On Archbishop DiNoia, Vatican II, and the SSPX

Source: www.remnantnewspaper.com/Archives/2012-1015-laisney-di-noia.htm
On Archbishop DiNoia, Vatican II, and the SSPX
Father François Laisney, SSPX POSTED: 10/8/12
The State of the Question

To be able to solve a problem it is important that it first be properly set forth. No less than eight times in a recent interview of Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, newly-appointed VP of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, either the interviewer or His Excellency himself referenced the “full communion” of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), as if the SSPX were somehow not in “full communion” and the problem was to help them return to “full communion.” At the end of the interview, Archbishop DiNoia even mentions “another sect, another division.” But from the outset, the “status quaestionis” is badly set out. On that matter of “full communion”, by the way, there’s an excellent article by Mr Ferrara from The Remnant last year.

If the Archbishop would only study the history of the SSPX he would quickly discover that it was born as any good branch of the Catholic Church, being founded by a fully Catholic Archbishop, Msgr. Marcel Lefebvre, canonically approved by a local ordinary, Bishop Charrière, opened its first seminary at Ecône with the approval of Bishop Adam, and even obtained a letter of praise from Cardinal Wright.

It was only later on when the SSPX was illegally suppressed by Bishop Mamie in violation of Canon Law, and the persecution started, ending in an irregular canonical situation, but NEVER with the SSPX losing full Communion with the Catholic Church. To be unjustly treated by some members of the hierarchy does not cause one to lose full communion. There were quite a few Saints who had to suffer from members of the hierarchy, even “excommunicated” (in Australia, Saint Mary of the Cross was solemnly “excommunicated” by the Bishop of Adelaide, only to be later canonised by Pope Benedict XVI. Was her excommunication “valid”? Was she “not in full communion”? Sort of like St Joan of Arc?)

The truth is that many have taken their wish for the reality: many churchmen found it easy and practical to treat us “as if we were” outside the Church, as if we were “not in full communion”, because they did not have any real answer to our objections. This notion of “full communion” has been an easy tool to escape the real questions: it allows some to treat some non-Catholics “as if they were” almost Catholics, and to treat some real Catholics (such as us) “as if they were” almost non-Catholics!

When Archbishop DiNoia says: “So I’m sympathetic to the society, but the solution is not breaking off from the Church,” he makes a bad start, because he assumes or presupposes that we would have broken from the Church, which is not true. To have an irregular canonical situation in no way implies a break from the Church, especially when such irregularity is not our fault, but the fault of those who tried to forbid the Traditional Mass in the 1970s. (See my previous article in The Remnant, May 31, 2012, pp. 9-10). By clearly saying that the Traditional Mass had never been abrogated, Pope Benedict XVI set the principle of the whole rehabilitation of Archbishop Lefebvre and of the Society of Saint Pius X. It will be Archbishop DiNoia’s job to draw the consequences of that principle, and fully rehabilitate Archbishop Lefebvre and his society, precisely showing that we have never been outside the Catholic Church, we have never been “a sect”, we have never broken off from the Church, we have never not been “in full communion”.

Can there be Errors in Vatican II

Then almost at the very beginning of his interview, the Archbishop states a new principle, which can nowhere be found in proper Catholic theology, viz. that “the Councils cannot be led into error”, as if every single words of every single document of every single ecumenical council was exempt from all error. The Church never taught such a doctrine. What the Church did teach is that the general Councils had authority to make infallible canons, and these canons were absolutely exempt from error. The rest of the documents usually enjoyed high authority, but had never been thought to enjoy the same infallibility as the canons themselves.

There is a historical example illustrating my point: the Council of Florence (Dz 701) gave as the matter of the Sacrament of Holy Orders the transmission of the chalice – this was the opinion of St Thomas Aquinas – but Pope Pius XII later judged definitely that the matter of that Sacrament was the imposition of the hands of the Bishop (Dz 2301). So unless one claims that the matter of sacraments can change – which no proper theologian would claim, since the matter is part of the very essence of the sacrament, over which the Church has no power, since it is established by Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself – then here you have a simple statement of a Council which happens to be incorrect.

There are two ways in which the Holy Ghost can protect the Church from teaching errors: first in helping those members of the teaching Church to do their duty and guiding them to express accurately the teachings of Our Lord, according to the promise: “He will bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you” (Jn 14:26). Thus the Holy Ghost does not teach a new doctrine, but helps them to keep the ancient deposit of Faith.

The second way is with men of the Church who do not want to teach with doctrinal precision, who do not want to make “dogmatic” decrees, then the Holy Ghost simply lets them speak “as men”, but not as “doctors of the Faith”, in particular preventing them from binding in any way. A simple example of that can been seen in the document “Dominus Iesus”: twenty times in that document the obligation to believe is asserted one way or another (either “one must believe”, or “it is contrary to Catholic doctrine…”): every single time such binding words are used, it is the traditional doctrine that is being reiterated. On the contrary, some of the novelties of Vatican II – which can still be found in that document – are never asserted as something that must be believed!

The contrast puts in light these two ways in which the Holy Ghost helps His Church: when men of the Church are doing their duty to “transmit that which they have received” (1 Cor. 11:23), then the Holy Ghost empowers them to assert these truths with strength and clarity; when they depart from their duty, He prevents them from imposing such novelties on the faithful.

One can see the same ways of the Holy Ghost working within the Saints. It is well known that some Saints – even Doctors – erred on this or that point of Faith (not yet defined). They were strong on the points of Faith that they defended; they were unsure on those points on which they may have erred. For instance, St Augustine was unsure as to whether the soul of each man was directly created by God, or whether it was transmitted by the parents (that second opinion was later rejected by the Church). St Augustine wrote a whole book “on the origin of the soul”, in which he rebuked a deacon Victor for arguing against transmission of the soul from the parents as a way of avoiding the dogma of Original Sin. St Augustine basically says: I am unsure on the question of the origin of the soul; I incline towards the opinion that the soul is transmitted by the parents, but what I deem important is that, whatever way the soul comes to be, it is infected by the Original Sin of Adam.

He was firm on the dogma which he was defending (Original Sin) against the Pelagians; he was unsure on the error he was inclined to. Similarly St Thomas Aquinas argued that Our Lady was as pure as possible so long as one affirms that she is redeemed by Our Lord: so he stated that she was sanctified on the second instant of her life. But that he was not satisfied by this is clearly demonstrated by the fact that he justifies the feast of the Immaculate Conception, saying that she was sanctified still on the very day of her conception… This is clearly an embarrassing way to acknowledge her Immaculate Conception (IIIa q.27 a.2 ad 3m).

So, was the Holy Ghost assisting at Vatican II? Yes, both ways. Whenever the Council fathers taught that which had been taught before He was indeed helping them, “reminding them whatsoever Our Lord had taught” (Jn 14:26); but when they were adventuring themselves and taught novelties (and we are not the only ones who say there are novelties in Vatican II—Pope John Paul II himself said so in his motu proprio Ecclesia Dei), then the Holy Ghost was assisting the Church, preventing them from binding the faithful to such novelties.

I do not say that everything that is not positively said to be binding is a novelty and false. There are many things that were said in continuity with previous doctrine, without binding expressions and which, precisely because they are – and in as much as they are – in continuity with constantly-taught doctrines of the Church, are nevertheless not only true but binding. But I do say that there is room for errors, precisely in those things which have not been “clearly said to be binding,” and especially in those novelties which are opposed to the previous teachings of the Church. My point here is that to pretend a-priori that there cannot be any error whatsoever is not a Catholic principle.


In the above-mentioned interview, the interviewer himself introduces some rather offensive notions when he affirms: “Some Catholics have decided to stick to ‘frozen’ tradition.” A simple look at the situation of the Church today would rather make one think that the novus ordo is slipping into some kind of lethargy, while traditional chapels are usually thriving. Real life does not consist in evolution, but rather the transmission of the life received from parents: mutant genes are the result of errors of copy, whereas good and sound genes are the one which are not erroneously copied, they are those which are “transmitted as they have been received!”

Religious Freedom

Archbishop DiNoia then says that “the Society thinks, of course, that the whole teaching on religious liberty is a departure from the Tradition. But some very smart people have tried to point out it’s a development that is consistent.”

The only problem for him is that of the smartest of those who tried, Fr. Brian Harrison, now clearly states that he does not intend to show the continuity, but, acknowledging that the idea of a “right to be tolerated” is “what was new in the doctrine” of Vatican II, he merely tries to show the non-contradiction with previous doctrine. He himself acknowledges that it would be sophism to pass from the “duty to tolerate” on the part of the authorities (pre-Vatican II’s doctrine) to a “right to be tolerated” on the part of the individual, regardless of the truth (Vatican II’s doctrine): there is no continuity between both doctrines.

One of the comments posted after the interview asks for a precise example of contradiction between previous doctrine and Vatican II’s doctrine. Religious Freedom is a good example. The Church taught before that “what does not correspond with truth and the moral law has no objective right to existence, propaganda or action” (Pius XII, Ci riese, 6 Dec. 1953). Now Vatican II declares that the “human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that, within due limits, nobody is forced to act against his own beliefs, nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his convictions in religious matters, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others.” (DH2) This right in its generality (i.e. encompassing any religion) is false. Either there is or there is not any right: the affirmation and the negation are contradictory.

Some try to avoid that conclusion by saying that Pius XII spoke of “objective rights” and Vatican II spoke of “subjective rights” (the rights of the person): this is a vain defence, since rights are always subjected in a person; thus saying that error has no objective rights means nothing else than that persons have no subjective rights to error!

Others – and this is the line of Fr Harrison – tried to say that Vatican II does not teach that there is a right to practice false religion, but merely a right to immunity from coercion in practicing false religion. That defence also is vain, since good deserves a reward but evil deserves a punishment (i.e. needs to be corrected, to be straightened); error is the evil of the intelligence, and cannot at the same time have a right to immunity and a need to be corrected; immunity and correction are two opposite things. Even if one considers an error without evil will, an error where one has been more deceived than deceiving himself, it is still not good to leave such error uncorrected (I do not say that it ought to be punished, but it ought to be corrected), and therefore there cannot be a right for an error to remain uncorrected. In other words, not only error is bad, but immunity for error is bad: it is the privation of the good of correction; there cannot be a right to immunity for something bad, as such.

Indeed many persons consider any coercion as evil, because they consider human freedom an absolute: but such a mind is not Catholic. This goes explicitly against the Gospel where Our Lord gives orders to his servants “compelle intrare” (Lk 14:23), literally “force them to enter” into the Heavenly banquet! Man is not the ultimate rule of good and evil, and therefore his freedom is not without a rule from above, i.e. from the Divine Goodness towards which all his choices must be directed. That which helps him to make the right choice, the choice for God, for truth, for goodness, is indeed a help, even if at the beginning one may resent that help; St Paul was thrown down from his horse, and is forever in Heaven, thanking God for that! Thus some coercion is good (not all, but some). Now if there were a right to be immune from coercion in the religious domain, then any such coercion would be wrong by itself (only the circumstances of not respecting the common good/peace would permit such coercion, not the error itself). Who does not see the contradiction between “all coercion (in religions matters) is by itself wrong” (as opposed to the “right to be immune from all coercion”) and “some coercion is good”? Vatican II teaches the first; the Church had always taught the second.

The last effort to escape the contradiction is to claim that Vatican II does not deny that false religions have no rights, but simply denies to the State the right to interfere in religious matters. This too is opposed to the constant teaching of the Church, that Christ must reign (1 Cor. 15:15), not just over individuals but over all the kings of the earth and over all nations as such (ps. 71:11). Not only individuals can and must recognise the truth of the Catholic religion, but also kings as such (see St. Leo the Great’s letters to the emperor). And this is the best source of blessings for a government and a country.

Because of its spiritual nature, many have a hard time grasping the novelty of the doctrine of Vatican II. But if we would transfer that doctrine on more practical matters, one would easily understand. Indeed the Church always taught that killing and stealing were wrong, and “had no right”. Now if a council would come and declare that “the human person has a right to immunity from coercion on the part of any human power, in such wise that, within due limits, nobody is to be restrained from stealing/murdering, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others,” would not such a “right” be manifestly wrong, and in contradiction with previous Church’s teaching?

Nothing Contrary to Tradition in Vatican II?

Archbishop DiNoia has “tried to argue (…) that all they [the SSPX] have to do is to say there’s nothing in the Council that is contrary to Tradition”; however in this he opposes Pope Benedict, who as Cardinal Ratzinger said that Gaudium et Spes was an “anti-syllabus”; Cardinal Congar had said too that this same document said “almost the exact contrary of the Syllabus”, and Cardinal Suenens had called the Council “1789 in the Church”. To pretend that there is nothing contrary when there is such opposition is to make one’s wishful thinking into the reality.

Archbishop DiNoia is quite right in saying that one should not reduce what we must believe to what has been solemnly and infallibly defined. However, between “nothing is to be believed except that which is solemnly and infallibly defined”, and “everything is to be believed,” there is room for the right attitude, the Catholic attitude, that is to be believed, which is in continuity with the constant previous teaching of the Church; that is to be rejected which is in opposition with the previous constant teaching of the Church. Much evidence exists, such as the declarations quoted just above, to show that there are within the second Vatican Council some declarations in opposition to the past teachings of the Church.

Doctrine of the Church, Doctrine of Churchmen

Then Archbishop DiNoia rightly says “the necessary requirements of being fully Catholic” is to say: “Yes, I do believe the Church is preserved from error by the Holy Spirit.” Yes, the SSPX does believe that. But we don’t believe that whatever churchmen say is “Church’s doctrine”! There are – and today there are many – churchmen who teach their own private opinion (and errors and even heresies) from their pulpits, some even who don’t believe in the reality of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, and have very ambiguous statements about that (the new head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith has had some rather disturbing words on the subject!)

So, how do we recognise the Church’s voice in the voice of churchmen? When they are “transparent” to what they received from the Church, i.e. when “they transmit that which they have received”, when they teach the age-old Doctrine of the Church: then truly “he who heareth you, heareth Me” (Lk 10:16). But when they teach novelties, they are no longer transparent; it is no longer Christ who speaks through them, but rather they speak on their own. Though for a while in the Church there may be some errors – even against the Faith – widely spread, such as during the Arian crisis, these errors will not prevail. We do believe that the Holy Ghost works in His Church, the Roman Catholic Church, to protect her from errors. Yet we ought to fight for the truth and denounce the errors, as Saint Athanasius did. Precisely, the Holy Ghost wants such docile instruments to fight for the truth – the ancient deposit of Faith – against the novelties of the innovators. It is by empowering them that the Holy Ghost actively protects the Church from error!

Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus

Now Archbishop DiNoia continues – no longer rightly – and says “the Church has always affirmed [the possibility of salvation of non-Christians], and it has never denied it.” This is not only false, but even explicitly opposed to the dogma Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. Pope Pius IX explicitly says it is a Dogma, and it has been taught as such – unanimously – from the very beginning. What he may be confused about is that the Church – in the proper explanation of that dogma – teaches Baptism of Blood and Baptism of desire [read my little book about it published by the Angelus Press], but the Church does not teach that those souls who are saved by these “baptisms” are saved “outside the Church” – on the contrary!

The Church explicitly affirms that these souls are part of the Church; this is often expressed as being part of the “soul” of the Church (See St Pius X’s catechism). It was bad theologians from the 1930s that started to say that these were saved “outside” the Church, completely forgetting that the Church teaches the necessity of the Catholic Faith and charity in order to have Baptism of Blood or Baptism of desire. Sorry, your Excellency, it is not possible to be a Saint without the Catholic Faith; it is not possible to be formally Lutheran or Anglican and be a Saint. “He that does not believe shall be condemned”, said Our Lord Himself, and He certainly would not settle for a false faith. It is therefore the true Faith that He requires. If in God’s providence a Lutheran were to be somehow saved, it is between him and God, because he is baptized, and through his baptism is saved by Christ and His Church…not by the Lutheran heresy.

We will pray that, to enable him to successfully fulfil his mission as vice-president of the Ecclesia Dei commission, His Excellency will correct his doctrine on that most important point of Faith.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Guardian of the Faith, obtain for Archbishop DiNoia from the Holy Ghost the required graces of light and strength!

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19 comments on “On Archbishop DiNoia, Vatican II, and the SSPX

  1. Good post tradical, and spot on! Abp. DiNoia is obviously very confused, although he is not as divorced from reality as his boss, Abp.Mueller.

  2. Excellent article.! It appears as if the Soceity may be shifting to a more agressive posture.

  3. Hmm…Fr Laisney or Fr Courtenay-Murray…I think I’ll go with Fr Laisney!

    Particularly liked his example of St Paul’s conversion – thrown off his horse and struck blind – a good example of coercion in religious matters if ever there was one. I suppose the modernists would argue that it was God doing the coercing, not man, if they believe in God. Worth thinking of other scriptural examples of coercion from the NT – the OT is full of them.

  4. “… But it doesn’t make the case in front of Rome and the rest of the Church to brush off the consecrations like that…”

    That was a reference to what caused the irregular canonical situation – the suppression of the SSPX. The consecrations of the Bishops was a separate issue.

    “… If in God’s providence a Lutheran were to be somehow saved … Fr. Laisney gets finished saying that a candidate for Baptism of Desire must have the true faith …”

    In order to be saved, a person has to have the supernatural virtue of the Faith. The letter to Archbishop Cushing makes this quite clear and … if I remember correctly outlines the minimum knowledge necessary for such a Faith. A Lutheran, provided he is in a state of invincible ignorance, can achieve a state of grace by a perfect act of contrition. If this is the case and they die in that state, then they are saved. It must be noted that it is very very very … difficult to achieve a perfect act of contrition.

    … Discussing the members of which the Mystical Body is-composed here on earth, the same august Pontiff says: “Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed.”

    Toward the end of this same encyclical letter, when most affectionately inviting to unity those who do not belong to the body of the Catholic Church, he mentions those who “are related to the Mystical Body of the Redeemer by a certain unconscious yearning and desire,” and these he by no means excludes from eternal salvation, but on the other hand states that they are in a condition “in which 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” (AAS, 1. c., p. 243). With these wise words he reproves 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 (cf. Pope Pius IX, Allocution, , in , n. 1641 ff.; also Pope Pius IX in the encyclical letter, , in , n. 1677).

    But it must not be thought that any kind of desire of entering the Church suffices that one may be saved. It is necessary that the desire by which one is related to the Church be animated by perfect charity. Nor can an implicit desire produce its effect, unless a person has supernatural faith: “For he who comes to God must believe that God exists and is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). The Council of Trent declares (Session VI, chap. 8): “Faith is the beginning of man’s salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, without which it is impossible to please God and attain to the fellowship of His children” (Denzinger, n. 801)….

    So there is nothing unorthodox about Fr. Laisney’s statements concerning the possibility of a non-Catholic achieving salvation.

    • “It must be noted that it is very very very … difficult to achieve a perfect act of contrition.”

      That is not necessarily the case if one understands what is meant by an act of perfect contrition as opposed to an act of imperfect contrition. The act of perfect contrition is contrition manifested because of sorrow for having offended against the love of Almighty God i.e. contrition born of love. The act of imperfect contrition is contrition manifested because of fear of punishment and damnation i.e. contrition born of fear. While either may suffice to make a valid confession, it seems that only acts of perfect contrition have been linked with theology surrounding BOD.

      As far as the faith that is required for BOD to be existent, it seems that Fr Laisney is more specific than that cited in the letter to Archbishop Cushing. Fr Laisney says:

      “… the Church teaches the necessity of the Catholic Faith and charity in order to have Baptism of Blood or Baptism of desire. …. “He that does not believe shall be condemned”, said Our Lord Himself, and He certainly would not settle for a false faith. It is therefore the true Faith that He requires.”

      Whereas, the letter to Archbishop Cushing says only:

      “Nor can an implicit desire produce its effect, unless a person has supernatural faith: “For he who comes to God must believe that God exists and is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).”

      Obviously this falls far short of teaching that the full Catholic Faith is necessary – or at least that is how it has been widely interpreted. But as the letter to the Hebrews does not claim that such faith cited in 11:6 is sufficient for salvation, but is merely the first step in anticipation of faith in Christ, I think Fr Laisney is correct to state that the Catholic Faith and charity are necessary in order for BOB or BOD to be present. I can only assume that the imaginary Lutheran he speculates about is one who has come to embrace the Catholic Faith, but who dies before he can be validly reconciled with the Church.

      • I often think it helpful to recall that God does not create anyone simply in order to condemn them to Hell, and that, therefore, God, in his Justice and Mercy, does give to every person born into this world sufficient grace to save their souls, or at least to avoid Hell and to achieve Limbo (please note that there has never been a defined doctrine on Limbo). This applies to Lutherans, true, but it also applies to those pagans born in the depths of Africa and South America before the coming of the missionaries. Did these pagan men and women have sufficient grace to save their souls including the possibility of Baptism of Desire? Yes. How many of them made use of these graces and managed to save their souls is another question, but we can not predict the judgement of God in these cases. “To whom much is given, much is expected.”

  5. As for Lutherans, Luc, St. Teresa of Avila was most specific. Not only was she sure where they were going to end up but stated explicitly that they well deserved it. Her sentiments on the Reformation would, today, have probably resulted in being her excomm’d by Der Pabst hisself. And that would, no doubt, have been preceded by her being keel-hauled by Kriegsmarine Kommandant Mueller.

    Just another reminder of how impossible the conciliar hierarchy has become to “deal with”…

    • Well said, gpmtrad. I agree with you entirely. (Are you surprised? ;) ) However, I would like to elaborate on the question, if you don’t mind.
      Certainly the Lutherans, as Lutherans, are condemned. The “faith” of Luther is NOT at all a means of salvation or of sanctification. Any Lutheran who comes to realize that the Lutheran religion is not the religion of God and who nevertheless remains in it (and of course I’m talking about the moment of death here) will not be saved and due to his sin of formal heresy complete with “sufficient reflection,” he will justly suffer eternal punishment in Hell. This also applies to the other protestant sects, all other heresies, and atheism as well. Of course, this also requires the person to have attained the use of reason. I believe this summarizes the Catholic teaching on the subject.

      Now the application of this principle is where it gets a little tricky. The above statement does contain a few qualifiers, such as “sufficient reflection,” “who comes to realize,” and so on.

      It is certain that God does provide sufficient grace to every person born into the world to save his soul. No one, and I mean NO ONE, will be able to confront God on the Day of Judgement and say: “I am condemned to Hell because you never gave me a chance.” No one will be able to say to God: “It’s your fault I’m in Hell, not mine.”
      Do you get what I’m saying?

      Those are the priciples to work with. I find that the case of the ignorant pagan is a less complicated example to apply the principle to, as well as being less personal and confrontational for most people, while providing all the necessary elements for an example to work with.

      As always, if you see any errors of fact or logic in my comments, please point them out.

  6. Nicely put, Luc. And, since I am only two minutes into my bereavement over the Yankees losing in 13 innings to the Orioles in Game 4 of the ALDS, I am in a real mood to put the boot into something.

    However, even more important – well, maybe AS important as a Yankees game – is the fact the “sufficient reflection” is always going to be highly individualized and thoroughly subjective, case by case. Thus, unpronounceable from the merely mortal perspective.

    I look at it this way: Hell is SO horrible that only the most depraved of men would ever seriously wish anyone to go there. And yet, we have Our Lady’s words at Fatima on the subject as our guide: Souls fall into Hell like snowflakes.

    Our job, like St. Teresa herself put it, is to be willing to sacrifice and endure ANYTHING, even a thousand deaths if it were possible, to save even one poor Lutheran or any other species of men separated from the Church. Taking into account that Our Lord revealed to Sr. Lucia of Fatima that He wills that the penance He wishes men to offer Him is their heroic endurance of whatever He wills for them in this life, we can have a reasonable hope that our prayers, good works, sufferings, penances made of our free will, joys and sorrows – all offered to Him in union with the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady – can form a tiny pile in the coinage which is the TRUE treasury of the Church, by which to purchase what those unfortunate enough to be able to do so for themselves may otherwise be unable to obtain, their salvation.

    Pray, hope and don’t worry. But work like mad.

  7. Oh, and yes: It is the soul that condemns itself of it own free will. Unfortunately, many souls are so negligent of their duties to God and neighbor that, following a lifetime of voluntary, utterly selfish sinfulness, they will not even WILL their own salvation, right up to the minute they check out. They die only in love with this world and its false comforts, and themselves.

    • Well said, and I’m sorry about the game. Just don’t take out your bereavement on me, a simple Canadian who doesn’t even follow baseball. Unless of course the Yankees lose to the Jays ;)

      —Today it is the common attitude in the Church at large, whether expressed or not, that “although we know there is a Hell, we don’t know if there is actually anyone there (except for maybe a few of History’s biggest villians like Hitler and Stalin.)”
      —The more correct version would read something like: “We know that Baptism of Desire is possible, and that it is possible, in theory, for someone to manage, by the Grace of God, to save their soul even if they die apparently outside of the Catholic Church in a heretical or pagan faith; but we don’t know how many in such situations actually manage to achieve this, and the evidence indicates that it is a rare exception rather than a common occurrence.”

  8. Can’t put my hands on it at this moment ( I’ll dig out my Denzinger later ) but one of the holy popes did make it clear that while BOD is theoretically part of the thinking on the subject, it is NOT something in which ( to paraphrase HH ) “… we may place good hope.”

    God rules by God’s rules and He is very clear: He DID create His Church, after all.

    Just keep praying for all in danger of losing salvation. It might help even one soul at the last minute.

    • ‘… good hope…’ that sounds like the its from the Syllabus of Errors.

      I believe that the concept of ‘partial communion’ is related to a warped understanding of the EENS dogma.

      Further it is something that unfortunately ++Mueller seems to have brought to its logical conclusion: that protestants are actually part of the Catholic Church.

      This is the death of missionary zeal and as Our Lady said “many souls go to Hell because there is no one to pray for them.”


  9. This thread picked up while I wasn’t looking. I wish I had time for it. It’s one of those times I wish I could pull up the AQ archives and simply link Pascendi. Is he around?

    Good point on St. Teresa and Lutherans. As for the number of the lost, St. Leonard wrote a treatise to demonstrate the opinion of the Fathers is that most souls are lost, even most Catholics, if I recall.

    The main point here is the doctrine on necessity of Faith for justification, found in Scripture, St. Thomas, and set forth de fide in Vatican I. But God leaves out no one, of course. St. Thomas made the point about a boy raised among the wolves, that it would be incumbent upon the good God to provide him the Faith. Hence, St. Thomas applies BoD only to those who have the true Faith.

    As for invincible ignorance, take the extreme case of the poor aborted baby. God creates that child knowing that 10 weeks later He will place that soul in Limbo for eternity. (I know, God doesn’t think in time sequence, but I have to.) What of that? One way I look at it is in view of what Our Lord said of Judas, “It would have been better had he never been born.” The child is better off for having been created. Another view on this is St. Augustine, if I recall. He said not to look for rewards, but observe the mercy. We can’t see it clearly on this side of eternity.

    As for BoD, I don’t see it. Why couldn’t the good God, after working a special grace to provide the Faith to the soul, also provide the water? And it seems to me that it didn’t work for St. John the Baptist. That great saint was presanctified in the womb, never sinned, openly protested to God that he wanted Baptism, yet died in the Old Testament and went to Limbo like all the Old Testament saints. Our Lord even said that “The least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater” than St. John, the saint to whom we confess our sins immediately after Our Lady. St. John’s desire didn’t get him in.

    • You appear to be mixing up a number of elements of salvation, original sin and limbo.

      Providing the water is not sufficient to confer the sacrament. For it to be valid someone needs to pour the water (or dunk) while saying the words “I baptize thee in the name …”.

      ‘desire didn’t get him in’: John believed in the Redeemer and so he had the true faith at that time. Further the infinite act of reparation had not yet occured, so while St. John died justified, the barrier of original sin still stood tall and strong. Only the Sacrifice on Calvary (an infinite act) was able to break that barrier.

      Invincible ignorance is insufficient for Salvation, it requires at least an implicit desire and the bare necessities for the True Faith. Whether or not aborted babies are in Heaven or confined to limbo for eternity is an undefined point of Catholic doctrine.

      • Only the Sacrifice on Calvary (an infinite act) was able to break that barrier. Yes, of course. But the merits of Calvary were being applied ahead of the Act. Our Lord Baptized His apostles and brought them into His Mystical Body, a.k.a. the Kingdom of Heaven, prior to Calvary. He even made them priests and fed them His Precious Body prior to Calvary. In contrast, Our Lord said that St. John was not in the Kingdom. Were he in the kingdom, he wouldn’t be “the least,” as we know today, especially from our Confiteor.

        As for babies who die without Baptism, including aborted babies, the defined doctrine is clear: Pope St. Zosimus pronounced anathema on anyone who would say that an unbaptized baby is in Heaven. That’s another lookup in Denzinger (gpmtrad? – I’m lazy, but will look up things if folks want references); even Karl Rahner, editor of the 1950’s version of Denzinger included the pronouncement.

        The denial of the gratuity of the supernatural is a defining heresy of our age and underlies many weaknesses in V-II documents. (Tradical, this isn’t an accusation toward you or anyone here. I’m sure you’re very knowledgeable of the “New Theology” and agree that we all fight against it.) De Lubac, von Balthasar, Rahner, Ratzinger, et al failed to uphold the tradition on this point. It follows, to my thinking, that St. John the Baptist is the patron for our age.

  10. Interesting points, all around. Still haven’t gotten down my Denzinger.

    Don’t forget, in the meantime, Elijah the Prophet. Executive First Class voyage – long before the Redemption OR American Airlines Admirals’ Club privileges came into being.

    We’re really getting into Divine Mysteries well above our pay grade here and should tread lightly. While Hell certainly manifests the Divine Justice, which the Saints glorify in Heaven, even the most remote sense of human compassion, sans Faith, would seem to incline decent souls to hope for the best for one and all. NOT THAT IT WILL OCCUR, OR OUGHT TO… but rather, as a mere sinner darkened by sin and self, one may hope that it MIGHT, nonetheless.

    God wills the salvation of ALL men. And, through no fault of His, it doesn’t happen nearly often enough.

    Vita brevis, aeterna longa.

    • If I remember correctly Elijah isn’t in Heaven, he in in some ‘paradise’ awaiting the last days. Then he will be killed by the soldiers of the Anti-Christ, resurrect 3-days later and then …

  11. I have a question about baptism of desire related to miscarriages.
    I was just over at fisheaters looking over something and came across this
    “Traditionally, Catholic funerals are denied to the unbaptized (note that catechumens, including infants whose parents planned on having them baptized, are baptized by desire, and that martyrs are baptized by blood); infidels; heretics…”
    It was my understanding that Holy Church teaches that unbaptized babies who die before birth (miscarriage) goes to a limbo type place of natural happiness, but cannot have the Beatific Vision due to the Original Sin they had when they died.
    Does anyone know what the true answer is here? I’m sure if the baby were in imminent danger of dying the parents would be thinking of baptism, but when it’s the first trimester they probably haven’t gotten to planning anything for the baby, so how would there be a baptism of desire if it’s before the parents have planned for it? What do they mean by planned in the fisheaters statement? As I said, eventually getting around to baptizing and having actually planned a baptism with Godparents picked are two different things since the baby can die before they actually think ahead to a baptism.

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