BRO. PETER DIMOND
IN THIS ARTICLE:
• VAN NOORT REJECTS AND REDEFINES THE TWO RELATED DOGMAS: 1) OUTSIDE THE CHURCH THERE IS NO SALVATION AND 2) WITHOUT THE CATHOLIC FAITH THERE IS NO SALVATION
• VAN NOORT TEACHES THAT PAGANS WHO DON’T BELIEVE IN CHRIST AND DON’T HAVE THE CATHOLIC FAITH CAN BE SAVED THROUGH ‘BAPTISM OF DESIRE’
• THE ‘CATHOLIC FAITH’, NOT JUST A ‘SUPERNATURAL’ FAITH, IS REQUIRED FOR SALVATION
• ‘TRADITIONAL’ AND SEDEVACANTIST PRIESTS EMPHASIZE 'SUPERNATURAL' FAITH AND DENY CATHOLIC DOGMA ON THE NECESSITY OF 'CATHOLIC' FAITH
• VAN NOORT'S BOOK TEACHES THAT SALVATION WITHOUT THE CATHOLIC FAITH AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH CANNOT BE SAID TO BE RARE
• VAN NOORT’S BOOK TEACHES THAT “QUANTITIES AND QUANTITIES” OF NON-CATHOLICS ARE ACTUALLY INSIDE THE CHURCH
• THESE FACTS PROVE ONCE AGAIN THAT SUPPORTERS OF 'BAPTISM OF DESIRE' ARE WRONG IN BOTH DOCTRINE AND METHODOLOGY
• IF THEY WERE CONSISTENT, MODERN SUPPORTERS OF BOD/SALVATION OUTSIDE THE CHURCH WOULD ADHERE TO VATICAN II
Obstinate supporters of ‘baptism of desire’ (BOD) and salvation outside the Church frequently base their arguments and positions on the teaching of theology manuals produced prior to Vatican II. Since they resist faith in what Jesus Christ bestowed upon St. Peter and his successors, they are inclined to follow the doctrines of men who were not given the protection of infallibility. Many supporters of BOD actually argue and believe that theology manuals and texts, if they were produced by ‘approved’ priests and/or bishops in ‘good standing’ prior to Vatican II, are necessarily safe or reflective of sound Catholic teaching. They are quite wrong. They don’t understand what the Magisterium is and what it is not, when it is exercised and when it is not. Unless a theology manual is simply repeating what the Magisterium has already taught, the conclusions found in it are not protected or guaranteed by the Magisterium. Moreover, the power of the Magisterium is not exercised when such works are approved by bishops, or even by popes in a non-solemn or universal way. Indeed, this article will demonstrate quite clearly how one of the most popular theology manuals in our day is rife with modernist heresy of the worst kind.
It’s a sad fact that almost every theology manual produced in the decades leading up to Vatican II was heretical on the topic of salvation. Those books are not safe, but extremely dangerous and damaging, when dealing with the issues of Baptism and Outside the Church There Is No Salvation. That’s precisely why the bishops at Vatican II so willingly accepted the documents on false ecumenism, religious liberty, etc. Those bishops didn’t become heretics and religious indifferentists in a sudden flash at the Second Vatican Council. No, almost all of them were already heretics on the topic of salvation well before Vatican II. This article will further prove that fact.
The book we will discuss is Monsignor Van Noort’s work Dogmatic Theology, Volume II on Christ’s Church. This book is popular among ‘traditionalists’. It’s frequently cited by sedevacantists as an allegedly sound and even authoritative exposition of true Catholic teaching. In fact, many of these deluded people, when expressing their faulty methodology, assert that Catholics should not be citing or utilizing dogmatic texts (the highest pronouncements of the Church). No, according to them, people should simply submit to and follow the teaching of an ‘approved’ theologian such as Monsignor Van Noort, and accept what he says about the teaching of the Church. Some of these BOD supporters will even reference Van Noort (and others like him) as if his teaching ends the debate on a topic! They are quite deceived, as we will see. It was heretics such as Van Noort who paved the way for the apostate Second Vatican Council. In fact, almost all ‘traditionalist’ and sedevacantist priests in our day, who consider themselves anti-modernist traditionalists, have actually adopted a completely modernist view of salvation, articulated by heretics before Vatican II.
[NOTE: Van Noort’s work was translated and revised by John J. Castelot, S.S., S.T.D., S.S.L. & William R. Murphy, S.S., S.T.D. It was published in English by the Newman Press in 1957. Since the 1957 edition, revised by Castelot and Murphy, is the volume typically cited and used by ‘traditionalists,’ it’s the version of Van Noort’s book that I will cite and comment upon in this article. Volume II does not specify which parts, notes, etc. were added by Castelot and/or Murphy during the revision. The preface does mention that revisions were made to chapters dealing with the Mystical Body and the necessity of the Church for salvation. However, it's not clear precisely which lines or thoughts came from the editors. It's likely that most of the body of the text represents the teaching of Van Noort, with the footnotes probably coming from the editors. However, considering that the Castelot and Murphy edition is the one that’s used and recommended so frequently, it makes no practical difference which notes, etc. might have been added by Castelot and Murphy. The teaching found in the book written by Van Noort, and edited by Castelot and Murphy, is what’s being promoted and accepted by many ‘traditionalists’ as orthodox and sound Catholic teaching.]
VAN NOORT REJECTS AND REDEFINES THE TWO RELATED DOGMAS: 1) OUTSIDE THE CHURCH THERE IS NO SALVATION AND 2) WITHOUT THE CATHOLIC FAITH THERE IS NO SALVATION
Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D., Dogmatic Theology, Volume II, Christ's Church, p. 265: “From the matter previously discussed, it should be relatively easy both to explain and to defend that slogan – often misunderstood and bitterly complained against by non-Catholics – which the fathers of the Church and the Church itself take as an axiom: ‘outside the Roman Catholic Church there is no salvation.’ The axiom should be strictly understood as referring to actual union with the visible Church; but its full and correct meaning is: anyone who by his own fault lives and dies outside the Church will definitely be damned. That the axiom is understood by the Church only with that qualification is obvious from its clear teaching that no one will go to hell without serious guilt on his part.”
Here Van Noort states that the solemnly defined dogma, Outside the Church There is No Salvation, should be understood to mean that only someone who is outside the Church “by his own fault” cannot be saved. That is heresy and modernism. The dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation does not teach that only someone who is outside the Church “by his own fault” will not be saved. Rather, it teaches that all who die outside the Church are not saved, and that all who die without the Catholic faith are not saved. The Church has proclaimed this dogma from the Chair of St. Peter approximately seven different times. The formulation is always the same. Not once did the Church define that only someone outside the Church “by his own fault” cannot be saved, as Van Noort declares.
Typical of heretics, Van Noort has redefined the dogma in a way that’s 1) not found in any dogmatic definition, and 2) contrary to the proclamations of the dogmatic definitions. Van Noort’s statement demonstrates that he was a modernist enemy of the faith, with no fidelity to the highest magisterial pronouncements and no understanding of how they are to be handled. Here's the actual teaching of the Church, in its defined and unchangeable form.
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441, ex cathedra: “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives; that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the Church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Sess. 8, Nov. 22, 1439: “Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity.”
Dogmas must be believed and maintained as the Church has declared them. Anything else is heresy.
Pope Pius IX, First Vatican Council, Sess. 3, Chap. 4 on Faith and Reason, 1870, ex cathedra: “Hence, also, that understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be a recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding.”
By the way, those who believe they can depart from the dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation as it has been defined and declared, based on their understanding of a few fallible, non-universal statements of Pope Pius IX, are very deceived. The few statements from Pius IX, typically cited by heretics on this matter, were not even addressed to the universal Church. They were not infallible. They hold no weight in comparison to the aforementioned dogmatic definitions. Furthermore, the heretics misuse, distort and misinterpret them in the process of denying the dogma. The notion that all the dogmatic definitions on this matter should be set aside, and that the entire issue hinges on non-universal, non-infallible (and misinterpreted) statements of Pope Pius IX, is absurd. Pius IX's misinterpreted and fallible statements are discussed in our salvation book, and we plan on covering the issue in more detail in a future video.
VAN NOORT TEACHES THAT PAGANS WHO DON’T BELIEVE IN CHRIST AND DON’T HAVE THE CATHOLIC FAITH CAN BE SAVED THROUGH “BAPTISM OF DESIRE”
Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D., Dogmatic Theology, Volume II, Christ's Church, pp. 257-258: “Finally, the desire of using some means requisite for salvation signifies the sincere will to make use of the means instituted by God. This act of the will may be explicit, as in the case of a martyred catechumen who longed to receive baptism of water but was prevented by his own death; or implicit, that is, necessarily interwoven in some more extensive act of the will. So, for example, a pagan who loved God with his whole heart and was innocently ignorant of the necessity of Christian baptism, would implicitly desire baptism by the following act: ‘I want to use all the means that God has prescribed for salvation,’ or, ‘I want to do everything that God wants me to do to get to Heaven.’”
Here the heretic Van Noort teaches the notion of implicit faith, and that a “pagan” can be saved without the Catholic faith. That is directly contrary to the aforementioned dogma defined by the Council of Florence (see above). The Church specifically defined that all who die as “pagans” are lost. (By the way, to preemptively refute a typically dishonest response on this matter, we will point out what is obvious to honest people: if Van Noort didn't mean that the person is a pagan, then he would not have described the person as a pagan.) Van Noort omits the requirement that the individual must know Jesus Christ and have the Catholic faith to be saved. He ignored that dogma because he was not a Catholic. This brings us to an important point.
THE ‘CATHOLIC FAITH’, NOT JUST A ‘SUPERNATURAL’ FAITH, IS REQUIRED FOR SALVATION
Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Sess. 5, On Original Sin: “… our Catholic faith, without which it is impossible to please God…”
Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, Session 2, Profession of Faith, 1870: “This true Catholic faith, outside of which none can be saved, which I now freely profess and truly hold…”
Heretics who write on this matter often ignore the dogma that one must have THE CATHOLIC FAITH to be saved. Remember, the Church doesn’t merely declare that one must be inside the Church to be saved. It also declares that one must have the Catholic faith to be saved. The two truths are inseparable, of course, but examining each aspect of this dogma becomes important when refuting heretics. The supporters of BOD in our day ignore the dogma that one must have THE CATHOLIC FAITH to be saved simply because it’s impossible to twist their heretical view into language that comports with the dogma that no one is saved without the Catholic faith. After all, how can one who is a ‘pagan’ (who doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ and the Trinity) also have the Catholic faith? How can a pagan and a Catholic both be in the one Church? - the one Church, which, by definition, only has ONE FAITH AND ONE LORD? It doesn’t make any sense. So, the BOD heretics typically avoid the dogmatic pronouncements which declare that one must have the Catholic faith to be saved.
‘TRADITIONAL’ AND SEDEVACANTIST PRIESTS EMPHASIZE 'SUPERNATURAL' FAITH AND DENY CATHOLIC DOGMA ON THE NECESSITY OF 'CATHOLIC' FAITH
On this point it’s very interesting to consider the comments of sedevacantist priests Anthony Cekada and Donald Sanborn. In a theological discussion some months ago, they were asked whether an atheist can be saved. The person who posed the question pointed out that their view on ‘baptism of desire’, ignorance, salvation, etc., according to some critics, requires them to believe that an atheist can be saved. Sanborn, with Cekada agreeing, objected. He asserted that an atheist cannot be saved because one must have ‘supernatural faith’ to be saved, and ‘supernatural faith’ absolutely requires, at the bare minimum, belief in God and that He's a rewarder. Sanborn emphasized that belief in those two dogmas (the existence of God and that He's a rewarder) is what’s absolutely necessary for salvation, for without such belief an act of faith cannot be made.
So, according to them, the requirement to have ‘supernatural’ faith (a belief that God exists and that He is a rewarder) would exclude an atheist. But notice what such an assertion reveals. It reveals that their position does not exclude Jews, Muslims and many others from salvation: for Jews, Muslims and many other non-Catholics claim to believe that God exists and that He's a rewarder.
In short, their position on ‘supernatural’ faith denies the dogma that ‘Catholic’ faith is what’s absolutely necessary for salvation. They thus depart from the revelation of Jesus Christ and the dogmatic teaching of the Catholic Church on salvation.
The Son of God became man in order to redeem the world and reveal the Catholic faith. The faith Jesus Christ came to reveal (the ‘Catholic’ or ‘universal’ Christian faith) is not merely a belief that 1) God exists and 2) that He's a rewarder. No, those truths were known in the Old Testament. The Catholic faith, which the Lord Jesus Christ came to reveal, of course includes those truths (Hebrews 11:6). But it also includes, in terms of its simplest components, a belief in Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity. If someone who wishes to be saved doesn't know Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity, he cannot have the Catholic faith. That’s made clear in the dogmatic Athanasian Creed.
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Sess. 8, Nov. 22, 1439, ex cathedra: “Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity. But the Catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in the Trinity, and the Trinity in unity; neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance; for there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit, their glory is equal, their majesty coeternal...and in this Trinity there is nothing first or later, nothing greater or less, but all three persons are coeternal and coequal with one another, so that in every respect, as has already been said above, both unity in Trinity, and Trinity in unity must be worshipped. Therefore let him who wishes to be saved, think thus concerning the Trinity. But it is necessary for eternal salvation that he faithfully believe also in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ...the Son of God is God and man... This is the Catholic faith; unless each one believes this faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved…”
As we can see, the dogmatic teaching of the Church is not, as Sanborn, Cekada and countless other heretics teach, that one must simply believe that God exists and that He's a rewarder. No, a person who wishes to be saved must know Jesus Christ and believe in the Holy Trinity in order to have the Catholic faith and be saved.
John 17:3: “Now this is life everlasting, that they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
John 14:6: “Jesus saith to them: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.”
Pope Paul III, Sublimus Dei, May 29, 1537: “The sublime God so loved the human race that He created man in such wise that he might participate, not only in the good that other creatures enjoy, but endowed him with capacity to attain to the inaccessible and invisible Supreme Good and behold it face to face; and since man, according to the testimony of the sacred scriptures, has been created to enjoy eternal life and happiness, which none may obtain save through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, it is necessary that he should possess the nature and faculties enabling him to receive that faith; and that whoever is thus endowed should be capable of receiving that same faith. Nor is it credible that any one should possess so little understanding as to desire the faith and yet be destitute of the most necessary faculty to enable him to receive it. Hence Christ, who is the Truth itself, that has never failed and can never fail, said to the preachers of the faith whom He chose for that office 'Go ye and teach all nations.' He said all, without exception, for all are capable of receiving the doctrines of the faith… By virtue of Our apostolic authority We define and declare by these present letters… that the said Indians and other peoples should be converted to the faith of Jesus Christ by preaching the word of God and by the example of good and holy living.”
They deny that dogma. They are modernists. (In fact, both of those men still actually condemn adherence to the Church's dogmatic teaching, that no one can be saved without the Sacrament of Baptism, as "mortally sinful". That's a further illustration of their heretical audacity. The fact that the Catholic Church dogmatically teaches that no one is saved without rebirth of water and the Spirit in the Sacrament of Baptism is proven by the words of Jesus Christ, the Council of Florence, and numerous other things.)
The truth is that the Catholic faith (true, supernatural, saving faith in Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity) is actually only received at Baptism, as the Church has always taught. That’s how one is saved “through the faith.” That’s why no one can be saved without Baptism.
Pope St. Damasus I, Council of Rome, 382, Canon 24:
“Haec ergo est salus christianorum, ut credentes Trinitati, id est Patri et Fllio et Spiritui Sancto, (et) baptizati in ea, veram solam unam divinitatem et potentiam, maiestatem et substantiam eiusdem esse sine dubio credamus.
“This then is the salvation of Christians, that believing in the Trinity, that is, in the Father, and in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit, and baptized in it, we believe without doubt that there is only one true divinity and power, majesty and substance of the same.” (Denz. 82)
Colossians 2:12- “… having been buried with him in baptism, by which you were also raised with him through the faith [διὰ τῆς πίστεως]…”
Galatians 3:26-27- “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through the faith [διὰ τῆς πίστεως]. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Furthermore, notice that in the passage above, Van Noort teaches that a man could love God with “his whole heart”, and want to do everything required for salvation, and still be left in ignorance of Christ. The notion that God would leave such a person in ignorance of Christ and the essential truths of the Catholic faith is contrary to the explicit teaching of Jesus Christ, as well as the position of the fathers and doctors of the Church:
John 10:14: “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine, and mine know me.”
John 10:16: “And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.”
John 18:37: “Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”
VAN NOORT'S BOOK TEACHES THAT SALVATION WITHOUT THE CATHOLIC FAITH AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH CANNOT BE SAID TO BE RARE
Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D., Dogmatic Theology, Volume II, Christ's Church, pp. 265-266, footnote: “Finally, since no man can presume to set the boundaries of invincible ignorance (Pius IX…), no man can declare peremptorily that this or that individual, who apparently died outside the Church, is saved or damned. And no one can state confidently whether the number saved, of those who factually die without being members of the Church, is large or small. Notice this one point: from the fact that salvation without actual membership is achieved only by way of exception (per accidens), it does not directly follow that salvation is obtained in this manner only rarely.”
Here Van Noort (or one of the editors of his book) makes a very important admission. It’s a point that we’ve made repeatedly in the past. He acknowledges that once a person adopts the position that some people can be saved without the Catholic faith (as Van Noort’s book already did), then one cannot limit the number of people who are saved without the Catholic faith. Since they've opened the door to exceptions, they are left without any basis upon which to say that salvation without the Catholic faith and outside the Church only happens “rarely.” It can be common and widespread, according to Van Noort’s book. The point is valid, and it applies to the position of all supporters of ‘baptism of desire’ and ‘invincible ignorance’ in our day. Divine revelation teaches that no one at all is saved without the Catholic faith. Once you deviate from that truth, as Van Noort’s book does, then you are left with no basis upon which to exclude anyone or any number of people from salvation. Once the line and the boundary revealed by Christ, and dogmatically taught by the Church, is removed, nothing certain remains.
That’s why Archbishop Lefebvre (who held a similar position) openly stated that Jews, Buddhists, Animists, Muslims, etc. can be saved. It’s why Bishop Donald Sanborn (who adheres to the same modernist heresy) explicitly stated that “pagans and idolaters” can be saved. Their position requires them to hold that souls can be saved in any religion. For once you deny the truth that no one without the Catholic faith can be saved, you have entered the territory of complete uncertainty. This should illustrate why the modern version of the heresy of ‘baptism of desire’ and ‘invincible ignorance’ is truly faith-destroying and evil.
By the way, the heretics who believe that their position on the requirement for 'supernatural' faith necessarily excludes atheists from salvation is also arbitrary and inconsistent; for the Church doesn't merely teach that atheists cannot be saved. It teaches that no one who dies without the Catholic faith can be saved. Hence, if there can be exceptions to the revealed requirement that one must possess the Catholic faith to be saved, as they believe, then there can be exceptions to the revealed requirement that one must believe in the existence of God to be saved. If one revealed requirement (that one must possess the Catholic faith) isn’t absolutely certain without any exceptions, then the other revealed requirement (that one must believe in God’s existence) isn’t either. Therefore, all who adhere to the previously described view of 'baptism of desire', invincible ignorance, etc. do hold - and it would be demonstrated if they were pressed - that it's possible for atheists to be saved.
VAN NOORT’S BOOK TEACHES THAT “QUANTITIES AND QUANTITIES” OF NON-CATHOLICS ARE ACTUALLY INSIDE THE CHURCH
Van Noort’s volume contains a revealing statement about the work of Monsignor Ronald Knox. (Ronald Knox is best known for his translation of the Latin Vulgate).
Monsignor G. Van Noort, S.T.D., Dogmatic Theology, Volume II, Christ's Church, p. 268, endnote 4: “In Soft Garments, chap. 13, ‘The Unconscious Catholic,’ pp. 110-119. A number of statements in this essay are loosely formulated. So, for example, in describing the plight of those who in invincible ignorance have joined heretical sects, Knox concludes: ‘That means there are quantities and quantities of people who, as far as we can determine, are already members of the Mystical Body of Christ without knowing it’ (p. 114). Such people may be related to the Mystical Body; they are definitely not members of it.”
Here Van Noort (or one of the editors of his book) cites Ronald Knox, who taught that “quantities and quantities” of non-Catholics are actually members of the Church. Knox's position was of course completely heretical. Clearly, he did not believe in the Church's salvation dogma. However, notice that the note in Van Noort’s book only disagrees with Knox’s terminology. It takes issue with Knox’s description of these “quantities and quantities” of non-Catholics as “members” of the Church. But it has no problem with the substance of his teaching on the matter.
According to the note in Van Noort’s book, the “quantities and quantities” of non-Catholics should not be identified as “members”, but rather as “related” to the Church. But in this case it’s a distinction without a difference, for both Knox and Van Noort's volume teach that the “quantities and quantities” of non-Catholics are united to the Church and can be saved without the Catholic faith. “Related” to the Church is modernist-speak for “inside the Church without being a member.”
Thus, consistent with the heresy discussed above, that salvation without the Catholic faith can be common, the note in Van Noort's volume does not disagree with Knox’s position that “quantities and quantities” of non-Catholics are saved. It agrees with it. That's a rejection of defined Catholic dogma on the matter.
Heretics such as Knox, Van Noort and the editors of his work were simply devoid of the Catholic and apostolic faith. Their heretical denial of the salvation dogma truly reduced it to a meaningless formula. They epitomize the unbelievers and modernists who paved the way for the Vatican II apostasy. Indeed, it should be obvious how such a pre-Vatican II salvation theology (according to which “quantities and quantities” of people who don't have the Catholic faith can actually be in the Church of Christ) served as the bridge to Vatican II's heretical ecclesiology. And that heretical position, endorsed in ‘approved’ fallible books before Vatican II, is what’s held or accepted by all supporters of ‘baptism of desire’ and ‘invincible ignorance’ in our day.
THESE FACTS PROVE ONCE AGAIN THAT SUPPORTERS OF 'BAPTISM OF DESIRE' ARE WRONG IN BOTH DOCTRINE AND METHODOLOGY
The facts in this article demonstrate to anyone of good will that the supporters of BOD/salvation outside the Church are wrong in both doctrine and methodology. In this context the term methodology refers to how people use the data and pronouncements of Catholic teaching. The essential difference between the two positions (those who believe in BOD/salvation outside the Church and those who don't) is perhaps best defined by the difference in methodology; for no honest person can dispute that a contradiction exists between the actual words of the dogmatic pronouncements on salvation and the position held by supporters of BOD/salvation for non-Catholics. Van Noort's revision of the dogma that: no one is saved without the Catholic faith... to... only those who, by their own fault, don't have the Catholic faith; and his revision of the dogma that: pagans cannot be saved (Eugene IV)... to... pagans who love God with their whole heart can be saved.... are clear examples of contradictions between the dogmatic definitions of the Church and the teaching of 'approved' theologians in the decades prior to Vatican II. But the supporters of BOD/salvation outside the Church don't care about the inconsistency between the dogmatic definitions and their position. The contradiction doesn't concern them because they have a different methodology: a faithless one.
According to their methodology, which is not the one revealed by Christ, Catholics are not supposed to adhere to (and utilize) the dogmas pronounced from the Chair of St. Peter as the final word. Rather, according to them, Catholics must give the final word to what 'approved' pre-Vatican II theologians say about what the dogma actually means, even if that position contradicts the actual words of a dogmatic definition pronounced from the Chair of St. Peter. The interpretation given by 'approved' theologians to the dogma thus becomes the final and ultimate authority on the matter. One can see how such a methodology departs from what Christ instituted in St. Peter. It denies, and actually renders useless, the unique protections He gave to the papal office.
The very purpose of Jesus Christ's institution of the Papacy upon St. Peter was so that popes, endowed with a unique protection of infallibility, could define, once and for all times, the truth of Christ on a matter. By adhering to and utilizing what the popes have defined without deviation, Catholics would be freed of the mere opinions of men. That is the Church's teaching on the purpose and use of dogmatic pronouncements.
Pope Pius IV, Council of Trent, Sess. 13, Chap. 4: “These are the matters which in general it seemed well to the sacred Council to teach to the faithful of Christ regarding the sacrament of order. It has, however, resolved to condemn the contrary in definite and appropriate canons in the following manner, so that all, making use of the rule of faith, with the assistance of Christ, may be able to recognize more easily the Catholic truth in the midst of the darkness of so many errors.”
Here we see that the Council of Trent infallibly declares that its canons are measuring rods for “all” so that they, making use of these rules of faith, may be able to recognize and defend the truth in the midst of darkness. The very purpose of the dogmatic definitions is that they provide a rule which all Catholics can utilize to avoid and condemn falsehood and the false opinions of men, which are always threatening to intrude, especially when people in positions of ‘authority’ err or fall away from the faith. (By the way, don't be deceived by certain BOD heretics, who misuse a disciplinary decree which, at one time, required commentaries on the Council of Trent to be approved by ecclesiastical authority. That has nothing to do with this issue or this principle that dogmatic definitions constitute the final authority, and that they can and must be utilized by the faithful. We might publish a separate article refuting the error of BOD heretics on that matter.)
By placing ultimate authority and trust not in the Church's magisterial and dogmatic pronouncements, but in what fallible men say about those pronouncements, BOD/salvation outside the Church supporters subvert Christian teaching on the Papacy and put the fallible views of men in its place. In the process, they depart from the faith of Jesus Christ and fall prey to heretical and false opinions invented by men. They also mock and deny what Christ instituted in St. Peter. In short, their methodology is an expression of faithless blasphemy, the destructive effects of which are clearly demonstrated by their reliance on Van Noort's heretical book.
IF THEY WERE CONSISTENT, MODERN SUPPORTERS OF BOD/SALVATION OUTSIDE THE CHURCH WOULD ADHERE TO VATICAN II
Moreover, if they were consistent in employing their false methodology (and they aren't), the BOD/salvation outside the Church supporters would submit to Vatican II and the post-Vatican II sect. That's because the 'approved' theologians in the Vatican II era accept Vatican II. The 'approved' theologians identify the teaching of Vatican II as the true teaching of the Catholic Church. According to their own methodology, BOD supporters have no business relying on their own 'private interpretation' of past magisterial decrees or Church teaching and rejecting what the 'approved' Vatican II theologians say about the proper understanding of these issues. In fact, their foolish view would rule out the very possibility of a Great Apostasy or even widespread theological error or the slow and systematic circulation of errors and heresies such as we saw for many decades leading up to Vatican II. It would rule out as impossible the very crises (such as the Arian Crisis) that we've seen in Church history; for in any period of widespread theological error - even though God would not allow the errors to be taught by a true pope from the Chair of St. Peter - the false opinions and doctrines would be 'approved' by many men who at one time held positions of authority in the Church. Since people must adhere to the view that's 'approved', especially if the view becomes 'commonly' approved at one time, and not rely on their own use of infallible dogmatic pronouncements, they would always have to set aside their own view of dogmatic pronouncements and accept or submit to the 'approved' error or heresy.
The facts in this article, which expose the faith-destroying heresies in Van Noort's pre-Vatican II 'approved' book, are a clear example of how disastrous their methodology can be. Their position is false and they don't have the true faith.
Luke 22:31-32- “And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have all of you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.”
Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, 1870: “… the See of St. Peter always remains unimpaired by any error, according to the divine promise of our Lord the Savior made to the chief of His disciples: ‘I have prayed for thee [Peter], that thy faith fail not ...’"
Pope St. Simplicius on Catholic Doctrine, From the epistle "Cuperem quidem" to Basiliscus, Augustus January 10, 476: “Those genuine and clear [truths] which flow from the very pure fountains of the Scriptures cannot be disturbed by any arguments of misty subtlety. For this same norm of apostolic doctrine endures in the successors of him upon whom the Lord imposed the care of the whole sheepfold [John 21:15 ff.], whom [He promised] He would not fail even to the end of the world [Matt. 28:20], against whom He promised that the gates of hell would never prevail, by whose judgment He testified that what was bound on earth could not be loosed in heaven [Matt. 16:18 ff.]. (6). . . Let whoever, as the Apostle proclaimed, attempts to disseminate something other, than what we have received, be anathema [ Gal. 1:8 f.]. Let no approach to your ears be thrown open to the pernicious plans of undermining, let no pledge of revising any of the old definitions be granted, because, as it must be repeated very often, what has deserved to be cut away with the sharp edge of the evangelical pruning hook by apostolic hands with the approval of the universal Church, cannot acquire the strength for a rebirth nor is it able to return to the fruitful shoot of the master's vine, because it is evident that it has been destined to eternal fire. Thus, finally, the machinations of all heresies laid down by decrees of the Church are never allowed to renew the struggles of their crushed attack.”
Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos (#7), Aug. 15, 1832: “… nothing of the things appointed ought to be diminished; nothing changed; nothing added; but they must be preserved both as regards expression and meaning.”
“Baptism of Desire” Buried (video)
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH'S DOGMATIC TEACHING ON BAPTISM
Pope Eugene IV, The Council of Florence, Exultate Deo, Nov. 22, 1439: “Holy baptism, which is the gateway to the spiritual life, holds the first place among all the sacraments; through it we are made members of Christ and of the body of the Church. And since death entered the universe through the first man, ‘unless we are born again of water and the Spirit, we cannot,’ as the Truth says, ‘enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:5]. The matter of this sacrament is real and natural water.”
Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, Can. 5 on the Sacrament of Baptism, Sess. 7, 1547: “If anyone says that baptism [the sacrament] is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation: let him be anathema.”
Pope Clement V, The Council of Vienne, 1311-1312: “Besides, one baptism regenerating all who are baptized in Christ must be faithfully confessed by all just as ‘one God and one faith’ [Eph. 4:5], which celebrated in water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit we believe to be the perfect remedy for salvation for both adults and children.”
Pope Clement V, The Council of Vienne, 1311-1312: “But since one is the universal Church, of regulars and seculars, of prelates and subjects, of exempt and non-exempt, outside of which absolutely (omnino) no one (nullus) is saved (salvatur), one is the Lord, one is the Faith and one is the baptism of all.”
Pope St. Siricius, Decree to Himerius, A.D. 385: “Therefore just as we say that the holy paschal observance is in no way to be diminished, we also say that to infants who will not yet be able to speak on account of their age or to those who in any necessity will need the holy stream of baptism, we wish succor to be brought with all celerity, lest it should tend to the perdition of our souls if the saving font be denied to those desiring it and every single one of them exiting this world lose both the Kingdom and life. Whoever should fall into the peril of shipwreck, the incursion of an enemy, the uncertainty of a siege or the desperation of any bodily sickness, and should beg to be relieved by the unique help of faith, let them obtain the rewards of the much sought-after regeneration in the same moment of time in which they beg for it. Let the previous error in this matter be enough; [but] now let all priests maintain the aforesaid rule, who do not want to be torn from the solidity of the apostolic rock upon which Christ constructed His universal Church.”
Sign up for our free e-mail list to see future vaticancatholic.com videos and articles.