I use the Cushingism-Feeneyism approach.
I say the baptism of desire(BOD), baptism of blood(BOB) and being saved in invincible ignorance ( I.I) can be interpreted with Cushingism or Feeneyism and one approach is traditional, rational and non heretical.
So BOD,BOB and I.I interpreted with Feeenyism is not a rupture with the dogma EENS ( Feeneyite).
It would be a rupture with EENS ( Cushingite).Matt Gaspers affirms EENS(Cushingite).
Likewise BOD, BOB and I.I ( Feeneyite) would be in harmony with Vatican Council II ( Feeneyite) and be a rupture with Vatican Council II (Cushingite).For Matt Gaspers and the CFN there is only Vatican Council II (Cushingite).
Since BOD, BOB and I.I are Feeneyite, the Catechisms which mention them are not a rupture with EENS ( Feeneyite) and the past exclusivist ecclesiology of the Church.Invisible cases of BOD,BOB and I.I cannot be objective exceptions to traditional EENS.
Likewise there is no change in the Nicene Creed which still means' I believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sins, one known baptism which is the baptism of water in the Catholic Church'.It is not "I believe in three or more known baptisms which exclude the baptism of water, and they are visible in the flesh cases of the baptism of desire, baptism of blood and being saved in invincible ignorance."This would be irrational since there are no such cases in our reality.
So for me Vatican Council II is in harmony with the dogma EENS as it was known to the Magisterium in the 16th century. For Pope Benedict it is a rupture(Avvenire,March 2016).
For me EENs ( Feeneyite) is in harmony with EENS as it was interpreted in the 16th century. For Pope Benedict and CFN there is a rupture.Cushingism causes the rupture.
For me the Catechism (Trent, Pius X,Baltimore etc) are in harmony with the past exclusivist ecclesiology of the Church, as for example in the 16th century. For the CFN, the SSPX, the sedevacantists and the present two popes there is a rupture. This is schism with the past popes. They would also be in heresy according to the Magisterium of the 16th century.The present magisterium would also be in heresy according to the past Magisterium.
So with my interpretation there is coherence.I do not reject EENS (Feeneyite) like CFN and Pope Benedict.I can affirm Vatican Council II( Feeneyite) and continue to reject Vatican Council II (Cushingite) like the SSPX and the sedevacantists.I too reject Vatican Council II (Cushingite) since it is a rupture with Tradition(EENS, Syllabus etc).
So I am affirming traditional EENS ( unlike the CFN), Vatican Council II ( Feeneyite) unlike the CFN, the Catechisms in harmony with the past ecclesiology( unlike the CFN), the Nicene Creed ( traditional), Mission based on knowing most people are oriented to Hell since they die outside the Church, the Old Ecumenism since outside the Church
there is no known salvation...
So I reject the CFN doctrinel positon which is heretical, irrational and non traditional.
I understand that the CFN may not agree. They would believe they are correct since the popes and saints mentioned BOD, BOB and I.I and so has the Letter of the Holy Office 1949 which was approved by Pope Pius XII, Cardinal Ottaviani and Archbishop Lefebvre and then the same theology( BOD, BOB and I.I being exceptions to EENS) was approved at Vatican Council II.
So for them the dogma EENS(Feeneyite) has become obsolete.They also believe Vatican Council II and the Letter of the Holy Office 1949 are Magisterial.Like the liberals they do not make the Feeneyite-Cushingite distinction and do not define their terms.
Catholic Family News Reprint Series May 2018 Issue
Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus
Revisiting Last Month's Film Review
By Matt Gaspers
I Can Only Imagine
Readers may recall that last month's issue of CFN included a review of I Can Only Imagine (April 2018, page 25), a low-budget Christian film released on March 16 that has done surprisingly well at the box office. To give a very brief recap, the film portrays the real-life story of Bart Millard, lead singer/songwriter of the band MercyMe, who suffered verbal and physical abuse for years at the hands of his father. His mother chose to flee from her abusive husband (due to fear for her own life, according to Millard and his mother), leaving 10-year-old Bart to fend for himself with his dad (Millard apparently has an older brother, but he is not portrayed in the film).
The heart of the film is Bart's bitter relationship with his father, followed by his father's drastic change of heart and behavior, the result of a new-found faith in Jesus. As Millard candidly described it during an interview, "The change was such a huge deal in my life that it literally shifted the trajectory of my life. The reason I do what I do today is [because] if the Gospel can change that dude [his dad], the Gospel can change anybody. And I mean that with all of my heart because it wasn't supposed to work on him."
"I Can Only Imagine," the best-selling song Millard went on to write after his father's death, is all about imagining what his dad is seeing/doing in Heaven, since Millard presumes that his father was saved by his acceptance of Jesus as his "personal Lord and Savior" (the standard Protestant formula).
Having seen the film myself, I can honestly say it is a gripping and, in many ways, inspiring story. Nevertheless, as a Protestant-based film, there are (not surprisingly) some fundamental doctrinal problems that must be addressed, especially in the realm of justification. Is it possible for a soul guilty of actual mortal sins (e.g. Bart Millard's father), and who dies outside the visible bounds of the Church, to be justified (transferred from spiritual death to spiritual life) and thus saved from eternal damnation? Let us explore the Catholic answer, which is summed up by the Latin dictum extra Ecciesiam nulla salus: "outside the Church there is no salvation."
Back to Basics
The dogma of extra Ecciesiam nulla salus is actually quite simple. It is the logical end of the basic truth that there is only "one fold" (the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church) and "one shepherd" (Christ Himself, Who rules His flock through His Vicar, the Pope), as we read in the Gospel (cf. John 10:16). For further clarity, let us "become as little children" (Matt. 18:3), as Our Lord says, and return to the Baltimore Catechism:
"166. Are all obliged to belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved? All are obliged to belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved.
What do we mean when we say, 'Outside the Church there is no salvation'? When we say, 'Outside the Church there is no salvation,' we mean that Christ made the Catholic Church a necessary means of salvation and commanded all to enter it [e.g. Matt. 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-161, so that a person must be connected with the Church in some way to be saved.
How can persons who are not members of the Catholic Church be saved? Persons who are not members of the Catholic Church can be saved if, through no fault of their own they do not know that the Catholic Church is the true Church, but they love God and try to do His will, for in this way they are connected with the Church by desire."'
Further on in the same catechism, we read the following about the Sacrament of Baptism:
"320. Why is Baptism necessary for the salvation of all men? Baptism is necessary for the salvation of all men because Christ has said: 'Unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God' [John 3:51.
321. How can those be saved who through no fault of their own have not received the sacrament of Baptism? Those who through no fault of their own have not received the sacrament of Baptism can be saved through what is called baptism of blood [i.e. martyrdom] or baptism of desire .113
Salvation through Baptism (In Fact or Desire)
These passages from the Baltimore Catechism simply reaffirm the infallible teaching of the Council of Trent. In its Decree on Justification (Sess. VI, Jan. 13, 1547), the holy council defined how the fruits of Redemption must be applied to souls in order for them to be saved, explaining that
"the justification of a sinner is given as being a translation from that state in which man is born a child of the first Adam to the state of grace and of the 'adoption of the sons' [Rom. 8:15] of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior; and this translation after the promulgation of the Gospel cannot be effected except through 'the layer of regeneration' [Tit. 3:5], or a desire for it, as it is written: 'Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God' [John 3:5]."
To sum up, Baptism ("or a desire for it") is necessary for salvation because it translates us into "the state of grace" and unites us to the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church. Hence, extra Ecclesiam nulla salus ("outside the Church there is no salvation") precisely because the Catholic Church alone is the custodian of the primary channels of grace, the sacraments.
Can Non-Catholics Be Saved?
In his magnificent encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi (On the Mystical Body of Christ), Ven. Pope Pius XII expounds upon this point, drawing the attention of the world's bishops to the situation of individuals who are of good will but have not yet been incorporated into the Church through Baptism:
"As you know, Venerable Brethren, from the very beginning of Our Pontificate, We have committed to the protection and guidance of Heaven those who do not belong to the visible Body of the Catholic Church, solemnly declaring that after the example of the Good Shepherd We desire nothing more ardently than 'that they may have life and have it more abundantly' [John 10:10]. Imploring the prayers of the whole Church, We wish to repeat this solemn declaration in this Encyclical Letter in which We have proclaimed the praises of the 'great and glorious Body of Christ' [Iren., Adv. Haer., IV, 33, 71 and, from a heart overflowing with love, We ask each and every one of them to correspond to the interior movements of grace, and to seek to withdraw from that state in which they cannot be sure of their salvation. For even though by an unconscious desire and longing they have a certain relationship with the Mystical Body of the Redeemer, they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church [most especially, the sacraments] ."
Notice how Pius XII, in line with Trent, maintains the possibility (not probability) of salvation for unbaptized persons of good will ("by an unconscious desire and longing they have a certain relationship with the Mystical Body of the Redeemer"). At the same time, however, he urges such persons "to withdraw from that state in which they cannot be sure of their salvation" precisely through Faith and Baptism, according to the words of Our Lord: "He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark 16:16). Pope Pius XII thus demonstrates the proper balance we must all maintain when dealing with this particular dogma, as Moses admonished the Israelites, "you shall not go aside neither to the right hand, nor to the left" (Deut. 5:32).
As an example of erring on the side of presumption, let us return to the case of Arthur Millard (Bart's father) as portrayed in I Can Only Imagine. As mentioned above, the film, the song that inspired its title, and ultimately Bart Millard himself presume that his father went straight to Heaven after death as a result of "accepting Jesus" as his "personal Lord and Savior" (there is no mention in the film of Arthur having been baptized). What is the proper Catholic response to this claim?
If Bart's father was truly ignorant of his need to enter the Catholic Church for salvation, it is possible that he could have been saved, as we saw in the Baltimore Catechism: “Persons who are not members of the Catholic Church can be saved if, through no fault of their own they do not know that the Catholic Church is the true Church, but they love God and try to do His will, for in this way they are connected with the Church by desire." Ignorance alone, however, even if invincible (i.e. inculpable), is not sufficient for salvation. Such a condition is essentially a negative state, in the sense of a deprivation of full knowledge of the truth, and thus does not positively place one in a state of grace.6
In order for that to occur (namely, the reception of sanctifying grace apart from sacramental Baptism), the person in question would have to make a perfect act of contrition and love, rooted in supernatural faith, which would draw down the grace of justification.7 As the Saints and Doctors of the Church tell us, though, the ability to make such an act requires, in and of itself. a truly extraordinary grace, one that no individual should presumptuously bank on receiving.
In light of these facts, no private person can presume to know with certainty that Arthur Millard is in Heaven. God alone is the omniscient and righteous Judge.
Letter of the Holy Office
By the same token, it is possible to err in the opposite direction, namely, to deny the reality of baptism of desire (which necessarily includes perfect contrition) and believe that all souls who die without sacramental Baptism, regardless of their personal circumstances/dispositions, invariably go to hell. In 1949, roughly six years after Mystici Corporis Christi was issued. the Holy Office in Rome sent a letter to the Archbishop of Boston (known as Sup rema Haec Sacra or Protocol 122/49)S in which this error is condemned as contrary to the Church's understanding of extra Ecciesiam nulla salus:
Now, among those things that the Church has always preached and will never cease to preach is contained also that infallible statement by which we are taught that 'outside the Church there is no salvation.'
However, this dogma must be understood in that sense in which the Church herself understands it. For, it was not to private judgments that our Savior gave for explanation of those things that are contained in the deposit of faith, but to the teaching authority of the Church."'
The letter goes on to define the true sense of the dogma as follows:
"Now, in the first place, the Church teaches that in this matter there is a question of a most strict command of Jesus Christ. For He explicitly enjoined on His Apostles to teach all nations to observe everything that He Himself had commanded. Now, among those commandments of Christ, that one holds not the least place by which we are told to be incorporated by baptism into the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church, and to remain united to Christ and to His Vicar, through whom He Himself in a visible manner governs the Church on earth. Therefore, no one will be saved who, knowing the Church to have been divinely established by Christ, nevertheless refuses to submit to the Church or withholds obedience from the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on earth.
Not only did the Savior command that all nations should enter the Church, but He also decreed the Church to be the means of salvation, without which no one can enter the kingdom of heavenly glory.
In His infinite mercy God has willed that the effects, necessary for one to be saved, of those helps to salvation that are directed toward man's final end, not by intrinsic necessity, but only by divine institution, can also be obtained in certain circumstances when (those helps) are employed only through desire and longing.
Concerning the nature of this desire, the letter clarifies:
"However, this desire need not always be explicit. as it is in catechumens; but when a person suffers from invincible ignorance, God accepts also an implicit desire, so called because it is included in that good disposition of soul whereby a person wishes his will to be conformed to the will of God.',!
For its source of doctrinal authority, the letter cites Mystici Corporis Christi and quotes from it at length concerning those [who] are actually to be counted as members of the Church"- the baptized (MCC, n. 22) - versus those who "by an unconscious desire and longing.. have a certain relationship with the Mystical Body of the Redeemer" (MCC, n. 103).
"With these wise words," the letter continues,
"[Pius XII] condemns both those who exclude from eternal salvation all united to the Church only by implicit desire and those who falsely assert that men can be saved equally well in every religion.
Nor must it be thought that any kind of desire of entering the Church suffices for one to be saved. It is necessary that the desire by which one is related to the Church be animated by perfect charity. The implicit desire can produce no effect unless a person has supernatural faith."2
Assisting the Good Shepherd
"I am the good Shepherd," says Our Lord, "and I know Mine, and Mine know Me. ... And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd" (John 10:14, 16). With these tender words, Our Lord makes it clear that He desires "all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4), "not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance" (2 Pet. 3:9). Whatever our state in life, whatever difficulties or persecutions we may face, let us do everything in our power to lead souls to the one fold of the one Shepherd by "doing the truth in charity" (Eph. 4:15).
Jeannie Law, "1 Can Only Imagine': Bart Millard Reveals Mom's Reaction to His Portrayal of Heart-Breaking Childhood," The Christian Post, Mar. 17, 2018 (https://www.christianpost.com/news/i-can-only-imagine-bart-millard-reveals-moms-reaction-to-his-portrayal-of-heart-breaking-childhood-221 574/).
Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism Official Revised Edition, No. 2 (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Corp., 1969-1962), Lesson 12 (The Marks and Attributes of the Church), p. 80.
Ibid., Lesson 24 (Baptism), p. 153.
1. Denz. (30th ed.) 796.
Pius XII, Encyclical Mysfici Corporis Christi (June 29, 1943), n. 103 (http://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xH/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_29061 943_mystici-corporis-christLhtml).
For a more detailed explanation of this truth, see "Invincible or Inculpable Ignorance Neither Saves Nor Damns a Person," Catholic Family News, excerpt from the writings of Fr. Michael Muller, C.Ss.R. (http://www.cfnews.org/page88/filesf77982a376d9fl bi 9981 0842b1 fl 58b8e-203.html).
See Catholic Encyclopedia, article on "Contrition" (specifically, the section entitled "Perfect contrition without the sacrament") (http:l/www. newadvent.org/cathen/04337a.htm).
The text of the letter is found in post-1963 editions of Denzinger-Schbnmetzer (D.S. 3866-3873). Quotes provided in this article are taken from the 43rd Latin-English edition (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2012).
D.S. (43rd ed.) 3866.
This article was reprinted from the May 2018 issue of
Catholic Family News - a Roman Catholic monthly published 12 times a year.
Catholic Family News Reprint
Matt Gaspers is the Managing Editor of Catholic Family News. He was asked by John Vennari (1958-2017), longtime Editor of CFN and stalwart defender of the Faith, to carry on CFN’s important work shortly before Mr. Vennari’s passing. In addition to writing for CFN, Mr. Gaspers has also been published by The Fatima Crusader, The Remnant, OnePeterFive, and LifeSiteNews. His study and writing interests include theology, Church history, Fatima, Islam, and the spiritual life. He has also spoken at conferences hosted by Catholic Family News and the Fatima Center. He and his wife, together with their children, reside in Colorado.