Tuesday, August 31, 2010

extra ecclesiam nulla salus - “Outside the Church, no salvation”

Pope Pius IX of Vatican I on this doctrine
“Concerning this doctrine the Pope of Vatican I, Pius IX, spoke on two different occasions. In an allocution (address to an audience) on December 9th, 1854 he said:
We must hold as of the faith, that out of the Apostolic Roman Church there is no salvation; that she is the only ark of safety, and whosoever is not in her perishes in the deluge; we must also, on the other hand, recognize with certainty that those who are invincible in ignorance of the true religion are not guilty for this in the eyes of the Lord. And who would presume to mark out the limits of this ignorance according to the character and diversity of peoples, countries, minds and the rest?” 
Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus
The Catholic Church is “the single and exclusive channel by which the truth and grace of Christ enter our world of space and time” (Karl Adam, The Spirit of Catholicism, 179). Those who do not know the Church, even those who fight against it, can receive these gifts if they honestly seek God and his truth. But, Adam says, “though it be not the Catholic Church itself that hands them the bread of truth and grace, yet it is Catholic bread that they eat.” And when they eat of it, “without knowing it or willing it” they are “incorporated in the supernatural substance of the Church.”http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0512fea3.asp
The church dogmatically declares that outside the working of the church - there is no salvation.
The Catholic church has recently reaffirmed the need for the Catholic church in order for souls to be saved
Non-Christians can be saved?- but only by baptism of Desire of Martyrdom, or the mercy of God
Baptism of desire states
Every man who is ignorant of the gospel of Christ and of his Church but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity (CCC 1260).
“<Lumen gentium> #16 says: “For they who without their own fault do not
know of the Gospel of Christ and His Church, but yet seek God with sincere
heart, and try, under the influence of grace, to carry out His will in
practice, known to them through the dictate of conscience, can attain
eternal salvation.” ” http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/outside_the_church.htm
“Again, in his encyclical Quanto conficiamur moerore of 10 August, 1863 addressed to the Italian bishops, he said:
It is known to us and to you that those who are in invincible ignorance of our most holy religion, but who observe carefully the natural law, and the precepts graven by God upon the hearts of all men, and who being disposed to obey God lead an honest and upright life, may, aided by the light of divine grace, attain to eternal life; for God who sees clearly, searches and knows the heart, the disposition, the thoughts and intentions of each, in His supreme mercy and goodness by no means permits that anyone suffer eternal punishment, who has not of his own free will fallen into sin.”http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/outside_the_church.htm
But clarifying this- Pope John Paul II said
“For those too who through no fault of their own do not know Christ and are not recognized as Christians, the divine plan has provided a way of salvation. As we read in the Council’s Decree Ad Gentes, we believe that “God in ways known to himself can lead those inculpably ignorant of the Gospel” to the faith necessary for salvation (AG 7). Certainly, the condition “inculpably ignorant” cannot be verified nor weighed by human evaluation, but must be left to the divine judgment alone. For this reason, the Council states in the Constitution Gaudium et Spes that in the heart of every man of good will, “Grace works in an unseen way…. The Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery” (GS 22).”
Those who reject the church
They cannot be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or remain in it (cf. LG 14).
Another way of putting it 
Extra ecclesiam nulla salus, could therefore be seen, not as a declaration outside the church, but a declaration of the place of the church. “Outside the works, and existence of the Catholic church- there is no salvation” may be better wording, but the church clarified their position, by excommunicating a Fr. Feeney who declared that those not card carrying members of the church- would not be saved. This after Feeney relentlessly pursued his doctrine.
Why Evangelism is still needed
Even if some may be saved apart from the usual channels, these are the exceptions, and in great danger, not knowing how important their current state of unknown grace is. Pope John Paul II, states, that even though they may, on their deaths, for obeying conscience- be saved- they are in a place of darkness, and hunger. Charity obligates the Christian to aid those who are spiritually poor as these are, and we must not put the Lord, or his mercy to the Test. Even if there are exceptions to th rule, we must not be vain enough to rely only on the exceptions.
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