Here again the teaching of the traditional Church is clear. There is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church. She is the ark of salvation. 'Only those are to be accounted really members of the Church who have been regenerated in the waters of baptism and profess the true faith and have not cut themselves off from the structure of the Body by their own unhappy act or have been severed therefrom for very grave crime by legitimate authority.' At the same time the Church teaches that a person who, suffering from an invincible and non-imputable ignorance, may be saved extra-sacramentally by a 'baptism of desire' which supernaturally gives him or her charity. But, the sine qua non for this is that, as St. Paul says in his Letter to the Hebrews, 'they must believe that God exists and is the rewarder of those that seek him'. It is also important that we understand in this teaching that people are never saved by error or by false sacraments. If non-Catholics are saved under certain circumstances, it is because of the truth, because 'the Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us.'
Now listen to what Vatican II teaches: Having informed us that she is no longer the 'necessary means of salvation' but only the 'useful means', she further teaches that 'the brethren divided from us also carry out many of the sacred actions of the Christian religion. Undoubtedly, in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community, these actions can truly engender a life of grace and can be rightly described as capable of providing access to the community of salvation.' And as noted above, John Paul II assures us each of the categories of the People of God are full of the hope of salvation, and this can be equally accomplished outside the visible Church.' But if such is the case, what need is there for us to be Catholic?
The Council goes even further and teaches that 'divine providence does not deny the help necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God.' Father Avery Dulles, one of the Council Periti, comments on this: 'The Constitution on the Church in the Modern World confirms this doctrine by asserting that grace works in an unseen way in the hearts of all men of good will. In these and similar texts, Catholic theologians find an official recognition by the Church that an act of saving faith is possible without any explicit belief in the existence of God or any religious affiliation.' And so it is that even Marxists can be saved.
It would seem then that all men can be saved. One doesn't have to recognize the Catholic Church as the true Church; one doesn't even have to recognize that God exists. But John Paul II goes even further in his interpretation of the Conciliar documents. He holds that salvation for all men is not only a possibility, but a reality. This is of course the heresy of apocatastasis. We shall return to this point in discussing the post-Conciliar Church's understanding of the nature of man. For the present we shall continue our discussion of the new Church in the light of Vatican II.
CHAPTER X, part 6
Communicatio in Sacris and dialogue on an equal footing
The traditional Church forbade Catholics to actively participate in non-Catholic rites. Thousands upon thousands of Catholics have been penalized and martyred for refusing to engage in Communicatio in Sacris.
Now the reasons for this are easy to understand. 1) Participation in a non-Catholic rite is seen as an offence against the First Commandment. God instructed us as to how He wished to be worshiped. Of course, God is not in need of our worship, but we have the need to worship him, and hence we must do it properly. To do so in some other way than He taught us is to give acknowledgement to forms of worship He has not approved of. One only has to read the history of Moses to know how God punished those who worshiped in a false manner. 2) The lex orandi is the lex credendi. The rule of prayer is the rule of belief. In other words, the way we pray reflects our beliefs.
Despite these clear cut principles, Vatican II actually 'commends this practice.' And why not, if such false worship 'engenders a life of grace' and the communities that engage in it are ' full of the hope of salvation?' It further encourages 'the discussion of theological problems...where each can treat with the other on an EQUAL FOOTING... from dialogue of this sort will emerge still more clearly what the true posture of the Catholic Church is.'
We are not only free to worship with those who deny our Lord, but we must dialogue with them on an 'equal footing'. To what absurdity this Council goes!. How can those who speak with the words of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas and Pius X ever deal on an EQUAL FOOTING with economic determinists, communists and village idiots? As Leo XIII said, 'there is no parity between the conditions of those who have adhered to the Catholic truth by the heavenly gift of faith, and those who, led by human opinions, follow false religions.' One thing is clear however: all the much vaunted 'dialogue' has allowed the 'true posture of the post-Conciliar Church' to emerge more clearly. In every situation the Church has given into Protestant demands; never has the reverse occurred. The only thing which is unclear is whether this post-Conciliar posture is supine or prone, whether the new Church is lying on its back or its belly.
Pre-Vatican II Catholics were used to a rather rigid Church - one that resisted change and drew clear boundaries with the world. It was a Church that spoke of orthodoxy, sin and heresy and even presumed to guide the reading of the faithful by forbidding to them harmful books. Such a stance would however not be pastoral, it would not foster the new sense of the unity of the people of God. With this in view Paul VI announced that 'we were going to have a period of greater liberty in the life of the Church, and hence for each of her sons... Formal discipline will be reduced, all arbitrary judgement will be abolished, as well as all intolerance and absolutism.' It was to be a Church which in his own words 'avoids peremptory language and makes no demands.'In line with this most of the reasons for automatic excommunication were abolished - though not that for ordaining a bishop without papal approval. The Index was also abolished, for the people of God were far to mature to have their reading censured. The new Church also decided it would no longer condemn or approve divine apparitions such as that of the Blessed Virgin. It abolished the Oath against Modernism and it all but eliminated the words sin, hell and heresy from its vocabulary.
And lest there be any doubt, this Church apologized to the world for its deficiencies - not for the deficiencies of its members, but for the deficiencies of the Church, for the divine institution established by Christ. Listen to its blasphemous and abject whimpering: John XXIII in apologizing to the Jews, declared that the Church - the the pure Bride of Christ - 'had the mark of Cain on her forehead.' Paul VI, not to be outdone, said that 'if the influence of events or of the times has led to deficiencies in conduct, in Church discipline, or even in the formulation of Church doctrine... these should be appropriately rectified... ' This new Church admits to no heresies in the present or future, but only in the past. To state that the Church has been 'deficient' in her teaching is to either deny her infallibility or to accuse Christ Himself of spreading error.
The Subsisting Church
Non-Catholics have always found the claims of the traditional Church somewhat difficult to swallow - precisely because doing so required the humility to admit that they were in error. Hence it was clear that the Council could not foster its brand of ecumenism as long as it claimed to be the one true Church of Christ. The solution was to declare that the Church that Christ founded, the one true Church, subsisted in the Catholic Church - or more precisely, in the post-Conciliar Church. It is difficult to define subsistence, but the post-conciliar Church insists it is equivalent to 'exists'. It is little help to say that the Church Christ founded exists in the post-Conciliar Church, because the term does not imply exclusivity. It does not mean that this Church and only this Church IS the Church that Christ founded. And indeed, we have the recent statement (1984) of the entire English hierarchy to the effect that the Church that Christ founded also 'subsists' in the Anglican Church. As Pope Leo XIII said: 'The Catholic religion is the only true religion, to put the other religions on the same level with it is to treat it with the gravest injustice and offer it the worst form of insult.'
The search for Truth and Meaning
The traditional Church had no doubts about its function. It was the Mystical Body of Christ, Christ's presence in this world. It was a perfect society, which despite the failures of its members, never asked the world to do other than follow the teachings of her divine Master. She had the 'fullness of the truth' and was here to share that fullness with us. As one theological text put it: 'the Proximate end or purpose of the Church is to teach all men the truths of Revelation, to enforce the divine precepts, to dispense the means of grace, and thus to maintain the practice of the Christian religion. The ultimate end is to lead all men to the eternal life.' Vatican II however tells us that 'Christians are joined with the rest of men in the search for truth' (Ch. 16). Paul VI tells us that 'The Church is seeking itself. With a great and moving effort, it is seeking to define itself, to understand what it truly is...' (Address to priests at Varese, Feb. 6, 63).
CHAPTER X, part 7
III - A NEW UNDERSTANDING OF THE NATURE OF MAN
Vatican II assures us that we have a better understanding of the nature of man. 'Thanks to the experience of past ages, the progress of the sciences, the hidden treasures in the various forms of human culture, the nature of man himself is more clearly revealed and new roads to truth are opened.' Let us then look to the documents and seek out what has been discovered.
'There is endless talk about 'human dignity', but it is rather too often forgotten that 'noblese oblige', dignity is invoked in a world that is doing everything to empty it of its content, and thus to abolish it. In the name of an indeterminate and unconditioned human dignity', unlimited rights are conceded to the basest of men, including the right to destroy all that goes to make our real dignity, that is to say, everything on every plane that attaches us in one way or another to the Absolute.'
The Council says a great deal about the 'dignity ' of man which is said to originate in 'man's call to communion with God'. The Council also tells us that 'Human nature, by the very fact that it was assumed, not absorbed, in Him, has been raised in us to a dignity beyond compare, for, by His Incarnation... the Son of God, in a certain way united Himself with each man' (Ch.) John Paul II discusses the implications of this in his Encyclical Redemptor Hominis:. 'We are dealing', he says, 'with 'each' man, for each one is included in the mystery of Redemption, and with each one Christ has united Himself forever through this mystery.' Again in a speech given in 1981 he states that 'from now on and always, without regret and without turning back, God shall be with all mankind, becoming one with it, to save it and to give it His Son, the Redeemer... For all time, the Incarnation bestows upon man his unique, extraordinary and ineffable dignity... Man redeemed by Christ, and... to each man - without any exception whatever - Christ is in a way united, even when man is unaware of it.' He says much the same in the Christmas Message he gave in 1980: 'Man was taken up by God as son in this Son of God becoming man... in this Son we are all made new to ourselves.' And again, in a General Audience in 1981, 'From now on, and always... God shall be with all mankind, becoming one with it to save it... for all time the Incarnation bestows on man his unique, extraordinary and ineffable dignity.' How one wishes John Paul II was right.
Now the traditional Church teaches man, despite the fact that he is made in the image of God, is in a fallen state. Hence it follows that his true dignity lies in his conforming himself to that image. According to St. Thomas, man, being free, is capable of cooperating with grace or rejecting it; capable of being raised to the dignity of the sons of God or remaining in his fallen state destined to perdition. Sin is never dignified. It also teaches that Christ is primarily and principally the head of those who are united to him in act, whether by glory in heaven, or by charity, or at least by faith, on earth. Christ is also the Head of those who are united to Him potentially -that is, who have the real possibility of converting to Him. In this latter category fall the infidels, who, as long as they are alive, are able to acquiesce freely to the grace received from Christ. I quote St. Thomas Aquinas who continues with regard to those who do not convert to Christ during their lives: 'as soon as they leave this world, they cease totally to be members of Christ'. So it is not the sole fact of the Incarnation that unites all mankind to Christ - rather, each man must adhere to the grace of Christ. To the best of my knowledge, neither Vatican II nor John Paul II make any mention of the need for personal conversion or sanctity as the sine qua non for this claim to dignity.
Admittedly John Paul II often speaks in a circuitous and ambiguous manner. We must however take him at his word, and presumably post-Conciliar Catholics consider such statements as authoritative and binding. But if it is the Incarnation that redeems us, and indeed, all men, and this regardless of whether they conform to it or not, what becomes the purpose of the Cross and Passion? John Paul II gives the answer in his Encyclical Dives et Misericordia. The Passion is only a 'witness' to man's supernatural dignity; it demonstrates, he tells us, 'the solidarity of Christ with human destiny... a disinterested dedication to the cause of man.' Let me quote him further: 'It is precisely beside the path to man's eternal election to the dignity of being an adopted child of God that there stands in history the Cross of Christ, the only-begotten Son... who has come to give the final witness to this wonderful Covenant of God with humanity, of God with man - every human being.'
Now, if we accept John Paul's doctrine, it follows that all men (or 'all people' to use the current non-sexist liturgical phrase) are saved. He tells us as much in Dives et Misericordia, for he states that 'the mystery of election concerns all men, all the great human family'. He is even more specific in a sermon given at Santa Maria in Travestere in 1980: '[Christ] obtained, once and for all, the salvation of man - of each man and of all men, of those whom no one shall snatch from His hand... Who can change the fact that we are redeemed - a fact that is as powerful and fundamental as creation itself... The Church announces today the paschal certitude of the Resurrection, the certitude of Salvation.'
Certainly God desires that all be saved, and certainly the Passion of Christ is sufficient to redeem all men. But not all men are saved, but only those who believe in His redeeming power and conform their lives to it. Perhaps this is what John Paul meant, but it is certainly not what he said, and what he said, as we shall see, is consistent with the other 'developments' offered us by the post-Conciliar Church.
CHAPTER X, part 8
The deification of man
If all men are united to Christ and saved by the Incarnation, we have an explanation of how and why they can be united to one another. With his salvation assured and his dignity established, what more can man ask for? Man is truly deified.
Surprisingly, Michael Davies concurs. 'It was the Council as an event', he tells us in Pope Paul's New Mass, 'that gave the green light to the process of the formal deification of man.' No wonder Montini constantly expressed his confidence in man: 'We have faith in Man. We believe in the good which lies deep within each heart, we know that underlying man's wonderful efforts are the motives of justice, truth, renewal, progress and brotherhood.' At times Montini even waxed elegant. 'There are no true riches but Man... Honor to Man, honor to thought, honor to science, honor to technique, honor to work, honor to the boldness of man, Honor to man, king of the earth, and today Prince of heaven.' John Paul II is no less enthusiastic. 'To create culture', he tells us, ' we must consider, down to the last consequences and entirely, Man as a particular and independent value, as the subject bearing the person's transcendence. We must affirm Man for his own sake, and not for some other motive or reason; solely for himself! Even further, we must love man because he is Man, by reason of the special dignity he possesses.' (Address to UNESCO, June 2, 1980)
Father Gregory Baum, one of the Council periti and currently Cardinal-Head of the Congregation in charge of seminary education is quoted by Michael Davies as saying: 'I prefer to think that man may not submit to an authority outside of himself.' And why should deified man seek any authority outside himself? Imbued with such principles it is not surprising to find the Council teaching that 'in religious matters' man 'is to be guided by his own judgement'. Now the true Church has always taught that private judgement is never a basis for religious belief. It is the Church which is meant to be our guide. But, as we have seen, the new Church has joined others in 'seeking the truth,' and is trying 'to define itself.' Such an institution implicitly denies that it has the 'fullness of the truth' and so modern man is - quod absit - left with no other choice but to use his private judgment.
'Evil and error cannot have aright to be set forth and propagated... The State is false to the laws prescribed by nature when, every bridle being removed, full power is left to evil and error to upset minds and corrupt minds...'
Pope Leo XIII
You may wonder why I did not start out with discussing religious liberty. Most people consider it the bete noire of the Council, but as we have seen, there is far more wrong with Vatican II than its novel teaching on Religious Liberty. By bringing it up at this point we can better situate it in the total schema of the documents. Religious Liberty is not the only error, but rather it is the inevitable consequence of all the other errors we have listed.
The Council teaches that 'Religious freedom has its foundation in the dignity of the human person .. the right of religious freedom has its foundation not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature' Think about it. If Christ is in a certain way united to each man, and each man is redeemed, and if, as John XXIII pointed out, 'all men are equal by reason of their natural dignity' (Pacem et Terris), then each man's religious views must be equally true. After all, how can a person who is united to Christ and whose salvation is guaranteed, have false opinions? But, are we not back to the Masonic-Roussouist concept of man with a religious, almost pantheistic twist? Is this not proclaiming the absolute sovereignty of the individual and his independence of God's authority? But there is more. The Conciliar document adds that this right to religious liberty 'continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it.'and'religious bodies also have the right not to be hindered in their public teaching and witness to their faith.... the right of the human person to religious freedom is to be recognized in the constitutional law whereby society is governed, and thus it is to become a civil right' It seems clear that according to Vatican II one can believe anything one wants; one can teach whatever one wants even if one does not really believe it; and that the state must guarantee one's freedom to do this.
Let us be quite clear on the position of the traditional Church. She has never denied to anyone the freedom to worship as they see fit; indeed, she has always insisted that every person must - their very salvation depends upon it - follow their own conscience. But she has never conceded that people have a right to believe error, much less a right to do so hypocritically. She would certainly deny a person the right to teach falsehood to others. (Who of us would knowingly allow a teacher to teach our children falsely?) There is an enormous difference between a freedom and a right. A person may have the freedom to commit abortion or murder, but he can never claim the right to do so. When it comes to matters of religion, God gave man an intellect by means of which he might know the truth. He also gave him the freedom, but not the right to misuse this intellect. The Decree on Religious Freedom violates this fundamental principle. John Paul I made this abundantly clear when he stated that 'the Church had always taught that only the truth had rights, but now the Council made it clear that error also has rights' (Time Magazine).
Not only does the Council authorize man to believe error, and to do so with hypocrisy, it also demands that this 'right' be guaranteed by Constitutional governments. This means that any crackpot that comes down the pike can teach whatever he wishes - Marxism can be taught in schools; and homosexuals can advocate the freedom of sexual choice in the classroom; and Satanism must be accorded the same rights as the Church that Christ established.
Since the state is obliged to give the same recognition to error as it does to truth, and since there will inevitably be 'thousands' of different religions in the state, there must result a radical separation of Church and State. Hence, it was with a 'mandate from Vatican II that Paul VI induced Spain, Portugal and several South American governments which gave primacy of place to the Catholic religion, to change their Constitutions in order to bring them into line with this new teaching. In essence this means that no country, even if all its citizens are Catholic, has a right to declare itself Catholic! And no government has the right to establish a Catholic code of ethics within its Constitution.! Such a stance is an open denial of the Kingship of Christ by the 'Vicar of Christ.'
The offence to our divine Lord is further compounded by the Conciliar declaration that this right 'conforms to divine revelation' - which is to say that this doctrine was received from Christ, and that hence all those who denied this right - practically all the Popes of the Church - betrayed Christ. Perhaps this is one of those areas where the Church was 'deficient in its formulation of doctrine'. But if Christ is the source of this teaching, the Church is radically destroyed. How is it possible for Christ who lived and died to provide us with the truth; who said, 'go forth and teach all nations whatsoever I have taught you...' and at the same time for him to say 'Its fine with me if you tell lies about me (which is blasphemy), you can believe anything you wish and behave in any manner you like. It was to give you this 'right' that I hung upon the cross!?'
CHAPTER X, part 9
IV - WHY A CHURCH AT ALL? THE TEILHARDIAN SYNTHESIS AND THE POST-CONCILIAR UTOPIA
A Church that believes in man's innate dignity, a dignity that requires no effort on his part; a Church that believes every man should judge for himself what is right and wrong; a Church that believes that man evolves, and hence that his religious beliefs evolve; a Church that does not claim to teach what Christ taught in an integral and unchanged manner; a Church which declares it is seeking for the truth along with other men, has a major problem. Such a Church can hardly claim to be the teacher of mankind. What function is it then to have? The answer is that it must place itself in the 'service of the world.' And how is it to do this? By being the 'avant-guard' of a 'new humanism' and 'universal culture' based on 'wholesome socialization' so that man can act in consort to build a 'better world' in the future. But before this can happen, religious strife must be eliminated and mankind must be united.
And so the function of the new Church is to be the 'catalyst' for this unity -'The Church is a kind of sacrament of intimate union with God, and the unity of all mankind, that is, she is a sign and an instrument of such union and unity... At the end of time, she will achieve her glorious fulfillment. Then... all just men from the time of Adam will be gathered together with the Father in the Universal church.' In these statements taken from Vatican II there is both ambiguity and a thinly veiled millenarianism. They continue: Of course the Church 'recognizes that worthy elements are to be found in today's social movements, especially in an evolution towards unity, a process of wholesome socialization and of association in civic and economic realms...,' and hence she must join and encourage all such elements, and she must 'wipe out ever ground of division so that the whole human race may be brought into the unity of the family of God.' So important is this goal that her priests are instructed: 'every type of discrimination, whether social or cultural, whether based on sex, race, color, social condition, language or religion [emphasis mine] is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God's intent.'
Elsewhere we are given further insights into this proposed unity. 'Recent psychological research explains human activity more profoundly. Historical studies make a signal contribution to bringing man to see things in their changeable and evolutionary aspects. The human race has passed from a rather static concept of reality to a more dynamic, evolutionary one... Thus little by little a more universal form of human culture is developing, one which will promote and express the unity of the human race... It is a fact bearing on the very person of man, that he can come to an authentic and full humanity only through culture, that is, through the cultivation of natural goods and values... The Church believes she can greatly contribute towards making the family of man and its history more human... Thus we are witnesses of the birth of a new humanism, one in which man is defined first of all by his responsibility towards his brothers and towards history'(All from Vatican II). Make no mistake about it. This is the program of the new Church. John Paul II tells us specifically that the objective of pastors is to 'call together the people of God according to different senses and different dimensions. IN THIS CALLING TOGETHER THE CHURCH RECOGNIZES HERSELF AND REALIZES HERSELF.'
This is the direction in which the post-Conciliar hierarchy would lead us. Here we have a vision of what the new Church has in mind. As Paul VI said, 'the time has come for all mankind to unite together in the establishment of a community that is both fraternal and world-wide... The Church, respecting the ability of worldly powers, ought to offer her assistance in order to promote a full humanism, which is to say, the complete development of the entire man, and of all men... to place herself in the avant-guard of social action. She ought to extend all her efforts to support, encourage and bring about those forces working towards the creation of this integrated man. Such is the end which the [new] Church intends to follow. All [post-Conciliar] Catholics have the obligation of assisting this development of the total person in conjunction with their natural and Christian brothers, and with all men of good will.' This is what he elsewhere calls 'the new economy of the gospel.' John Paul II fully shares the vision of his 'spiritual father.' 'The Church, while respecting the competence of the different Nations, should offer her assistance in promoting a full humanism, that is to say the complete development of men, of all men. Placing itself at the head of social action, she should concentrate all her efforts to support, to encourage, to push the initiatives which work to promote the total person.'
It boggles the mind to find the 'pontiffs' telling the faithful that they must accept this kind of sophomoric mumbo jumbo and secular humanism as 'the authentic teaching of the Magisterium.' What has all this to do with religion? Apart from being blatant nonsense, all these statements falsify the nature of man, the true ends and purpose for which he was created, and the raison d'etre for the Church. Further, they are based on a variety of parochial and theoretical sociological assumptions that have no basis in reality. The concept of man's inevitable 'progress,' his 'dynamic' and 'evolutionary' character, and the idea that through 'a process of wholesome socialization' we are 'building a better world' is nothing but disguised Teilhardianism and Marxism. Suddenly we see the Church supposedly established by Christ propagating all the illusions of the modern world, above all its belief in progress, evolution, and that thanks to science and human endeavor we can build a perfect utopia - a host of false concepts that are truly the 'opiates of the people.' To expect a hierarchy that thinks in these terms to be concerned with metaphysical principles, spiritual values, or even the validity of the sacraments, is absurd.