Friday, December 18, 2009

Cardinal Charles Journet on EENS

Cardinal Journet has a section on the dogma "no salvation outside the Church" in his work, "Church of the Word Incarnate" This can be found on EWTN:

I reproduce the relevant section here:

3. The Meaning Of The Maxim "Outside The Church No Salvation"

It is at the precise point at which God, by the two-fold power of the apostolic hierarchy, makes contact with men that we must look for the created soul of the Church, and then go on to study the body it animates. For the created soul and the body of the Church are, of themselves, coextensive—in other words, the created soul does not extend beyond its body, nor the body beyond its soul. "The faithful" wrote St. Augustine," must become the Body of Christ if they would live by the Spirit of Christ. Understand, my brothers, what I have said. You are a man, you have a spirit and you have a body. A spirit, I say, called the soul, by which it appears that you are man, because composed of soul and body. You have then an invisible spirit and a visible body. Tell me now, which of these two lives by the other—is it your spirit that lives by your body, or your body by your spirit? Every living man will know how to reply, and if anyone cannot reply I know not whether he lives. And what does every living man reply? That it is the body, of course, that lives by the spirit. Would you then, for your part, live by the Spirit of Christ? Then be in the Body of Christ. Does my body live by your spirit? Mine lives by my spirit, and yours by yours. The Body of Christ cannot live at all, if not by the Spirit of Christ." He adds a little further on: "It is the Spirit that quickens, for it is the spirit that makes the members live. It gives life to those members only whom it finds in the body it quickens. The spirit that is in you, O man, and by which you are a man—does it then quicken any member that has been separated from your flesh? Your spirit is what I call your soul, and your soul quickens only those members that are in your body; if you cut off any one of them it soon ceases to be quickened by your soul, since it has no longer any share in the unity of your body. I say these things that you should learn to love unity and fear separation. The Christian should fear nothing so much as separation from the Body of Christ. Once he is separated he is no longer a member of Christ; and if he is not a member of Christ he is no longer quickened by the Spirit of Christ. For, says the Apostle, he who has not the Spirit of Christ, is not of Christ."[80] The fundamental law of the coextension of the created soul and body of the Church is not contradicted by the fact that sanctifying grace may be found among the unbaptized or the non-Catholic baptized. There are two reasons for this. First of all, grace has to be sacramental and duly orientated before it contributes to the constitution of the perfect soul of the Church; and secondly, although the soul of the Church is only prefigured where the sacramental character, or sacramental grace, or orientated grace are lacking, yet the body of the Church begins to be prefigured there too. Nor is the fundamental law of the co-extension of the created soul and body of the Church contradicted by the fact that many sinners lacking grace continue to be members of the Church; for it can be said that to the extent to which they still adhere to the Church these sinners receive spiritual influences which emanate from the entire soul of the Church, which in this sense is in them by its efficiency and, as it were, dynamically.

The preachers and apologists of the nineteenth century rather lost sight of St. Augustine's great doctrine. How were they to reconcile the axiom "Outside the Church, no salvation"[81] with the doctrine, everywhere received, that those who remain ignorant of the Church in good faith may nevertheless be in a state of grace and in the way to save their souls? Protestantism, prompt to dissociate invisible realities from visible, answered that there exists an "invisible Church" to which the just of all times belong, and a "visible Church" (or many visible Churches) which nobody is bound to enter. A certain number of Catholic writers, without wishing to dislocate the Church in this manner, imagined that her soul, i. e. sanctifying grace as they said, extended far beyond the limits of her body. They added that the just who in good faith remain ignorant of the Church, belong to the soul of the Church, and are therefore not outside her.

In the first place, however, such a mode of distinguishing the soul and body of the Church is without foundation in the authentic documents of the magisterium.[82] It would seem to have been influenced by the Protestant conception of a "spiritual Church", distinct from the "visible Church"[83], and its use appears to be dangerous.[84] On the other hand we can easily see that the soul of the Church is not sanctifying grace pure and simple, as found in those who remain ignorant of the Church in good faith, but sanctifying grace as transmitted by the sacramental power and ruled by the jurisdictional power.

To reconcile the axiom "Outside the Church, no salvation", with the doctrine of the possible salvation of those who remain ignorant of the Church in all good faith, there is no need to manufacture any new theory. All we have to do is to apply to the Church the traditional distinction made in connection with the necessity of Baptism, the door by which the Church is entered. To the question: Can anybody be saved without Baptism? St. Thomas, who here draws on the thought of St. Ambrose, replies that those who lack Baptism re et voto, that is to say who neither are nor want to be baptized, cannot come to salvation, "since they are neither sacramentally nor mentally incorporated into Christ, by whom alone is salvation". But those who lack Baptism re, sed non voto, that is to say "who desire Baptism, but are accidentally overtaken by death before receiving it, can be saved without actual Baptism, in virtue of their desire for Baptism, coming from a faith that works by charity, by which God, whose power is not circumscribed by visible sacraments, sanctifies man interiorly".[85] Conformably with this distinction we shall say that the axiom "No salvation outside the Church" is true of those who do not belong to the Church, which in herself is visible, either visibly (corporaliter) or even invisibly, either by the sacraments (sacramentaliter) or even in spirit (mentaliter); either fully (re) or even by desire (voto); either in accomplished act or even in virtual act.[86] The axiom does not concern the just who, without yet belonging to the Church visibly, in accomplished act (re), do so invisibly, in virtual act, in spirit, by desire (mentaliter, voto), that is to say in virtue of the supernatural righteousness of their lives, even while, through insurmountable ignorance, they know nothing of the sanctity, or even of the existence, of the Church.[87]

4. The Just "Without" Belong To The Church By Desire, Not In Accomplished Act

I do not say that there is no supernatural life at all outside the Church, but simply that there is none that does not look towards her.[88] As preliminary to a deeper study of the soul of the Church, let us examine more closely the position of the just "outside".

They are to be found either in those groups which lack the sacraments of the New Law (paganism, Islam, Judaism, and Protestant sects such as the Quakers), or in those groups which, while separating themselves from the Church, have kept, among other good things, various genuine sacraments. (We may call them dissidents: Graeco-Russians, and traditionalist Protestants.) [89]

1. The just of the first category enjoy supernatural life—i. e. sanctifying grace issuing in the infused virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The whole tendency of this life is to grow towards completion, to enrich itself with those modalities which grace possesses in the sacred humanity of Christ, to open out, in a word, into that sacramental grace which, as we have seen, is a primary and fundamental element of the soul of the Church. It thus creates in those who have it a kind of living aspiration to that soul, a real and ontological desire for the Church. Men of this sort are of the Church, say the theologians, not yet re but already voto, mentaliter, by desire. Membership re and membership voto are here opposed, not as real membership to unreal, but as actual, consummated ontological membership to virtual, prefigured ontological membership, as membership in achieved act to membership in virtual act. Membership re, visible, corporeal, terminal, achieved, may be compared with membership voto, invisible, spiritual, prefigured, of desire; as the plant in flower is compared with the plant in bud; or, to take Bellarmine's comparison, as the man with the child still hidden in his mother's womb.[90]

However reduced may be the activities of grace in such souls, they will still be in need of speculative and practical directives. They must know, for example—if they are to believe in them supernaturally—of the existence and providence of God, of the principles of morality and so on. Data of this sort are doubtless woven into the religious and cultural web within which they live, but are bound to be vitiated by endless errors. Each will have to do what he can on his own account, under the inner influence of the Holy Spirit who fails no one—though we may all too easily mistake our own voice for His—to sift the true from the false, the good from the bad. There will be omissions and inaccuracies, more or less serious according to the religious group concerned—Judaism for example or Islam being more helpful than paganism, itself a thing of many degrees. In so far as these religions shut out the truth they are instruments of darkness; but by such truths as they have retained (or perhaps regained), they may, however accidentally and imperfectly, be sources of light for millions of souls inwardly sustained by the Holy Spirit.

2. The just of the second category, the dissident groups, are in a better position. Like the rest, they belong to the Church not completely—not re—but in a way that is initial, virtual, beginning, voto. Note however that membership by desire is realized in an analogous or proportional manner; more feebly in the first category, and to a greater degree of perfection in the second, where certain genuine sacraments of the New Law have been retained, along with numerous traditional data in the speculative and practical orders.

The Graeco-Russian dissidents have kept the power of order with its three degrees: bishops, priests, and deacons. It has been perpetuated among them in virtue of the validly transmitted consecration of those who first made the schism. Thanks to the power of order the redemptive sacrifice is offered and the sacraments preserved: Baptism undoubtedly, and Confirmation, enabling the laity to partake to a certain extent of the sacerdotal power of Christ; the Eucharist too, the end of all the other sacraments, which of itself, whenever it is received with the right dispositions, tends to bestow spiritual life—not, like Baptism, in an inchoate state, but in a consummated state [91]—and to form the Church, the Body of Christ, the "sacrament of piety, the sign of unity, the bond of charity."[92] The just who belong to these Graeco-Russian groups truly possess, besides the triple sacramental character that enables them validly to continue the celebration of the Christian rite, that sacramental grace which though not, in isolation, the soul of the Church, is nevertheless a primary and fundamental constituent of the soul of the Church.

Those dissident groups of the Reformed in which Baptism is still validly administered—whose marriages are therefore held by the Roman Church to be authentically sacramental [93]—can still participate, but in an attenuated way, in the sacramental benefits: the sacerdotal power of Christ is imparted to them only in Baptism, sacramental grace only in Baptism and the sacrament of Matrimony.

As to the supernatural directives needed to give sacramental grace its collective orientation and the final perfection which will make it the soul of the Church, an immanent form uniting, ruling, and vivifying the whole Mystical Body of Christ, they exist outside the Catholic Church as doctrinal patterns—much more important and closely organized in Graeco-Russian Christianity, where the process of separation has not gone so far, than in the Protestant variety, and much more important in Protestantism, where the two Testaments are respected, than in the religions of the non-baptized. That the number of the sacraments should diminish with the value of these doctrinal patterns is easy to understand. When the Protestants of England ceased to believe in the Eucharist their ordinations ceased to be valid, and the power of order lost its divine significance.[94] Today, the Protestant modernists, who do not believe in original sin, no longer attach any great importance to the reception of Baptism. The denial of any divine power of jurisdiction, and the consequent denial of any infallible truth in dogmatic pronouncements, tends of itself to the suppression of the sacramental power.

3. In the unbaptized just, and in those of the Protestant and Graeco-Russian groups, the soul of the Church is, as it were, in formation, yet can nowhere come to fulfilment. For even where sacramental grace attains the fullness of its being and of its modalities, as among the Graeco-Russians, it lacks light, encountering directives which are not always sufficient and not always certain, neither infallibly guaranteed as a whole nor protected from the corrosive influence of modern errors; and it cannot possibly achieve that plenitude which would issue in the created soul of the Church, the immanent ruling form of the Mystical Body of Christ.

It is important to note here that when we say that the Church is in formation outside the Church, we are looking at things in a way which, from an ecclesiological standpoint, is accidental and secondary. We mean that those who broke with the Church took with them certain good things which by their very nature belong to her. In themselves, in virtue of their own internal exigencies, these scattered fragments demand to be reintegrated in the Church, and we know that the universal saving virtue of the God of mercy works mysteriously and incessantly for their reintegration. But clearly this reintegrating movement works in precisely the opposite direction to the original movement by which the dissident Churches cut themselves off from the true Church, and it can gain ground only by sapping the specific principle by which these Churches willed, and still will, to differ from the true Church. Outside the Church the Church is in formation, but this comes about accidentally, by violence done to the course things have taken. Outside the Church, the Church, of itself, is in decomposition. Any fragments of life broken off from her are no sooner detached from their native whole and subjected to the influence of the principle of dissidence, than they begin to disintegrate and decay.

Thus it is entirely right to hold that the struggle of light against darkness is the struggle of the Church against the world; but we must add that even in this world the Church has One who works for her in secret, the hidden God who mysteriously enlightens every man, whose wisdom reaches from end to end of the universe, and who does not reap where He has not sown.

Other things being equal—that is to say, supposing an equal intensity of charity everywhere—membership of the Church by desire possesses a greater and greater degree of perfection as we pass from the non-baptized just to those of the traditionalist Protestant Churches, and then to those of the Graeco-Russian Churches. But by a very disconcerting paradox, the movement of conversion to the Church is not necessarily in direct, but rather in inverse, ratio to the religious perfection of these various groups. It may be that there is some mystery here like that of the Gentiles, whose conversion en masse is to precede the entry of Israel into the Church.

5. The Different A Attitudes That May Co-Exist With Membership By Desire

Turning now from groups of believers to individual persons, we note that membership by desire—that is to say the authentic movement of charity which effectively unites a soul to the Church—may co-exist with very diverse attitudes of mind, some of which may strike the faithful as rather strange. But it is not for the faithful, or for the theologians or even for the jurisdictional authority, to be the final judge of the salvation of each particular soul. That is for God alone. There are three typical attitudes, around which we may easily group the others.

First there is that of the catechumens. They have expressly asked for Baptism and the gates of the Church, which they know to be the Body of Christ, stand open before them. Their desire for her is fully conscious and explicit.

The second attitude is that of the unbaptized child who awakes at one and the same time to the life of reason and to the life of faith, and turns to his last end with a profound aspiration which will count as Baptism by desire and will bring him to the heart of the Kingdom of God.[95] One grown to manhood in the forests, away from the company of men, and suddenly illumined by an inner inspiration showing him what to believe, would be in a similar position.[96] In these two cases, and others like them, the desire that saves these men, though it springs from a faith vitalized by charity, is not always accompanied by explicit knowledge of Baptism or of the Church, nor even perhaps of the Incarnation and the Trinity: the explicit content of faith then amounting to two points which, in the supereminent mystery of their riches, contain all the articles of the creed: namely that "God is, and rewards those who seek after Him" (Heb. xi. 6).

The third attitude is that of men who are aware of the existence and activity of the Church, but who, far from seeming to move towards her, show themselves ill-disposed, perhaps oppose her with all their conscious powers, even persecute her; and yet do this because of insurmountable errors for which God does not hold them responsible, sincerely convinced as they are that they work for justice and truth. Their hostility to the Church can coexist with an authentic movement of faith working by charity, which attaches them closely to the very Church that they detest, but whose sons they already are. Newman had long given up "choosing his way" and was content to be led by the divine light; yet still the Church of Rome seemed to him to be allied with Antichrist. There are more things in a man's heart than are dreamt of in his philosophy; or even, often enough, in his theology.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Albert the Great on Implicit Faith

Article 4
Whether an article [of faith] binds one to believe explicitly or implicitly?

To the fourth is sought, when it is said that an article binds one to believe, whether it binds one to believe explicitly or implicitly?

Now it seems that it binds one to believe implicitly.

1. By authorities: for man is not bound to believe those things said which in no way are made clear to the understanding, from which proceeds everything believable, as was established above. But what even the angels do not know, in no way are clear to man. “Who is this who comes from Edom?”(Isaiah 63:1) A gloss of Jerome says on this: “It is declared openly, that certain angels did not fully know the mystery of the incarnation, until it was accomplished.”

2. The same [is shown] from the letter to the Ephesians: “That the manifold wisdom of God may be made known to the princes and powers in the heavens, etc.” (Ephesians 3:10) Therefore it seems that neither is man bound to know this explicitly.

3. The same [is shown] from Chrysostom in his third homily upon John: “We are greatly honored, because the angels learned together with us by the voice of John.”

4. The same [is shown] by the verse “Collect the fragments which abound lest they be wasted,” (John 6:12) the Gloss says: “The fragments are the sacred mysteries, which the common people cannot grasp.” Therefore it seems that one is not bound to believe the articles [of faith] explicitly.

5. The same [is shown] from the letter to the Ephesians “What is the dispensation of the mystery hidden from eternity in God,” (Ephesians 3:9) the Gloss says “I.e, kept secret from every age of creatures, and existing only in the knowledge of God.”

6. The same [is shown] by reason thus: In the demonstration of knowable things, something happens to be known implicitly in the universal, which nevertheless can be doubted in the particular; just as we know universally that every triangle has three angles equal to two rights, and nevertheless I am able to doubt of this wooden triangle whether it has three angles equal to two rights. Therefore much more can this happen in faith, which is wholly above reason.

7. The same [is shown thus]: if it should be said that the articles [of faith] bind to explicit belief, already many would have been damned, and would be damned even today, who do not know the distinction of the articles [of faith].

8. Furthermore, according to this even other things than the articles [of faith] would bind to belief: because it is said “By faith we understand the world to have been framed by the word of God, that from invisible things visible should be made.”

9. The same [is shown thus]: By faith Moses, having been born was hidden for three months, etc. Also by faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with the unbelievers, and there are many of these sort of thing which do not belong to the articles [of faith], and nevertheless they are received under faith as following faith. Therefore it seems that someone is not bound to believe explicitly.

10. Furthermore, this is said in the letter in the second part of the distinction.

Sed Contra:

1. Boethius says that evil is not avoided unless known: but one is bound to avoid infidelity against any article [of faith]. Therefore one is bound to know something explicitly.

2. The same [is shown from the verse] “But I testify to every man circumcising himself, that he is a debtor to perform the whole law.” Therefore likewise, to the one receiving faith it is necessary to believe all the articles [of faith] explicitly.

3. The same [is shown thus]: if it sufficed one to believe implicitly omnipotence and redemption in any manner one wishes, then all the philosophers and many heretics had implicit faith: but this is false. Therefore explicit faith is required.

4. The same [is shown from Leviticus]. it is said of the cleansing of the leper, “He shall offer for his own cleansing a sextarium of oil” and the Gloss says, that the sextarium of oil is the measure of faith, which if it is more, overflows, but if less, it is deficient. Therefore one is bound to offer the whole measure of the articles [of faith].

5. The same [is shown from Deuteronomy]. Moses is commanded that clearly and openly he should write upon the rocks, and the Gloss says that the rocks are the common people. Therefore one is bound to believe the articles [of faith] clearly and distinctly.

6. Likewise, faith is from hearing, but hearing through the word of Christ, as it is said in Romans X, 17. But hearing explains all things, and similarly the word of God proposes nothing implicitly: therefore it seems that the faithful also ought to believe something explicitly.

7. Likewise, we see that common people are held and examined about the most hidden articles of Faith: and if they are found to fall away and to be ignorant, they are considered as heretics: therefore it seems that they are bound to know and believe explicitly.

8. Likewise, let us suppose that a certain simple old and pious person, who has reverence for his pastor, of whom he knows no evil, hears heresy from his own pastor and believes it, because he thinks whatever he says ought to be believed. Surely we would not say that he is damned if he dies in such a state? Or if it becomes known, surely he would not be burned as a heretic? It seems not, because ignorance excuses from the whole. But if you should say that he should be burned, it follows that he will be bound to know the articles [of faith] explicitly, even if not taught by another: because if he should be taught, it will be necessary for him to be taught by his own pastor.

9. Likewise, Charity concerns loving God and neighbor, and it is necessary to know both distinctly. Therefore since Faith is related in a similar way to the articles [of Faith], it seems that faith ought to know distinctly the articles [of Faith].

Solution. Without precedent, I say that neither before the coming [of Christ], nor after, is one bound to explicitly know the articles [of Faith] without divine revelation and teaching, but implicitly; but with this supposition [held] most certainly without doubt: that revelation belongs to the Church, and is always made by the Church. And whoever are greater, are called such because by them others are instructed: And this is done in one way now, in another way formerly. For formerly revelation was made for the manifestion of the articles[of Faith], but now it is made for their exposition, because everything has been declared which is necessary to be believed. Therefore simple people before and after the coming, are not bound to believe explicitly, but implicitly only, except inasmuch they are taught by greater people, and are able through teaching to perceive with understanding. Those who preceded [the coming] were less bound on account of the teaching which was then in shadow, but those who came after are more bound on account of the open teaching of the truth.

It should be said therefore to the first against what is objected, that Boethius speaks the truth. But there is a twofold knowledge, namely, explicit and implicit. For it is not necessary for me to know every evil in particular, but only under the counsel of the wise, so that if something should happen which is uncertain whether it is evil, I may go to the wise, and I will avoid [making] this judgment. Likewise, if a new doctrine is proposed in the Faith, I may go to a priest, and I may believe his judgment, or not.

To the next it should be said that he is a debtor to the whole of Faith implicitly, so that he may disbelieve nothing of the whole.

To the next it should be said that philosophers and heretics do not believe implicitly, because they disbelieve. But the man who believes implicitly does not disbelieve any article, although he does not know them explicitly.

To the next it should be said that the measure is filled by not disbelieving anything, as was said.

To the next it should be said that this is a caution to explain often and clearly to the laity. But this can be done now in the time of grace, and nevertheless because they have a dull sense, they are not bound to understand explicitly just as it is explained to them. For they receive the explanation according to the power of their own understanding, and not according to the will of the one explaining. But before the coming this could not happen except as the time then permitted, namely in shadows and types. And these were bound less than those.

To the next it should be said that although faith is received distinctly in hearing, nevertheless by the simple that which is heard is not understood, except under a covering, and not distinctly, just as was said before.

To the next it should be said that the laity should not be considered heretics because they do not know to distinguish some articles. But they should be considered heretics when they pertinaciously contradict them when they are explained to them. For they cannot be considered heretics unless they have already received something from heretics contrary to the articles of faith; for if they should be burned because they do not know to distinguish or explicate the articles, the inquisitors themselves ought to be burned, since neither do they know many things well.

To the next it should be said that, in this case the Doctors answer in doubt; but nevertheless all are in agreement that it is a mortal sin to disbelieve an article pertinaciously. But if someone doubts an article while being prepared to change, they say that it is a human temptation. Whence certain persons said that if such a one should persevere in pius works, insofar as he is able, God would illumine her to not believe the priest in such a teaching. But if she does not do whatever she can, then it would be imputed to her own blindness. But this response is uncertain, and cannot be supported by any reason. Therefore others said differently, that if it is about a clear articles which is solemnized in the Church, then she ought to speak to other people, to see whether it is commonly said. For faith is not of an individual, but held in common. And thus she could be instructed. However, if it concerns some more hidden teaching, as for example that fornication is not a sin, or that the body of Christ is not on the altar, but is signified, she ought not to receive this because it is above her own powers, [to understand whether or not it is true] except under the condition that the universal church believes this. And thus she would remain in implicit faith, especially in the case concerning the body of Christ, since in the case of fornication, even the very baseness of its act shows that it is a mortal sin. Nevertheless, this latter case happens often in confession, on account of the lust of the priest who tries to persuade women of this.

To the last it should be said that the case is not similar with charity. For charity is not concerned with the account [of God and neighbor], but only with the object, and it does not distinguish [between God and neighbor], since it loves neighbor only materially; but faith is mixed with a certain knowledge and understanding, and not all are capable of this understanding.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Upcoming text from Albert the Great

I am currently in the process of translating a passage from St. Albert the Great, on whether or not implicit faith is sufficient for salvation. It should be done in the next couple days.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Cardinal Newman on Salvation Outside the Church, Part III

I am speaking of the mass of the population; and, at first sight, it is a very serious question, whether the population can be said to be simply gifted with divine faith, any more than our own Protestant people; yet I would as little dare to deny or to limit exceptions to this remark, as I would deny them or limit them among ourselves. Let there be as many exceptions, as there can be found tokens of their being; and the more they are, to God the greater praise! [As Pius IX says, "Now, then, who could presume in himself an ability to set the boundaries of such ignorance, taking into consideration the natural differences of peoples, lands, native talents, and so many other factors?"] In this point of view it is, that we are able to take comfort even from the contemplation of a country which is given up whether to heresy or schism. Such a country is far from being in the miserable state of a heathen population: it has {353} portions of the truth remaining in it, it has some supernatural channels of grace; and the results are such as can never be known till we have all passed out of this visible scene of things, and the accounts of the world are finally made up for the last tremendous day.[Cardinal Newman's language here is very close to that of Lumen Gentium] While, then, I think it plain that the existence of large Anti-Catholic bodies professing Christianity are as inevitable, from the nature of the case, as infidel races or states, except under some extraordinary dispensation of divine grace, while there must ever be in the world false prophets and Antichrists, standing over against the Catholic Church, yet it is consolatory to reflect how the schism or heresy, which the self-will of a monarch or of a generation has caused, does not suffice altogether to destroy the work for which in some distant age Evangelists have left their homes, and Martyrs have shed their blood. Thus, the blessing is inestimable to England, so far as among us the Sacrament of Baptism is validly administered to any portion of the population. In Greece, where a far greater attention is paid to ritual exactness, the whole population may be considered regenerate; half the children born into the world pass through baptism from a schismatical Church to heaven, and in many of the rest the same Sacrament may be the foundation of a supernatural life, which is gifted with perseverance in the hour of death. There may be many too, who, being in invincible ignorance on those particular points of religion on which their {354} Communion is wrong, may still have the divine and unclouded illumination of faith on those numerous points on which it is right. And further, if we consider that there is a true priesthood in certain countries, and a true sacrifice, the benefits of Mass to those who never had the means of knowing better, may be almost the same as they are in the Catholic Church. Humble souls who come in faith and love to the heavenly rite, under whatever disadvantages they lie, from the faulty discipline of their Communion, may obtain, as well as we, remission of such sins as the Sacrifice directly effects, and that supernatural charity which wipes out greater ones. Moreover, when the Blessed Sacrament is lifted up, they adore, as well as we, the true Immaculate Lamb of God; and when they communicate, it is the True Bread of Life, and nothing short of it, which they receive for the eternal health of their souls.

And in like manner, I suppose, as regards this country, as well as Greece and Russia, we may entertain most reasonable hopes, that vast multitudes are in a state of invincible ignorance; so that those among them who are living a life really religious and conscientious, may be looked upon with interest and even pleasure, though a mournful pleasure, in the midst of the pain which a Catholic feels at their ignorant prejudices against what he knows to be true. Amongst the most bitter railers against the Church in this country, may be found those who are influenced by divine grace, and {355} are at present travelling towards heaven, whatever be their ultimate destiny.[Cardinal Newman here states that even those who openly oppose the Church may nevertheless be influenced by Divine Grace, and be travelling towards heaven.] Among the most irritable disputants against the Sacrifice of the Mass or Transubstantiation, or the most impatient listeners to the glories of Mary, there may be those for whom she is saying to her Son, what He said on the cross to His Father, "Forgive them, for they know not what they do." Nay, while such persons think as at present, they are bound to act accordingly, and only so far to connect themselves with us as their conscience allows. [As I mentioned in my posts contra Fr. Harrison, someone can indeed be bound to do something that is in itself immoral, if their conscience binds them to do it, and they are not guilty for the formation of their conscience.] "When persons who have been brought up in heresy," says a Catholic theologian, "are persuaded from their childhood that we are the enemies of God's word, are idolaters, pestilent deceivers, and therefore, as pests, to be avoided, they cannot, while this persuasion lasts, hear us with a safe conscience, and they labour under invincible ignorance, inasmuch as they doubt not that they are in a good way."

Nor does it suffice, in order to throw them out of this irresponsible state, and to make them guilty of their ignorance, that there are means actually in their power of getting rid of it. For instance, say they have no conscientious feeling against frequenting Catholic chapels, conversing with Catholics, or reading their books; and say they are thrown into the neighbourhood of the one or the company of the other, and do not avail themselves of their opportunities; still these {356} persons do not become responsible for their present ignorance till such time as they actually feel it, till a doubt crosses them upon the subject, and the thought comes upon them, that inquiry is a duty. And thus Protestants may be living in the midst of Catholic light, and labouring under the densest and most stupid prejudices; and yet we may be able to view them with hope, though with anxiety—with the hope that the question has never occurred to them, strange as it may seem, whether we are not right and they wrong. [Many people find this hard to grasp. It seems to them that since a Protestant has all the means available for him to find the truth, then if he does not seek the truth it is because of some fault on his part. As Cardinal Newman says, this is false. A Protestant child growing up in the faith of his parents, in a world with so many different religions, may very well not even think of the possibility of one religion having more validity than another, and perhaps in his circumstances this is quite reasonable.] Nay, I will say something further still; they may be so circumstanced that it is quite certain that, in course of time, this ignorance will be removed, and doubt will be suggested to them, and the necessity of inquiry consequently imposed; and according to our best judgment, fallible of course as it is, we may be quite certain too, that, when that time comes, they will refuse to inquire, and will quench the doubt; yet should it so happen that they are cut off by death before that time has arrived (I am putting an hypothetical case), we may have as much hope of their salvation as if we had had no such foreboding about them on our mind; for there is nothing to show that they were not taken away on purpose, in order that their ignorance might be their excuse.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cardinal Newman on Salvation Outside the Church, Part II

From Cardinal Newman's sermon notes:

January 31
1. I have now explained what is meant by the word of God, by revelation, and by faith, and why they are necessary.
2. There is great correspondence between things of the body and of the soul. We cannot see without light; and even with light we need eyes, and in the dark we grope our way. Now by nature our souls are in darkness, ignorance, etc. Thus you see how it is there is need of God's word, revelation, and faith.
3. And here you see the reason of a solemn declaration, 'Without which there is no one can be saved.' We are going a journey, etc.
4. Our Lord's words, John iii. 18 [Note 39].
5. And still more if they refuse light, John iii. 19 [Note 40].
6. This is one great reason why the light of faith is necessary, because we are so ignorant. {317}
7. Now you will say, 'Is ignorance the fault of men in general? if so, how? if not, why are they punished with the loss of salvation?'
8. No one is punished except for his own fault. No one is punished except for rejecting light. God gives light all over the earth—enough to make men advance forward.
9. Explain: from one grace to another, from one step to another—prayer.
10. And thus those who are in a great deal of ignorance may be saved if they are doing their best, and their ignorance invincible.
11. Heathen, heretics (material), may have divine faith.[Cardinal Newman repeats the doctrine of Augustine here. One may be a material heretic who is mistaken even on something as fundamental as the incarnation, and yet still have divine faith. Likewise he says that heathen may have divine faith.]
12. Who these are is secret. All we know is about ourselves. Application to ourselves.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cardinal Newman on Salvation Outside the Church

I have collected various texts from Cardinal Newman concerning the teaching "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus," which I plan to reproduce over the next few posts. My comments are in blue.

"As to the condemnation of propositions all she tells us is, that the thesis condemned when taken as a whole, or, again, when viewed in its context, is heretical, or blasphemous, or impious, or whatever like epithet she affixes to it. We have only to trust her so far as to allow ourselves to be warned against the thesis, or the work containing it. Theologians employ themselves in determining what precisely it is that is condemned in that thesis or treatise; and doubtless in most cases they do so with success; but that determination is not de fide; all that is of faith is that there is in that thesis itself, which is noted, heresy or error, or other like peccant matter, as the case may be, such, that the censure is a peremptory command to theologians, preachers, students, and all other whom it concerns, to keep clear of it. But so light is this obligation, that instances frequently occur, when it is successfully maintained by some new writer, that the Pope's act does not imply what it has seemed to imply, and questions which seemed to be closed, are after a course of years re-opened. In discussions such as these, there is a real exercise of private judgment and an allowable one; the act of faith, which cannot be superseded or trifled with, being, I repeat, the unreserved acceptance that the thesis in question is heretical, or the like, as the Pope or the Church has spoken of it. [This is clear. When the Church issues a condemnation, or in fact any kind of decree, she has a certain intention in doing so. In order for her proclamation to accomplish what the Church intends, it must be understood in light of her intention, which can only be grasped either by her explanation, or the circumstances and context of the decree.]

In these cases which in a true sense may be called the Pope's negative enunciations, the opportunity of a legitimate minimizing lies in the intensely concrete character of the matters condemned; in his affirmative enunciations a like opportunity is afforded by their being more or less abstract. Indeed, excepting such as relate to persons, that is, to the Trinity in Unity, the Blessed Virgin, the Saints, and the like, all the dogmas of Pope or of Council are but general, and so far, in consequence, admit of exceptions in their actual application,—these exceptions being determined either by other authoritative utterances, or by the scrutinizing vigilance, acuteness, and subtlety of the Schola Theologorum.

One of the most remarkable instances of what I am insisting on is found in a dogma, which no Catholic can ever think of disputing, viz., that "Out of the Church, and out of the faith, is no salvation." Not to go to Scripture, it is the doctrine of St. Ignatius, St. Irenæus, St. Cyprian in the first three centuries, as of St. Augustine and his contemporaries in the fourth and fifth. It can never be other than an elementary truth of Christianity; and the present Pope has proclaimed it as all Popes, doctors, and bishops before him. But that truth has two aspects, according as the force of the negative falls upon the "Church" or upon the "salvation." The main sense is, that there is no other communion or so called Church, but the Catholic, in which are stored the promises, the sacraments, and other means of salvation; the other and derived sense is, that no one can be saved who is not in that one and only Church. But it does not follow, because there is no Church but one, which has the Evangelical gifts and privileges to bestow, that therefore no one can be saved without the intervention of that one Church.[By "intervention" Cardinal Newman means external intervention, while leaving open the possibility of some spiritual intervention, as will become clearer in the next paragraph.]

Anglicans quite understand this distinction; for, on the one hand, their Article says, "They are to be had accursed (anathematizandi) that presume to say, that every man shall be saved by (in) the law or sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that law and the light of nature;" while on the other hand they speak of and hold the doctrine of the "uncovenanted mercies of God." The latter doctrine in its Catholic form is the doctrine of invincible ignorance—or, that it is possible to belong to the soul of the Church without belonging to the body;[Newman here repeats the same phrase used by St. Robert Bellarmine; the Catechism of Pius X makes this same distinction. It is clear from this that Newman recognizes that some sort of spiritual union with the Church is always necessary for salvation.] and, at the end of 1800 years, it has been formally and authoritatively put forward by the present Pope (the first Pope, I suppose, who has done so), on the very same occasion on which he has repeated the fundamental principle of exclusive salvation itself. It is to the purpose here to quote his words; they occur in the course of his Encyclical, addressed to the Bishops of Italy, under date of August 10, 1863.

"We and you know, that those who lie under invincible ignorance as regards our most Holy Religion, and who, diligently observing the natural law and its precepts, which are engraven by God on the hearts of all, and prepared to obey God, lead a good and upright life, are able, by the operation of the power of divine light and grace, to obtain eternal life."

Who would at first sight gather from the wording of so forcible a universal, that an exception to its operation, such as this, so distinct, and, for what we know, so very wide, was consistent with holding it?"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich on No Salvation Outside the Church

The following text is taken from the first volume of the "Life of Anne Catherine Emmerich", chapter 41. I have added my own comments in blue.

"On the first Sunday of Advent, 1819, a poor old Jewess came begging an alms of Sister Emmerich for her sick husband; she was kindly received and to a few silver pieces Sister Emmerich added words that both touched and consoled her. It was not the first time the poor woman had sought the couch of suffering for relief in her own sorrows, and she had never come in vain. On this occasion, the invalid was seized with such compassion for the poor Jews that she turned to God with ardent prayers for their salvation. She was most wonderfully heard. Shortly after, she related the following vision in which her task was assigned for the beginning of the ecclesiastical year, prayer not only for the poor Jewess, but also for her whole race.
“It seemed to me that the old Jewess Meyr, to whom I had often given alms, died and went to purgatory, and that her soul came back to thank me as it was through me that she was led to believe in Jesus Christ.[It is clear from this statement that she came to a belief in Jesus Christ; the manner of this faith becomes clearer further on.] She had reflected that I had so often given her alms, although no one gives to the poor Jews; and she had thereby felt a desire spring up in her heart to die for Jesus, if faith in Jesus were the true faith. It was as if her conversion had already taken place or would take place, for I felt impelled to give thanks and to pray for her.[So she was open to Christ in the sense that if faith in Christ were the true faith, then she would give herself whole heartedly to him. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich describes this desire of hers being "as if her conversion had already taken place." The mere openness and seeking of the true faith thus is a certain kind of faith. This echoes what we already heard from St. Augustine all the way back in the fifth century:

“The Apostle Paul has said: 'A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject, knowing that he that is such is subverted and sins, being condemned of himself.' But though the doctrine which men hold be false and perverse, if they do not maintain it with passionate obstinacy, especially when they have not devised it by the rashness of their own presumption, but have accepted it from parents who had been misguided and had fallen into error, and if they are with anxiety seeking the truth, and are prepared to be set right when they have found it such men are not to be counted as heretics.”]

Old Mrs. Meyr was not dead. But her soul had been disengaged from the body in sleep that she might inform me that, if she died in her present sentiments, she would go to purgatory. Her mother, she said, had also received an impression of the truth of Christianity, and she certainly was not lost. I saw the soul of her mother in a dark, gloomy place, abandoned by all. She was as if walled up, unable to help herself or even to stir, and all around her, above and below, were countless souls in the same condition. I had the happy assurance that no soul was lost whom ignorance alone hindered from knowing Jesus, who had a vague desire to know Him, and who had not lived in a state of grievous sin.

[Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich says that she had the assurance that no soul was lost who ignorance alone hindered from knowing Jesus, provided that it has a "vague" desire to know him, and has not lived in the state of grievous sin. A couple of points can be drawn out from this:

1) As the Holy Office states in the letter to the Archbishop of Boston, God has willed that the effects of those means necessary for salvation may be attained by a desire for those means, when the means themselves cannot be had actually. Bl. Emmerich makes this same point, since she says that the desire to know Jesus can save a soul who does not actually know Jesus.

2) It is also clear that this desire to know Jesus does not have to be absolute, since it was said earlier that the Jewish woman desired to die for Jesus, on the condition that faith in Him was the true faith. Thus one honestly seeking the truth can desire to know Jesus on the condition that knowing Him is the true faith.

An implication from the second point is that if there were a person honestly seeking the truth, and was willing to die for that truth, that would be sufficient for their salvation, even if they did not yet know that Christ was the one who is the truth.]

Friday, July 24, 2009

Padre Pio on Salvation Outside the Church

Here is an interesting article on Padre Pio's position on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus. Good evidence is presented that Padre Pio did not hold to the strict interpretation of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus that some people attribute to him. In one case Padre Pio actually said that a unbaptized Jew who had died had been saved!

Padre Pio on Salvation Outside the Church
by Frank M. Rega, S.F.O.

Originally published in Christian Order, December 2006 issue.

It is quite unfortunate that alleged quotations or viewpoints attributed to Padre Pio have frequently been used to justify the stances, rumors, or agendas of various individuals or groups. Often it is difficult to find reliable documentation to verify his involvement in such scenarios as the "three days of darkness,"1 his alleged opposition to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, 2 or his purported support of Garabandal.3 Another area of speculation focuses on what he would think of the current state of the Church – where would this Tridentine rite Catholic, known for his lifelong obedience and loyalty to the hierarchy, place his support along the Novus Ordo – Traditionalist – reactionary spectrum?

It is not surprising, then, to find some who contend that St. Padre Pio held their own strict interpretation of extra ecclesiam nulla salus – outside of the Roman Catholic Church no one can be saved. The most notable proponents of this presumed stance of Padre Pio are to be found among the Sedevacantists (the See of Peter is vacant, since it has been occupied by invalidly elected and/or heretical popes since Vatican II). In particular, "Brother" Michael Dimond, a Sedevacantist from the non-canonical Most Holy Family Monastery in Fillmore, New York, has recently written and published an 86-page illustrated booklet on the life of Padre Pio. Regrettably, he promotes this booklet as containing evidence that Padre Pio would support the central tenet of the Most Holy Family Monastery, that absolutely no one can be saved outside of the Catholic Church. Along with adherence to the true Faith, and being in a state of grace at the moment of death, Dimond and his followers insist that a strict requirement for entering the kingdom of heaven is water baptism, and water baptism alone. "Baptism of Desire" and "Baptism of Blood" are rejected as not being true Catholic dogmas. Neither can those invincibly ignorant of the Faith be saved.4

Another member of the Most Holy Family Monastery, "Brother" Peter Dimond, has written a tome which examines the historical documents and pronouncements of the Church on the issue of salvation: Outside the Catholic Church There is Absolutely No Salvation.5 This extensively researched and detailed book attempts to present its case by explaining away all references, regardless of their level of authority, to any other means of salvation other than water baptism for Catholics. Thus, only Roman Catholics who die faithful to the Church, loyal to the Holy Father, and sealed by validly administered water baptism, can enter heaven. Peter Dimond concludes his book with this uncompromising and explicit statement: "In this document I have shown that it is the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church – and therefore the true teaching of Jesus Christ – that only those who die as baptized Catholics can be saved. Anyone who refuses to accept this teaching is not a Catholic."

The full title of the Monastery’s Padre Pio booklet, written by "Bro. Michael Dimond, O.S.B." is Padre Pio: A Catholic Priest who worked miracles and bore the wounds of Jesus Christ on his body.6 On page 62 Michael Dimond writes: "The letters from Padre Pio clearly prove that he didn’t respect false religions and that he held firmly to the dogma that it is necessary for salvation to be a Catholic." On the next page he then quotes from a meditation composed by Padre Pio in which he states: "He [Jesus] sees the sacrileges with which priests and faithful defile themselves, not caring about those sacraments instituted for our salvation as necessary means for it; now, instead, made an occasion of sin and damnation of souls." From this it can be seen that Padre Pio viewed the sacraments as the "necessary means" of salvation. However, in studying the course of his life and ministry as a Catholic priest, evidence can be found that he understood the sacraments as necessary for all in general, but not for all in particular. Thus, while he believed that the sacraments of the Church are necessary as the normative means of salvation, Padre Pio was willing to admit of exceptions on an individual basis. But these exceptions did not compromise his conviction that the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ is the Roman Catholic Church.

Lest anyone be deceived into joining the Sedevacantist camp under the assumption that Padre Pio would support their views if he were alive today, the following documented cases are presented as evidence that Padre Pio believed that non-Catholics could be saved.

Adelaide McAlpin Pyle, a Baptized Protestant

"She will be saved because she has faith."

(Most of the information for this first account comes from the English version of the book Mary Pyle, by Bonaventura Massa.7 This work was diligently compiled from written documents and taped oral testimonies, kept on file in the Archives of Padre Pio’s friary in anticipation of the process for Miss Pyle’s Cause for Beatification.)

The wealthy Presbyterian, Adelaide McAlpin Pyle, was the mother of Mary Pyle, a well-known convert to Catholicism who renounced her family fortune in order to spend her life near Padre Pio. The Pyle family was related by marriage to the Rockefellers, and made their fortune in the soap and hotel business. After Adelaide found out that her daughter Mary had chosen to move to southern Italy to learn about God from a saint, curiosity impelled her to travel from her plush New York townhouse to medieval San Giovanni Rotondo, in order to meet this holy man.

In spite of an unpleasant initial encounter, Adelaide eventually became quite friendly with Padre Pio. She made numerous journeys from America, beginning in the mid-1920s, to visit her daughter Mary, and to meet with the Padre. Mary often tried to convince her mother to convert to Catholicism as she herself had done, but Adelaide reportedly said in Padre Pio’s presence, "I would rather allow myself to be burned alive for my religion!" Padre Pio advised Mary not to push her mother to convert: "Let her be! Don’t upset her peace." 8 However, Mary continued to worry because her mother was not a Catholic, and Padre Pio counseled, "Let’s not confuse her. She will be saved because she has faith."9

In 1936, Adelaide, who had grown older and was nearing death, made one last trip to San Giovanni Rotondo. As she said good-bye to Padre Pio at the end of this visit, the saintly priest pointed heavenward, saying to the Protestant Adelaide, "I hope we will see each other again soon, but if we don’t see each other here, we will see each other up there."10 She passed away in the fall of 1937 at the age of seventy-seven.11 Her daughter Mary then became pre-occupied about her mother’s salvation. After dreaming that her mother was in Rome standing in front of the Vatican, she poured out her anxiety to Padre Pio. He replied, "And who told you that your mother could not be saved?" 12

Did Padre Pio receive a revelation that Adelaide Pyle had secretly ‘in pectore" converted to the Catholic Faith? If that were true, he most certainly would have told this to her daughter Mary, who was obviously distraught from worrying over her mother’s salvation. Further, it seems likely that if Adelaide had converted, she would have shared this good news with her convert daughter. It is reasonable to conclude then that Padre Pio believed that this particular person who died outside the Church could be saved. In addition, there is evidence that Padre Pio would have been willing to hear Adelaide’s confession, and grant her sacramental absolution. On one occasion, she had confided to her daughter her great desire to kneel before Padre Pio in his confessional, but she lamented that her inability to speak Italian made this impossible. When Padre Pio heard of this, (apparently it was after her death), he bemoaned, "Oh! If she had only done it! As for the language, I would have taken care of that!"13

King George V of England, a Baptized Protestant

"Let us pray for a soul . . ."

One evening in 1936 Padre Pio was conversing with some dear friends in his cell. Among those present were Dr. Guglielmo Sanguinetti and Angelo Lupi, who would respectively become the medical director and the builder of Padre Pio’s hospital years later. In the middle of their conversation, Padre Pio suddenly interrupted the discourse with the words, "Let us pray for a soul soon to appear before the tribunal of God." With that he bowed his head, and his guests, although astonished, kneeled and joined him in prayer. When they had finished, Padre Pio announced that they had been praying for the king of England. The next morning, the news blared forth on the friary radio of the unexpected death of King George V of England the previous evening.14 Two of the sources for this story 15, 16 report that Padre Aurelio was also present in the room, while another source states that Padre Pio went to the friary cell of Padre Aurelio at midnight that evening and asked him to join him in prayers for the king of England who "at that moment" was to appear before God.17

An Anglican and the son of the future King Edward VII, George was baptized on July 7, 1865 in the private chapel of Windsor Castle. Upon accession to the throne in 1910, the new king swore the following required oath: "I, N., do solemnly and sincerely in the presence of God, profess, testify and declare that I am a faithful Protestant, and that I will, according to the true intent of the enactments to secure the Protestant Succession to the Throne of my realm, uphold and maintain such enactments to the best of my power."18

In all likelihood, the king was in his final agony or had already died when Padre Pio requested prayers for him, since he was "at that moment" to appear before God. If he believed that the soul of this Protestant were doomed to the everlasting fire, why would he pray for him, and also ask others including another priest to do likewise, other than to ask for his conversion. However, it is not recorded or implied that he asked his confreres to pray for the deathbed conversion of the king – an important intention that Padre Pio in all likelihood would have explicitly stated, if such were his purpose. Although he mentioned the king to his priest colleague, he did not tell the friends in his room that they were praying for a non-Catholic until they had finished their prayers. One cannot therefore say that it is to be assumed that as Catholics they were praying for the king’s conversion.

Since as far as is known they were not specifically asked to pray for his deathbed conversion, there are two alternatives. The first is that they were simply praying for the salvation of a Protestant whom Padre Pio did not consider doomed because of his non-Catholic religion; but this would not be acceptable to one who holds that Padre Pio subscribed to a literal extra ecclesiam nulla salus position. Those who hold that position are left with the unlikely alternative that they were praying for a Catholic, and that Padre Pio had requested the prayers because he was given a private revelation that King George V of England was secretly a Roman Catholic, loyal to the Pope!

Julius Fine, an Unbaptized Devout Jew

"Julius Fine is saved . . ."

Fr. Alessio Parente, O.F.M. Cap., lived and worked alongside Padre Pio for many years in Our Lady of Grace Friary at San Giovanni Rotondo. He wrote numerous books about his confrere, and his works provide reliable source material for the saint. The following information is from Fr. Alessio’s book The Holy Souls, 19 and was related by a "very good friend" of his, Mrs. Florence Fine Ehrman, the daughter of the person in question.

In 1965 her father, Julius Fine, who had practiced the Jewish faith all his life and believed firmly in God, was stricken with what is commonly called "Lou Gehrig’s disease." Mrs. Ehrman wrote to Padre Pio beseeching a cure for her father from this fatal illness. A short time later she received the reply that Padre Pio would pray for her father and would take him under his protection.

When her father passed away in February of the next year, she was able to accept his death peacefully. However after some time, she began to worry about whether or not he was saved, even though he had been a very loving and kind husband and father. "This fear came about because I began to hear many people, Protestants and Catholics alike, say that unless person had been baptized they could not be saved."

On a visit to the friary at San Giovanni Rotondo in the fall of 1967, she was told by a personal friend (quite possibly Fr. Alessio himself) to write down whatever she wished to ask Padre Pio, and this friend would present the letter to him. She of course wrote down her concerns about the eternal state of her father’s soul – this good and gentle Jewish man who had never been baptized. The reply from Padre Pio, which she received in writing, was this: "Julius Fine is saved, but it is necessary to pray much for him." Her mind was put at ease by such a "sure and definite" statement," since she understood that her father was in Purgatory, his salvation guaranteed.

Whether Padre Pio was enlightened by his Guardian Angel, the Holy Spirit, interior locution, or some other means is not known. What is known, however, is his ability to make such determinations after intense prayer, nourished by his mystical union with Christ during his Mass and Holy Communion, and by the offering up of his sufferings, especially the painful bloody wounds of his stigmata. In this instance, Padre Pio committed himself to assuring a grieving daughter that her father, who was not baptized, and was not a Roman Catholic, was saved. As in the case of King George V, someone who wishes to force Padre Pio into the strict "absolutely no salvation outside the Church" camp, is only left with this improbable scenario: it was revealed to Padre Pio that the devout Jew, Julius Fine, was secretly a baptized Roman Catholic!

Padre Pio Not a Catholic?

From the above examples it appears that Padre Pio did not blindly adhere to the proposition that only Catholics can be saved. Yet, it would be difficult to find someone more committed to the Catholic Church throughout his life than was Padre Pio. His obedience to the hierarchy was legendary, and he humbly submitted to Vatican-authorized suppression and even persecution without resistance. The spirituality of his epistles astonished even Carmelites, and his writings and teachings, born of the school of suffering, are the basis of an effort to make him a Doctor of the Church. 20

"Brother" Peter Dimond concludes his book on salvation with this dogmatic quote: " . . . only those who die as baptized Catholics can be saved. Anyone who refuses to accept this teaching is not a Catholic." The bizarre conclusion forced by this statement is that Padre Pio was not a Catholic, at least according to the Sedevacantist followers of the Most Holy Family Monastery. And yet they publish a booklet about him that appears designed to mislead others into thinking that Padre Pio would support their reactionary interpretation of the teachings of the Catholic Church!

Padre Pio lived by the Spirit of God, not by the letter of the law, except when his superiors in religion routinely commanded obedience of him. His ingenuous openness to the plenitude of God’s mercy anticipated the explicit declarations of the Church during and after the Second Vatican Council on the possibility that non-Catholic churches can be a "means of salvation,"21 and on the reception by non-Catholics of the sacraments in certain cases.22 Padre Pio actually believed that the gospel of Jesus Christ was Good News!


6. Dimond, Michael, Padre Pio: A Catholic Priest who worked miracles and bore the wounds of Jesus Christ on his body, Fillmore, N.Y., Most Holy Family Monastery, 2006.
7. Massa, Bonaventura, Mary Pyle, She Lived Doing Good to All, San Giovanni Rotondo, Our Lady of Grace Capuchin Friary, 1986.
8. Ibid., p. 101.
9. Ibid., p. 116.
10. Ibid., p. 108.
11. Ruffin, C. Bernard, Padre Pio: the True Story (Revised and Expanded), Huntington, IN, Our Sunday Visitor, 1991, p. 240.
12. Massa, Mary Pyle, p. 108.
13. Ibid., p. 101.
14. Parente, Fr. Alessio, The Holy Souls: "Viva Padre Pio," San Giovanni Rotondo, Our Lady of Grace Capuchin Friary, 1990, pp. 151-152.
15. Capobianco, Padre Costantino, Detti e Anedotti di Padre Pio, San Giovanni Rotondo, Convento S. Maria delle Grazie, 1996, p. 49.
16. Parente, The Holy Souls, p. 151.
17. Ruffin, Padre Pio, p. 241, (Ruffin correctly identifies the King who died in 1936 as George V, while the other two sources incorrectly call him Edward VI).
19. Parente, The Holy Souls, pp. 104-106.
20. Rega, Frank M., Padre Pio and America, Rockford, IL, TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., 2005, pp. 280-281.
21. Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 3, ( "It follows that the separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church."
22. On commitment to Ecumenism, Ut Unum Sint, n. 46, ( "In this context, it is a source of joy to note that Catholic ministers are able, in certain particular cases, to administer the Sacraments of the Eucharist, Penance and Anointing of the Sick to Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church but who greatly desire to receive these sacraments, freely request them and manifest the faith which the Catholic Church professes with regard to these sacraments."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Salvation in the Old Testament

Let us review in summary the positions on the different ways in which men can be justified and saved in the Old Testament that we looked at in our last post.

Post fall, Pre-Circumcision: Adults could be saved by faith in God, infants could be saved by the faith of their parents.

Post fall, Post-Circumcision: Adults could be saved by faith in God with circumcision, and also without it in some cases. (I.e., some of the Gentiles) Infants could be saved by circumcision, and also by the faith of their parents if they died before being able to receive circumcision.

Now, the question is, what about after the institution of baptism? Can infants still be saved by the faith of their parents, even if they die before receiving baptism by water?

We must answer these questions in the affirmative. For, the coming of Christ did not restrict the means of salvation, but rather broadened them. "I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) However, if the coming of Christ has caused the means of salvation for infants to be limited to baptism by water, and excludes salvation by the faith of the parents, then at least concretely there are many infants who would have been saved had they lived before Christ came, but were not saved because they lived after Christ came. This would be very unfitting. Hence we conclude that if God formerly sanctified infants in virtue of the faith of their parents, this dispensation for salvation has not been removed by Christ's coming.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Aquinas on Infant Salvation in the Old Testament

An “anonymous” commenter recently commented on my post regarding the possibility of salvation for unborn children. I would like to look at his comment (which is nearly unintelligible) because it gives me an opportunity to explain St. Thomas's position on children in the Old Testament. Our commenter writes:

"You wrote: "Before the coming of Christ, children of devout Jews were able to be saved through the faith of their parents, as St. Thomas says."

See what Fr. Mueller wrote:
St. Thomas asks the question: Did Jesus Christ, when he descended into Limbo, deliver the souls of children who died in original sin? To understand this, we must remember a certain principle and doctrine, namely: There is no salvation possible for any one without being united to Jesus Christ crucified. Hence the great Apostle St. Paul says: "It is Jesus Christ whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation through faith in his blood." (Rom. iii. 25.) Now, those children were not united to Christ by their own faith because they had not the use of reason, which is the foundation of faith; nor were they united to Christ by the faith of their parents, because the faith of their parents was not sufficient for the salvation of their children; nor were those children united to Christ by means of a sacrament, because there was no sacrament under the Old Law which had of itself the virtue of conferring either grace or justification.
Besides, life eternal is granted only to those who are in the state of sanctifying grace. "The grace of God is life everlasting in Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom, vi. 23.) All those, therefore, who died at any age without perfect charity and faith in the Redeemer to come, as well as those who die without the sacrament of spiritual generation after the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, are not purified from the mortal stain of original sin, and are, consequently, excluded from the kingdom of eternal glory." (De Incarn., Q. lii., art. vii.)

Unfortunately, our “anonymous” commenter does not say what his point is, leaving me to guess at it. The only clue is his reference to what I wrote, and the emphasized portions of Fr. Mueller's text.

In the context of the passage cited, Fr. Mueller is arguing the necessity for salvation of dying with the supernatural virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity, and with sanctifying grace. He quotes St. Thomas in regard to whether Christ freed those infants from hell who died in original sin only. His answer is no, because these children were not united to Christ by their own faith, or the faith of their parents, or by a sacrament.

Now, even though this is the principal thing addressed in this passage, it does not seem reasonable that our commenter could have been laboring under the impression that this was in disagreement with something that I had said. It is a dogma of the Church that those souls which die in original sin descend immediately into hell. I am perfect agreement with this. Likewise all those who die without charity are excluded from the kingdom of heaven. Granted. The question I was addressing in my post was whether or not there is reason to hope that God offers to children who die without baptism a way of being cleansed of their original sin without baptism; but sometime before their death, not after. I concluded in the positive.

Thus, the commenter must have had in mind some point which was not directly relevant to the point of the passage quoted. Based on his quotation from my post, he seems to be taking issue with the statement that St. Thomas believed that children could be saved by the faith of their parents before the coming of Christ.

Assuming that this is what he finds objectionable, let use examine St. Thomas's position. First let us look at the text of St. Thomas which is referenced.

"I answer that, As stated above (A6), Christ's descent into hell had its effect of deliverance on them only who through faith and charity were united to Christ's Passion, in virtue whereof Christ's descent into hell was one of deliverance. But the children who had died in original sin were in no way united to Christ's Passion by faith and love: for, not having the use of free will, they could have no faith of their own; nor were they cleansed from original sin either by their parents' faith or by any sacrament of faith. Consequently, Christ's descent into hell did not deliver the children from thence. And furthermore, the holy Fathers were delivered from hell by being admitted to the glory of the vision of God, to which no one can come except through grace; according to Rm. 6:23: "The grace of God is life everlasting." Therefore, since children dying in original sin had no grace, they were not delivered from hell."(ST. TP. Q.52 A. 7 C.)

St. Thomas is merely saying that those infants who die in original sin cannot be saved because, as a simple statement of fact, they were not cleansed by the faith of their parents, not because, as Fr. Mueller's text seems to imply, the faith of their parents was unable to save them. Rather, their parents did not have the faith they needed to save their child. Let us look at a similar text from St. Thomas:

“Although Christ wholly overcame death, yet not so completely did He destroy hell, but, as it were, He bit it. He did not free all from hell, but those only who were without mortal sin. He likewise liberated those without original sin, from which they, as individuals, were freed by circumcision; or before [the institution of] circumcision, they who had been saved through their parents' faith (which refers to those who died before having the use of reason); or by the sacrifices, and by their faith in the future coming of Christ (which refers to adults)." (In Symbolum Apostolum, A.5)

St. Thomas makes it very clear here that Christ only freed those from hell who were without mortal and original sin. The three classes of individuals are 1) adults who were freed from original sin by circumcision, 2) infants before the institution of circumcision who were saved by the faith of their parents, and 3) adults before the institution of circumcision who were saved by faith in the future coming of Christ.

For more references, the following texts should suffice:

“From the beginning of the human race the remedy against original sin could not be applied except in virtue of the mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ. Therefore the faith of the ancients with some protestation of faith profited children unto salvation, not inasmuch as it was a meritorious act on the part of the believers -- hence it was not required that it be an act of formed [i.e. living] faith --, but on the part of that which they had faith in or relied on, i.e. the mediator Himself: for in this way also the sacraments that were afterwards instituted have their efficacy inasmuch as they are certain protestations of faith. Hence it does not follow that the unbelief of the parents would harm their children, except incidentally (per accidens), as removing the remedy of sin.(De Malo Q. 4 A. 8 Ad. 13)

“As soon, however, as it begins to have the use of its free-will, it begins to belong to itself, and is able to look after itself, in matters concerning the Divine or the natural law, and then it should be induced, not by compulsion but by persuasion, to embrace the faith: it can then consent to the faith, and be baptized, even against its parents' wish; but not before it comes to the use of reason. Hence it is said of the children of the fathers of old that they were saved in the faith of their parents; whereby we are given to understand that it is the parents' duty to look after the salvation of their children, especially before they come to the use of reason.”(SS. Q.10 A.12 Ad.1)

OBJ 2: Further, before the institution of circumcision faith alone sufficed for justification; hence Gregory says (Moral. iv): "Faith alone did of old in behalf of infants that for which the water of Baptism avails with us." But faith has lost nothing of its strength through the commandment of circumcision. Therefore faith alone justified little ones, and not circumcision.

Reply OBJ 2: Just as before the institution of circumcision, faith in Christ to come justified both children and adults, so, too, after its institution. But before, there was no need of a sign expressive of this faith; because as yet believers had not begun to be united together apart from unbelievers for the worship of one God. It is probable, however, that parents who were believers offered up some prayers to God for their children, especially if these were in any danger. Or bestowed some blessing on them, as a "seal of faith"; just as the adults offered prayers and sacrifices for themselves.(ST. TP. Q. 70 A. 4)

A note on Aquinas's position: while he primarily considers the faith of the parents to be efficacious for the salvation of infants before the institution of circumcision, nevertheless, even after the circumcision, he holds that if a child were to die before the eighth day it could be saved by the faith of the parents. Likewise, even after the institution of circumcision, all the female children were saved in virtue of the faith of their parents.

“It seems, however, that none of the uncircumcised died in the desert, for it is written (Ps. 104:37): "There was not among their tribes one that was feeble": and that those alone died in the desert, who had been circumcised in Egypt. If, however, some of the uncircumcised did die there, the same applies to them as to those who died before the institution of circumcision. And this applies also to those children who, at the time of the Law, died before the eighth day.” (ST. TP. Q.70 A.4 Ad.4)

Thus, it is clear that even after the institution of circumcision, children who died without receiving it could be saved by the faith of their parents. The principle that St. Thomas gives here applies even to children who die in the womb.

The way in which God offered the possibility of salvation to men in the Old Testament also has significant implications for the new. We will look at some of these implications shortly.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm back

Blogging will begin tomorrow.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blogging break

I will be away without internet access for the next few days; so, I will not be making any new posts until Sunday or Monday.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Council of Trent and Fr. Feeney

We find a number of statements in the Council of Trent relevant to baptism of desire.

" By which words, a description of the Justification of the impious is indicated,-as being a translation, from that state wherein man is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace, and of the adoption of the sons of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Saviour. And this translation, since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected, without the laver of regeneration, or the desire thereof, as it is written; unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God."(Decree on Justification)

"If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification;-though all (the sacraments) are not ineed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema."(Decree on the Sacraments)

It is very clear from the decree on justification that the effect of baptism can be received through desire for the sacrament. The decree on the sacraments makes a more general statement, because it includes the other sacraments which one can receive the effects of by desire, such as Penance.

Fr. Feeney recognized that the council of Trent was saying that one could receive the effect of Baptism through desire for it, but he distinguished between justification and salvation, and said that while desire for baptism sufficed for justification, it could not suffice unto salvation. He seems to justify this partly from the fact that the statement about desiring baptism is made in the decree on justification, and not in the treatise on baptism, and partly from the second text which says that the sacraments are necessary for salvation. From this Fr. Feeney concludes that the desire of the sacrament suffices for justification, but the sacrament itself is required for salvation. The two following texts from the treatise on Baptism are commonly cited to support this opinion:

"If any one saith, that true and natural water is not of necessity for baptism, and, on that account, wrests, to some sort of metaphor, those words of our Lord Jesus Christ; Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost; let him be anathema."

"If any one saith, that baptism is free, that is, not necessary unto salvation; let him be anathema."

Father Feeney has this to say about the first quote:
"The Council of Trent, in its second Canon on the subject of Baptism, declares, with the majestic authority of the Church: If anyone shall say that true and natural water is not of necessity in Baptism, and therefore shall turn those words of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, "unless one be born again of water and the Holy Spirit" (John 3:5), into some metaphor, let him be anathema. Therefore, I repeat, metaphorical water is forbidden under pain of heresy. And what is "Baptism of Desire," as the Liberals teach it, but metaphorical water dishonestly substituting itself for the innocent requirement of Christ?" (Bread of Life, The Waters of Salvation)

This is a sorry misreading of this text. First of all, the Council is primarily concerned here with anathematizing those who use something other than water in baptizing. Thus, they are not even talking about the necessity of baptism as such. The fact that they are talking about wresting the words of Christ into some metaphor shows this, i.e., Christ would be speaking metaphorically if he said "water" and used it to signify anything flowing.

Second, even if the Council was actually concerned about asserting the necessity of water baptism here, (which they are not) this does not deny baptism of desire. In the second quotation I gave above they are speaking about the necessity of baptism by water. Nevertheless, when they say this, they are including the desire of the sacrament in that statement. To make this clear, let us look at a similar statement made about the sacrament of Penance:

"So that penance has justly been called by holy Fathers a laborious kind of baptism. And this sacrament of Penance is, for those who have fallen after baptism, necessary unto salvation; as baptism itself is for those who have not as yet been regenerated."(On the Sacrament of Penance)

Notice that that the Council says that the sacrament of Penance is necessary unto salvation just as baptism itself is for those who are not regenerated. Hence, if we are to follow the logic of those who say that receiving the sacrament of baptism itself is necessary for salvation, then we must say that someone who sins after baptism cannot be saved unless he receives the sacrament itself of penance.

The synod makes it clear that one can receive the effect of the Sacrament of penance without actually receiving the sacrament:

"The Synod teaches moreover, that, although it sometimes happen that this contrition is perfect through charity, and reconciles man with God before this sacrament be actually received, the said reconciliation, nevertheless, is not to be ascribed to that contrition, independently of the desire of the sacrament which is included therein."

Thus, if we follow out Fr. Feeney's logic, not only does it follow that one must always receive baptism by water to be saved, but one must, after sinning gravely, always receive the sacrament of penance to be saved. This is something that most feeneyites, we may presume, would be unwilling to hold.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Thomas Aquinas Contra the Feeneyites

St. Thomas Aquinas is very clear that the effect of baptism can be received by desire for the sacrament without it, and also that a man does not necessarily need to receive baptism by water before he dies. Aside from his teaching authority as Doctor of the whole church, his teaching on this matter is also useful to consider because the fathers of the Council of Trent drew heavily from his writings. During the council, St. Thomas's Summa Theologiae was placed on the main altar together with the Holy Bible.

Let us see what St. Thomas has to say:

"In a case of necessity anyone may baptize. And since nowise ought one to sin, if the priest be unwilling to baptize without being paid, one must act as though there were no priest available for the baptism. Hence the person who is in charge of the child can, in such a case, lawfully baptize it, or cause it to be baptized by anyone else. He could, however, lawfully buy the water from the priest, because it is merely a bodily element. But if it were an adult in danger of death that wished to be baptized, and the priest were unwilling to baptize him without being paid, he ought, if possible, to be baptized by someone else. And if he is unable to have recourse to another, he must by no means pay a price for Baptism, and should rather die without being baptized, because for him the baptism of desire would supply the lack of the sacrament."(ST. SS. Q.100 A.2 Ad.2)

Clearly St. Thomas is not talking about being "pre-justified" by desire for the sacrament, and then later receiving it.

"I answer that, The sacrament or Baptism may be wanting to someone in two ways. First, both in reality and in desire; as is the case with those who neither are baptized, nor wished to be baptized: which clearly indicates contempt of the sacrament, in regard to those who have the use of the free-will. Consequently those to whom Baptism is wanting thus, cannot obtain salvation: since neither sacramentally nor mentally are they incorporated in Christ, through Whom alone can salvation be obtained.
Secondly, the sacrament of Baptism may be wanting to anyone in reality but not in desire: for instance, when a man wishes to be baptized, but by some ill-chance he is forestalled by death before receiving Baptism. And such a man can obtain salvation without being actually baptized, on account of his desire for Baptism, which desire is the outcome of "faith that worketh by charity," whereby God, Whose power is not tied to visible sacraments, sanctifies man inwardly. Hence Ambrose says of Valentinian, who died while yet a catechumen: "I lost him whom I was to regenerate: but he did not lose the grace he prayed for."(ST. TP. Q.68 A.2 C.)

Pretty self explanatory.

"The sacrament of Baptism is said to be necessary for salvation in so far as man cannot be saved without, at least, Baptism of desire; "which, with God, counts for the deed" (Augustine, Enarr. in Ps. 57)."(ST. TP. Q.68 A.2 Ad.3)

"So also before Baptism Cornelius and others like him receive grace and virtues through their faith in Christ and their desire[votum] for Baptism, implicit or explicit: but afterwards when baptized, they receive a yet greater fulness of grace and virtues. Hence in Ps. 22:2, "He hath brought me up on the water of refreshment," a gloss says: "He has brought us up by an increase of virtue and good deeds in Baptism."(ST. TP. Q.69 A.4 Ad.2)

I should mention here that St. Thomas says here that one can have an implicit desire[votum] for the sacrament of baptism. Occasionally I run into a person who accepts baptism of desire, but wants to say that it must be explicit, and they argue that because the council of Trent uses the latin word "votum," they had in mind an explicit vow or promise to receive it. While it may be true that they were primarily considering the case of an explicit desire, the word itself is open to both possibilities, as St. Thomas uses it here.

"The Divine power is not confined to the sacraments. Hence man can receive spiritual strength to confess the Faith of Christ publicly, without receiving the sacrament of Confirmation: just as he can also receive remission of sins without Baptism. Yet, just as none receive the effect of Baptism without the desire of Baptism; so none receive the effect of Confirmation, without the desire of Confirmation. And man can have this even before receiving Baptism." (ST. TP. Q.72 A.6 Ad.2)

"And it has been said above (Q68, A2), that before receiving a sacrament, the reality of the sacrament can be had through the very desire of receiving the sacrament. Accordingly, before actual reception of this sacrament, a man can obtain salvation through the desire of receiving it, just as he can before Baptism through the desire of Baptism, as stated above (Q68, A2)."(ST. TP. Q.73 A.3 C.)

"As stated above (Q73, A3), the effect of the sacrament can be secured by every man if he receive it in desire, though not in reality. Consequently, just as some are baptized with the Baptism of desire, through their desire of baptism, before being baptized in the Baptism of water; so likewise some eat this sacrament spiritually ere they receive it sacramentally. Now this happens in two ways. First of all, from desire of receiving the sacrament itself, and thus are said to be baptized, and to eat spiritually, and not sacramentally, they who desire to receive these sacraments since they have been instituted." (ST. TP. Q.80 A.1 Ad.3)

"Wherefore for the remission of both actual and original sin, a sacrament of the Church is necessary, received either actually, or at least in desire, when a man fails to receive the sacrament actually, through an unavoidable obstacle, and not through contempt. Consequently those sacraments which are ordained as remedies for sin which is incompatible with salvation, are necessary for salvation: and so just as Baptism, whereby original sin is blotted out, is necessary for salvation, so also is the sacrament of Penance." (Suppl. Q.6 A.1 Ad.1)

Notice here that St. Thomas says Baptism is necessary for salvation, but he does not mean by it what the heretics do who deny baptism of desire. In fact, he says that it is necessary as penance also is. However, it is clear that the sacrament of penance does not need to be actually received, but can be received in desire only; the council of Trent makes this very clear.

"It is clear that the Holy Spirit is God, since he says, unless one is born again of water and the Holy Spirit (ex aqua et Spiritu Sancto). For above (1:13) he says: "who are born not from blood, nor from the desires of the flesh, nor from man's willing it, but from God (ex Deo)." From this we can form the following argument: He from whom men are spiritually reborn is God; but men are spiritually reborn through the Holy Spirit, as it is stated here; therefore, the Holy Spirit is God.
445 Two questions arise here. First, if no one enters the kingdom of God unless he is born again of water, and if the fathers of old were not born again of water (for they were not baptized), then they have not entered the kingdom of God. Secondly, since baptism is of three kinds, that is, of water, of desire, and of blood, and many have been baptized in the latter two ways (who we say have entered the kingdom of God immediately, even though they were not born again of water), it does not seem to be true to say that unless one is born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
The answer to the first is that rebirth or regeneration from water and the Holy Spirit takes place in two ways: in truth and in symbol. Now the fathers of old, although they were not reborn with a true rebirth, were nevertheless reborn with a symbolic rebirth, because they always had a sense perceptible sign in which true rebirth was prefigured. So according to this, thus reborn, they did enter the kingdom of God, after the ransom was paid.
The answer to the second is that those who are reborn by a baptism of blood and fire, although they do not have regeneration in deed, they do have it in desire. Otherwise neither would the baptism of blood mean anything nor could there be a baptism of the Spirit. Consequently, in order that man may enter the kingdom of heaven, it is necessary that there be a baptism of water in deed, as in the case of all baptized persons, or in desire, as in the case of the martyrs and catechumens, who are prevented by death from fulfilling their desire, or in symbol, as in the case of the fathers of old." (Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, Chapter 3, Lecture 1)

This is an extremely instructive passage from St. Thomas's commentary on the Gospel of John, which I have included for the benefit of those who are wish to interpret the passage "unless one is born again of water, etc." in such as way as to exclude baptism of desire.

"We should say, therefore, that the sacrament of baptism is necessary for everyone, and it must be really received, because without it no one is born again into life. And so it is necessary that it be received in reality, or by desire in the case of those who are prevented from the former. For if the contempt within a person excludes a baptism by water, then neither a baptism of desire nor of blood will benefit him for eternal life. " (Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, Chapter 6, Lecture 7)

Notice that St. Thomas is very clear that Baptism is necessary for salvation, but it can be received in desire, and this suffices for salvation. In fact, he says that some have "entered the kingdom of God immediately," even though they did not receive baptism by water. This alone is enough to show that St. Thomas most certainly would not agree with the Feeneyite position.