Author Topic: Membership in the Church  (Read 1980 times)

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Offline trad123

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Membership in the Church
« on: September 07, 2010, 03:47:03 PM »
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  • Now, I admit I'm still confused about religious liberty and Vatican II, especially in looking at articles trying to say it's in line with Tradition (Fr. Most/Fr. Harrison).

    However, religious liberty is only one piece to the Vatican II puzzle.

    Looking through my old posts I don't believe I posted something on what I'm about to write.

    In the Vatican II Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio you'll see this:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19641121_unitatis-redintegratio_en.html

    Quote
    Chapter 1

    3. Even in the beginnings of this one and only Church of God there arose certain rifts,(19) which the Apostle strongly condemned.(20) But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions made their appearance and quite large communities came to be separated from full communion with the Catholic Church-for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame. The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church-whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church-do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ's body,(21) and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.(22)


    This sentence sticks out among the rest:

    Quote
    ...it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ's body...


    It's obvious from the context that it's taught that our "separated brethren" who have been validly baptized are members of Christ's body.

    If anyone thinks this isn't the case, and that I'm making a straw man argument then call me out on it, and prove me wrong.

    Let's assume that concerning our "separated brethren" we're talking about the ones who may be acting in good faith (a public material heretic).

    I ask: according to traditional Catholic doctrine who are those to be counted as members of Christ's body? Does this passage in the above Vatican II document contradict this traditional doctrine?

    Lets find the answer to the first question.

    Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Humani Generis:

    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius12/P12HUMAN.HTM

    Quote
    27. Some say they are not bound by the doctrine, explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years ago, and based on the sources of revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing.


    To be then a member of Christ's Body is to be a member of the Catholic Church, as these two entities are one and the same thing.

    And then his encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi:

    http://www.papalencyclicals.net/Pius12/P12MYSTI.HTM

    Quote
    22. Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed.


    To illustrate this point more clearly, I'll quote Van Noort in one of his dogmatic theology manuals:

    Dogmatic Theology Volume II: Christ's Church, Van Noort, p. 241-242

    Quote
    b. Public heretics (and a fortiori, apostates) are not members of the Church.  They are not members because they separate themselves from the unity of Catholic faith and from the external profession of that faith. Obviously, therefore, they lack one of three factors—baptism, profession of the same faith, union with the hierarchy—pointed out by Pius XII as requisite for membership in the Church. The same pontiff has explicitly pointed out that, unlike other sins, heresy, schism, and apostasy automatically sever a man from the Church. "For not every sin, however grave and enormous it be, is such as to sever a man automatically from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy" (MCC 30; italics ours).
         By the term public heretics at this point we mean all who externally deny a truth (for example Mary's Divine Maternity), or several truths of divine and Catholic faith, regardless of whether the one denying does so ignorantly and innocently (a merely material heretic), or willfully and guiltily (a formal heretic). It is certain that public, formal heretics are severed from the Church membership. It is the more common opinion that public, material heretics are likewise excluded from membership. Theological reasoning for this opinion is quite strong: if public material heretics remained members of the Church, the visibility and unity of Christ's Church would perish. If these purely material heretics were considered members of the Catholic Church in the strict sense of the term, how would one ever locate the "Catholic Church"? How would the Church be one body? How would it profess one faith? Where would be its visibility? Where its unity? For these and other reasons we find it difficult to see any intrinsic probability to the opinion which would allow for public heretics, in good faith, remaining members of the Church.  


    According to the limits set by Pope Pius XII, in the second encyclical that I quoted, our "separated brethren" cannot be accounted as members of Christ's Body because they do not profess the true faith. Although, I'm not sure if the Eastern Orthodox deny the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son, but they deny papal infallibility. They also separate themselves from the unity of the Body.

    So, the answer to the second question is "yes" there is a contradiction.

    I'm going to create a thread in the Library section of the forum, and I'll be linking articles available from the American Ecclesiastical Review, written by Mons. Fenton which deal with membership in the Church.

    If anyone sees anything wrong in my argument please mention it.
    2 Corinthians 4:3-4

    And if our gospel be also hid, it is hid to them that are lost, In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of unbelievers, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine unto them.

    Offline DecemRationis

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    « Reply #1 on: September 07, 2010, 10:23:03 PM »
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  • Trad,

    Quote
    It is the more common opinion that public, material heretics are likewise excluded from membership. Theological reasoning for this opinion is quite strong: if public material heretics remained members of the Church, the visibility and unity of Christ's Church would perish. If these purely material heretics were considered members of the Catholic Church in the strict sense of the term, how would one ever locate the "Catholic Church"? How would the Church be one body? How would it profess one faith? Where would be its visibility? Where its unity? For these and other reasons we find it difficult to see any intrinsic probability to the opinion which would allow for public heretics, in good faith, remaining members of the Church.


    Thanks for that from Van Noort. I would argue that not only is it the more common opinion, but it's one that ineluctably follows from the essence of truth itself.

    For example, I have - and I'm sure most of us have - encountered those who say that, for example, Muslims or Jews who deny the divinity of Christ may yet have the necessary faith in Christ because their denial is in "good faith." Thus, they may still be "believers" in Christ despite their denial of Christ. To me, this is arrant nonsense, and makes a mockery of truth. It's "yea" and "nay" - at the same time.  

    One's denial of a truth necessary for the Catholic faith may not be sinful because of "good faith," but it remains a denial none the less.  A negation of personal fault does not provide a positive virtue (faith) that is required - for salvation.

    That is, in the world of truth . . . and not in the Candyland of Ecumania.

    I don't see anything wrong in your argument, trad.

    DR



    I believe in the Apostolic Catholic Church. I reject and denounce the malfeasant or “dysfunctional papal or episcopal Newchurch.” - Father Paul Trinchard


    Offline DMorgan

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    « Reply #2 on: September 08, 2010, 06:55:56 PM »
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  • I agree with your arguments. EENS was the Law of the Land for many centuries and I do not feel the arguments made in V-II negate the premise. I point to His Holiness Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Mortalium Animos. I never cease to be amazed when I read the encylicals from our pre-V-II Popes warning us of the very issues which we deal with today. I only wish more had listened.
    D. Morgan

    With truly lamentable results, our age, casting aside all restraint in its search for the ultimate causes of things, frequently pursues novelties so ardently that it rejects the legacy of the human race.   "Lamentabili Sane Exitu" Pope St. Pi

    Offline Alexandria

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    « Reply #3 on: September 08, 2010, 07:38:03 PM »
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  • DMorgan

    Didn't Pope Pius XI write Mortalium Animos?

    Offline Goose

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    « Reply #4 on: September 09, 2010, 11:49:22 AM »
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  • Oh, I'm sure you'll find MUCH more in digging into this topic a little deeper. Fr. Michael Mueller's 'The Catholic Dogma' (EENS) is an absolute bombshell in understanding this topic. You can read it online here:

    http://www.romancatholicism.org/muller/muller.htm

    He covers every base in this book, from membership in the Church, to invincible ignorance, baptism of desire etc.


    Fr. Michael Mueller, Ora Pro Nobis!


    Offline Belloc

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    « Reply #5 on: September 09, 2010, 01:13:09 PM »
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  • John Salza has some refutes of Fr.Harrison on his site, scripturecatholic
    Proud "European American" and prouder, still, Catholic

    Offline Alexandria

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    « Reply #6 on: September 09, 2010, 01:21:12 PM »
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  • Quote from: Belloc
    John Salza has some refutes of Fr.Harrison on his site, scripturecatholic



    John Salza - the new golden boy of the trads.

    I don't trust him.  

    Offline Belloc

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    « Reply #7 on: September 09, 2010, 01:25:39 PM »
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  • Quote from: Alexandria
    Quote from: Belloc
    John Salza has some refutes of Fr.Harrison on his site, scripturecatholic



    John Salza - the new golden boy of the trads.

    I don't trust him.  


    why?
    Proud "European American" and prouder, still, Catholic


    Offline Belloc

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    Proud "European American" and prouder, still, Catholic

    Offline Alexandria

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    « Reply #9 on: September 09, 2010, 01:30:16 PM »
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  • Quote from: Belloc
    Quote from: Alexandria
    Quote from: Belloc
    John Salza has some refutes of Fr.Harrison on his site, scripturecatholic



    John Salza - the new golden boy of the trads.

    I don't trust him.  


    why?


    Isn't he the former 33rd degree Freemason?  Came out of nowhere and now he is the new expert on everything from Fatima to sedevacantists.

    Belloc, I have almost twenty years on you in age.  I have learned the hard way not to hop on every new bandwagon that comes along.

      "Fool me one, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!"   :wink:

    Offline DMorgan

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    « Reply #10 on: September 09, 2010, 06:26:37 PM »
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  • Quote from: Alexandria
    DMorgan

    Didn't Pope Pius XI write Mortalium Animos?


    Correct! My apologies. Typing is not my strong suit. Thank you for correcting that error.
    D. Morgan

    With truly lamentable results, our age, casting aside all restraint in its search for the ultimate causes of things, frequently pursues novelties so ardently that it rejects the legacy of the human race.   "Lamentabili Sane Exitu" Pope St. Pi


    Offline PartyIsOver221

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    « Reply #11 on: September 09, 2010, 06:48:23 PM »
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  • Quote from: Alexandria
    Quote from: Belloc
    Quote from: Alexandria
    Quote from: Belloc
    John Salza has some refutes of Fr.Harrison on his site, scripturecatholic



    John Salza - the new golden boy of the trads.

    I don't trust him.  


    why?


    Isn't he the former 33rd degree Freemason?  Came out of nowhere and now he is the new expert on everything from Fatima to sedevacantists.

    Belloc, I have almost twenty years on you in age.  I have learned the hard way not to hop on every new bandwagon that comes along.

      "Fool me one, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!"   :wink:


     :boxer:

    Offline innocenza

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    « Reply #12 on: September 09, 2010, 07:12:26 PM »
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  • Trad, D.R., D.M. ,

    Mystici Corporis Christi, #96: "And first of all let us imitate the breadth of His love. For the Church, the Bride of Christ, is one; and yet so vast is the love of the divine Spouse that it embraces in His Bride the whole human race without exception. Our Savior shed His Blood precisely in order that He might reconcile men to God through the Cross, and might constrain them to unite in one body, however widely they may differ in nationality and race. True love of the Church, therefore, requires not only that we should be mutually solicitous one for another as members and sharing in their suffering but likewise that we should recognize in other men, although they are not yet joined to us in the body of the Church, our brothers in Christ according to the flesh, called, together with us, to the same eternal salvation."

    *  *  *  *

    This language seems not so clearcut, regarding who is a member of the Church.

    Offline trad123

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    « Reply #13 on: September 09, 2010, 07:19:16 PM »
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  • 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

    And if our gospel be also hid, it is hid to them that are lost, In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of unbelievers, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine unto them.

    Offline trad123

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    « Reply #14 on: September 09, 2010, 07:25:18 PM »
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  • Specifically from one of the articles:

    http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/ecumenism/members.htm

    Now we come to the question: does the pronouncement about membership in the Church in the Mystici Corporis Christi simply repeat the teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine on this point?

    First of all, it must be made clear that there was definitely one element in St. Robert’s teaching on membership in the Church which has been excluded by Pope Pius XII in the great encyclical letter. The Doctor of the Church taught very clearly, in the tenth chapter of his De ecclesia militante, that the baptismal character was not required for membership in the Church, but only a putative baptism. [9] Quite clearly, since the issuance of the Mystici Corporis Christi, this particular part of St. Robert’s teaching is no longer acceptable as Catholic doctrine. Pope Pius XII insisted that the reception of baptism was requisite in order that a man might be numbered among the members of the Church.

     

    It must be remembered, however, that St. Robert’s teaching about the sufficiency of putative baptism for membership in the Church did not form an essential part of his thesis. What made the teaching of the De ecclesia militante memorable in the history of Catholic theology was the fact that St. Robert insisted that all of the elements requisite for membership in the true Church of the New Testament were visible factors, because the Church militant of the New Testament is, according to the teaching and the decree of God Himself, “an assembly of men as visible and palpable as the assemblage of the Roman people, or the kingdom of France, or the republic of Venice.” [10]

     

    Certainly the Mystici Corporis Christi statement about membership in the Church is quite in line with the teaching of the De ecclesia militante. According to Pope Pius XII, four factors alone are necessary in order that a man be counted as a member of the true Church. These are (1) the reception of baptism, and thus the possession of the baptismal character, (2) the profession of the true faith, which is, of course, the faith of the Catholic Church, (3) the fact that a person has not cut himself away from the structure or the fabric of the “Body,” which is, of course, the Church itself, and (4) the fact that a person has not been expelled from the membership of the Church by competent ecclesiastical authority.

     

    It is the nature of the third of these four factors which, in the context of the encyclical, is not completely clear. Very definitely a person would cut himself off from the structure of the ecclesiastical Body if he entered into a state of public heresy or apostasy. But that condition had already been taken care of in the naming of the second of the factors which the Mystici Corporis Christi lists as requisite for membership in the true Church. Very definitely the “cutting away” mentioned in the third point of this statement might involve entrance into the state of schism. But it could, of course, imply that some act against the spiritual or invisible bond of unity within the Church might also cut a person away from membership in the Church. The text of the Mystici Corporis Christi is not, in itself, sufficiently clear on this point.

     

    Yet, over the course of the years, it has become increasingly obvious that the common teaching of the Catholic theologians holds that people are members of the Church or parts of the Church only by the possession of these visible or palpable factors. The term “member of the Church” can legitimately be applied only to those baptized persons who have not frustrated the force of their baptismal characters by public heresy or apostasy, or by schism, and who have not been expelled from the Church by competent ecclesiastical authority. The theological demonstration that backs up this thesis is still and always will be the “proof from reason” which St. Robert Bellarmine alleged in support of his teaching in the De ecclesia militante. [11] More effectively, perhaps, than any other writer in the history of the Catholic Church, St. Robert pointed to the fact that the basic Catholic claim, that the Church militant according to the dispensation of the New Testament is essentially a visible Church, involves and includes the teaching that membership in the Church is possessed by all and only the people who have those factors which go to make up the visible or external bond of unity within the Church of God.

    2 Corinthians 4:3-4

    And if our gospel be also hid, it is hid to them that are lost, In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of unbelievers, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine unto them.

     

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