A dark cloud with a silver lining

April 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog



Last week on my “Open Line” radio show (Thursdays from 3-5 pm ET), I took a call from Mike, an Evangelical Protestant who wanted me to know that he had successfully convinced his Catholic wife to abandon her Faith and leave the Catholic Church to become Protestant. There’s more to the story, and if you click here or on the image above, you can listen to what happened next.

Then, immediately after that exchange, I took a call from another Protestant named David. He told me something I think you will find interesting . . .

And that picture above? It’s an apt visual description of the first caller, who led his poor wife directly into a dangerous storm, not away from one.

For info on that Catholic/Protestant debate on sola fide and sola scriptura, please click the image below:

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22 Responses to “A dark cloud with a silver lining”
  1. Bobby Bambino says:

    I don't know how one could get any clearer than Bob's quote from Lumen Gentium. I'll repost what Bob wrote in case it was missed:

    From Lumen Gentium, a document from the Second Vatican Council, paragraph 14:

    "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."

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/v2church.htm

  2. Kirk says:

    DJ/AMDG:

    One who rejects Christ's teachings might be saved, in spite of himself and his ideas, if he is innocently wrong.

    One who rejects Christ's teachings knowing full well what is doing and that he is wrong to deny those teachings, and who obstinately persists in that manner to death, will not be saved.

    There is no contradiction in those two concepts, and while the CCC could be more clear, it is clear enough in the LG reference in 846. If you really care to consult documented sources, they are available, but it seems you have a skepticism regarding the concept.

    Rejection of Catholicism is a sin against the virtue of faith, and because the rejection concerns such a serious matter, those who take such an action knowing what they are doing, sin mortally and are in jeopardy of losing their salvation if they remain unrepentant.

  3. DJ | AMDG says:

    Terry, I read the paragraphs and they do not indicate who sins or even that souls are in jeopardy. They only state that with schism sin is present, and in fact "… All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ." Further, the CCC indicates that the sin may in fact be due to those who stayed on the side of the RCC and that the fault of schism can be laid with both parties.

    846-848 are poor support for the notion that those who leave the RCC have souls in jeopardy when just a few paragraphs earlier salvation in Christ is defined apart from being "Fully incorporated into the society of the Church… joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops."

    Still not seeing it.

    DJ|AMDG

  4. Patty Bonds says:

    She's left the Church of the Real Presence for the land of the real absence. How desolate and sad that is. Lord, give her a holy hunger for You!

  5. kirsten michelle says:

    I'm a recent convert from Protestantism, having just entered the church (with tremendous JOY!!) this Easter Vigil. Knowing what I've found in the Catholic church, the first call makes me so sad and a more than a little sick to my stomach. I will be praying for Mike and for his wife, that they both might come to their senses and come home.

    The second call is what gives me hope for living in the unity to which we are continually commanded to live in in Scripture. This caller's journey has elements in it with which I resonate so deeply. Prayers are with him also.

  6. Terry says:

    DJ|AMDG,

    See CCC 817-819 and 846-848. Hope this helps clarify.

    United in Christ,
    Terry

  7. Anonymous says:

    CONTINUED–>
    This is often a much easier task with our separated brethren, whose Love and goodwill allow for many graces. Too often when we confront our separated brethren on matters of faith it begins in goodwill mixed with our will, and then degenerates into defensiveness and attacks. We lose sight of our purpose to bring them into fuller communion with Christ, which is the result of accepting Truth (Him) with the assent of Faith. Too often we either just want them to see things our way, win an argument, sound smart, etc… our sinful desires sometimes cloud His Truth. And yet to remain silent about erroneous beliefs may be even more uncharitable; for there is no Truth being proclaimed. With the former, our separated brethren will at least have a chance to respond to the truth, even if it is shrouded in our imperfections. He wants to use us, of course, and has a plan for us. This plan doesn’t promise social comfort and universal acceptance. Logically, he perfects us through the mission He has sent us on. And we are all sent to “make disciples of all nations”. And, by the Grace of God, we will endure in Love. We pray with them. We remain honest (Not defecting to tricking or trapping them when in a group setting. But this also includes calling them out when they do it to us). We apologize when we are wrong in our methods or intentions (it is fitting that apologetics would sometimes require apologies). I am sure it is hard for apologists to remain consistent in these because not everyone plays by these rules and I am sure it tears them to pieces to think that someone may leave the faith after he or she hears them debate. But they MUST remember that God is with them and that He is at work in the lives of everyone they speak to.
    So we should take care to avoid the two extremes: one being silent, the other saying more than what should be said (both in word and deed) – these can both be uncharitable methods. Instead we should take up Christ’s position of Unity in Truth:
    “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:17-21)
    And here is an echo from St. Paul to the Ephesians and us:
    “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph 4:1-6)

    United in Christ,

    Terry

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sheila,

    I admire your desire for unity among Christians which I share with both you and our Lord Jesus. I believe this is an enormous obstacle to the conversion of many souls. For: “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." Jn 13:35. And also, “…that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Jn 17:21. Our unity and love for one another is a way Jesus speaks to the world through His Church. We all must strive for this tirelessly and with great eagerness, hope and prayer. However, this unity must be true. He does not desire the outward appearance of unity, He desires true unity. Our hearts must be grounded in Truth (Christ). “I am the way, and the truth…” Jn 14:6. The same Spirit that unites us is also the Spirit of Truth: "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me” Jn 15:26. We need to constantly consult “the Helper” and earnestly pray to God for unity. But we cannot be silent about error; this would be false charity. For true Charity wills the greatest good for the other and seeks to find a way to correct the other in Love and bring him or her into the Light which is the Gospel of Truth, the Fullness of the Faith found within the Church Christ built. This is what Jesus did and has continued to do through His Body the Church. Can you imagine if Jesus or the Apostles concentrated more on Unity and avoided preaching the Truth lest they ruffle any feathers? No. One can’t even imagine it for it is so contrary to the Gospel, to the account of the New Testament and the rest of Church history, and to all that which God has revealed about Himself. For this is one thing that all revelation, natural and supernatural reveals about the nature of God, that is, His desire to be known by His beloved (us). Remember, we are to “worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth” Jn 4:23. Sometimes this causes some to react with contempt, and others with division, still others with indifference, but with some, conversion (see the Parable of the Sower in the synoptic gospels). Jesus, who was the Truth, certainly encountered this. And also taught his disciples this fact concerning Himself: “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three.” (Lk 12:51-52). Does this mean we should be indifferent to division or even seek out this strife? Of course not, but we should face it when it comes with Love and the courage we received from the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. We need to let the anger of the world spend itself on us as Christ did. Not to return it in kind, but instead to combine it with His suffering on the Cross and offer this living sacrifice to God for Unity and the salvation of mankind. CONTINUED ON NEXT POST

  9. IronDonkey says:

    RJ:

    http://www.catholic.com/library/Salvation_Outside_the_Church.asp

    First, as I understand it, we don't believe is Salvation outside the Church as much as in the possibility (and not necessarily a big possibility) of being inside the Church without realizing it. That is, you may not need to know you're following Christ to follow Christ. (See baptism by desire, blood)

    Second, straight from the above link, "However, for those who knowingly and deliberately (that is, not out of innocent ignorance) commit the sins of heresy (rejecting divinely revealed doctrine) or schism (separating from the Catholic Church and/or joining a schismatic church), no salvation would be possible until they repented and returned to live in Catholic unity."

    The question of course is whether the caller's wife falls into the category of "knowingly and deliberately." This is a question to which I imagine only God and possibly the woman herself know the answer.

  10. sky says:

    DJ:

    If you understand the Catholic faith well, you know that it is Catholic belief that this is the Church Jesus knowingly founded. Objectively speaking, it clearly follows that it is the will of Christ that all mankind believe in Him united in One Faith and One Church. Any choice that goes against this is sinful. No one can judge the conscience, motives, or circumstances as to why someone might choose to leave the Church. The same is true for any failing that anyone has. We don't really know how anyone will answer to God for the choices they make. But objectively speaking, it is wrong to abandon the Church of Christ.

    Also, the Church's teaching about salvation for non-Catholics or non-Christians is not as simple as you expressed it. Even if someone not part of the visible Church in time and on earth reaches eternal salvation, it is only possible by the grace of Christ and their total willingness to accept all of God's revealed truth. No one who obstinately resists God's truth in this life or in the next is going to make it into heaven.

    Many of my friends and a few family members have left the Catholic faith. Often they do so believing they have found some better experience of Christ. I have never understood this, but I try to. Too many of our Catholic saints have suffered and died for this unique faith to make light of this or minimize how wrong it is when someone leaves the Church. There is a great tendency these days to fall into being indifferent and thinking it really does not matter what denomination you choose. It seems to me that anyone who tends to think like this needs some deeper insight into why the Catholic faith is totally unique and necessary. Because it is.

    Sky

  11. Anonymous says:

    Failure to attend mass on Sunday would be a sin, not attending confession when commiting a grave sin would be a sin, many protestant denominations have moral teachings that are sinful (like birth control), etc. So yeah – moving away from the Catholic Church leads to sin.

  12. Bob Steiner says:

    DJ|AMDG

    From Lumen Gentium, a document from the Second Vatican Council, paragraph 14:

    "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."

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/v2church.htm

  13. Kirk says:

    Sheila: Check out John 17. He Who unites prays against that which divides. Let's see with His eyes. He is acutely aware of what divides and keenly draws our attention to it.

    DJ/AMDG: Any sound catechesis or catechism will delineate that a rejection of true religion is a sin against the First Commandment because what one is doing in rejecting true religion is rejecting God's full revelation of Himself, whether one sees it that way or not.

    The distinction to be held in mind is whether Tammy is truly culpable versus objectively wrong. That is something none of us can know, maybe not even Tammy. Yet, warnings of danger are perfectly appropriate and even necessary.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Rejecting the authority of the Church by interpreting verses of the scriptures of the Bible given to us authoritatively by the very same Church seems a curious way to relate to God's revelation.

  15. Anonymous says:

    AMDG:

    Schism is a mortal sin.

  16. Anonymous says:

    The Church states that missing Mass for no legit reason (i.e. sickness, large geographical separation from a church) is a "grave sin" and one that needs confessing before returning to Holy Communion. This woman's ceasing to practice the Catholic Faith is therefore a "grave sin" as she will surely withhold herself from the sacraments and the "assembly of the bretheren" as the scriptures put it. Also, the documents of Vatican II reaffirm what the Church has always taught, that those who know that the Catholic Church is the true church founded by Christ and willingly leaves her, there is no hope of salvation. Remember, to whom much is given, much is required…

    In Christ,
    Jarrad

  17. Ian says:

    The Catholic Church teaches that to go to heaven you have to die in a state of grace. You can only die in a state of grace if you have made a perfect act of contrition. Without the aid of the Sacrament of Penance it is very difficult to make such an act. Ergo, getting to heaven without the help of the Sacrament of Penance is definitely taking a huge gamble.

  18. Vince says:

    DJ|AMDG, that's exactly the point. By rejecting the complete Christian faith she is rejecting Christ in His entirety. She is rejecting His teaching on his Body – just like the disciples who left him in John 6. More than likely her 'bible' now has 66 books when the complete Bible has 73. The Bible is the Word written, Jesus is the Word made Flesh. One cannot reject any of one without rejecting any of the other. By rejecting the Sacrament of Reconciliation she is rejecting Jesus's words to the Apostles. By rejecting the Apostles' successors she is rejecting the Apostles – appointed by the Lord Himself.

    One must hope that her Catholic upbringing was woefully inadequate, and she 'knows not what she does'. That would likely mitigate her culpability before God. One must hope, fervently, that she is indeed sincere – and that she will not cease to seek the Lord in all things. In which case… she'll be back.

  19. Will says:

    I have left incomplete modernistic heretical Christianity. I have embraced the Ancient Church that I once disliked and now love with all my heart…The Catholic Faith is the ONE TRUE FAITH. The New Israel!!! The WAY to Full Communion with Almighty God…

  20. DJ | AMDG says:

    I don't understand how ceasing to practice Roman Catholicism is a sin as you said on the show or as Tammy claims. I've not read any RCC teaching or doctrine that claims this. Can you point me to such teaching? I certainly don't understand how it puts the caller's wife's soul in jeopardy as Tammy claims, since I have in fact read teaching that "salvation" is in fact available "outside" the RCC to those faithful to Christ, so…please point me to the teaching.

    Thanks.

    DJ|AMDG

  21. Sheila Deeth says:

    I guess I'd still rather concentrate on who unites rather than what divides.

  22. Tammy says:

    As a convert from Protestantism to becoming a Catholic this past Easter, I am really saddened from this caller's story as I believe, as you said Patrick, she is committing a grave sin and her soul is now in jeopardy – I don't mean to be alarmist, but it is alarming and leaving the fullness of the Faith to go half or little of the faith, is really, really disheartening. I will pray for both of them and thanks for sharing this issue with us.

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