Wednesday, September 12, 2007

So Benedict XVI said that, so what?

A couple months ago, the pope made a statement allegedly clarifying what Vatican II meant about the relationship between salvation and the Roman Catholic Church.

Meanwhile, the CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church) still states:
"841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day.""

So, the question is, does the CCC say that Muslims are saved or not?
After all, there are two ways to read the statement, either that the plan of salvation includes them as part of the mission field or (more naturally) that the plan of salvation includes people being saved by being devoted Muslims.

This further comment does not particularly help:
"848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.""

I'm inclined to believe that the Official Catholic View (OCV) is that Muslims are saved but stupid (i.e. not Catholics through no fault of their own).

Consider this comment from Cardinal Shen:
As Christians we should not be paralyzed by fear, but should find new ways and means to keep open the doors of dialogue and mutual understanding with different religions. This is especially important with the Muslims who are unjustly perceived as evil by a large majority of people.

Unjustly perceived as evil? Unjustly? Really?

In contrast, Cardinal Sanchez seems to take the extreme opposite view:

Pastoral charity for brother priests and for the faithful should not make the priest forget the missionary requirements of dialogue with and evangelization of the "de-christianized," non-Catholics and non-Christians present in the area where he lives (ecumenical dialogue, dialogue with the Muslims and believers of the traditional religions).

Really? Non-Catholic Christians are "de-christianized"??? They need to be subject to evangelization? Interesting!

Likewise, JP2 canonized Ignatius Maloyan, a Roman Catholic bishop who was allegedly martyred by Turkish Muslims in 1915 for refusing to convert to Islam. Ignatius Maloyan allegedly answered that he would never betray Christ and His Church. His words, according to JP2, were: "It does not please God that I should deny Jesus my Saviour. To shed my blood for my faith is the strongest desire of my heart," to which JP2 added: "May his example enlighten all those who today wish to be witnesses of the Gospel for the glory of God and for the salvation of their neighbour."

So, are the Muslims saved or not? Must they become Christians to be saved or not? And are non-Catholic Christians saved? What truly is the OCV, and isn't this just a little bit important?



Anonymous said...

As one ex-RC told me, Since Vat2 anyone, even a Buddhist can be saved (while still remaining a Buddhist) EXCEPT for those who were originally RC and left it for whatever group (even the Reformed faith). Go figure.
This is unlike the Bible teaching that the elect may be from all kinds of false religions, but they need to "be converted" in order to be saved by Christ's shed blood.

Turretinfan said...

Interesting point!

I'm sure other RCs, however, will dispute that claim. There's always an RC who thinks he has found the OCV.


TheoJunkie said...

I had an RCCer tell me once (in response to my pulling out the CCC on them), that the CCC does not represent the Official Catholic Teaching, but is merely a general starting foundation on matters.

It truly does appear that the only thing that is official, is what most recently came out of the horse's mouth while he was symbolically sitting in the Chair.

The archbishops' comments are merely that. Same goes for anyone else, including, it would seem, the writers of the CCC.

One catholic put it to me this way, more or less (though, he too was not in the Chair at the time)... Anyone may be saved... and while everyone who is saved is saved by faith in Christ, this faith in Christ may be exercised while simultaneously expressing the outward manifestations of their cultural religion. But this is not normative... and so, one's best chances are if you are Catholic.

It would also appear that since (as we know) the Catholic church is the only true church... that anyone who leaves "her" is indeed apostate. Anyone who willingly rejects "her" has of course disqualified themselves from the excuse of "no fault of my own", since it was a consciously chosen action to leave.

My guess is that basically everyone is "with excuse", unless they have been told the Gospel of salvation by grace through baptism in the Catholic Church and continual sacrifice of the one sacrifice and consumption of same along with doing your fair share of time and calling your fellow man holy father... and rejected it.

It would have been better to have been born a muslim, TF, than to be you.

I'll see you in hell. (Though, since I actually WAS Catholic, I'm sure I'll be a few floors down from you. We'll text message.)

Turretinfan said...

Yes: I've heard the same about the CCC, and then I've heard from other RCs that the CCC is the definitive statement of RC doctrine.

Trying to get an RC apologist to idenitify (with particularity), which teachings of "the Church" are infallibly true, and which are only maybe true, is like trying to nail jello to the wall.

If you find one who WILL make such identification, asking them to identify the place within that body of knowledge that identifies the remainder (i.e. a Table of Contents of infallible church teaching) is similarly impossible.

A few will appeal to a formula (like the formula Vatican I identified as to when the pope is infallible), but application of the formula leaves plenty of room for uncertainty. Obviously, a personal letter from Ben16 to me is NOT an ex cathedra statement, but how about an ordinary encyclical that discusses a doctrinal or fideal matter? How about the recent comment of Ben16 that this post obliquely refers to?

In light of those perplexities it is highly ironic that RCs complain about uncertainty or ambiguity arising from Sola Scriptura.


P.S. Anyone who has had their weekend spoiled by Blackberry will agree that there will be text-messaging in hell ...

Doghouse said...

As a current "RCC"er of more than 40 years, I can tell you what the Catechism is actually saying.

It is saying that Islam may be on the path by which God would bring someone to Christ and into full communion with His Body, the Church. One can only achieve salvation by grace through faith, and living that faith in hope, with love. You guys know the drill for Catholics.

Acknowledging this possibility means that we are to continue to dialog wih Islam and live our faith as an example of that faith, in the hope that maybe the light will come on for some Muslims. In the mean time, an instruction in the God of Abraham, and the disciplne of daily prayers may be a means by which someone starts to turn towards the direction and disciplines of Christ.

That it in a nutshell. Don't dis- the Muslims, because there may be some future-Christians walking around in Islam. Continue to show them what Christianity is, and maybe they will be led by God to Christ through that example.

Why a bunch of non-Catholics would worry two cents about what the Pope has to say is the question to be asked. You don't think that I lay awake at night wondering what your pastor thinks of my Roman Catholic faith, do you?

Cool site, Turretinfan. Thought I would follow the link and have a look-see.

Turretinfan said...

Dear Doghouse,

Thanks for the compliments as well as the comments.

Could I paraphrase your summary as: there is hope that Muslims will yet be saved? If so, why bother pointing them out in particular?

I've had other (perhaps younger and less experienced) RCs assert that the Muslims worship the one true God. I'm not sure whether you would agree or disagree.

As to why we would care what Ben16 says:
a) when we dialogue with RCs, it's nice to know what their church actually teaches;
b) we also pay attention to what other religious leaders have to say about people outside their religion (such as what Bin Ladin says about those outside Islam);
c) one argument we hear from certain lay apologists of Rome is that we should reject Sola Scriptura in favor of Sola Ecclesia, it's interesting to try to identify whether Sola Ecclesia actually outperforms Sola Scriptura in any meaningful way.