Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Refuting the Dimonds schismatic denial that age of reason non-Catholics have a positive obligation to reject their sect and profess the true Faith

This article is one in an important series on The Dimonds' soul damning errors, but the reader would do well to first become acquainted with the Catholic teaching concerning invincible ignorance.

The Dimonds are schismatic and heretical for denying that children of heretics are to be held as schismatic upon attaining sufficient use of reason and clinging to their heretical sect, despite valid baptism. The schism of the Dimonds stems both from their refusal to assent to the teaching of Pius IX, in Singulari Quadem, which asserts that it is unlawful to presume invincible ignorance (which only God can judge) in such cases and from their denunciation of Catholics who are faithful to these principles.  They are heretical because they deny the dogma:

Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctum, Nov. 18, 1302, ex cathedra: "Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff."

Here, briefly, is why such children are in schism, regardless of the presence or absence of obstinacy (for a supplement to this article, please read "On the absence of salvation among heretics and schismatics and those in communion with them"):

The Dimonds admit that upon attaining the use of reason, all are immediately bound by the Divine Law, and they also rightly assert that there are no exceptions to the Divine Law. But this is where they start to get fuzzy. They neglect to acknowledge that obedience to the Divine Law includes first and foremost (as common sense will tell anybody) obedience to the First Commandment. This includes a positive obligation to reject false religions and profess the true religion.

This neglect causes them to fail to acknowledge that such children are in schism, that is they are adhering to a false sect, professing a false religion.  St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us a very important principle in this regard:

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Prima Secundae Partis, Q. 103, A. 4:  "All ceremonies are professions of faith, in which the interior worship of God consists. Now man can make profession of his inward faith, by deeds as well as by words: and in either profession, if he makes a false declaration, he sins mortally."

In other words, any person above the age of reason who makes a profession to a religion which rejects the papacy is immediately schismatic.

The Dimonds also agree that the only ways to lose the Faith are heresy, schism and apostasy, but they try to argue that only obstinacy constitutes schism. But their quotes from Pope Pius IX and Clement VI do not state that ONLY people who are obstinately separated from the Church are schismatic.

Pope Pius IX, Quartus Supra, January 6, 1873: “For the Catholic Church has always regarded as schismatic those who obstinately oppose the lawful prelates of the Church and in particular, the chief shepherd of all.”

Do we have to contradict Pope Pius IX to say that the Church may also regard as schismatics those who adhere to false sects in ignorance? Of course not. We would have to if he said “For the Catholic Church has ONLY regarded as schismatic…”

Pius IX has in fact made a statement that indicates obstinacy is not required for schism, but that merely by being deceived, one may become schismatic:

Pope Pius IX, Graves Ac Diuturnae, #3: "This sect overthrows the foundations of the Catholic religion, shamelessly rejects the dogmatic definitions of the Ecumenical Vatican Council, and devotes itself to the ruin of souls in so many ways. We have decreed and declared in Our letter of 21 November 1873 that those unfortunate men who belong to, adhere to, and support that sect should be considered as schismatics and separated from communion with the Church."

The principle is clearly laid out by this Pope of the Catholic Church. Any sect that rejects the dogmatic definitions of the Vicar of Christ is a heretical sect, and good willed or no, we learn that that any of those "unfortunate men who belong to, adhere to, and support that sect should be considered as schismatics and separated from communion with the Church."  He says "unfortunate", not obstinate.

The Dimonds propose another quote:

Pope Clement VI, Super Quibusdam, September 20, 1351: “…We ask: In the first place whether you and the Church of the Armenians which is obedient to you, believe that all those who in baptism have received the same Catholic faith, and afterwards have withdrawn and will withdraw in the future from the communion of this same Roman Church, which one alone is Catholic, are schismatic and heretical, if they remain OBSTINATELY separated from the faith of this Roman Church. In the second place, we ask whether you and the Armenians obedient to you believe that no man of the wayfarers outside the faith of this Church, and outside the obedience of the Pope of Rome, can finally be saved.”

These quotes proposed by the Dimonds, not only do not constitute a dogmatic definition of schism but neither do they address the question of people who are unwittingly separated due to their ignorance or being deceived. It can in no way be said that people professing to be Lutheran, ‘Old Catholic’, Eastern ‘Orthodox’, Novus Ordo, or SSPX, even though they all believe themselves to be the true Church of Jesus Christ, are in fact labouring for the true religion, and the Church has taught that such people are guilty in this matter in the eyes of God, UNLESS their ignorance is invincible.

Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quadem, December 9, 1854: "For it must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood; but, on the other hand, it is necessary to hold for certain that they who labor in ignorance of the true religion, if this ignorance is invincible, are not stained by any guilt in this matter in the eyes of God."

This quote refers to the sin of infidelity, or refusal to submit to Christ and His true Church. Schism is infidelity to the true religion and any profession of a faith other than Catholic, and adherence to a false sect is manifest schism, even if it is done through ignorance. It is the sin of infidelity by omission of one's duty to reject false worship, and commission by making a false declaration.

If Lutherans are not held guilty in the eyes of God on account of invincible ignorance, they are nevertheless not Catholic, as their religion is manifestly opposed to the Catholic religion.  Therefore if they are truly inculpably ignorant, then God will bring them into the Faith before their deaths.  Whereas if a person already believes and professes himself to be Catholic, though he is subject to a heretical or religious superior, if God deems him invincibly ignorant of the nature of such subjection, then he has not in fact committed the sin of schism, and remains Catholic.

As has been already mentioned, schism is constituted in being separated from the unity of Faith and government of the Holy Catholic Church. While it is clearly necessary that reasoning Catholics knowingly subject themselves to the Apostolic See and its teachings, it is equally clear that failure to reject heretical and schismatical sects, which are of themselves non-Catholic, is enough to show that these people are in schism and not in the Catholic Church. They will remain schismatic until they exercise the duty to reject their false religions and join the Catholic Faith.

The Dimonds hold out the example of St. Vincent Ferrer in an attempt to argue that the understanding of Singulari Quadem presented in this article is heretical. They don’t actually say that this understanding denies any particular dogma, but that it is heretical on the account that it involves an implicit suggestion that St. Vincent was ignorant of the true religion, even though he was a Catholic.

Please note the following points well:

A person who subjects himself to the Roman Pontiff is subject to the true religion (if he also has the habit of faith).

A person who is subject to an invalidly elected or a heretical antipope is also no longer submitting himself to the valid authority of the Church, but to a false religion, one without Christ or His Vicar as its head (regardless of whether or not he believes rightly concerning faith or morals).

Now, St. Vincent Ferrer was not schismatic, since Pope Pius IX taught invincible ignorance is the only way a person can be exonerated of the guilt of infidelity one would incur by labouring outside of the true religion. St. Vincent was indeed labouring outside the legitimate canonical authority of the Catholic Church, being subject to one who was not the Vicar of Christ, but was still a man who was orthodox in belief, showing no external signs of heresy.

Since St. Vincent invincibly believed that he was following the true Roman Pontiff (which is attested to by the fact that the Church has canonized him, and never once called him schismatic), he is not stained by any guilt in this matter in the eyes of God - and having already entered the Catholic Church by baptism and holding the Faith whole and inviolate, he cannot be said to have incurred the punishment otherwise inherent to submitting oneself to an antipope.  St. Vincent Ferrer submitted to Antipope Benedict XIII, with no way of being able to know that he was such.  If Benedict XIII had been publicly knowable as an antipope, those submitting to him would have been ipso facto excommunicated from the body of Christ.

Furthermore, this understanding of the teaching of Pope Pius IX also has support from one of the Fathers of the Church, St. Augustine:

St. Augustine (The Catholic Dogma, Fr. Michael Müller): "But those who through ignorance are baptized there (with heretics), judging the sect to be the Church of Christ, sin less than these (who know it to be heretical); nevertheless they are wounded by the sacrilege of schism, and therefore sin not light, because others sin more gravely."

Note that St. Augustine says through ignorance, not invincible ignorance. Their ignorance would almost certainly be culpable - invincible means "impossible to overcome by study", according to St. Thomas. If someone has joined a heretical sect, following God's grace and asking the right questions would allow them to quickly overcome their ignorance by spotting the inconsistencies of the sect's heresies. Hence St. Augustine does not hesitate to mark such people as schismatic.

St. Augustine, On Baptism (Against the Donatists), Chapter 4: "And just as baptism is of no profit to the man who renounces the world in words and not in deeds, so it is of no profit to him who is baptized in heresy or schism; but each of them, when he amends his ways, begins to receive profit from that which before was not profitable, but was yet already in him."

Also, the Dimonds present Canon 2314 from the '1917 Code of Canon Law' in defense of the sede vacante position (despite it's invalidity due to promulgation by a heretical antipope):

1917 "Code of Canon Law", Canon 2314, §1: "All apostates from the Christian faith and every heretic or schismatic incur the following penalties: (1) ipso facto excommunication;”

But they leave out the following two canons:

(3): “…if they have joined a non-Catholic sect or have publicly adhered to it, they incur infamy ipso facto…”

Canon 2200 §2: "Positing an external violation of the law, dolus [evil will] in the external forum is presumed until the contrary is proven."

So even the '1917 Code of Canon Law' is against them, teaching that, not only in this matter, but also in regard to their sacrilegious reception of Sacraments at the hands of apostate priests.

The Dimonds even further deny a proposition taught by their antipope Pius XI (11):

Antipope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (#11), 1928: "Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. "

This quote is presented, not to give credence or any semblance of authority to Pius XI himself, but to show that the Dimonds are inconsistent and contradicting a man they recognize as a pope.  Certainly, though he may have gotten many things right, Pius XI is nevertheless a manifest heretic and a schismatic who must be denounced as not ever having held the office of the papacy.  But if the Dimonds were to hold him as a pope, then they would have to be consistent and understand the dogmatic definition of Pope Boniface VIII in light of Pius XI's words.  In other words, they would have to hold that nobody above the age of reason is subject to the Roman Pontiff unless he ACCEPTS, RECOGNIZES and OBEYS the office of the papacy as having supreme authority.

To sum up:

Does the Divine Law not teach to profess the true religion? Does the Divine Law not teach to reject heresy, heretics and communion with heretics and all other enemies of God? Not only is it forbidden by Divine Law to reject the Catholic Church, but it is commanded that we MUST reject false worship, failure to do so being schism.

Pope Pius IX (9), Singulari Quadem, December 9, 1854: "For it must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood; but, on the other hand, it is necessary to hold for certain that they who labor in ignorance of the true religion, if this ignorance is invincible, are not stained by any guilt in this matter in the eyes of God. Now, in truth, who would arrogate so much to himself as to mark the limits of such an ignorance, because of the nature and variety of peoples, regions, innate dispositions, and of so many other things? For, in truth, when released from these corporeal chains "we shall see God as He is" [1 John 3:2], we shall understand perfectly by how close and beautiful a bond divine mercy and justice are united; but, as long as we are on earth, weighed down by this mortal mass which blunts the soul, let us hold most firmly that, in accordance with Catholic teaching, there is "one God, one faith, one baptism" [Eph. 4:5]; it is unlawful to proceed further in inquiry."

So even though it is possible that God may very well judge this or that person who is objectively in a heretical sect to have been invincibly ignorant and not culpably ignorant of the fact that the sect is not the true Church, the Catholic Faithful must judge based on objectively knowable facts, and adherence to a sect is both objective and knowable, while the internal disposition of any particular individual is not. It is unlawful, therefore, to hold that such adherents are Catholics until they explicitly abjure and enter into communion with the Catholic Church.

More from The Catholic Dogma, Fr. Michael Müller

"Those who have learned theology well," says St. Basil, “will not allow even one iota of Catholic dogmas to be betrayed. They will, if necessary, willingly undergo any kind of death in their defence." (Apud. Theod., lib. 4, Hist. Eccl., c. xvii.)

Almighty God, who is just and condemns no one without his fault, puts, therefore, such souls as are in invincible ignorance of the truths of salvation, in the way of salvation, either by natural or supernatural means...

Almighty God can also, by a miracle, carry a priest to a person invincibly ignorant and living up to the dictates of his conscience; or he can carry such a person to a priest--­or make use of an angel or a saint to lead him to the way of salvation...

About these miraculous conversions Dr. O. A. Brownson well remarks:--

“That there may be persons in heretical and schismatical societies, invincibly ignorant of the Church, who so perfectly correspond to the [prevenient] graces they receive, that Almighty God will, by extraordinary means, bring them to the Church, is believable and perfectly compatible with the known order of his grace, as is evinced by two beautiful examples recorded in Holy Scripture. The one is that of the eunuch of Candice, Queen of Ethiopia: he, following the lights that God gave him, though living at a great distance from Jerusalem, became acquainted with the worship of the true God, and was accustomed to go from time to time to Jerusalem to adore him. When, however, the Gospel began to be published, the Jewish religion could no longer save him; but being well disposed, by fidelity to the graces he had hitherto received, he was not forsaken by Almighty God; for when he was returning to his own country from Jerusalem, the Lord sent a message by an angel to St. Philip to meet and instruct him in the faith of Christ, and baptize him (Acts, viii. 26). The other example is that of Cornelius, who was an officer of the Roman army of the Italic band, and brought up in idolatry. In the course of events, his regiment coming to Judea, he saw there a religion different from his own,--the worship of one only God. Grace moving his heart, he believed in this God, and following the further notion's of divine grace, he gave much alms to the poor, and prayed earnestly to this God to direct him what to do. Did God abandon him? By no means; he sent an angel from heaven to tell him to whom to apply in order to be fully instructed in the knowledge and faith of Jesus Christ, and to be received into his Church by baptism. Now, what God did in these two cases he is no less able to do in all others, and has a thousand ways in his wisdom to conduct souls who are truly in earnest to the knowledge of the truth, and to salvation. And though such a soul were in the remotest wilds of the world, God could send a Philip, or an angel from heaven, to instruct him, or, by the superabun­dance of his internal grace, or by numberless other ways unknown to us, could infuse into his soul the knowledge of the truth. The great affair is, that we carefully do our part in complying with what he gives us; for of this we are certain, that, if we be not wanting to him, he will never be wanting to us, but, as he begins the good work in us, will also perfect it, if we be careful to correspond and to put no hindrance to his designs.

“However, in all the instances of extraordinary or miraculous intervention of Almighty God, whether in the order of nature, or in the order of grace known to us, he has intervened ad Ecclesiam, and there is not a shadow of authority for supposing that he ever has miraculously intervened or ever will intervene otherwise. To assume that he will, under any circumstances, intervene to save men without the medium ordinarium, (the Church) is perfectly gratui­tous, to say the least. To bring men in an extraordinary manner to the Church is easily admissible, because it does not dispense with the revealed economy of salvation, nor imply its inadequacy, but to intervene to save them with­out it appears to us to dispense with it, and to imply that it is not adequate to the salvation of all whom God's goodness leads him to save. That those in societies alien to the Church, invincibly ignorant of the Church, if they corre­spond to the graces they receive, and persevere, will be saved, we do not doubt, but not where they are, or without being brought to the Church. They are sheep in the prescience of God, Catholics, but sheep not yet gathered into the fold. “Other sheep I have," says our Blessed Lord, "that are not of this fold; them also I must bring; they shall hear my voice; and there shall be made one fold and one shepherd." This is conclusive, and that these must be brought, and enter the fold, which is the Church, in this life, as St. Augustine expressly teaches."

But is no one brought to the Faith and Church of Christ but those who correspond as they ought with the graces received before?

“God forbid," says Bishop Hay: “for, though it be certain that God will never fail to bring all those to the Faith and Church of Christ who faithfully correspond with the graces he bestows upon them, yet he has nowhere bound himself to bestow that singular mercy on no other. Were this the case, how few, indeed, would receive it! But God, to show the infinite riches of his goodness and mercy, be­stows it on many of the most undeserving; he bestowed it even upon many of the hardened Jews who crucified Jesus Christ, and of the priests who persecuted him to death, even though they had obstinately opposed all the means he had previously used by his doctrine and miracles to convert them. In this he acts as Lord and Master, and as a free disposer of his own gifts; he gives to all the helps necessary and sufficient for their present state; to those who cooperate with these helps he never fails to give more abundantly; and in order to show the riches of his mercy on numbers of the most undeserving, he bestows his most singular favors for their conversion. Hence none have cause to complain; all ought to be solicitous to cooperate with what they have; none ought to despair on account of their past ingratitude, but be assured that God, who is rich in mercy, will yet have mercy on them, if they return to him. Those only ought to fear and tremble who remain obstinate in their evil ways, who continue to resist the calls of his mercy, and put off their conversion from day to day. For though his in­finite mercy knows no bounds in pardoning sins, however numerous and grievous, if we repent, yet the offers of his mercy are limited, and if we exceed these limits by our obstinacy, there will be no more mercy for us. The time of mercy is fixed for every one, and if we fail to embrace its offers within that time, the gates of mercy will be closed against us. When the bridegroom has once entered into the marriage-chamber the doors are shut, and the foolish virgins who were unprepared are for ever excluded, with this dreadful reproach from Jesus Christ, --I know ye not, depart from me, ye workers of iniquity. Seeing, therefore, that no man knows how long the time of mercy will last for him, he ought not to delay a moment; if he neglect the present offer, it may be the last. That hour will come like a thief in the night when we least expect it, as Christ himself assures us, and therefore he commands us to be always ready."

"Let us mark well: To assert that acts of divine faith, hope, and charity are possible out of the Catholic Church is a direct denial of the article of faith: There is positively no salvation out of the Catholic Church; for, on account of these acts, God unites himself with the soul in time and eternity. If these acts, then, were possible out of the Catholic Church, there would be salvation out of the Catholic Church, to say which is a direct denial of the above article of faith, and therefore the assertion is heretical."

What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

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