologians, to manifest what may be called the tolerant aspect of Catholicism. In their anxiety to show that we regard members of outside communions as the recipients of a divine vocation to eternal life, they have gone to the extreme of trying to conceive these individuals as our fellow members within the Church of God.
Futhermore, they have been influenced, to a great extent at least, by the doctrine of the necessity of the Church for salvation. They have been confronted with the fact that the Church is so necessary. They have realized that the way is open to all men to be saved. Furthermore they are aware of the fact, fundamental in Catholic teaching, that it is possible for a man who dies without being a member of the Catholic communion to be saved. [Note: : In this very brief paragraph Fenton mentions the doctrine of the necessity of the Church for salvation and the "fact, fundamental in Catholic teaching, that it is possible for a man who dies without being a member of the Catholic communion to be saved". Are we really to believe that he just made a boo boo and did not realize his blunder? - jg]
From all of this they have arrived at the implication that, in some way or another, all of those men and women who are eligible for salvation, or in the state of habitual grace, must be members of the Church. They have not considered the classical doctrine, a commonplace in scholastic ecclesiology since the days of Thomas Stapleton and St. Robert Bellarmine, that a man may be saved either by being a member of the Church or by intending to enter this society as a member. In their anxiety to find a sort of membership which would apply to all men of good will, they have voided the term "member" of its essential meaning, and they have thus occasioned confusion about the nature of the Catholic Church itself.
Part of this confusion has come from an amateurish and unscientific use of technical theological terminology [Note: that is what most lay folk and not too few clergy have - an amateurish and unscientific use of technical theological terminology. Yet we go around telling everyone else, with absolute assurance, that they are damned? We must not look to ourselves for the answers, but to schooled theologians who have the approval of the Church, such as Father Fenton whom we are reading now. - jg]. The great classical ecclesiologists frequently spoke of men being saved either through being in the Church, or through being members of the Church, "in voto." Later and less brilliant writers tended to imagine that there were two ways of being members of the Church, "in re" and "in voto." As a matter of fact, the man who is a member of the Church "in re" is really and actually a part of the true Church. He is one of the persons who compose the society. The man who is a member "in voto" is one who is in the Church in desire. In other words, he wishes to become a member of the Church. The thing desired is always an absent good. The man who desires to be a member of the Church is precisely one who does not, at the moment, enjoy this privilege. By making it appear that membership in the Church and desire of attaining membership were two ways of being within the Church as parts of this society, the proponents of the theory which Dr. Jalland has employed have been of little service to the cause of Catholic theology.
It was unfortunate that Dr. Jalland did not avail himself of the authoritative doctrine of the Mystici corporis when he set out to find what Roman Catholics teach about membership in the Church. The words of the Holy Father are clear enough, and they are manifestly opposed to the doctrine which Dr. Jalland considers "admissions" on the part of Catholics. According to Pope Pius XII, "Only those who are really to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith and who have not unhappily withdrawn from Body-unity or for grave faults been excluded by legitimate authority." [AAS, XXXV (1943), P. 202. Cf. The America Press edition, n. 29.] This is an authoritative statement of the standard theology of St. Robert.
Furthermore, the Holy Father makes it clear that even those who desire to enter the Church are not members until such time as they enter its visible unity. Speaking of those "who do not belong to the visible organization of the Catholic Church," he includes in this number those who "even though unsuspectingly they are related (ordinentur) to the Mystical body of the Redeemer in desire and resolution (desiderio ac voto)" must still retire from a state in which they cannot be sure of their salvation. [Ibid., p. 242. The English translation (n. 121) is faulty at this point.] The teaching of Franzelin and Congar obtains no support whatsoever from the Mystici corporis.
Progress in the line of theological study certainly does not involve casting doubt on conclusions which are assured. It does mean a use of the conclusions already available [Note: These readily available conclusions are found in sound theology manuals, pre- October 1958 Denzinger, the Catechism of Trent, the Encyclicals of true Popes, and the writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, not from the latest self-proclaimed modern theologian.- jg] for an ever more perfect understanding and presentation of the divine message which the priests of the Catholic Church are commissioned to teach. In this it means the use and the appreciation of the genuinely certain theological conclusions on membership in the Catholic Church for the defense of the Church against the foes who assail her today, and for the instruction of the members themselves, and the enlightenment of those who are moved by divine grace to seek membership. The days when dissident oriental patriarchs are meeting in Moscow to plan some sort of substitute for the primacy of the Holy Father, when articles like those of Mr. Fey and addresses like those of Mr. Vale are received in our own country, are no days for indulging in the dangerous amateur theologizing about the nature of the Church.
The truth on the points treated in the citations from Fr. Congar and Fr. White may be expressed in the following conclusions:
(1) The members of the true Church of Jesus Christ are those who profess the true faith, and enjoy the communication of the sacraments, under the rule of legitimate pastors, and in particular under the rule of the Holy Father. Those baptized persons who are in communion with the Bishop of Rome are the members, and the only members, of the true Church of Jesus Christ.
(2) All baptized persons are subject to the laws of the true Church of Jesus Christ, whether they are members of this society or not.
(3) Those persons who are not parts or members of the Catholic Church, but who are in the state of grace, enjoy this grace as men and women who intend, implicitly or explicitly, to enter the Church as members. (Joseph Clifford Fenton, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D. C. April 1945)
Does "No Salvation Outside the Church" mean you have to be a card-carrying member of the Roman Catholic Church in order for it to be even remotely possible to be saved, or does "No Salvation Outside the Church" mean that all those who are saved, are saved by the Catholic Church, whether as members of that Church who are in a state of sanctifying grace at the moment of death, or as non-members, but who are in the state of grace, and enjoy this grace as men and women who intend, implicitly or explicitly, to enter the Church as members?
The answer is obvious.
The axiom "There is No Salvation Outside the Church" and the belief that "One must be a formal member of the Church in order to be saved" are two different phrases with two different meanings. For those who are paying attention, the solemnly defined formula is "No Salvation Outside the Church" not "No Salvation for all non-Members of the Church without exception". No one is saved by a false religion. Everyone who is saved is saved by the Catholic Church. There are members of the Church who are damned, and non-members who can be saved. That is the infallible teaching of the Church. God judges the heart and knows our sincerity, He knows if we are inculpably ignorant of the truth or if we avoid it for convenience. No need to worry about people sliding in to Heaven because they came up with a good excuse.
The fact that there is no salvation outside the Church and that non-members of that Church can be saved is not a contradiction. It is an apparent contradiction as is much in Holy Writ to the unschooled, but objectively speaking there is no contradiction. This needs to be understood by all. Will the next valid Pope make a Dogma out of the infallible explanation [BOB/D] of the Dogma "No Salvation Outside the Church"? It seems he will need to make the issue as clear as possible, using the fullness of his authority, while making it clear that he is using the fullness of his authority for the hardened Feeneyites to accept it. Perhaps even that will not be good enough for them. But at the very least, all of good will who only want the truth will be set straight if he does this. When writing a document where he says "We declare, define, and decree, that it is possible for some, not baptized by water, and for baptized non-members of the Catholic Church to be saved", along with all other categories of the good willed who have all the necessary requisites, he will have to add, "and this is, and has always been, and always will be the infallible teaching of the Church contained within the sacred deposit of Faith." He will have to teach what "baptism of desire" and "baptism of blood" are and what they are not. He will have to bring up the prominent teachings on this by Sainted Doctors throughout the history of the Church, explaining cases of adults who are mental infants, and all other scenarios. He will present what they taught, and explain what they taught, and give the definition as a summary and explanation of that teaching.
Then the debate will be over again as it should have been when Mystici corporis, Suprema haec sacra and Humani generis were issued. Then the Catholics can stay Catholics, the sincere and good-willed non-Catholics can become Catholics, and those Feeneyites who are of the obstinate and perfidious bent can remain outside the Church by explicit desire, and reap the eternal repercussions.
For Past articles by John, see Archives of John Gregory's FAITHFUL TO TRADTION features
"Catholics who remain faithful to Tradition, even if they are reduced to but a handful, they are THE TRUE CHURCH" Saint Athanasius, "Apostle of Tradition" AD 373