Saturday, March 14, 2009

Reply to a Liberal

Reply to a Liberal
by Raymond Karam
- Introduction

We have been asked many times to explain what we mean by the term “liberal Catholic.” Articles in each issue of From the Housetops have referred to these “liberals,” accusing them of religious indifferentism, or lack of concern for the Faith, of absence of loyalty to the Church, to the Pope, to the officially appointed teachers of Catholic doctrine, and, at times, of open heresy. We have been warning Catholics against the dangers of liberalism, letting them infer, from our statement of the erroneous doctrines, who these liberals are. This policy does not, however, serve to make the issue clear and definite enough, and so it becomes necessary at this point to name our opponents, or at least some of them, and to refute their heretical teachings openly.

This task has been made easier for us than we could have anticipated. In answer to one of the articles which appeared in the December 1948 issue of From the Housetops, Father Philip J. Donnelly, S. J., Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the Jesuit Seminary at Weston, has, for the benefit of Boston College, issued a paper under the heading Some Observations on the Question of Salvation Outside the Church. A weaker defense of a theological opinion could not be found, nor a more perfect expression of liberalism.

Those who read my article in the last issue must have noticed the long line of authorities quoted in support of the often-defined dogma that no person can attain eternal salvation unless, before he dies, he becomes a member of the Roman Catholic Church. The priest who attempts to refute my article never refers to the authorities I quoted. He ignores them. Although he is himself a professor of Dogmatic Theology, and therefore one who should know better, all he offers in support of his own liberalism is the theory of a French liberal called Caperan and the statement of an Italian Jesuit called Lombardi, both of whom have no more authority on dogmatic questions than Father Donnelly himself.

He gives us three allocutions composed by Pope Pius XI, one in 1927, one in 1930, and one delivered in 1938 to a group of scientists, all of which are quoted from the L’ Osservatore Romano . And, to give final touch to this comedy, there is appended to Father Donnelly’s note an additional note by his editor, who quotes one sentence from a speech delivered by Pope Pius XII, as it was reported in the New York Times!

Is this the way a Catholic is expected to know the revealed and defined truths of his Faith? Since when does a teacher of Dogmatic Theology have to depend on the good pleasure and honesty of newspapers in order to know what is the Catholic Faith and what he is supposed to teach? And what about the generations of Catholics who lived before the September 6th, 1948 issue of the New York Times? Was it impossible for them to have known the unadulterated Catholic truth? Does Father Donnelly prepare his course in Dogmatic Theology dependently on how a newspaper quotes or misquotes some radio address of the Pope? Or is it that the techniques of our advanced and progressive century require the introduction of a course on Journalism as an indispensable part even of the theological training of our priests? We writers in From the Housetops, who are full of a “spirit of smug Protestant righteousness,” according to Father Donnelly, may be greatly misinformed, but no news from Rome has reached us as yet announcing a papal definition of the infallibility of newspapers!

Apart from these “authorities,” Father Donnelly makes use of the two main documents used by liberals: an allocution by Pope Pius IX in 1854, and an encyclical by the same Pope in 1863. And, as liberals always do, he at times misquotes the Holy Father, misrepresents his intention, and invariably makes the Pope’s statements serve his own preconceptions. All this I have shown in my article on Liberal Theology and Salvation, which appeared in the December 1948 issue of From the Housetops .

The one and only infallible pronouncement used by Father Donnelly in his paper is taken from the decree on Justification, Chapter 4, of the Council of Trent. However, this decree is erroneously explained, and, as I shall show later on in this article, is made to mean the very opposite of what was intended.

Perhaps, before taking up in detail every point of Father Donnelly’s paper, it would be well to quote it in full, so that no reader will be misled, and so that no point will be left confused in his mind, from not having read the original document. The article runs as follows:

Department of Theology
Boston College

Chestnut Hill, 67, Massachusetts

Some Observations on the Question of Salvation Outside the Church

At present there is no work in English that covers adequately the question of salvation outside the Church. Perhaps the best thing to do in the present circumstances is to indicate the contents of two books on this subject:

a) The classic work by Caperan, Le probleme du salut des infideles: essai theologique (1934);

b) b) The more recent work by Fr. Riccardo Lombardi, S. J., the famous apostle of Italy, La salvezza di chi no ha fede (Rome, 1945, Edizione: La civilta cattolica ).

The first point to be made is that the formula “extra ecclesiam nulla salus” must not be understood in the sense that salvation is impossible for any one who does not believe explicitly in the Catholic Church, and does not accept all the revealed truths proposed by her for belief. The same infallible authority which proposes this formula also teaches that sanctifying grace, and consequently, a title to the Beatific Vision, are conferred by baptism of desire. Therefore, the insinuation of a writer in the latest issue of a magazine called From the Housetops that baptism of desire is a device of “liberal” Catholics to christianize heretics, is in direct contradiction to the doctrine of the Council of Trent, which teaches that justification of the unbaptized may be described “as the transfer from that state, in which a man is born as the son of the first Adam, to the state of grace and adoptive sonship of God, through the second Adam, our Savior Jesus Christ; and after the promulgation of the Gospel this transfer cannot be accomplished without the water of regeneration or the desire of it . . .” (Denz. 796.)

Secondly, baptism of desire confers membership in the Church “in voto.” For Pius IX, who taught so unmistakably that “extra ecclesiam nulla salus,” also taught just as unmistakably that “those who, through no fault of their own, do not recognize the Catholic Church as the only true Church . . . “and who . . . yet keep the precepts of the law of nature graven by God in all men’s hearts, who are prepared to obey God, and who lead an honorable and upright life, are able, by the powerful workings of God’s light and grace, to attain eternal life. For God, who sees distinctly, who searches into and knows the mind, spirit, habits and thoughts of all men, would never of His supreme goodness and mercy permit anyone to be punished eternally unless he had incurred the guilt of voluntary sin.” (Denz. 1677.)

He likewise teaches in the same place that only those who are “contumaciter” and “pertinaciter” divided from the Church cannot be saved outside the Catholic Church, and that those who contumaciously resist her authority and definitions and “who obstinately remain separated from the unity of that Church and from Peter’s successor, the Roman Pontiff — to whom the custody of the vine was entrusted by our Savior — cannot obtain eternal salvation.” (Denz. 1677.)

Pius IX likewise forbids unconditionally any manifestation by Catholics of a spirit of enmity toward those outside the Catholic Church. “But let the children of the Catholic Church in no way whatsoever be hostile to those who are not one with us in faith and love . . . ” (Denz. 1678). As for that spirit of hostility manifested in the scarcely veiled assumption that Protestants are to be convicted of bad faith, and henceforth to be treated as formal heretics, the same Pope said: “We have to hold, as of faith, that no one can be saved outside the Apostolic Roman Church, that she is the one Ark of Salvation, that whosoever does not enter her will perish in the flood. But at the same time it is to be held equally certain that those who labor under ignorance of the true religion will never — provided their ignorance is invincible — be held guilty in the eyes of God of this fault. Who would dare claim to be able to assign limits to such ignorance when he reflects on the diversity he sees among peoples, localities, characters and a host of other points? Assuredly when, released from the fetters of the body, we shall see God as He is, we shall then clearly see the intimate and exquisite way in which the mercy and justice of God are combined; but let us, so long as here on Earth we are weighed down by this mortal body which dulls the soul, hold firmly to our Catholic doctrine: ‘one God, one faith, one baptism’; to try and probe deeper is criminal . . . ” (Denz. 1647).

These statements are the more pertinent, since they are located in the strongest statements of any Pontiff against religious indifferentism. It is quite one thing to maintain that Protestants or pagans are just as favorably situated with regard to salvation as Catholics, and quite another thing to maintain that they are in bad faith and are to be spurned because they do not submit to a distorted interpretation of Catholic doctrine (Cf. Caperan, op. cit., pp. 138-142).

The spirit of these two citations of Pius IX were several times repeated and developed by Pius XI. “Sad are these conditions, it is true, but nevertheless, they provide some consolation, because the greater the ignorance — and who can ever presume to judge a person’s good faith except God? — the less the responsibility. So true is that that Jesus Himself sought, as it were, His last consolation in the fact of ignorance, when He cried out from the Cross to the Father: ‘Pardon them, because they know not what they do. ’ ” (Allocution of Pius XI, January 11, 1927; L’ Osservatore Romano of this date.) More explicitly, Pius XI said: “The limits of vincible and invincible error are among the most difficult to define, even for the most penetrating intellect. Only God, who is TRUTH, who is ALL TRUTH, who calls every creature to the TRUTH, who gives the means according to His measure to arrive at the TRUTH, only God can, with certainty, define the limit between vincible and invincible ignorance.” (Allocution published in the L’ Osservatore Romano, 31 January 1938.)

Even more remarkable and to the point, in an exhortation not to judge those outside the faith, is the following: “We are filled with sadness when We see so many countless souls so neglectful of the guarantees which God gives of His continuous presence and of His activity [in the Catholic Church]. Truly, in the light of this consideration, some have been tempted to conclude that these souls, without grace, have reached such a stage of degradation, that they are inexcusable. But such a judgment is beyond our pertinence or power: God alone knows the limits of vincible ignorance and of good faith, and we have an obligation to leave to Him all decision and judgment on this question.” (Pius XI, “Discourse of March 10, 1930, at the reading of the Decree approving the Miracles for the Canonization of Blessed Catherine Thomas,” L’ Osservatore Romano, 11 March 1930.)

Father Lombardi, in concluding his survey of Papal doctrine, adds the following practical consideration: “In addition to these authoritative statements, there is a reason of the practical order, which urges a benevolent attitude towards infidels: it is the importance for the Apologist or the Missionary of starting his work with the greatest possible amount of good-will. This is only in accord with the example of Christ; true, He never countenanced the approval of evil to obtain good-will; but, on the other hand, He laid it down as a duty, to love and to excuse as far as possible all persons; He forbade us to judge temerariously, bitterly, or to interpret actions as due to evil motives or malice: ‘Judge not and you will not be judged, condemn not and you will not be condemned’ (Luke, 6:37).” (Lombardi, op. cit., II, p. 229.)

In this question of the possibility of salvation outside the Church and the related problem of the invincible ignorance of those outside the Church, it is perilously easy for some Catholics, whose zeal outruns their knowledge of Catholic truth, to fall into the state of mind that they condemn so bitterly, namely, a spirit of smug Protestant righteousness, of arrogating to oneself the prerogative of judging others with the mercilessness of a Lutheran or Calvinistic God, and of superficial private judgment in a totally unfounded interpretation of the subjective state of Protestants generally, and in a corresponding depreciation of authority, which borders on contempt. Such a spirit not only alienates Protestants of good faith, but is also a positive scandal to Catholics.

Philip J. Donnelly, S. J.,

Professor of Dogmatic Theology,
Collegium Maximum Sancti Spiritus, Weston

Editor’s Note: On September 5th, 1948 in a speech delivered in German and broadcast by the Vatican radio on the occasion of a Catholic celebration in Mainz, Pope Pius XII, referring to movements outside the Catholic Church for the unification of Christians said: “We know how insistent is the desire in many, both Catholics and non-Catholics, for unity of faith; the [Catholic] Church surrounds dissenters in the faith with sincere love and prayer for their return to her, their mother, from which God knows how many are separated without any fault of their own.” (Cf. New York Times, Monday, 6 September 1948, p. 1, col.4.)

http://catholicism.org/rtal-intro.html
Reply to a Liberal Part I: Answer to Five Minor Points

I

It seems to be a habit of liberal theologians to give more weight to the opinions of theologians of their own type than to the infallible definitions of the Church. Some of them never quote the Scriptures and the Councils; others do, usually by way of pious preamble. Father Donnelly, in his “observations” on the “question” of salvation outside the Catholic Church, uses only one statement from a Council of the Church. This lone statement turns out to be wholly to his disadvantage. In the same way, a famous French liberal, J. Bainvel, S. J., in his book entitled Is There Salvation Outside the Catholic Church? gives more than thirty quotations from Holy Scriptures, from the Fathers and Doctors and Councils — which unmistakably prove what the whole book is trying to explain away. The only texts which might be in Father Bainvel’s favor are taken, with the usual mistranslations and mutilations, from Pope Pius IX’s allocution and encyclical which I have mentioned in the introduction to this article, together with two or three sentences chosen out of the works of St. Augustine, again always mutilated and presented in such a way as to mean the very opposite of what they were intended to mean.

II

Liberal theologians give the impression that the dogma that “Outside the Church there is no Salvation” is still a question under debate. Father Donnelly says that “at present there is no work in English that covers adequately the question of salvation outside the Church.” How can a dogma, after twenty centuries of Christianity, be still a “question” under discussion and debate? Not only is the teaching of the Church very clear on this point, but Pope after Pope has infallibly defined the same dogma.

There is no other dogma which has been so many times defined, and so many times proclaimed by Fathers and Doctors. But even if the dogma had not yet been infallibly defined, would that make it less a doctrine to be believed by all Catholics under pain of mortal sin? The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, for example, has not yet been defined by the Church [Note: This essay was written before the solemn, dogmatic, infallible definition of the Assumption was proclaimed on November 1, 1950.], and still it is a revealed dogma, and not a debatable question. The Divinity of Christ, likewise, was a dogma even before its definition in the Council of Nicaea in 325, as was the oneness of the Person of Christ before its definition at the Council of Ephesus in 431. They were preached and defended as doctrines contained in the Deposit of Faith by St. Athanasius, St. Basil, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Cyril of Alexandria, and all the orthodox teachers, before the dogmas were defined by councils. Would St. Athanasius have said, with the cold and measured utterance of a modern liberal theologian, “At present there is no work in Greek that covers adequately the question of the Divinity of Christ?” Or would Pope Leo the Great have said, “At present there is no work in Latin which covers adequately the question of the two natures in Christ?”

We may ask Father Donnelly: Why is it that there is no work in English which covers adequately this question of salvation outside the Church? Is it not a central doctrine of the Church? Has not the English language been in use for centuries? It would seem to be the office of the theologian to put the infallible pronouncements of the Popes and the teachings of the Doctors of the Church in clear and simple English, and to see that these pronouncements are kept in their purity of utterance and not confused by the comments of liberals, which destroy their meaning.

III

All liberalism is essentially skeptical. The liberals have studied Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Einstein to such an extent that they have become skeptics and relativists themselves. If you were to ask liberal theologians, “Is it, or is it not, a dogma of the Church that there is no salvation outside the Church?” some would answer, “No it is not. There is salvation outside the Church.” But most of them, knowing the danger in such a clearly heretical answer, would reply, “Yes, it is a defined dogma; BUT this does not mean that one who is not a Catholic cannot be saved.”

For example, Father Donnelly admits that the Church has been teaching “extra Ecclesiam nulla salus” (Is the statement always kept in Latin in order not to offend Protestants? Is the heresy of Americanism still surviving, even after its condemnation by the Pope?). But Father Donnelly does not go so far as to call this teaching of the Church a dogma. He calls it a formula. Father Bainvel calls it an axiom. 1 Father Donnelly concedes the existence of this “formula” BUT says it “must not be understood in the sense that salvation is impossible for anyone who does not believe explicitly in the Catholic Church and does not accept all the revealed truths proposed by her for belief.”

Father Bainvel, S. J., is guilty of the same inconsistency. He says that it is against the teaching of the Church to say that a person can be saved by good faith alone, or by belonging to the soul of the Church, or by belonging to the invisible Church. It is absolutely necessary for salvation, Father Bainvel says, that a man believe in the truths of the Church and belong to her body, and visibly. Moreover, he goes on, some theologians say that the Church is necessary for salvation by a necessity of precept so that a person totally ignorant of its existence could be saved without belonging to it. This, he says, is against the teaching of the Church, and we must hold that the Church is necessary for salvation by a necessity of means, so that without it salvation is absolutely impossible. BUT, he adds, good faith and invincible ignorance can easily excuse a man so that he could attain salvation without joining the Catholic Church, without knowing about the Church, and without believing in its truths!

Now, I ask Father Bainvel, what is the use of asserting a dogma of the Faith if a BUT is going to undo it? Or why should the Church take so much care in defining a dogma if her intention is to say the very opposite of what she states in the definition? This we know is not the intention of the Church, but is, rather, the practice of the liberal theologian, which practice breeds skepticism and doubt.

IV

One of the most common ways in which liberals confuse people on the teachings of the Church (and a very dishonest way, as everyone must admit) is to claim to quote a Pope or a Council, and then, by mistranslating the text and leaving out the most important words and clauses, misrepresent it completely. Let me give an example:

Pope Pius IX, in his allocution Singulari quadam, says: “But at the same time it is to be held equally certain that those who labor under ignorance of the true religion, if their ignorance is invincible, will not be held guilty of this in the eyes of the Lord. (Sed tamen pro certo pariter habendum est, qui verae religionis ignorantia laborent, si ea sit invincibilis, nulla ipsos obstringi huiusce rei culpa ante oculos Domini.) ” 2

Father Bainvel translates this statement (I am quoting from an authorized English translation of his book, Is there Salvation Outside the Catholic Church?): “It may be equally held as certain that ignorance of the true faith, if it be invincible, excuses one from all fault in the eyes of the Saviour. ” 3

This is more than a mistranslation.

Now, Father Donnelly, in his paper, uses nine quotations. One of these is from R. Lombardi, S. J., and three from journalistic sources Although these contain some distortions and notable omissions, I shall leave them aside for the moment as being of no importance whatsoever for deciding a dogmatic issue. In the remaining five quotations, there are two extremely serious mistranslations, and one major omission which completely changes the meaning of the passage. Here are the the mistranslated passages (I shall come to the third one later):

After saying that those who are invincibly ignorant of the Catholic Faith will not be held guilty of this in the eyes of God, Pius IX says: “But, now, who would claim to himself to be able to designate limits to such an ignorance according to the nature and variety of peoples, regions, temperaments, and so many other things? (Nunc vero quis tantum sibi arroget, ut huiusmodi ignorantiae designare limites queat juxta populorum, regionum, ingeniorum aliarumque rerum tam multarum rationem et varietem?) ” 4

Father Donnelly renders the above passage of Pius IX in this way: “Who would dare claim to be able to assign limits to such ignorance when he reflects on the diversity he sees among peoples, etc. . . . ” What the Holy Father is warning us not to do is exactly what Father Donnelly is doing, namely, he is intimating that anyone can easily judge that there are many more people who are invincibly ignorant than we would think there are, by reflecting on the diversity that can be seen among peoples, regions, temperaments, etc. Pope Pius IX is warning us, on the contrary, not to judge of the invincible ignorance of people according to such superficial and sociological norms as diversity of peoples and customs. What do the liberals do? They make it their main concern to reflect on this very diversity and to judge of the invincible ignorance of people according to this consideration. When a Pope warns them not to take sociology and other purely rational studies as a norm to decide theological or dogmatic questions, they misconstrue his utterances and proceed to become experts on sociological and scientific problems, and they misinterpret Catholic dogmas in accordance with their secular studies!

The second mistranslated passage is the following: Father Donnelly claims that Pope Pius IX says: “For God, who sees distinctly, who searches into and knows the mind, spirit, habits and thoughts of all men, would never of His supreme goodness and mercy permit anyone to be punished eternally unless he had incurred the guilt of voluntary sin.”

It is true that this passage is taken from an encyclical which is not infallible. But how can a professor of dogmatic theology have so little concern for the truth and so much less concern for the orthodoxy of a Pope as to claim that the Vicar of Christ could have made a statement like that? To say that God would never permit anyone to be punished eternally unless he had incurred the guilt of voluntary sin is nothing short of Pelagianism. It took all the strength and militancy of St. Augustine to destroy this heresy, and here it appears once more in our century, in the utterances of liberal professors of theology who try to hide behind a Pope by misquoting him.

If God cannot punish eternally a human being who has not incurred the guilt of voluntary sin, how then, for example, can He punish eternally babies who die unbaptized? Did these babies incur “the guilt of voluntary sin?” Or would Father Donnelly assert that they are punished eternally, but are rewarded with the Beatific Vision? Or would he say that they are sent to Limbo, but that Limbo is not a place of eternal punishment, but of reward? Is the teaching of the Church obscure on this point, too? Or is it not rather one more instance of the way liberal theologians confuse Catholics by misquoting a passage and never giving an explanation?

What Pius IX says is that “God, who sees distinctly, who searches into and knows the mind, spirit, habits and thoughts of all men, would never of His supreme goodness and mercy permit anyone to be punished with eternal torments (aeternis puniri supplicis), who has not incurred the guilt of voluntary sin.” 5 What is due in justice to original sin is punishment and not reward, but it is the punishment of loss, the loss of the Beatific Vision (poena damni ); and what is due to personal sin is the punishment of the senses, the fire of Hell (poena sensus ). But the punishment of loss can be and actually is inflicted on those who die free from personal sin but unbaptized, hence still under the sway of original sin.

Thus Innocent III said: “The penalty of original sin is the loss of the vision of God; the penalty of actual sin is the torment of everlasting Hell. ” 6 And St. Bonaventure says: “ . . . the punishment of being deprived of the sight of God and the loss of heavenly glory affects both adults and children who are unbaptized. The children are punished with the others, but by the mildest punishment because they deserve punishment of loss, but not the punishment of the senses. ” 7

The remaining two texts which Father Donnelly uses, one taken from the Council of Trent and the other from the same encyclical of Pope Pius IX, Quanto Conficiamur, fortunately are not mistranslated, are wrongly interpreted. Several words are emphasized in such a way as to give a false meaning to the whole passage, as I shall show later in this article. Thus, there is not one authority used by Father Donnelly which does not disprove his ideas — when correctly quoted.

V

In the beautiful ages of the Faith, Theology was the queen of the sciences. Philosophy was her handmaid. There came the day when sophists like Hegel and Berdiaev completely subjected theology to philosophy and reason. But modern liberal theologians subordinate this fairest queen even to inferior sciences, such as sociology, astronomy historical criticism. Every Catholic knows that, along with the Holy Scriptures and the infallible pronouncements of the Popes, the greatest authorities in theological and dogmatic questions are the earliest teachers of Catholic truth. The authority of the Fathers is so powerful that all the Councils refer to their works in order to determine beyond question the body of truth contained in the Deposit of Faith.

Liberal theologians, however, impressed by the methods of modern scholarship, depart from the traditional way, and seek the latest work on a subject. They offer this as a solution of the matter, as witness Father Donnelly’s use of Caperan and Lombardi. What has the revealed truth of Jesus Christ to do with novelty and recent research? Does the truth of our Faith change with time? Or does a modern liberal pretend to understand Our Lord’s doctrine better than His immediate followers and all the centuries of Faith have understood it?

Nobody can deny that in the minds of liberal theologians what the early Christians held is not of great importance. And nobody can deny that in everything they say they imply that the dogmas of the Faith do change with time. How often have we heard liberals openly say that the Church has been teaching since the Middle Ages that people can be saved outside the Church, and without the knowledge of the truths of the Faith! Some of them do not hesitate to say that the reason this change in the doctrine of the Church has occurred is because we now know of the existence of peoples living in countries and continents undiscovered and unknown during and before the Middle Ages.

We know that Bainvel admits most of humanity into Heaven, in his arrangement. His solution of the “problem” of salvation outside the Church consists in saying that pagans and heretics and schismatics and open enemies of the Church belong to the Catholic Church, both to her body and her soul. And yet he openly confesses that this was not the teaching of the early Church on the subject. He says, “From these various statements we may rightly conclude that, in the early stages of Christian thought, the Church was as necessary for salvation as Christ Himself.” 8 Is this not clearly implying that the dogmas of the Church change with time? Is Father Bainvel carrying over into the sacred realm of theology the pseudo-scientific theories of so-called evolution? What does he mean by early stages of Christian thought? His presumption borders on blasphemy.

It is very noticeable that in Father Donnelly’s paper the earliest authority quoted is the Council of Trent in 1547. He immediately passes on, without further explanation, to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Furthermore, although Father Donnelly quotes (or rather misquotes) some recent Popes, the two works which are the basis of his paper, as he attests at the beginning, are (1) a “classic work by Caperan” (1934), and (2) “the more recent work by Father Riccardo Lombardi” (1945). It is evident, from these data, how much support Father Donnelly was able to find in the tradition of the Church as preserved in the works of the Fathers and the Doctors.
1 J. Bainvel, S. J., Is There Salvation Outside the Catholic Church? Authorized English Translation by J. L. Weidenhan, S. T. L. 2nd Ed., Ch. V, p. 43.

2
Denzinger 1647;30th, year 1955

3 Bainvel, Op. cit., Ch. III, p. 26.

4 Pius IX, Singulari Quadam, Denz. 1647.

5 Pius IX, Encyclical Quanto Conficiamur, 10 Aug. 1863, Denz. 1677.

6 Pope Innocent III, Epist. Maiores Ecclesiae Causas, 1201, Denz. 410.

7 St. Bonaventure, Breviloquium, Part III, Ch. V, n. 2.

8 Bainvel, Op. cit., Ch. II, pp. 10-11.

http://catholicism.org/rtal-part1.html
Reply to a Liberal Part II: Outside the Church There is No Salvation

1. Explicit Faith in the Catholic Church and in Her Teaching is Necessary for Salvation.

2. there Two Kinds of Membership in the Church?

3. Can a Person Who Remains Separated from the Church be Saved?

4. Are Protestants Formal Heretics?

5. Pope Pius IX’s Real Teaching with Regard to the Salvation of Non-Catholics

6. Concerning the Question of Ignorance

1. Explicit Faith in the Catholic Church and in Her Teachings is Necessary for Salvation

We now come to something more positive and more doctrinal.

The first point to be made, says Fr. Donnelly, is that the formula ‘extra ecclesiam nulla salus’ must not be understood in the sense that salvation is impossible for any one who does not believe explicitly in the Catholic Church, and does not accept all the revealed truths proposed by her for belief.

Is this really the teaching of the Church on this point? Let us see what Holy Scripture and the tradition of the Church have to say.

Our Lord, sending His Apostles to preach His Gospel, said to them:

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned. (Mk. 16,16.)

St. Paul, in his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, (I, 7-10), says:

And to you who are troubled, rest with us when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven, with the angels of His power: in a flame of fire, giving vengeance to them who know not God, and who obey not the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Who shall suffer eternal punishment in destruction, from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of His power: when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be made wonderful in all them who have believed; because our testimony was upon you in that day.

Again, in the same Epistle (II, 8-11) the Apostle says:

And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of His mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming, him, whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore, God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying; that all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.

St. Thomas Aquinas, the official teacher of Catholic Doctrine, on the authority of the Apostle (Heb. XI, 6): “Without faith it is impossible to please God,” says that faith in truths revealed by God is absolutely necessary for salvation. 1 Moreover, implicit faith is not enough, nor is it possible to have implicit faith in some truth if one does not hold explicitly other truths. 2 “Therefore, as regards the primary points or articles of faith, man must believe them explicitly, just as he must have faith. ” 3

Now, according to St. Thomas, what are the primary points or articles of Faith which must be believed explicitly by a man who wishes to be saved? They are (besides the belief that God is, that He is a rewarder and a punisher): (a) explicit faith in the mystery of the Incarnation, and all the points which are related to it which are found in the Creed; and (b) explicit faith in the Trinity, and in all the points related to it which are found in the Creed. Saint Thomas speaks as follows:

After the Incarnation, all men, if they wish to be saved, are “bound to explicit faith in the mysteries of Christ, chiefly as regards those which are observed throughout the Church and publicly proclaimed, such as the articles that refer to the Incarnation.” 4 And, after the Incarnation, all men, in order to be saved, “are bound to explicit faith in the mystery of the Trinity.” 5

We see, therefore, that explicit faith in the articles of the Creed is necessary for salvation. But is this enough? Saint Thomas teaches that it is enough only if the person is unable to know more truths explicitly, and does not deny any articles of the Faith. 6 On the contrary, a man who professes to hold the truths of the Faith and at the same time explicitly denies even one truth, does not have the Faith at all, and therefore cannot be saved. 7 This would be true in the case of a man who denied the supremacy and infallibility of the Catholic Church and the necessity of the Church for salvation.

The above clearly refutes Father Donnelly’s statement that explicit belief in the Catholic Church and acceptance of all the revealed truths proposed by her are not necessary for salvation. For further proof that explicit belief in the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation, let us quote St. Thomas and St. Alphonsus Liguori. Saint Thomas says,

Neither formed nor formless faith remains in a heretic who disbelieves one article of faith . . . Consequently, whoever does not adhere, as to an infallible and divine rule, to the teaching of the Church, which proceeds from the First Truth manifested in Holy Scripture, has not the habit of faith, but holds the things which are of faith otherwise than by faith. 8

St. Alphonsus Ligouri says that the motive for believing any truths of the Faith is

that God, the Infallible Truth, has revealed them, and that the Church proposes them to our belief. Behold, then, how we should make an act of faith: “My God, because You, Who are the Infallible Truth, have revealed to the Church the truths of the Faith, I believe all that the Church proposes to my belief.” 9

Hence, it must follow that belief in the truths which the Church proposes is impossible without belief in the Church itself. Therefore, only those who adhere to the teaching of the Church as to an infallible and divine rule can have real faith and find salvation.

Proof of the necessity of explicit belief in the Catholic Church and the acceptance of all the revealed truths proposed for belief in order to be saved is found all through the writings of the Fathers, the Doctors, and in the Councils. Let us list here a few additional statements:

St. Thomas says, commenting on the Apostles’ Creed:

No man can obtain the happiness of Heaven — which is the true knowledge of God — unless he know Him first by faith: “Blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed” (Jn. 20, 29). 10

The Council of Trent, which Fr. Donnelly thinks is in his favor, teaches unmistakably:

Indeed, since the Apostle said that man is justified by faith and freely (Rom. 3, 22-24), these words must be understood in that sense, which the perpetual consensus of the Catholic Church held and expressed, namely, that we are thus said to be justified by faith, since ‘faith is the beginning of human salvation, ‘ the foundation and root of every justification, ‘without which it is impossible to please God ‘ (Heb. 11,6) and to come to the fellowship of His children. (Sess. VI, Chap. 8. ) 11

St. Robert Bellarmine, S. J., Doctor of the Universal Church, says at the very beginning of his Doctrina Christiana:

We begin the exposition of the dogmas of the Faith of Christ, whose knowledge is necessary for every one who earnestly desires the salvation of his soul. 12

St. Alphonsus Liguori teaches that God calls us in two successive vocations, which necessarily follow a definite order:

This was the first and sovereign grace bestowed upon us, — our vocation to the Faith; which was succeeded by our vocation to grace, of which men were deprived. 13

Thus, sanctifying grace cannot come to an adult in whom faith did not come first.

Pope Pius XI, whom Fr. Donnelly quotes from newspapers, says in his Encyclical Mortalium Animos:

Moreover, when the only Begotten Son of God commanded His legates to teach all nations, He then bound all men with the duty to believe what was announced to them by “witnesses preordained by God.” He attached to His command the sanction, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” Now, this double commandment of Christ, which must be observed, to teach and to believe so as to attain eternal salvation, cannot even be understood if the Church does not propose the evangelical doctrine entire and clear and if, in the teaching of it, it is not free from all danger of error. 14

Pope Pius IX, whose utterances have been so pitilessly mutilated and mistranslated by the liberals of our day, says in his Allocution Singulari Quadam:

It is necessary that you inculcate this salutary teaching in the souls of those who exaggerate the power of human reason to such a point that they dare, by its power, to investigate and explain the mysteries themselves, than which nothing is more foolish, nothing more insane. Strive to call them back from such a perversity of mind, explaining indeed that nothing was granted to men by God’s Providence more excellent than the authority of the divine faith, that this faith is to us like a torch in the darkness, that it is the leader that we follow to Life, that it is absolutely necessary for salvation, since “without faith it is impossible to please God,” and “he that believeth not shall be condemned.” (Mk. 16,16) 15

Moreover, concerning explicit faith in the Incarnation and the Most Holy Trinity, Pope Innocent XI, in his condemnation of certain errors on moral questions, “Errores varii de rebus moralibus ,” includes the following heretical proposition:

(It is error to believe that) 64. A man is capable (capax ) of absolution, however much he may labor in ignorance of the mysteries of the faith, and even though through negligence, be it even culpable, he does not know the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 16

Concerning explicit faith in the Catholic Church and in her supremacy, the Council of Constance condemned the 41st proposition of John Wycliff in which this heretic said that it was not necessary for salvation to believe in the supremacy of the Roman Church. 17

In connection with the question of the necessity of the Catholic Faith for salvation, let me point out the fact that Fr. Donnelly and the other liberals quote texts without seeing that they can be easily turned against them. Thus, the Encyclical Quanto conficiamur by Pius IX is universally quoted by the liberals to support their doctrine that a man totally ignorant of the Catholic Faith can be saved. But what does Pius IX say?

It is known to Us and to you that those who labor under invincible ignorance of our holy religion, and who, zealously observing the natural law and its precepts engraven by God in the hearts of all, and who, prepared to obey God, lead an honest and upright life, are able, by the powerful workings of God’s light and grace, to attain eternal life. 18

This means that God, in His mercy, will find a way of enabling the man who is invincibly ignorant of the Church and who follows the natural law to achieve his salvation. But Pius IX nowhere says that this can be done without the Catholic Faith. On the contrary, he explicitly says, a few lines later, that it is a

Catholic dogma that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church. 19

Thus, God will find the way to enable that man to save his soul, and this way will be the Catholic Faith and the Catholic Church.

What is more, in the very sentence which the liberals quote to support their false doctrine, Pius IX says that God will enable that man to attain eternal life, not by keeping him in his ignorance of the Faith, but by the workings of His light and grace. God must give sanctifying grace to a person before that person can be saved, and He never gives sanctifying grace apart from or even before the Catholic Faith. It is by enlightening the intellect that God gives us His Faith. Thus, to say that God gives His light to a person is the same as to say that He gives His Faith to that person. Thus, we speak of the “light of Faith.”

As a matter of fact, St. Thomas teaches not only that faith and light go together, but that light is the effect of the Catholic faith. In his Commentary on St. John, Chapter 12, St. Thomas says:

Illumination, therefore, is the effect of faith: “That whosoever believeth in Me may not remain in darkness.” “May not remain in darkness,” namely, the darkness of ignorance, of infidelity and of perpetual damnation . . . And, nevertheless, unless they are converted to Christ, they shall be led to the darkness of perpetual damnation. “He that believeth not the Son, the wrath of God abideth on him.” 20

Let us repeat here what St. Alphonsus Liguori said: Our first vocation is to the Catholic faith (whose effect is the illumination — light of the soul), which is followed by our vocation to grace. 21

2. Are There Two Kinds of Membership in the Church?

“Secondly,” says Father Donnelly, “baptism of desire confers membership in the Church ‘in voto.’”

In Part III of this article, I shall consider the question of Baptism and what Father Donnelly calls “Baptism of Desire.” For the moment, let us examine whether there is any such thing as “membership in the Church ‘in voto.’”

A man cannot be more or less a member of the Church. He either is a Catholic, or he is not a Catholic, for the Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. This means that it is a body in the real sense of the word, and not in a metaphorical sense. Like any other real body, therefore, no member of it can be more or less a part of it. The same soul animates it all, and if a member is separated from the body, it is cut off from it, and is no longer animated by the soul, hence it has no life in it.

Let us ask, therefore, who can be called a member of the Church in any sense? No one can be called a member of the Church in any sense who does not confess the truths of the Faith, does not partake of the Sacraments, and does not submit to the infallible authority of the Supreme Pontiff.

Saint Robert Bellarmine, S. J., says that

the one and true Church is the congregation of men bound together by the profession of the same Christian faith, and by the communion of the same Sacraments, under the rule of the legitimate pastors, and especially of the one Vicar of Christ on Earth, the Roman Pontiff. 22

Saint Peter Canisius, S. J., Doctor of the Universal Church, asks in his Catechism: “ Who is to be called a Christian?” He answers:

He who confesses the salutary doctrine of Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, in His Church. Hence, he who is truly a Christian condemns and detests thoroughly all cults and sects which are found outside the doctrine and Church of Christ, everywhere, and among all peoples, as for example, the Jewish, the Mohammedan, and the heretical cults and sects; and he firmly assents to the same doctrine of Christ. 23

Pope Pius XI says in his encyclical Mortalium Animos,

No one is found in the one Church of Christ, and no one perseveres in it, unless he acknowledges and accepts obediently the supreme authority of St. Peter and his legitimate successors. 24

One wonders what are the sources for Father Donnelly, S. J.’s strange doctrine? His sources are other liberal theologians, one of whom, Father Caperan, he quotes, and another, Father Bainvel, S. J., whose work he does not name explicitly. Let us give a few examples:

In the third chapter of his book, Is there Salvation Outside the Catholic Church?, Father Bainvel examines some solutions given by other liberals to what they call a “contradiction” in Catholic dogmas. These solutions, “good faith, the soul of the Church, the invisible Church, the necessity of precept,” he finds inadequate and against the teachings of the Church. 25 But, in the next chapter, he proposes his own solution!

The solution of the problem lies in the fact that we can be members of the Church in two ways, externally (visibly) and internally (invisibly). 26

Father Bainvel claims that he learned this point from St. Thomas:

This solution is by no means new, for it was advocated by the old theologians, especially by St. Thomas. 27

And he refers the reader to the Summa, part III, q. 68, a. 2, and q. 73, a. 3. The reader, may we say, will find no such thing in either Question 68 or Question 73, Part III of the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas. Nor anywhere else in St. Thomas will the reader find mention of a person being a member of the Church invisibly.

Later in the same book, Father Bainvel says: “This distinction between union with the Church in act and union in desire dates far back into Christian antiquity,” and he gives a quotation from St. Ambrose. 28 Again, the amazed reader finds no mention of this odd doctrine in St. Ambrose, who is speaking, in this instance — as was St. Thomas in the two articles mentioned above — of the reception of Sanctifying Grace in relation to the sacraments and not of invisible membership in the Church or membership of desire.

But this is not the worst! Not only does Bainvel say that affiliation with the Church can be in desire and invisible, but he goes as far as to say that it can even be unconscious, when there is no desire at all of joining the Church! He says,

Souls affiliated with the Church unconsciously are united to her by invisible ties, for they are affiliated with her internally, by an implicit desire, which God is pleased to regard as equivalent to external membership. 29

This is the end of all Christianity and all sanity.

Now, Caperan, one of Father Donnelly’s main authorities, says the same thing in the following two quotations:

When, by reason of invincible ignorance, incorporation into Catholic society is not realized in fact, even an implicit desire to be so incorporated takes the place of actual incorporation. 30

And again, Caperan says,

Concerning the necessity of Baptism and the necessity of membership in the Church, an implicit desire which is included in the general will to do God’s will is sufficient. 31

It is clear that liberal theologians are teaching that there are two churches, the one visible (having a visible head, the Pope, and visible sacraments), and the other invisible and spiritual. Membership in the invisible church is obtained merely by “righteousness and sincerity.” Some of the liberal theologians, like Karl Adam, for instance, achieve the separation by saying that some men can belong to the “body of the Church,” while others belong only to the “soul of the Church.” Other liberal theologians, like Bainvel and Caperan, while claiming to be dissatisfied with the solution of men of Adam’s school, bring about the same division by saying that some men can belong to the true Church visibly, and others invisibly, and even unconsciously.

This destroys one of the most central doctrines of the Church, for the Church has always taught that she is a visible society and the only kind of membership in her must necessarily be a visible and external one. St. Robert Bellarmine teaches that no one can be a member of the Church who is not visibly affiliated with the one visible society founded by Christ, subject to the authority of His vicar, the Roman Pontiff. To quote St. Robert Bellarmine:

The Church is a society, not of Angels, nor of souls, but of men. But it cannot be called a society of men, unless it consist in external and visible signs; for it is not a society unless they who are called members acknowledge themselves to be so, but men cannot acknowledge themselves to be members unless the bonds of the society be external and visible. And this is confirmed by those customs of all human societies; for in an army, in a city, in a kingdom, and other similar societies men would not be enrolled otherwise than by visible signs. Whence Augustine, in Book 19 Against Faustus, Chapter 11, says: “Men cannot assemble in the name of any religion, whether it be true or false, unless they be bound together by some fellowship of visible signs or sacraments.” 32

This shows clearly St. Robert Bellarmine’s teaching on the subject. Let no one, therefore, misunderstand St. Robert’s statement in another chapter of the same work when he says that catechumens are not in the Church in fact, but in voto. 33 This in no way states that there are two ways of being members of the Church, in fact and in voto. It simply means that catechumens have the explicit intention of coming into the Church and of becoming members of the Church, which membership they do not at all have at the moment. Saint Robert Bellarmine proves conclusively in various places that catechumens are not members of the Church in any sense. 34 For example, after giving his definition of the Church, St. Robert says that catechumens are excluded from this definition because they do not have communion of the sacraments. 35

3. Can a Person Who Remains Separated from the Church Be Saved?

Father Donnelly says,

He (Pius IX) likewise teaches in the same place that only those who are ‘contumaciter ‘ and ‘pertinaciter ‘ divided from the Church cannot be saved as long as this condition exists.

In saying this, Father Donnelly gives us the impression that those who know the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith can remain outside the Church either innocently and with a good excuse, or obstinately and without excuse, and that only the latter cannot attain eternal salvation. This is against Catholic doctrine. No one can refuse to enter the Church and be saved. When Pope Pius IX mentions those who obstinately remain separated from the Church, he does not contrast them with those who innocently remain separated, but with those who never heard about the Catholic Faith. What he says is that those who are ignorant of the Church because they never heard of it, if they have faithfully kept the natural law implanted in their hearts by God, can, with His help, come to the knowledge of the Catholic Church, in which alone they can be saved. But, on the other hand, those who know about the Catholic Church and refuse to enter her will perish. 36 It is to emphasize the heinousness of their refusal that Pope Pius IX calls it contumacious and obstinate, not to distinguish between it and some other hypothetical kind of refusal which would not be obstinate.

Moreover, it is open heresy to say that only those who are contumaciously and obstinately divided from the Church cannot be saved. How about babies who die unbaptized, for example? Are they contumaciously and obstinately separated from the Church? Or will Father Donnelly affirm that unbaptized babies are not condemned? However, there is no end to the surprises which one can find in the heretical writings of the liberals.

Further on in his paper, Father Donnelly writes, concerning the same problem of the salvation of those who are separated from the Church,

It is quite one thing to maintain that Protestants or pagans are just as favorably situated with regard to salvation as Catholics, and quite another thing to maintain that they are in bad faith and are to be spurned because they do not submit to a distorted interpretation of Catholic doctrine.

In other words, Father Donnelly is saying (and this is a favorite liberal theme) that although it is not as easy for Protestants and pagans to get into Heaven as it is for Catholics, we cannot say that it is impossible for them to get into Heaven. We have shown in many places in this article that the contention that a Protestant or pagan can attain eternal salvation while remaining outside the Catholic Church is false. We profess with the whole Catholic tradition that the Catholic Church is the way to salvation. Does Father Donnelly mean to say that there are many ways to salvation, and of these the Catholic Church is the easy way?

Liberalism is a blasphemy against the Incarnation of the Son of God. If there are other ways than the Catholic Church, whether they be easier or harder, the result is that Christ’s Incarnation and death were in vain. Our liberal teachers of doctrine have stopped teaching Christ Crucified, and they are teaching the natural law, morality, good faith, sincerity, and the like. Saint Paul warned us against such blasphemy: “If justice be by the law, then Christ died in vain.” (Gal. 2,21.) And again, “And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the scandal of the cross made void.” (Gal. 5,11.)

4. Are Protestants Formal Heretics?

Very closely connected with this question of obstinately refusing to join the Catholic Church is the following statement of Father Donnelly:

As for that spirit of hostility manifested in the scarcely veiled assumption that Protestants are to be convicted of bad faith, and henceforth to be treated as formal heretics, etc. . . .

Does Father Donnelly mean to say that a Protestant who refuses to believe in the truths of the Catholic Faith and to acknowledge the infallibility and supremacy of the Church is only in material heresy? Let us examine the teaching of the Church and of the Doctors on this point.

Saint Augustine says,

If any there are who defend their opinion, though it be false and perverse, without obstinate fervor, and who seek the truth with all solicitude, ready to correct their opinion when they have found the truth, they are not at all to be accused of heresy. 37

And St. Thomas adds,

namely because they do not have a choice contradicting the doctrine of the Church. 38

Only a faithful Catholic who obeys the Church and is ready to correct his opinions according to her admonitions can be in error in this sense, without being a heretic. This we call material heresy. A man who is in material heresy does not intend to contradict the authority and teachings of the Church. On the other hand, a man who does not intend in the least to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church and to be corrected by her cannot be called a material heretic. It is clear, therefore, that Protestants are not material heretics. Are they, then, formal heretics? What is a formal heretic?

Saint Augnstine says,

A heretic is one who either devises or follows false and new opinions. 39

It is not necessary to tell Father Donnelly that the teachings and opinions of Protestants fall under this last designation, and that Protestants, therefore, hold heresy formally. Of course, if Father Donnelly is referring to those millions of former Protestants who are neither baptized nor call themselves Christians, then we would agree that they are not formal heretics, but pagans. 40 In either case, however, heretic or pagan, they cannot be saved unless they come to the Holy, Roman, Catholic Church.

5. Pope Pius IX’s Real Teaching with Regard to the Salvation of Non-Catholics

Father Donnelly’s great concern in his paper is that Catholics shall not judge Protestants religiously, or suggest to Protestants that they should become Catholics in order to be saved. If this is the way Father Donnelly feels about the matter (which certainly is not the way any Christian apostle or teacher ever felt), why does he not make this a separate issue? Even if we were to be “nice” to Protestants in Father Donnelly’s sense, namely, even if we were to be completely disinterested in their eternal salvation, does that mean that we should change the doctrines of the Church concerning salvation and the necessary means of salvation?

For example, Father Donnelly says:

Pius IX likewise forbids unconditionally any manifestation by Catholics of a spirit of enmity toward those outside the Catholic Church. “But let the children of the Catholic Church in no way whatsoever be hostile to those who are not one with us in faith and love . . . ” (Denz. 1678).

Does this mean, as Father Donnelly wants to give us the impression, that Pope Pius IX is asking Catholics not to show those who are outside the Church any indignation on matters of doctrine, and not to tell them that they must become Catholics if they wish to be saved? Father Donnelly claims that this is the meaning of Pius IX in the above quotation. Let us point out that had Father Donnelly completed the sentence of the Pope, the message revealed would have been a completely contrary one.

Here is the full quotation:

But let the children of the Catholic Church in no way be hostile to those who are not joined with us in the bonds of the same faith and of charity, yea rather, let them always strive to attend upon them and to help them in all the duties of Christian charity, whether they be poor or sick or afflicted with any other calamities, and above all let them strive to snatch them away from the darkness in which they lie miserably, and lead them back to the Catholic truth and to the most loving Mother the Church, who never ceases to extend Her maternal arms lovingly to them and to call them back to her bosom, so that, being grounded and made firm in faith, hope and charity, and being “fruitful in every good work” (Col. 1, 10), they may attain eternal salvation. 41

Can a more deliberate misrepresentation of a Pope’s utterance be found than Father Donnelly’s?

Again: we could also ask Father Donnelly not to take the trouble of underlining sentences in his quotations, because they always turn to his disadvantage. For example, in one of the passages which Father Donnelly quotes from Pius IX, the emphasized phrase proves our point, and not Father Donnelly’s! This is the passage:

But let us, so long as here on Earth we are weighed down by this mortal body which dulls the soul, hold firmly to our Catholic doctrine: ‘one God, one faith, one baptism;’ to try and probe deeper is criminal . . . 42

What does this mean? To try and probe deeper than what is criminal? Deeper than the Catholic doctrine: “one God, one faith, one baptism!” Who is probing deeper than this doctrine? Is it the man who confesses one God, one faith, (the Catholic Faith), and one baptism (the gate to the Catholic Church), as the necessary means for salvation? Is it not, rather, the liberal, who goes around dispensing the name of faith to any arbitrary and false opinion and the name of baptism to any feeling or sentiment, however anti-Christian?

6. Concerning the Question of Ignorance

We come, in this section, to the journalistic authorities used by Father Donnelly. Do we need to remind Father Donnelly that a dogmatic issue cannot be decided by quoting a few sentences from a Pope when he had no intention of defining? This is not real loyalty to the Holy Father, nor is it fair to use him in this manner.

Father Donnelly writes:

More explicitly, Pius XI said: “The limits of vincible or of invincible error are among the most difficult to define, even for the most penetrating intellect. Only God, who is truth , who is all truth , who calls every creature to the truth , who gives the means according to His measure to arrive at the truth , only God can with certainty define the limit between vincible and invincible ignorance.” (Allocution published in the L’ Osservatore Romano, 31 January 1938.)

First, why are we not told by Father Donnelly that this allocution was addressed to scientists, and was dealing primarily with their problems and not with theological questions? However, there are passages in the same allocution where the Pope does speak of theological matters (which Father Donnelly does not quote), concerning the inexcusability of those who should know God but who do not know Him, and concerning the necessity of the Catholic Faith for salvation. Here they are.

Pope Pius XI, (speaking of scientists):

May not that terrible vision recur to any of them, that terrible vision which, though for a moment, the Apostle of the Gentiles had: namely, that every high intelligence of this kind ought to become deeply interested in the pursuit of the whole truth, so that it might not happen that an intelligence created by God, illuminated by God, would stop at the creature and would not rise to the Creator? To such an intelligence ought to be applied that great, grave and logical condemnation mentioned by the Apostle himself in these terrible words: “ita ut sine inexcusabiles” (so that they are inexcusable); as if to say that they could not have an excuse not to have known the Maker, the Creator, after having known His worlk, His creature. 43

Likewise, in the same allocution, Pius XI says:

These words which the Divine Master says and repeats are applicable to the Faith: “You are the light of the world . . . Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candle-stick, that it may shine to all that are in the house.” These words are directed to give, above all, the mission, the preaching, the teaching of the Faith: the teaching of those truths which are indispensable for all, even for those to whom to speak of the necessity of science becomes a cruel mockery because they neither have nor will have a predisposition for it, and yet they are in need of the truth, of that essential truth which Hertz and Marconi acknowledged, together with all those who throughout the world saw the work of the Creator, the truth which resolved the mystery of the world: the truth of the Faith. 44

It does not seem from these two excerpts that Pius XI is not judging those who do not come to the knowledge of the Truth, or that he says that the Faith is not indispensable for all men.

But this is not all. The same Pope, in his encyclical Mortalium Animos , rebukes those Catholics who try to promote love and unity between the faithful and those outside the Church without trying to convert the latter to the true Faith without which they cannot be saved.

Pius XI says:

When the question of promoting unity among Christians is under con-sideration, many are easily deceived by the semblance of good. Is it not right, it is said repeatedly, indeed, is it not the duty of all who call upon Christ’s name to cease mutual recriminations together in ties of mutual charity? For who would dare to say that he loves Christ when he will not strive to his utmost to attain that which Christ prayed for to His Father when He asked that His disciples might be “one”? And did not Christ Himself wish His disciples to bear the sign and be distinguished by the characteristic that they love one another: By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another? Would, they add, that all Christians were “one,” for then they might drive out the evil of irreligion which every day spreads more widely and threatens to overturn the Gospel. 45

Pope Pius XI answers these misrepresentations:

All remember how John, the very Apostle of Charity, who in his Gospel seems to have opened the secrets of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and who always inculcated in the minds of his disciples the new commandment, Love ye one another, and wholly forbidden them to have relations with those who did not profess entire and uncorrupted the teachings of Christ. If any man cometh to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house nor say to him, God speed you. Since charity is founded in whole and sincere faith, the disciples of Christ must be united by the bond of unity in faith and by it as the chief bond. 46

So much for this point. Again, Father Donnelly makes use of an allocution delivered in 1927 by Pope Pius XI to substantiate his own theory about the “judgment of others.” It is with reference to Our Lord’s words from the Cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Father Donnelly implies that Pope Pius XI in this allocution is teaching that Our Lord’s words from the Cross proclaim the innocence of His crucifiers because of their ignorance!

This distortion of the words of Our Blessed Lord, at the most solemn and sad moment of His life, as He is dying for the sins of men, is but one of the instances the liberal theologians use from Sacred Scripture to illustrate their perverse teaching. I will list some other passages they use in this way:

I Cor. 2,8: For if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory.

John, 16,2: They will put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth a service to God.

I Tim. 1,13: Who before was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and contumelious. But I obtained the mercy of God, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

These texts do not mean what the liberals interpret them to mean. As a rule, the liberal interpretation of these texts is identical with Abelard’s, which interpretation was condemned. We shall give Abelard’s statement, and St. Bernard’s answer to this theory of innocence through ignorance.

The following is Abelard’s heretical teaching:

. . . about the Jews who crucified Christ and the others who, persecuting the martyrs, thought they were doing a service to God, . . . we answer that those simple Jews indeed were not acting against their conscience, but rather were persecuting Christ out of zeal for their law; nor did they think they were doing evil, and therefore they did not sin; nor were some of them condemned on account of this, but for preceding sins, in punishment for which they fell into this blindness. And among them were those elect for whom Christ prayed saying: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23,24) Nor did He pray that this sin be remitted to them, for this was not a sin, but rather preceding sins. 47

St. Bernard, in Chapter 4 of his Epistle to Hugh of St. Victor, says:

Perhaps he who asserts that one cannot sin through ignorance never prays for his ignorances, but rather laughs at the prophet who prays and says, “The sins of my youth and my ignorances, do not remember.” (Ps. 24,7) Perhaps he even reproves God Who requires satisfaction for the sin of ignorance, and do one of those things which by the law of the Lord are forbidden, and being guilty of sin, understand his iniquity, he shall offer of the flocks a ram without blemish to the priest, according to the measure and estimation of the sin, and the priest shall pray for him, because he did it ignorantly: and it shall be forgiven him, because by mistake he trespassed against the Lord. (Lev. 5,17-19.)

If ignorance is never a sin, why is it said, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, that the high priest entered alone once a year into the second tabernacle, not without blood, which he offers for his own and the people’s ignorance? (Heb. 9,7.) If the sin of ignorance is no sin, therefore Saul did not sin, who persecuted the Church of God, because he did this, indeed, ignorantly, remaining in incredulity. Therefore, he did well in that he was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and contumelious, — in that he was breathing threats and slaughter against the disciples of Jesus, — thereby being more abundantly a zealous imitator of the traditions of his fathers! (Gal. 1,13-14) If ignorance is never a sin, then he should not have said, “I obtained the mercy of God,” (I Tim. 1, 13) but, rather, ‘I received my reward,” for certainly, if ignorance renders a man free from sin, then in addition emulation makes him worthy of reward.

If, I say, one never sins through ignorance, what then do we hold against those who killed the Apostles, since indeed they did not know that to kill them was evil, but, rather, by doing this, they thought they were doing a service to God? (Jn. 16,2.) Then also in vain did our Saviour on the Cross pray for those who crucified Him, since indeed, as He Himself testifies, they were ignorant of what they were doing, (Lk. 23, 24) and therefore they did not sin at all! For neither is it allowed in any way to suspect that the Lord Jesus was lying, Who openly bore witness that they did not know what they were doing, nor should one suspect that the Apostle, emulating his flesh, could have lied as a man when he said, “For if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory.” (I Cor. 2,8.) Is it not sufficiently clear from these passages in what a great darkness of ignorance lies the man who does not know that one can sometimes sin through ignorance? 48

Is ignorance never a sin? Why is it that people are ignorant of the Truth? Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church, asks the same question:

But why is it, then, that all men have not known it and that, even at this day, so many are ignorant of it? This is the reason: “The light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light.” (Jn. 3,19) They have not known Him, and they do not know Him, because they do not want to know Him, loving rather the darkness of sin than the light of grace. 49

Saint John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church, also tells us:

Thus see how, speaking of the Jews, Our Lord deprives them of all excuse: “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin,” and Paul again, “But I say: Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound hath gone forth into all the Earth.” For there is excuse when there is no one to tell a man, but when the watchman sits there, having this as the business of his life, there is not excuse any longer . . . Whether you go among the Indians, you shall hear this; whether into Spain, or to the very ends of the Earth, there is no one without the hearing, except it be of his own neglect. 50

Concerning the “inculpability” of the ignorant Jews who crucified Our Lord, the following proposition of Abelard’s was condemned by the Council of Sens in 1141.

(It is error to say, with Abelard) 10. That those who crucified Christ, being ignorant, did not sin, and that whatever is done through ignorance is not to be ascribed to sin. 51

Moreover, concerning the “innocence” of St. Paul as he was persecuting the Church, the following proposition of John Hus was condemned by the Ecumenical Council of Constance:

(It is error to say with Hus) 2. Paul was never a member of the Devil, although he did some acts similar to the acts of those who malign the Church. 52

I know from personal experience that these doctrines of Abelard and Hus are being taught in one of the Catholic colleges of this part of the country.

Now, to return to the allocution of Pius XI in 1927, which Father Donnelly used in his paper, — this is the way he quotes it to make his point:

Sad are these conditions, it is true, but nevertheless they provide some consolation, because the greater the ignorance — and who can ever presume to judge a person’s good faith except God? — the less the responsibility. So true is this that Jesus Himself sought, as it were, His last consolation in the fact of ignorance, when He cried out from the Cross to the Father: “Pardon them, because they know not what they do.” (Allocution of Pius XI, January 11, 1927; L’ Osservatore Romano of this date.)

If this translation of Pope Pius XI’s allocution is to be trusted, we can be sure that the Pope did not mean by it what Father Donnelly claims that he did. Although we know that in this allocution the Holy Father was not speaking ex cathedra, yet it would be presumptuous to assume that he was teaching heresy, for in the light of the evidence already given it would be heretical to hold that the Jews who crucified Our Lord were not guilty of sin because of ignorance. We wish that liberals would be more careful in the way in which they quote our Popes, or else they will be attributing heretical utterances to the successors of St. Peter, who are the guardians of the Faith.

1 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part II-II, qu. 2, a.3.

2 St. Thomas Aquinas, Op. cit., id. a. 5.

3 Ibid. in Corp.

4 St. Thomas Aquinas, Op. cit., Part II.II, qu. 2, a. 3.

5 Id., a. 8.

6 Id., a. 6.

7 St. Thomas Aquinas, Op. Cit., Part II-II, qu. 5, a. 3.

8 Ibid., Ibid., in Corp.

9 St. Alphonsus Liguori, Instruction on the Commandments and Sacraments, Part I, Ch. I, Sect. I “On Faith.” n. 6.

10 St. Thomas Aquinas, Collationes de Pater Noster, et Credo in Deum, Exposition of the Apostles’ Creed, First Article.

11 Council of Trent, Sess. VI, Ch. 8, Denz. 801.

12 St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctrina Christiana. “Introduction.”

13 St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Incarnation, Birth and Infancy of Jesus Christ. “Meditation for the Feast of the Epiphany.” (English translation of the Ascetical Works of St. Alphonsus , vol. 4, p. 286).

14 Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Mortalium Animos.

15 Pius IX, Singulari Quadam, Denz. 1645.

16 Pope Innocent XI, Errores varii de rebus moralibus (4 March, 1679), n. 64. Denz. 1214.

17 Council of Constance, Sess. VII, Errors of John Wycliff, n. 41, Denz. 621.

18 Pius IX, Quanto Conficiamur, Denz. 1677.

19 Ibid.

20 St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, Ch. XII, Lect. VIII, n. 6.

21 St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Incarnation, etc., Cf. note 13.

22 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Church Militant, (Latin Ed. Venice, 1721) Bk. III, Ch. II, (Tom. 2, p. 53D).

23 St. Peter Canisius, Catechism, “First Question.”

24 Pius XI, Enc. Mortalium animos.

25 Bainvel, Op. cit., Ch. III, pp. 25ss.

26 Id. Ch. IV, p. 37.

27 Ibid.

28 Bainvel, Op. cit., Ch. VI, p. 54.

29 Ibid.

30 Rev. Louis Caperan, Le Probléme du salut des Infideles (new ed., Toulouse, 1934). Vol. II, p.102.

31 Louis Caperan, Union Missionaire du Clerge (October, 1945 and January, 1946) article entitled, “La mission de l’ Église et les missions dans le plan providential du salut.”

32 Saint Robert Bellarmine, On the Church Militant, Bk. III, Ch. XII (Tom. 2, p.71 D-E).

33 Id. Bk. III, Ch. II, (p. 54B).

34 Id. Bk. III, Ch. III, (p. 54 D, D, A, B) — Also: Bellarmine, On Penance, Bk. II, Ch. XIV (Tom. 3, p. 525B).

35 Bellarmine, On the Church Militant, Bk. III, Ch. II, (Tom. 2, p.53E)

36 Pius IX, Quanto Conficiamur, Denz. 1677.

37 St. Augustine, Epist. XLIII Ad Glorium, Eleusium, Felicem Grammaticos et caeteros, Ch. I (J. P. Migné, Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Latina, Vol. 33, p. 160.)

38 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part II-II, qu. 11, a. 2, ad 3.

39 Id., a. 1, S. C.

40 St. Thomas Aquinas, Op. cit. Part II-II, qu. 10, a. 5, In Corp.

41 Pius IX, Quanto Conficiamur, Denz. 1678.

42 Pius IX, Singulari Quadam, Denz. 1647.

43 L’ Osservatore Romano, 31 January, 1938.

44 Ibid.

45 Pius XI, Mortalium Animos.

46 Ibid.

47 St. Bernard, Epist. CXC., Capitula Haeresum Petri Abaelardi, Cap. XI, (Migné, Vol 182).

48 St. Bernard, Epist. LXXVII, to Hugh of St. Victor , De Baptismo, etc., Cap. IV (Migné, P. L. Vol. 182).

49 St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Incarnation, etc., (Cf. note 13). “Meditation VIII for the Novena of Christmas” (Ascetical Works, Vol 4, p. 33).

50 St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, Homil. V, n. 4, Chrysostom, Vol. 9, part 1, p. 55A-B).

51 Council of Sens, 1140 or 1141, Errors of Peter Abelard, n. 10, Denz. 377.

52 Council of Constance, Sess. XV, 1415, Errors of John Hus, n. 2, Denz. 628.

http://catholicism.org/rptal-part2.html

Reply to a Liberal Part III: Baptism

Contents :

1. Baptism is Absolutely Necessary for Salvation.

2. Is Baptism by Itself Sufficient for Salvation?

3. Baptism of Blood and Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

(a) Introduction.
(b) Meaning of Baptism of Blood and Baptism of the Spirit.
(c) Baptism of Blood.
(d) Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Question 1: Can Sanctifying Grace Precede The Reception Of A Sacrament?

Question 2: Is Sanctifying Grace When Received Before Baptism Sufficient For Salvation?

Question 3: Is There Any Case When Baptism Of The Holy Spirit Without Actual Reception Of Baptism Of Water Can Be Sufficient For Salvation?

1. Baptism is Absolutely Necessary for Salvation

Finally we come to the question of baptism and of its necessity for salvation. In his paper, Father Donnelly does not commit himself openly to any statement about the necessity or lack of necessity of baptism for salvation, as he never commits himself openly about anything. But it is easy to see what he holds on the question from the texts he quotes and the way in which he arranges these texts, as also from the irrelevant comments he makes on the impossibility of judging the subjective state of Protestants. It is rather remarkable to watch a professor of dogmatic theology waste his logic and his scholarship in defending the sincerity of heretics, as if the admission of sincerity or lack of sincerity in a person had anything to do with the possibility of being saved without the Catholic Faith, outside the Catholic Church.

The same thing happens concerning baptism. After quoting the Council of Trent which says that baptism, or at least “the desire of it,” is necessary for justification, Father Donnelly goes on to discuss the inculpability, good faith and sincerity of those outside the Church. It is very clear that, hiding behind the authority of an Ecumenical Council, Father Donnelly claims to be defending orthodox doctrine, but in fact he destroys the whole import of the Council he quotes.

Father Donnelly says that “sanctifying grace and, consequently, a title to the Beatific Vision, are conferred by baptism of desire.” But what does he mean by “baptism of desire?” By misquoting Pius XI, as I have shown, Father Donnelly openly teaches that a person who is totally ignorant of the truths of the Faith and of the Catholic Church can be justified and attain eternal salvation while remaining in his ignorance until death. But Father Donnelly also says that, on the authority of the Council of Trent, at least a desire for baptism is necessary for justification. Therefore, it is clear that Father Donnelly believes that a person can have a desire for baptism while being totally ignorant of the Church, of the Catholic Faith, and of baptism of water.

Further, Father Donnelly believes that a man can be justified and be saved who “does not believe explicitly in the Catholic Church, and does not accept all the revealed truths proposed by her for belief.” But again he says, on the authority of the Council of Trent, that at least a desire for baptism is necessary for justification. It is clear, therefore, that Father Donnelly believes that a person can have baptism of desire, or more correctly a desire for baptism, which would confer sanctifying grace on him, while rejecting the Church and the truths proposed by her for belief.

Again, Father Donnelly claims that Pope Pius XI teaches “that only those who are ‘contumaciter’ and ‘pertinaciter’ divided from the Church cannot be saved as long as this condition exists.” Let us repeat, because Father Donnelly inserts this word “only” into the Pope’s statement, we must infer that Father Donnelly holds the following: Among those who hear of the Catholic Church and her baptism, only those who contumaciously and obstinately refuse the Catholic Church and her baptism will not be saved. The remainder — who refuse, but not contumaciously and obstinately, — will be justified and saved. But once more, since at least baptism of desire is necessary for justification, it is clear that, according to Father Donnelly, a person can have baptism of desire while rejecting baptism of water!

Let us keep in mind these three doctrines of Father Donnelly’s:

1. that a person can be said to have a desire for baptism while being totally ignorant of the Catholic Faith and ignorant of the baptism of water;
2. that a person can be said to have a desire for baptism while knowing the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith and refusing both;
3. that a person can be said to have a desire for baptism while knowing the baptism of water and refusing to receive it.

Before showing that these doctrines are heretical, let us see what the Church, in her definitions, in her tradition and her teachings, says about the necessity of baptism, for salvation.

Our Lord said to Nicodemus:

Amen I say to you, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3,5.)

St. John Chrysostom says, commenting on this text:

Bewail the infidels, bewail those who in nothing differ from the infidels, who died without illumination, without baptism; those are truly worthy of lamentations, those truly worthy of tears; they are outside of the kingdom, along with those who are subject to punishment, along with the damned. ‘Amen I say to you, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ 1

In a homily on the Acts of the Apostles the same Chrysostom says:

What do you suppose is my anguish when I hear that any person has been taken away unbaptized, while I reflect upon the intolerable punishments of that life, the inexorable doom! 2

Speaking on the dignity of the priesthood, St. John Chrysostom again says:

For it is manifest folly to despise so great a ministry, without which we could obtain neither salvation nor the good things that have been promised. For as no man can enter into the kingdom of Heaven, unless he be born of water and the Holy Ghost; and except he eat the flesh of the Lord, and drink His Blood, he shall be excluded from everlasting life; and as all these things are ministered only by the consecrated hands of priests, how could anyone without them either escape the fire of Hell or obtain the crown that is prepared? 3

Saint Ambrose says:

The Church is redeemed by the precious Blood of Christ. Therefore, whoever should believe, whether Jew or Greek, must know how to circumcise himself from sins, that he might be able to be saved; . . . for no one ascends into the kingdom of heaven except by the sacrament of baptism. 4

Pope St. Leo the Great says:

The souls of men, before they are breathed into their bodies, were not; nor would they be breathed into a body by anyone except by God the Maker, Who created both them and the bodies; and since by the transgression of the first man the whole progeny of the human race is vitiated, no one can be freed from the condition of the old man except by the sacrament of the baptism of Christ. 5

Tertullian says in his treatise On Baptism:

From that great pronouncement of Our Lord, Who said: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he does not have life,” it is prescribed that salvation comes to no one without baptism. 6

Saint Thomas Aquinas says, commenting on the Apostles’ Creed:

For just as a man cannot live in the flesh unless he is born in the flesh, even so a man cannot have the spiritual life of grace unless he be born again spiritually. This regeneration is effected by Baptism: ‘unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’ 7

In a profession of faith prescribed to the Orientals, Pope Benedict XIV says:

Likewise, baptism is necessary for salvation for every human creature. 8 The Council of Trent anathematized anyone who would say that baptism is not absolutely necessary for salvation for every human creature: or if anyone should say: Canon 5. ‘If any one shall say that baptism is free, that is, not necessary for salvation, let him be anathema.’ 9

Saint Thomas Aquinas, in his treatise on the Sacraments, says: “It is manifest that all are bound to receive baptism, and that without it there cannot be salvation for men. ” 10

Saint Robert Bellarmine says the same in his treatise on the Sacrament of Baptism. He had to refute the heretics of his time, the Waldensians, the Zwinglians, the Lutherans, the Calvinists, and the followers of Wyclif. The first question he proves is that baptism is absolutely necessary for salvation. 11 In speaking of this, he says:

There was once the heresy of the Pelagians, saying that baptism was not necessary for the remission of original sin, but only for the attainment of the kingdom of Heaven, as Augustine testifies in Chapter 69 of his book on heresies. But our heretics, more audacious than the Pelagians, deny that baptism is necessary, not only for the remission of sin, but also for the attainment of the kingdom of Heaven. 12

Saint Robert Bellarmine then goes on to say that this same heresy is the heresy of Wyclif, Zwingli and Calvin. 13 And may we repeat, heresy being monotonously the same, the error St. Robert was fighting against is today once more being held by people who call themselves Catholics, and these same Catholics are, in our time, actually sharing the heresy of the Protestant heresiarchs. It must be a case of the greatest distress for this glorious Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine, to see that some professors of theology in his own Society are teaching the very heresies which he combated all his life.

But to return to our subject, modern liberals would say that Baptism is not absolutely necessary for salvation because it would not be just to punish all those who are not baptized, as it would not be just to punish all those who do not accept and join His Church. Therefore, they conclude, on the authority of their own reasonings,

God must have innumerable other ways of saving those who are not baptized or who are baptized and join some heretical or schismatical sect. For no one can deny that there are innumerable non-Catholics who are sincere and ready to obey God in everything. God cannot punish eternally a person who is not baptized or is not a Catholic, if this is not his fault.

According to this false and presumptuous reasoning, they arbitrarily postulate the existence of other means for saving all those non-Catholics, means other than the Church and her sacraments. According to them, such things as invincible ignorance, sincerity, readiness to do God’s will, and so on, can confer sanctifying grace on a person who is ignorant or unwilling to receive the sacraments of the Church and affiliation with her. Bainvel teaches this openly, and also Father Donnelly, who teaches that a person ignorant of the Church, or a heretic who refuses to become a Catholic, can be justified and receive sanctifying grace without the means ordained by God. This is what makes them speak of the Church and Baptism as the “ordinary means instituted by God for salvation.” Thus, Bainvel says:

It is indeed the order desired by God, the rule He lays down, that all shall be saved within the Church. The exceptional cases, be they ever so numerous — and they are less numerous than appears at first sight — are outside the Divine intention because of the fault of the human will, and are supplied by God with an extraordinary economy, a special Providence granted in the measure of necessity. 14

The question, may we say, is not how numerous the exceptions are, but whether we have a right to assume that there are any exceptions at all, in other words, to assume that God has any other plans for salvation besides the Church and Baptism. Is not Father Bainvel guilty of rationalization here — that is, guilty of an attempt to subject revelation to his own reasoning?

St. Augustine and St. Robert Bellarmine answer for us by saying that the eternal damnation of those outside the Church and of the unbaptized might seem to be unjust; but this is only because the ways of the justice of God are hidden to us in this life, but when they will be revealed to us in the Beatific Vision, we shall see how very just is the damnation of the unbaptized. 15

However, says St. Robert, those who imagine that there is another remedy, besides baptism, openly contradict the Gospel, the Councils, the Fathers, and the consensus of the Universal Church. 16

The heretics and liberal Catholics of Bellarmine’s time were especially trying to invent other means of salvation for unbaptized babies.

If baptism is necessary for salvation, they would say, then innumerable infants would perish without being guilty, which seems to be against God’s justice.” St. Robert answers, saying: “Even though children are not baptized without being guilty thereof, yet they do not perish without any guilt on their part, since they have original sin. 17

The same arguments are brought forth nowadays in relation to adults, because the liberals of this day would not dare openly contradict what has already been clearly defined about children, namely that they cannot be saved without actual baptism. But what St. Robert says about children applies to adults as well, for, even though some of them could die unbaptized because they never heard of Christ, and hence without being guilty of this ignorance, yet these will perish eternally because they have original sin and because of their actual sins, as St. Thomas unmistakably teaches in the Summa. 18 On the other hand, those who heard of Christ and do not join His Church and receive baptism, will perish because of their refusal, which is the sin of infidelity, the most serious of all sins, as St. Thomas says. 19

But it is pride that incites the liberals to their foolish reasonings. For, as St. Robert says, they do seem to know that the care and protection of all men belongs to God much more than to them,

and Christ well knew, when He asserted that baptism was necessary (John 3) that many would be deprived of this remedy without any fault of their own, and it would be most easy for God, if He wished, to provide baptism for all children, as He provides it for all His elect . . . or those whom God predestined, to them He provides most efficaciously the means of salvation. 20

The only remedy against original sin is baptism, and all those whom God predestined to salvation, He draws them to this remedy. All the children who die unbaptized and all the adults who die ignorant of baptism, or who, having been drawn to it by God’s Providence, refuse it, are not predestinate, but will perish eternally.

As a matter of fact, the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation was always recognized so strongly, that some of the Fathers of the Church went as far as to affirm that all those who die unbaptized, even babies, are punished in eternal fire.

For example, St. Fulgentius says in his De Fide ad Petrum:

Hold most firmly and do not doubt at all, that not only men who already have the use of reason, but even children who either begin in their mother’s wombs and die there, or who, being already born of their mothers, pass from this world without the sacrament of holy baptism, which is given in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, will be punished with the torment of everlasting fire. 21

St. Augustine says the same in his De Anima et eius Origine. 22

But as St. Bonaventure says in his Breviloquium:

Lastly, because the lack of that justice in those who are now born is not the result of any choice of their own will, or of any actual delectation, it is not fitting that there should be punishment of the senses in Hell after this life for original sin, because divine justice, which is always accompanied by an overflowing mercy, punishes us not beyond what is merited, but rather short of that. We must believe that blessed Augustine knew this, though his words on the surface seem to sound otherwise because of contempt for the Pelagian error, which granted them a different kind of happiness. So that Augustine might lead them back to a middle position, he turned more easily to the other extreme. 23

In those ages of strong faith, baptism was known to be so important that the holy Fathers were not afraid to go even a little farther in their orthodox affirmations in order to destroy the hateful heresies that surrounded them.

2. Is Baptism by Itself Sufficient for Salvation?

When is baptism valid?

1. When water is used.
2. When the proper words are used: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
3. If the person baptizing has the intention of doing what Christ intended, and
4. In the case of an adult being baptized, if the person baptized has the intention of receiving baptism.

For, as Pope Innocent III said,

But he who never consents but entirely contradicts, receives neither the res nor the character of the sacrament. 24

St. Thomas also says,

It must be said that if the intention of receiving the sacrament is lacking in an adult, he should be rebaptized. 25

Now that we have shown that baptism is necessary for salvation, we may ask, — is valid baptism sufficient for salvation? And we answer, for children, yes, but for adults, no. What more is required of an adult besides baptism for salvation? Two more things are required: (1) the Catholic Fatith, since “without Faith it is impossible to please God,” (Heb. 11, 6) and (2) membership in the Catholic Church under the authority of the Roman Pontiff, since “outside the Church there is no salvation” and since, as St. Thomas says in his treatise, Against the Errors of the Greeks, “to be subject to the Roman Pontiff is necessary for salvation. ” 26

1. Concerning the first of these requirements, namely, Faith, St. Thomas, in his treatise on baptism, asks the question whether faith is necessary for baptism so that sanctifying grace be conferred on the soul by the sacrament. The Angelic Doctor answers that, in order to receive sanctifying grace through baptism, “right faith is of necessity required for baptism; since, as it is said in Rom. III, 22, ‘the justice of God is by faith in Jesus Christ. ‘” 27 The Council of Trent speaks of the “Sacrament of Baptism, which is the ‘Sacrament of Faith,’ without which faith there can be no justification for anyone. ” 28

Thus, baptism can be valid even if the subject who receives it does not confess the Catholic Faith, but it cannot be profitable for salvation if the subject is an adult.

2. Likewise, all those who receive baptism without the explicit intention of becoming members of the Catholic Church under the authority of the Roman Pontiff will receive a valid sacrament, but not the effects of the sacrament, namely, sanctifying grace and salvation, except if they are children.

St. Alphonsus Liguori says in his treatise, On the Commandments and the Sacraments: “We must believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true Church. Hence, they who are out of our Church, or separated, cannot be saved, except infants who die after baptism. ” 29 But this is not an exception. Children who are baptized are real members of the Church, even if their parents and the minister who baptizes them are not Catholics. Every child validly baptized is a Catholic, and every adult who is validly baptized and who confesses the Catholic Faith, with the intention of joining the Catholic Church, is a Catholic.

This is the definition St. Robert Bellarmine gives of the Catholic Church:

The Church is one only and not two, and this one and true Church is the congregation of men bound together by the profession of the same Christian Faith, and by the communion of the same sacraments, under the rule of the legitimate pastors, and especially of the one Vicar of Christ on Earth, the Roman Pontiff. 30

All those, therefore, who do not profess the Catholic Faith, or who do not participate in the sacraments of the Church or who do not submit to the authority of the Roman Pontiff, are not members of the Church and, therefore, cannot be saved.

Does this mean that every adult who is baptized outside the Catholic Church, or every baptized child who grows up and follows the heretical sect of his parents, cannot be saved? Yes, unless, before he dies, he repents and joins the Catholic Church. Let us see what the Fathers and Doctors of the Church have to say on this point.

St Fulgentius says:

Whether in the Catholic Church or in any heretical or schismatical church, if anyone receives the sacrament of baptism, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, he receives the integral sacrament; but salvation, which is the power of the sacrament, he will not have, if he has received the same sacrament outside the Catholic Church. Thus, therefore, he must return to the Church, not that he might receive the sacrament of baptism anew, which no one ought to repeat in any baptized man, but that, being now in Catholic society, he might receive eternal life, which can never, in any way, be obtained by one who, with the sacrament of baptism, would remain a stranger to the Catholic Church. 31

Again, St. Fulgentius says:

Hold most firmly, and do not doubt at all, that the sacrament of baptism can be, not only in the Catholic Church, but also among the heretics who baptize in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, but that outside the Catholic Church it cannot profit. Nay, rather, as in the Church salvation is conferred by the sacrament of baptism to those who believe rightly, so to those baptized outside the Church, if they do not return to the Church, destruction is completely fulfilled by the same baptism. For, the unity of this Ecclesiastical society is of such value for salvation, that he is not saved by baptism to whom it has not been given where it ought to have been given. 32

Again:

Hold most firmly, and do not doubt at all, that everyone baptized outside the Catholic Church cannot be made partaker of eternal life, if before the end of this earthly life, he does not return to the Catholic Church and become incorporated with it. 33

The same St. Fulgentius says:

Hold most firmly, and do not doubt at all, that not only all the pagans, but also all the Jews, and all the heretics and schismatics who end the present life outside the Catholic Church, will go into the eternal fire, which was prepared for the Devil and his angels. (Mt. 25,41 ) 34

St. Augustine says in his commentary on St. John:

And yet it may be that one may have baptism apart from the dove (i. e., the Catholic Church), but, that baptism apart from the dove should do him good, is impossible. 35

Speaking of the heretic or schismatic St. Augustine says:

I, says he, have baptism. You have it, but that baptism without charity profits you nothing, because without charity you are nothing . . . For you did have baptism to destruction, outside (the Church); if you shall have it within, it begins to profit you to salvation. 36

St. Bonaventure says, in his Breuiloquium:

Because outside of the unity of faith and love, which makes us sons and members of the Church, no one can be saved, hence, if the sacraments are received outside the Church, they are not effective for salvation, although they are sacraments. However, they can become useful if one returns to Holy Mother the Church, the only Spouse of Christ, whose sons alone Christ the Spouse deems worthy of eternal inheritance. 37

St. Augustine, in his On Baptism: Against the Donatists, Bk.4, says:

The Church compared to Paradise indicates to us that certain men are able to receive baptism even outside of Her, but that no one is able either to grasp or to retain the salvation of beatitude outside of Her.

For even the rivers from the font of Paradise, as the Scripture testifies, flowed widely outside. They are remembered by name and it is known to all through what lands they flowed and that they existed neither in Mesopotomia nor in Egypt, in which those rivers flowed. So it is that, though the water of Paradise is outside of Paradise, there is no beatitude except within Paradise.

So, the Baptism of the Church can exist outside of the Church, but the gift of a blessed life is not found except within the Church, which was founded on a rock and received the keys of binding and loosing. She is the one that keeps and possesses every power of Her Spouse and Lord, and through this conjugal power She can also bring forth sons from the handmaids, who, if they be not proud, shall be called into their share of inheritance. If, however, they are proud, they shall remain without.

Because we fight for the honor and unity of the Church, let us not concede to the heretics what we know to be false, but rather let us teach them by arguments that they cannot attain salvation through unity unless they come to that same unity. For the water of the Church is faithful and salutary and holy for those who use it well. But outside of the Church no one can use it well. 38

In the same book, St. Augustine says:

Therefore, we are right in censuring, anathematizing, abhorring and abominating the perversity of heart shown by heretics; yet it does not follow that they do not have the sacrament of the Gospel, because they have not what makes it avail. 39

We do not deny that baptism can be validly administered outside the Church, if all the conditions for its validity are fulfilled. But we deny that it can confer sanctifying grace and a title to the Beatific Vision if one does not intend to join the Church while receiving it. We say, with the whole tradition of the Church, that a non-Catholic can receive baptism outside the Church, but not sanctification.

Now, let us be sure that everything is perfectly clear. We have seen

1. that for one who has not the intention of being baptized, baptism is not valid;
2. if one has the intention of being baptized, but does not confess the Catholic Faith, his baptism is valid but it does not confer sanctification and salvation.

Therefore, if this is true of real baptism, how can the so-called “baptism of desire” of Father Donnelly confer sanctification and salvation when the man has neither the required explicit intention of receiving the baptism of water nor confessed the Catholic Faith?

We confess, with the Catholic Church, and with the whole Christian tradition, that it is absolutely impossible to attain salvation outside the Catholic Church. As we have shown, we mean by this what the Church herself means:

1. that no adult can be saved if he does not, whether through ignorance or obstinacy, explicitly confess the Catholic Faith;
2. that no adult can be saved who dies ignorant of the Catholic Church, or who, having known the Church, refuses to become one of her members;
3. that no adult can be saved who dies ignorant of baptism or who, having heard of it, refuses to receive it;
4. that no adult can be saved who is baptized into a heretical or schismatical church, unless before he dies he joins the Catholic Church;
5. that no adult can be saved if he does not explicitly confess the Catholic Faith, or if he denies one truth of the Faith, or if he does not submit fully to the authority of the Roman Pontiff;
6. and that no child who dies unbaptized can be saved.

Therefore, it is impossible for a man to be saved if he holds other beliefs than those of the Catholic Church, if he belongs to any other religious community than the Catholic Church, and if he does not receive the baptism instituted by Christ.

St. Robert Bellarmine, who defends very strongly the doctrine that outside the Church there can be no salvation for anyone, says that he means by the Catholic Church

the congregation of men bound together by the profession of the same Christian Faith, and by the communion of the same sacraments, under the rule of the legitimate pastors, and especially of the one Vicar of Christ on Earth, the Roman Pontiff. 4 0

But if those who are outside the Church cannot attain salvation, is there a way of determining exactly who is a member of the Church and who is not? Bellarmine answers:

From this definition it can be easily gathered what men belong to the Church and what men do not. For there are three parts of this definition: the profession of the true Faith, the communion of the Sacraments, and the subjection to the legitimate Pastor, the Roman Pontiff. By reason of the first part are excluded all infidels, as much those who have never been in the Church, like the Jews, Turks and Pagans; as those who have been and have fallen away, like heretics and apostates. By reason of the second, are excluded catechumens and excommunicates, because the former are not to be admitted to the communion of the sacraments, the latter have been cut off from it. By reason of the third, are excluded schismatics, who have faith and the sacraments, but are not subject to the lawful pastor, and therefore they profess the Faith outside, and receive the Sacraments outside. However, all others are included, even if they be reprobate, sinful and wicked. 41

In his Compendium of Christian Doctrine, Bellarmine says:

I believe that for the good Christians there is eternal life full of every happiness and free from every sort of evil; as, on the contrary, for the infidels and for the bad Christians there is eternal death full of every misery and deprived of every good. 42

St. Peter Canisius says, in his Catechism, speaking of the Catholic Church:

Outside of this communion (as outside of the Ark of Noah) there is absolutely no salvation for mortals: not to Jews or Pagans, who never received the faith of the Church; not to heretics who, having received it, forsook or corrupted it; not to schismatics who left the peace and unity of the Church; finally, neither to excommunicates who for any other serious cause deserved to be put away and separated from the body of the Church, like pernicious members . . . For the rule of Cyprian and Augustine is certain: He will not have God for his Father who would not have the Church for his Mother. 43

Pope Boniface VIII, in his Bull Unam Sanctam, says:

Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to hold that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We firmly believe in her, and we confess absolutely that outside her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins, as the Spouse in the Canticles (VI, 8) proclaims: “One is my dove, my perfect one. She is the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her,” who represents one mystical body, whose head is Christ, and the head of Christ is God. In her there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism. There was, indeed, at the Deluge only one ark of Noah, prefiguring the One Church, which Ark, having been finished to a single cubit, had only one pilot and guide, i. e., Noah, outside of which, as we read, all that subsisted on the Earth was destroyed. 44

Origen said in one of his homilies:

If anyone from this people wants to be saved, let him come to this house, in which is the Blood of Christ in sign of redemption . . . Let no one, therefore, persuade himself, let not one deceive himself: outside of this house, that is, outside of the Church, no one is saved; for, if anyone should go out of it, he is guilty of his own death. 45

St. Cyprian in his treatise On the Unity of the Catholic Church says:

. . . Our Lord said: “I and the Father are one.” And, again, it is written about the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; “And these three are one.” And does anyone believe that this unity, coming from the divine power, and joined by heavenly sacraments, can be torn apart in the Church and separated by the division of opposing wills? Whoever does not hold this unity, does not hold the law of God, does not hold the faith of the Father and of the Son, does not hold life and salvation. 46

Speaking to the Philadelphians, St. Ignatius of Antioch says:

Do not err, my brethern: If anyone follow a maker of schism, “he shall not possess the kingdom of Heaven” (I Cor. 6,9-10). If anyone walk in a foreign doctrine, he does not communicate with the Passion. 47

St. Irenaeus says in his Treatise against Heretics:

In the Church, God has set apostles, prophets, doctors (I Cor. 12, 28), and all the remaining operation of the Spirit, of which are not partakers all those who do not hasten to come into the Church, but defraud themselves of life, by an evil determination and a worse operation. For where the Church is, there is also the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church and every grace; for the Spirit is truth. 48

Let us listen to Pope Pius XI who, Fr. Donnelly says, believes that there can be salvation outside the Catholic Church:

No one is found in the one Church of Christ and no one perseveres in it unless he acknowledges and accepts obediently the supreme authority of St. Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the very ancestors of those who are entangled in the errors of Photius and the Protestants obey the Roman Bishop as the high shepherd of souls?

Let them listen to Lactantius crying: “It is only the Catholic Church that retains the true worship. She is the fountain of truth, she is the abode of faith, she is the temple of God; if anyone does not enter her or if anyone shall depart from her, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let not one deceive himself, therefore, by continuous disputations. Life and salvation are in the balance which, if not looked to carefully and diligently, will be lost and destroyed.” 49

St. Fulgentius says, concerning all those who are outside the Catholic Church, whether baptized or not:

Hold most firmly and do not doubt at all, that not only all the pagans, but also all the Jews, and all the heretics and schismatics who end the present life outside the Catholic Church, will go into the eternal fire, “which was prepared for the Devil and his angels.” (Mt. 25, 41 ) 50

Finally, the Council of Florence, under Pope Eugene LV, decreed in the Bull Cantate Domino:

The most holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches, that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire, “which was prepared for the Devil and his angels,” unless before death they become affiliated with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgiving, their other works of Christian piety, and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church. 51

3. “Baptism of Blood” and “Baptism of the Spirit”

(a) Introduction

But let us come now to what Father Donnelly and the other liberal theologians call “baptism of desire.” Is there anything in Catholic tradition to warrant this phrase and its use by liberals?

As I have already said, the expression “baptism of desire” is a mistranslation of the Latin expressions: “baptismus Flaminis” and “baptismus in voto” or “votum baptismi.” The first of these expressions (baptismus Flaminis) means, as St. Thomas explains in the Summa, Part III, Question 66, Article 11, “baptism of the Holy Spirit,” which is a far cry from the interpretation which the modern liberal puts on this phrase, as I will show. The other two expressions (baptismus in voto and votum baptismi ) make use of the word votum, which means will, intention, purpose, and can therefore be translated as: “baptism in purpose” of “will for baptism.”

What do the Fathers and Doctors teach concerning this question of baptism in voto or of baptism of the Spirit?

First, let us quote St. Ambrose on the efficacy of baptism:

And thus you have read that three testimonies in baptism are one, water, blood and the Spirit; since, if you remove one of these, the sacrament of baptism does not stay. For what is water without the Cross of Christ? A common element, without any effect of sacrament. Nor again is the mystery of regeneration without water; for “unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Now, a catechumen also believes in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by which he also signs himself, but unless he be baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, he cannot receive remission of his sins, nor can he receive the gift of spiritual grace. 52

Likewise, St. Thomas says:

The baptism of water has its efficacy from the passion of Christ, to which someone conforms himself through baptism, and ultimately from the Holy Spirit as from a first cause. 53

Elswhere in the Summa, St. Thomas explains this:

A sacrament, in causing grace, works after the manner of an instrument. Now, an instrument is twofold; the one, separate, as a stick, for instance the other, united, as a hand. Moreover, the separate instrument is moved by means of the united instrument, as a stick by the hand. Now, the principal efficient cause of grace is God himself, in comparison with Whom Christ’s humanity is as a united instrument, whereas the sacrament is as a separate instrument. 54

We see, therefore, that sanctification is primarily caused by the Three Divine Persons and is the work of the Holy Spirit by appropriation. It is, however, achieved in us through Christ’s Passion as a primary instrument, and through water as a secondary instrument. All three, namely, the Spirit, the blood of Christ, and water are, consequently, indispensable, and no one can be sanctified if one of the three is missing.

(b) Meaning of “Baptism of Blood” and “Baptism of the Spirit.”

Now, the word baptism, which comes from the Greek, means washing. Every time a person passes out of the state of sin (whether original or actual), he is said to be washed, or cleansed. The first sacrament of the Church is a general washing, and is therefore called baptism. But even a baptized person can fall back into sin, though not original sin. The only way for this person to come back to the state of grace is through another purification or washing.

It is in prefiguration of these washings from sin that the Jews had to have so many ablutions, especially before their meals. We also are asked to wash before our Eucharistic meals. But this washing is not the renewal of the sacrament of baptism, which cannot be repeated. It is, rather, a washing from actual sin only, not from original sin. This is why Our Lord insisted on washing the Apostles’ feet before He instituted the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Jesus came first to Peter, who refused to see his God and his Master descend so low as to wash his feet. But Jesus answered: “If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me.” Frightened lest he should lose his beloved Master’s friendship, Peter said, “Lord, not my feet, but also my hands and my head.” And Jesus said to him, “He that is washed, needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean wholly.” 55

This indeed signifies the sacrament of penance, which is a certain washing, but a washing only of that in us that touches the Earth; for he that is washed wholly by baptism needs only to have his feet washed. Says St. Augustine:

And every day, therefore, is he who intercedes for us washing our feet . . . For “if,” as it is written, “we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity,” that is, even to our feet wherewith we walk on the Earth. 56

Therefore, every washing whereby the Holy Spirit comes to inhabit the soul can be called a baptism, a cleansing, although we do not necessarily mean the real sacrament of baptism. Every time the sacrament of penance is administered, a certain washing or baptism is administered, but it is not a baptism of water, but rather a baptism of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, when a Catholic is about to be martyred and is unable to receive the sacrament of penance for the remission of his sins, his martyrdom itself effects this remission, and can thus be called a kind of washing or baptism, a baptism of blood.

St. Thomas says the same thing about these two baptisms, the baptism of blood and the baptism of the Spirit:

But those who live after baptism in this mortal life are not able to ascend to such a height of perfection that the inordinate motions of sensuality may not still rise up from earthly affections; and therefore it is necessary that they wash their feet, either by martyrdom, which is the baptism of blood (baptismus sanguinis), or by penance, which is the baptism of the Spirit (baptismus Flaminis), in order that they might be saved. 57

But how about an unbaptized person? Could these two kinds of baptism be received by persons who have not been actually baptized with water? And if these sacraments could be received by them (baptism of blood and baptism of the Spirit, that is), would they supply the place of baptism of water, so that the persons who received them could attain salvation without being baptized with water? Let us see what the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church have to say about this.

(c) Baptism of Blood.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem says about baptism of blood:

If anyone does not receive baptism, he does not have salvation, with the exception of the martyrs alone, who even without water receive the kingdom. 58

St. Fulgentius says:

From the time when Our Saviour said, “unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” (John 3,5) no one, without the sacrament of baptism, can receive the kingdom of Heaven or life eternal, except those who, without baptism, shed their blood for Christ in the Catholic Church. 59

St. Augustine says in his City of God:

For whoever, being not yet regenerate, dies for confessing Christ, is freed of his sin as well as if he had received the sacrament of baptism. For he Who said: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” elsewhere says about the martyrs, “Everyone, therefore, that shall confess me before men, I will confess him before My Father Who is in Heaven;” and again: “He that shall lose his life for My sake shall find it.” Whereupon it is that “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” For what is more dear than the death wherein all the wickedness of a man is abolished and his good augmented? 60

St. Robert Bellarmine says:

Martyrdom is rightly called, and is, a certain baptism. 61

Martyrdom for the Name of Christ can therefore supply the place of baptism of water, and this both for adults and children, — witness the Holy Innocents who were killed for the sake of Christ.

When can martyrdom supply the place of baptism? Can a man who knows that he is going to be killed for confessing Christ and who on this account refuses or neglects the baptism of water because martyrdom is a perfect substitute, can such a man be saved? Or can a man who dies for confessing Christ while remaining in a heretical or schismatical sect be saved? Or again, is there any way in which a man can be saved by the baptism of blood if he is ignorant of Christ and His Church?

Martyrdom is a substitute for the baptism of water only in case of a catechumen who has the Catholic Faith and confesses Christ and His Church, and who, because of his apprehension by pagans or heretics, is unable to receive the baptism of water. Thus, St. Augustine, in the City of God, says that these martyrs will be saved “because they willed rather to die in confessing Christ than to deny Him.” 62 Therefore, martyrdom can replace Baptism only in the case of a man who cannot receive the Sacrament of Baptism because he is dying for Christ.

Thus, it is clear that even a catechumen who dies confessing Christ cannot be saved if he refuses the baptism of water, or if he does not try to receive it, knowing that he is going to be martyred.

Moreover, it is not enough to confess Christ in order to have the baptism of Blood. One needs also to confess His Church and to be dying as a Catholic, although prevented by martyrdom from receiving the baptism of water. Thus, St. Fulgentius says that no one can be saved without the baptism of water, “except for those who, without baptism, shed their blood for Christ in the Catholic Church. “ 63

Further, St. Paul said, in his first Epistle to the Corinthians (13, 3): “And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” This does not mean (and St. Robert Bellarmine in his treatise on Baptism clearly proves it ) 64 that a martyr needs to have perfect charity before he is martyred. Imperfect charity is sufficient, since martyrdom itself would confer perfect charity on the martyr. But it means that unless a man is dying for Christ in His Church, he cannot be saved. For, as St. Thomas shows, separation from the Body of the Church and from the authority of the Vicar of Christ on Earth is a sin against charity. 65

This is why the Council of Florence, on the authority of St. Paul, decreed:

No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church. 66

Therefore Bellarmine rightly concludes that salvation can be attained by:

Those who are killed for Christ in the confession of the true Faith, and in the unity of the Church. For heretics and schismatics cannot be martyrs, since they place an obstacle to the grace of God by their sin of infidelity and schism, in which they actually persevere. 67

And St. Cyprian, in his book On the Unity of the Church, writes:

If such (heretics or schismatics) should even suffer martyrdom for the name of Christ, they would not expiate their crime. There can be no such thing as a martyr out of the church. Though they should be thrown into the fire, or be exposed to the fury of wild beasts, such a death will never be esteemed a crown of their faith and constancy, but rather a punishment of their perfidy. Such a man may be put to death, but cannot be crowned. . . . If the schismatic should suffer out of the church of Christ, he will never thence become entitled to the recompense which none can claim who are not in it. There is but one God, one Christ, one church, one faith, one entire body of Christian people. . . . Whatever shall be separated from the fountain of life, can have no life remaining in it, after having lost all communication with its vital principle. 68

Hence, also, a man who is ignorant of Christ and His Church (whether culpably or not) cannot possibly receive the baptism of blood, since an open confession of the true Faith and of the true Church is indispensable for martyrdom.

(d) Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Question 1 : Can Sanctifying Grace Precede the Reception of a Sacrament?

Let us come now to the third kind of baptism, namely the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And first it must be noted that the Holy Spirit cannot possibly effect sanctification in a man apart from any sacrament or visible sign. Thus, before the coming of Christ, sanctification came to men by means of circumcision, sacrifice and the other sacraments of the Old Law. Since the coming of the Messiah, sanctification comes by means of the sacraments of the Church, which are seven in number.

The first of these sacraments, without which no other sacrament can be received, is baptism. And baptism is invalid for an adult if he does not have the explicit purpose of receiving it, and unprofitable if he does not explicitly confess Christ and His Church. This is why baptism is called “The sacrament of faith.” Therefore, without faith it is impossible to receive sanctifying grace from any of the seven sacraments, which are the only channels of grace.

The explicit intention to receive the sacrament, faith in Christ and His Church, are therefore necessary on the part of an adult for the reception of sanctifying grace. But they are not enough. Actual reception of the sacrament is also needed. This is why St. Ambrose says:

A catechumen also believes in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus, by which he also signs himself; but unless he be baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, he cannot receive remission of his sins, nor can he receive the gift of spiritual grace. 69

But there could be a case when a man, together with the explicit intention of receiving a sacrament, and with the profession of the Catholic Faith and of the Catholic Church, would make an act of perfect charity, even before the actual reception of the sacrament. In that case, the man can receive sanctifying grace before the sacrament, if he firmly intends to receive the sacrament at the earliest possible opportunity. This is true, for example, about penance. Thus, St. Thomas says:

If anyone has perfect contrition before the absolution of the priest, he obtains the remission of his sins, by the fact that he intends to subject himself to the keys of the Church, without which intent there is no real contrition.

But if the contrition sufficient for remission is not full beforehand, the remission of the guilt is obtained in the absolution itself, unless he puts an obstacle to the Holy Spirit. 70

The same happens in all the other sacraments, if a perfect act of charity is made, together with an act of Faith and a firm purpose of receiving the sacrament. In the case of baptism, too, if the catechumen to be baptized can make an act of perfect charity, remission of his sins can precede the actual reception of baptism, provided explicit faith and an explicit intent to receive baptism are not lacking. St. Thomas says:

For it happens that some adults, before they come to the sacrament of baptism in act, having it in intent (in voto), obtain remission of their sins, and are baptized by the baptism of the Spirit (baptismo Flaminis); and yet, baptism, which follows, effects the remission of sins, as far as its part goes, although in him in whom they are already remitted, it does not have this opportunity, but obtains only an augmentation of grace.

But if an adult is not perfectly disposed before baptism to obtain remission of his sins, he obtains this remission by the power of baptism, in the very act of being baptized, unless he place deceivingly an obstacle to the Holy Spirit. 71

But who can presume to affirm about any man that he has received sanctifying grace before the actual reception of a sacrament, seeing that it is impossible to know whether or not he was able to make a perfect act of love? And yet this is what the liberals do all the time. They can even name people who had sanctifying grace before their baptism! They can even name people who had it even while rejecting explicitly some truths of the Catholic Faith and without intending to come to the Church! Here is an example of such an arrogant attitude: (in a letter recently received by one of our staff from a liberal theologian) “Surely, Chesterton and Newman had grace before their conversions, even though they rejected certain Catholic doctrines.” Nothing can be more opposed to the Catholic Faith than a statement of this kind.

In the same way, Caperan, Director of the Grand Seminaire of Toulouse, who is Father Donnelly’s main authority, says,

Without any doubt, the action of grace does not stop at the frontiers of Catholicism; its radiance extends on all sides, as far as there is a soul to save. 72

There is no doubt that in Father Donnelly’s mind, too, people who are totally ignorant of the Catholic Faith and people who know the Church and refuse to join her can have sanctifying grace, independently of the Sacraments, of the Faith, and therefore of perfect contrition. Not only is it impossible for such people to have sanctifying grace as long as they are thus visibly separated from the Church, but even in the case of catechumens who have the Catholic Faith and a real intent of receiving baptism, there is no way of telling whether they have perfect charity or not, except if it is revealed by God, as in the case of Cornelius, in Acts 10. For, as St. Augustine says, “Cornelius, even before his baptism, was filled with the Holy Spirit.” 73 This reception of the Holy Spirit in anticipation of the baptism of water is called baptism of the Spirit, or baptism in voto.

This is what the Council of Trent was teaching when it said (as Fr. Donnelly well knows) that the justification of the unbaptized may be described

as the transfer from that state in which a man is born as the son of the first Adam, to the state of grace and adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ Our Saviour; and this transfer indeed, after the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be accomplished without the water of regeneration or the will for it (aut eius voto), as it is written: ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’ 74

Let us remind Fr. Donnelly that the same Council of Trent to which he is appealing teaches unmistakably that this justification comes from Jesus Christ and only to those who believe in Him according to the true Faith, as the Apostle says (Rom. 3, 23-26):

For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in His Blood, to the showing of His justice, for the remission of former sins, . . . that He Himself may be just, and the justifier of him, who is of the faith of Jesus Christ. (Cf. Denz. 794.)

Again, the same Council of Trent says:

Indeed, since the Apostle said that man is justified by faith and freely, these words must be understood in that sense, which the perpetual consensus of the Catholic Church held and expressed, namely that we are thus said to be justified by faith, since “faith is the beginning of human salvation,” the foundation and root of every justification, “without which it is impossible to please God and to come to the fellowship of His children. ” 75

Justification, therefore, and sanctifying grace, can come to a person before the actual reception of the sacrament of baptism, provided explicit faith in Christ, explicit purpose to receive the sacrament and to join the Catholic Church, and perfect charity are not lacking.

This is certainly not the way Fr. Donnelly interprets the paragraph he quotes from the Council of Trent; for it is clear that he holds that a man who is ignorant of Christ and His Church, or a man who refuses to accept both, can be justified by some kind of feeling of righteousness which can be called baptism of desire. It is also clear that Father Donnelly, in quoting the Council of Trent, was confusing justification with salvation. The Council of Trent in this text was defining justification and not salvation. Everyone knows that a man justified is not yet saved, but has to fulfill certain other conditions for salvation.

Question 2 : Is Sanctifying Grace When Received Before Baptism Sufficient for Salvation?

Is, then, the reception of sanctifying grace through baptism of the Spirit a real substitute for baptism of water, so that a man like Cornelius did not need baptism and could have been saved without it? Are there two ways of belonging to the Church, one through baptism of water and the other through baptism in voto, so that the one would be sufficient without the other for salvation?

St. Augustine who, in his treatise On Baptism: Against the Donatists, asks us “not to depreciate a man’s righteousness should it begin to exist before he joined the Church, as the righteouness of Cornelius began to exist before he was in the Christian community,” also says in the same sentence that this righteouness “was not thought worthless, or the angel would not have said to him, ‘Thy alms have been accepted and thy prayers have been heard;’ nor did it yet suffice for his gaining the kingdom of Heaven, or he would not have been told to send for Peter, “ 76 in order to be baptized by him.

It is clear, therefore, that Cornelius, who was already in the state of sanctifying grace even before the actual reception of baptism, would not have been saved if he had not sent for Peter to be baptized by him, or if, having sent for him, he had refused to be baptized with water. St. Augustine says,

Cornelius would have been guilty of contempt for so holy a sacrament if, even after he had received the Holy Ghost, he had refused to be baptized. 77

St. Robert Bellarmine says the same thing, especially on the authority of St. Augustine:

Further, Augustine, in his Epistle 57 to Dardanus, in Book I Of the Predestination of the Saints, Chapter 7; in Book I, Question 2, To Simplician; in Book I, Chapter 8, On Baptism; and in Book IV, Chapter 21 of the same, says that Cornelius the Centurion, although he was praised in Scriptures, was not yet such that he could have been saved, unless he became incorporated in the Church through the Sacrament of Baptism. 78

To repeat, then, sanctifying grace can be received ahead of the Sacrament of Baptism, and in that case it is sufficient for justification, but this does not mean that it is sufficient for salvation if the actual Sacrament of Baptism is not received. Cornelius and his friends received sanctifying grace and the Holy Spirit even before the actual reception of Baptism. They were speaking with tongues, like the Apostles at Pentecost. The water of Baptism would have seemed totally superfluous for them, and yet they could not have been saved without it. That is why, as St. Augustine adds, “they were baptized, and for this action we have the authority of an Apostle as a warrant.” 79 Again, St. John the Baptist was born in the state of sanctifying grace, and yet he had to be baptized by the baptism of Christ before he died, for as St. John Chrysosotom says (Homily 4 on Matthew ), “Since, when John said, ‘I ought to be baptized by thee,’ Christ answered, ‘Suffer it to be so now, ‘ it follows that afterwards Christ did baptize John.” 80 Likewise, St. Jerome says, commenting on Matthew 3:13, that as Christ was baptized in water by John, so John had to be baptized by Christ in water and the Holy Spirit. 81

The catechumen who confesses the Catholic Faith and has perfect charity and the intention of joining the Church can therefore receive sanctifying grace before the actual reception of Baptism. It is in this sense that St. Augustine (as quoted by St. Robert Bellarmine) says that such a catechumen may be said to be of the soul of the Church (because the theological virtues and the Gifts of the Holy Ghost are the vivifying principle in the Church). 82 But as we have shown in Part II of this article, this does not mean that there are two kinds of membership, one in the soul and one in the body, for in the same chapter St. Robert Bellarmine says clearly that catechumens are not members of the Church, because they do not have communion of the sacraments. 83 Likewise, St. Augustine, in his treatise On Baptism: Against the Donatists, which we quoted, says that Cornelius received sanctifying grace previous to baptism, “before he was joined to the Church, ” 84 — namely, before he was a member of the Church.

Question 3 : Is There Any Case When Baptism of the Holy Spirit Without Actual Reception of Baptism of Water Can Be Sufficient for Salvation?

Now that we have considered the defined truths which must be believed, namely, the absolute necessity of the Catholic Faith, the absolute necessity of membership in the Catholic Church, the absolute necessity of submission to the Roman Pontiff, the absolute necessity of baptism of water, for salvation, there remains but one point to examine; that is, whether there is any case where a man can be saved without actually receiving the water of baptism on his head.

At this point, we have to depart from infallibly defined dogma and must rely on the teachings of the Fathers and Doctors, because it has never so far been defined that any human being can be saved who was not actually baptized, except for those who lived before the coming of Our Lord, and except for the martyrs.

What is the teaching of the Fathers and the Doctors? Some Fathers deny that there is any case in which a man could be saved without the actual reception of the water of baptism (with the exception of the martyrs alone). But most of them agree in saying that there is one case, and only one case, when a man could be saved without having been actually baptized with water. It is the case of a catechumen who confesses the Catholic Faith, who is sorry for his past sins, who is burning with desire to be baptized and to join the Catholic Church, under the authority of the Roman Pontiff, but who, having been kept without baptism by the Church until he has been fully instructed, is overtaken by death suddenly and is incapable of receiving baptism. Such a catechumen, it is believed, can be saved, if he makes an act of perfect charity. 85

In answer to our third question, therefore, we shall say that, according to the majority of the Fathers and Doctors, baptism of the Holy Spirit, without the actual reception of Baptism of water, can be sufficient for salvation if the following five conditions are fulfilled:

First, that person must have the Catholic Faith. (We have already proved that no one can be saved without the Catholic Faith, and that not even the Sacrament of Baptism can be profitable for salvation if the subject who receives it does not confess the Catholic Faith.)

Second, he must have an explicit will or desire to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. For example, St. Bernard says that he must have an “entire yearning for the sacrament of Jesus.” 86

Third, he must have perfect charity. For St. Robert Bellarmine says that only “perfect conversion can be called baptism of the Spirit, and this includes true contrition and charity. ” 87 St. Augustine says that he must have “faith and conversion of the heart. ” 88 St. Thomas says that, as in the case of the Sacrament of Penance, so also in the Sacrament of Baptism, if sanctifying grace is to be received previous to the Sacrament, a perfect act of charity is necessary, for “if an adult is not perfectly disposed before baptism to obtain remission of his sins, he obtains this remission by the power of baptism, in the very act of being baptized. ” 89 St. Bernard says that “right faith, God-fearing hope, and sincere charity” must be present. 90

Fourth, he must have an explicit will to join the Catholic Church , — for, as we have shown, not even actual Baptism is profitable for salvation if it is received outside the Catholic Church (except for babies) and without an explicit will to join the Church. Much less, therefore, does baptism in voto profit for salvation if it does not include an explicit will to join the Catholic Church.

Fifth, he must be dying and, although yearning for the Baptism of Water, is unable to receive it because of an absolute impossibility, not because of a contempt for it. Thus, St. Augustine says that baptism of the Spirit, or perfect conversion to God, “may indeed be found when Baptism has not yet been received, but never when it has been despised. For it should never in any way be called a conversion of the heart to God when the sacrament of God has been despised. ” 91 In the same way St. Bernard says that, since the time of the promulgation of the Gospel, “whoever refuses now to be baptized, after the remedy of baptism has been made accessible to all everywhere, adds of his own accord a sin of pride to the general original stain, carrying within himself a double cause of the most just damnation, if he happens to leave the body in the same state.” 92 Also, St. Thomas says, “It is necessary, in order that a man might enter into the kingdom of God, that he approach the baptism of water actually (in re), as it is in all those who are baptized; or in voto, as it is in the martyrs and the catechumens who were hindered by death before they could fulfill their intent (votum); or in figure, as in the ancient Fathers,” — that is, in those before Christ. 93

Now that we have shown in what sense a person who has the desire for baptism can be saved, let us enumerate again Father Donnelly’s three doctrines which we listed at the beginning of Part III, namely, (1) that a person can be said to have desire for Baptism while being totally ignorant of the Catholic Faith and ignorant of the Baptism of water; (2) that a person can be said to have a desire for Baptism while knowing the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith and refusing both; (3) that a person can be said to have a desire for Baptism while knowing the Baptism of water and refusing it. From the evidence we have presented, it must be clear that these doctrines are erroneous and cannot be held.
1 St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Epistle to the Philippians, Homil. III, n. 4.

2 St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, Homil. I, n. 8, (Greek and Latin edition, Vol 9, part 1, p. 15 C-D.)

3 St. John Chrysostom, On the Priesthood, Bk. III, n. 6.

4 St. Ambrose, De Abraham, Bk. II, Ch. XI, n. 79.

5 Pope St. Leo the Great, Epistle XV, n. 10.

6 Tertullian, On Baptism, XII. (See Rouet de Journal, S. J., Enchiridion Patristicum, 306).

7 St. Thomas Aquinas, Collationes De Pater, etc., Exposition of the Apostles’ Creed, Tenth article.

8 Pope Benedict XIV, Profession of Faith prescribed to the Orientals, constit. Nuper ad nos, Denz. 1470.

9 Council of Trent, Sess. VII, March 1547, Canons on the Sacrament of Baptism, Can. 5, Denz. 861.

10 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part III, qu. 68, a. 1, In Corp.

11 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Baptism, Bk. I Ch. IV, (Tom. 3, pp. 115-118).

12 Id. (p. 115A).

13 Id. (p. 115B).

14 Bainvel, Op. cit., Ch. V, p. 43.

15 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Baptism, Bk. I, Ch. IV, (Tom. 3, p. 118A-B).

16 Id. (p. 118B).

17 Ibid.

18 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part II-II, qu. 10, a. 1, In Corp.

19 Id. a. 3.

20 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Baptism, Bk. I, Ch. IV, (Tom. 3, p. 118B-C).

21 St. Fulgentius, De Fide, ad Petrum, Ch XXVII, n. 68.

22 St. Augustine, De Anima et eius Origine, Bk. IV, Ch. XI, n. 16.

23 St. Bonaventure, Breviloquium, Part III, Ch. V, n. 6.

24 Pope Innocent III, Epist. Maiores Ecclesiae Causas, 1201, Denz. 411.

25 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part III, qu. 68, a. 7, ad 2.

26 St. Thomas Aquinas, Contra Errores Graecorum, In Titulo, “Quod ad eum (Petrum) pertinet determinare quae sunt Fidei.”

27 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part III, qu. 68, a. 8, In Corp.

28 Council of Trent, Sess. VI, Ch. 7, Denz. 799.

29 St. Alphonsus Liguori, Instructions on the Commandments and Sacraments, Part I, Sect. I “On Faith,” n. 10.

30 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Church Militant, Bk. III, Ch. II, (Tom 2, p. 53D).

31 St. Fulgentius, De Fide, ad Petrum, Ch. III, n. 41.

32 Id. Ch. XXXVI, n. 77.

33 Id. Ch. XXXVII, n. 78.

34 Id. Ch. XXXVIII, n. 79.

35 St. Augustine, Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, Tract. VI, n. 13.

36 Id. Tract. VI, n. 14.

37 St. Bonaventure, Breviloquium, Part VI, Ch. V, n. 4.

38 St. Augustine, On Baptism against the Donatists, Bk. IV, Ch. I (n. 1) — Ch. II (n. 2).

39 Id. Bk. IV, Ch. XXV, n. 32.

40 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Church Militant, Bk. III, Ch. II, (Tom. 2, p. 53D).

41 Id. p. 53D-E.

42 St. Robert Bellarmine, Compendium of Christian Doctrine, “Exposition of the Apostles’ Creed,” Twelfth Article.

43 St. Peter Canisius, Exposition of the Apostles’ Creed, Ninth Article, “Com-munion of Saints.”

44 Pope Boniface VIII, Bull Unam sanctam, Nov. 18, 1302, Denz. 468.

45 Origen, In Jesu Nave homiliae, Hom. III, n. 5.

46 St. Cyprian, On the Unity of the Catholic Church, VI, Journal 557.

47 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Philadelphians, Ch. III, n. 2.

48 St. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses, Bk. III, Ch. XXIV, n. 1.

49 Pope Pius XI, Enc. Mortalium Animos.

50 St. Fulgentius, De Fide, ad Petrum, Ch. XXXVIII, n. 79.

51 Council of Florence, “Decree for the Jacobites,” Pope Eugene IV, Bull Cantate Domino, Denz. 714.

52 St. Ambrose, De Mysteriis, Ch. IV, n. 20.

53 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part III, qu. 66, a. 11, In Corp. Cf. also a. 12, In Corp.

54 Id. qu. 62. a. 5, In Corp.

55 Gospel according to St. John, XIII, 5-10.

56 St. Augustine, Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, Tract LVI, n. 4.

57 St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, Ch. XIII, Lect. II, n. 8.

58 St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catecheses, Cat. III, c. 10.

59 St. Fulgentius, De Fide ad Petrum, Ch. III, n. 41.

60 St. Augustine, The City of God, Bk. XIII, Ch. VII.

61 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Baptism, Bk. I, Ch. VI, (Tom. 3, p. 120A).

62 St. Augustine, The City of God, Bk. XIII, Ch. VII.

63 St. Fulgentius, De Fide, ad Petrum, Ch. III, n. 41.

64 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Baptism, Bk. I, Ch. VI, (Tom. 3, p. 121E, A, B, C).

65 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part II-II, qu. 39, a. 1, In Corp.

66 Council of Florence, “Decree for the Jacobites,” Pope Eugene IV, Bull Cantate Domino. Denz. 714.

67 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Baptism, Bk. I, Ch. VI, (Tom. 3, p.121A-B).

68 St. Cyprian, On the Unity of the Church, cf. Pope Pelagius II, Ep. 2 to the schismatical bishops of Istria, Denz. 247, and Migné, P. L. 4, 511.

69 St. Ambrose, De Mysteriis, Ch. IV, n. 20.

70 St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, Ch. XI, Lect. VI, n. 6.

71 Ibid.

72 Louis Caperan, Le Probléme du Salut des Infideles, Vol. II, p. 102.

73 St. Augustine, On Baptism: Against the Donatists, Bk. IV., Ch. XXI, n. 28.

74 Council of Trent, Sess. VI, Ch. 4, Denz. 796.

75 Id. Sess. VI, Ch. VIII, Denz. 801.

76 St. Augustine, On Baptism: Against the Donatists, Bk. IV, Ch. XXI, n. 28.

77 Ibid.

78 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Penance, Bk. II, Ch. XIV, (Tom. 3, p. 526C).

79 St. Augustine, On Baptism: Against the Donatists, Bk. IV, Ch. XXII, n. 29.

80 St. John Chrysostom, Eruditi Commentarii in Evangelium Matthaei, Homil. IV (Migné, R. G. 56, 658).

81 St. Jerome, On Matthew, Bk. II, “Commentary on Matthew III, 13″ (Migné, R. L. 26, 31).

82 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Church Militant, Bk. III, Ch. II (Tom. II, p. 54B).

83 Id. (p. 53E).

84 St. Augustine. On Baptism: Against the Donatists. Bk. IV., Ch. XXI, n. 28.

85 St. Ambrose, De obitu Valentinian , n. 51-53; St. Augustine, On Baptism: Against the Donatists, Bk. IV; Innocent II, Ep. Apostolicam Sedem (Denz. 388); Innocent III, Ep. Debitum Pastoralis Officii (Denz. 413); St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part III, qu. 68, a. 2, In Corp.; St. Bernard, Ep. to Hugh of St. Victor; St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Baptism, Bk. I, Ch. VI, (Tom. 3, p. 121C).

86 St. Bernard, Epistle to Hugh of St. Victor, Ch. II, n. 8.

87 St. Robert Bellarmine, On the Sacrament of Baptism, Bk. I, Ch. VI, (Tom. 3, p. 121C).

88 St. Augustine, On Baptism Against the Donatists, Bk. IV, Ch. XXII, n. 29.

89 St. Thomas Aquinas, On St. John, Ch. XI, Lect. VI, n. 6.

90 St. Bernard, Epistle to Hugh of St. Victor, Ch. II, n. 6.

91 St. Augustine, On Baptism: Against the Donatists, Bk. IV, Ch. XXV, n. 32.

92 St. Bernard, Epistle to Hugh of St. Victor, Ch. II, n. 6.

93 St. Thomas Aquinas, On St. John, Ch. III, Lect. I, n. 4.

http://catholicism.org/rptal-part3.html

Conclusion

Modern liberalism, which makes membership in the Catholic Church unnecessary for salvation, undermines something more than the dogma that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. In postulating the existence of an Invisible Church, or in suggesting that membership in the Visible Church can be invisible and purely internal, liberals are actually, whether they realize it or not, endangering the doctrine of the Incarnation. The whole point of the Incarnation is that the Person of the Word assumed human flesh in order to redeem us from our sins as Man, by dying on the Cross, and in order to institute a visible society with a visible head and visible sacraments, in which society every man must be visibly incorporated if he wishes to be saved.

Our salvation, therefore, is Jesus Christ, the Incarnate God, who took His flesh from the Blessed Virigin Mary. The Church prevents us from falsely emphasizing the spiritual and invisible, as divorced from the sensible and visible, by keeping constantly before us in infinite repetition the prayer which ushered in the Incarnation, “the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. “ The Son of God did not will our salvation to be achieved apart from His Humanity and, consequently, apart from His visibility.

As Mary was the gate through which our God came to us on Earth, so she is the gate through which we go to Him in eternity. She is the great Mediatrix of all Graces. Now, just as no man can be saved outside the Catholic Church, so, St. Grignion de Montfort says, no man can be saved without Mary. This is what the great Apostle of Our Lady says:

The learned and pious Suarez, of the Society of Jesus, the erudite and devout Justus Lipsius, doctor of Louvain, and many others have proved invincibly, from the sentiments of the Fathers, among others, St. Augustine, St. Ephrem, deacon of Edessa, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Germanus of Constantinople, St. John Damascene, St. Anselm, St. Bernard, St. Bernardine, St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure, that devotion to our most Blessed Virgin is necessary to salvation, and that (even in the opinion of Oecolampadius and some other heretics) it is an infallible mark of reprobation to have no esteem and love for the holy Virgin; while on the other hand, it is an infallible mark of predestination to be entirely and truly devoted to her.

The figures and words of the Old and New Testaments prove this. The sentiments and the examples of the saints confirm it. Reason and experience teach and demonstrate it. Even the Devil and his crew, constrained by the force of truth, have often been obliged to avow it in spite of themselves. Among all the passages of the holy Fathers and Doctors, of which I have made an ample collection in order to prove this truth, I shall for brevity’s sake quote but one:

To be devout to you, O Holy Virgin, says St. John Damascene, is an arm of salvation which God gives to those whom He wishes to save. 1

To conclude, therefore, may we say that, in the modern liberal presentation of the Church’s doctrine concerning salvation outside the Church, there are contained THE FOLLOWING ERRORS:

1. One can be saved outside the Church.
2. One can be saved without having the Catholic Faith.
3. Baptism is not necessary for salvation.
4. To confess the supremacy and infallibility of the Roman Church and of the Roman Pontiff is not necessary for salvation.
5. One can be saved without submitting personally to the authority of the Roman Pontiff.
6. Ignorance of Christ and His Church excuses one from all fault and confers justification and salvation.
7. One can be saved who dies ignorant of Christ and His Church.
8. One can be saved who dies hating Christ and His Church.
9. God, of His Supreme Goodness and Mercy, would not permit anyone to be punished eternally unless he had incurred the guilt of voluntary sin.
10. A man is sure of his salvation once he is justified.
11. One can be saved by merely an implicit desire for Baptism.
12. There are two Churches, the one visible, the other invisible.
13. There are two kinds of membership in the Church.
14. Membership in the Church can be invisible or even unconscious.
15. To know and love the Blessed Virgin is not necessary for salvation.

We feel that nothing short of an infallible pronouncement on the matter by our Holy Father will put an end to these heretical teachings, which are seriously injuring the Faith of Catholics. Therefore, prostrate at the feet of His Holiness, Pope Pius XII, and knowing that no one can be saved outside of the Church of which he is the visible head, nor without that Faith of which he is the protector, nor without personal submission to him, the Vicar of Christ on Earth, we humbly present this paper, and beseech His Holiness to crush the erroneous teachings listed above and to fulfill Christ’s promise to Peter, that through him and his successors the gates of Hell shall not prevail against His Church.


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