Thursday, April 23, 2015
The Church of Everybody -- But You
The natural response to the killings by by Muslim terrorists is sympathy for the victims. No one of the victims is more or less valuable than another. Even so, what are we, as Catholics, to make of Pope Francis making no distinction between Catholics and non-Catholics in his "ecumenism of blood?" Granted, drawing fine distinctions would be awkward in a sympathy message, but, as Pope Francis surely realizes by now, he always speaks as the Pope. His words mean something.
Aside from the natural sentimentality these killings generate, what is the truth? God either cares whether you die a Catholic or not, right? The Church has had some pretty strong opinions on that topic in the past. Are we permitted to slide right by those teachings without formalities? (Why, of course non-Catholic victims don't get treated any differently!)
When the doctrine of extra ecclesiam nulla salus was being pronounced, when the Church grappled with heretics in desperate combat across the known world, when it sent missionaries to a new, and unknown world: were these things all a waste of time? Was the Church wrong in its exclusivity of membership and possession of truth?
If everyone were wrong in those days, at least they were clear in their error. Today we must interpret the Delphic utterances of Pope Francis every day or so to get some sense for what the Church now teaches. There seems to be a super-dogma of inclusiveness that is quietly erasing all differences. It is becoming the perfect 21st century religion. Nice. Open-armed without reservation. Tame. In firm solidarity with the one world vision. No polite lie is too big to swallow. Allah? Why, what do you know, we worship him, too!
In Lumen Gentium, Vatican II showed the way. Every group -- except lapsed Catholics -- had its own exception into Heaven, even atheists. A mania for ecumenism and interfaith activity illustrated the awful Sunday songs about all of us being pilgrims, traveling hand-in-hand to the Promised Land. Fast-forward fifty years, and who can now even question whether non-Catholics are saved? Not because any doctrine was changed, but, well, just because.
The super-dogma of inclusiveness was not invented by Pope Francis, but he has made it his trademark. Communion for the divorced and remarried? If you get a phone call from the Pope, no problem. Homosexuals? Who am I to judge? Protestants? There's no need for them to convert. Perhaps "there is a reasonable hope that all may be saved," as the new apostles of universalism coyly suggest. The ultimate inclusiveness: everybody goes to Heaven.
The thing that most bothers the Bear is the way they're just sneaking all this by under the cover of novel assumptions. There is no debate, or, when there is, as we saw in the Synod on the Family, it is a bully-and-fake job.
So do you need to be Catholic to be saved? It doesn't look like it, but the Bear isn't sure.
And what an astonishing admission for a Catholic to have to make.
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