John Pacecho on the websire The Catholic Legate says 'it is a defined article of faith that membership in the Church is necessary for all men for salvation' and agrees that ‘the possibility of someone being saved outside the formal membership of the Church is simply that - a possibility. It does not mean 'probability' or even a 'good possibility', but only a possibility - perhaps even only a remote one.’
So those saved in invincible ignorant is a possibility. Those saved with the baptism of desire are possibilities and we do not know any particular case. They are not defacto known cases on earth, obviously. I agree with him.
John Pacecho, the Director of The Catholic Legate has posted the three defined dogmas of extra ecclesiam nulla salus on the website and admits that those saved outside the formal membership of the Church are possibilities and would be known only to God since they are not concrete visible cases to us. The Catholic Legate is affirming the three defined dogmas and accepts that those saved in invincible ignorance are not known to us.So theoretically they could be exceptions to the defined dogma but practically they are not exceptions.All people on earth defacto need to enter the Catholic Church for salvation and there are no known exceptions.(1)
Art Sippo also says that the Magisterium has definitively stated that 'invincible ignorance MAY excuse those who are non-Catholics and that they may still attain eternal life. (See Lumen Gentium and Veritatis Splendor.) This is not a contradiction of previous teaching but a clarification in greater detail. In short, there is no doubt that Baptism and membership in the Catholic Church are ABSOLUTELY necessary for salvation without exception. But the Magisterium in its mature reflection on this matter has indicated that an implicit desire to do the will of God MAY allow SOME persons at the time of their death to receive the grace of justification and be considered members of the Catholic Church in a way sufficient for them to gain the Beatific Vision.'(2)
Sippo is affirming the defined dogmas and also affirming implicit baptism of desire and being saved in invincible ignorance as a possibility, in principle (de jure). Dejure a person can be saved in invincible ignorance etc defacto everyone needs to formally enter the Catholic Church for salvation.I agree with him too.
So far so good but now comes the confusion.
Art Sippo writes ‘it is solemn Church teaching that no one goes to Hell proper for anything other than actual sins. Eternal torment is retributive as a punishment for unrepented serious sin. If anyone ends up in Hell (other than Limbo) they must be guilty of actual mortal sin.’ So he means that only those who know the truth and yet do not enter are guilty. Those in ignorance are not guilty and can be saved.is he saying that there are such known cases on earth ?
God alone judges who knows and who does not know, who is in mortal sin and who is not.So in principle (dejure) ‘it is solemn Church teaching that no one goes to Hell proper for anything other than actual sins’, defacto ( in reality) we don’t iknow any exceptions. So this is not a contradiction of the defined dogma.
So if ‘ someone is damned to Hell proper (not Limbo), they MUST be guilty of mortal sin. In the case of non-Catholics, if they are to be damned for remaining outside the Church, it MUST be because they are guilty of one of the serious sins of irreligion: heresy, apostasy, or schism. There is no other alternative.’ True and we do not know who these cases are so in a sense they are irrelevant to the defined dogma.
So when a supporter of Fr.Leonard Feeney alleges ‘ that any adult who does not become a Catholic after achieving the age of reason is resisting the grace of the Holy Spirit…’ he knows that there are no known exceptions on earth.
So ‘ adult non-Catholics in our environment have no excuse and are guilty of the sins of irreligion. For this alone, the Feeneyites claim that they will be damned to Hell, (and not to Limbo)! They are alleging that these people are guilty of mortal sin.’
Art Sippo disagrees. ‘All I am saying in my articles is that SOME non-Catholics(baptized or not) MAY be truly ignorant of the truth or have some impediment to their will which prevents them from being held morally culpable for their state of material schism.’ These cases are possibilities they are not known to us we all agree.I cannot meet them or telephone them.
Sippo continues, ‘As such they do not meet the Church's criteria for mortal sin and will not be held accountable for the serious sins of irreligion.’ True, and none of them are we likely to know personally.
Peter Vere another apologist at The Catholic Legate writes (not on the website) that the Catechism of the Catholic Church promotes a less exclusive understanding of the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus with the baptism of desire and baptism of blood (martyrdon). He implies that the baptism of desire and blood are exceptions to the dogma . He considers these cases known to us, in reality, for them to be exceptions. De facto,explicilty we know these particular cases he is saying and so they contradict the dogma. Unlike John Pacheco he does not assume that the baptism of desire is a possibility. Along with Art Sippo he could be saying that we know these exceptional cases in real life.-Lionel Andrades
1.Salvation Outside the Church
2.Feeneyism Exposed, The Catholic Legate
3.Peter vere The Status of Fr.Feeney’s Doctrinal Position.