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.


  1. Remember when that Jordanian pilot was burned to death by ISIS? That video showed what it is like to be burned for a few minutes. In the horror, scientists tried to comfort people by explaining that the pilot probably only suffered for a few moments before his nerve endings would have burned up and stopped the pain. Who really, in his heart of hearts, believes that the pilot went on to suffer even more unimaginable pains in eternity just because he happened to be born in Jordan and not Ireland?

    1. Emotional nonsense.

    2. In other words, don't make me think about the consequences of my beliefs.

  2. Willard,

    The answer to your question is that NO-ONE WANTS to believe that God condemns people to eternal flames according to the accident of their birthplace or nationality!

    Have you read much of Dante Allegiehri's Limbo ? (I have only skimmed it my self! ) but I think it is quite OK and orthodox to believe that truly noble non-believers dwell eternally in a world more like heaven than even Texas! The thing that makes that defines that 'first circle' as hell is that it is forever separated from the beatific vision. Those consigned there enjoy natural happiness, but not supernatural happiness.

    How about that? would you be willing to trade in modern universalism for good old Dante's inferno?

  3. It's fine as far as it goes but I prefer the teaching of the Catechism paragraph 847:

    "Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation."

    1. Are there no Christians in Jordan? No internet or any means of learning about the Gospel? Or does the exception you quoted mean "can't be bothered to fairly investihgate Christianity.?" The point is, Pope Francis encourages people to form their own opinions on these matters while nudging them in a particular direction. Wouldnt it be better to examine 2000 of Church teachings and teach what the Church teaches instead of making this up as we go along? Also, does the ecumenism of blood extend to executed Muslims, and if so, what is your authority?

    2. >>>>It's fine as far as it goes but I prefer the teaching of the Catechism paragraph 847:<<<<<

      yes, but, Willard, that paragraph seems to want to refute the same view you outlined in your first comment, i.e. that there is basically one-size-fits all damnation and perhaps even one-size-fits-all salvation. I believe that view could be better attributed to Calvin and Luther in their campaigns to simplify things and wipe clear the rich Catholic teaching that Hell does have different levels/degrees--Fahrenheit if you will-- and that there are varying degrees of rewards and chastisements for the saved. I'm afraid the paragraph you cite is an example of exchanging complexity for ambiguity hence leaving the reader to fill in the blanks as he or she wishes. the word 'may' seems to dominate the statement. I don't get a whole lot of solace from 'may'.

  4. Read Archbishop Lefebvre's "Open Letter to Confused Catholics," No. 10, Ecumenism.

  5. Before the Son of God assumed human nature for the purpose of redeeming us, the Old Testament people and others who believed in God and followed the laws slept in Hades. If they were able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven without Jesus then there was no need for our Lord to do all that he did.

    John (14:6) tells us that Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” There is absolutely no ambiguity in the ‘except through me’ statement. And Paul (Eph 2:8) says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”

    Do we really understand the dying process? Do the experiences of thousands of NDEs teach us that that there is a time between ‘death’ and total separation of the conscious, spiritual dimension of the human soul from the earthly biological body? Is there opportunity for conversion in that period of time?

    1. The story of Hermann Cohen's mother ( offers some hope for the dying in their last moments, but carries with it a reminder of the necessity of constant prayer. It does seem that conversion can happen in that time, but it also seems that it is not something we can just, well, presume.

  6. Bear says: " Pope Francis surely realizes by now, he always speaks as the Pope. His words mean something."

    Cue rueful laugh. If only it were so...

    Pray to the Holy Spirit to imbue him with the true sense of his position as Successor to Peter.

  7. According to Francis, the only people who don't get to Heaven are those faithful Catholics who are legalistic pharisees who do nothing but stick to the works of the law and call upon themselves the wrath of God because they don't "dialogue" (with error) nor show "mercy" (approval of sin). Sometime after the October Synod, THAT will become a dogma. Recall the Bible - they will kill you and think they are doing God a service. Be ready.

  8. So, did the Successor to Peter refute Peter's words this morning?

    I'm beginning to think that Francis is doing well in starting to smell like his sheep...the wayward ones, eh?

    1. The first reading from Acts today (Acts 4:8-12)
      Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said:
      “Leaders of the people and elders:
      If we are being examined today
      about a good deed done to a cripple,
      namely, by what means he was saved,
      then all of you and all the people of Israel should know
      that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean
      whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead;
      in his name this man stands before you healed.
      He is the stone rejected by you, the builders,
      which has become the cornerstone.
      There is no salvation through anyone else,
      nor is there any other name under heaven
      given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”

    2. We had a big ecumenical homily today, so honestly I don't even notice clerics not taking things like that seriously.

    3. Well, yes. Our pastor focused on "the Body of Christ" qua we the parishioners. It seems to pain the modern priest to emphasize the "real presence" the PHYSICAL Body of Christ in our midst qua the Blessed Sacrament. (oh, how'dya like that legalese Latin? I did expert witness/reports w/lawyers over the years.)


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