- Religious Indifferentism
- False concepts of human freedom
- Advocacy of the separation of Church and state
- The evolution of at least some dogmatic teachings of the Church.
Starting with this post, I will explore each of these areas and highlight why these principles, although present in our world, are sinister and not of God. Blessed Pope Pius IX went so far to say, "Liberal Catholics are the worst enemies of the Church." And our Lord Himself has said that the lukewarm (e.g. liberal Catholics) are more egregious to him even than hardened sinners, as they do Him the greatest injustice to Him (e.g. Revelations 3:16)
A fundamental error with modernism and those who adhere to it (i.e. liberal Catholics), is that they refuse to embrace extra ecclesiam nulla salus ("outside of the Church there is no salvation"). Pope Innocent III declared at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215: "There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved." His Holiness Innocent III unequivocally declared that all men must belong to the Church founded by our Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved. Period. Subsequently, Pope Boniface VIII made the matter even more clear when in 1302 he unequivocally declared, "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." (Unam Sanctam, 1302.) Read those words carefully: absolutely necessary.
And these remarks are not the only ones pronounced by the Holy Catholic Church. As I've written previously in Can Non Catholics be saved?, The Church continues to teach that outside of the Church there is no salvation. Period. Oh, then but what about the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd Edition) and the statements of Paul VI and his successors? Some might object and say that the Church has changed its position. But this can not be so. Liberal Catholics fail to understand that the Church is unchanging in matters of Faith and Doctrine. If it is true that in the past salvation was possible only for Catholics and if this is not true now, then the Faith has changed. But the Faith can not change. "Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." If the Church changed this matter it would be a liar and, as the Bride of Christ, it would seem that Christ Himself has lied to those in times past.
So then, what are we to do? Has the Church changed? Has the Faith changed? And, if so, then Christ is not unchanging. Stop. The simple answer is that the Church in Her glory and perfect Truth has not changed. Salvation is still only possible to those within the barque of Peter. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd Edition) in paragraph 1260, states, "Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved." But herein enters the problem with the 2nd Edition of the Catechism - unlike the unequivocal teachings of the Holy Fathers of times past, the teachings in the Catechism are vague and unclear. Just what does the Catechism mean by "ignorant of the Gospel" and what is "seeking truth"? Some would argue that all men seek the truth since all men by their nature are inclined to know the Truth. Therefore, it would seem that all men are saved since the Catechism states that all men who seek the truth are saved. What is worse and most dangerous for the Church and the salvation of mankind is that clergy are lured into this argument and accept it without evaluating the soundness of the premises in the argument.
Let's look at what do we mean by "Truth" and "ignorance." What is the truth (Quid est veritas?). We, if we are grounded in sound catechesis, we will declare that Jesus Christ is the sole way, Truth, and life (cf. John 14:6). And what is "ignorance." The Church has clarified this to describe "invincible ignorance," which unlike "ignorance" has a rather precise meaning.
Invincible ignorance refers to the state of persons (such as pagans and infants) who are ignorant of the Gospel message because they have not yet had an opportunity to hear it. The first Pope to use the term officially seems to have been Blessed Pope Pius IX in the allocution Singulari Quadam (9 December 1854) and the encyclicals Singulari Quidem (17 March 1856) and Quanto Conficiamur Moerore (10 August 1863). The term, however, is far older than that. St. Thomas Aquinas uses the term "invincible ignorance" in his Summa Theologica, which has been a foundation for the Thomistic Philosophy on which the Church's teachings are based. In short, invincible ignorance only applies to those who, through no fault of their own, were ignorant that the Church existed - people who were ignorant of the fact that there was a Jesus Christ.
Yet, in our modern era, with missionaries preaching around the world and with a globalization of the world, people in diverse places have been connected through technology in ways never before possible. People around the world have the ability to read this blog now with only an Internet connection. What does this mean? It means that with access to such a wide variety of information, it is highly unlikely that many people even exist who are invincibly ignorant and have never heard of our Lord or the Church.
It was Archbishop Sheen that said, "There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic Church but there are millions who hate what they mistakenly believe it to be." Some would counter that because these millions are ignorant of what the Church really is that they can still be saved. Rather, now that we have clarified invincible ignorance, we can assert that these people - though ignorant - are not invincibly ignorant because they have access to the Gospel.
In fact the Church has always and continues to profess that these souls of the invincibly ignorant are spiritually united to the Church so, nonetheless, they are still saved through the Church. Outside of the Church there is no salvation. Those who teach this doctrine false - both clergy and laity - do great harm for souls and possibly have prevented souls from converting, thus rejecting salvation. This error of liberal Catholics must be countered. It must be faught. This false teaching is one of the six principles that seek to undermine the Church and is none other than an attack by the devil, which has polluted the minds of even ordained members of the Church. Let us with charity fight this error of our times that is undoubtedly leading souls straight to hell.
Further complicating the matter, in our times even the Holy Father of recent memory (John Paul II) caused great scandal to the Faithful with his aapperance at Assisi and many of his statements, where he seemed to indicate, at least through example, that those of other faiths can be saved. While I will not at this time examine this error (that is for Part 3), it nonetheless only illustrates how deep this error has sunk into seminaries over the past century so that now even members of the hierarchy of the Church seemingly sin against what the timeless Church has always taught.
To support religious indifferentism, in essense, violates the First Commandment since, by such support, we deny that there is One God, through whom salvation alone comes.
True incultration is the answer. We do not force our Lord and the Faith to conform to our cultures. Rather, we all conform to our Lord Jesus Christ.
While I do not unequivocally endorse all of the statements by Michal Semin, Director of St. Joseph Institute (Prague), I do agree with his statements concerning this issue when he states, "Many traditionally-minded Catholics are loosing, due to their mental or emotional embracement of the motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, which to a certain degree liberalizes the use of the 1962 Missal, their awareness about the doctrinal nature of the crisis in which we are living today. Even if the motu proprio would provide a healing in the field of Catholic liturgy, which is debatable, one cannot forget that lex credendic precedes lex orandi. The main battlefield is in the field of doctrine, not liturgy..."