Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Saturday, April 16, 2022

All Who Call Upon the Name of the Lord Shall Be Saved




 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never fail you nor forsake you. Hence we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Taking stock of one’s life from time and again is a necessary but forgotten tool with all the priorities of life vying for our attention.   While our pursuits of vocation and leisure time compete for our time,  we should never lose sight of our eternal perspective.  

Spiritual insight into the condition of our soul is primary.  If, in fact, we do have a Christian world view and wish to someday reside in heaven as a reward for a life lived in service to our King, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Then we should choose well the religion of our hearts and minds, knowing well the faith of our fathers.

To simplify our faith into a formulation that most can digest,  we must first look at the fundamental principles.  To be a Christian you must (1)Admit your sin,  (2)Believe in Jesus Christ, and (3)Make a public profession(ie. Baptism).  Our Christian faith rests on the the person of Christ, his ministry, and our commitment to his way.  

(1)Admitting our sin 

As we look inwardly, we see our own inability to do for ourselves what Christ was instrumental in completing through his sacrificial death on Calvary.  Because of our sinful nature which we inherited from our first parents Adam and Eve, we are void of the grace necessary to believe and carry out the life needed to gain heaven.  This is known as original sin.  God is the only one who can supply this prevenient grace, as well as, the actual grace which comes from the sacraments.  The Church is integral in supplying the grace we need through the sacraments:  Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Holy Orders, Marriage, and Extreme Unction.  But as God, he is not bound by his sacraments.  Other means of grace can flow through sacramentals(such as the Holy Rosary), the Baptism of desire, and to people who are invincibly ignorant.  However, the primary means is through water Baptism and the other sacraments.  Even with these alternatives to the primary means of salvation, we must remember the dogmatically defined principle of extra ecclesiam nulla salus(outside the church is no salvation).[Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence 1441, ex cathedra].  

(2)Believing in Jesus Christ

The Christian faith is an exclusive faith and as Christ said himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father, if not by me.”(John 14:6)  By believing in his atoning death on the cross, we are made just or justified in Gods sight.  Baptism is an outward sign of an inward grace that puts a mark on our soul, and removes original sin.  Sacramental regeneration is at the heart of Catholicism; to save souls and comfort the conscience of the faithful.  We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling before an awesome God. And our works play a role in our justification(ie. Sanctification).  These works of love prove our faith in a practical manner.

(3)Make a Public Profession

The tangible experience of “doing what the Church does” is an intentional practice of our traditional faith that carries on the Apostolic tradition all the way back to Christ.   As Christ was Baptized by John, so we are to be obedient to his example.  But also to the authority of the Church he founded by receiving the grace supplied by this sacrament, in a right intention, and using the correct mater of water. 

The person of Christ and his ministry can be seen clearly by reading the Gospels:


Blessings and Woes

“And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said:[b]

“Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

“Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.

“Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.

“But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation.

“Woe to you that are full now, for you shall hunger.

“Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.

“Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

Love for Enemies

“But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your cloak do not withhold your coat as well. Give to every one who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again. And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return;[c] and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Judging Others

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”

He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but every one when he is fully taught will be like his teacher. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”(Luke 6:20-42)


“The way”, was a name given to early Christian communities and not until the book of Acts do we find the word “Christian “ first used.  Christ founded his Church through his disciples, Apostles, and Peter- the rock on which, he said, he would build his Church.  The Papacy can be seen earlier than this through the typology of the Old Testament Davidic kingdom and in Isaiah 22:22 where we learn of the Apostolic succession.  


Sunday, March 13, 2022

TradCatKnight: The three baptisms by Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer




TradCatKnight: The three baptisms by Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer: The three baptisms by Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer  Originally featured in the March 1998 issue of The Angelus magazine. In the past th...

The Dark Knight: Transubstantiation & Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus

 

I am, and self identify as, a Catholic. One of a universal brotherhood of Christian believers who live and die with Christ our King. An ancient faith who’s origins predate the fall of the Roman Empire in 410A.D. by Alaric; even before Emperor Constantine 317A.D. there was a Church. The same Church of the Apostolic fathers such as Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp. 

If we read the early Church fathers, we see a faith which believed in the real presence of Christ himself, body, blood, soul, and divinity, contained within the Holy Eucharistic. Transubstansiation as the One Holy Catholic And Apostolic Church teaches, is in fact a mid evil philosophical understanding of our perception of matter, and our metaphysical interpretation of a mystery that cannot be fully understood by the finite human mind. We only need to accept and be docile to the Sacred Tradition of our Church, or if need be look directly into the Holy Scriptures themselves:

52The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. 54He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. 55For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. 56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. 57As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever.“(John 6:55-59, Douay-Rheims)

It is obvious by this passage that Christ was speaking in the literal sense because he becomes even more emphatic by verse 55, “for my flesh is meat indeed.” And again of his blood, “my blood is drink indeed.” Continuing to verse 66, we read, “After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.” He does not correct their misunderstanding, or offer an alternative to this “literal” interpretation, but lets his words stand. 

At the Council of Trent, this dogma was codified: “if any one shall say that in the most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist the substance of the bread and wine remains, together with the body and blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.”(session xiii, can 4.)

Your private interpretation is not required, only your submission to the one authority which is Christ. In his Word, in his Church, or in his Sacred Tradition. God is calling his faithful back to their home, his bride the Church. Not any church but the one founded by Christ. Choose well your religion, as your eternal destiny is determined, not only for the here and now, but forever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Outside the church is no salvation

“It firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the catholic church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the catholic church before the end of their lives;”{Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Cantate Domino, 1441, ex cathedra}

Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus

(Outside the Church is no salvation)

To know God and to be justified in His sight is the age old struggle of sinful man reaching out into the abyss of wonder that is the life of faith.

The search for God begins, not with man, but in the mind of God who initiates the relationship with man by His general revelation; through the natural creation that He uses as a preparative means to His initial grace, or actual grace, that he imparts to those He has elected before the foundations of the world in His divine sovereignty. General revelation is just one means God uses; as scripture says, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” (Psalm 19:1)

God also has given us the gift of His primary means of grace, which is the special revelation of the Divine Word of God: the Bible. “The grass withers, the flower fades; but the Word of our God will stand forever.” (Isaiah 40:8) Also, together, with the tradition of the Church, God has delivered to us the complete “deposit of the faith.”

Justification is the act of cleansing us from our sins, and to communicate to us the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ and Baptism. It detaches man from sin. Justification has been merited for us by the passion of Christ. Justification establishes cooperation between God’s grace and man’s freedom.

Eternal life is supernatural and depends entirely on God’s gracious initiative. However, “we cannot put God in a box”, as they say, so it is God who has the prerogative to work outside the parameters of what we understand as the sacramental system (extrasacramentally).

“Concerning this doctrine the Pope of Vatican I, Pius IX, spoke on two different occasions. In an allocution on December 9, 1854 he said:

“we must hold as of the faith, that out of the Apostolic Roman Church there is no salvation; that she is the only ark of safety, and whosoever is not in her perishes in the deluge; we must also, on the other hand, recognize with certainty that those who are invincible in ignorance of the true religion are not guilty for this in the eyes of the Lord. And who would presume to mark out the limits of this ignorance according to the character and diversity of peoples, countries, minds, and the rest?”

Again, in his encyclical Quanto Conficiamur Moerore of August 10, 1863 addressed to the Italian bishops, he said:

“It is known to us and you that those who are invincibly ignorant of our most holy religion, but who observe carefully the natural law, and the precepts graven by God upon the hearts of all men, and who being disposed to obey God lead an honest and upright life, may, aided by the light of divine grace, attain to eternal life; for God who sees clearly, searches and knows the heart, the disposition, the thoughts and intentions of each, in his supreme mercy and goodness by no means permits that anyone suffer eternal punishment, who has not of his own free will fallen into sin.”(Outside the Church There is No Salvation, EWTN.com)

For an example let us look to scripture where we find in Romans 2:14-15

“For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature those things which are of the

law, such persons, not having the law, are a law unto themselves.

For they reveal the work of the law written in their hearts, while their conscience renders testimony about them, and their thoughts within themselves also accuse or even defend them.” (CPDV)

This is the most convincing evidence. For the Apostle Paul, himself, allows for God’s mercy to work outside the parameters of the known, established Church; Seeing that Gentiles can also be saved, who do not have any knowledge of the law, and yet if they do what their conscience tells them is right, they are either accused or excused by their own conscience. Paul goes on to say in verse 16, “on that day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.”

Also, John 15:22

“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.” (RSV)

In the context of this verse, Jesus is talking about the world’s hatred toward him and those who choose to follow him. But we can also see an implicit meaning in what he says about those who he came and spoke to not being under as great a judgement as those who have heard; we who have the knowledge of the truth, are under a greater judgement, and have no excuse. But if we follow the logic of this argument, we see those who are ignorant of the Gospel, are said to not have sin.

John 9:41

“Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”(RSV)

Spiritual blindness is being discussed in this passage, and Jesus again implies that if we were blind we would have no guilt. This does not mean that they were free of sinful nature inherited from Adam, but that they would have no guilt for violating specific teaching or commands that they had received. Because the Pharisees thought they had great insight into the law of God and were able to see, they had more guilt than the person who had no knowledge.

And, Acts 10:1-4

“Now there was a certain man in Caesarea, named Cornelius, a centurion of the band, which is called the Italian, a religious man, and one that feared God, with all his house, giving much alms to people, and praying to God always: He saw in a vision manifestly, about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming in to him, and saying to him: Cornelius. And he beholding him, being seized with fear, said: What is it Lord? And he said to him: Thy prayers, and thy alms, have ascended for a memorial in the sight of God.”(Douay Rheims)

“A religious man and one who feared God. He was not a Jew, yet believed in God.—always, that is, frequently praying, and giving alms. In the Rheims Testament we find this note: ’hereby it appeareth, that such works as are done before justification, though they suffice not to salvation, yet are acceptable preparatives for the grace of justification, and such as move God to mercy….though all such preparative works come also of grace. Cornelius religiously observed the law of nature, and the principle points of the Jewish moral law, though he did not profess Judaism. He was an admirable example of virtue before his knowledge of Christianity.” (Haydock’s Catholic Bible Commentary)

Also, in all three of the synoptic Gospels Christ uses this phrase, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”(Matthew 9:13, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:32) How may we understand this? Did Christ only come to call sinners? No! He came, suffered, and died for the whole world: his sacrifice was sufficient for everyone. So, if we allow, as the Church does, for two senses of interpreting scripture, literal as well as spiritual, then it can be implicitly argued that Jesus was saying, there are some who through their faithful righteous lives will be saved. “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”(James 2:24 RSV) Although, we acknowledge that these preparatory works come only from God’s grace.

The Church fathers also have something to say on this issue.

Justin Martyr

“We have been taught that Christ is the first-begotten of God, and we have declared him to be the logos of which all mankind partakes [John 1:9]. Those, therefore, who lived according to reason [Greek, logos] were really Christians, even though they were thought to be atheists, such as, among the Greeks, Socrates, Heraclitus, and others like them…. Those who lived before Christ but did not live according to reason [logos] were wicked men, and enemies of Christ, and murderers of those who did live now according to reason [logos] are Christians. Such as these can be confident and unafraid.” (First Apology 46[A.D. 151]).

So we see that through reason we can find our way to God; this I would also call one of God’s means of grace, leading us to Him. If we are guided by our reason and seek God diligently, this is a type of faith. “And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

Origen

“There was never a time when God did not want men to be just; he was always concerned about that. Indeed, he always provided beings endowed with reason with occasions for practicing virtue and doing what is right. In every generation the wisdom of God descended into those souls which he found holy and made them to be prophets and friends of God.” (Against Celsus 4:7[A.D. 248]).

In the book of Job we read “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God, and turned away from evil.” This book is one of the oldest in the Bible, and as yet there is no clear belief in the afterlife with its rewards and punishments; still less is there anything coming close to the revelation of the New Testament as in the time of Christ. The book takes its name from a holy man, who is probably of the race of Esau. So, he was not a Hebrew, but an Edomite from the kingdom of Jobab (Genesis 36:33). The time of the Job is most likely during the Egyptian bondage, or the wilderness wanderings. [Hadock’s Catholic Bible Commentary]

If it is said that Job was blameless, upright, and feared God, then how did he obtain his faith? He had no scriptures (direct revelation), he was outside the people of God, the Israelites. No one to preach to him. How? My point of all this is to say that God chose Job by his sovereignty, and then by his general grace drew Job to himself, and finally made him blameless. How? How was he made blameless? In verse 5 we read “Job offered burnt offerings” for his sons and daughters, in case they had sinned. Somehow God imparted this knowledge to Job; whether it was oral tradition or common knowledge passed on from the time of Cain and Able. Regardless, God found a way to impart wisdom into the soul of Job, and justify him.

The Necessity for Membership of the Church

Membership of the Church is necessary for all men for salvation(De fide.)

Dr. Ludwig Ott talks on this subject in his “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” This book is a conspectus of all Dogmatic Theology.

“Nevertheless equally certainly it is to be held that those who suffer from invincible ignorance of the true religion, are not for this reason guilty in the eyes of the Lord”(D 1647). The last proposition holds out the possibility that people who in point of fact do not belong to the Church can achieve salvation.

The necessity for belonging to the Church is not merely a necessity of precept (necessitas praecepti), but also a necessity of means (nec. Medii), as the comparison with the Ark, the means of salvation from the biblical flood, plainly shows. The necessity of means is, however, not an absolute necessity, but a hypothetical one. In special circumstances, namely, in the case of invincible ignorance or of incapability, actual membership of the Church can be replaced by the desire (votum) for the same. This need not be expressly present (explicite), but can also be included in the moral readiness faithfully to fulfill the will of God (votum implicitum). In this manner also those who are in fact outside the Catholic Church can achieve salvation….That those who, in innocent ignorance, do not know the true Church of Christ, but who are never the less ready to bow to the demands of the Divine Will, will not be cast out, springs from the Divine Justice, and from the doctrine of God’s general will of salvation, which is clearly proved in the scriptures.” [Fundamental of Catholic Dogma, P.312]

“Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4).

Saint Irenaeus wrote that:

“In the efficacy of the spirit all those have no part, who do not hasten to the Church; rather they, by their evil teaching and their evil deeds, rob themselves of life. For where the Church is, there is also the spirit of God, and where the spirit of God is, there is the Church and all grace.” (Adv. Haer. III 24,I).

“In view of the stress laid upon the necessity of membership of the Church for salvation it is understandable that the possibility of salvation for those outside the Church is mentioned only hesitantly.” [Fundamental of Catholic Dogma, P.313] “Saint Thomas Aquinas, agreeing with Tradition, teaches the general necessity of the Church for salvation. On the other hand, he concedes that a person may be saved extrasacramentally by baptism of desire and therefore the possibility of salvation without actual membership of the Church by reason of a desire to be a member of the Church.”[Ibid] The holy synod professes that “God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world, by the natural light of human reason” (Romans 1:20). [Vatican Council I, Dogmatic Constitution on our Catholic Faith]

A distinction needs to be made here between dogmatic tolerance and civil tolerance. Dogmatic tolerance is rejected by the Church which would legitimately make all religions of the same value, when it comes to justification; also known as indifferentism. Civil tolerance is propagating the commandment of love of neighbor towards all men, even those in error.

PUBLISHED BY

Seek First the Kingdom of God...

Baptized into Christ in 1991, Confirmation in 2015. Convert to Catholicism. I am married and the father of two sons. My education includes a B.A. in Geography and Urban planning. My interests are in reading the Bible and good books like Will Durant's, THE STORY OF CIVILIZATION. 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

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