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Thursday, December 09, 2010


Charles E Flynn

You can tell that Fr. Barron is truly annoyed by those who think that the words of eternal life can be found elsewhere, because there is more dynamic range to the audio on this piece than on any other of his that I have heard.

Dan Deeny

Excellent. Fr. de Lubac had a good and true response. Perhaps the Catholics the Notre Dame professor writes about have been affected not by reasoning, but by a comfortable life? Let us pray for them.

Will Weigand

In the Decree on Ecumenism, Unitatis Redintegratio, (November 21,1964) the Second Vatican Council promulgated the following:
“The brethren divided from us also carry out many of the sacred actions of the Christian religion. Undoubtedly, in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community, these actions can truly engender a life of grace, and can be rightly described as capable of providing access to the community of salvation.
“It follows that these separated Churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects already mentioned, have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church.

Rev. Barron, you may want to address this quote sometime. You said that people leaving the Church are being put into "spritual danger". But your own Vatican II documents say that non-Catholic sects can supply salvific grace. This is a heresy. EENS... look it up sometime sir.

You mix St. Origen, St. Ireneus and St. Thomas Aquinis in with the "fathers" of Vatican II and thier false notion stated above in UR. This is so decieving. St. Origen et al would vomit if shown the documents of Vat II. You Vatican II'ers need to give it up. You've sold the ranch but you can keep trying to explain to people why they should stay in an organization that has officially declared itself to be NOT absolutely necessary for salvation.

-Will Weigand

Carl E. Olson

Will: You need to pay closer attention to what the document actually says; for example, "... which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church." And how about the larger context? Here it is:

It follows that the separated Churches(23) and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church.

Nevertheless, our separated brethren, whether considered as individuals or as Communities and Churches, are not blessed with that unity which Jesus Christ wished to bestow on all those who through Him were born again into one body, and with Him quickened to newness of life-that unity which the Holy Scriptures and the ancient Tradition of the Church proclaim. For it is only through Christ's Catholic Church, which is "the all-embracing means of salvation," that they can benefit fully from the means of salvation. We believe that Our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, in order to establish the one Body of Christ on earth to which all should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the people of God. This people of God, though still in its members liable to sin, is ever growing in Christ during its pilgrimage on earth, and is guided by God's gentle wisdom, according to His hidden designs, until it shall happily arrive at the fullness of eternal glory in the heavenly Jerusalem. (Unitatis Redintegratio, par. 3; emphasis added)

There is an important difference between those born into and raised in Protestant communities and those Catholics who choose to leave communion with the Catholic Church. As the conciliar document Lumen Gentium states:

This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism(124) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.

They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion. He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a "bodily" manner and not "in his heart." All the Church's children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged. (par. 14; emphasis added)

Before bad-mouthing a priest who has forgotten more than you apparently know, get your facts right.

Roger Farmer

Why couldn't God's graces be confined to the Catholic Church? If Jesus wanted only one church, if He wanted only men to be priests, if the sacraments can be found only within the Church, etc., then why would His graces be outside the Church? If those in authority within the Church can be mistaken on many things because they are human, could they be mistaken on a belief that there is salvation outside the Church? At the time of Vatican II, who were they trying to appease on the issues of the day? 40+ years have come and gone...what have we learned?


When people leave the shelter of Christ's Church, they are leaving most of the Sacraments. They have no way to receive Sanctifying Grace. It is spiritual suicide. They won't confess, thus can't worthily/efficaciously (or pridefully won't!) receive the Eucharist: "unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you."

Watching someone leave the the mystical body of Christ and politely, cheerfully and fatalistically waving at them is no different than doing so while watching someone drink drain-o, except the suicide of the soul lasts forever and bodily suicide looks fleeting in comparison.

Letting a fellow sheep commit suicide also brings judgment upon ourselves during the four last things.

In today's world of neo-paganism's moral relativism, alas, even Catholics think that Sanctifying Grace can be found along "many roads": cheap pablum and a demonic axiom if ever there was one. A total lie of the devil and totally successful at destroying many sheep.

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Christ founded a singular Church that still exists. It's wise to stay under her eves where the EUCHARIST is.

Fernando Umberto Garcia de Nicaragua, Prefectus Minimus: The Jacksonian Institute

Implied: A condemned theologian - Henri de Lubac - knew better than Pope Pius XII. Incredible.


Hi, Will.

re Origen:

Origen is neither a saint nor a Father of the Church because he embraced a heresy known as the apokatastasis (the belief that all must necessarily be saved, i.e. all people have sanctifying grace by default). However, because of his importance as an early Christian writer and because of his orthodoxy on most issues, he is often quoted alongside early Church Fathers when demonstrating the antiquity of orthodox Christian belief.


I quite agree w/Fr. Barron - w/one exception - all those things he listed as "reasons" folks have for leaving the Mother Church are EXCUSES not "reasons."

Billy Bean

It seems that many people today reason poorly. Nothing that I have seen in the documents of Vatican II can be logically contrued to be a denial of the uniqueness and indispensability of the Catholic Church. It does not require much intellectual subtlety to see that a frank acknowledgement of SOME truth and grace existing beyond the boundaries of the Church is not a denial of the FULLNESS of truth and grace within the Church. Perhaps this obtuseness is a by-product of the "minimum requirement" mentality: "How much can I get away with, or what is the very least I can do, and still be saved?"

Ricardo José L. Leal

Great commentary, both intellectually and emotionally. fr. Barron goes pretty much to the point. Henri de Lubac´s reflections on the universality of grace, as well as his personal exemple, continue to be of help: it´s not a matter of evasion, but of building something together, in the con-science a) that grace is "gratis data", given in view of others, and b) that its fullness, as stated by the Vatican II Fathers, was "entrusted to the Church" and to the Church only, in which we´re born to eternal life. Therefore, if saying "no salvation out of the Church" does seem rude, you can say the same thing by pointing out "it´s through the Church, and only through the Church, that you will be saved" (de Lubac in ch. 7 of "Catholicism"). It´s always so much better to be conscient of this fact.


Father Barron is respectfully all over the map on this. Leaving the typical faith searcher scratching their head. The total meat of his argument is the Fullness of God, Christ Jesus is in the Catholic church. As a far wandering Catholic, I can attest to that. But to me you cannot find this within the confines of the catholic church, you must go outside to seek on your own. That is a failing of the Catholic Church. The very essence of this piece is to counter Kathleen Kabony(sp) A PROFESSOR AT NOTRE DAME.
I vehemently disagree with his "The Fathers of Vatican 2 would never agree with this.." He then closes his argument quoting Hans Koom(sp) (some random theologian who he says would agree with Kathleen the Professor at ND) and Henri Delubac who he admits was a fallen away priest who had to be silenced by the church. These two genttleman were then involved in establishing the promulgations of Vatican 2. Why were they even there? To advocate for whom?
If the Fathers of Vatican 2 were so opposed to such teeachings, why did I spend half my fifth grade (which was post vatican 2)in a Catholic school learning the Passover rituals? From a catholic sanctioned text. Fifth graders need to learn their faith. This was ecumenical outreach indoctrination pure and simple. No, the fathers of Vatican 2 most assuredly accepted and projected the "everything is beautiful in its own way" philosophy.
The crux is there are people leaving the church, do we change dogma to keep them? These people leave but most do not go to other religions, they just leave. They stop following Christ. They stop following God. Europe is a great example. The Catholic faith, not necessarily the Catholic Church as it is lead by the American Catholic Bishops, is truly the closest faith to truth on earth. But when ordinary people start to ask the priesthood the simple questions they get the convoluted response of Father Barron. It is akin to the person asking what time is it? and getting an ad nauseum response on how the watch works. 8 out of 10 people are needing reassurances that the path they are on is the correct one, that they are on the best faith journey. The Catholic Faith is the closest thing to Jesus Christ. It is the best path to your salvation there is on earth, pick up your cross and follow It. If you are looking for Christian pabulum here is the phone number for Joel Olsteen, the Catholic faith is not for you. Will the church be smaller? Maybe, is that a bad thing? What is better a flock of 100 well tended sheep, or 10,000 creatures being picked off by wolves and lions?
Regardless of the writings of Vatican 2, its implementation has been a disaster for the layity. Until the Catholic hierarchy accepts that truth, they cannot fix the rudder.


Great topic. One of my favorite things that I've come across concerning this topic is Erasmus' response to Martin Luther on this point. Erasmus said, "I put up with this Church, in the hope that one day it will become better, just as it is constrained to put up with me in the hope that one day I will become better."

Julia Six

There is a big difference between fallen-away Catholics and people who have been raised Protestant. The person who rejects his Catholic faith is rejecting salvation. Many Protestants, however, have faith in Jesus and truly wish to follow His will. They have valid baptism and may well have perfect contrition. Their intentions are clear because when their misconceptions about the Catholic Church are corrected, they convert. They are "partial" Catholics. Whatever grace and faith they have comes from the Catholic Church since their denomination broke away from the Catholic Church. Becoming Catholic is a fulfillment of what they had before only partially and mixed with error. The new directives for the Anglicans whereby they can retain their liturgy and much of their heritage seems to regard them in this way. So I believe Vatican II was telling us to stop treating these Christians as heretics, and to help them enter into the fullness of the Church. It gives no permission for Catholics to seek salvation in other paths.


Cardinal de Lubac was not a "fallen priest".

His reflections regarding a theology of nature and grace were suppressed for a limited time in the 40s and 50s. De Lubac deferred to the teaching authority of the Church and the suppression was lifted. He has been recognized as a premier and orthodox Roman Catholic theologian of the 20th century.

Kung is a very different case, his credentials for teaching or publishing as a Catholic theologian have been withdrawn. He has shown no intention to reconcile with the Magisterium.


Francisco-- Henri de Lubac WAS censored, NOT condemned. There is a huge difference in the meaning of those two words and it is irresponsible for anyone to say he had been"condemned" by the chruch. In the 1950's "de Lubac came under suspicion from the Vatican for his teachings about the supernatural and grace." (Ignatiius Press) Pope John Paul II had great esteem for de Lubac and he eventually appointed de Lubac a cardinal.

Justin David

What about becoming Orthodox? I have seriously considered becoming Orthodox as of late and they have loads of Saints, a deep and profound body of works on contemplative prayer, monastic life and, according to Rome, they have valid sacraments. It is hard to be Catholic today because you simply don't see much leadership in the Church, not to mention the New Mass is banal and pedestrian compared to the Old Latin Mass or even the Divine Liturgy said in the Orthodox Church.

In my own opinion there are so many arguments for and against Catholicism or for or against Orthodoxy that at some point one simply has to pray about it and look at where there seems to be real spiritual life, reverence and faith. I am beginning to seriously believe that it lies, not in post Vatican II Catholicism with it's comittee created Mass, banal ICEL translations, pop hymns and bland homilies but in the Orthodox Church with it's icons, incense, "thees and thous" Divine Liturgy and insistence on learning Faith from the Church Fathers.

I haven't officially left yet but I have been to talk to the local Orthodox priest and I am very seriously considering leaving the Catholic Church. I love traditional Catholicism, the Latin Mass, Gregorian Chant, and traditional Catholic piety but the Church isn't about any of that anymore; it has chnaged into something totally different. Not so Orthodoxy. Even a more modernist Orthodox parish church is more reverent than your average Novus Ordo Catholic parish Church in terms of the architecture, sacred art and the liturgy.

I love Tradition but when the Church isn't really doing much to bring it back, when Vatican Ii and the novelties that have come out of it are pretty much gospel, than where else can one go to find any semblance of tradition except for Orthodoxy? My biggest problem with the Catholic Church is the lack of leadership, from the Pope on down. The last few Popes have been disasters in the area of leadership and some have truly acted scandalously as was the case with Pope John Paul Ii at Asssi, the koran kissing debacle, World Youth Day, etc. That stuff is really hard to stomach for a disgruntled "trad" like me.


How invincible is "invincible ignorance?"

Perhaps sometimes we overstate the case. After all, don't all Christians have the same New Testament as we do?


In my opinion, invincible ignorance is almost impossible today. The phrase only applies to someone who literally never had the Gospel communicated to them. We are talking when the European powers had their age of discovery and empire. Did they miss any amazonian village? Did those villagers then die with zero knowledge of Christ?

Even now in the smallest, most rural, most commie village in NK, I imagine most peasants have heard of Christ and rudimentarily know something of His mission: God comes, saves man.

I heard a man call Catholic Answers Live and complain about his obstinately Protestant wife. The priest told him that he can't impel or guarantee her metanoia and that perhaps he shouldn't have married outside the Church. Rebuffed, the man then devolved into denial and flippancy. He said, "Oh well, I guess I'll just have to put it down to invincible ignorance and keep going day by day". I waited for the priest to correct his wishful thinking, but it didn't happen.


And, as a follow up to your point Brad, if we look at what it was that St. Paul said, upon which much of this theology is based;

Romans Chapter 2
[13] For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.
[14] When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.
[15] They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them
[16] on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.


it seems clear that invincible ignorance is no guarantee of salvation. This is a misconception of the teaching. Every person will be judged on how they responded to grace. Even Catholics must bear this responsibility regarding their own salvation.

Bottom line, we do not know who will and will not be saved. All we do know for certain is that the Catholic Church has every means given by Christ to receive God's grace and to the extent that we care about the soul of someone else we desire that they have that access as well.

For all practical purposes that is all that we need to know. The rest of our speculation on the possible salvation of those outside of the Church is just that, speculation, and it does those people no service, and is attitude that we will be responsible to God for, if we presume that such people do not need the gospel of Jesus Christ from his Church.

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