May 30, 2013

Vatican walks back Pope on atheists?

"Just one day after the pope's now famous words in Rome on May 22, a Vatican spokesman the Rev. Thomas Rosica released a statement...."
"All salvation comes from Christ, the Head, through the Church which is his body," Rosica wrote. "Hence they cannot be saved who, knowing the Church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her."
Here's what the Pope had said:
"If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter," Francis said. "We must meet one another doing good. 'But I don't believe, Father, I am an atheist!' But do good: we will meet one another there."

115 comments:

Henry said...

Fine with me, says this atheist.

Mitchell the Bat said...

They're all just making shit up to see what works.

Lem said...

I thought the pope was infallible... or is the concept of infallibility fallible... or maybe the pope is only infallible sometimes around holydays.

Lem said...

Or maybe the 'atheist' comment attributed to the pope was really made by his robot, anticipating something the pope would say.

Sorun said...

Salvation depends on what mood church officials are in that day.

Patrick said...

"We can never say with ultimate certainty whether a non-Christian who has rejected Christianity...is still following the temporary path mapped out for his own salvation which is leading him to an encounter with God.”

From the article. Not much of a walkback. It appears Huffpo, in its hurry to make the Church look evil, got it wrong:

Correction: A previous version of this article asserted that Rosica had said that atheists cannot be saved, and attributed the quotation from the Catechism to Rosica.

gerry said...

Did anyone read the entire original article? This isn't a "walkback" - it's Althousian obfuscation.

Ann Althouse said...

"Did anyone read the entire original article? This isn't a "walkback" - it's Althousian obfuscation."

It's put in the form of a question. Feel free to assert, based on the evidence, that this is not a walk-back. Calling me names is a convenient alternative to facing the question.

Talk about obfuscation!

Deirdre Mundy said...

The pope didn't say "Do Good works and you'll be saved." What he's talking about is that if one is attempting to live a moral life and care for ones neighbor, that path will eventually lead to God.

I think he's thinking of the Mortimer Adlers of the world....

And, of course, the Pope's idea of a 'Moral Life" and your garden variety atheist's idea probably have some ...differences.

This isn't really a new idea though. The Church believes that God has places a desire for Him in all human hearts, and that all people have the ability to seek him and find him, because he calls all people to him.

So if you're living a life of morality and service to neighbor, you'll eventually run across God (because he's always lurking) and follow him.

The problem is that when we live lives devoted to Self and Pleasure, we stop looking outside ourselves for meaning. And then, we can't find God, because we've essentially given up.

But the atheist who strives to live a virtuous life and cares for others is a seeking atheist, not a despairing one. He's on a path that will let him accept Jesus's gift of faith once he encounters him.

Basically, Catholics believe that God ardently desires ALL people to know and love him. We'e not predestined to damnation. We damn ourselves when we all ourselves up in hedonistic self pleasure and ignore the life of love and service that will make us happy.

The atheist who tries to do good has not yet damned himself.

Lem said...

The popes robot is a loose canon.

rhhardin said...

Cosmologists, looking at the future, mostly agree that we're fucked.

Lem said...

Althouse robot is not infallible.

Check.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I think Americans are more prone to confusion on this point, because many tend to confuse "What I learned about he Calvinists in High School" with "What all Christians Believe."

So yes. For the Calvinist, the Atheists are probably predestined to damnation. But for the Catholic, the salvation drama doesn't reach a conclusion until the moment of death, when a soul chooses for or against God.

BUT--even at that moment, if the atheist is snatched from the fired of Hell, it is Jesus who is doing the snatching.

Mitchell the Bat said...

If vague pseudo-explanatory metaphors did not exist, it would be necessary to invent them.

pduggie said...

Yeah, lots of people mis-read the Pope's original comments

"meet there" never meant "meet in heaven" It meant that people of goodwill of all kinds can work together for 'peace'.

And the idea that Jesus death redeems everyone, while it could be read universaliticly, is not neccessarily so. Calvinists claim that Jesus didn't atone for the sins of the whole world, only the elect, but Lutherans, Catholics, etc, have a system where Jesus death objectively redeems everyone making salvation possible FOR THOSE WHO RESPOND IN FAITH.

So atheists need to have faith to be saved, and nothing the Pope said contradicts that.

Its all a big misreading, fueled by ignorance of theology on the part of the media. I recall it was "news" a few decades back when JPII said that ppl aren't married in heaven/the ressurection, when that's bog-standard christian teaching, though it doesn't fit with popular sentimetality of tales of spouses thinking of being 'reunited' with their dead spouses.

Lem said...

Pope walked back by the Vatican after discovering Pope didn't have his trekking pole with him to keep him safe.

traditionalguy said...

Francis is speaking in peace to the the vast majority of the religious people who do see loving your neighbor as an end run into heaven.

Would it were so. It may be so, in which case no Christian Church needs to preach the gospel. We can rely upon predestined choice by God, which is a Calvinist belief.

I am happy to see that Pope Francis is no longer Roman Catholic.

edutcher said...

I seem to remember in Catechism class being told virtuous pagans and the like ended up in Limbo, which wasn't exactly Heaven, but wasn't Hell, either.

That sounds more like what he said.

Lem said...

I read the pope 'shun' his nice apartment at the Vatican.

Now he walks all over the place?

Mark O said...

There is a marked difference between being an atheist and refusing to accept the Church while "knowing" it is from God.

Lem said...

Maybe I shouldn't be poking fun at the popes expense.

I love my fellow catholic commenters here.

I'm just been felling very good lately... good deeds induced coincidently.

Mitchell the Bat said...

When I was in my mid-twenties, I worked with this guy who thought of himself as a really good Catholic. He went to church every Sunday and he sent his kids to catechism and the whole shmeer.

One day we were on our lunch break in the city and we walked past a church. They were painting the woodwork around the front entrance and my friend wondered out loud why the entrances are always painted red.

I said, rather matter-of-factly, "It's the blood of Christ. You enter the church through the blood of Christ."

He was dumbfounded. The thought had never occurred to him.

And the point of that little story isn't to prove that I'm clever.

I'm not.

deborah said...

The moon is in the seventh house.

(Great analysis, Deirdre.)

Lem said...

Calling me names is a convenient alternative to facing the question.

Don't worry, I'm sure the IRS has your name down somewhere.

(that's not even funny)

Eustace Chilke said...

Maybe they've gone a little Stephen King on us with this one, saying in effect "...I refuse to be pinned down to something that I said 10 or 12 years ago. I'm totally inconsistent.."

ricpic said...

So the Pope signs on to the just be a mensch and you gets to heaven theory?

Jim said...

You see what happens when you make a Jesuit pope.

Sorun said...

Apparently there's some confusion about what the Pope meant when he said something last week. Imagine the difficulties with what Jesus said 2000 years ago.

ricpic said...

And the point of that little story isn't to prove that I'm clever.

I'm not.


Hey, you'll be clever when I say you're clever and not a minute before!

Lem said...

BUT--even at that moment, if the atheist is snatched from the fired of Hell, it is Jesus who is doing the snatching.

Constantine (2005) I loved that movie... its probably the only 'decent' work K Reeves has ever been able to muster. and I'm being generous. and Tilda Swinton's Gabriel was a revelation.

I should watch that again.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"Hence they cannot be saved who, knowing the Church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her."

Is this about atheists? Or Onan?

ThomasD said...

Doing good is not merely action, it is also a place, a place of being.

Meaning of language is often lost in translation. What remains, and more so what is privileged, often says more about the mind of the listener than of the speaker.

That this frequently happens to the Pope is entirely unsurprising. As unsurprising as peoples studied ignorance of the doctrine of infallibility.

deborah said...

CS Lewis said that a shrink-hearted grinch doing one good thing out of character for him/her is more saintly than a natural-born nice person doing a lot of good things, because it's easier for the nice person.

Renee said...

The Pope never said, what the media wanted the Pope to have said.

As a Catholic, I understood what the Pope said the first time.

When the Pope said, "But do good: we will meet one another there." I understood it as, of course atheists do many acts of love and good, when you see it 'meet one another there' to start a conversation about Jesus.

As a Catholic, you always have to 'meet' the person where they are in life. I don't speak about my faith at the same level with an atheist as I would as a Catholic, I have to meet them where they are at. Before you speak, you have to know where the person is coming from.

God = love. Love = God. So as a Catholic, when I see an atheist commit an act of love, I see it as God's work, even though the atheist doesn't.

ricpic said...

You see what happens when you make a Jesuit pope.

Thread winner.

ThomasD said...

It might also be useful to consider that what an atheist considers good, and what the Pope considers good may not be the same thing.

But I am fairly confidant that what the Pope is attempting to encourage is the Catholic version of the good.

Deirdre Mundy said...

You know, the more I think about it, the more I think the pope was basically restating Pascal's wager:

You don't believe in God.... but, try acting as if all people are beloved children of God..... and see where you end up.

Lem said...

It seems to me, and I'm not catholic but I am a friend of the church you might say, that this pope is a departure from the more legalistic (if you will) doctrinal lettered? previous pope... who, btw, still lives.

I don't know that that has necessarily anything to do with what we are discussing here. But I just thought I put it out there.

edutcher said...

Lem said...

Maybe I shouldn't be poking fun at the popes expense.

I love my fellow catholic commenters here.

I'm just been felling very good lately... good deeds induced coincidently.


And St Peter notes everything in that big book of his.

Don't forget, we are the One True Church. As with God's Chosen People, you mess with us at your peril.

pduggie said...

@sorun

in both cases, the words are there on the page.

Renee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. D said...

You know, the more I think about it, the more I think the pope was basically restating Pascal's wager

Yes.

Renee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

As unsurprising as peoples studied ignorance of the doctrine of infallibility.

I wasn't 'serious' about that.

TMink said...

Seems like Catholicism confuses the Catholic denomination with the Church, that is, the totality of people who trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins.

Trey

Aridog said...

The Huff Post analyzing or reporting on things the Pope has said. Hilarious.

He said what he said simply and clearly, except to those who want to make an issue of it.

I was an atheist, now a Catholic baptized, for the first time ever, Easter Sunday 2012. I traversed a period of moral cruelty and literal viciousness to get where I am today of at least trying to be a better person.

I fully understand what the Pope was saying...it happened to and for me.

Thorley Winston said...

Constantine (2005) I loved that movie... its probably the only 'decent' work K Reeves has ever been able to muster. and I'm being generous.


I own a copy of that movie and have never been able to get through it (which is rare for a comic book movie, the only other time that’s happened is the Green Hornet with Seth Rogan). I actually think that Keanu Reeves was pretty good in Point Break, Speed, The Devil’s Own and the first Matrix movie.



Uncle Pavian said...

It looks to me as if the "there" where the Pope expects to meet atheists was "doing good", not heaven. The sentence could have been worded more clearly, but I don't think the Holy Father is advocating either universalism or salvation by works.
On the other hand, what do I know? I'm a Baptist.

EMD said...

I actually think that Keanu Reeves was pretty good in Point Break, Speed, The Devil’s Own and the first Matrix movie.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and My Own Private Idaho.

Old Dad said...

Pope Francis simply reminded us that we are all invited to the feast. We can all congregate "there." We can all stay as long as we like and get to know one another. The buffet line is always open. Some will not find it to their taste, and will leave. Others will eat and stay forever, but everyone is invited.

Paddy O said...

"So as a Catholic, when I see an atheist commit an act of love, I see it as God's work, even though the atheist doesn't."

This was basically the view CS Lewis has at the end of The Last Battle.

Paddy O said...

“The real question is what Christ wants. Christ wants a person to come to him, to those people who don’t want him. We shouldn’t take an atheist more serious than Christ who died for them.

“I’m not sure if we serve the same God as the Muslims or the Buddhists or other religions, but I’m very sure the same God believes in every person whether they are Muslim or Buddhist.”

~J├╝rgen Moltmann

gerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gerry said...

Feel free to assert, based on the evidence, that this is not a walk-back.

I have done so. The evidence that what you cite in this thread is not a walkback is the entire context of the Pope's original remarks. The proper context of his remarks refute the inherent and inaccurate implication in this thread's lede (of which, I perhaps wrongly assumed, you were the author), and I clearly stated so in my original post.

Talk about obfuscation!

The cardinal is not pleased.

Scott M said...

I would guess that atheists that lead a fairly good life by Christian standards do end up in Heaven. It's just that they have to spend a few centuries on weeds-n-seeds before they're allowed out of their compound without angelic escort.

Scott M said...

I own a copy of that movie and have never been able to get through it

LOL, same here, though I think it's because The Mummy ruined Rachel Weisz in any other role for me. Still you have to admit that Peter Stormare's Satan is pretty damned good.

edutcher said...

Lem said...

Constantine (2005) I loved that movie... its probably the only 'decent' work K Reeves has ever been able to muster.

What?

You didn't like "Speed"?

(granted, Dennis Hopper gets the good lines...)

Thorley Winston said...

LOL, same here, though I think it's because The Mummy ruined Rachel Weisz in any other role for me. Still you have to admit that Peter Stormare's Satan is pretty damned good.

I still prefer Pacino’s ;)

Actually last night when I couldn’t sleep because of the heat, I put in Godfather III. Sofia Coppola’s “daddy, I want this foundation to bring us closer together” and Andy Garcia “I love you cousin . . . because your father directed these movies and I’m not a big star yet” never fails to put me to sleep.


Thorley Winston said...

I love the Mummy movies. Although when I rewatch them, I keep expecting Evie’s brother to say “by Jupiter’s c**ck!” Shows you what four seasons of Spartacus will do to your expectations . . .

Methadras said...

I feel redeemed.

Methadras said...

edutcher said...

Lem said...

Constantine (2005) I loved that movie... its probably the only 'decent' work K Reeves has ever been able to muster.

What?

You didn't like "Speed"?

(granted, Dennis Hopper gets the good lines...)


I loved Constantine too. Not sure why this movie got panned. Reeves was perfect as Constantine. I wish they would have shown and done more, but the acting and action was great. The middle finger to Satan on his way to heaven was awesome.

Lem said...

I'm sorry people but...

Keanu Reeves could not act his way out of Kindergarten.

IMHO. He has been extremely lucky to be in some good movies that could have been better w/o him.

phx said...

I was an atheist, now a Catholic baptized, for the first time ever, Easter Sunday 2012. I traversed a period of moral cruelty and literal viciousness to get where I am today of at least trying to be a better person.

In my tradition we stand humbly in front of a man trying to be a better person.

Lem said...

Some of the movies you guys are mentioning...

In your hart of harts...

Who was better in the Matrix, K Reeves or Laurence Fishburne?

Who was better in Point Break, K Reeves or Patrick Swayze.

In the movies he has been on, K Reeves has been carried more times than Kong carried his female leads.

William said...

The way people sometimes get contact highs, isn't it possible for people living in Christian communities to absorb Christian values and become heaven worthy in their behavior........I was raised as a Catholic. I'm currently an agnostic, but I still have respect for the values I was taught. Outside of that one regrettable incident with the chainsaw, I have lived a law abiding life. I'm certain that any fair minded God would allow me into heaven. I believe this is what is known to Catholics as the sin of presumption.

Lem said...

Keanu Reeves brings the women to the theaters... he's a draw on his looks alone.

Just admit MAYBE some here have a men crush... you might be able to overcome it... once you identify it.

sniper said...

The Vatican is simply clarifying the Pope's statement--not correcting it.

ken in sc said...

My step-father used to say that a man can be saved between the saddle and the ground. Being thrown from a horse was a common cause of death when he grew up.

BTW, as a Presbyterian I think predestination is probably true. Paul uses the term several times. I didn't do anything to earn God's grace, it was God's choice. He called me and led me to start leading a better life. However, predestination is not a useful doctrine. You are not going to convince many people who are not already Christians.

phx said...

Best Keanuu Reeves: Parenthood.

Fr Martin Fox said...

This subject--who gets saved and how, according to Catholic belief--can be maddening to talk about.

But hope triumphs over experience! Here goes...

Everyone, without exception, who is saved, is saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Period.

No one is saved by works; it is by God's grace, first, last and always. Works, however, are understood by Catholic teaching to be themselves a fruit of grace--and therefore, their being involved does not detract from the graciousness of salvation.

If non-Catholics, non-Christians, and non-believers get saved (since it isn't a sure thing for Catholics, it certainly isn't a sure thing for everyone else), it will be through Christ's saving work. Period.

In heaven, there won't be an atheists' heaven, non-Christian heaven, etc. Everyone in heaven will know God as Trinity, Jesus Christ as the Incarnate Son of God.

With a bit of imagination, one can describe ways this works out--e.g., how someone who spends his or her life as a non-Christian, or even an atheist, nevertheless finds him or herself adoring the Triune God. C.S. Lewis, to my mind, has done as good a job as anyone.

In any case, such speculation remains speculation.

Fr Martin Fox said...

And about infallibility, papal or otherwise...

Infallibility isn't inspiration. When the Prophet Isaiah said, "thus says the Lord," what followed (i.e., what's in the biblical scroll bearing his name) was inspired: the Holy Spirit guided what he said or wrote, so that it represent's not only a human word, but also God's word. That's inspiration.

The pope is not inspired: we aren't assured that God will supply him right answers or messages to deliver to the world.

So what's infallibility?

It is something God does to prevent the pope from teaching--on matters of faith and morals--any error in a formal way.

I'll say it again: in a formal way.

So note:

The pope ain't infallible about, say, science or baseball, no matter what. He could assemble all the bishops and cardinals, and organize the most solemn event...but if he proposes to teach on, say, algebra, there's no assurance God will keep him from giving a wrong answer.

Likewise, if you are having coffee with the pope, and discussing theology; or he is at daily Mass, and sharing a few observations on the scriptures, that's not formal teaching, so there's no assurance God will prevent him from teaching error.

So daily homilies don't involve an expectation of infallibility. (I.e., God might do it anyway, but no promises.)

Fr Martin Fox said...

Here's a way to illustrate the way infallibility operates...

Suppose you gave the pope a 100-question test on faith and morals, including some questions that are pretty speculative.

When he turns in the test the next day, how many correct answers MUST be on the test, if he is really infallible?

Answer?

NONE.

Because he could return the test BLANK.

No assurance God will give him the answer; only that if the pope proposes (formally) an answer, God will keep him from teaching error.

Peter said...

"When a Coin in the Coffer Rings ... A soul from purgatory springs!" -- attributed to Johann Tetzel, a seller of indulgences.

So, perhaps this is progress. The Roman Catholic Church has always seemed a bit confused over whether good works alone (without faith) could get one into heaven; Lutherans ("sola fide!"), not so much.

Thorley Winston said...

Who was better in the Matrix, K Reeves or Laurence Fishburne?
Trick question: Hugo Weaving.

Who was better in Point Break, K Reeves or Patrick Swayze.
Honestly: I’d say they were pretty even. Swazye played the same charismatic bad boy he did in most of his movies and Reeves played the same tortured cop he did in “Speed.” Generally I‘ve liked more of Swazye’s movies than Reeves *but* Reeves extended himself with some of the undercover scenes (having to gain the trust of the group he was infiltrating and prove himself to his partner). I’d say they were both solid performances and I’m hard-pressed to think of an actor who could have replaced either and done a better job in with their roles in any meaningful way.
Side note: the one thing I don’t like about the movie is the ending. No matter how you slice it: Brody was still a bad guy and a murderer. Even if he had no chance to escape, Utah should have taken him into custody without giving him a chance to “ride the big one.” He should have cuffed his hands behind his back and secured him into the helicopter or plane and then flown over the giant wave and whispered to him “remember this when you’re rotting away in prison – the choices you made are the reason why you didn’t get to realize your dream and ride this magnificent wave.”

Mitchell the Bat said...

There was an episode of Star Trek TNG where Riker goes undercover on some backward planet and gets tangled up in local politics and he's executed.

But not really because Dr. Crusher injects him with some stuff so he just seems like he's dead.

The locals entomb him and then Picard uses the transporter to beam Riker out of there and the locals think he was resurrected and they start the first faith-based religion.

Okay, that's not true. I just made it up.

See how easy it is?

Mitchell the Bat said...

The hard part is selling it as true and getting people to give you money.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Providing a social safety net helps, considerably.

Paddy O said...

"The Roman Catholic Church has always seemed a bit confused over whether good works alone (without faith) could get one into heaven; Lutherans ("sola fide!"), not so much."

This is somewhat troubling while still being somewhat true. Officially, the Catholic Church hasn't had problems. Pelagius was considered a heretic then and since. The trouble is that official theology doesn't always find representation in popular teaching or belief. A lot of less official theology gets thrown into the mix and it's often presented by very official sorts of people.

Lutherans have the same problem, by the by. Sola Fide! officially, but there have always been practices that good Lutherans were/are expected to do.

The problem at Luther's time was mostly about corruption, not about theology. Luther really was right, in terms of official theology. He, of course, got more radical as time went on.

I'm pretty certain that Luther would have not had problems with the Catholic Church of today. Had Vatican II been in effect back in Luther's day, there would not have been a Reformation. Not that Catholic teaching ever changes, of course, it just gets clarified in different ways...

Mitchell the Bat said...

NTTAWWT.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

As I understand the situation, it's the Pope who got it right. Salvation is necessarily through Christ, but needn't be via faith in Christ, and that's true even for those who had access to the teachings of Christ but rejected them.

That teaching has evolved a good deal. Dante put the "virtuous pagans" in the first circle of Hell (apart from a select few who got, well, raptured out -- the Emperor Trajan was in there, I forget who else). Later, doctrine was as Rosica states it: Those who never knew Christ could be saved, because it was not through their own fault that they did not know, but those who did know Him and yet rejected Him could not.

I don't think the current teaching says even that. "No one comes to the Father but through me"; but that needn't mean belief alone. In fact, it can't.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

edutcher,

I seem to remember in Catechism class being told virtuous pagans and the like ended up in Limbo, which wasn't exactly Heaven, but wasn't Hell, either.

Dante's Limbo was a sort of ante-room to Hell, and didn't contain the "virtuous pagans" (who were in Hell, although admittedly the nicest part of it), but rather the people so morally colorless that apparently God Himself couldn't figure out what to do with them.

The more recent Catholic version of Limbo seems to have been used chiefly as a place to put infants who died before they were baptized.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Peter said:

When a Coin in the Coffer Rings ... A soul from purgatory springs!" -- attributed to Johann Tetzel, a seller of indulgences.

So, perhaps this is progress. The Roman Catholic Church has always seemed a bit confused over whether good works alone (without faith) could get one into heaven; Lutherans ("sola fide!"), not so much.


The Church is not at all confused. Lots of other people are confused.

Tetzel came up with that on his own. Luther was right to be offended. But Tetzel didn't get Catholic doctrine right. Why is that so surprising?

In any case, for all that is bad about that episode--more on that in a moment--the Council of Trent was a wonderful benefit. Read the Decree on the Doctrine of Justification, then let me know if you find it "confusing." Quick summary: Trent teaches, absolutely, that salvation is by grace.

Now, about the tragedy of the Reformation. Fast-forward to circa 1999, when the Catholic Church and the World Lutheran Federation adopted a joint declaration on the doctrine of justification. After walking through all the various issues that have been argued about over the centuries, it came to this startling conclusion:

The condemnations that divided the two Churches, over this doctrine, "do not apply."

That's a boring statement, but here's what it means:

If the convergence of this document had been reached, not in 1999, but in the 1500s, there might not have been a Reformation.

So I'd say the Catholic Church is not confused--nor is the Lutheran Church.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Mitchell:

Not so easy. The Resurrection of our Lord cannot be explained by what you offered.

Feel free to try again!

Fr Martin Fox said...

Michelle said:

Salvation is necessarily through Christ, but needn't be via faith in Christ, and that's true even for those who had access to the teachings of Christ but rejected them.

Well, it depends what you mean.

Anyone who is saved will be in the one and only heaven there is. That heaven is all about the Trinity, and thus Jesus Christ.

Anyone who gets there has to deal with Christ. Kind of hard to be in heaven and say, "Jesus? No, I'm Buddhist, thanks."

Of course, that doesn't preclude someone making an act of faith, in this life, that is innocently misdirected. I.e., one believes in, and seeks to serve, God as ones knows God--and arriving at ones judgment after death, one discovers just who God is. For those who live by faith and cooperate with God's grace, it will be a happy discovery.

Bender said...

Feel free to assert, based on the evidence, that this is not a walk-back.

To observe your complete and, at this point must surely be intentional, utter ignorance is not to call you names, but to point out fact.

Purposeful and knowing and, thus, feigned ignorance because when this came up last week, I specifically posted the entire quote and warned against resorting to disreputable sources to obtain information about the Vatican.

Specifically, I quoted --

"The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all!"

That is precisely what Father Rosica said. "All salvation comes from Christ." "The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ." No difference, no walk back.

Bender said...

In addition to including the quote in the previous post, there was a big long discussion over the matter of Francis saying that if you are saved, then it is by Jesus Christ.

There was also a big discussion about Protestants being even more stubbornly ignorant about Catholic teaching with their continued insistance on claiming that the Church teaches something it does not and never has taught.

I'll repeat myself --
In addition to not listening to what the Washington Post says about the Catholic Church, please do NOT listen to what Luther or Calvin or any other Protestant has ever said about the Church. For five hundred years they have been having an arguement with themselves against strawmen of their own making.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Fr Martin Fox,

Thanks. (RCIA dropout here; there's a lot I don't know.)

My understanding was that salvation is impossible except through Christ, but that Christ might save even those who rejected Him in this life. I mean not those who never heard the Gospel, but those who did hear it and cast it aside.

Granted that it would be a bit awkward to arrive at a Trinitarian Heaven and still reject the Trinity! But I would think that by that point the soul would've twigged. As it were.

From a Chesterton story (quoted from memory, so probably not word-perfect), regarding an atheist, a character remarks, "I imagine that Heaven is largely populated with atheists of that sort [meaning the good-natured but stupid kind], scratching their heads and wondering where they are."

Paddy O said...

"For five hundred years they have been having an arguement with themselves against strawmen of their own making."

I think this is disingenuous. There is a huge gap between official teaching and popular conceptions and even public teaching.

Luther and Calvin were quite aware what was being taught in their era. And Luther's huge, original, point was that there was a discrepancy between what was the official theology and what was actually being expressed.

Many Catholics I know today talk about the need to do works, and that being part of their upbringing. That's not good Catholic theology, but it is the theology that many people in the Catholic Church understand to be Catholic theology.

mariner said...

Thorley Winston,
Side note: the one thing I don’t like about the movie is the ending. No matter how you slice it: Brody was still a bad guy and a murderer. Even if he had no chance to escape, Utah should have taken him into custody without giving him a chance to “ride the big one.” He should have cuffed his hands behind his back and secured him into the helicopter or plane and then flown over the giant wave and whispered to him “remember this when you’re rotting away in prison – the choices you made are the reason why you didn’t get to realize your dream and ride this magnificent wave.”

If Point Break had been made fifty years ago that would have been the ending.

Or perhaps Utah would have arrived on the beach too late to arrest Brody, but just in time to observe his demise.

Jeff said...

"Hence they cannot be saved who, knowing the Church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her."

Of course, an atheist does not believe there is a God, or that Christ was His Son. So of course he can't "know" that the Church was founded by Christ and necessary for salvation. If the atheist really thinks he knows that, then by definition he's not an atheist.

Christians seem to have a very hard time understanding that, to this athiest, there talk of God and salvation is just silly. I've seen no evidence of any supernatural beings or forces in the universe, so talk that presumes such things exist is not the least bit persuasive.

Renee:

"So as a Catholic, when I see an atheist commit an act of love, I see it as God's work, even though the atheist doesn't.'

And what you don't see is how incredibly arrogant you are. The poor atheist couldn't possibly have done any good on his own, it must be that MY God somehow inspired it.

mariner said...

Fr Martin Fox,

Thank you for participating in this discussion.

If the convergence of this document had been reached, not in 1999, but in the 1500s, there might not have been a Reformation.

Not really.

If the Church hadn't been every bit as corrupt as Luther said it was, the Pope might have responded to Luther by at least being seen to at least be attempting to reform it.

THEN there might not have been a Reformation.

Instead the Pope excommunicated Luther (and, if memory serves, called for good Catholics to hunt him down and kill him).

SOJO said...

I like this Pope.

Methadras said...

Fr Martin Fox said...

This subject--who gets saved and how, according to Catholic belief--can be maddening to talk about.

But hope triumphs over experience! Here goes...

Everyone, without exception, who is saved, is saved by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Period.

No one is saved by works; it is by God's grace, first, last and always. Works, however, are understood by Catholic teaching to be themselves a fruit of grace--and therefore, their being involved does not detract from the graciousness of salvation.

If non-Catholics, non-Christians, and non-believers get saved (since it isn't a sure thing for Catholics, it certainly isn't a sure thing for everyone else), it will be through Christ's saving work. Period.

In heaven, there won't be an atheists' heaven, non-Christian heaven, etc. Everyone in heaven will know God as Trinity, Jesus Christ as the Incarnate Son of God.

With a bit of imagination, one can describe ways this works out--e.g., how someone who spends his or her life as a non-Christian, or even an atheist, nevertheless finds him or herself adoring the Triune God. C.S. Lewis, to my mind, has done as good a job as anyone.

In any case, such speculation remains speculation.


The notion that catholic teachings use good works, for the non-believer as an adjunct to soul saving grace is anathema to the scriptures. Matthew 19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

I don't require a bit of imagination to understand the necessity of what is required to enter the kingdom of heaven via God's grace and have my soul saved. It's pretty clear father and I'm not sure why you or the pope nor the Vatican are defending or clarifying any of this. It's pretty crystal clear. The proclamation of your intent voiced in body, mind, and soul to allow Jesus Christ to enter your heart as you Lord and Savior through his Blood and Sacrifice and Resurrection is the only way into the Kingdom of God. All three of you are wrong.

Inga said...

Methadras, one of the most vile disgusting hate filled commenters on this blog preaching Grace.

Ludicrous.

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inga said...

Methadras the Good Christian Born Again Man said.......

"God, you are such a wretched sub-human pig, Inga. Try harder to at least be somewhat more of a phony. kthxdieinafire."

5/30/13, 8:30 PM
I suspect the only one of the two of us who will be burning in a fire, will be you Meth, in the everlasting fires of hell.

Methadras said...

Inga said...

Methadras, one of the most vile disgusting hate filled commenters on this blog preaching Grace.

Ludicrous.


Inga said...

Methadras the Good Christian Born Again Man said.......

"God, you are such a wretched sub-human pig, Inga. Try harder to at least be somewhat more of a phony. kthxdieinafire."

5/30/13, 8:30 PM
I suspect the only one of the two of us who will be burning in a fire, will be you Meth, in the everlasting fires of hell.


Let me tell you a little something you filthy scum-bag. You are evil. That's what I fight with the Grace of God against the disgusting perversion of your base ideology, you malodorous mendacious malcontent. You are a liar, a known liar, and a disgusting human being. You deserve every condemnation I can heap upon you and people like you and think like you do. You are no more worthy of the Grace of the Lord for the ideology you've steeped yourself in, an ideology of hatred, evil, and death. That is the legacy that you swim in you filthy piece of offal.

Frankly bitch, on every conceivable level, I'm better than you. May you suffer every interminable misery that could possibly be heaped upon a single creature like you. You and the entire lot of you are nothing to me but the grist that I have to walk on.

Inga said...

You are a despicable hypocrite Meth, you deserve nothing less than the hell you will spend eternity in.

Inga said...

Remember Meth, God is not mocked.

Inga said...

Galatians 6:7. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Inga said...

Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness."

Inga said...

James 1:26 "If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless."

Inga said...

1 John 2:9 "Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness."

Inga said...



Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves."

Inga said...

1 John 2:4 "Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him."

Inga said...

Proverbs 26:23 "Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel
    are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24 Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips
    and harbors deceit in his heart;
25 when he speaks graciously, believe him not,
    for there are seven abominations in his heart;
26 though his hatred be covered with deception,
    his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly."

Inga said...

1 Peter 2:1 "So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander."

A word to the wise Meth, but alas, you are not wise.

ThomasD said...

And what you don't see is how incredibly arrogant you are. The poor atheist couldn't possibly have done any good on his own, it must be that MY God somehow inspired it.

I'm not clear on what you mean by arrogance.

Merriam-Webster says it is 'an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions,' and definies presumptuous as ' overstepping due bounds (as of propriety or courtesy) : taking liberties.'

So, unless you can provide a definition of good that does not include any sense of outside agency I fail to see how anyone can 'do good on his own.'

Put another way, when you say arrogance I see hatred evidenced by a desire towards exclusion.

datechguy said...

I don't see the problem. To anyone familiar with Christianity there is absolutely no contradiction to those statements.

datechguy said...

Anyone with even a small knowledge of Catholic belief and reading the two statements understands that there is no contradiction in those two statements

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

mariner,

Instead the Pope excommunicated Luther (and, if memory serves, called for good Catholics to hunt him down and kill him).

I know that it's common practice to use "excommunicate" as a transitive verb like that, as in "X excommunicated Y." But my understanding is that the only one doing the excommunicating in that setup is Y. Y has left the Church; X is affirming publicly that Y has left the Church.

Fr Martin Fox said...

I said:

If the convergence of this document had been reached, not in 1999, but in the 1500s, there might not have been a Reformation.

Mariner said:

Not really.

If the Church hadn't been every bit as corrupt as Luther said it was, the Pope might have responded to Luther by at least being seen to at least be attempting to reform it.

THEN there might not have been a Reformation.

Instead the Pope excommunicated Luther (and, if memory serves, called for good Catholics to hunt him down and kill him).


Let me explain why I said the Reformation might not have happened. Rather, let me clarify it, because what I really meant was, the division of the Church might never have happened.

Here's why.

It was Luther who said that "Justification by faith alone" is the principle on which the Reformation stands or falls.

No question there were other concerns, which can be divided into two categories:

> Issues of reforming morals or governance;

> Other theological issues that may or may not be directly related to the question of justification.

As far as the first category, Luther himself well knew these weren't unique in Church history. He knew that at various points, different folks in the Church have called for moral reform, often more severely than he did.

So if we take him at his word, there's no reason that the need for moral reform would cause a division of the Church.

And, by the way, that reform of morals and governance certainly did happen, especially with the Council of Trent.

But as Luther said, the Church needs constant moral reform.

As far as the second category, some of the other issues came further along, as the initial controversy did not reach a happy resolution. I don't believe Luther intended a split from Rome to result in new ruptures involving Calvin, Zwingli, Henry and other leaders folks would rally around.

Again, taking Luther at his word, he claimed the key issue was justification.

My point was and is that the issue of justification has been resolved, as far as the main body of Lutherans and the Catholic Church is concerned. (Turns out the Methodists, at least some of them, have also signed on.)

Had such a meeting of minds taken place then, if we take Luther at his word, he wouldn't have had reason to divide the Church over justification.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Continuing...

Now, there is a part of this that needs to be mentioned here--and that is Luther's response when pressed on how resolution would come.

Johann Eck debated Luther and others advocating Protestantism, and as I recall, in one of them, he asked Luther a series of questions to this end: how will the questions Luther's propositions raise for the Church be resolved? Would he accept the pope's determination? No, said Luther. What about an ecumenical council?

Had Luther said yes, then he'd have been bound to accept the judgment of an ecumenical council.

Luther, instead said, "unless I be convinced, from the plain meaning of Scripture..." he would not alter his views.

And with that extreme answer, there could be no resolution.

So it may be that the schism would indeed have happened anyway; however, it remains noteworthy that the issue Luther said was the key question has largely been resolved.

Methadras said...

Inga said...

You are a despicable hypocrite Meth, you deserve nothing less than the hell you will spend eternity in.


Really? Can you please name one, just one piece of hypocrisy that I've ever displayed on this forum? You throw around that word as if you actually know what it means and yet, there are numerous examples of your insidious character here for all to see.

Oh by the way, usually the biblically illiterate are the first to start machine gun out of context biblical verses to try and justify their meaningless points. I'm sure you did the typical google bullshit and textually diarreah'ed this for all to see. Bravo, simpleton, you've performed admirable in your stupidity again.

Inga said...

Hypocrite. Go to hell, why yes, that is precisely where you will end up. Methadras the born again hypocrite. I knew you were weird, now I know why.