Did Vatican II Change Church Teaching On the Church?

Domenico Ghirlandaio, St Dominic Burning Heretical Writings (1490)
Domenico Ghirlandaio, St Dominic Burning Heretical Writings (1490)

Chances are, if you’ve done any reading about the Catholic Church’s vision of “the Church,” you’ve probably come across the claim that everything changed at Vatican II. Prior to Vatican II, as the story goes, the Catholic Church thought that only she was “the Church;” after Vatican II, she recognized that the Orthodox and Protestants (and perhaps even non-Christians!) also form part of the Church. But is it true?

I. The Theory of Rupture

I came across a variation of this claim recently in Fr. Christian Salenson’s Christian de Chergé: A Theology of Hope, a biography of the French-Algerian Abbot Christian de Chergé (whose monastery is the focus of the highly-recommended movie Of Gods and Men). Fr. Salenson’s bio says that he “is a priest of the diocese of Nîmes, France. Former rector of the seminary of Avignon, he is today director of L’institut de science et de théologie des religions at Marseille.” Here’s Fr. Salenson’s argument about the Church’s vision of the Church:

The Church no longer recognizes itself in the definition of Robert Bellarmine, who thought that the Church was like the Republic of Venice, an organized and hierarchical society. Moreover, there was a time when the documents of the magisterium, in particular Mystici Corporis, practically identified the Catholic Church with the Church that is the Body of Christ, but the pure and simple identification of the two would obviously make impossible any ecumenical initiative and all inter-religious dialogue. Therefore, desirous of promoting the cause of ecumenism, the council fathers, in the dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium, decided to emphasize the notion of the People of God. They did not by any means set aside the image of the Body of Christ, but the notion of the People of God allowed them to disengage from the improper restriction of the term “Church of Christ” to “the Catholic Church,” thus opening up the position of previous magisterial documents.

This movement at Vatican II and beyond, argues Salenson, restored “the adage extra ecclesiam nulla salus, ‘outside the Church there is no salvation,” to “its proper meaning, stepping back from the exclusivist interpretation of the Council of Florence in 1442.” Critical to this theory of a theological change is this passage in Lumen Gentium, the Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution on the Church:

This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Saviour, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd, and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority, which He erected for all ages as “the pillar and mainstay of the truth”. This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity.

Those arguing for a change in Church teaching argue that prior to Vatican II, the teaching was that the Church Christ founded is (or was) the Catholic Church, but now the Church teaches only that the Church Christ founded subsists in the Catholic Church. For example, the famous Brazilian Liberation theologian Fr. Leonardo Boff argued in Church: Charism and Power, that this phrasing recognized that the Roman Catholic Church is and isn’t the Church of Christ:

For example, the Roman, Catholic, and apostolic Church is the Church of Christ on the one hand, and on the other hand, it is not. It is the Church of Christ inasmuch as through it the Church of Christ is present in the world. But at the same time it cannot claim an exclusive identity with the Church of Christ because the Church may also be present in other Christian churches. The Second Vatican Council, overcoming a theological ambiguity present in previous ecclesiologies that tended to identify the Roman Catholic Church with the Church of Christ in a simple and pure fashion, makes the following distinction: “This Church [of Christ], constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church” (subsistit in: has its concrete form in the Catholic Church). The Council avoids saying, as was said in previous documents, that it is the Church of Christ.

II. The Problems with the Theory of Rupture

Both Boff and Salenson’s theologies ultimately self-destruct, for two major reasons:

  1. First, because it argues that Vatican II corrects (and therefore contradicts) prior Church teachings, including the teachings of prior Church Councils. If there be a dispute between Vatican II and previous Church Councils, why side with Vatican II against the Councils that came before it? Indeed, you’ll find certain Catholic Traditionalists who agree with Boff and Salenson that Vatican II contradicts prior Church teaching, but use this as a reason to reject Vatican II, rather than as a reason to reject prior Church teaching.
  2. Second, making this claim involves undermining the authority, and rejecting the reliability, of Church teaching generally and the teachings of Church Councils specifically. If we can’t trust the Councils prior to Vatican II to have gotten something as central as the identity of the Church correct, upon what basis can we trust Vatican II? It does no good to demand every adhere to Vatican II “because it’s a Church Council” or “because it’s Magisterial teaching” if one simultaneously rejects all pre-Vatican II Magisterial and conciliar teachings.

But here’s where the argument gets bizarre. Salenson argues that the Church up until Mystici Corporis (1946) “practically identified the Catholic Church with the Church that is the Body of Christ,” and Boff explicitly claims that Vatican II “avoids saying, as was said in previous documents, that it is the Church of Christ.”

So let’s look at Vatican II directly. Lumen Genitum was published on November 21, 1964. As we’ve seen, it says that the Church founded by Jesus Christ “subsists in the Catholic Church.” The very same day, Orientalium Ecclesiarum, the Second Vatican Council’s decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rites, was also published. Two documents, each about the nature of the Church, each produced by the Second Vatican Council, and each published on the same day, November 21. What does Orientalium Ecclesiarum say?

The Holy Catholic Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, is made up of the faithful who are organically united in the Holy Spirit by the same faith, the same sacraments and the same government and who, combining together into various groups which are held together by a hierarchy, form separate Churches or Rites. [….]

These individual Churches, whether of the East or the West, although they differ somewhat among themselves in rite (to use the current phrase), that is, in liturgy, ecclesiastical discipline, and spiritual heritage, are, nevertheless, each as much as the others, entrusted to the pastoral government of the Roman Pontiff, the divinely appointed successor of St. Peter in primacy over the universal Church. They are consequently of equal dignity, so that none of them is superior to the others as regards rite and they enjoy the same rights and are under the same obligations, also in respect of preaching the Gospel to the whole world (cf. Mark 16, 15) under the guidance of the Roman Pontiff.

This is explicitly saying what Salenson claims that Vatican II moved away from, and what Boff claims was never said at Vatican II: that the Holy Catholic Church, universally governed by the pope, is the Body of Christ.

That’s what makes this ecclesiology of rupture so bizarre: it doesn’t just pit Vatican II against everything that came before it. It pits Vatican II against itself, arguing that the Council simultaneously endorsed and rejected the identification of the Roman Catholic Church with the Mystici Corporis, the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ.

III. The Proper Way to Interpret “Subsists In


Fortunately, the Church has actually (and repeatedly) explained the meaning of “subsists in,” and explaining why it doesn’t mean what folks like Boff and Salenson suggest.  For example, in 1970, under Pope Paul VI (the same pope who promulgated Lumen Gentium in the first place), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith explained that:

One is the Church, which after His Resurrection our Savior handed over to Peter as Shepherd (cf. Jn 21:17), commissioning him and the other apostles to propagate and govern her (cf. Mt 18:18ff.) (and which) He erected for all ages as “the pillar and mainstay of the truth” (cf. 1 Tm 3:15). And this Church of Christ, “constituted and organized in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the Successor of Peter and the bishops in union with that Successor.” This declaration of the Second Vatican Council is illustrated by the same Council’s statement that “it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the general means of salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained,” and that same Catholic Church “has been endowed with all divinely revealed truth and with all the means of grace” with which Christ wished to enhance His messianic community.

This is no obstacle to the fact that during her earthly pilgrimage the Church, “embracing sinners in her bosom, is at the same time holy and always in need of being purified,” nor to the fact that “outside her visible structure,” namely in Churches and ecclesial communities which are joined to the Catholic Church by an imperfect communion, there are to be found “many elements of sanctification and truth (which), as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, possess an inner dynamism towards Catholic unity.”

As a result,

The followers of Christ are therefore not permitted to imagine that Christ’s Church is nothing more than a collection (divided, but still possessing a certain unity) of Churches and ecclesial communities. Nor are they free to hold that Christ’s Church nowhere really exists today and that it is to be considered only as an end which all Churches and ecclesial communities must strive to reach.

Fifteen years later, during Pope John Paul II’s pontificate, the CDF (now under the leadership of Cardinal Ratzinger) actually responded directly to Fr. Boff’s book, accusing him of deriving “a thesis which is exactly the contrary to the authentic meaning of the Council text” in his misinterpretation of Lumen Gentium 8, and explaining that

the Council had chosen the word subsistit – subsists – exactly in order to make clear that one sole “subsistence” of the true Church exists, whereas outside her visible structure only elementa Ecclesiae – elements of Church – exist; these – being elements of the same Church – tend and conduct toward the Catholic Church (Lumen Gentium, 8). The decree on ecumenism expresses the same doctrine (Unitatis Redintegratio, 3-4), and it was restated precisely in the declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae (No. 1, AAS LXV [1973], pp. 396-398).

Turning upside down the meaning of the Council text on the Church’s subsistence lies at the base of L. Boff’s ecclesiological relativism, which is outlined above; a profound misunderstanding of the Catholic faith on the Church of God in the world is developed and made explicit.

And when the author of those words, Cardinal Ratzinger, became Pope Benedict XVI, the CDF again issued a clarification on this point. It’s in Q&A format, and directly asks (and answers) whether or not “the Second Vatican Council change[d] the Catholic doctrine on the Church” (Answer: “The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it.”). In showing that the Council didn’t change Church teaching, the CDF points to statements from Pope John XXIII (who opened the Council), Pope Paul VI (who saw it through to the end, and who promulgated Lumen Gentium and Orientalium Ecclesiarum), and statements from the Acts of the Council itself. In the next question, the CDF turns squarely to this question:

What is the meaning of the affirmation that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church?


Christ “established here on earth” only one Church and instituted it as a “visible and spiritual community”[5], that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted.[6] “This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic […]. This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him”.[7]

In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium ‘subsistence’ means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church[8], in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth.

It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.[9] Nevertheless, the word “subsists” can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe… in the “one” Church); and this “one” Church subsists in the Catholic Church.[10]

IV. Why a Shift in Language, Then?

For some, the mere fact that the Church went from saying Christ’s Church is the Roman Catholic Church to simultaneously saying that Christ’s Church is and subsists in the Roman Catholic Church is proof of a change in teaching. If the teaching hasn’t changed, why has the language?

The CDF, in 2007, asked and answered this question directly:

Why was the expression “subsists in” adopted instead of the simple word “is”?


The use of this expression, which indicates the full identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church, does not change the doctrine on the Church. Rather, it comes from and brings out more clearly the fact that there are “numerous elements of sanctification and of truth” which are found outside her structure, but which “as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel towards Catholic Unity”.[11]

“It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church”[12].

Think about the variety of different images used for the Church and the Kingdom in the New Testament: within Matthew 13 alone, Jesus compares the Kingdom to seed sown upon various types of soil (Mt. 13:1-9, 18-23), to weeds amongst weeds (Mt. 13:24-30, 36-43), to a mustard seed that grows into a tree (Mt. 13:31-32), to leaven (Mt. 13:33), to a treasure in a field (Mt. 13:44), to a pearl of great price (Mt. 13:45), and to a net containing good and bad fish (Mt. 13:47-50). Within a single verse, Ephesians 5:23, St. Paul simultaneously describes the relationship of Christ and the Church as one of Bridegroom/Bride and one of Head/Body. Why do Jesus and St. Paul use so many different images? Because each additional image helps capture some aspect of the Church/Kingdom dynamic that might otherwise be lost.

So it is here. Saying that the Church is the Body of Christ recognizes that the Roman Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ, and where we can find the fullness of the Gospel and the fullness of the means of salvation. But saying that the Church of Christ subsists in the Roman Catholic Church points towards the fact that non-Catholic Christians have partially and imperfectly what the Catholic Church has fully and completely.

The Catholic Church has always believed both of these things. On the one hand, she is the Church that Jesus Christ founded, and thus she is the Mystical Body of Christ. These are historical and theological claims. Either Jesus did or didn’t found a single, visible Church; either St. Paul was right or he was wrong to call it the Body of Christ in Ephesians 5; either that single, visible Church continues to exist or it doesn’t; either it exists as the Roman Catholic Church or it doesn’t. But the truth of these facts can’t be rejected just because they might (as Fr. Salenson laments) “make impossible any ecumenical initiative and all inter-religious dialogue.” Any ecumenism that requires that Catholics pretend not to believe that we’re the one, true Church is a false unity, requiring us to hold a theological position that our Church forbids us to hold.

But there’s another side to this reality: the Church has also always recognized, for example, that Baptism is the doorway to the Church, and that even schismatics still have valid Baptism. St. Augustine, for example, explicitly says that “the grace of baptism can be conferred outside the Catholic communion, just as it can be also there retained,” and he criticizes the Donatists by saying that “it is clear that they are guilty of impiety who endeavor to rebaptize those who are in Catholic unity; and we act rightly who do not dare to repudiate God’s sacraments, even when administered in schism.” So, too, the Fourth Lateran Council (1215 A.D.) rebukes those Eastern Orthodox who have had “the temerity to rebaptize those baptized by the Latins; and some, as we are told, still do not fear to do this.”

That same Council’s profession of faith simultaneously affirms that there’s no salvation outside of the Church and that valid Baptisms may be carried out by anyone. The Council of Vienne (1311-1312 A.D.) likewise proclaimed that there was “one universal church, outside of which there is no salvation, for all of whom there is one Lord, one faith and one baptism,” but specified what this “one baptism” looked like:

All are faithfully to profess that there is one baptism which regenerates all those baptized in Christ, just as there is one God and one faith’. We believe that when baptism is administered in water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit, it is a perfect means of salvation for both adults and children.

The USCCB has a helpful guide summarizing the history of Catholic recognition of Orthodox Sacraments. Why does that matter? Because you can’t have Sacraments outside of the Catholic Church. Wherever valid Baptism is found, the Church of Christ is found there in some way. This is admittedly confusing, but notice why it’s confusing: because we haven’t faithfully followed Christ’s command that we may all be one. In other words, God isn’t the one who made the situation messy. We are, through out sin.

So, to conclude, we have to avoid two easy-but-wrong conclusions; that only those who are visibly Roman Catholic are saved / in the Church; or that it doesn’t matter which Church or denomination you belong to. By simultaneously affirming that the Church of Christ is the Catholic Church and that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church, with elements of sanctification found outside of her visible bounds but pointing towards full unity with her, the Second Vatican Council is simply acknowledging the complexity of this reality.


  1. OCTOBER 7, 2017

    Tell your bishop you affirm Vatican Council II(premise-free) : it is rational, simple and traditional and not a rupture with the past

    Image result for Photo of Our Lady of Guadalupe
    We now have a ready-made, made- to- fit Vatican Council II.Any Catholic can affirm it before a bishop or religious superior. Those days are over when the Vatican would ask religious communities to affirm Vatican Council II for canonical status. Since Vatican Council II (premise-free) is traditional,rational and non heretical.
    Call up your bishop and tell him you affirm Vatican Council II( premise-free) .Ask him what does he think about it.
    If you are a lay Catholic who attends Mass at a SSPX chapel call up the Prior.Ask him what does he think about Vatican Council II ( premise-free).
    Similarly if you belong to a liberal religious community, ask the superior if he or she is comfortable with it.
    Tell him or her that you affirm extra ecclesiam nulla salus(EENS) like the missionaries and magisterium of the 16th century.If he says that’s changed with Vatican Council II, tell him it hasn’t with Vatican Council II (premise-free).Pre and post Vatican Council II theology is now in harmony.Vatican Council II interpreted with the premise was a rupture with Tradition, especially EENS.
    So now when the Jesuits say all the natives in Goa, India would have been saved in invincible ignorance even if St.Francis Xavier did not go there,tell them it is not true.Since with Vatican Council II (premise-free) being saved in invincible ignorance is not an exception to the dogma EENS.
    There was a mistake in 1960-65 at Vatican Council II.They picked up the objective error from the Letter of the Holy Office 1949 which inferred that invincible ignorance referred to known people saved outside the Church.Unknown people were mistaken as being known.This was the false premise.
    So with the false premise Lumen Gentium 14 says those who know about Jesus and the Church and its necessity for salvation are on the way to Hell.In other words only those who know and not those in invincible ignorance, is their message.This is Vatican Council II with the false premise.It contradicts the dogma EENS which says all people need to enter the Church as members for salvation.It is not just those who know.If there is any one in ignorance, living in the forest who is to be saved, St. Thomas Aquinas says God will send a preacher to him.He does not say that invincible ignorance is an exception to the strict and traditional interpretation of the dogma EENS which he supported.
    Without the false premise in Vatican Council II(LG 14 etc), we know all the natives in Goa were on the way to Hell without the baptism of water in the Catholic Church. It was the same for the natives in the Americas before Columbus went there.
    With Vatican Council II ( premise-free) there is nothing in Lumen Gentium 14 or Lumen Gentium itself, to contradict the traditional and strict interpretation of EENS.
    With the ‘old’ Vatican Council II, the one interpreted with the false premise, Unitatis Redintigratio 3( Christians in imperfect communion with the Church) is referring to salvation for Protestants.The possibility is mentioned here since for the Church Fathers at Vatican Council II, at least for Cardinal Cushing and the Jesuits, there was known salvation outside the Church.A theoretical possibility for them was a known reality, hypothetical speculation was an actual case of a non Catholic saved outside the Church.This is Vatican Council II interpreted by the cardinals, with the false premise.That is changed now.
    When invisible cases of Christians speculatively are considered saved in imperfect communion with the Church are not physically visible and known in our reality,UR 3 does not contradict EENS.It does not contradict the past exclusivist ecclesiology.There is no known Anonymous Christian saved outside the Church.There is no new ecclesiology.
    Now with Vatican Council II( premise-free) there is no theological opening for the new ecumenism.
    Vatican Council II with the false premise was needed to support the new ecclesiology upon which was based the new ecumenism.That is eliminated now.
    We are back to the past ecclesiology which gave us theologically, only an ecumenism of return.
    With Vatican Council II (premise-free) we have outside the Church there is no salvation. So tell your bishop or superior to support Catholic political parties which proclaim the non separation of Church and State and affirm the Social Reign of Christ the King in political legislation.
    Since all non Catholics are on the way to Hell according to Vatican Council II(AG 7) Catholics know that the priority(to save souls from Hell) for the state-religion , is the Catholic Faith.There must be a separation of Satanic secularism and state.
    If your bishop or superior does not want to accept Vatican Council II( premise-free) tell him or her that there is no other choice.Since Vatican Council II, with the false premise, is irrational,non traditional and heretical even though it is presently magisterial.It has to be rejected and replaced.

    How can you as a lay man state that people in Heaven allegedly saved outside the Church are visible on earth? Where are the practical exceptions to EENS in 2017? Do you know someone who will be saved without entering the Church, may be with the baptism of desire? Of course not.This was all nonsense. It contradicted the Principle of Non Contradiction and was made the official theology of the Church by the enemies of the Church and good people who accepted this without being aware of the confusion and deception.

    We love and serve every one because of Jesus. This is what Jesus asks us to do and not because Nostra Aetate indicates it.There is nothing in Nostra Aetate to contradict the strict interpretation of the dogma EENS.Nor does Nostra Aetate contradict Ad Gentes 7 which states all need faith and baptism for salvation.We know that most people are on the way to Hell at the time of death, since most people die outside the Church.In Heaven there are only Catholics (AG 7).Catholics are the new people of God the Chosen People (Nostra Aetate 4).There could be good and holy things in other religions(NA 2) but the religions are not paths to salvation.Islam is a false path to salvation and the Jewish synagogue of Satan of course leads to Hell.This is a magisterial teaching according to Vatican Council II interpreted without the false premise.
    So affirm Vatican Council II(premise-free) and tell your friends and relatives to do the same.If your a bishop or superior set an example for the others.
    -Lionel Andrades
    First Saturday
    Feats of Our Lady of the Rosary.

    OCTOBER 7, 2017

    SSPX canonical recognition is assured : Vatican Council II (premise-free) is no more an issue

    OCTOBER 7, 2017

    SSPX must re-open negotiations for canonical status : cite new doctrinal references and explanations on this blog

      1. I am not.But this is what just about every one infers.
        The Letter of the Holy Office 1949 to the Archbishop of Boston with reference to Fr. Leonard Feeney infers that the baptism of desire, baptism of blood and being saved in invincible ignorance are exceptions to the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus (EENS). So there is salvation outside the Church.
        There it is ! If there is salvation outside the Church then it means someone has seen or met someone saved outside the Church.
        This is irrational.To suggest invisible cases of the baptism of desire etc are visible exceptions to EENS is irrational.Yet it is magiseterial. The magisterium uses this irrational premise to interpret also Vatican Council II.
        We have a choice. There can be a Vatican Council II without the common nonsensical premise.

        1. LA,
          “If there is salvation outside the Church then it means someone has seen or met someone saved outside the Church” = the second part of your statement doesn’t necessary follow the first. There is no need to “have seen or met” to believe that “there is salvation outside the Church”.
          The letter you quote came as response to Leonard Feeney (who was later excommunicated for disobedience) and his heretical teachings that all who did not formally enter the Church would go to hell. It details quite precisely what “salvation outside the Church” actually means. Particularly important is the following phrase: “the Pope condemns those who exclude from eternal salvation men who are united to the Church only through implicit desire as well as those who wrongly affirm that all men can be saved equally in all religions”. Also of significance, the very first paragraph points out what that we must avoid private interpretation of Scripture, the strictly Protestant doctrinal error.

  2. Joe writes…

    “If we can’t trust the Councils prior to Vatican II to have gotten something as central as the identity of the Church correct, upon what basis can we trust Vatican II?”

    The solution here is to blow right on past all these ridiculously obscure arcane bureaucratic obsessions and simply forget about them. How much time did Jesus invest in all this clerical silliness? Do you seriously not see that Jesus walked away from the Jewish clergy who raised him largely because they too were obsessed by such petty organizational minutiae?

    What we should put our trust in the experience of love. That is, as the apostle John so clearly and concisely said, God.

    The experience Joe, the experience.

    1. Love must be accompanied by truth. And experiences can be deceptive. Many drugs can create cerebral experiences, yet can kill the addict at the same time. All the while he thinks he is experiencing the highest of all realities.

      Better to fast, do exercise and do penance, and learn to refrain from dangerous and worthless ‘experiences’. The in a clear state of mind, without the aid of drugs and alcohol to create an artificial experience…we might make the ‘word of God’ …’the teachings of Christ’…our ultimate experience, even as Jesus said:

      “If you continue in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.


      “Amen, amen I say unto you: that whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin. Now the servant abideth not in the house for ever; but the son abideth for ever. If therefore the son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”

      1. Love is truth.

        Love is the act of surrendering the illusion of division between “me” and “everything else”. What emerges in the human mind as that illusion is released is the unity of God.

        The apostle John got this when he declared with brilliant concise simplicity, “God is love”. Note that he didn’t say, “God is a doctrine about love.”

        What you call “truth”, ie. ideological doctrines and clerical power trips and such as are obsessively discussed here, are just thought, the primary driver of division both within us and between us. You can see this for yourself just by observing the obvious divisions between Christian vs. Christian, Catholic vs. Catholic etc. All of these divisions arise from the inherently divisive nature of thought, as expressed in ideological doctrines. The more focus that is placed on ideology, any ideology, the more division that will be generated.

        The experience of love (not theories about love) unites, because as the apostle John said, love is God. The experience of love heals the divisions within our minds, and between our minds, and reveals the underlying unity with God which has always been there.

        Love is God. Love is truth.

        And not all this other competitive clerical power tripping crap.

        1. If you truly believed God is love, you’d recognize that Love and Hus Church, which is His Kindgom, are inseparable.

          1. God and all of reality are inseparable, which is what I’ve been suggesting in a number of posts across the site.

            You’re trying to claim God as the private possession of your particular group of human beings…

            …who energetically disagree among themselves on wide variety of topics.

          2. Phil,
            “God and all of reality are inseparable, which is what I’ve been suggesting in a number of posts across the site” = and which you’ve been shown to be incorrect, logically, doctrinally and philosophically.

  3. Saint Al said, “The in a clear state of mind, without the aid of drugs and alcohol to create an artificial experience…”

    Ok, good. The key idea there is “clear state of mind”, that’s very important. What I mean by “clear state of mind” is a mind focused on reality itself, instead of ideas about reality.

    Why? Because God is not just an idea, but is instead real. If we want to experience the real God in the real world, we should focus our attention on the real world. Simple and obvious, right?

    The primary obstacle to focusing on the real God in the real world is being distracted by focusing on our ideas about the real world, ie. being “lost in thought”. There’s a reason why the expression “lost in thought” contains the word “lost”. Being lost in thought is not bad, evil, sinful or any of that, it’s just looking for God in the wrong place, the most human of mistakes.

    Saint Al said, “….we might make the ‘word of God’ …’the teachings of Christ’…our ultimate experience”

    That would be very sad. In this case, the person would be choosing talk about God over experience of the real God in the real world. That is, this person would be elevating watered down second hand experience over the real thing. It’s the equivalent of falling in love with someone’s Facebook photo instead of the real living breathing person. Another word for this choice is idolatry, worshiping the symbol over the real thing the symbol points to.

    The serious conversation is about how to look in the real world for the real God. Christian teachings address this directly with the focus on love. “Me” is the most compelling divisive product of thought, and the experience of love, of surrendering the “me”, removes a key distraction to experiencing the unity with God which is always there waiting patiently for us just below the surface of our noisy minds.

    A clear state of mind. You put your finger on it Al. Now try to understand what that actually means.

    1. A clear state of mind is only the first step, and it is only natural. This is nothing special, as children possess it naturally, but adults often destroy it with drugs, alcohol and sex addictions (not to mention other vices). After a person thinks clearly, following Christ in everything He teaches, both by His words and examples is the way to find, know and love God the Father. To NOT choose Jesus as your ‘shepherd’, is to follow a fantasy path to the howling wilderness, to become a ‘lost sheep’. And, this is the path you seem to choose, since you reject Christ as a teacher… no matter how many fancy ‘reality experiences of love’ you might have. You might remember that they had similar experiences of “love” at Woodstock, and on Haight street in San Francisco, during the ‘flower power’ decade.

      Obeying and following Jesus Christ (…being a loving disciple) in everything He teaches leads to forgiveness and remission of sins, and therefore true liberty of mind, body and spirit. Nothing will substitute for this discipleship.


      That’s all I’ll say on the subject as the current focus is The Church and Vatican II, and not “Phil’s reality theories”.

    2. John 1:1-3 – 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made

      Genesis 2:19 – 19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.

      As you say, God is real. But God is NOT man. He may be found in man. He may be found in nature or any part of his creation. But He is NOT any part of his creation.

      If you were to paint a picture or write a story, would that picture or story BE you? No. It reflects your idea of something which you try to portray. In the same way, God has left his image upon all his creation, but neither are we God, nor is God us.

      You say it would be sad to make the teachings of Christ, the word of God, our ultimate experience. Whether you like it or not, ***God said*** He created us and God said we shall return to Him when we die. If I were you, I would ***think*** long and hard about how sad you may be when you meet His Word at the end of your life. If you don’t want to know Him now, he won’t know you then. Guaranteed, because He Himself has said so. And he is The Word.

  4. The primary threat to a clear state of mind is our addiction to our own thoughts. It’s this addiction which keeps our focus on an internal symbolic realm of our own invention, rather than the real world of God’s creation.

    As example, consider the person who spends so much time on Facebook that they have little time for real world relationships. This serves as an example of being so distracted by the symbolic that one neglects the real.

    It really depends on what one thinks God is. If one thinks God is an idea, then ok, ideology is the place to look for the correct idea. On the other hand, if one thinks God is real, then the real world is the place to look for God, not the symbolic world.

    This discussion is directly related to Joe’s post, because Joe is focused on doctrinal disputes upon the assumption that such activity is important. It’s not. Such endless ideological conflict is not the path to God, but rather a key distraction. It’s pointless to conduct such ideological conflict because whoever wins (and nobody ever does) all we wind up with is a pile of symbols. It would be wiser to focus on experiencing that which the symbols point to.

    PS: Christian clergy ignore the example set by Jesus whenever it becomes inconvenient. As example, when did Jesus the carpenter ever show the slightest interest in the construction of church buildings, a key obsession of the clergy? Do you seriously believe that were Jesus alive today he would support the spending of trillions of dollars on the Christian real estate empire while at least a billion human beings live on the edge of starvation? How much money did Jesus spend on real estate? Oh, that’s right, I forgot, exactly no money at all.

    You aren’t a Jesus loyalist Al. You’re a clergy loyalist. Not at all the same thing.

      1. When did Jesus the carpenter ever show the slightest interest in the construction of church buildings, a key obsession of the clergy?

        Watch how this trillion dollar sized inconvenient fact is relentlessly ignored and rationalized by the clergy, and all their little minions, the clergy worshipers.

        Why is this relevant? Because it is the clergy and clergy worshipers, those blatantly ignoring the example of Jesus, who are claiming their written opinions represent the word of God. This is the source from which all these supposedly all important doctrinal documents emerge.

        1. Phil, You are talking about the Gospel taught by Christ…you know? To you it’s worth nothing but wasted breath. And the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is also worth nothing. all a bunch of wasted time. This is your teaching.

          This is why I said before that you use Christ’s name, to build you own prestige…as if you were really a Christian… but teach ‘anti-Christ’ philosophies….something He Himself never taught. If not, just prove it through His very words, or maybe you ought to refer to Buddha, Ghandi, or some other Guru who might actually sympathize with, and be in more harmony with, your own theology. But it’s not Christianity. Christ Himself was an expert in the Torah and Prophets of Israel, but you despise it all. So, why use the name of Jesus to back up anything you preach? It’s intellectually dishonest. You have your own religion and you are it’s pope (pope Filbert, remember?). That is very clear to everyone here who has read your many anti-Christian comments over the last several months.

          1. Good point, James.

            Here is the background scene:

            “And entering into the temple, he began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought. Saying to them: It is written: My house is the house of prayer. But you have made it a den of thieves. And he was teaching daily in the temple.”

            Clearly, Jesus thought that temples were very suitable for prayer and teaching, as He shows by His very example. And if there were few Churches built in the first three centuries A.D., it was because Christianity was largely illegal back then. Once it was legal, basilica’s sprang up quickly.

            The child Jesus teaching in the temple at 12 years old is another good example:

            “And it came to pass, that, after three days, they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his wisdom and his answers. And seeing him, they wondered. And his mother said to him: Son, why hast thou done so to us? behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said to them: How is it that you sought me? did you not know, that I must be about my father’s business?”

            So, it is in ‘temples’/’churches’ that the Father’s business particularly takes place.

            And lastly, Christ says also about temples…and altars, too:

            ” Woe to you blind guides, that say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but he that shall swear by the gold of the temple, is a debtor. Ye foolish and blind; for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? And whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gift that is upon it, is a debtor. Ye blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? He therefore that sweareth by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things that are upon it: And whosoever shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth in it: And he that sweareth by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.”

    1. Phil,
      “As example, consider the person who spends so much time on Facebook that they have little time for real world relationships” = even better, “As example, consider the person who spends so much time on the SP blog that they have little time for real world experience of God and His Church”. You know, the one who writes 14 out of 38 comments but tells everyone else to “get your head out of the books “…

      1. Great comment LLC, seriously. It’s true, I know whereof I speak from personal experience when it comes to the limitations of thought. Like most of Catholic heritage, I too can be quite the “living in one’s head” kind of person.

        However, I do spend a LOT of time with God in his Church when the weather is right here in Florida, which is days away from happening again this year.

        The thing is though, I’m not talking about the church the clergy built, but rather the church that God built. Where I live, God’s church looks like this…


        Of course this is just one tiny tiny corner of God’s church, which in it’s entirety is vast beyond comprehension.

        BTW, Jesus gave his sermons in God’s church the way I mean it, not the way you mean it. A simple widely agreed upon historical fact, which you will of course immediately ignore due to it’s inconvenience.

        1. Phil,
          “Like most of Catholic heritage, I too can be quite the “living in one’s head” kind of person” = the second part of you statement doesn’t follow the first.
          “do spend a LOT of time with God in his Church when the weather is right here in Florida” = how convenient; evidently, “…I’m arguing for embracing all of God’s creation” is valid only for other posters.
          “The thing is though, I’m not talking about the church the clergy built, but rather the church that God built” = only partially correct, doctrinally and historically. The RCC sings in unison with all creation the glory of God (Psalm 19:1); see Saint Francis’ “Laudes Creaturarum”. Historically, churches (as buildings) have been part of the Church heritage from the early beginning (see the Kara Kilise, or Black Church”, said to have been built as early as the first century AD by Saint Thaddeus).
          “Jesus gave his sermons in God’s church the way I mean it, not the way you mean it” = Biblically incorrect (and presumptuous); Jesus had no problems teaching and preaching in the Temple and local synagogues.; see Luke 4:15.

          1. But he NEVER built a church building of his own, did he?

            Never mind, you’re going to reject anything I type because I’m not part of your mutual validation club. Waste of time.

          2. Phil,
            “But he NEVER built a church building of his own, did he?” = irrelevant. Jesus didn’t write anything down either (except in John 8:6), and yet His teachings continue to challenge us today.
            “you’re going to reject anything I type because I’m not part of your mutual validation club” = twice incorrect. I reject some (not all) of what you type because it is incorrect. Also, better be part of a club, as limited as it may be, than to validate your own conclusion.

  5. Al,

    1) More of the changing the subject from post to poster blah blah blather, extremely boring.

    2) Your first paragraph, I never said any of that, you are literally just making crap up now.

    3) My comments are not anti-Christian, but anti-clergy worship.

    In your mind clergy=Catholic.

    In my mind…..

    First the clergy lost half the Church in the Protestant reformation. In our time they are losing the Church’s traditional European homeland as the continent goes steadily atheist. And of course they have branded Catholicism as the child raping religion. The last Pope had to be shuffled off the stage in a historic dumping etc…

    More to the point of this page, the clergy’s obsession with arcane doctrinal squabbling and obscure bureaucratic minutiae (such as is the focus of this blog) are convincing growing legions of people that Catholicism really has little to do with their daily lives. I’m not making this up Al, the churches are emptying out all over Europe. I’m not the one destroying Catholicism Al, that job is being handled by the clergy you worship.

    As to the example of Jesus, you truly know almost nothing about it.

    1) Jesus was not a clergy worshiper, he rejected the clergy who raised him. I’m following that example, you are ignoring it.

    2) Jesus the carpenter never showed the slightest interest in church building construction, but the clergy has spent billions on it so that they can have an impressive stage to perform on. I am agreeing with Jesus, and you are agreeing with the clergy.

    3) Jesus was a revolutionary, as evidenced by his fate. He wasn’t a good little Catholic boy obediently serving a dying status quo. Jesus came to shake things up, and you want everything to stay the same.

    4) Jesus charted his own course, he didn’t just memorize somebody else’s playbook and then chant it back as if it was his own idea. You don’t chart your own course, or even use your own brain, you just memorize and regurgitate whatever the clergy tells you.

    5) Jesus talked relentlessly about love, a subject rarely discussed on this blog, and rarely displayed by it’s members.

    6) Jesus healed the sick and served the needy, another subject rarely mentioned here, even though there is tons of good work Catholics could brag about. Like most Catholic blogs, this one shows little to no interest in Catholic Charities.

    You don’t own Catholicism or Christianity Al. You aren’t following the example of Jesus. You can pretend these things all you want, and you’ll convince others that have been sucked in to the same ego inflating dream, but I’m beyond your reach.

    Like Jesus, I’m not here to make you feel good about yourself. I’m here to try to kick over the corrupt and decaying status quo and put it out of it’s misery in the hope that something new, something more Christian, might emerge from the ashes.

    1. Phil…I, and most traditional Catholics, think you’re wrong on points 1, 2, 3, and 4.

      5 & 6 totally agree. I would love to focus on Charity and Charities, and Virtue in general. I just don’t feel that doctrines and dogmas are opposed to that. On the contrary, I feel that good teachings and good doctrines help a person to Holy Charity, through the grace of God. And why not learn Holy Religion from those who have eminently practiced Charity, such as St. Francis of Assisi, St. Francis de Sales, St. Augustine, St.Teresa of Calcutta, and many others? Their teachings don’t sound very much like yours.

      Further, I honor the Clergy unashamedly. How can I not if they bring the grace of God in Christ Jesus our Lord? And this I didn’t discover by having them parrot it back to me, but by reading the Holy Scriptures, listening to the Church Fathers, and experiencing it for myself.

      I don’t feel that I am alone at all in these conclusions.

      You have openly professed pantheism, but seem willing to worship everything except clergy.

      1. Hi Alexander, thanks for the thoughtful reply.

        Ok, items 5 + 6 are points of agreement we can build upon, that’s good.

        I would agree that _theoretically_ doctrines can co-exist with love and charity. But if we examine the Catholic web objectively, and this blog as example, we can see the focus is almost entirely on doctrines. A relentless focus on doctrinal issues is crowding out what, imho, should be the central focus of the Christian experience, the walking of the walk. If the balance between the talk and the walk could be edited to something like 50-50 I’d be far less strident on the matter.

        And, I’m attempting to make a larger point which is that ideology, any ideology including mine, always leads to division and conflict because what all ideologies are made of, human thought, is inherently divisive in nature. So for example, if everyone converted to my exact point of view, it would only be a matter of time before the “Philists” started dividing up in to sub-groups which then came in to conflict. If this premise is true, then ideological battles are revealed to be a waste of time because all ideological roads will lead to conflict.

        Regarding #2, church building construction, can you point to any passage in the New Testament where Jesus _the carpenter_ shows the slightest interest in this topic? Where does he suggest or even imply that HUGE resources should be devoted to creating an expensive stage for his apostles to perform on? It seems to me that all of Christendom (not just Catholics) are determined to ignore this blatant rejection of Jesus’s example, and that it’s appropriate to make this clear.

        Regarding #3, if Jesus was not a revolutionary, a direct threat to the established clerical order of his time, why did they have him executed within days of his arrival in Jerusalem? I think this example of Jesus is is important too, because today’s Church seems to be steadily rotting away from the inside due to an inability to breath new life in to the enterprise. You know, Christian Europe is fading away, converting to atheism, a clear sign of a deep illness.

        Should Jesus return again, it will not be to pat us on the head and tell us what a good job we’re doing, because we already excel at that ourselves. If he comes again, it will be to rock the boat like he did last time, and the result will likely be the same. Some of those who can’t handle having their comfy little boats rocked will start looking for a way to get rid of the inconvenient person. Those clinging most tightly to a rigid “one true way” will be the most likely suspects.

        1. Phil,
          “But if we examine the Catholic web objectively, and this blog as example, we can see the focus is almost entirely on doctrines” = as of 1/10/16, there were more than 2,500 Catholic blogs (Catholic Blog directory). It is statistically incorrect and intellectually dishonest to use this blog (which intention is to “provide a faithful representation of the Church’s teaching”) as a representation of the entirety of the Catholic blogs.

      2. Alexander said, “You have openly professed pantheism, but seem willing to worship everything except clergy.”

        Ha, ha! Ok, fair enough, I deserve that comment.

        I should have made more clear that I don’t hate the clergy as people, I reject clergy worship, the relationship that some of us have with the clergy. The clergy are just human beings with opinions. Nobody should blindly follow them any more than anyone should blindly follow me, or anybody else. Blind obedience to anybody is a corrupting force which leads to, well, things like today’s Church.

    2. “First the clergy lost half the Church in the Protestant reformation”

      I don’t buy it. No statistical figures to support your supposition.

      “anti-clergy worship”
      I don’t buy hyperbole. No Christian worships the clergy. Define worship. Is it just following? Then say: “follow”.

      1) “Jesus was not a clergy worshiper, he rejected the clergy who raised him. I’m following that example, you are ignoring it.”

      Well, there is no evidence of that. They were not really “clergy”, they were defined as “priests”, first and foremost.

      2) “Jesus the carpenter never showed the slightest interest in church building construction”. Well, if you think the Romans, Jews, Greeks, Egyptians, thought it was OK to worship in the fields… you’re wrong.

      3) “Jesus was a revolutionary”. A messianic revolutionary who got killed and his revolution never happened.

      4) ” Jesus charted his own course”… well, so did Buddha and Muhammad, and Socrates, and Caesar, and…. This tells nothing about anything.

      5) Jesus talked relentlessly about love, a subject rarely discussed on this blog, and rarely displayed by it’s members.

      Jesus also talked relentlessly about salvation, and salvation isn’t all about love.

      “in the hope that something new, something more Christian, might emerge from the ashes.”

      There are no ashes. Only recycling trash dumps. I really hoped that the decayed ashes of Calvinism and Neopentecostalism would fill the history books with unhindered felicity. But they keep on insisting on being alive.

      “6) Jesus healed the sick and served the needy, another subject rarely mentioned here, even though there is tons of good work Catholics could brag about. Like most Catholic blogs, this one shows little to no interest in Catholic Charities.”

      True, but see, this is from a guy who struggled against the redneck Bible-worshiping ignoramuses of the South USA. Seems like he hasn’t shaken the dust off his feet yet. 99% of this blog is just a protracted dispute with USA Protestants. It doesn’t mean he’s wrong because of this, but you’re right, provincial is the word.

  6. Hi Margo, you said…

    “As you say, God is real. But God is NOT man. He may be found in man. He may be found in nature or any part of his creation. But He is NOT any part of his creation. ”

    Ok, we just have an honest disagreement on this point, which is ok with me.

    The apostle John said “God _is_ love”. He didn’t say, “God is the guy who makes love and then stands apart from it.” So you aren’t just debating me, but some important foundations of your own chosen religion.

    Thank you for threatening me with eternal damnation, the classic clergy tactic. Quite entertaining. 🙂

    One of the benefits of seeing that God is everywhere in all times and places (as the Church teaches) is that one is liberated from all this classic Catholic paranoia and fear, existential dread and all of that.

    I do see a need to open myself to an imperfect liberation from the ILLUSION that I am separate from God, for that is the job for any human being. That ILLUSION does cause me suffering sometimes, like everybody else. I’m not above the ILLUSION, nor are any of us.

    But I have exactly zero worry about ever actually being separate from God, because that is literally impossible.

    You worship a God who creates humans, and then tosses most of them in to eternal torment in hell. Yes, most of them, because the vast majority of human beings will never become whatever kind of Catholic you feel is necessary, and your God knew that when he created them. I don’t worship that God obviously.

    I worship a God who never takes a single step back from even a single one of the trillions of creatures he has created on this Earth. I worship a loving God…..

    …and not the psychopathic monster God.

  7. JH: Did Vatican II Change Church Teaching On the Church?

    BB: Yes.

    JH: Chances are, if you’ve done any reading about the Catholic Church’s vision of “the Church,” you’ve probably come across the claim that everything changed at Vatican II. …This movement at Vatican II and beyond, argues Salenson, restored “the adage extra ecclesiam nulla salus, ‘outside the Church there is no salvation,” to “its proper meaning, stepping back from the exclusivist interpretation of the Council of Florence in 1442.”

    BB: The “proper meaning” (and fate) of those outside the church was as clear as the light of day when we look back in antiquity. There seems to be no doubt to any honest inquiry, that Vat-2, right up to modern day, CHANGED the exclusivity of Florence. Read it…

    The Latin of the Council of Florence: “Quoscunque ergo adversa et contraria sentientes damnat, ***reprobat*** et anathematizat et a Christi corpore, quod est ecclesia, alienos esse denuntiat.”

    The English of the C.O.F.: “Therefore it condemns, ***rejects,*** anathematizes and declares to be outside the Body of Christ, which is the Church, whoever holds opposing or contrary views.”

    Can it be any more plain? Those who hold contrary views (e.g. the Muslims, Jews, Protestants), must be rejected.

    But here’s the bombshell: Nostra Aetate #4, declared JUST THE OPPOSITE, using the same word!

    (Latin) Vat-2, Nostra Aetate #4 “…Iudaei tamen neque ut a Deo ***reprobati*** neque ut maledicti exhibeantur…”

    (English) Vat-2, Nostra Aetate #4 “…the Jews should NOT be presented as rejected or cursed by God…”

    Vatican II uses “reprobati,” which is the past participle passive of “reprobo” – the very same verb that the Council of Florence used! This means that Vatican II and the C.O.F. are talking about the exact same thing – they use the exact same verb – and they teach exactly THE OPPOSITE! The C.O.F. defines that all individuals (Jews, etc.) who have a view contrary to faith in Christ or the Trinity, the Church “reprobat” (rejects). Vatican II tells us that the Jews should NOT be considered as having been “reprobati” (as having been rejected), and that Prot churches are a “means of salvation” (CCC 818-19). Vatican II couldn’t contradict the the C.O.F. any more to the letter if they tried.

    JH: So, to conclude, we have to avoid two easy-but-wrong conclusions;

    BB: The only SANE conclusion is that since the conclusions of the C.O.F. are at loggerheads with Vat 2, then Jesus was not leading EITHER ONE!

    Again, the C.O.F…..

    “It firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also JEWS and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart “into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”

    Yet later on in history, the RCC decides to get a face-life, and we read in CCC 841…

    “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.”

    These statements regarding the Muslims also apply exactly and identically to Jews and Prots. The implication made in paragraph 841 is that in addition to the Muslims (which are just the first example) certain others also are saved by their recognition and worship of the true creator and their Abrahamic faith.

    And just when one thinks that their logical absurdity cannot get any worse, we read the following…which nullifies the former! Pass me the smelling salts, I think I’m gonna faint…

    VATICAN CITY, SEP 9, 1998 …

    “Hence, those solutions that propose a salvific action of God beyond the unique mediation of Christ would be contrary to Christian and Catholic faith.”

    [note: Muslims & Jews categorically reject the claims of Jesus Christ, thus proposing a contrary way of salvation. Instead of staying on that solid ground, fully supported by Holy Writ, the RCC builds itself on the sinking sand of ecumenism, wanting to please everyone by using squishy, kiss-poo, syrupy terminology to whitewash history and minimize it’s previous impact.
    Anyone with eyes to see can see right through the glaring contradiction with antiquity, right up to the present day where not 6 months ago, Frank took a trip to have a tea party with the Lutherans, and when he came back, erected a statue of Mr. Luther now to remain forever at the Vatican so passers-by may gawk at it, and if that wasn’t enough, he has commanded a POSTAGE STAMP be produced this year in honor of the man himself.
    I’m hoping they will put a picture of Luther on the stamp with his back towards the camera and him looking over his shoulder, so every Catholic licking that stamp may go on record as kissing his….

    1. Barry…..I break silence with you to point out only one thing…..all of your arguments seem exactly the same.

      Step 1) Take a Catholic Teaching out of context, insanely literally, and without understanding the underlying theology
      Step 2) Take another Catholic Teaching (or passage or Scripture) out of context, insanely literally, and without understanding the underlying theology
      Step 3) Pit them against each other
      Step 4) Reject the Catholic Church (again) and go on an extended rant

      I sincerely hope you don’t read the Holy Scriptures this way.

      1. AF: I break silence with you to point out only one thing…

        BB: Better to keep your mouth shut since you have nothing to offer and nothing to refute. Which makes you, for all practical purposes, useless.
        If you think for one minute I am intimidated by your pointless and unsubstantiated accusations, then I fear you may not be as smart as you look; (that is, if I supposed you even looked smart to begin with).

        1. Barry….let me make this more apparent, as I apparently failed to be clear (I’ll take the blame for that one).

          Your line of argumentation is exactly like many ignorant Atheists around the web, just replacing attacks on the authority of Scripture with attacks on the authority of the Catholic Church. I’m sure you’ve experienced such arguments many, many times. I reject your arguments for the same reason that we both together reject the Atheist’s arguments against Scripture.

          I guess the joke’s on me for whacking a hornet’s nest…

    2. BB,
      The “BULLA UNIONIS COPTORUM AETHIOPUMQUE” specifically deals with some non-trinitarian heretical movements, which are explicitly cited in the very next sentence: “Hence it condemns Sabellius who confuses the persons and completely takes away their real distinction. It condemns the Arians, the Eunomians; the Macedonians who say that only the Father is the true God, but put the Son and the Holy Spirit in the order of creatures. It condemns also any others whatsoever who place grades or inequality in the Trinity”.
      The “Nostra Aetate” bulla, on the other hand, deals with other world religions in general, and the RCC position towards them is summarized as follows: “The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim, Christ “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to himself”.
      Saint Pope John Paul II said it best: “It is true that non-Christians—and this was recalled by Vatican Council II—can “gain” eternal life “under the influence of grace,” if “they seek God with a sincere heart” (Lumen Gentium 16). But in their sincere search for the truth of God they are, in fact, “ordered” to Christ and his Body, the Church (cf. ibid.). Nevertheless, they find themselves in a deficient situation, compared to those who have the fullness of salvific means in the Church. Hence, following the command of the Lord (cf. Matt. 28:19–20) and as a duty of love toward all men, it is understandable that the Church “constantly proclaims, and is obliged to proclaim, Christ who is ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life’ (John 14:6), and in whom men find the fullness of religious life in which God has reconciled all things with himself” (Nostra Aetate 2)”.
      Using a food-related analogy, hopefully easy for you to understand, you are saying that, at a health banquet, since vegetarians consider theirs to be the healthiest eating habits and refuse to accept at their table anyone who eats meat, they are self-contradictory if they accept that other guests, when ordering steaks and hot dogs at other tables, also get some basic nutrients, albeit in a very deficient and unhealthier form.
      Ultimately, while the RCC possesses the fullness of the truth, and other religions are wrong to the extent that they disagree with that fullness, they, too, have sparks of God’s infinite mercy and true essence, which hopefully will guide them to full communion with the only and true Church.

  8. JH: the Roman Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ, and where we can find the fullness of the Gospel and the fullness of the means of salvation.

    BB: On the contrary, the fullness of the gospel is found in the Scriptures, period. There is no such thing as the “fullness of the gospel found in the church”. That is nothing but a meaningless religious soundbite. When a cup is full, you can’t make it more full (!). If the word of God proclaims the means for salvation is found therein, the buck stops there (2 Tim 3:15). The “fullness” card is played at Rome’s casino only to buttress her imagined supremacy over Christendom.

    JH: The Catholic Church has always believed [that] either St. Paul was right or he was wrong to call it the Body of Christ in Ephesians 5.

    BB: Nowhere in the entire Bible does ANYBODY refer to either the supremacy of the RCC, or that the RCC in particular is the body of Christ….not even in the book of ROMANS, where it SHOULD be found if the claim is true. As usual, this thought is stuffed into Paul’s mouth and is anachronistically read back into the Text to make the Bible say something it does not.

    JH: Any ecumenism that requires that Catholics pretend not to believe that we’re the one, true Church is a false unity

    BB: But since ***modern*** Catholicism continues to yelp that those outside the church are still their brothers and sisters in Christ and on their way to heaven, there really is no incentive to become a Catholic. Why in the world should I swim the Tiber to Rome? The things you would describe that we lack, WE REJECT. For a “fuller” RC experience, you would of course refer us to Liguori, who says that, “The Holy Church commands a ***worship*** peculiar to Mary” (p. 82-83 of you know what, with more “Mary worship” in CCC 971).
    This is blatant idolatry and we shall have none of your “fullness”.

    JH: If we can’t trust the Councils prior to Vatican II…

    BB: That’s right, you can’t. Vatican 1 said that the papacy was in place the moment the Matt 16 episode ended. Yet we do not see this played out in history at Nicea, where canon 6 showed that the authority Rome had was equal with all the others. When will Catholics wake up to the facts of life?

    JH: The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it.

    BB: Catholicism has rigged the game in its favor, first by claiming infallibility, and then when there appears to be a contradiction somewhere, it is classified as a more “fuller” explanation. But just as the claim that they possess the “fullness” of the gospel is a sham and hoax, so too are their “fuller” explanations.

    We read:

    “Outside the Church there is no salvation”
    CCC 846… (referring to V-2)….How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    BB: Why didn’t anyone before V-2 think to “reformulate positively” the low-down on “outside the church”?
    Answer? It was the farthest thing from their minds!
    “Positive Reformulators” of V-2 knew the restrictive language from the past is a hard pill to swallow for many, so they must “reformulate it positively” because the ancient way of saying it was so NEGATIVE. The end result of their “reformulation” was…
    CCC 846…. “Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.”

    This is perhaps the single most ridiculous statement that V-2 has invented since the ecumenical movement started in an effort to give herself a makeover. They are telling us what those in antiquity REALLY meant to say, it being a “deeper, developed and more fuller explanation” according to Mr. Heschmeyer.
    CCC 846 is illogical to the extreme because (watch it now!)…. NO SUCH PERSON HAS EVER LIVED, NOR IS LIVING NOW, NOR WILL THEY EVER COME INTO EXISTENCE, that has or ever will announce that
    “I, knowing that the RCC was founded by Christ, do refuse to enter therein”.
    It is an absolute, verifiable falsehood and certainly did not emanate from the mind of Christ since it is so utterly…stupid! Ask yourself the question: Do you know ANYONE in history past or present who has ever confessed to refusing to enter— even though I know Jesus wants me to? No, you don’t. And that is because human beings will do what they want. If they want to join the RCC, they will. If they don’t, they won’t! Simple. But no man is going to say that they KNOW the RCC is the true church and will henceforth drop her like a hot potatoe. This woefully ignorant supposition dreamed up by V-2 is a lame attempt to cover up past impropriaties. They know darn well that the historical record is all too clear about not being saved outside the church, so they have fiendishly invented THEE most illogical escape-hatch by reinterpreting the past popes and councils—telling us, that what they actually meant was only if someone “knowingly” rejects the RCC. No! This is an insult to the intelligence for those who think the matter through.

    1. Do you know ANYONE in history past or present who has ever confessed to refusing to enter—

      Yep. Tons.

      But no man is going to say that they KNOW the RCC is the true church and will henceforth drop her like a hot potatoe.

      People do this all the time, and I’ve known some. There’s usually some sin they prefer.

      1. AF: [i know tons of people that say they know the RCC is the church Christ established, but they simply refuse to enter in]

        BB: You sir, are a liar, and know not one. For if such a person existed, we should find some evidence of it in history, or certainly, in this modern digital age, the personal testimony of someone…ANYONE… to whom this would apply.
        As it is, it has obviously hit you like a ton of bricks that the logic of RC officials on this is abysmal, and was only concocted to minimize the impact of their ancestors who issued passports to hell to all non-compliers world-wide who would not have anything to do with Rome. The gruesome murders of those countless innocent doves who would rather die than bow their knee to the Pope, stand as a monument to the fact that the words we read about being “outside the church” MEANT THEY CONSIDERED YOU WERE LOST, period. No exceptions to the rule and definitely no indication of “reformulating their opinion in a more positive, happy-go-lucky manner” as V-2 laughingly wants gullible people like you to believe. The executioners could not wait to see Jesus send them to hell by living out their natural lives, so they sped things up by an invention of tortuous ways to get the ball rolling sooner….little realizing that THEY will be the ones cast out of his presence on that final day, as will anyone else who believes the “grace-produced-works-salvation” that Rome offers (CCC 16, 1821, 2016, 2068).

        1. You sir, are a liar…..

          If that’s what you prefer to think.

          As it is, it has obviously hit you like a ton of bricks that the logic of RC officials on this is abysmal…

          Uhhh…nope. Didn’t really think that at all.

    2. Barry,

      You stated: “the fullness of the gospel is found in the Scriptures, period.” Where did you find such a statement? I am aware that the inspired Scriptures are useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. Are you using 2 Timothy 3:15-17 to support your statement that the fulness of the [G]ospel is found in the Scriptures? Just curious.




      1. Rock, he apparently believes there are words in the Bible which really aren’t there. So he apparently believes a human tradition of bible interpretation is infallible, after all.

        1. K.O.,

          So Barry would be his own Pope and Magisterium and Tradition? I mean he talks like Church of Barry and issues judgments and decrees and bulls having his Barry-approved interpretations of Scripture. While I am sure Barry thinks its nice and rewarding and edifying to be an active member in the Church of Barry, it is not some place I would ever want to be. And I am quite sure the Early Church Fathers would have excommunicated Barry, if Barry ever would have became a Christian.


          1. It all gets down to authority, Rock, as you said. He will never reply to your simple question. Like the “Nicea Canon 6” argument, which proves nothing. Likewise with Ephesians 5. None of which prove or disprove Catholic supremacy.

            It’s simple: “I, Barry, interpret the Bible differently from you. I, Barry, am right by definition, and shout it out, scream, shriek, and type away in Catholic blogs, because when my Bible interpretation is confronted to yours, it’s just my exegesis that counts. Therefore you should follow me. Catholics will go to hell because they’re idolaters and they’re are idolaters because of my interpretation, and my interpretation is right because I say so. By the way, all other Protestants should follow me, too, or else…”

            When Barry sees it’s just about HIS faith, and that HIS faith cannot be proven, neither sociologically, historically, scientifically or logically, he’ll stop. But maybe that expecting too much. He just likes to type as if it’s going to change the world. I’d rather keep worshiping trees, elves, and Norse gods, which are more real than his dead book and dead doctrine.

          2. Hey K.O…

            While I am a committed Catholic, I do find those Norse gods have some interesting appeal. I really like the idea, you go to Valhalla if you die with a sword in your hand. Decent swords being in some short supply these days, would a nice Randall knife suffice? How about a Colt Single Action .45?

            Certainly not a Glock…..eww-wwww…..you go to hell…..

  9. Sorry, this is totally off topic, don’t know where else to put it.

    Does anyone else find blog software quite limited for extended conversations? Any interest in forum software? If Joe succeeds in building his audience, it’s going to become impossible to have long conversations here. It’s almost impossible already. Would it be wise to plan ahead?

    I’m not referring to anything other than a shift from blog to forum software. Still Joe’s site, Joe is still the editor with the final say on everything etc.

    1. Joe building a blog forum software is similar to Carpenter Jesus wanting to build a church.

      Why on earth would he do that? Carpenters don’t build things, do they?

      1. No idea what you’re trying to say really, but my point is, sooner or later this blog will not be able to accommodate the conversations it is inspiring. A technical limitation of all blog software.

        Joe is getting too popular, it’s all his fault! 🙂

    2. As example, I just got a new comment notification email. Now I have to scroll through the entire page to find the comment. What happens when there are 10 tens as many people commenting?

  10. Jimmy Akins on the nature and definition of ‘anathema’:

    “A number of errors are nearly ubiquitous in anti-Catholic writings:

    1. An anathema sentenced a person to hell. This is not the case. Sentencing someone to hell is a power that is God’s alone, and the Church cannot exercise it.

    2. An anathema was a sure sign that a person would go to hell. Again, not true. Anathemas were only warranted by very grave sins, but there was no reason why the offender could not repent, and those who repent aren’t damned.

    3. An anathema was a sure sign that a person was not in a state of grace. This is not true for two reasons: (a) The person may have repented since the time the anathema was issued, and (b) the person may not have been in a state of mortal sin at the time the anathema was issued.

    Anathemas—like penalties imposed under civil law—rest on the judgment of the court, which must make its decision based on the evidence presented. It cannot directly examine the conscience of the individual in question. Thus, while anathemas were imposed on account of gravely sinful behavior, this was not a guarantee that it was mortally sinful. For a grave sin to become mortal, it must be performed with the requisite knowledge and consent, and while an offender might have given every appearance of these conditions, they might not be there in reality—e.g., through a hidden cognitive or volitional impediment.

    4. Anathemas were meant to harm the offender. No. Anathemas were simply a major excommunication performed with a special papal ceremony, and, like all excommunications, their intent was medicinal, not punitive. The goal was to protect the Christian community from the spread of evil doctrines or behaviors and to prompt the individual to recognize the nature of his actions. While being deprived of the fellowship of the Church is not pleasant, this does not change the fact that the fundamental orientation of excommunications and anathemas is medicinal, not punitive.

    5. Anathemas took effect automatically. While the Church does have penalties that take effect automatically (latae sententiae), the penalty of anathema was not one of them.

    This should be obvious from the fact that a special pontifical ceremony had to be performed as part of the anathema. Obviously, the mere fact that someone utters a heresy in some part of the world does not cause the pope to suddenly stop what he is doing and perform a specific ritual concerning this person.

    The anathemas of Trent and other councils were like most penalties of civil law, which only take effect through the judicial process. If the civil law prescribes imprisonment for a particular offense, those who commit it do not suddenly appear in jail. Likewise, when ecclesiastical law prescribed an anathema for a particular offense, those who committed it had to wait until the judicial process was complete before the anathema took effect.

    6. Anathemas applied to all Protestants. The absurdity of this charge is obvious from the fact that anathemas did not take effect automatically. The limited number of hours in the day by itself would guarantee that only a handful of Protestants ever could have been anathematized. In practice the penalty tended to be applied only to notorious Catholic offenders who made a pretense of staying within the Catholic community.

    7. Anathemas are still in place today. This is the single most common falsehood one encounters regarding anathemas in the writings of anti-Catholics. They aren’t in place today. The penalty was employed so infrequently over the course of history that it is doubtful that anyone under an anathema was alive when the new Code of Canon Law came out in 1983, when even the penalty itself was abolished.

    8. The Church cannot retract its anathemas. Anti-Catholics love to repeat this falsehood for rhetorical flourish. But again, it isn’t true. The Church is free to abolish any penalty of ecclesiastical law it wants to, and it did abolish this one.

    Because the penalty has been abolished, a word should be said about the status of the conciliar canons that employed this penalty. In addition to prescribing the imposition of a juridical penalty, the phrase anathema sit (“let him be anathema”) also came to be one of the phrases that the Church traditionally has used to issue doctrinal definitions.

    Catholic scholars have long recognized that when an ecumenical council applies this phrase to a doctrinal matter, then the matter is settled infallibly. (If a council applied the phrase to a disciplinary matter, then the matter would not be settled infallibly, since only matters of doctrine, not discipline, are subject to doctrinal definition.)

    Thus, when Trent and other ecumenical councils employed anathema sit in regard to doctrinal matters, not only was a judicial penalty prescribed but a doctrinal definition was also made. Today, the judicial penalty may be gone, but the doctrinal definition remains. Everything that was infallibly decided by these councils is still infallibly settled.

    This has consequences under current canon law. Those things that are both divinely revealed by God and proposed as such by the Church cannot be obdurately denied or doubted without the offense of heresy (CIC [1983] 751). Heresy does carry a penalty of automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication (can. 1041, 2º), though this does not apply to those who have never been members of the Catholic Church (can. 11), and even then there is a significant list of exceptions (can. 1323).

    Unfortunately, there is little likelihood that passionate anti-Catholics such as Gendron, White, and numerous others will get the facts straight, openly admit their error, and actively work to counteract the damage they have done by spreading so much misinformation on this subject. But one day it will all get straightened out—by God.”


    For more, see: https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/anathema

        1. I thought the appeal did a great job of summarizing the fate of the Church as a whole.

          Catholic Answers is famous across the net for how relentlessly it squashes any inconvenient conversation. Anybody who can breathe life in to the enterprise or say anything remotely new is almost immediately banned. This is essentially what is killing the Church from the inside, any forces of capable of generating life sustaining rejuvenation are rejected or ejected, and so now the congregation is populated mostly by old ladies and other tired souls, who will all soon be gone.

          And so Catholic Answers finds itself on it’s knees, begging for money, because not enough people support it to keep it’s operations alive. The future of the Catholic Church if folks like you have their way.

          1. Phil,
            “I thought the appeal did a great job of summarizing the fate of the Church as a whole” = you thought wrong. For the Church’s fate, see Matthew 16:18.
            “is almost immediately banned” = can you provide any proof of it?
            “This is essentially what is killing the Church from the inside, any forces of capable of generating life sustaining rejuvenation are rejected or ejected, and so now the congregation is populated mostly by old ladies and other tired souls, who will all soon be gone” = please check the numbers of the various World Youth Days from 1984.

          2. Phil,

            The Church will never be killed from the inside. Jesus lives within it.

            You look at the Church, and you see, as you say, “forces of [sic] capable of generating life sustaining rejuvenation are rejected or ejected,…”

            Catholics look at the Church and see Jesus–alive, loving, shining the light of truth as brightly as ever.

            Woe to those who refuse, reject, choose to eject or deny the presence of God within the Church.

          3. Hey Phil, pull your nose out of the EST seminar video and the vape, and take l look at this, which I got from Formed (I assume you know what that is):


            Thank you!

            Two weeks ago, we asked for your help raising money to purchase our building and your response has been overwhelming!

            Thanks to you, we are moving forward to build a home for the New Evangelization.

    1. AWL: Sentencing someone to hell is a power that is God’s alone, and the Church cannot exercise it.

      BB: Baloney.
      (And salami, and pastrami).
      It has already been established on this very thread that V-2 said that anyone who “knows” the RCC was established by Christ, but refused to enter in, COULD NOT BE SAVED. That means, you go to hell.
      You are refuted.

      It has also been established on this very thread (at 8:00) that Florence said “you cannot be saved unless…”
      You are refuted.

      Moreover, “This is the teaching of the Catholic truth from which no one can depart without loss of faith and salvation.” THAT MEANS, you go to hell per, AD APOSTOLORUM PRINCIPIS, (scroll to #46 and see footnote 17).


      You are refuted.

      Finally, you omitted to say that when the Pope issues an anathema, he uses a formula dreamed up in the eighth century and still in effect, which ends with these words: “Wherefore in the name of God…in virtue of the power given us of binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive (Name) of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and anathematized and
      ***we judge him condemned to eternal fire with Satan and his angels and all the reprobate***
      so long as he will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church; we deliver him to Satan to mortify his body, that his soul may be saved on the day of judgment.”

      Consequently, an anathema is defined by your church as judging the malefactor as HELLBOUND unless he wakes up and smells the coffee.

      You are refuted.

      AWL: [Protestants think that] an anathema was a sure sign that a person would go to hell. Again, not true.

      BB: It IZZZZ TRUE, by definition, unless dissenters change their mind. If not, they clearly teach, right out of their own mouth, that hell awaits. Words could not be more clear. You cannot escape it, and are therefore,

      1. Barry B.,

        The document you cite, point 46. “We teach, . . . We declare that the Roman Church by the Providence of God holds the primacy of ordinary power over all others, and that this power of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate. Toward it, the pastors and the faithful of whatever rite and dignity, both individually and collectively, are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, not only in matters which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church spread throughout the whole world, in such a way that once the unity of communion and the profession of the same Faith has been preserved with the Roman Pontiff, there is one flock of the Church of Christ under one supreme shepherd. This is the teaching of the Catholic truth from which no one can depart without loss of faith and salvation.”[17]

        The paragraph you cite does not state, as you above state: “… that anyone who “knows” the RCC was established by Christ, but refused to enter in, COULD NOT BE SAVED. That means, you go to hell.”

        The last sentence of the above citation particularly states that one DEPARTS from the teaching of Catholic faith. This implies that one first accepts teaching but then departs from it. Here is the ‘anathema’ or mortal sin.

        As a Catholic, one may commit ‘mortal’ sin. The definition of mortal sin includes the full knowledge and full choice of its seriousness. That choice then is a departure from Church teaching. Mortal sin is defined as loss of God’s friendship and grace. Loss of these implies loss of heavenly beatitude; that has been knowingly, freely, intentionally, fully consented to and chosen nevertheless. It is mortal sin since it is a self-inflicted mortal separation from God in the spiritual life.

        Al is correct. God himself (with the individual’s full consent) is ultimate judge. Do you seriously believe that the RCC Church does not grant God that ultimate power? If so, your belief in Church teaching is seriously deficient, erroneous and/or intentionally irrational.

        1. M: The paragraph you cite does not state, as you above say “… that anyone who “knows” the RCC was established by Christ, but refused to enter in, COULD NOT BE SAVED. That means, you go to hell.”

          B: May I ask what the words, “could not be saved” mean to you? They are as clear as a burning candle.
          Now in the first place, at point 46, I was quoting V-1 via the encyclical. According to you, a distinction is being made, assuming that those who “depart” from the RCC, must refer to those who have already been IN IT, and thus, all “departees”, get the ax. In the second place, I mentioned V-2, where yet another distinction is made, telling us of those OUTSIDE the RCC, who, should they come to the realization that the Pope is king of the world (but nevertheless refuse to submit) they…”COULD NOT be saved” either.

          To clarify the issue, a consistent Catholic theology can’t escape Boniface VIII, who, centuries earlier, said that it was “altogether necessary for salvation that EVERY HUMAN CREATURE be subject to the Roman Pontiff” and that outside the RCC, “there is no salvation or remission of sins”…with no qualifying statement to say that Divine Providence will be the ultimate judge. Lest you forget, this man claims to be speaking FOR God! Immediately, the distinction you wish to bring in, supposing that V-1 was only placing a dunce cap on those who depart OUT of the RCC, is frought with difficulties. I do not believe the word “depart” is able to carry the weight you wish to put upon it, and that when they say “depart” (which in another translation, reads “deviate”), THEY MEAN ANYONE, in ORRRRR outside the church, simply because they say “NO ONE” may deviate from the RCC without salvation being forfeited. They do not give the boot to only those who have “already known the truth”, much less do they refer to someone who DOES know the truth and does not act on it per V-2. Instead, their universal condemnation to those outside the church must be interpreted to mean “anyone on earth” who deviates from what the RCC teaches, is lost, in unison with Boniface VIII.

          The word “deviate” is probably the better word to use, as it’s more in sync with RC teaching on “outside the church there is no salvation”. V-1 is saying that anyone “deviating” from RC protocol goes to hell because… notice their decree on papal infallibility:
          “The first condition of salvation is to keep the rule of the ***true faith***”.
          The “true faith” clause means “everyone on earth” without exception, is obligated to adhere to RC dicta to get to heaven. Consequently, when they tell us that, “This is the teaching of ***Catholic truth***, from which no one can deviate without loss of faith and salvation”, they must mean EVERYONE, not just those who decide to leave.

          To challenge me, you would first have to explain away the words of Boniface VIII, but this you cannot do, and so my objection remains. Obviously, if V-2 couldn’t explain them away, neither can you.
          At the end of the day, it’s obvious to anyone with a thinking brain, V-2 was trying to “reformulate positively” the very NEGATIVE statements like Boniface, that exist, and which they no doubt wish were never made to begin with. Not having the option to sweep them under the rug, they have resorted to whitewash history and downplay “Bonifice bombshells” by “reformulating positively” what he so POSITIVELY affirmed to the contrary! It is nothing less than DECEITFUL, and “we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices” (2 Cor 2:11).

          M: Do you seriously believe that the RCC Church does not grant God that ultimate power?

          B: We are not talking about what the RCC thinks God can do when all is said and done. We are addressing what the magisterium has gone on RECORD as saying speaking in his name. AWL said the church cannot exercise their right to send someone to hell, which is categorically false, as witnessed by Boniface, V-1, V-2, as well as those Roman executioners who did not think for a minute, after lighting the match, that their victims were on their way to heaven on a direct line.

          1. BB,
            “after lighting the match” = historically incorrect. The “match” was invented only in 1805 (Wikipedia). Furthermore, if you would like to have an honest discussion about religious intolerance, please consider that “There was little political liberty in Geneva under Calvin’s regime, and still less of religious liberty” (B. Georgia Harkness), and that “Calvin was as thorough as any pope in rejecting individualism of belief; this greatest legislator of Protestantism completely repudiated that principle of private judgment with which the new religion had begun. He had seen the fragmentation of the Reformation into a hundred sects, and foresaw more; in Geneva he would have none of them.” (A. Will Durant). Please take care of the log in your eye, before removing the speck from your neighbor’s.

          2. I heered tell a feller named Michael Servetus made a fine pyre to light the pious Parster Calvoon’s writing-desk as he scratched out more crabbed tomes on how God hates everyone but His elect…..

            And who is this hyar Will Durant feller anyway? Is he sayyyved?

          3. Hey Flounder!

            I do believe we addressed – and you were eviscerated on – the subject of Boniface about six topics ago. About the same for all your other recycled regurgitations.

            Parster Jimmy White running out of cliff note material?

            Have you ever thought about doing some of your own original research? No change in the level of futility, but it might help your self-esteem.

        2. Margo,
          Very nice rebuttal. Thank you for the clarity and orthodoxy of your thoughts. The only change I would make is in the last paragraph, where you say: “Do you seriously believe that the RCC Church does not grant God that ultimate power?”. The RCC cannot “grant” anything to God; a better phrasing would’ve been, “Do you seriously believe that the RCC Church does not recognize that God has that ultimate power?”.
          Other than that, I really like the very last sentence. It paints a very clear portrait of your interlocutor.

      2. BB,
        “BB: Baloney. (And salami, and pastrami). It has already been established on this very thread that V-2 said that anyone who “knows” the RCC was established by Christ, but refused to enter in, COULD NOT BE SAVED. That means, you go to hell. = while there’s no judging for your poor food taste (de gustibus non disputandum est), the rest of your post is incorrect. The RCC has always been very attentive on declaring that she “…holds the primacy of ordinary power” (from the same “AD APOSTOLORUM PRINCIPIS” encyclical you quote). Ordinary power means that under normal circumstances, the “ordinary way” to Jesus is through the Catholic Church and Her teachings. This doesn’t mean that Jesus is bound by “ordinary means”, should He decide to save someone who has strayed from the true faith. You can think of Jesus as the bouncer for a very exclusive club (“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”). Ordinarily, to enter the club you should be in the list, but Jesus has the ultimate authority to admit whoever He wants. And, like the laborers in His vineyard, we would not have any right to “…grumbled against the landowner”. Isn’t Jesus “allowed to do what [He] chooses with what belongs to [Him]?”.
        To the usual objection, “So, I can roll the dice and hope that Jesus will still admit me”, I answer with Joshua: “but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”. Just to be safe.

      3. “..Baloney.
        (And salami, and pastrami)….”

        Y’know, you just can’t get good deli outside of New York.

        The Flounder is pretty plentiful, though, in Parstard Jimmuh’s faux-koi pond.

  11. What is amazing in all of this conversation is how much God Himself, through Jesus Christ, trusts in weak human beings in almost all things theological. For example, Jesus told His disciples: “whose sins you forgive will be forgiven, whose sins you retain will be retained”. WHAT confidence Jesus had in these fishermen, these whom He Himself often called: ‘”O ye men of little faith!”

    And, we see that Phil also has little, or no, faith in humans, much less Church filled with sinful humans, concerning things theological. And, Barry likewise. He can’t trust a Church of sinners to gather together in an ecumenical council, and much less have canons and regulations formed in that council authoritatively enforced throughout the world. “They certainly made a mistake somewhere” seems to be his attitude. Or, he might comment something like: “Only the Bible is trustworthy! Not things such as worldwide Church Councils filled with obviously sinful, dung besmirched, men! Whooo on earth would ever thrust THEM?!”

    But, the miracle is, that Jesus DID just that: He trusted greatly in sinful men, and still DOES trust those dung besmirched men today, and probably because He knows that the weaker they are, the more He helps them… just as He did with St. Peter on so many occasions. So, the reason the Catholic Church can make authoritative judgements and declarations regarding all things Christian, is because Jesus said to them from the beginning: “…behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world”. And, also:

    ” I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: but you shall know him; because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you. Yet a little while: and the world seeth me no more. But you see me: because I live, and you shall live. In that day you shall know, that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.”

    So, this is what keeps the Catholic Church going: Jesus Christ Himself working in it, and the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, also!

    Protestants, though, are skeptical of such things! And former Catholics like Phil can trust no clergy, but must rely only on his own thoughts and experiences….even though Jesus Christ tells us plainly that He and the Paraclete is there to help and assist us in all things.

    So, it is God Himself who trusts in weak and sinful men, and again, because He is there helping them with His omnipresent care and providence. And this is why we can whole heartedly trust in the Catholic Church, because it is filled with ‘Emmanuel”… meaning: “God is with us”.

    Long Live the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by the most loving Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, now and forever!

  12. Honking Foghorn said, “And, we see that Phil also has little, or no, faith in humans, much less Church filled with sinful humans, concerning things theological. ”

    This continues a longstanding pattern of you deliberately mis-representing my ideas so that you can argue against assertions of your own invention. The fancy label for that process of lying is “intellectual dishonesty”.

    1. So then, concerningTHEOLOGY, do you believe in your other fellow humans when they teach on it… or in any congregations of humans who worship in Churches? And if you do believe them, is it a lot of faith in them, a little faith….or no faith. From what I’ver read of you, and your religious theories, is that you only believe in your own experiences, without trusting in anyone else…especially ‘clergy’ and what you call ‘clergy worshippers’.

      Now, indeed, you might believe in some people, somewhere, that you haven’t mentioned yet..such as some guru in India, or Tibet, or maybe the hills of Jamaica, or possibly some place in Thailand or China. That’s to say, your philosophy seems more orientated towards Eastern religion, than western. Or, maybe you’ve run across some American Indian shaman, or the like, that you believe in. However, from what I’ve read, you’ve never stated such. It seems that only you are preaching your own doctrine of ‘personal experience of reality’. And your Bible seems to be only 3 words long, which is probably a record breaker in conciseness: “God is Love”.

      And from my recollection, you never mentioned one other person who believed the same as you do, nor have you given any books or blog sites of others having your same theological perspective. This is why it’s easy to say you have “little” or “no” faith in the theological details of others’ beliefs…because you don’t think that those theological details are even necessary as they are really only ‘illusions’.

      On the contrary, Catholics have tremendous faith in our fellow Catholics. We consider our fellow brothers and sisters to be a part of what Jesus termed as the ‘Kingdom of God’, and also as His ‘mystical body’. So, we actually understand each other very well, as long as they are knowledgeable and practicing Catholics. And, even only knowing some of these fellow brothers/sisters for just one minute, it can be pretty much understood how faithful they are. Just asking if they frequently attend ‘Eucharistic adoration’, or if they pray the Rosary everyday, or if they attend daily Mass… can reveal a friend in less than a minute. And, I actually needed very little time dating my wife before our marriage. All I needed was to see Jesus in her authentic Catholic Faith to trust her. And that she prayed the Rosary and the Divine Office daily was a pretty good indication on which to base my trust. So, this is another benefit of being a faithful Catholic: The joy of sharing that ‘unity of faith’ with others here in this world…and even on this blog site!

      So, I wasn’t lying Phil…but just sharing my analysis of your faith and theological perspective as you have presented it on this site.

  13. As usually, a good article, followed by a pile of uncharitable, unhelpful comments. 🙁

    So, Father, here is my question (and I would appreciate it if random commentors would NOT chime in): My father was raised in the Catholic Church, but taught a completely works-based salvation – basically, never heard that salvation is a gift of grace. He heard that for the first time from Protestants in college in the 70s. He and my mother left their churches (she was raised Lutheran) and I was brought up in the evangelical Christian community.

    My father was the most godly man I know. He devoted his entire life to obeying God’s leading wherever it took him. For the last three years, it took him away from us, to Africa, to serve as a missionary with a medical mission. I know that was incredibly difficult for him, but he believed it was where God wanted him, so he went.

    He died in July.

    So my question is, did he die inside the Church, or out of it? I find this whole discussion very confusing.

      1. We’re actually pretty tame compared to the apologetics that happened during Luther’s time. Just Google “Luther’s woodcut cartoons” to get an idea.

        In general, it takes a bit of ‘thick skin’ to not get offended on an apologetics site. So, a little agitation is only to be expected. But, hopefully everyone maintains charity,and good will, even while criticizing or speaking harshly of another’s theological opinions.

        1. AWL: We’re actually pretty tame compared to the apologetics that happened during Luther’s time.

          BB: Zeroing in on Luther, to the exclusion of the apologetic tactics of the Council of Trent, is dishonest. I trust you recall that they referred to those who disagreed with them as, “satanic, godless, contentious and evil”.

          AWL: In general, it takes a bit of ‘thick skin’ to not get offended

          BB: I trust you also recall that RC foot soldiers were offended at the thick skin of the martyrs, which was resilient against their captor’s demands to bow their knee to a piece of bread. Thick as it was though, their skin turned to ashes when those whom they offended, burnt them at the stake.

    1. E: a good article, followed by a pile of uncharitable, unhelpful comments. 🙁

      B: Jesus didn’t walk around with a limp wrist and a feather duster my dear, so I suggest you read your Bible as it pertains to dealing with false doctrine. Try Eph 5:11, 2 Tim 4:2, Romans 17:17-18 and Rev 2:2 for starters.

      E: So, Father, here is my question

      B: Who in the world are you talking to?

      E: (and I would appreciate it if random commentors would NOT chime in)

      B: You’re asking a question to someone called “father”, and now you don’t want an answer from anyone.
      Are you on medication?

      E: I find this whole discussion very confusing.

      B: Perhaps you should lower your dosage for clarity of mind’s sake before you comment.

      1. “B: Jesus didn’t walk around with a limp wrist and a feather duster…:”

        That’s an image of which you seem particularly fond, Flounder. Projecting?

        FYI, Pastors Jimmy White and Ted Haggard both say you look pretty good in that French chambermaid’s outfit. PTL….

      2. That comment sure seems to be an addition to the ‘uncharitable pile’. Did Jesus ever talk to common folk, Like Elizabeth (..not Leaders,Pharisees/politicians/kings), in a similar, uncharitable, way?

      3. Excuse me, I just shared that I am mourning my father, who recently died, and asking a question of the priest whose blog this is (traditionally referred to as “Father” by every Catholic in existence) and THIS is how you think it is appropriate to respond?! What on earth is wrong with you?! I don’t recall Jesus ever responding to someone in pain and asking sincere questions with this degree of nastiness, but thanks for assuming all those horrible things about me. That really helps me deal with the pain of losing my dad.

        1. Hi Elizabeth,

          I can fairly assuredly speak for Awlms, AK and myself. We hope that you haven’t taken offense at us since we intended none. I am very sorry to learn that you father has recently passed. It is very difficult to lose a parent, especially when you are wondering and worrying about his salvation. My mother passed away a few years ago at this time of year, and I often find myself a bit sad and anxious when the anniversary of her death in October rolls around.

          We all pray for Barry to adopt some semblance of civility on this site. This does not excuse his behavior to you, and I here ask him to apologize for his harshness and derogation. Here I also now apologize if my comments, Awlms’, or AK’s have hurt you.

          Our blog host, Joe Heschmeyer, is not yet ordained, but I believe he hopes to be ordained next year. I am not exactly certain, but I believe it is true. He does not yet deserve the title of “Father.” I know that his studies sometimes keep him very busy so he may not keep up with reading all our blog entries; I hope you won’t be disappointed if he does not reply.

          In the event that Joe does not see your post or is otherwise unable to answer your question, perhaps you may call a Catholic parish near your home? You could probably make an appointment to talk to a priest or direct your questions otherwise to him. Of course God will accept all your prayers on behalf of your father’s salvation. Since God’s time is not our time, He could certainly apply your prayer to a time past, present, or future.

          Awlms always has a kindness in his tone and a willingness to share his deep knowledge. I trust that his reply may offer you some hope.

          May the peace of the Lord bless you and your loved ones, Elizabeth.

        2. I’m sorry for your loss as well, and for any confusion and heartache that any of my comments may have caused.

        3. Elizabeth:

          Please accept as well, both my condolences for the loss of your father, and any pain these coarse exchanges might’ve caused you.

          I understand family loss, having buried a brother, a mother, and a daughter in the past 10 years.

          There’s a lesson here and I will try not to miss it.

      4. Barry…she specifically asked that commenters not chime in. It should have been obvious to you that she was asking for a response from Joe (who she assumed was already ordained a priest). I have no idea what kind of reformed church you go to…but every reformed individual I have ever known, no matter how obnoxious, would have known better than to have behaved this way to a hurting soul.

        I seriously recommend that you spend some time on your knees before God.

    2. Hi Elizabeth,

      If your father truly loved Jesus and thought that he was doing the will of God, he was following his conscience and the only truth that he knew. Clearly, the Catholics in his youth, including pastors, are responsible in some way for not personally teaching him about Christ in a sufficient way for him to realize the truth of the Catholic faith. So, I would blame the shepherds who are suppose to be guiding the sheep in a careful way. Also, your father probablygrew up at a time when the internet was not a means of acquiring facts on Church History so as to disprove many of the Protestant arguments. So, a person can be easily fooled by them, even as so many regular Christians change to become Jehovah’s witnesses and Mormons. Almost everything has to do with access to good Catholic information, like what is found in Joe’s posts.

      Jesus said on the cross regarding the Roman soldiers: “Forgive them Father because they know not what they are doing”, and this can be some consolation. He also said “those who love much have been forgiven much”. Moreover, we have this account regarding the Christians who didn’t follow the apostles: ” John answered him, saying: Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, who followeth not us, and we forbade him. But Jesus said: Do not forbid him. For there is no man that doth a miracle in my name, and can soon speak ill of me. For he that is not against you, is for you. ”

      Personally, I put a lot of blame on the knowledgeable Catholics for the deficiencies of the flock. And this is because “the harvest is great but the laborers are few”. And so, anyone out there who wants to judge who is in Heaven and who is not, should just forget about it and go and help join in the harvest. There are a lot of things a person can do to contribute, just like Joe is doing.
      So, it’s better to focus on spreading the Gospel, and teaching people to KEEP THE WORD that Christ taught, than to focus on whose going to be saved or not. For by being a judge and not joining in Christ’s labors and efforts to spread the Gospel, you might actually be contributing to a scanty harvest.

      Just to practice what I preach, last Sunday my wife and I gave out the Life of St. Francis in 3 parts (about 1 hour of reading), to about 550 people in our parish at 3 Masses. We ran out, or would have done the other 2 Masses that day, and who we will go back to get those later. So, this is the type of thing others can do, even though it is little. If enough regular Catholics try to spread good reading material to their fellow believers, their knowledge of Christ will undoubtably grow stronger. And it might take a long time and a lot of labor, and few results…but again, if everyone who has true love for Jesus does the same…there will be many harvesters, even thought each one does what he can. And so, the love and knowledge of Jesus Christ will be spread much farther than it would otherwise.

      Anyway, I pray for my father every day, for all the great things he did for me while growing up. He had his deficiencies, but he also had his virtues. And he made sure we all went to Mass on Sundays without fail, even though he became an alcoholic and not even realizing it. But, again, I don’t want to judge him, just pray that God has mercy for all the good he had done for me during my entire life. And he always enjoyed when I talked about Jesus with him, as best I could, and in a kind way, even though he didn’t understand it much in depth.

      So, I leave the judgement to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who said “Forgive them Father”…and continue to pray for him.

  14. FWIW…and for justice’s sake, my bedridden father lived the last 7+ years of his life alcohol free. Mass was also said in the house for him one time by a priest who was his friend for many years, and my mother brought him Holy Communion usually a couple, or more, times per week. Though his mind was largely handicapped..ie, something like Alzheimer’s.

  15. Why is it wrong to conclude, ” that only those who are visibly Roman Catholic are saved / in the Church”? What if we take out the word “visibly.” so as to include the BOD, and BOB. Otherwise why would it matter to be in a Protestant denomination?

  16. It also begs the question Why? do we need this distinction between “is” and “subsists in?” Your article proves that the effect of using the term “subsists in” didn’t deepen anyone’s understanding of the Church, but rather has had the opposite effect on the faithful and clergy.

  17. Wow! Is any of this really relevant to anyone? Spending all this time on “subsisting” or not “subsisting.” This is “how many angels are dancing on the head of a needle?” kind of stuff. If this much time were spent on making the Word more meaningful in the lives of people it would be time better spent. But, I guess everyone is entitled to a pastime, so enjoy. Eventually, it will even bore you.

    1. “Look at that lazy SOB over there. He’s been sitting there for the past 3 hours, doing absolutely nothing.”

      “How do you know?”

      “I’ve been sitting here watching him.”

      Sound familiar? With an extra dash of pomposity?

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