<$BlogRSDUrl$>
Working Papers or "Veniam Pro Laudo Peto"
insert phrase here

On Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus

Tuesday, November 16, 2004
+JMJPT+
Here is a wonderful homily by Fr. Hathaway which was delivered back in Feb. 2003 in Dallas. A link to the Mater Dei community is provided above.

++++++++++++
Homily 11 February 2003
By Fr. Hathaway FSSP
Mater Dei Latin Mass Community


On Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus
5th. Sunday after Epiphany

“But above all these things have charity which is the bond of perfection”
+
It is a solemnly defined doctrine of our Faith that ‘Outside the Church there is no salvation.’ Negatively, this means that NO one who culpably refuses to become AND remain a member of the Catholic Church can be saved. Positively, this means that all who reach heaven are there because of the Catholic Church, of which Christ is the visible head. This is true even though they may not have lived as professed Roman Catholics. (Fr Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)

On August 10, 1863, to combat a rising tide immorality, hatred towards the Catholic Church, and promotion of false doctrine, Bl. Pope Pius IX issued the encyclical QUANTO CONFICIAMUR MOERORE (“by how much we are thoroughly grieved”) to the Cardinals and Bishops of Italy.

In part it reads,
“... it is again necessary to mention and censure the serious error into which some Catholics have sadly fallen, namely, the error that those who live in errors, separated from the true faith and from catholic unity, can attain eternal life. Such belief is contrary to Catholic teaching. Of course, we all know that those who struggle with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion, if they carefully observe the natural law and its precepts written by God on the hearts of all, if they are ready to obey God, and if they live honest lives, are able to attain eternal life by the power of divine light and grace. For God, who fully knows the minds and hearts, thoughts and habits of all, by His supreme kindness and mercy, will not permit anyone who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments.

“Also well known, however, is the Catholic doctrine that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church, and that those who oppose the authority and statements of this same Church and are stubbornly separated from the unity of the Church and also from the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff, to whom “the custody of the vineyard has been committed by the Savior” (Council of Chalcedon, Pope Leo), cannot obtain eternal salvation. The words of Christ are clear: “If he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you as a heathen and a tax collector” (Mt 15:17); “He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects Me, rejects Him who sent Me” (Lk 10:16); “He who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk 16:16); “He who does not believe is already condemned” (Jn 3:18); “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with me scatters” (Lk 11:23). The Apostle Paul says that such persons are “perverted and self-condemned” (Ti 3:11); the prince of the Apostles calls them “false teachers... who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master... bringing upon themselves a swift destruction (II Pt 2:1).

“But God forbid that the children of the Catholic Church should be unfriendly to those who are not at all joined to us by the same bonds of faith and love. Rather, let them be always ready to assist their needs with all the kindness of Christian charity, whether they are poor or sick or suffering any other kind of harm. First of all, may they pull them out of the darkness of the errors into which they have sadly fallen and strive to lead them back to Catholic truth and to their most loving Mother who ever extends her maternal arms to embrace them once more into her fold. Where, firmly established in faith, hope, and charity, and fruitful in every good work, they will gain eternal salvation.”

Many comments could be made on this wonderful encyclical, but we limit ourselves to five.

First, we are told it IS AN ERROR to believe ‘that those who live in errors, separated from the true faith and Catholic unity, can attain eternal life.’ Therefore, those who are saved must, in some manner, be part of the Church.

Second, we are told ‘that those struggle with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion, if they carefully observe the natural law and its precepts (i.e. obey the commandments) written by God on the hearts of all, if they are ready to obey God (i.e. do not reject his grace), and if they live honest lives, are able to attain (N.B. subjunctive tense) eternal life by the power of divine light and grace.’ Therefore, those who struggle outside the Church’s visible fold must obey the natural law and not reject God’s grace before they can be said ‘to be able to attain’ heaven. Not ‘will attain,’ but ‘be able to attain’ eternal life.

Third, we are told how this can be, ‘For God... by his supreme kindness and mercy, will not permit anyone who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments.’ Therefore, no one will suffer punishments who is not guilty of them... which is not only merciful but just.

Four, the solemn doctrine “no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church” is preserved when we read: “those who oppose the authority and statements of this same Church AND are stubbornly separated from the unity of the Church and also from the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff’... cannot obtain eternal salvation.” Therefore, those who ‘oppose’ and who ‘stubbornly’ resist union with the Church, manifestly reject the divine light and grace offered only through the Catholic Church which results in their damnation.

Fifth, Catholics are told not to be unfriendly with those not joined to her by the same bonds of faith and love. Rather we are told to aid them in Christian charity so as to draw them back to Catholic truth ‘where, firmly established in faith, hope, and charity and fruitful in every good work, they will gain (future contingent tense) eternal life.” And no one needs be told, ‘will gain’ is vastly more assuring than ‘are able to attain’ eternal salvation.

(Read Mt 13:36-43; where Christ explains today’s parable: the angels are the reapers.)

In defending the Church’s solemn doctrine that outside the Church there is no salvation we must not take to ourselves the role which has only been given to the angels. Recall the reply of the Master to the servants who wanted to up-root the weeds, “No,” he tells them, “Lest in gathering up the weeds you also root up the wheat with them, let the two grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will say to the reapers (angels), ‘Gather up the weeds first, and bind them into bundles to burn; but gather the wheat into my barn.’” Now if the servants (apostles) could not distinguish safely between the weeds and the wheat - but only heavenly angels (the reapers) - who are we to say who is worthy of burning?

God alone knows our struggle, our ledger of sin, our resistance or cooperation with His merciful grace given through the Catholic Church to all mankind, and when He makes judgement He will look into man’s heart for one thing: “But above all these things have charity which is the bond of perfection”. If any man have that then he will happily praise God for all eternity in heaven.

  • |
    11/16/2004 06:40:00 PM :: ::
    0 Comments:
    Post a Comment
    << Home

    Ed Working :: permalink