Thursday, March 19, 2009

Session One Dogmatic Constitution of the Catholic Church of the Ecumenical Council of Vatican III

Session One
-The Third Ecumenical Council of the Vatican -
DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH

The Catholic Church is one, this one true Catholic Church, whose members consists, on this earth, of those who profess the same Christian faith and eligible to receive all the sacraments, under the rule of the legitimate pastor, the one Vicar of Christ on earth --also known as the Pope,(Note 1)  Canon 1 and all members of it are subject to him in faith, morals, and Church discipline. (Note 2) Canon 2

The Church is one. There is no division. Although, as a courtesy and an act of charity, the Church has bestowed the term Christian on all those validly baptized outside the Church--that is, who do not recognize the Catholic Church's Divine Authority, this does not mean the Church is divided in anyway. We do not believe in a federation of churches which include other denominations or a "mere Christianity" as though some Christian doctrines can be denied by anyone and remain a member of the Catholic Church.(Note 3) Canon 3

2. This Council proclaims absolutely that membership in the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation and only validly baptized persons, which
hold the True Faith; those incapable of cognitive assent to Faith, the Sacrament of Baptism provides this Faith by this sacrament, and are members of the Catholic Church. Those who have been alienated from this same Church by 1.) the sin of heresy, 2.) the sin of schism, or 3.) the censure of excommunication are not members.(Note 4)
Canon 4 

Those who are validly baptized as young children in non-Catholic denominations are members of the Catholic Church (Note 5) but after having reached the age of discernment, if or when they assent to heresy and/or schism of their respective denominations, even though justified by Baptism in infancy, they separate themselves from the body of the Church, and they lose the habit of faith, thus are consequently out of the way of salvation. (Note 6)
In individual cases, of those validly baptized, however in numbers known only to God,  they might not be guilty of the sin/s of heresy and/or schism, owing to "invincible ignorance"( non-culpible ignorance) of the true Faith, Canon 5 in these cases they may belong to the Catholic Church by desire, provided they put no obstacle of the will to the authority of the Vicar of Christ, and are open to obey God in things revealed for salvation such as being free from all mortal sin, and believe explicitly the mysteries of the faith which are necessary by a necessity of means, especially the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation for salvation. (Note 7)
Canon 6 Nevertheless this is no reason to assume ignorance of the Catholic Faith is a benefit to anyone to salvation, quite the opposite is true. (Note 8)

A person is not guilty of the sin of infidelity, i.e. the sin of NOT joining the Church, if that person does not know of the Catholic Church, but ignorance does not bestow Sanctifying Grace, also because all are sinners and having no means to acquire Sanctifying Grace outside the Body of Christ, as it was defined by
Pope Boniface VIII, of happy memory, in Unam Sanctam, (1302 AD):
“With Faith urging us we are forced to believe and to hold the one, holy, Catholic Church and that, apostolic, and we firmly believe and simply confess this Church outside of which there is no salvation nor remission of sin."
 
They who are lost because they did not know the necessity of joining the Church are lost to hell for other mortal sin/s not forgiven, either their own actual mortal sin/s or only Original Sin but to punishments of different kinds. (Note 9) 
 These people's lives of sin in fact formed a resistance to the providence of God, Who wanted their salvation, but not outside the means of being a member of the Catholic Church, by True Faith and Baptism. 
Human beings dying before the age of discernment without Baptism are excluded from the Beatific Vision and suffer only this loss and are not tormented with pain or suffering, often referred to in a wholesome piety as Limbo of Infants. Therefore the only hope for all human beings to attain heaven and see God in the Face after the age of discernment and or older people, since the birth of the Church on Pentecost, is the Sacrament of Baptism and True Faith. Canon 7 (Note 10)


3.The Church of Christ is absolutely identified, since Pentecost, with the Mystical Body of Christ, the People of God, the family of God, Messianic People, kingdom of God, Roman Catholic Church, or simply the Catholic Church, which are all different titles of the same true Church of Jesus Christ Our Lord and Savior, under the authority of the Vicar of Christ, i.e. Bishop of Rome. There is no distinction to be made between the Mystical Body and the Catholic Church. The Mystical Body is considered as a comparison to Christ’s physical body, where Jesus Christ is the Head and we the members. (Note 11)
The Church is visible society on this earth. (Note 12)
The soul of the Church is the Holy Spirit, Her head Jesus Christ and Her body are her members, so as the soul functions only in the body, so Sanctifying Grace only functions within its living members of the Catholic Church since the proclamation of the Gospel. (Note 13)


4.Absolute requirements for belonging to the Catholic Church and the Mystical Body of Christ, since the time of Pentecost, are 1.) the reception of the sacramental mark of Baptism--which is only given in the Sacrament of Baptism, which is with real water,and by this mark one is made eligible to receive all the other sacraments 2.) at the
age of discernment one should have an implicit acceptance or profess all the truths which are taught by the Church as pertaining to Faith and Morals, and 3.) that one not oppose the authority of the Vicar of Christ to rule as the visible head of the Church and all authoritatively taught.(Note 14)
If any one of these three conditions is failing, one cannot be a member of the Catholic Church.Canon 8 Those souls in Purgatory or Heaven since the proclamation the Gospel, i.e. Pentecost, who also meet these conditions are true members of the Catholic Church.(Note 15)


5.The Catholic Church is the only Church of Christ, it is the only Ark of salvation.(Note 16)
No other church, religion or belief has the effective means to bring people to heaven. While it is true that some certain elements of the truth exist outside the Church, both natural and supernatural, and in some cases valid sacraments, these elements outside the Catholic Church are ineffective direct means to heaven (Note 17)
but can be means of Actual Graces to lead souls to the true Church of Christ, which is the Catholic Church, Canon 9 because these elements are mixed with poisonous false doctrines, which if believed with pride and stubbornness, will necessarily lead to hell. All elements of truth lead eventually to the Church which Christ established in the world as the only road of salvation by Our Lord but outside this Church any or all these elements of truth are not sufficient or effective for salvation in themselves separated from the Church of Christ. The only way in which people who adhere to these false religions can avoid the inevitable result of going to hell, is if they seek the true God and Divine Faith, God will fulfill their desire by leading them to the Catholic Church and True Faith which holds for them the justification of their souls and perseverance in grace, outside of this Church no one absolutely can be saved. Canon 10 Divine Providence provides for every man that which is necessary for salvation. "Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short that it cannot save" (Isaiah 59:1); Since the proclamation of the Gospel,those people of good will that live in invincible ignorance of the Catholic Church and who have not received the Sacrament of Baptism can be saved, only if they follow the Actual Graces by which God leads them to join the Catholic Church and receive the Sacrament of Baptism before they die. God Himself will show them what is necessary to join the Catholic Church for salvation, either by inspiration or sending an Angel (Acts 10:4) or a teacher to them.(Acts 8: 26) (Note 18)
. Canon 11

6. Catholics must follow the law of Charity when dealing with those inside or and outside the Catholic Church.-"By this shall all men know, that you are My disciples, if you love one another." (John 13: 35). Kindness is the first word that the Apostle St. Paul uses to define Love (1Cor. 13:3-5 ), so too this is our method of action when dealing with everyone. Non-Catholics are not to be despised by Catholics because of their lack of faith as it is written:"In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." (Tit. 2: 7-8)

7.The Catholic Church is the witnesses to the Faith and protects it. No one, not even the Vicar of Christ, who is Her guardian on this earth, can change any doctrines or morals which Christ Himself has established. When the Vicar of Christ, or any Ecumenical Council approved of by him, defines a dogma ex cathedra, i.e. makes a definition of what must be believed, they are only clearifying what has always been believed as Divinely Revealed, since the death of the last Apostle, there is no evolution of dogma ((Note 19)
These definitions should be used to shed light and to understand even the infallable ordinary univeral magisterium better because they are of a higher authority. (Note 20)
The dogmas the Church holds are revealed truths, which have fallen from heaven by the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ. They are not interpretation of religious facts which the human mind has acquired by laborious series of effort from the little germ latent in the Gospel, often refered to as a develpoment of doctrine.(Note 21)
Canon 12

They error greatly who interpret dogma in light of modern historical research or even dare to misuse the Ordinary Magisterum to understand dogmatic definitions in a different sense or a different way as when they were first defined, sometimes claiming a development of doctrine, which is, in reality, nothing but the corruption of dogmas, since there can be no contradiction in Church doctrine. Faith does not rest on a mass of probabilities but the Faith is the Divine Revealation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is clearly presented by His Church for believers in Her definitions. (see again Canon 12; Notes 19, 20,& 21)[ed.-Understanding Revelation will be dealt with more in depth in a following session]

8. The meaning of a dogma is what the words themselves state and declare and no other.
No dogma has suffered more from this error: interpreting dogma, than the thrice defined dogma of no salvation outside the Church. This council hopes to correct for all time this modern error, so we finish this session by proclaiming, pronouncing and defining the following three definitions below from the documents of: the Fourth Lateran Council, 1215, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302 and the Bull Cantate Domino,1441, are to be understood literally and in the clear sense of how they were written, as defined dogmas, as all definitions should be (Note 22):


* “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.)

* ““With Faith urging us we are forced to believe and to hold the one, holy, Catholic Church and that, apostolic, and we firmly believe and simply confess this Church outside of which there is no salvation nor remission of sin… We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.)

* “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 are joined 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 almsgivings, 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.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.)

Canon 1
If anyone says that there is another church or religion that a person can be a member of and attain the beatific vision, outside of communion and membership of the Catholic Church and not hold this same Divine Faith whole and entire or not be subject to the Vicar of Christ. Let that one be anathema.

Canon 2
If anyone says that those who are not baptized are members of the Catholic Church and/or that heretics or schematics who have reach the age of discernment  and have participated in and/or assent to any other church, religion or belief of any kind that is not the Catholic Faith or denied any dogma of the Catholic Faith, are in some way members of this same Catholic Church. Let that one be anathema.

Canon 3

If anyone says that the Church is divided or that it will be unified in a future time or in anyway believes the Catholic Church is not one. Let that one be anathema.

Canon 4
If anyone says that invincible ignorance suffices for salvation and the sacrament of Baptism, and that true Divine Faith are not necessary for salvation or those who are not members of the Church before they die can be saved. Let that one be anathema

Canon 5

If anyone twist membership in the Church to mean that a valid Sacramental Baptism is not necessary, and that such a person need not hold and believe the entire Catholic Faith and understand it the way the Church has always understood it -e.g. Athanasian Creed, Nicea Creed, or the Creed of Vatican I; or that anyone can attain membership in the Church after Pentecost by desire or by blood i.e. martyrdom for Jesus Christ, without receiving the Sacrament of Baptism. Let that one be anathema

Canon 6

If anyone says that a person can be in Sanctifying Grace outside of membership to the Catholic Church or twist the meaning of belonging to the membership of the Catholic Church as to mean membership can be unconscious for those reaching the
age of discernment and/or to those who do not believe in Jesus Christ in the way the Church has always believed in him; that is true God, true Man and Savior of the Human race or not to be subject to His Vicar--The Holy Father and Bishop of Rome, in the seat of St. Peter. Let that one be anathema

Canon 7

If anyone says that any human being can achieve the Beatific Vision, without receiving the Sacrament of Baptism. Let that one be anathema.

Canon 8

If anyone says that the Sacrament of Baptism, which is done with natural water, is not necessary for membership in the Catholic Church or that so called "baptism of desire" or "baptism of blood," without this sacrament, can give sanctifying grace outside the Church or make one a member of the Catholic Church; or that the Grace of Divine Faith is not necessary to be a member of the Catholic Church, which is received in the Sacrament of Baptism; or that subjection to the Vicar of Christ i.e. the Roman Pontiff is not necessary; or that all three of the preceding conditions of: the Sacrament of Baptism, Divine Faith, and subjection to the Vicar of Christ are not necessary for membership in the Catholic Church and eternal salvation. Let that one be anathema.

Canon 9

If anyone says that Sanctifying Grace is available to those outside the Catholic Church and Faith or that Actual Grace can not accompany elements of truth outside the Church, or that these Actual Graces do not have as their goal to bring souls to be members of the True Church--i.e. the Catholic Church. Let that one be anathema.

Canon 10

If anyone says that elements of truth or sacraments that are found in other denominations, religions, philosophy or other world views outside the Catholic Church can be effective to bring salvation without being a member of the Catholic Church. Let that one be anathema.


Canon 11

If anyone says that God's providence is to be subject to probability or that we can fully understand the mystery of His salvific plan in this life on earth. Let that one be anathema


Canon 12

If anyone says dogmatic statements defining a doctrine by Council or Ex-Cathedra statements by the Vicar of Christ, either their notion, reality, and expression can be developed and perfected,that is the meaning of the words used in any defined doctrine can be interpreted or the meaning of the exact words used in a different sense in which it has been defined by the Church. Let that one be anathema.


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