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March 2003 No. 51


Note on Dominus Jesus


Many Catholics rejoiced at the publication of Dominus Jesus (2001) which reaffirmed the "subsistit in" of the Church of Christ in the Catholic Church and the principle according to which the Catholic Church is the only one to possess the "fullness" of the means of salvation. Nevertheless, in order to conform to the perennial deposit of faith, the Declaration would have had to state that the Church of Christ subsists solely in the Catholic Church, rather than say-in complete agreement with LG and URthat "the Church of Christ, despite the divisions that exist among Christians, continues to exist fully [emphasis added] only in the Catholic Church," and on the other hand, that "outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth...," that is, "in those Churches and ecclesial communities not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church" (DJ 16).

It is the adverb "fully" which does not fit since it means that the Church of Christ has existed and continues to exist even if not fully in some "elements" which, although they are found outside the Catholic Church, nevertheless confer salvation. And it is exactly this idea that contradicts the 2000-year-old dogma of "Outside the Church there is no salvation." In fact, the Catholic truth is that outside the Catholic Church, the sole legitimate Church of Christ of the ages, there does not exist nor can there exist full or less full "means of salvation" that might procure salvation because they are put into place by the "churches" or "communities" of heretics and schismatics as such. Outside the Church there is only the possibility of the individual salvation of the heretic or material schismatic, that is, the heretic of good faith who adheres to his sect's doctrine through non-culpable ignorance of Catholic doctrine and who sincerely seeks to do God's will in all things. Such is the doctrine of baptism of implicit desire, which is also applied to non-Christians: if the infidel or heretic of pious soul and devotion had known the Catholic Church or the Church's true doctrine, he would have adhered to it. Thus, the possibility of (visible) Extra Ecclesiam only exists for individual salvation, through the work of the Holy Spirit, despite material membership of the heretic, schismatic or infidel to his sect, community, or religion, and not because such and such a sect or community would represent an element of the Church of Christ in which there might be "the same fullness of grace and truth, which was confided in the Catholic Church" (UR).

As in Dominus Jesus, Vatican II also attempts to apply this very grave doctrinal error equally to all non-Christian religions, including pagan ones.This, because both set forth the false doctrine that asserts that "semina Verb/," ("seeds of the Word"), are in some way found in these religions. On this, one need only compare LG ( 17), GS (36); Ad Gentes ( I 1, 18); and Nostra Aetate (2) with Dominus Jesus (12-14). The "elements" of truth and sanctification alleged to be present in the communities of heretics and schismatics are thus said to have their parallel in the "seeds of the Word" which they imagine are present in ancient and modern paganism and in religions that proclaim themselves to be based on revelation.

The false doctrine of semina Verbi derives from a manipulation of the thought of the Church Fathers (e.g., SS. Justin and Clement of Alexandria), who saw "a seed of the Divine Word" in the ideas of certain speculative and ethical truths expressed by certain philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle and certain Greek poets, ideas that were close to the moral order established by the true God in the world of man. For the Fathers, this was a limited recognition of the legitimate ideas of such philosophers and poets. But the semina Verb/ was never attributed to pagan religion, which has always been considered to be "worship of the Devil" (Ps. 95; I Cor. 10:20). It is the "New Theology" which has arbitrarily included pagan religion in the testimonials of the early Church  Fathers.

Vatican IIs error has remained in the DJ. It continues to teach that the heretical and schismatic communities would be part of the "Church of Christ," although enjoying supposed means of salvation presenting "deficiencies," and thus less full, and for this reason finding themselves in a position of inferiority in relation to the Catholic Church. But this inferiority would be without influence on what concerns obtaining salvation, and so totally theoretical. All this is absurd and incoherent, and represents the negation of the truth of divine and Catholic Faith according to which only the Catholic Church is the one true Church of Christ, immutable and faithful through the centuries, outside of which there is no salvation.-Cononicus

 

 


Courtesy of the Angelus Press, Kansas City, MO 64109
translated from the Italian
Fr. Du Chalard
Via Madonna degli Angeli, 14
Italia 00049 Velletri (Roma)

March 2003 Volume XXVI, Number 3


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