Three Magisterial statements on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus September 23, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Ecumenism, Four Last Things, General Catholic, Interior Life, Papa, Society, The End, Tradition, Virtue.
Sort of a for the record kind of post. Three statements from popes on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus.
“There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one at all is saved.” – Pope Innocent III at the Fourth Lateran Council, 1215
“We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff” – Pope Boniface VIII, Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302. Poor Boniface VIII. I think his deposing by Philip the unFair was a decisive turning point in the history of the Church, when the secular authority began to assert dominance over the ecclesiastical authority
“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes, and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the Sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, not even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” – Pope Eugene IV, Bull Cantate Domino, 1441
I do have a question – what is the level of doctrinal authority given to these statements. Obviously, Innocent III’s at Lateran is dogmatic, because it was given by a Pope in union with an ecumenical council. It is also the least precise of the three.
I know papal bulls are considered Magisterial/doctrinal, but do the statements/declarations raised therein rise to the level of a Sacred Dogma. I am no theologian, but my understanding of the degree of certainty that should be accorded to papal statements would indicate that yes, such clear statements that reiterate prior dogmatic statements and clarify/strengthen them are dogmatic. But perhaps I am incorrect.
If they are dogmatic, meaning requiring of the assent of faith of all Catholics, how can Pope Eugene IV’s very specific statement be reconciled with widespread belief in the Church today (they certainly have historical antecedents, as well) that it is possible for those outside visible communion with the Church to be saved through ignorance or other means? Eugene IV’s statement seems to say that ignorance is no excuse and that NONE of those who are pagans, Jews, or heretics/schismatics (including the protestant sects that did not exist at that time) can be saved.
Pope Eugene IV claims that even those who die for Christ but outside communion with the Church are damned. Is this not problematic with respect to baptism by blood?
Cantate Domino also discusses the Church’s definitions of the triune God and specifies that those who reject the Doctrine of the Trinity are heretics and outside Communion. If one is damned for not holding to the Church’s Doctrine of the Holy Trinity could those who are ignorant of it be saved? It would seem that by definition they would not hold the view, being ignorant of it.
In addition, and I think this is most significant, Cantate Domino seems to state – it is not completely clear – that the definition of being “in communion,” or of being a Christian, is having received baptism.
I want to make clear that I don’t reject the idea that those outside the Church can be saved – I certainly hope they can, for the sake of my entire family – but my question is how the doctrines on baptism by desire/blood can be reconciled with Pope Eugene IV? I have read several analyses of this matter from traditional sources, including the SSPX, and found they ignore Eugene IV’s statement entirely or make only an oblique reference to it.
I’ve read some rather exhaustive arguments in favor of baptism by desire/blood as possibilities – which is rather contrary to the dominant meme in the Church today, which is that pretty much everyone is saved automatically – and I found little to dispute in them. What I did not find was analysis that convincingly reconciled Eugene IV’s Bull and the doctrine on baptism of desire/blood. I did read two analyses that tried such a reconciliation but to my estimation they failed very badly.
So……..while accepting the possibility of baptism by desire/blood (while personally feeling these means of salvation are probably quite rare), I would like to see something that really reconciles Cantate Domino with those doctrines substantially, with a minimum of arm waving. Anyone have a recommendation?