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 UR—that "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).
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).
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.
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
II’s 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)
2003 Volume XXVI, Number 3