OBJECTION- Objectively speaking, there is absolutely no salvation outside the Catholic Church. But subjectively speaking, we just don’t know.
ANSWER- This is similar to the “You Can’t Judge” heresy. Those who advance this heresy deny dogmatic truth; for the Objective-Subjective Heresy means that the dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation is only true “objectively,” which necessarily means that non-Catholics can be saved “subjectively,” which means that the end result is a denial of the defined dogma.
The Objective-Subjective Heresy is just a clever way of saying that the dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation might not mean what it says. It’s diabolical double-talk. It is equivalent to asserting:
“Jesus Christ is objectively the Son of God.”
Could a Catholic hold that? No, he could not, because Jesus Christ is not just objectively the Son of God; He is the Son of God – period! But this is exactly what those who hold the Objective-Subjective heresy are saying! For to say that one dogma (Outside the Church There is No Salvation) is only true objectively is to say that any other dogma (e.g., Jesus Christ is the Son of God) is only true objectively. There is no way around this. The Objective-Subjective Heresy asserts the heresy that dogmas are not really divinely revealed truths, but only presumptions or policies that we go by, and this is condemned Modernism.
Pope Pius X, Lamentabile, The Errors of the Modernists, July 3, 1907, #22: “The dogmas which the Church professes as revealed are not truths fallen from heaven, but they are a kind of interpretation of religious facts, which the human mind by a laborious effort prepared for itself.”- Condemned
Pope Pius X, Lamentabile, The Errors of the Modernists, July 3, 1907, #26: “The dogmas of faith are to be held only according to a practical sense, that is, as preceptive norms for action, but not as norms for believing.”- Condemned
The idea that we can preach that there is no salvation outside the Church while we believe in our hearts that there is salvation outside the Church or may be salvation outside the Church is heretical. That only Catholics can be saved is a truth revealed from heaven which every Catholic must believe first, and profess second.
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...”
Since dogmas are truths fallen from heaven, to say that any dogma (e.g., the dogma that all who die as non-Catholics are lost) may have a “subjective” reality that is different from the revealed truth is heresy – it is a denial of that truth. Therefore, the idea that subjectively non-Catholics can be saved is blatant heresy; it is a denial of the revealed truth that all who die as non-Catholics are necessarily lost.
The same Objective-Subjective heresy is taught in the book The Devil’s Final Battle, which is promoted by a number of “traditionalist” organizations.
The Devil’s Final Battle, compiled and edited by “Fr.” Paul Kramer, p. 69: “This teaching must not be understood to preclude the possibility of salvation for those who do not become formal members of the Church if, through no fault of their own, they do not know of their objective obligation to do so… only God knows whom He will save (in some extraordinary manner) from among the great mass of humanity which has not exteriorly professed the Catholic religion.”
This is completely heretical. It is particularly pernicious, in fact, because this book pretends to uphold the dogma Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation and it will be read in “traditional circles” – all the while rejecting the dogma. The above statement is a denial of Papal Infallibility and a repudiation of the divinely revealed truth that God will only save Catholics and those who become Catholics. The heretical statement above literally means that we just don’t know if what God has revealed is true or not. And it shows again how prevalent and virulent the Objective-Subjective heresy is, finagling its way into all kinds of places. The truth remains, however, that the Catholic Church teaches that Church membership is necessary for salvation. It nowhere teaches what the modern heretics love to say: that Church membership is objectively necessary for salvation.
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