Thursday, April 12, 2007

Discussion on Salvation

In case you missed it, there is a good discussion going in the comments section on the post I did on "Salvation." It's quite interesting, and has to do with SSPX, protestants, and schismatics. Simon Peter, you've been called on to answer one of the questions!


Simon-Peter Vickers-Buckley said...

BTW: like the new photo.

Mr. Nice.

Same position as me: only Catholic in my entire family. The wifes LARGE Massachusetts Irish-French-Swedish family are all lapsed Catholics, without exception, there must be about 75 of them (cousins and all).

What are we to do?

This is very similar to what happened to me just after I was confirmed. I was helping teach RCIA enquiry classes. A young man and his soon to be were there. The issue of EENS came up. My fellow teachers flim-flammed the guy about his father, a devout, (apparently) sincere, and giving Baptist. I got really annoyed and let them have it in my usual charming and reasoned manner.

What did I do? I simply stated the dogma - period. He didn't like it one little bit. I told him, it all turns on ignorance and the degree of contrition (God grant it be perfect) one can muster as moved by God in the death agony. He still didn't like it. He simply could not believe that someone as good as his dad wouldn't make it.

Fair enough. One reason why I told him straight (and told him not to be without ANY hope), because IF this man was received into the Church (later), and then found out the pure, unvarnished truth, the consequences for him (and others) could be very bad indeed. Not only that, shying away from the truth is not in keeping with the divine command.

"God speaks to Us through the prophet Ezechiel: "Son of man, I have given you as a guide to the house of Israel: and you shall hear a word from my mouth, and you shall proclaim to them from me. If when I say to the wicked, you shall die the death, you do not proclaim it to him....the wicked man shall die in his iniquity but I shall look for his blood from your hand.'' I confess this statement startles me and prevents me from being slothful and fearful in executing the demands of my office. I promise and swear that I will always be not only your helper and supporter, but your chief and leader." Diu Satis, Encyclical Of Pope Pius VII, promulgated on the 15th of May, 1800, Venice.

The Nine Ways of Being an Accessory to Another's Sin.
1. By counsel. 2. By command. 3. By consent. 4. By provocation. 5. By praise or flattery. 6. By concealment. 7. By partaking. 8. By silence. 9. By defense of the ill done.

And further:
"[The underlying principle of these new opinions is that,] in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them. It does not need many words, beloved son, to prove the falsity of these ideas if the nature and origin of the doctrine which the Church proposes are recalled to mind. The Vatican Council says concerning this point: "For the doctrine of faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention to be perfected by human ingenuity, but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared. Hence that meaning of the sacred dogmas is perpetually to be retained which our Holy Mother, the Church, has once declared, nor is that meaning ever to be departed from under the pretense or pretext of a deeper comprehension of them." -Constitutio de Fide Catholica, Chapter iv. Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae, Pope Leo XIII, 22nd of January 1899.

Just bide your time...wise as a serpent, gentle as a Dove, as St. Gregory Nazianzan, Father & Doctor of the Church says:
"Our belief is that since it was needful that we, who had fallen in consequence of the original sin, and had been led away by pleasure, even as far as idolatry and unlawful bloodshed, should be recalled and raised up again to our original position through the tender mercy of God our Father, Who could not endure that such a noble work of His own hands as Man should be lost to Him; the method of our new creation, and of what should be done, was this: that all violent remedies were disapproved, as not likely to persuade us, and as quite possibly tending to add to the plague, through our chronic pride; but that God disposed things to our restoration by a gentle and kindly method of cure. For a crooked sapling will not bear a sudden bending the other way, or violence from the hand that would straighten it, but will be more quickly broken than straightened; and a horse of a hot temper and above a certain age will not endure the tyranny of the bit without some coaxing and encouragement..." St. Gregory Nazianzen, Father and Doctor of The Church; Oration 45, II Paschal Oration - XII, XIII (parts); c. AD 383.

"For a crooked sapling will not bear a sudden bending the other way, or violence from the hand that would straighten it, but will be more quickly broken than straightened."

Watch and pray. Have Masses offered for them. Pray and do penance for them. Make the Heroic Act and make it irrevocable. Go to Adoration, offer confession, do the Five First Saturdays (properly) and offer it for one, do it again, offer it for another. When you go to their house...take some Holy Water...find the opportunity to make them a cup of tea *cough*...get some religious medals, have them blessed, take them before the blessed sacrament, then plant them all over their houses where they will not find them...same with green scapulars.

What can I say? I did all this stuff for my parents etc. and my mum died 2 years ago, in utter, incredible agony, without being received into the Church. It took her four hours and all I could do on this side of the pond was pray the rosary and the chaplet of divine mercy whilst I was wandering in my garden and banging my head against every tree as I passed it. Where is she? God knows, but I have not a good hope, not at all.

I swear I have long-suspected that one of the reasons many catholics refuse to preach the whole truth is because they think they can help by preserving someone in ignorance. I have never heard anyone actually have the stomach to say it. Bravo!!!! This is deadly serious. If you do this you are playing with fire. There is NO way you can determine whether someones ignorance, whether they were born into heresy or not, is, at the end of their life, invincible or not: remember it means through NO fault, not one spot of a fault...that is a pretty high burden to carry.

Then you have to be concerned about your own self.

Just be cautious, be determined, but, before you have at it, make sure you have spent some time in serious purification and supplication, for you well know who will be against you. Pray, fast, give alms and whatever you do, their conversion-contrition is not in your hands. You can HELP, you are Jesus to them, but you are not the efficient cause of their salvation.

Hope this helps?

Anita Moore said...

Very well-said, Simon-Peter.

I am sorry about your mother, and sorry that you did not have the consolation of knowing that she had been received into the Church. You say that you have no good hope as to where she is now.

It is true, as you say, that we are not entitled to presume on God's grace, or to render judgment as to someone's ultimate fate. But in her Diary (admittedly, not binding on the faithful), St. Faustina reminds us that we cannot always see God's greatest works of mercy; that sometimes, when it may look to us as though all is lost, in reality it is not so.

What I am about to say, I do not say to be flippant: I am serious. You say that your mother died in agony. As Christians, we know the redemptive value of suffering, and we embrace suffering, however bitter, as a gift of grace. Your mother was given this gift. It is a sign that God was fighting hard for her soul. God is a formidable opponent.

That's something to think about.

marilena said...

my sister told me tht God exists outside of time. i was wondering about a family member of ours who passed away decades ago. i'd like to believe that God has heard our prayers, that she is in heaven. i can feel it in my heart. also with fanks grandpa too because he wasn't Catholic, and i hope he is in heaven. he was a very bice man, and i hope he was saved. my sister gave me some comfort when she explained that God exists outside of time. maybe you can explain that to your readers paramedicgirl.

paramedicgirl said...

Marilena, that was on this post. that I talked about prayers outside of time.

Here's the part you are referring to:

I find it reassuring to know that God exists outside of time - that for the Lord, the past does not exist; the future does not exist. Everything is an eternal present. That means our prayers for others, even years after their death, have already been taken into account by God, so that even now we can pray for the happy death of our loved ones.

marilena said...

that is very comforting!

Simon-Peter Vickers-Buckley said...

Well, I'm not going to get into a fight with the Church, but I keep wondering why the Church always emphasizes invincible ignorance, rather than not dying in mortal sin, viz moved by God to make a *perfect* act of contrition. I think perhaps there is a sound prudential reason for this. It *seems* to me that ignorance and not worshipping right (e.g. if one had been worshipping stones and trees) are swallowed up in contrition! I think the Church is concerned about presumption here.

I agree: God has not revealed to us exactly "how long" the moment of death lasts...and as He operates outside of time, better, transcends it, it could well, "last" for days...there is an awful lot, 99.9%, of this stuff He has kept to Himself, and whatever His reason is, it must be a VERY good one.

We know for a fact that Christ's sacrifice was applied outside of time, viz. the Immaculate Conception and redemption of those who were released during thr harowing of hell. There are lot's of questions to which we have not answers, so although particular judgment is immediate, that judgment might take into acccount the actions of family yet to be born:

thus: Anita Moores great, great, great grandfather dies and in an of himself is in serious trouble, but recieves a favourable judgment because Anita, a human he does not know even exists (or will exist), obtains for him mercy (in the "future") by applying herself to the Mother of God who in turn goes straight to the judge who "just happens" to be her Son.

I don't know. I think I shall try to steer a middle course between despairing of everyone, and presuming they are all okay.

I was also, not exactly forthcoming about mum. It wasn't just the last four hours, it was the last ten years: pneumonia, breast cancer, lymphatic cancer (all recurring), terrible chemo, heart attacks (2), pluerosy...she had specialists from the US and Europe working on here as a test subject for new yes, suffering was, in a sense, a merciful opportunity given her by God to get her, before the hammer dropped, to open up and atone.

Perhaps it worked? That is the thing for any of us who are in a minority in a family: it may well be that to us is given the chance to stand in the gap for the rest of our families. So, although I do not have a good hope, I do have one, because I myself naturally make excuses and offered mums suffering up as she was dying...:"she's just a stubborn old woman, she doesn't really know what she is doing, and I mean, she can't be all bad, look, she must have done something right, she must have laid some foundation for me to convert"...and so on.

Most of all though, it was the offering of confessions and rosaries and adoration and masses that gave me some hope.

318@NICE said...

Simon Peter,
Thanks for your comments, I totally agree. We must be gentle, but tell them the Truth if we really love them and pray for them, for with God, nothing is impossible. I know a lot of people prayed for me.


318@NICE said...

Catholic writer Frank Sheed in his book "A Map of Life, a Simple Study of the Catholic Faith" writes this,
"Thus the effort of men to relax the moral law so that others shall not suffer unduly is aimed at altering the test devised by God himself . . . Life is not only a testing to see if a man is fit, it is likewise a preparation to make him fit."


paramedicgirl said...

That's an excellent quote from Frank Sheed, Dave. So very true, especially in today's world, where the focus is on softening the more uncompromising aspects of faith. You know, like penance, sacrifice, and oh, pretty much every one of the ten commandments.