Posted By Special Request (re. a BoD question under discussion)

[ Tradical asked if I might post this for him. He has been having posting problems, of late. I do not know to which thread it belongs but I am sure that whomever reads it will be familiar with the material and know where it belongs. ]

Outside the Church there is No Salvation – Part 5
Posted by Tradical
In another forum, I was asked to provide a reference for the assertion that:

For Supernatural Faith, the minimum requirement is the belief in God and that He rewards the good and punishes the bad. (part 4)

Attached is the reference:

Reference Ott – Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma – as well as the letter to Archbishop Cushing by the CDF. pg 241
Theological faith, that is, a supernatural faith in Revelation, is necessary, and this is an effect of grace (D 1789); nemini unquam sine ilIa contigit iustificatio (D 1793). As far as the content of this faith is concerned, according to Hebr. 11, 6, at least the existence of God and retribution in the other world must be firmly held, necessitate medii (by the necessity of means) with explicit faith. In regard to the Trinity and the Incarnation, implicit faith suffices.

From this definition it is concluded that:

A Jew
A Muslim
A Pagan
Could theoretically achieve (with God’s Grace) Supernatural Faith.

Putting this incontext with the rest of the ‘baptism of desire’ doctrine we have:

An unbaptized person (or even baptized non-Catholic) achieves a state of invincible ignorance, removing culpability for not entering the Church.
By default a person of either the Jewish or Islamic religion, can achieve the minimum requirements for Supernatural Faith. It is much easier for a protestant.
If this person is trying to align his will to that of God as he understands it and manifests implicit desire. Meaning if he knew that the Church of Christ is the True Church, then he would transition from an implicit to explicit desire to enter the Church.
Finally, based on the aforesaid items, if this person made a perfect act of charity / contrition then they will achieve a state of grace.
If the person then died in this state, they would be saved.

However, it is critical to note that if a person does not fulfill the first criteria (Invincible Ignorance) and does not want to join the Church the following applies in all its rigour:
Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved. Vatican II
Nota Bene: I could have just as easily quoted Pius IX or a few others, but selected this to demonstrate one area in which the Second Vatican Council is simply repeating Church Teaching. As noted, when I presented this to a group of ‘regular’ Catholic men and one Jesuit, they were mildly surprised.

Get AQ Email Updates

15 comments on “Posted By Special Request (re. a BoD question under discussion)

  1. Speculative: if a person was living in a non-Christian country but had a belief in God ( a Supreme Being) that that in itself could be considered the result of a grace which if knowledge of the teachings of the Catholic Church or of the Catholic faith were available that person would be led by that grace into the institutional Church, but was unable to through no fault of their own. The Church is both institutional and a revealed mystery of supernatural faith (as the Mystical Body). God’s action of the grace for their belief in a theistic supernatural theology is grace through the Mystical Body. That’s the theory and based on deductions and inference. God’s mercy is also part of that. Therefore, the salvation of Baptism of Desire is still through a grace from God through the Mystical Body (i.e., in and through the mystery of the Church). Salvation would still be subject to a judgment based on moral conduct and whether there had been efforts to follow the moral law. Vaguely and ambiguously this is what Pope Francis was trying to explain in that famous interview. The same basic principle would be considered to apply to Protestants (i.e., not knowing the fullness of the Catholic faith or orthodox theology). Also speculative: that angels or saints minister to such persons at the moment of death (that both classes are in the Church). Reception into the Church occurs at the moment that they assent and consent to the grace for contrition and penitence for whatever sins had been committed. That’s the theory.
    Anyone of good will desiring God and following natural law could have a Baptism of Desire. Obviously, Protestants are already Baptized and have received instruction in some sort of theology (however flawed or incomplete).

  2. The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his Angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the Sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church. [Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441]

    • canadian.tradical on said:

      ” unless before death they are joined with Her;”

      I think this is the point being made by Howling, as well as what I have quoted above.

      If a person has a ‘relationship’ with the Church via ‘desire’ (as described by Pius XII), complies with the graces provided by God (Who desires the salvation of all and provides all the graces necessary for salvation to each person), makes an act of contrition and dies in that state – then while not ‘actual members’ (Pius XII) of the Church, by this relationship with the Church via their implicit desire they can (not will) achieve salvation.

      • ” …unless before death they are joined with Her;”

        While this ex-Cathedra statement made by Pope Eugene IV clearly states that one must be part of the Catholic Church to be saved, I definitely believe in baptism of desire, as that also is a dogma of the Church, as Howlling quoted. Although, as we all know, modernists have wrongly and heretically amplified this dogma to include almost everyone who isn’t Catholic. I consider baptism of desire to be something like this; if I were a catechumen, and the night before I was going to be baptised I had a heart attack and died, there would be a good chance that I would be saved, yet a protestant who dies as a protestant, even though he might have been baptised in the correct Trinitarian formula with water, has a low chance of salvation because, although formally baptised, he is outside the Catholic Church through his heresy, and had no recourse to the sacraments. Same goes for the Jews, Muslims etc, while they might believe in a “god”, they reject the one true God (the Holy Trinity) and the Messiah, (the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity). Of course as you guys correctly stated God can give His grace to Whomever He pleases, but the Church has been clear for two thousand years that one must be part of the Catholic church to have a chance of eternal salvation. As St. Thomas Aquinas said in Summa Theologiae; “There is no entering into salvation outside the Church, just as in the time of the deluge there was none outside the ark, which denotes the Church.”

        • Your understanding follows St. Thomas’ teaching that death could, by “ill chance,” prevent a soul from receiving the single most important gift that he desires, and that God wills to give him. The Church has tolerated that exception. I don’t see it. I can’t reconcile it with Our Lord’s words, “Amen,amen, except … water …,” and “He who asks, receives.” That someone may be justified before water is a great mercy. The Good God sees the water applied later, but frees the soul from bondage today.

          I can’t see Our Lord denying a just soul water anymore than I can see Him leaving a soul in ignorance who is genuinely seeking Him. There are many examples of water miraculously appearing, of souls raised from the dead to receive the sacrament, of souls awaiting missionaries where missionaries had never been. Not that this proves doctrine, but it proves Providence. This is the Providence of Our God, that all who seek the Faith receive a teacher, and all who desire Baptism receive water.

          • canadian.tradical on said:

            Ott added the caveat below at the end of his treating on the Necessity of the Church for Salvation.

            In view of the stress laid upon the necessity of membership of the Church for salvation it is understandable that the possibility of salvation for those outside the Church is mentioned only hesitantly. St. Ambrose and St. Augustine admit that catechumens who depart this life before the reception of Baptism can win salvation on the ground of their faith, their desire for Baptism, and their internal conversion (St. Ambrose, De obitu Val. 51; St. Augustine, De hapt. IV 22,29). On the other hand, Oennadius of Marseilles denies them this possibility, except in the case of martyrdom (De ecc!’ dognl. 74). St. Augustine distinguishes also, not indeed using the terminology, between material and formal heretics. Thus he does regard material heretics as heretics properly so-called (Ep. 43, I, I). He seems to estimate their possibility of salvation otherwise than he does that of heretics proper.

            • On the same note, St. Gregory Nazianzen explicitly denied the efficacy of desire (see the Augustine reference next). As for St. Augustine, according to this article, his latter writings show that he abandoned the idea. Even Karl Rahner affirmed this of Augustine (op. cit.).

              • canadian.tradical on said:

                Agreed, as always it takes the Pope or a Council to finally decide a matter. Although I’m not certain which one (Pius IX?) settled the matter.

  3. While no one knows with certainty how often or infrequently such a grace is granted by divine mercy, except God Himself, this is what the Catholic Church has been teaching on the Baptism of Desire (baptismus flaminis in Latin) :
    The baptism of desire:

    The baptism of desire (baptismus flaminis) is a perfect contrition of heart, and every act of perfect charity or pure love of God which contains, at least implicitly, a desire (votum) of baptism. The Latin word flamen is used because Flamen is a name for the Holy Ghost, Whose special office it is to move the heart to love God and to conceive penitence for sin. The “baptism of the Holy Ghost” is a term employed in the third century by the anonymous author of the book “De Rebaptismate“. The efficacy of this baptism of desire to supply the place of the baptism of water, as to its principal effect, is proved from the words of Christ. After He had declared the necessity of baptism (John 3), He promised justifying grace for acts of charity or perfect contrition (John 14): “He that loveth Me, shall be loved of my Father: and I will love him and will manifest myself to him.” And again: “If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him.” Since these texts declare that justifying grace is bestowed on account of acts of perfect charity or contrition, it is evident that these acts supply the place of baptism as to its principal effect, the remission of sins. This doctrine is set forth clearly by the Council of Trent. In the fourteenth session (cap. iv) the council teaches that contrition is sometimes perfected by charity, and reconciles man to God, before the Sacrament of Penance is received. In the fourth chapter of the sixth session, in speaking of the necessity of baptism, it says that men can not obtain original justice “except by the washing of regeneration or its desire” (voto). The same doctrine is taught by Pope Innocent III (cap. Debitum, iv, De Bapt.), and the contrary propositions are condemned by Popes Pius V and Gregory XII, in proscribing the 31st and 33rd propositions of Baius.

    We have already alluded to the funeral oration pronounced by St. Ambrose over the Emperor Valentinian II, a catechumen. The doctrine of the baptism of desire is here clearly set forth. St. Ambrose asks: “Did he not obtain the grace which he desired? Did he not obtain what he asked for? Certainly he obtained it because he asked for it.” St. Augustine (On Baptism, Against the Donatists, IV.22) and St. Bernard (Ep. lxxvii, ad H. de S. Victore) likewise discourse in the same sense concerning the baptism of desire. If it be said that this doctrine contradicts the universal law of baptism made by Christ (John 3), the answer is that the lawgiver has made an exception (John 14) in favor of those who have the baptism of desire. Neither would it be a consequence of this doctrine that a person justified by the baptism of desire would thereby be dispensed from seeking after the baptism of water when the latter became a possibility. For, as has already been explained the baptismus flaminis contains the votum of receiving the baptismus aquæ. It is true that some of the Fathers of the Church arraign severely those who content themselves with the desire of receiving the sacrament of regeneration, but they are speaking of catechumens who of their own accord delay the reception of baptism from unpraiseworthy motives. Finally, it is to be noted that only adults are capable of receiving the baptism of desire. ”

    It remains an important part of Catholic theology.

    • canadian.tradical on said:

      ” Neither would it be a consequence of this doctrine that a person justified by the baptism of desire would thereby be dispensed from seeking after the baptism of water when the latter became a possibility. ”

      I think, this is a key point. People seem to forget that only sacramental baptism makes an indelible mark on the soul – baptism of desire does not.

  4. I don’t have the text from the Pope’s interview in front of me, but the problematic nature of what appeared to have been said in the interview left the issue of salvation not quite clear and open to misinterpretations, either because of bad editing or in the actual words used by Pope Francis. The non-Christian in question could not be “saved” merely by following their own conscience (i.e., doing their own thing). It would still require the granting of grace by God for their belief, contrition, and penitence (similar to a deathbed conversion and confession), as well as the rest of the conditions for Baptism of Desire. The theology involves God’s mercy, the treasury of merits, probably intercession of some kind, as well as direct action by the Holy Ghost (the flamen of the baptismus flaminis), the Church Invisible, a medium of grace by the providence and mercy of God. Baptism of Desire still involves the economy of divine grace through the Mystical Body and the Holy Ghost by direct divine action, lacking the institutional and juridical structures of the Church, but effected spiritually and supernaturally for reasons known to God.
    If the person’s virtue, faith, or contrition in some way merited this grace by God. But there would be no way to know often or infrequently such a grace would be granted by God’s mercy.
    This framework for Baptism of Desire and divine mercy would differ from relativism or universalism. There would still be a burden for those who had access to the institutional Catholic Church to seek Baptism, catechesis, full Communion, etc.

    For someone raised by Gen-X yuppies as an agnostic, atheist, or secular humanist, with nose piercings, tattoos, ersatz secularism in the home, truly invincibly ignorant of the true Catholic faith, while it might seem farfetched and implausible, there could be a Baptism of Desire even though they might have heard of the Catholic Church in its Novus Ordo USCCB Americanist modernist form, but were prevented from understanding the truth of the Catholic faith due to the secularism and moronizing trends of NEA education and modern mass culture. It’s theoretically possible. You could have a pretty good debate on how modern secular culture in the U.S. differs from that of Communist China or the spiritual darkness suppressing the Gospel and Christianity in other non-Christian regions of the world (certain nations in the Middle East, for instance). How severely were they prevented from learning about the Catholic faith? What moral errors were they led into by not being evangelized? How strong does a desire for Baptism have to be?

    This is part of the reason why the public face of Catholicism should be as clear, direct, and traditional as possible, without the ambiguities and relativism of modernism. If progressive modernism of the Novus Ordo is the only form of Catholicism available to them, are they really being evangelized? That’s a real question.

  5. Interesting and civil post. Just one question the comment was made that BOD was Dogma. Is it?

    • No, if you mean that someone can ultimately be saved without the sacrament. What is dogma is that one may be justified by the desire, actually will (voto), for Baptism (Trent). Furthermore, Trent made a distinction between justification and salvation and how desire fits in. From Session 7, Canon 4:

      If anyone says that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation but are superfluous, and that without them or without the desire of them men obtain from God through faith alone the grace of justification, though all are not necessary for each one, let him be anathema.

      I like a civil discussion, too. Some folks might recall some of the bombastic BOD discussions in the old forum. I was a lurker then, enjoying popcorn and playing it safe!

      • canadian.tradical on said:

        I think there is also the reconciling of the dogma of the Necessity of the Church for Salvation, with the dogma that every person receives all the graces necessary to save their soul throughout life.

        How is it possible for a person to be saved, yet never having heard of the Church or been able to receive baptism etc? BOD is how it is possible.

        Of course, whether or not it is probable is another issue. We know from Pius IX that we can’t have good hope. Hence the need for missionary zeal (which has evaporated since a V2 missile went off in the Vatican).

        My Priestly brother-in-law used to say: There will be 4 surprises when we die, if we get to Heaven.

        1. That we are there …
        2. Who we see there …
        3. Who we don’t see there …
        4. Everyone else looking at us in the same way …


      • The ordinay means of Sanctifying Grace is the Sacraments. Sanctifying Grace is the only real requirement for entering Heaven. The state of Justification means being in the state of Sanctifying Grace. If a person is Justified by BOD as Trent says and they die in that state then they go to Heaven. Thus BOD is an extra-ordinary means of obtaing Santifying Grace. At least that is my take on it.

Leave a Reply