Faith/Spirituality Forum: Vatican II
Vatican II QUESTION from Bruce Senti on December 12, 2002 Dear brother in Christ, I am posting this under my father's name because I am only 18, but I have his consent. These are my opinions.
I have seen some messages on this board about Vatican II, and specifically on the issue of salvation. You stated that people are saved outside the Church through ignorance. But who today can be considered ignorant (in America and other first world countries) nowadays? Also, it has been taught that while invincible ignorance can excuse from the sin of schism, it does not excuse heresy, meaning that members that have joined a non-Catholic sect are ipso facto excommunicated as stated by Canon Law. How then can these people be saved?
It is also stated by Vatican II that Muslims worship the one true God. How can this be true if Saint Thomas Aquinas, a Doctor of the Church, said: St. Thomas said: It is absurd for a heretic to say that he believes In Jesus Christ. To believe in a person is to give our full consent to his word and to all he teaches. True faith, therefore, is absolute belief in Jesus Christ and in all he taught. Hence, he who does not adhere to everything Jesus Christ has prescribed for our salvation does not have any more of the Doctrine of Jesus Christ than the pagans, Jews and Mohammedans.
St. Ambrose said: Even heretics appear to possess Christ, for none of them denies the name of Christ. Still, anyone who does not confess everything that pertains to Christ does in fact deny Christ.â€
And yet, Vatican II states: Lumen Gentium, par. 16 â€œBut the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Moslems: these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day.
How is this possible? I am sincerely seeking a reply, but I don't see how these things can be reconciled without the Pope being already excommunicated for believing in what contradicts the faith. I hold to the Catholic faith and always will, I just don't know if John Paul II does. Please prove me wrong.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on December 22, 2002 Dear Mr. Senti:
I do not have to prove you wrong. You are to submit to the official teaching of the Church and if you deny it, or obstinately doubt it, then you become the heretic and are excommunicated.
We need to begin at that point. If you do not understand these issues it is NOT the Pope who must be examined or doubted, it is YOUR understanding of the issues.
The mere knowledge of the faith or of the Catholic Church is not what destroys invincible ignorance. One must not only have merely knowledge, but must understand that knowledge and be informed of the truth and convinced of it. If a person has, in his heart even if not with his mouth publically, understood that we are to be in the Catholic Church and feigns ignorance of this, or refuses to act upon his conscience which has been convinced of this, THEN he loses invincible ignorance and places his soul at risk.
But WE cannot know for sure when a person has lost invincible ignorance. Only God knows that.
I do not know where you are getting this statement: Also, it has been taught that while invincible ignorance can excuse from the sin of schism, it does not excuse heresy, meaning that members that have joined a non-Catholic sect are ipso facto excommunicated as stated by Canon Law.
BOTH schism and heresy incur an automatic excommunication. But excommuncation DOES NOT EQUAL damnation. While a person may be excommunicated for their actions of schism or hersey or defection from the faith to a Protestant sect, we CANNOT know the state of their soul.
Remember, for a grave sin to be MORTAL the sin must not only be grave (which these sins are), but the person must KNOW they are grave AND must consent freely to commit the sins. This is Church teaching.
A person who goes into schism, heresy, or defection may have psychological problems that impair or make impossible free consent. If that is the case then the person has diminished culpability and the sin may not be accounted to them as mortal.
Again, only God can know for sure whether conditions exist that make the sin mortal to the sinner.
But we can certainly say to a person who leaves the Church, or goes into schism or heresy that they are risking their souls to hell due to their actions, but we CANNOT say they ARE going to hell. Only God knows that.
The Muslims DO worship the God of Abraham, just as the Jews to. But like the Jews they do not accept Jesus as the Messiah and God.
As long as they are in invincible ignorance they will be judged by loving, merciful, and just God, and not by us, according to their understanding of God and their sincere hearts to follow Him.
These are the teachings of the Church that all Catholics are BOUND to believe.
Remember, it is the Magisterium, not you or me, who has been given the charism to interpret the Church's documents and the words of the Saints.
DO NOT BACKSEAT DRIVE the Magisterium. You are not qualified.
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