Well in the first place, I was blessed with a number of advantages that not everyone has. I was born in a family that was already Christian, I don't mean truly so but in the sense that they already had a high regard for sacred scripture and taught us likewise, I also always had a critical thinking brain that tended to question things when they didn't make sense. So I'm not sure you could analogize my situation to say the situation of a virtuous Mayan living in 200 AD.
Well, we need to discuss protestants or ignorant indians, but not both. They are not the same. This thread is about protestants, and your situation is analogous to MANY of them, as my chapel is filled with protestant converts.
Now sure, I'm not disputing that God could if he wanted send an angel to that person in order to convert them to the faith. But it didn't take anything like that to get me to become Catholic. I could perhaps argue that I got some signs in my own life but nothing that was so clear that I could not possibly have imagined it. Definitely no overt angelic miracles.
Right, i'm saying that most people convert like you did. Slowly, step by step, following their inner conscience, following the Holy Ghost's inspirations and realizations that x or y doesn't make sense and that the Truth must be somewhere else. Again, most everyone i've ever talked to that has converted to Catholicism does not do so because of a miracle.
I'm not talking about native indians or muslims living in anti-catholic nations. These 2 types of peoples convert through miracles (i.e. St Juan Diego in Mexico in the 1500s and the many muslims in present times in the Middle East) because their situation is not politically or religiously calm, so God works wonders to save them (if they want to be saved).
Now if you want to believe that every single person who has perfect condition and goodwill will be given some type of angelic miracle or some other miraculous confirmation of the faith before they die I guess we're kind of swiveling over something small because obviously I believe that everyone who is in heaven has the true faith.
Sometimes God works miracles, most of the time He doesn't. The point is, every single person who has ever lived will be given the graces necessary to be saved. If they don't cooperate on the natural level (i.e. 10 commandments) then God does not cast pearls before swine and give them religious truths (which they obviously will reject, having rejected basic morality). But those who are *trying* to follow morality (i.e. this is what it means to be "good willed"), then God will INFALLIBLY lead them to the Truths of the Faith. Now...they may reject such Truths or they may resist the Church, but we cannot say that God did not give them the opportunity.
So if we're really just squabbling over whether every single person is consciously aware before they die or if some people become consciously aware right after they die I'm not sure how worthwhile that argument is. I don't see how it would make God less loving one way or the other, whether he sent an angel to tell them right before they died, or whether they died and appeared at the judgment seat and were like yeah this is Jesus this is what I always wanted and they know the truth at that point. What I think wouldn't be loving of course is for them to be abandoned to damnation if they would have or could have been saved.
No, it does not have to be that explicit of a decision. Rejecting the Church comes in many forms and many degrees. Most people don't even put in the effort to learn about the Catholic Faith truly teaches, even if they are prompted by their conscience to investigate, because their current "religion" makes no sense to them. Thus, they are damned because of spiritual laziness.
Much like a teenager who knows that x, y, or z is a sin but still do it. It is sufficient to know that something is wrong, even if you don't understand why. Understanding only comes after accepting God's rules first. Faith comes before Wisdom.
I think for me it's less that I care about the specific conclusion as far as prots are concerned and more that I'm bothered by what it does to our church if you guys are right.
What do you mean?
Like I already have the baseline that the church is in crisis right now, and I'm siding with the traditionalist wing that is primarily defined by archbishop Lefebvre
Well, +Lefebvre was one of many, many priests who left new-rome after V2. I don't want to minimize what he did but I also want to point out that he wasn't the only guy out there. He was just unique in being a bishop. Yet, we can't hold his opinions as infallible because not everyone agreed with him even when he was alive.
and those principles that he defended over and against the modernism that came about as a result of V2 at its aftermath. I feel like it takes an extra step of faith, and one I'm not persuaded is reasonable, to believe no no no actually the archbishop was also modernist and just didn't realize it he may have been a good will but ultimately he wasn't a trustworthy leader on these kinds of issues.
Nobody is perfect. Fr Feeney was preaching against universal salvation back in the 40s, before he even knew who +Lefebvre was. Fr Wathen, in his book "Who Shall Ascend" quotes over 10 pages, word-for-word, from a priest in the 1800s who lays out the hard truths and strict orthodoxy of the dogma of "no salvation outside of the catholic church". The battle over this dogma has been raging since the 1700s (and really, for centuries before that).
When we say that +Lefebvre has "modernist views" on EENS, we are not discounting his orthodoxy in all other areas. We are not labeling him a modernist (i.e. like the communists at V2), but only that he is infected with modernism
. We are all prone to error and we must pray for God's protection. Again, +Lefebvre is not infallible.
I feel like once you get to that point it gets really hard to argue that the gates of hell have not prevailed over the church from a conceptual standpoint. I think it's more reasonable to just believe feeney and wathen and a few online guys have gone too far
As I've pointed out already, Fr Feeney and Fr Wathen weren't the only guys to say what they said. They pointed to multiple, multiple writings of the saints, of infallible councils, of respected theologians. BOD is one thing that is debatable. +Lefebvre went further and started talking about invincible ignorance and such things that have no historical, traditional or scriptural
basis. It's a totally new concept.