Vol 10 Issue 4 ~ Editor: Rev. Fr. Courtney Edward Krier
January 28, 2017 ~ Saint Peter Nolasco, opn!
1. Baptism: Means of Salvation (end)
2. Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
3. Saint Francis de Sales
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices
We have come to the conclusion of the Series on Baptism, and knowing that it was rather lengthy it was necessary that the Sacrament of Faith be clarified in an age where so many can present their opinions that it can become rather confusing. This is the paradox of our times, everyone has access to knowledge, but no one knows absolutely whether this knowledge is true today because so much error and opinion is interspersed. We, as Catholics, always have this clarity, even if there is not a living Pope on the Chair of Peter, because we have the teachings the Catholic Church has always held and in which we can return to confirm the Church, that is, Scripture, the Popes, and the Councils, have taught knowing that these teachings never change. This is why, when someone brings up a teaching that this person now insists we must believe, but we do not find taught previously, we can reject it as something the Church does not hold. If someone brings up a teaching which has already been condemned by the Church, and there is the condemnation of the teaching, showing that person the condemnation should be sufficient to convince them their error. But if, like Luther, Arius, Nestorius and all other heresiarchs who have not the humility to submit to the working of grace and accept Truth which the Church possesses, they cling to their error, they are in error, darkness, and without grace and salvation. In showing the errors of the Conciliar Church it is easy because they admit and one can see that the Church has not taught the errors the Conciliarist teach, but only those proposed by heresiarchs and the condemnation of these errors is easily referenced by looking at Church pronouncements.
As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit. —The Editor
Means of Salvation
Sacrament of Baptism
Baptism by Desire and Baptism in Blood
The difficulty in theology that one encounters is recognizing that if the Church teaches that something is dogma, it cannot be changed. When the Church declares that
1) Outside the Church there is no salvation (cf. Firmiter DB 430, Unam sanctam DB 468, Cantate Domino DB 714 et al.);
2) That only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized (cf. Exultate Deo DB 696, Council of Trent DB 895,Mystici Corporis DB 2286, Humani generis DB 2319 et al.);
3) That those who have baptism in voto (through desire, by blood or desire) are “within” the Church (cf. Council of Trent DB 796, Singulari quadem DB 1647, Quanto conficiamur moerore DB 1677, et al.);
4) That the Church is one, the Mystical Body of Christ, that is visible by its sacramental and hierarchical structure. There is no invisible Church, nor members who are the soul of the Church. (Apostles’ Creed, Nicene-ConstantinopolitanCreed DB 86, Mystici Corporis DB 2288, et al.).
One cannot say the Church contradicts herself or is in error, but accept the understanding she presents that rests on the fact that those who have baptism in voto are justified, that is, they have obtained the remission of sins, they possess sanctifying grace but do not have the membership that allows them to participate in the Sacramental life of the Church. It is akin to those who have committed a mortal sin and who, until they can confess, make a perfect act of love (contrition). Their sin is forgiven; but, they cannot properly receive the sacraments until they confess. If, in the mean time they die, they would still be admitted to salvation because remission of sin is sanctification. For baptism in voto, remission of sin (original and actual) is obtained which is also entrance into the kingdom of God, which makes them “within” the Church but not “members” of the Church.
The attempt to reconcile dogmas, which cannot be denied without denying the infallibility of the Church, is not to reject those teachings that seem to oppose the dogma one is defending, but to recognize that there is an understanding that one does not either know or one has given a false interpretation that does not allow an understanding within the bounds of the dogma. Pope Pius IX, not wishing to define how one is to understand the relationship between no salvation outside the Church and that of baptism in voto, stated as Catholic Faith:
For, it must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood; but, on the other hand, it is necessary to hold for certain that they who labor in ignorance of the true religion, if this ignorance is invincible, are not stained by any guilt in this matter in the eyes of God. Now, in truth, who would arrogate so much to himself as to mark the limits of such an ignorance, because of the nature and variety of peoples, regions, innate dispositions, and of so many other things? For, in truth, when released from these corporeal chains “we shall see God as He is” [ 1 John 3:2], we shall understand perfectly by how close and beautiful a bond divine mercy and justice are united; but, as long as we are on earth, weighed down by this mortal mass which blunts the soul, let us hold most firmly that, in accordance with Catholic teaching, there is “one God, one faith, one baptism” [ Eph. 4:5 ]; it is unlawful to proceed further in inquiry. (Allocution, Singulari quadem, Dec. 9, 1854; cf. DB 1647)
Pius IX, chose to stress that seeking to bring non-members should be of the utmost importance, not excusing why one need not attempt in everyway to bring in every way possible those who are not members to the waters of baptism.
But, just as the way of charity demands, let us pour forth continual prayers that all nations everywhere may be converted to Christ; and let us be devoted to the common salvation of men in proportion to our strength, “for the hand of the Lord is not shortened” [Isa. 9:1] and the gifts of heavenly grace will not be wanting those who sincerely wish and ask to be refreshed by this light. Truths of this sort should be deeply fixed in the minds of the faithful, lest they be corrupted by false doctrines, whose object is to foster an indifference toward religion, which we see spreading widely and growing strong for the destruction of souls.(Ibid.; cf. DB 1648)
In conclusion, those who would insist on rejecting the teaching of the Church concerning Baptism in voto are rejecting the authority of the Church, her infallibility and her indefectibility—the same attitude as the Conciliarists who also reject the teaching of the Church or interpret her dogmas differently than the Church has always taught. Again, one should take to heart the words of the Holy Office, as directed by Pope Pius XII, concerning Leonard Feeney:
We are bound by divine and Catholic faith to believe all those things which are contained in the word of God, whether it be Scripture or Tradition, and are proposed by the Church to be believed as divinely revealed, not only through solemn judgment but also through the ordinary and universal teaching office (magisterium).
Now, among those things which the Church has always preached and will never cease to preach there is also contained that infallible statement by which we are taught that there is no salvation outside the Church.
However, this dogma must be understood in the sense in which the Church itself understands it. For Our Saviour gave the things that are contained in the deposit of faith to be explained by the ecclesiastical magisterium and not by private judgments. (Suprema haec sacra)
And this is the same conclusion Joseph Fenton expresses when he summarizes:
There were many other inadequate explanations of this dogma current before the appearance of the Mystici Corporis and of the Suprema haec sacra. Some writers tried to restrict the meaning of the Church’s necessity for salvation to the fact that the gifts of grace whereby a man actually achieves salvation really belong to the Church. Others tried to make it appear that the visible Church itself was necessary for salvation only with the necessity of precept. Still others represented the attainment of salvation within the true Church /127/ as the “ideal” willed by God, but imagined that this salvation could be obtained elsewhere and otherwise in special circumstances.
The only method by which the dogma can be explained satisfactorily is that employed in the Supreme haec sacra. The Holy Office letter merely restates, in more detailed form, exactly what all of the declarations of the ecclesiastical magisterium have taught about the meaning of the Church’s necessity for the attainment of eternal salvation. Whatever progress there will be in the explanation of this dogma will come and must come along the line laid down in this Holy Office letter. Such is the teaching of the encyclical letter Humani generis.
The Humani generis is certainly one of the most important documents issued by the Holy See during the course of the twentieth century. The perspective of years will be needed for a proper appreciation of the beneficial effects it has brought into the teaching of sacred theology. Yet even today we can see clearly that one of its finest and most valuable lessons was contained in its brief reference to the dogma that the Catholic Church is really necessary for the attainment of eternal salvation.
It repudiated and condemned the practice, which, incidentally, had been all too frequent, of reducing this doctrine to an empty or vain formula. Actually this section of sacred theology or of Catholic doctrine was one in which inadequate or inaccurate teaching had precisely the effect of representing a part of Catholic teaching as mere meaningless verbiage. Almost every Catholic writer who touched in any way upon this subject began in some way with a consideration of and an assent to a definite formula: “No salvation outside the Church.” Most of the men who taught this subject in an incorrect or faulty manner managed, in the last analysis, to give the impression that, although Catholics are bound in conscience to accept this formula as true, it really means little or nothing.
That doctrinal tactic was and is completely erroneous. Moreover, it had and it could only have the most absolutely disastrous effects upon the people who were misled by it. These people were influenced to believe that a dogma of the Catholic Church, a teaching which the Church presents as a divinely revealed truth which all men are obliged to accept with the assent of divine faith, was, in the last analysis, something practically devoid of meaning. They were encouraged to imagine that a dogma which the Church’s magisterium had, in ages past, set forth as a part of divine public revelation, turned out, on further analysis, to be an empty set of words, which modern intellectual Catholics could accept only when they had been voided of the meaning they were manifestly meant to convey. Not to put too fine a point on it, the people who were encouraged to accept the faulty teachings repudiated in the Humani generis were put in a position to fancy that the Church was something less than sincere when it still insisted upon the dogma that there is no salvation outside the Church.
And, if a man could be deluded into imagining that the formulae employed by organs of the magisterium like the Fourth Lateran Council and the Cantate Domino to teach about the necessity of the Church did not mean what they said, he could just as easily be influenced to imagine that any other definition of the teaching Church was likewise devoid of any real significance. The worst doctrinal tendencies of our time found their expression in the heresy of Modernism, and it was a basic tenet of the Modernists that the declarations of the ecclesiastical magisterium are to be accepted only when they are interpreted to mean something different from what the Church originally and constantly taught that they mean. (Fenton, 127-129)
This concludes the series on Baptism. If you are desirous of the Bibliography, it will be sent upon request. If you wish the complete series (436 pages) as a Word file, please send an appropriate donation to Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church along with your email address and the request to have a copy of the Series on Baptism.
Fourth Sunday after Epiphany
Fr. Leonard Goffine
The Ecclesiastical Year (1880)
The Introit of this day’s Mass says: Adore God, all ye His angels: Sion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Juda rejoiced. The Lord hath reigned; let the earth rejoice; let the many islands be glad. (Ps. xcvi. 1.) Glory be to the Father, &c.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH.O God, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so great perils, that because of the frailty of our nature we cannot stand; grant to us health of mind and body, that those things which we suffer for our sins, we may by Thy aid overcome. Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord &c.
EPISTLE (Romans xiii. 8-10.) Brethren, owe no man anything, but to love one another; for he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law. For thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is comprised in this word: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The love of our neighbor worketh no evil. Love, therefore, is the fulfilling of the law.
What is meant by St Paul’s words: He that loveth his neighbor, hath fulfilled the law?
St. Augustine in reference to these words says: that he who loves his neighbor, fulfils as well the precepts of the first as of the second tablet of the law. The reason is, that the love of our neighbor contains and presupposes the love of God as its fountain and foundation. The neighbor must be loved on account of God; for the neighbor cannot be loved with true love, if we do not first love God. On this account, the holy Evangelist St. John in his old age, always gave the exhortation: Little children, love one another. And when asked why, he answered: Because it is the command of the Lord, and it is enough to fulfill it. Therefore in this love of the neighbor which comes from the love of God and is contained in it, consists the fulfillment of the whole law. (Matt. xxii. 40.)
GOSPEL (Matt. viii. 23-27) At that time, when Jesus entered into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves; but he was asleep. And they came to him and awaked him, saying: Lord, save us, we perish. And Jesus saith to them Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up, he commanded the winds and the sea, and there came a great calm. But the men wondered, saying: What manner of man is this, for the winds and the sea obey him?
Why did Christ sleep in the boat?
To test the faith and confidence of His disciples; to exercise them in enduring the persecutions which they were afterwards to endure; to teach us that we should not waver in the storms of temptations. St. Augustine writes: “Christ slept, and because of the danger the disciples were confused. Why? Because Christ slept. In like manner thy heart becomes confused, thy ship unquiet, when the waves of temptation break over it. Why? Because thy faith sleeps. Then thou shouldst awaken Christ in thy heart; then thy faith should be awakened, thy conscience quieted, thy ship calmed.”
Why did Christ reproach His disciples when they awaked Him and asked for help?
Because of their little faith and trust; for if they firmly believed Him to be true God, they would necessarily believe He could aid them sleeping as well as waking.
Nothing so displeases God as to doubt His powerful assistance. Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh (mortal man) his arm (aid), and whose heart departeth from the Lord. Blessed be the man that trusteth in the Lord, and the Lord shall be his confidence. (Jerem. XVII. 5. 7.) God sometimes permits storms to assail us, such as poverty, persecution, sickness, so that we may have occasion to put our confidence in Him alone. Of this St. Bernard very beautifully says: “When the world rages, when the wicked become furious, when the flesh turns against the spirit, I will hope in Him. Who ever trusted in Him, and was put to shame?” We should therefore trust in God only, and take refuge to Him, invoking Him as did the disciples: Lord, save us, we perish; or cry out with David: Arise, why sleepest thou, O Lord? Arise, and cast us not off to the end. (Ps. xliii. 23.)
Why did Jesus stand up and command the sea to be still?