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If you want to explain why the pope respects the religious instincts of non-Catholics, read Pio Nono

Nostra Aetate is enough by itself; but if you are anti-Vatican II, have a look at Quanto conficiamur moerore

By on Monday, 11 April 2011

A bust of Pope Pius IX in a Florida museum PA

A bust of Pope Pius IX in a Florida museum PA

Last week, I wrote a piece explaining my view that, as I put it in my headline “To call the Pope’s meeting at Assisi a betrayal of the faith is an utter absurdity”.

This elicited the following response (there were many thousand more words from the same writer, but this was the general gist of it all: “if you really believe that God is pleased with these pagan shindigs, where two popes in succession have emphasised that they are not interested in converting anyone, but are relying on pagan prayers to false gods to achieve world peace…. then you really do need to take a holiday. Try Mecca”. Nice, huh?

The point is that to recognise that men and women of other religions should be respected, and that their spiritual search for a God they have not fully apprehended should be recognised, is in no way to deny the ultimate need for their conversion. Nearly everyone who becomes a Catholic is converted from some other religion, which has been for them a stepping-stone to the fullness of faith which is to be found only in the Catholic Church.

Unless you take seriously what non-Catholics already believe, they will never take the final step towards full communion with the Holy See. In the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (§843) “The Catholic Church recognises in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as “a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.”

I just can’t see the problem with that. It isn’t even an idea which appeared for the first time at the second Vatican Council. It doesn’t in any way deny the fundamental principle that outside the church there is no salvation, extra ecclesiam nulla salus: even Pio Nono accepted that not everyone outside the Church would be damned, that culture and circumstances would be weighed in the balance by God: as he put it in his encyclical Quanto conficiamur moerore it must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved…. but, on the other hand, it is necessary to hold for certain that they who labour in ignorance of the true religion, if this ignorance is invincible, will not be held guilty of this in the eyes of God.

Now, in truth, who would arrogate so much to himself as to mark the limits of such an ignorance, because of the nature and variety of peoples, regions, innate dispositions, and of so many other things?”

As he explained in the same encyclical, those who, “Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God … live honest lives… are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace since God who clearly beholds, searches, and knows the minds, souls, thoughts, and habits of all men, because of His great goodness and mercy, will by no means suffer anyone to be punished with eternal torment who has not the guilt of deliberate sin.”

The most recent and the fullest development of this tradition, of course, is to be found in Nostra Aetate, the Council’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions: “[The Church] regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men.” That DOESN’T say that non-Catholic religions are on the same level as the Church: it does say that they may “reflect” the truth. Thus also, Lumen Gentium: “The sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, . . . subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines”(LG 8).

My first conclusion about those going on and on and on about the alleged “scandal” of the Pope’s forthcoming meeting with non-Catholics was that the real issue here wasn’t the Assisi meeting at all, but a fundamental hostility to Vatican II and all its works—and especially any text which develops this particular element in the Church’s teaching about itself. Nostra Aetate, of course, was the basis of a major improvement in the Church’s relationship with the Jews, and there have been accusations that the hostility of some so-called “radical traditionalists” to the document has an element of anti-Semitism in it.

I do not make this accusation myself: the SSPX, for instance, absolutely denied any anti-semitism in the aftermath of the affair of Bishop Williamson’s holocaust denials, and I accept this assurance in the absence of (as far as I can see) any hard evidence to the contrary. I did come across this, in a very moving obituary by an SSPX priest, of Archbishop Lefebvre (who was, I have no reason to doubt, a courageous and holy man), in a passage on the Archbishop’s attitude to the Council documents: “Cardinal Bea…was … a decisive instrument of the Judeo-Masonic sect to obtain from the Council the redaction of Dignitatis Humanae and Nostra Aetate. Anti-Semitic Paranoia perhaps? But that certainly doesn’t mean that that’s what the archbishop thought.

But all this, frankly, is irrelevant. Vatican II actually turns out not to be the issue at all. The real point is this: don’t think that you can accuse Pope Benedict of a scandalous betrayal of the Church’s teachings about its own unique possession of the fullness of God’s revelation of himself, on the basis of the fact that that he’s prepared to accept that some people who believe non-Christian religions “are able”, in the words of Pio Nono “to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace since God … knows the minds, souls, thoughts, and habits of all men”.

Pope Benedict denies absolutely that Vatican II introduced any new teachings that were not already part of the Catholic tradition: and certainly, on the possibility of the salvation of non-Catholics, and on the sincere search for God of many outside its boundaries, he turns out to be dead right.

  • Anthony Ozimic

    Yet Pius IX later clarified, in the references to Quanto conficiamur in the Syllabus of Errors, that we are forbidden from being optimistic about the salvation of those outside the Catholic Church. He condemned as an error the proposition that: “Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ.” (article 17) The spirit of Assisi III is this same spirit of irenicism, reflected in the Vatican’s statement about Assisi III: “Every human being is ultimately a pilgrim in search of truth and goodness. Believers too are constantly journeying towards God…”

  • W Oddie

    Of ALL those, yes: that’s universalism. But of some? I don’t have good hope of ALL those in the Catholic Church.

  • Anthony Murphy

    Well done Will…a well researched article. However does this not bring us to the reality we have to admit? Do we not need to acknowledge that not only is it pointless arguing moderism in the post-modern age; but much more urgent to the communion of the Church: We must admit that the syllabus of errors was ill concieved, and that generally what the Papacy tried to quash with its edicts against modernist theology were wrong. Yes, I said it…WRONG. Not only are these documents dated now, they were dated the second they hit the presses then. Let us look at some facts…
    1) Does any serious Catholic university, from the Greg, down reject historical criticism?
    2) Was Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus the final word on salvation?
    3) Did modernism decrease the scholarship of the Church, and the world?
    4) Did moderism ruin the Church?
    The reality is that modernism was very narrow, but very targeted and precise. It did not seek the fracture we see in post-modernism. Nor did it seek the fracture we see from scared rag-tag rebels and traitors like SSPX.
    We are still ONE (despite the schism), we are still APOSTOLIC (despite those who would disparage their bishops), we are still HOLY (despite those who would assign bad faith to ‘the many’), and we still CATHOLIC (despite those who would try to divide us into liberals and conservatives).

    In reality, because a Pope said it, we are too scared to admit the truth. Modernism was beneficial for us.

  • W Oddie

    Incidentally, article 17 of the syllabus errorum isn’t a clarification or correction of of Quanhto conficiamur: it’s an indication of what it basically says. But it also says, after the words “on the other hand”, what I have quoted: in other words, it’s quanto conficiamur which already contains its own clarification: and that’s what I have quoted.

  • Anonymous

    You’re quite,quite mad!

  • Anthony Murphy

    Oh dear, one knows one is in trouble when there is a syncretism between latin and english: understandable rage. But come, let us reason, we have not addressed the elephant in the room; modernism. The papa was wrong. He over-reacted to the zeitgeist, and then went so far as to make every priest swear an oath against moderism…an oath that few priests would make today. Now why? Are our priests and bishops apostate? No. The Pope was wrong. Modernism wasnt half the problem he thought it. He over-reacted; bless him, but that doesnt mean the rest of us need to. What we need to do as the laity, is raise this issue to a higher level and ask for comment. Bump it upstairs for review.

  • Anthony Murphy

    Your hope is irrelevent Will. It is relevent as far as your own salvation if, as it seems, you have chosen to live your life with such a mindset.

  • Anthony Murphy

    Then answer my points, and I will happily live my life in the ‘Home for deranged laity’.

  • Horace Zagreus

    Is he? Sidestepping the question of whether modernism was good or bad, a question which arises in the world after analytical philosophy is, what does “extra ecclesiam nulla salus” actually mean?

    More to the point, are some elements of the Syllabus of Errors still relevant, and is it infallible (and if it is magisterial, to what extent), so does it matter if anyone disagrees with it?

  • Anthony Murphy

    Extra Ecclesia Nulla Sulus is quite nuaced by time we hit Vatican II (which in terms of studying doctrine is 50 years ago). One needs to see the aesthetic beauty of LG16. Vat II is the greatest prose of the 20th century…read it!

  • W Oddie

    You’re a bit out of date: the so-called higher biblical criticism isn’t take seriously by real biblical scholars today. Did modernism ruin the church? No: because it was fought and overcome and is now ignored by anyone who counts.

  • W Oddie

    Some elements of the syllabus of errors are indeed still relevant (as I argued in this column a few weeks ago)t. It was never proposed as infallible

  • Anthony Murphy

    1) ‘Higher biblical criticism’; that is, historical criticism is currently taught in every University in the Catholic World. (Please dont expose your ignorance, I like you too much). If you can fid me a biblical scholar who thinks I am ‘behind the times’…quote him.
    2) Modernism strengthened the Church. Pius X was wrong. The ‘Oath’ was over-reaction; and we need nothing less than a Pope to tell us that “modernism has strengthened the mission of the Church”. Why the Sacred Council didnt do it is down to how forceful Pius X was…and Pius X needs to have been seen as screwing up on this point.
    3) We need to Bump this upstairs to the Pope…we the laity demand an answer.

  • Anthony Murphy

    Let us get back to the point, we need to bump modernism upstairs…and I dont mean to the Arinze cookie monster(bless his retiredness)…I mean there is only two authorities whom can this answer…a council, or a Pope. So I need all Catholics to ask that question of our teachers.

  • Gerard

    The problem as far as the integrity of the Catholic faith is concerned is the fact that the documents of Vatican II failed to balance the idea that grace is given to those in other religions in order to bring them into the Catholic fold before death. Vatican II and the post-conciliar policies under the guise of “respect” have failed to charitably explain the eternal consequences for those who resist those graces and refuse to search for, find and enter the Church. (namely Hell) The very fact that true indifferentism is prevalent among the clergy demonstrates the failure of Vatican II to find new expressions of the constant teaching of the Church in order to speak to modern man. John XXIII’s stated goal was not acheived by the documents since they failed to address essential elements of the faith and what they did express was not in language that was conducive to modern man either in the 1960′s or in the subsequent 5 decades.

  • Petrus


    Using this quote from Pope Pius IX is a complete and utter red herring and you know it. This is sloppy jouranlism to say the least. In fact, your cherry picking of Pope Pius IX’s encyclical is extremely misleading. Anyone with a half a brain will go and read the encyclical and see this for themselves.

    Your one and only quote from this encyclical is completely taken out of context. Let’s look at the bigger picture. His Holiness writes:

    ” Here, too, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, it is again necessary to mention and censure a very grave error entrapping some Catholics who believe that it is possible to arrive at eternal salvation although living in error and alienated from the true faith and Catholic unity. Such belief is certainly opposed to Catholic teaching.There are, of course, those who are struggling with INVINCIBLE IGNORANCE about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace. Because God knows, searches and clearly understands the minds, hearts, thoughts, and nature of all, his supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments.”

    Now, looking at the bigger picture, your use of this encyclical doesn’t quite work, does it? The conclusions you come to are flawed, aren’t they? His Holiness is clearly speaking of those who can legitimately claim invincible ignorance. In this day and age there are very few who claim this. This is certainly not a licence for flawed ecumenism – which has been condemned time and time again by the Church. Pope Pius IX rightly urges Catholics to be charitable towards non-Catholics. Absolutely. The most charitable thing we can do for those outside the Church is to work for their conversion, not paper over the cracks and urge them to be faithful to their false religion!

    We can never read another soul and we have no authority to judge others or put limitations on the mercy of God. Those outside the Church who are saved, are saved in spite of their false religion, not by it. The faithful Catholic will certainly want to see the salvation of all souls, “Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of thy mercy.” The surest and safest way to salvation is to be faithful member of the Catholic Church. This is what “outside the Church there is no salvation” teaches us. Salvation can only be assured inside the Church.

    Pope Pius IX goes on to say:

    “Also well known is the Catholic teaching that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church. Eternal salvation cannot be obtained by those who oppose the authority and statements of the 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.”[4] The words of Christ are clear enough: “If he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you a Gentile and a tax collector;”[5] “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you, rejects me, and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me;”[6] “He who does not believe will be condemned;”[7] “He who does not believe is already condemned;”[8] “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.”[9] The Apostle Paul says that such persons are “perverted and self-condemned;”[10] the Prince of the Apostles calls them “false teachers . . . who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master. . . bringing upon themselves swift destruction.”

    This encyclical, amongst others, proves that Nostra Aetate is complete and utter nonsense. It also goes to show that the Church of Christ does not “subsist” in the Catholic Church – The Church of Christ IS the Catholic Church, despite what Lumen Gentium tries to claim. God spare us from these novelties!

  • Anonymous

    Spot on.

    I am the “nice” blogger who suggested William take a holiday in Mecca. I also quoted Mortalium Animos (Pius XI) at him but he’s chosen to ignore that.

    William wants Vatican 2 and its trappings to be right, at all costs.

    Talk about being set up for a fall!

  • Anonymous

    All this blether about dialogue ignores the fact that any one of us (including Hindus, Moslems, Animists etc) might die at any moment.

    There is NOTHING of the urgency of the Gospel imperative to repent NOW! in any of this ecumenism/inter-religious dialogue. Which is why the Devil loves it.

  • Anonymous

    Traiters like SSPX? Don’t you mean traiters like Cardinal Shonborn? See to see what a real schismatic looks like.

  • Petrus

    Well researched? Has William even read the whole encyclical he quotes from? Either he hasn’t and has merely scanned the document looking for a quick quote to back up his flawed opinion, or he has deliberately misled his readers. Either way, it’s about as well researched as the News of The World!

  • Anonymous

    The reality is that Vatican1 would have condemned most of Vatican 2.

  • Anthony Murphy

    Actually, you need to twist reality on its head to make your argument work….”Anthony, there is no spoon!”.
    Lets us return to planet earth…SSPX is in Schism…Schonborn is a well respected Cardinal who shot his gob off once about the abuse crisis.
    Please, see reality as it is.

  • Anthony Murphy

    Sorry, an ecumenical Council is the supreme magisterium…Your quoting enycyclicals from Pio Nono therefore is moot.

  • Anthony Murphy

    Yes, and you were wrong to infer Will was less than Catholic. You need to think about your positions.

  • Anthony Murphy

    Vatican II did not fail to confess the Church as the people of God, or her necessity for salvation. Perhaps you might do a search for the concept of “preperation for the gospel”? If memory serves me you might find it in LG16.

  • Anthony Murphy

    Really? When did the gospel become a horror story of Stephen King preportions? Christ sent us out to preach the “good news”; not the bad news. Perhaps you might want to aim for contrition and not settle for the much lower bar of attrition. On what basis should little Johnny love God? I suggest little Johnny love God for the sake of love; not fear. Dangling people o’er the fires of hell isnt exactly what Jesus’ great commission was.
    On the specific point of the inter-relgious dialogue at Assisi…you are simply out of step with the Church, and reality of you dont see inter-religious dialogue as important to building understanding and mutual respect.

  • Gerard

    Lumen Gentium 16 besides being ambiguous trash in no way addresses Hell in clear cut terms. And the term “People of God” was a deliberate attempt to cast a new definition on old language from the Old Testament. This was more clearly and efficiently understood as the Church as Mystical Body of Christ, Church Triumphant, Church Suffering and Church MIlitant as a perfect society. Congar’s “People of God” concept from Loisy was a not so subtle attack on the monarchical/heirarchical character of the Church. Congar and the other modernists were trapped in the slavery of their own time, trying to impose 19th century and 20th century collectivist fads to make their own communist revolution in the ecclesiology of the Church. Vatican II is nothing more than a failed social experiment of non-binding character frozen in the amber of it’s own era’s political milieu. It’s old, it’s useless, it’s time to stop fooling around and get back to Catholicism grounded in reality and not the dreamy utopian foolishness of a Council that was bad idea carried off badly.

  • Gerard

    Well, that’s plain old wrong. The Pope himself has Supreme Authority over and above an Ecumenical Council and independently of a Council. And an ecumenical council (Vatican I) made it clear that that was a case in order to quash the rising Gallicanism which was a rehash of Conciliarism from the Middle Ages.

  • Gerard

    Christ spoke of Hell quite often and the fact that the road is narrow and that even many who strive for salvation will not survive. (Luke Chapter 13) He also told parables such as the 10 virgins and their lamps, the foolish ones were unprepared and the bridegroom shut them out saying, “I don’t know you.” He also said he was coming like a thief in the night and to be prepared. Those that just trumpet “feel good, sentimental Catholicism” are seriously neglecting the complete Catholic picture which encompasses the good news in contrast with the spiritual warfare against the powers of evil, both human and preternatural.

    Cherry picking the gospel based on emotion and not the reality it teaches is folly.

  • Charles Martel

    Spot on, Anthony.
    I’m afraid Mr Oddie has introduced a red herring anyway into this discussion. Defending Assisi III, he introduces the teaching on invincible ignorance and the church’s respect for men of good will. This has nothing to do with Assisi III.
    The real issue is the encouragement of indifferentism that such ecumenical and interfaith gatherings entail. The Catholic Church, the bride of Christ, is clearly presented at these congresses as one faith among many, which has inevtably led to the indifferentism and confusion now prevalent among Catholics.
    I challenge Mr Oddie to reconcile Assisi I, II, or III with Pius XI’s teachings in ‘Mortalium Animos’. Further, I ask him if any Pope until Vatican II would have dreamt of taking part in such events…and why.

  • Anthony Murphy

    1) You call a teaching of an ecumenical council “ambiguous trash”
    2) You (bizzarely) seem to deny the term ‘people of God’; and then go on to profess it as a “communist revoltuion”
    3) You have failed to make any real point regarding ‘modernism’; to the point one wonders if you actually have a grip on what it is. (NB: Modernism doesnt mean ‘a new idea’)
    4) You describe Vatican II as a “failed social experiment”; “useless”; and “utopian fooishness”

    Hence, I wonder if you arent already in schism and are therefore irrelvent by that alone.
    But if I am wrong, why dont you try addressing the points people make instead of your fundamentalist rants?

  • Anthony Murphy

    Well, it is really pointless talking to you…you accuse other of ‘cherry picking’ but you are the one who whole-scale rejects one of the 21 ecumenical councils.

  • Gerard

    1) Yes it is ambiguous trash because of the bloated vocabulary and the imprecision of the various points it tries to make with the implied error embedded in it. Also it is not a “teaching” of the Church it is a temporal policy statement. Chapter 3 was so bad Paul VI had to issue the Nota Praevia personally in order to preserve papal primacy.

    2) Because you don’t know the history and context of the use of the term doesn’t make pointing out it’s purpose bizarre.

    3) I wasn’t talking about modernism. I don’t even need to get into that, I was pointing out the failure of the proposed ends of the council based on John XXIII’s opening speech. (And don’t think that some of these “new ideas” are really that new, they tend to be warmed over heresies or watered down Bonaventure at best, something most ignorant modernists can’t seem to cope with when it’s pointed out that Karl Rahner was a pale, heterodox ape of Bonaventure.)

    4) Yes. Just as Joseph Ratzinger pointed out in Principles of Catholic Theologys that some valid ecumenical councils turned out to be a complete waste of time. Vatican II will fall easily into that category in the future.

    5) You don’t seem to grasp the meaning of “schism” I suggest you provide a definition before you claim others don’t know what “modernism” means. And your cute little dismissive rant tells me you want to bail on this because you’ve become aware that you are way out of your league. From your posts, it’s apparant you’ve been led by the nose right out of the Church by corrupt teachers and corrupt traitors within the ranks of the priesthood itself that lay the axe to the root of the tree itself.

    6) Vatican II failed to present a balanced view of man’s end, it completely ignored Hell. You’ve yet to address that dreadful omission in defiance of Pope John’s stated mission for the Council.

  • Gerard

    A pastoral council that defined nothing, failed in its proposed mission, did not address the pressing matters of the day nor bind the faithful in any way and has a 5 decade record of dubious implementation and bad fruits is not cherry-picking. It’s acknowledging it for what it is. Lateran V was ineffectual but it wasn’t nearly as much a positive force for the Church’s “auto-demolition” as Paul VI described it or the “Silent Apostasy” that JPII described or the “filth” that Pope Benedict described it as just before taking the Keys into his hands.

    Cherry-picking is deliberately watering down and or ingoring the warnings that Our Divine Lord and Savior Jesus Christ made about the dangers of rejecting the purpose for man’s existence and God’s will and instead opting for selfishness and separation from God in Eternity with the consequent punishments of Hell, since those men choose God’s Justice over His Mercy. It’s part of the mystery of iniquity.

    Christ was the “Savior” because souls are naturally on their way to Hell due to our fallen nature. The Ice Cream Man doesn’t “save us” from dinner but he can save us from starvation if that situation exists. Neither can a God be a “sugar daddy” and a Savior at the same time if all souls are not in grave danger.

  • Jamie MacNab

    O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
    To see oursels as others see us!
    It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
    An’ foolish notion:
    What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
    An’ ev’n devotion!

    … Come on, boys and girls, get a grip. I am tempted to say that, if heaven is your aim, then you must do better than this ; and, if your aim is to help others on to the road to heaven, then you must do much, much better than this. What ordinary mortals want to know is, “What do I have to do to deserve eternal life?”

    Can anyone give me a answer in plain English?

    On the question of consorting with the unorthodox and the heathen : did Jesus consort with them, or not? Am I to lead a life in imitation of His, or not?

    You see, you have so many rules and regulations now, so many reports of councils and conventions, that you seem unable to agree among yourselves what a Christian life involves. But that does not prevent you reaching various decisions on who is fit for heaven and who is not. The poor uneducated masses are obliged (it seems) to choose which of your various authorities to follow. Since they have no leisure to study all the information, it appears that they must decide which of YOU will admit them to eternal life.

    Now, I know what fun it is to engage in robust debate ; I know the joys of advertising one’s erudition and powers of analysis. But … the end of the game is serious. It is a matter of life and death. Pease take us, the ignorant and the unwashed, seriously. Try to take us as seriously as you take yourselves. Teach us something.

  • Anthony Murphy

    1) Are you suggesting without the nota we would not have had a papacy? That is a startling claim! But to your substance; one needs to know what “error” you believe is in the council. See, without pointing to a specific teaching, and quoting it, you are simply making an ambit claim.
    2) You are still worried we were infected by Commies who took over the magisterium and now secretly rule the church from Ho Chi Min city? Have a lie down. (And how do you know how much Church history I have sat through?)
    3) I dont find Rahner heterodox at all. Maybe you can tell me what you are ranting about there? Not that Rahner is my favourite theologian; but you slandering someone doesnt make it true. Evidence is the critierion for proving a point.
    4) Vatican II permeates the teaching of the Church at every level. 75% of the Catechism is direct quotes and paraphrases of the Sacred Council. It hardly seems to be obscure.
    5) Obviously the schism comment hit home. Actually, if you remember you called an ecumenical council “trash”. Since you are not in communion with this council and its heterodoxy (your claim) you are not in communion with the magesterium.
    6) Its ok, we didnt need to convoke a council to tell the world they are going to hell. We might want to not use that threat too often since we have no idea who was and was not saved.

    Now; notwithstanding that you are fond of making radical points, but not so fond of backing them up with quotes, there is an underlying point that needs addressing…
    People who are faithful to Vatican II, and the Church in general, are frankly sick of nonsense like you spout. And we are not going to sit for it anymore. We were patient as you got used to the Sacred Council, but now the vitriol is just getting more sensational, and more nasty. And speaking for myself, I am sick of it. I am sick of assignations of mal-intent on the magesterium and those who have belief in most of the directions they choose. This is particularly true of the promulgation of VII documents. Personally, I have had enough with every sensible conversation on the internet being hijacked by some mal-contented catholic taliban like you, who threatens to detonate if we dare question the wisdoms of Pius X. I am sick of the pandering the Church has given out to schismatic and near schismatic groups like SSPX and theri fellow travellers. And I am sick and tired of your meaningless rants about how much better life was when the people of God feared falling into hell every morning they popped out of bed.
    I have heard your points, and many like it for all of my post-concillior lifetime. I am sick and tired of hearing the rants, and the unchristian labelling of people and their motives. This is about love of God, it isnt a political party…this is Holy Mother Church…so go inject the poison of your sectarianism down the local chess club.

  • Anonymous

    Reality? When Rome has said over and over again that the SSPX is not in schism and the modernists keep saying that they are?

    And Schonborn “shot his gob off once about the abuse crisis” why? To attack celibacy. Get your facts straight.

    He was also called into the Vatican and instructed to apologise to the Bishop of Mostar for defying his authority.

    “A well respected Cardinal”? Schonborn? You gotta be kidding. He’s about as well respected as Colonel Gaddafi.

  • Anthony Murphy

    You are right Jamie, and I apologise to those I have crossed the line from robust debate into something else. I do get frustrated by being though. But lets be clear about what I am fighting for…I want you to have confidence that your son or daughter can pick up the Catechism of the Catholic Church (75% of which is Vat II citations) and have complete confidence that you are reading the orthodox presentation of the Catholic Church. I think you have that right. I do not believe anyone should be able to shake this right from you with appeals to obscure documents with dubious intent. I just want you to be able to go to the Catechism whenever you have questions without having someone in your ear questioning your wisdom in doing so.

  • Anthony Murphy

    To answer your question I will post the Sacred Council (VatII, Gaudium et Spes, 1965)

    16. In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself, but which holds him to obedience. Always summoning him to love good and avoid evil, the voice of conscience when necessary speaks to his heart: do this, shun that. For man has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged.(9) Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths.(10) In a wonderful manner conscience reveals that law which is fulfilled by love of God and neighbor.(11) In fidelity to conscience, Christians are joined with the rest of men in the search for truth, and for the genuine solution to the numerous problems which arise in the life of individuals from social relationships. Hence the more right conscience holds sway, the more persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and strive to be guided by the objective norms of morality. Conscience frequently errs from invincible ignorance without losing its dignity. The same cannot be said for a man who cares but little for truth and goodness, or for a conscience which by degrees grows practically sightless as a result of habitual sin.

    I hope this is helpful.

  • Petrus

    Are you suggesting that we can have Christ without the Church? Remember the words of Christ, “He who hears you, hears me”. It’s really quite simple, follow the traditional, consistent teaching of the Church, up until the novelties introduced at Vatican II. Modern popes cannot change the traditional teaching of the Church, and if they try, we use our God-given intellect to join up the dots.

    Let us look to Sacred Scripture and the Church Fathers for guidance here.

    ‘O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you, shunning profane novelties of words;’ 1 Timothy 6:20

    ‘if any man preach unto you other than you have received, let him be accursed.’ Galatians 1:9

    “What all men have at all times and everywhere believed must be regarded as true”. Saint Augustine

    “That whether I or any one else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they rise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways; first, by the authority of the Divine Law, and then, by the Tradition of the Catholic Church.” Saint Vincent of Lerins

    “Should some new doctrine arise in one part of the Church, Donatism for example, then firm adherence must be given to the belief of the Universal Church, and supposing the new doctrine to be of such nature as to contaminate almost the entirety of the latter, as did Arianism, then it is to antiquity one must cling.” Saint Vincent of Lerins

    Now, regarding what Christ did. Yes, he did mingle with the sinners and non-believers. However, His mission was always to lead them to conversion, not affirm them in their erroneous ways. ” Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.” (John 8:11) Therefore the Church should be witnessing to non-believers and sinners, urging them to convert. This is the mission of the Church, as we see in Matthew 28:19:

    “Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.”

  • Petrus

    Oh dear, Anthony. Getting a bit above our station, aren’t we? You have just contradicted the very modern authorities you defend so much. Perhaps it would help you to do a bit of reading before you make erroneous claims.

    Have a wee look at these quotes:

    “Unfortunately Monsignor Lefebvre went ahead with the consecration and hence the situation of separation came about, even if it was not a formal schism.”

    “Please accept that I reject the term “ecumenism ad intra.” The bishops, priests and faithful of the Society of St Pius X are not schismatics.”

    “We are not confronted with a heresy. It cannot be said in correct, exact, and precise terms that there is a schism.”

    Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos

    “The SSPX is not schismatic because she neither rejects the subordination to the Roman Pontiff nor rejects the communion with the bishops (can.751).

    German canonist Dr. Georg May, professor emeritus of Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz

    Seriously, Anthony, it only takes a few minutes to research these things properly. Are you sure you aren’t Rupert Murdoch in disguise?

  • Petrus


    You really make it too easy for us. Gerard is absolutely right. The Pope himself has supreme authority.

    “The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church.” Lumen Gentium

  • Petrus

    Vatican II was a pastoral council, Anthony!

  • Petrus

    Bang smack in the middle of The Cold War and the Council does not even mention Communism, an evil condemned time and time again? Join up the dots, Anthony!

  • Jamie MacNab

    Thank you Anthony, that helped. As I understand it, then, if I believe my conscience to be true and uncorrupt, it is a matter of following it in the ways you quote. And I can test my conscience against the examples given in Scripture ; also I have standards for comparison, set by reputable persons.

  • Petrus


    Your conscience has to be informed. You mustn’t read scripture and interpret it for yourself. This is a Protestant error. Inform your conscience by reading the consistent teaching of the Church. You cannot have Christ without the Church.

  • Jamie MacNab

    I agree, Petrus, that personal interpretations are risky, and certainly must not be taught to others, as if authoritative. But it would be to diminish the scripture, and its readers, to forbid personal discussion and opinion.

  • Petrus

    Certainly, discussions are fine. I think personal opinions are irrelevant when it comes to the interpretation of scripture. We have Catholic Tradition to guide us.

  • Anthony Murphy

    I think your salvation is dependant on following your conscience. I think this is what GS( short for Gaudium et Spes) is saying. One must strive to know the truth at all times. But if that truth is obscured from you then you have no fault. In the Catholic world, we have firm authority(the bishops), and fellowship with peers(the rest of us). This, with scritpure and the historic magisterium is a wealth of knowledge about the question “What is the right thing to do now?”
    Ultimately, your salvation rest in your hands, so follow your conscience, and inform it to the best of your abilities, and we will see you in heaven.

  • Anthony Murphy

    You mean like the Council of Trent was smack bang in the heights of European monarchy period and they didnt mention monarchy?