Atheists In Heaven – Refined Catholicism

Source – Strange Notions

Comment:

A woman – we’ll call her Harriet – contacted me recently to attack Catholic Truth, and to defend the indefensible modernist revolution in the Church. This includes, of course, a defence of Papa Francis.  When I reminded her of some of his scandalous words, including his assurance to atheists that they could attain Heaven without Christ, she replied: 

“Have you read Stephen Bullivant’s books on belief, unbelief and the Church’s refined teachings about the salvation of atheists?  [Ed: Er… no]

You have no qualifications to write as you do. [Ed I have replied to ask her to identify the qualifications she thinks are necessary to “write as I do”. So far, no reply.]

May I suggest you abandon your apostolate and do something which would enhance the Church? Do you have a nice way with old people suffering from loneliness in homes, abandoned and so on?” [Ed: if it’s all the same to you, I’d sooner abandon our apostolate in order to spend my time holidaying in sunnier climes…]

Well, not having read Stephen Bullivant’s book, and curious about “the Church’s refined teachings about the salvation of atheists” I Googled to dig out  the above video on “Strange Notions” and… well… I look forward to hearing what you think – is Stephen Bullivant merely repeating what the Church has always taught about salvation or is there something new – and, of course,  “refined” –  in what he claims?

And purely as an aside: is there any hope of steering people like the papolatrist Harriet towards the truth about Papa Francis and his immediate predecessors? All and any tips welcome…  I will, of course, send her the link to this thread so go easy on her – I’m sure she means well.  Be nice, and tread carefully… If the sentiment below is true of you, go with it!

 

127 responses

  1. I felt sorry for that young man, relying on the ambiguity of the documents of Vatican II to learn the teaching of the Church on anything, let alone salvation, LOL!

    He quotes the Constitution on the Church saying Faith, Baptism and Church are all necessary for salvation, but “a few paragraphs later” people who have not yet “accepted the Gospel” but are related to the Church in some way, could be saved… Whoa! Stop there! What does that mean?

    I think Stephen Bullivant seems a genuine person but he’s missed the point that an atheist, being a person who denies the existence of God, can’t possibly be “related to the Church in some way”!

  2. I’d just like to point out that everyone on earth is related to the Church in some way, since Our Lord said “He who is not with me is against me.” Atheists are – I am astonished to have to remind our papolotrist – against Our Lord, since they refuse to believe in Him. Therefore, they have put themselves in a certain relation with Him and His Church: a negative, antagonistic one, and anything but a salvific one.

    Any other interpretation is sheer and blatant sophistry. And sophistry, I’m sorry to say, has been the modus operandi of this bizarre pontificate since Day One.

    • RCA Victor,

      I completely agree with you. It’s a contradiction in terms to speak of atheists going to heaven. The bits of the Vatican II document the young man quotes amount to gobbledegook. One minute it saying the Church is necessary for salvation, then, a few paragraphs later… “But…” Atheists will be laughing at the idea of it anyway. If they wanted to be saved they’d join the Church and be done with it!

      About “Harriet” – she sounds quite a piece of work. Her email suggests a furious anger with Catholic Truth, but if she is a fan of Pope Francis, that explains it, LOL!

  3. The question in the intro was: “is Stephen Bullivant merely repeating what the Church has always taught about salvation or is there something new – and, of course,  “refined” –  in what he claims?”

    Well, the Church’s teaching about salvation is very clear and doesn’t need “refining” IMHO. If someone desires salvation and tries to live a good life and has no knowledge of the Church and her teachings and demands, then that person may be saved. However, I’ve met a few atheists and none of them believe in God, the Church or the need for salvation, so I really don’t get what Mr Bullivant means. He seems to be missing out the bit where he went to search for the faith by which time he wasn’t an atheist! I think that’s where his confusion lies. It seems obvious that if someone doesn’t believe in God, and therefore is rejecting the faith, baptism, the Church, they cannot be saved, end of!

    • Lily,

      I totally agree – it makes no sense to say atheists can get to heaven when they don’t have the slightest desire and think it’s all fairy tales.

  4. I find it difficult to reply because we don’t have the full context of the conversation with “Harriet” and we are only getting a small snippet of the thoughts of Dr Stephen Bullivant. There are many Christians who believe as long as you take Jesus as your savior (repent) you will be saved. History also shows that many “non-Christians” were given death bed conversions.

    Having read your Sacrament post… it goes along the same line. I was recently communicating with someone who recently “found” Jesus. They of course had baptism by being submerged in water… making the claim that the Catholic baptism was not in accordance to the bible. My aim is not to claim one way is right or wrong but to point out that since the inception of religion, there have been people who have interpreted the bible in different ways. Who is right? Who is wrong? I guess that’s why we have different “Sects”.

    Each person has their individual relationship with God. To hold them to traditional beliefs take that individual relationship away.

    Dave

    • Hi Dave,

      The reason we have different “sects” and “denominations” today is due to the error that every man and woman may be his/her own pope. The question of which has the greater authority – the Bible or the Church – is what causes confusion and led to the schismatic “Reformation” in the Middle Ages.

      If you remember, though, that it was the Church which gave us the Bible in the first place, there’s a clue! I think you may find Joel Peters pamphlet on Sola Scriptura useful in clarifying the issues around authority in Christianity. Click here to read it – and then share your opinion. I’d be very interested to know what you think of his arguments that it is the Church, not Scripture alone, which holds authority to teach in Christ’s name. Feel free to disagree – my bark really is worse than my bite.

      • Did you bark? lol. If so, I didn’t notice. I really don’t have a dog in the fight (sorry for the pun) but grew up Catholic, have a brother who went to a Seminary and the history of religion intrigues me. Thank you for the link, I’m in the process of reading it but it’s quite lengthy.

        #7/8 popped out at me in regards to the debate I mentioned in having in my original message. That the church pre-dated/produced the bible. In my debate, the person was tossing out quotes from scripture. When I asked about their religious background they converted to Christianity. It sounded to me like they were “Born again” but referred to it as “non-denominational” but then said it was similar to Protestantism. I got the impression their religious instruction was nothing more than given select verses and their meaning. When I asked who they go to when they have question on scripture, it was met with silence.

        I can definitely see the point of the Catholic church being the authority to interpret it correctly. There are those who unfortunately that take scripture out of context and use it for their own biases.

        I hate to mention other blog posts you made as I probably am going off topic but I’m surprised to hear so many Catholics skewering the Pope! Is he really that unpopular? The post was “Francis: The ‘Gay’ -Friendly Pope”. I visited a church a few years ago when in which the Priest mentioned a similar topic of gays attending church services… I think the gist of it was “Who am I to say who and who cannot enter the doors of this church”. I thought it was a nice sentiment. I was surprised to the responses in your blog. Is it safe to assume that there are Catholic churches that are more Liberal/Conservative in comparison?

        Thanks for responding and for the education.
        Dave

        • David K

          “I hate to mention other blog posts you made as I probably am going off topic but I’m surprised to hear so many Catholics skewering the Pope!”

          You’ve obviously missed the Pope skewering the Traditional Catholic faithful and punishing anyone who objects to his radical progressive doctrines, such as the Franciscans of the Immaculate, a religious order he shut down, and Cardinal Burke, who was moved to an obscure outpost, and the leading authorities in the Pontifical Academy for life, all replaced with liberals, including a pro-abortion non-Catholic.

          So when you ask: “Is he really that unpopular?” The answer is yes, he is really that unpopular. Pope Francis is a danger to Faith both by his words and actions. His behaviour as Pope is unprecedented in the Catholic Church. Read the ‘Filial Correction’ sent to him on August 21. It was posted on the Rorati Caeli blog yesterday.

          • Thanks for your response. Very interesting indeed. It seems the pontiff has caught himself up in a great deal of politics. It only took me a few minutes to find that he is popular with the “Liberals” and losing popularity with “Conservatives”. I’m sure his more liberal positions have rubbed conservatives the wrong way.

            • David,

              Much more importantly, the Pope has “rubbed GOD the wrong way”! That’s all that matters.

              Watch this video clip to listen to an atheist who is definitely more Catholic than most modern Catholics…

              • I’ve actually had the chance to read more since the issue with the Pope is now in the news. Penn is explaining what his understanding is, Piers is giving his take on it. Kind of funny, based on their beliefs, how they saw things in reverse.

                There are definitely some differences in the nature of God when compared from the OT and NT. I find it strange that you made the comment that the Pope has rubbed God the wrong way, how do you know God’s disposition? And how do we know what the Pope is saying is not ( for the sake of argument) inspired from God? A now more forgiving God?
                Not trying to stir up trouble… It just seems everything now a days is either conservative vs liberal, left vs right. I learn more by staying in the middle.

                • David,

                  Penn is doing much more than “explaining his understanding” of the papal office. He is actually detailing Catholic teaching.

                  From the earliest days of Christianity, the Fathers of the Church have interpreted what we call the Petrine texts in the Scriptures (verses about St Peter in his role of leader within the Church) as meaning that when the Pope (Peter’s successors) teach in Christ’s name, based on what Christians have always believed, everywhere, and at all times, then the Holy Spirit is guaranteed to keep them free from error.

                  There is no permission to introduce new teachings and no guarantee that every pope elected will be a good pope or even pleasing to God. The only guarantee is, whoever the pope, whatever his personal qualities or lack of them, he will be protected by the Holy Spirit from binding the Church to any false teaching.

                  You have fallen into the error of some alleged “scripture scholars” of thinking that the nature of God is different in Old Testament/New Testament. Not so.

                  God cannot change. He is immutable, unchangeable.

                  Some (shallow) readers of Scripture interpret some passages of the Old Testament as revealing a vengeful God, a God of retribution, and one to be feared; while they see some passages of the New Testament as revealing a kinder God, who puts kindness and mercy above “rules”.

                  Not quite correct. Always, true charity must be paramount but that is not the same thing as allowing people free rein with their desires, self-will, passions, and claiming that God doesn’t mind as long as they are nice people. And there are beautiful passages and whole chapters in the Old Testament that reveal God’s loving forgiveness: check out the beautiful story of Hosea, whose loving forgiveness for his unfaithful wife is a type of the love of God for his unfaithful people, even then, centuries before Christ.

                  Indeed, Christ explicitly taught how we are to save our souls: “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.”

                  The “rules” matter, if we are to save our souls. And the Fathers of the Church who have studied the Scriptures and the Oral Tradition teach that it is to His Church, His one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church, that Christ bequeathed His authority to teach in His name.

                  So, we know that when the Pope teaches what has always been believed by Christians always, everywhere and at all times, he is inspired by God, he is THE prophetic voice of God in the world.

                  Pope Francis, on the other hand, is reflecting the ways of the world. He has fallen into the error of trying to make God’s law bend to suit fallen human nature instead of proclaiming the need to raise our fallen human nature up to God’s standard by accepting the graces (helps from God, a share in God’s divine nature) which are always available to those who seek to live in a way that is pleasing to God and will lead to our salvation.

                  In conclusion, things today should NOT be “conservative or liberal, left or right” – they are, in fact, either right or wrong, and if you stay in the middle, you are nihilistic; you don’t know right from wrong.

                  Nobody wants to be in the middle of the road, do they, cos that’s likely to end in being knocked down!

                  • nihilistic: “rejecting all religious and moral principles in the belief that life is meaningless.”. If we go by the above definition, that certainly isn’t me. I find the best way to understand/learn ones views or beliefs is to listen to what they say and not systematically reject them in the process. It’s an educational process and I certainly want to take the middle ground.

                    While my purpose is understanding ones worldview and not necessarily debating what you believe, I find it interesting that you state “God cannot change. He is immutable, unchangeable.” but we find in Genesis 6->8 that he seems to have some regret about Man and then the flood.

                    I enjoy learning about world religions and it is interesting how religions who believe in the same Abrahamic god differ. Also how in most every world religion, how it is claimed that their religion is most righteous.

                    Thanks for your time.
                    Dave

                    • David,

                      Christ said very clearly that the “way to [eternal] life is narrow – and few there are who find it.”

                      “Taking the middle ground” (whatever that means) in some kind of unimportant debate – say, which soap powder is best… Fairy? Ariel? Not sure… I’ll ask around … is fine but when it comes to religious and moral truth, it’s not possible.

                      Regarding my affirmation that “God cannot change… is immutable” you reply: we find in Genesis 6-8 that he seems to have some regret about Man and then the flood.

                      God regretted (i.e. was sorry about the sins of mankind and the need to punish – both of which He had foreseen from all eternity. He did not regret anything He had done (such as creating human beings or permitting the Flood) – his “regret” or “sorrow” was for what humans had done, for their rebellion. Far from being an argument against the truth that God is unchanging, unchangeable, immutable, the story of Noah and the Flood confirms that truth, properly read.

                      You write:

                      I enjoy learning about world religions and it is interesting how religions who believe in the same Abrahamic god differ.”

                      Our Lord, Jesus Christ, said: “Before Abraham was, I am…”

                      In other words, Christ is God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. The Catholic religion is not an “Abrahamic religion” because God, in Christ – not Abraham – established the Church. The Catholic Church has two aspects; it is both divine and human. Divine due to its origins, and thus enjoys the title the Spotless Bride of Christ, and human due to its members, who are human beings with faults and who sin. “The Church”, however, does not and cannot “sin” because it is substantially divine.

                      No such claims to divinity are made for the leader of any other religion. Muslims are at pains to stress that Muhammed was a human being, and the Jews do not believe in the divinity of Christ but adhere to the religion which still awaits the Messiah.

                      So, while every religion may claim that it is “righteous” as you say, every religion cannot be true, cannot be “the” religion which leads to God. Only the religion established by God fits the bill.

                      A priest named Father Owen Dudley – a convert from Anglicanism – wrote a very interesting book about Catholicism addressed to those who are not Catholics: entitled You & Thousands Like You. I’ve published some extracts from it in our latest newsletter, just hitting the doormats today, and online here now – see page 6. Check it out. It may be helpful.

                    • “Taking the middle ground”….”but when it comes to religious and moral truth, it’s not possible.”

                      I get that a great deal from people across the religious spectrum. (Except the added “morals” portion. That must have stemmed from this conversation) but rest assured, watching from the sidelines when you are not part of a particular person’s religion is certainly possible. My perspective comes from a non-religious/Buddhist view point.

                      You wrote:
                      “The Catholic religion is not an “Abrahamic religion”
                      Interesting to hear. For among other things the OT is based on the Hebrew Tanakh. Just a quick tag from wiki “Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are sometimes called Abrahamic religions because they all accept the tradition of a God that revealed himself to the prophet Abraham. The theological traditions of all Abrahamic religions are thus to some extent influenced by the depiction of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible, and the historical development of monotheism in the history of Judaism.”

                      Enjoy your day!

                    • David,

                      I get the feeling that you are having the proverbial laugh, that you are no serious student of religion. Anyone who can consider a man who abandoned his wife and son in order to go and meditate on his life and seek “enlightenment” (from where? from whom?) is no model for anyone! Still, each to his own, I suppose…

                      I’ve explained that Christianity is not an “Abrahamic” religion. God revealed Himself to many O.T. figures, so that’s no argument.

                      Elementary: God gradually revealed Himself to His People through both Old and New Testaments.

                      O and one more thing… we are duty bound, as creatures of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to enter the Church that He founded for our salvation – studying world religions isn’t going to cut it.

                      Have a nice (rest of the) day now…

                    • I am kind of having a proverbial laugh now. I came to ask a few serious questions (and was warned after my first that your bark was worse than your bite) and upon saying that I take the middle ground, each successive reply was an off hand remark about my own beliefs and morals.

                      You wrote:
                      “we are duty bound, as creatures of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to enter the Church that He founded for our salvation – studying world religions isn’t going to cut it.”
                      …and that is your belief. I won’t belittle you for them as you appear to be doing to me. I enjoy discussing religion with people but If I took your tact, I probably would not be welcome here.

                    • David K

                      Reading through your comments it is clear to me that you are not studying religion(s) with the purpose of coming to a knowledge of which is true and which is false. Your method appears to be entirely rationalist and atheistic. You seem more interested in the history of religious belief for the purpose of refuting it than embracing it.

                      This being the case, and you not having the gift of divine faith, I don’t see what profit you hope to gain from this blog. Human reason only carries a person to the threshold of faith (by obvious proofs in nature), but faith itself is a gift from God. If you don’t have it then I’m afraid you will never really understand religious belief.

                      By the way, this reference to Abrahamic religions is false. The Biblical promise was to Abraham and his seed, not his seeds. That “seed” metaphorically was Jesus Christ and no other(s). Jesus, in due time, revealed this to the Jewish authorities, but they rejected Him. In response to their claim that they were the children of Abraham, Christ responded that Abraham saw His day and was glad, and that “before Abraham was, I AM, at which point they tried to stone Him. So much, then, for that Abrahamic link. As Jesus said “God can raise children of Abraham from the very stones on the ground”. In other words, claiming to be a child of Abraham is spurious if Jesus Christ is rejected as the Son of God.

                      As for Islam, it didn’t come into existence until the 8th century AD and is a mish-mash of Judaism, Christianity and other elements. It has no historical claim whatever on Abraham if you check the historical evidence.

                      The upshot of it all is that only the Catholic Church can lay a true claim to being of the “seed” of Abraham. St. Paul himself enhanced on this with his explanation of Abraham’s two wives, the one a bond woman and the other a free woman. The offspring of the bond woman persecute the offspring of the free woman, and more numerous are the former than the latter. The moral of the story is that the Catholic Church, like her Divine Master, can be identified as true by the persecutions she suffers from every side throughout the centuries. Even today, the Church is attacked from every side for her consistent defence of divine truth and the moral law. It’s not hard to figure out!

                      I’m sorry to read that you favour Bhuddism, whose methods are simply a way of opening the soul to possession. Since you don’t have the gift of faith, however, you probably won’t understand what I mean by this and just think I’m mad. Whatever else you do in life, please stay well clear of any kind of meditation that opens the soul to unknown influences. Catholic meditation is the only safe way, since we know exactly who it is we open our hearts to. Unknown spiritual forces are a very dangerous plaything.

                      Finally, a word on this paragraph from your post:

                      “I find it interesting that you state “God cannot change. He is immutable, unchangeable.” but we find in Genesis 6->8 that he seems to have some regret about Man and then the flood.”

                      That God regretted having visited the flood on the earth does not mean He is changeable, it only means He is infinite love who wishes more to pardon than to punish. It is an expression of God’s willingness to alter things if men repent,like He did in the case of Nineve. The people of that city repented and so God relented on His promise to punish it. His love and eternal truths are what we call unchangeable and immutable, not how He chooses to exercise His justice. There is always hope that a repentent sinner can alter God’s justice in His regard.

                    • Not being focused on any single religion does help me cut out the bias that most people have of other beliefs. The history of religion is a enlightening topic. The progression of Judaism into Christianity, Catholicism…throughout the Reformation period..etc has a rich history of it’s own.
                      Looking at a timeline of religions, we can see how they developed, how they have used traditions of other civilizations and religions to bring new members to the fold.
                      If my views are “atheistic and rational” to you, then maybe they are. In America, we have the freedom to worship as we choose, we have freedom of conscience.. instead of fighting and assuming someone is bad because of their views, I’d rather ask questions and get to know the other person’s views without name calling.

                      “Editor” said of Buddha “Anyone who can consider a man who abandoned his wife and son in order to go and meditate on his life and seek “enlightenment” (from where? from whom?) is no model for anyone! ”
                      but I did not return with pointing out that God killed thousands of first born children (for instance) or the amount of deaths done in the name of Catholicism through the Crusades….I’m not here for a tit for tat.

                      It would have been nice to feel more welcome here.

                    • David,

                      I’m sorry that you feel unwelcome, but that would indicate that you have not understood our purpose, not read our House Rules – here’s some relevant extracts:

                      We would ask all non-Catholic visitors to this site to bear in mind that our fundamental purpose is to report the crisis in the Church and the world and to try to make sense of it, primarily in light of the Fatima apparitions.

                      We do not exist in order to prove either that the Catholic Church is the one Church of Christ – or that God exists – a self-evident truth

                      From time to time, in the context of a particular topic, some of our bloggers may well engage with those who claim to doubt these truths and on those occasions we will do our collective best to help answer the questions and concerns of the Church’s critics, despite  the often apparent futility of our efforts, in human terms…

                      We do our best to be as welcoming as possible to everyone, [but] shaking the dust from our feet and closing down a topic may ultimately be what we have to do to prevent acrimony developing, or when it seems that we are going round in circles with no apparent benefit to anyone.”  Check out our House Rules for more

                      You do not accept the information given here; you do not appear to recognise that Christ, being God, is unique among “religious leaders” – by definition, all religions cannot be true, cannot be pleasing to God who seeks true worship only from His people and who requires that they adhere to His Moral Law.

                      I will ignore your remark about God killing people or words to that effect. Last time I looked, people were killing people. If you don’t know the basic answer to that elementary criticism of God, that unless He makes us puppets unable to exercise free will, then your study of world religions is not repaying the time you appear to have spent on it.

                      We won’t go round in circles, David, so perhaps it would be more profitable for you to simply read this blog rather than ask questions, the answers to which you ignore when you return with more of the same old same old.

                      The Catholic Church is God’s chosen means of salvation. You’ve heard it. That’s the claim. As Cardinal Newman (famous convert to Catholicism) once said, ““We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe.”

                      In short, when you face God at your judgment, you cannot claim ignorance (even in secular law that is no defence; we are expected to educate ourselves in the law and in the much more important matter of salvation law). So, you cannot claim ignorance, David, because we will be right behind you in the queue saying “Fibber! He knew! We told him!” 😀

                    • I think what brought me here is the intrigue that there is a group that has disdain for the Pope. As i mentioned earlier, I have a brother who went to seminary, an Uncle who was a chaplain in the Army and a devout Catholic. His son is a Director for Liturgy.
                      Being from a Catholic family and having extended friends and family who are Catholic, I actually reached out to some of them about the issue with the pope. I’ve heard nothing negative about him thus far. Here are a few of the comments I did receive:
                      “I think he the best thing to happen to the church since Pope John XXIII. His teachings are of love and forgiveness which is what Jesus taught as well as caring for the poor and less fortunate among us. In my opinion, those who disagree with him are “arch conservatives” who would like to see the church back in the Middle Ages. They are much like the Christians who want to take away affordable health care.”
                      and
                      “I think that he is the best thing to happen to the Catholic church in a long time” and “He seems to put Christian values (real ones) before regulations and structures”

                      Wow, sorry but I’m finding the two different views extremely interesting. Of course you will say you are right and they are wrong. They will say they are right and you are wrong. A further explanation of “Middle Ground” comes in here. I keep an open mind, as I see the two points of view, I can research both points of view without having to worry who is right and who is wrong. Both sides have valid points.

                      Of course you can ignore my remark about “God killing people”, I’m sure it may have offended you a bit. My intent was to point out that you made a claim about Buddha, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”

                      As for your judgement comment, lol, ahh, the Jewish, The Islamic, the Hindu, the Buddhist, agnostics, atheists, Shinto, Taoist and various other religions.. all have their own belief concerning the afterlife, which doesn’t involve waiting in a line in the Christian heaven! You should spend some time learning about them. Maybe you wouldn’t be so divisive in your comments to other people.

                      Enjoy your weekend.

    • David K,

      I wouldn’t want to read the “full context” of the conversation with “Harriet” – the bit given in the intro is enough for me! She does not sound too friendly, to say the least, LOL!

  5. Whooaaa, has he drunk the spirit of Vatican II koolaid on this issue or what???

    I could go on for hours on this, but firstly to equate the OT saints with atheists is, to quote somebody or other, “Solemn nonsense”. The Church holds that the OT saints were saved by their faith in God, and their expectation and faith in the Messiah who He would send in what was their future i.e. they believed what God had revealed to them. It is important to remember that the Catholic concept of “faith” simply means the belief in everything which God has revealed to us i.e. Divine Revelation. The doctrinal content of what is held by faith matters.. It is not the same as the Protestant concept of faith which is a matter more of “trusting in God” than believing in everything which God has revealed. (This is an error which is found in the CCC which effectively embraces the Protestant understanding of faith – Schonborn strikes again!!!)

    Just as the OT saints were looking forward to the coming Messiah by faith, so in the pagan world there were those who followed the prophecies of the Sybils and who awaited the “the man of Judah who would be born of a Virgin” who had been prophesied by the Oracle of Delphi. These were the “Logoi spermatikoi”, “semina Verbi” or “seeds of the Word” which the Holy Ghost had sown among the pagan nations to prepare them for the coming of the Gospel. The Hebrew/Jewish religion did not exist in an ancient vacuum, but their religion and Scriptures were known of widely in the ancient world. So some of the great Classical thinkers, poets and philosophers were regarded by SOME Fathers of the Church as having recognized the one true God, and/or were also anticipating the coming of Christ. They were most certainly not regarded as “atheists” and, as far as I am aware, none of the Fathers believed that atheists could be saved.

    This was the situation of those before the coming of Christ and BEFORE the promulgation of the Gospel. However, with the promulgation of the Gospel, Christ taught this:

    Mark 16,15-16 : “And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not, shall be condemned.”

    The notion that anybody could be saved without faith has never been taught by the Church for as St Thomas Aquinas cites the Book of Hebrews:

    Heb 11,6 “But without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God. For he that cometh to God, MUST believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him.”

    This same citation of Scripture is used in the Council of Trent’s Decree on Justification to emphasize the necessity of faith for salvation:

    “CHAPTER VI
    THE MANNER OF PREPARATION

    Now, they [the adults] are disposed to that justice when, aroused and aided by divine grace, receiving faith by hearing,[21] they are moved freely toward God, believing to be true what has been divinely revealed and promised, especially that the sinner is justified by God by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus;[22] and when, understanding themselves to be sinners, they, by turning themselves from the fear of divine justice, by which they are salutarily aroused, to consider the mercy of God, are raised to hope, trusting that God will be propitious to them for Christ’s sake; and they begin to love Him as the fountain of all justice, and on that account are moved against sin by a certain hatred and detestation, that is, by that repentance that must be performed before baptism;[23] finally, when they resolve to receive baptism, to begin a new life and to keep the commandments of God.

    Of this disposition it is written:
    He that cometh to God, MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS, AND IS A REWARDER TO THEM THAT SEEK HIM; [24] and, Be of good faith, son, thy sins are forgiven thee;[25] and, The fear of the Lord driveth out sin;[26] and, Do penance, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost;[27] and, Going, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you;[28] finally, Prepare your hearts unto the Lord.[29] ”

    “CHAPTER VIII
    HOW THE GRATUITOUS JUSTIFICATION OF THE SINNER BY FAITH IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD

    But when the Apostle says that man is justified by faith and freely,[44] these words are to be understood in that sense in which the uninterrupted unanimity of the Catholic Church has held and expressed them, namely, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation and root of all justification, WITHOUT WHICH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD [45] and to come to the fellowship of His sons; and we are therefore said to be justified gratuitously, because none of those things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification.

    For, if by grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the Apostle says, grace is no more grace.[46]”

    So what exactly does Lumen Gentium teach which is supposed to be a “subtle” shift from the clear necessity of faith for salvation? The section referred to by Prof Bullivant says this:

    “Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have NOT YET arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a PREPARATION FOR THE GOSPEL.(20*) She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may FINALLY have life.” L.G. 16

    This is undoubtedly one of those ambiguous passages of Vatican II which requires further clarification before it can be understood in continuity with the rest of Scripture and Tradition. Probably the only thing on which I agree with Cardinal Kasper is that Vatican II contains deliberately ambiguous passages – it had to, because it was trying to reconcile two irreconcilable parties within the Church, namely Catholics and Modernists. This passage clearly has the finger-prints of Karl Rahner (of “Anonymous Christian” fairytale fame) all over it: it is meant to confuse, it is meant to lead to erroneous conclusions, it is meant to allow a modernist interpretation, but it has been toned down sufficiently by Catholic Fathers like Archbishop Lefebvre to allow an orthodox interpretation in continuity with the Councils of Florence, Trent and Vatican I.

    However, if Prof. Bullivant is saying that this passage says that atheists can be saved qua atheists – without faith and without baptism – I would suggest that he has fallen for the modernist time-bomb and modernist interpretation of these words. In fact, if one reads it carefully, one will note that nowhere does it state that people can be saved without faith. The “NOT YET” implies that by God’s grace they can still come to an explicit knowledge of God before they die. Whatever good or truth they have are a PREPARATION FOR THE GOSPEL – just like the Holy Ghost prepared the pagans for the coming of Christ – implying that they will still need to accept the Gospel in faith if they are to be saved. Even if their conversion is on their death-bed, they may still FINALLY have life.

    Nowhere does it define that people can be saved without faith. Nowhere does it define that people can be saved without baptism (or the desire thereof).

    Unless and until the Church formally defines that men may be saved without faith and without baptism, overturning binding dogmas of the Deposit of the Faith, nobody is obliged to accept Prof. Bullivant’s interpretation of this passage as true. I would say he has fallen for the modernist “School of Bologna” take on it which is not in harmony with Scripture, Tradition, the Fathers or previous Ecumenical Councils.

    Finally I would add that most people who comment on this passage forget to mention the sentences which follow it and which were no doubt inserted by the orthodox Fathers:

    “But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.(129) Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”,(130) the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.” L.G. 16 c

    • Deacon Augustine,

      Stupendous! What a superb comment. I’m going to have to read it over again, probably a couple of times to let it sink in, but that is one absolutely superb comment, packed with crucially important data. I can’t thank you enough!

  6. Listening to the confused young man in that video link, one name he mentioned jumped out at me and explained all. The name was Henri de Lubac, that heterodox theologian who was suspended from teaching and publishing for almost ten years by Pius XII up to the Pontiff’s death in 1958.

    Indeed, Pius XII wrote the Encyclical Humani Generis in part to combat the errors of de Lubac, particularly de Lubac’s attempt to destroy Catholic belief in the gratuity of the supernatural order: for it was de Lubac’s contention that God could not create intellectual beings without ordering and calling them to the beatific vision. In other words, Faith is not a divine gift from God (infallible Catholic teaching) but rather a faculty inherent to all men, that is, a natural faculty (condemned Modernism).

    The following excerpt from Humani Generis (paragraph 27) further exposes the revolutionary spirit of de Lubac and his fellow disciples of the “New Theology” (Modernism): “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. (Encyclical, Mystici corporis christi, Acta Apostolicae Sedis, Vol XXXV, p.193 ff.) Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation. Others finally belittle the reasonable character of the credibility of Christian faith.”

    Now we get to the crux of the matter! The young man in the video cites the highly questionable Vatican II document Lumen Gentium as the source for his belief that the Church teaches the salvation of atheists. Well guess who the primary author of that document was? Yes, none other than Henri de Lubac, freed from censure by Popes John XXIII and Paul VI without having to recant a single one of his errors, and subsequently raised to very important positions in the Church during the Council.

    Here’s a short, but accurate, sequence of events from Wikipedia: “In August 1960, Pope John XXIII appointed de Lubac as a consultant to the Preparatory Theological Commission for the upcoming Second Vatican Council. He was then made a peritus (theological expert) to the Council itself, and later, by Pope Paul VI, a member of its Theological Commission (as well as of two secretariats). Although the precise nature of his contribution during the council is difficult to determine, his writings were certainly an influence on the conciliar and post-conciliar periods, particularly in the area of ecclesiology where one of his concerns was to understand the Church as the community of the whole people of God rather than just the clergy. De Lubac’s influence on Lumen gentium (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church) and Gaudium et spes (Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) is generally recognized.”

    Is it any wonder that the two documents cited in this excerpt from Wiki were the only two of all the conciliar documents that Archbishop Lefebvre refused to put his signature to?

    Reading Lumen Gentium causes a constant raising of the eyebrows, such is the ambiguity of the text which in places appears to contradict infallible Church teaching.

    Examples are when it speaks of Muslims and Jews as though salvation is guaranteed the greater number of them by reason of a shared belief in Abraham and a general recognition of God as Creator (excluding Christ, the Son of God). This runs contrary even to Our Lord’s own words, who said “… I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me.” (John 14: 6-7). And again, “The Jews therefore answered, and said to him: Do not we say well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered: I have not a devil: but I honour my Father, and you have dishonoured me. But I seek not my own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Amen, amen I say to you: If any man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever. The Jews therefore said: Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest: If any man keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself? Jesus answered: If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifieth me, of whom you say that he is your God. And you have not known him, but I know him. And if I shall say that I know him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know him, and do keep his word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad. The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am. They took up stones therefore to cast at him. But Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.” (John 8: 48-59).

    It is quite clear from these words, as from the infallible dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and the constant teaching of the Magisterium throughout the centuries, that Faith in Jesus Christ and entrance into the Church He founded, the Catholic Church, are essential for salvation.

    The exception to the infallible dogma cited is that complimentary doctrine of the Church concerning invincible ignorance, by which a person of good will who, through no fault of his own, is prevented from coming to a knowledge of the truth, and yet acknowledges the existence of the Creator and keeps the Commandments of God “written in every heart”, will be saved by the merits of Our Lord.

    In fact this is no exception at all, for while such persons may not in life be united physically to the Church they are nevertheless united with her in spirit, in that they would certainly have entered the Church had the opportunity to learn the truth presented itself to them.

    In other words the majority with average intellect or above who have access to learning are without excuse for rejecting the true Catholic religion in this life. Whether their failure is by sloth, by false allegiance or on doctrinal grounds, it is the clear teaching of the Church that such people will not be saved. And certainly no one who dies an atheist can be saved, for atheism runs contrary even to human reason by denying what can very easily be deduced from the evidence present in creation, i.e., that there is a creator.

    But just in case some may argue the contrary and write in praise of Lumen Gentium, here’s what that document says of itself: “Taking conciliar custom into consideration and also the pastoral purpose of the present Council, the sacred Council defines as binding on the Church only those things in matters of faith and morals which it shall openly declare to be binding.

    Thankfully, it did not make de Lubac’s universal salvation theory binding, nor could it have done. Hence, L.G. is not a trustworthy source for discussion in the serious matter of who can and cannot be saved. For the truth we must rely solely on the infallible dogma and constant teaching of the Magisterium of the ages, which, unlike Lumen Gentium, is consistent, unambiguous and reliable.

    • Christs words are clear . He told them what he was yet they all but a few disbelieved him . We know that when Christ said ” Your name is Peter and on this Rock I will build my Church ” . He didn’t say it ( although many Protestant would disagree) to Luther or to Henry 8th . Many years ago I was working in a Protestant Church ( manual work not spiritual I must add ) and got very friendly with the Minister. One day our Faith discussion became really heated and right and wrongs were going back and forth . I then asked him as he was a Church of Scotland Minister had he a degree in Christian theology. He said yes ,I said to him ” why then if you know the Truth are you still a Church of Scotland Minister ” . I never ever got an answer back from that man . Now he was a good man and in all fairness was good to me whilst I worked in that church and was no Aitheist but I believe he knew he was on the wrong road. What you say Athananasius brought that back to me . Also I have heard lots of stories even within my own Village that people who gave up the Faith and preferred to being Atheists cried out for a Priest on their deathbed. Christ himself told us ” you shall sow what you have reaped ” . God gave us all free will and if our will on this Earth is to totally reject him then how can anything else be expected.

  7. This is me passing on the news that I have just read From Sandro Magister. The surprise which has been rumoured is that in August a letter of correction was given to Pope Francis pointing out the seven heresies which he has promulgated in Amoris Laetitia and calling on him to acknowledge his errors and to publicly correct them. This letter was originally signed by 40 people and actually includes the signature of Bishop Fellay of the SSPX. Signatures are still being added and the number is now well over 60.
    This is a letter of correction signed by priests, bishops and academics and it pulls no punches.

    • Yes I have just read the same . Although it’s Not For Us To Judge if Francis will read it . I think his interpretation of this letter condemning his support of Heretical Practices within our Faith would be akin to Jehovahs Witnesses turning up on our doorstep and asking us to read The Watchtower. He probably more likely has more interest in the atheists going to Heaven. Not though God Forbid them being converted to True Catholicism.

    • My take on the ‘academic’ signatures was that they would want to make sure everyone on the official list had the recognized qualifications necessary to argue the case correctly in line with Tradition if asked to (which actually seems reasonable to me). A list of 50,000 such as myself would make it a laughing stock from the start.

      I would however have expected an accompanying second list of faithful Catholics to have gone hand in hand with it – not relying on Steve Skojec or anyone else to start a petition which will almost certainly never appear before Pope Francis or in the Vatican at all. That said, there is the petition so get signing!

      https://www.change.org/p/petition-support-by-the-catholic-laity-for-the-filial-correction-of-pope-francis

      • Heloisa,

        You make a fair point – obviously the people writing the Correction must be qualified to “argue the case correctly in line with Tradition” as you say, but that is always the case when presenting a petition or protest. Then the public, or in this case the faithful, read it and if they see the truth of it, they sign. I’ve never seen any other petition or protest which restricted signatures to an elite few. NEVER!

        • Editor – You certainly know much more about such things than I do, so I’d like to pick your brains. Isn’t there a ‘correct’ format for even a ‘filial’ correction to take? Otherwise, what would make this any different from previous petitions? Or isn’t there any difference really? I’ve just noticed that the 2015 one http://www.filialappeal.org/ was classed a ‘filial’ petition so what’s different with this one? Is it that an appeal is different to a correction?

          Serious questions here – my knowledge of such things is NIL! Is only a ‘formal’ correction regarded as official?

          • Heloisa,

            I’m afraid I haven’t a clue about “correct formats”. Certainly writing polite letters doesn’t work, and the official method of submitting formal questions to a Pope asking him to remove doubt in a matter of Faith or Morals (“dubia”) has been tried by a group of Cardinals and failed to elicit any response from the Pope. In summary, being “nice” doesn’t work.

            Thus some Catholics resort to a semi-formal “appeal” such as the one to which you link or the current “Filial Correction”. The clue is in the word “filial” (son/daughter) – hence, the appeal or correction is undertaken in humility, and written as from a child respectfully to a parent. The onus then is on said “parent” to amend his/her ways.

            However, Papa Francis appears to have no intention of amending his ways, and I doubt if this latest “Filial Correction” will change that. I’d be delighted to be wrong, of course, with or without my signature on the list!

            I think I’m correct is saying (but if not, please, someone, correct me) that the only thing left when faced with a pope such as Francis, is for senior prelates, senior cardinals/bishops, to call a Council to confront the pope with his errors and make a formal pronouncement of some kind issuing from that meeting – but, I stress, I’m no expert on this, so I invite those more knowledgeable than my unworthy self to educate us in this matter.

            What I DO know is that no individual lay person or priest is authorised or empowered to make a definitive judgment on this pope. Until those senior prelates act in a legitimate manner to do so, the rest of us simply accept him – in a spirit of Faith but NOT in a spirit of false obedience – as the duly elected pontiff and we recognise the extent and limits of his authority – resisting all errors and heresies.

            Hope this helps… a little, at least!

            • Editor and Heloisa,

              I’ve tried to look up the differences between the current “filial correction,” the previous one, and the Dubia, without success.

              The only difference I can see is that the new F.C. directly accuses Francis of heresy, 7 of them in fact, whereas the previous two corrections did not. The older filial correction, in fact, is a reaffirmation of Church doctrine rather than a rejection of heresy from an explicit source (e.g. AL).

              I was hoping there was something in True or False Pope? about this, but I can’t find it there either.

              As for a standard format, there does not seem to be one.

              RCAVictor, not very much at your service….

              • RCA Victor,

                Thank you for that very helpful (cough) intervention…

                Seriously, I don’t think there’s any definitional difference of which to speak between the various modes of communicating “filial” concerns to a pope – it’s (thankfully) not every day we find ourselves with a pope like Papa Francis who needs correcting… He really is one of a kind (we sincerely hope!)

              • Editor and RCAVictor,

                Thank you both for explaining this – it does actually help (believe it or not!) because I was thinking that this ‘Filial Correction’ might be what is expected officially/in keeping with Tradition etc. before an actual Formal Correction by Cardinals. I keep reading that this hasn’t been done since 1300s so presumed it was part of a recognized process.

                At the end of the day, then, it seems to me that this is just another unofficial petition which, as RCAVictor has said, actually accuses the Pope of Heresy for the first time.

                I think all the online expectation etc about this one misled me into thinking this was part of a Formal Correction.

                So, yes you have been of service!!

  8. This “letter of fraternal correction” has even been reported in today’s copy of “The Australian” and they also give a link to the letter itself so that anyone may read it.

    • To add your name to the correction:

      Update: to add your name (the public list will be moderated, i.e. we are looking especially for signatories with academic qualifications etc.) please email

      info@correctiofilialis.org

      or go to Change.org to support the petition.

      • Deacon Augustine,

        I have tried to find the list but can’t see one except the first few on Rorate Caeli. Where can we view the complete list when it get published – I presume it will get published?

          • Lily, Deacon et al,

            I’ve just checked the list and I am not on it nor is Athanasius. Click here to check it. Deacon, not wanting to break your cover, but since there is only one Deacon up there, identified as a Deacon, I assume that’s your good-self. Ignore this if you wish to remain anonymous.

            By the way, if anyone wishes to sign it and add “Catholic Truth” (Scotland) – feel free. If you’re with us, you’re not against us, so you’re welcome to replace your non-existent academic qualifications with your Soldier of Christ credentials, which are much MUCH more important!

            I just cannot understand the mentality of the organisers of this initiative. The normal – obvious – thing in such a situation is to want as much publicity as possible, to pile on the pressure. Putting less than 100 signatures online just doesn’t cut it.

            The Jesuit publication America has already written off the “Correction” (which they put in inverted commas), calling the organisers “dissenters” and the signatories “low level theologians”, so I really can’t see why they have been so secretive and gone for a sort of slim-line protest. Doesn’t make any sense.

            • Editor

              The list hasn’t altered at all from the 62 signatures of yesterday. I have no idea if it will be updated at some later stage but agree with you that it would have had far more impact had it been signed first by the 62 then by all other Catholics who wanted their voice to be heard.

              Like you, I can’t get my head around this “academics only” approach. I guess it was supposed to impress the Pope, but, as you say, it’s just being written off by the liberals as the work of a small number of impertinent dissenters. The National Catholic(?) Register, like that Jesuit publication, is also writing it off as weak.

              • By the way, I notice that Michael Matt’s name is not on the list of signatories and there’s no apparent mention of the correction on the Remnant website. Odd, don’t you think?

                • Athanasius,

                  That’s very odd indeed. I am increasingly sceptical about the whole thing – the secretive-ness, the hints leading up to the publication, which, due to the small number of signatures has ended up with the DSE (Damp Squib Effect)

                  There’s been no mention of it on the TV news so far, and I think – sorry to say – that this is a definite case of an opportunity missed.

                • Athanasius, Editor,

                  I don’t find it odd (possibly for all the wrong reasons) because, when VeriCatholici called their conference and statement against AL, the Remnant and other blogs gave it no support nor did they ask their readers to sign the petition which went with it. (I posted it to a couple but it was just ignored). At the time this really surprised me, to put it mildly. Personally I thought that particular document was exceptionally well put together – most I can’t be bothered to wade through.

                  Fast learning curve – over the past two – three years I’ve sadly realized the amount of clique related behaviour there seems to be in these matters. The phrase ‘someone else is stealing our thunder’ came to mind then and still does regularly. Enough said!

                  • Heliosa,

                    Sadly, I think you are correct in your sense of “clique-related behaviour” and “someone else is stealing our thunder” attitude – you are spot on, unfortunately.

                    I’ve been aware of this mentality for quite some time, noting the anxiety to have “Breaking…” and “Exclusive…” on news reports on certain websites. It’s very human, I suppose, but a great pity when it prevents reputedly “traditional” outlets from supporting other ventures.

                    I do remember being surprised when I asked a noted “traditional” publication/website to link to a petition which we were hosting against the Medjugorje hoax. Eventually the link did appear but without any blurb of support. I think that was one of the first times I remember detecting this weakness. I’ve never asked for their support for anything since and I don’t hold that publication/website in the same regard, although I still link to them and publish some of their articles/reports/videos. I just do not think of the individuals involved as highly as I did previously. All very sad.

            • I am sure that when this exercise was first devised there was no intention to widen the support base for public impact. All these corrections and dubia have been sent first privately to the Pope in accordance with the Gospel principles of brotherly correction. Keeping a tight circle who could be relied upon not to leak the initiative would be an important consideration in this. I believe that in this case some helpful soul “broke the embargo” which meant that it became public before the organisers had made any further plans. Thus the subsequent plan to attract further support has probably been a bit of a last-minute botch.

              • Deacon Augustine,

                Of course any corrections/dubia must be sent privately in the first instance. That has always been our own policy when dealing with scandals, in compliance with, as you rightly remind us, the Gospel injunction to go to the person in need of correction privately first, and only then, in the face of obstinacy, to make the correction public.

                However, by the time of composing that (in my opinion, far too lengthy) Correction, the time had long since lapsed between the initial approach by the four cardinals and the submission of this Correction. It would not, it seems to me, have breached the Gospel injunction to initial private correction, to have launched a very public appeal for signatures to this latest enterprise, given that all private appeals to the Pope have been ignored.

                As it happens, allowing more signatures (at least in theory – can’t see any on the list so far) does, indeed, look like “a last minute botch”, a desperate attempt to make the Correction look less like a damp squib and more like a meaningful attempt at correcting this scandalous pontiff.

                It’s a pity. With a massive publicity drive and widespread links to source, this could have been a significant move.

            • Editor, if you are referring to Deacon Nick Donnelly who is one of the original signatories, no that is not me. Deacon Donnelly used to run the “Protect the Pope” blog in the days when we had a Pope worth protecting, but it was shut down after intimidation from on high. He is a good man and I am glad to see that at least one of my brethren is represented there.

              Whatever “America” says about it shouldn’t be relevant to Catholics as they are merely a mouthpiece for modernist heretics.

              • Deacon Augustine,

                Yes, I was, indeed, referring to Deacon Nick Donnelly. Thank you for clarifying that.

                I cited “America” magazine precisely because it is a mouthpiece of modernist heretics. The issue which is at the root of my criticism of this Filial Correction (or, rather, how the organisers have gone about producing and publishing it) is precisely the matter of how it is perceived by those who SHOULD fear it most – the Pope himself and his allies, the enemy within.

                That the heretics are dismissing it, as of no consequence, is irritating in the extreme. It really didn’t have to be this way. The only signatures on that Filial Correction at time of publication are a few – less than a hundred – academics, presumably personally known to the organisers. There are many others, and countless NON-academics, who are perfectly intelligent and concerned enough to sign such a protest, who knew nothing about it until it was published and so, as a result – I am sorry to repeat – it has turned out to be a damp squib, unlikely to faze Papa Francis one bit, and openly mocked by his friends, the enemies of the Faith.

                I really do hate having to say all of this; I would have loved nothing more than to be able to throw my weight behind this enterprise (and given the amount of chocolate I’m consuming in preparation for Lent, that weight is becoming not inconsiderable 😀 ) but there’s no point in pretending that this is the breakthrough we’ve all been awaiting.

                • Editor, I do share your concerns about it. However, the heretics would have dismissed it whatever had happened – just like they have dismissed and ignored everything else.

                  At least they have got 6 more signatories up on the main list today – including Bishop Emeritus Rene Gracida. He is a true shepherd.

                  We must remember that above all else, this is a spiritual war in which we are contending with the devil himself and all the powers of darkness. Sr. Lucia’s words to Cardinal Caffarra were deadly serious. We can expect to have our faith, hope, charity, patience, endurance and good-will all put to the test throughout these times. We must expect the persecution of faithful Catholics to increase in its intensity and severity and pray for the grace of final perseverance.

                  I hope and pray that this current effort is just one small step in a process and, regardless of its effectiveness, it will be followed up with stronger measures. Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart will triumph in the end and she will crush the serpent’s head.

    • John R,

      “Australian link ‘so that anyone may read it'” – or save it to read when they take a month’s holiday! I’m sure that the Correction could have been edited to a more readable length – easily.

      Don’t misunderstand – I’m pleased that it is packed with documentary evidence to substantiate the case against Papa Francis, but I can’t help thinking that, with a bit of thought and effort, it could have been a little bit less like the sequel to War & Peace…

  9. Deacon Augustine

    The only qualification that should matter is fidelity to the faith. These people seem to think that only they, the academics, have a right and duty to address the crisis in the Church. They forget that it was the academics who caused the crisis in the first place. They’re a pretentious lot. Thank God I’m no academic, it would be so worrying having to maintain an equal humility with such a lofty intellect. We’ll let the egg heads get on with it while we, the great unwashed tattie muncher laity, continue to nibble away on the scraps.

    • Athanasius,

      I completely agree – it’s terrible that they think only people with academic certificates could be of influence.

      Saying that, though, I think it would be a mistake for editor not to be on the list. Catholic Truth is in the background enough, IMHO. Other blogs get the press although they are no better than Catholic Truth.

      • Lily

        I agree that Editor should sign as Editor of Catholic Truth. The blog and newsletter are well enough known, even at Vatican level, to make an impact. But will the pretentious snobs add it to the list? That’s another question.

    • Athanasius,

      Who are you kidding? I know for a fact that you have letters after your name…

      M.A.D., N.U.T…

      And here’s your photo on Graduation Day, addressing the Vatican Press Corps…

  10. Editor & Deacon Augustine,

    Just forwarded my signature for inclusion with all the others because it is important that as many as possible sign this public correction of the Pope. Still smarting at the “intellectuals only” rule, though!

    • Athanasius, just remember that the lowest form of life in the Church is the deacon, so if I do cop it, I look forward to being elevated to the ranks of the laity as one of your fellow “non-intellectuals”. 😉

      One only has to look at the paper qualifications of all those bishops who voted the sin into Synod to know that the only qualification which really matters is fidelity. (OK I know the Pope is trying to dodge that by suggesting that rather than the Deposit of Faith it should be the Deposit of Life, but he has already ruined his credibility with the faithful anyway.)

  11. Just submitted my signature again together with an attached copy of my ‘Angelus’ theological essay of 2014, demonstrating that I was advocating a correction of the Pope long before they were. Just testing the waters to see if there’s any other kind of partisan behaviour involved in the gathering of signatures. I hope it’s not a case of “I don’t like you, so I’m not adding your name to the list.” Now that would be very petty.

    • Athanasius et al (with the exception of any “trans” deacons who may be lurking) 😀

      I found this link to a summary of the Correction, which has an invitation to sign at the end. I clicked on, and gave the requested details which did NOT include “mention your academic qualifications” so I signed my name, and status as editor of Catholic Truth (with Scotland in parenthesis in case that helps!) and then received a “thank you” message informing me that my name will go through the moderation process to see if I am worthy to be added to the list of academics and scholars. I smiled a bitter smile, I can tell you. So, having signed twice – once with and once without my academic qualifications (a degree in education and another in theology – yes, folks, that’ show easy it is to get a degree in theology; they even gave ME one…) – it will be interesting to see which one (if either) is added to the list.

      Darn it – I KNEW I should have gone for Law. Then, at least I could sue them for not putting me on the list… Law was my first choice. Never, folks, never make a decision of such magnitude by using the method I chose…

      • Editor

        The reason I submitted my signature is that I noticed another on the list that simply had “Writer and essayist” beside it. If that’s sufficient to qualify one as “academic” then I see no reason why my signature can’t be added.

        What really intrigues me, though, is that you are, all joking aside, a true academic. You have both a teaching degree and a theology degree. Therefore, if your name remains excluded from the list of signatories by Dr. Shaw then there can only be one of two reasons for it: either partisan or misogynist. I hope I’m wrong in my suspicion, I really do. This correction of Pope Francis is too serious a matter to admit snobbery on the part of its organisers.

        • Athanasius, the details I sumitted included an honours degree, an associateship of the Royal College of Science and a professional qualification. However it might be that they only consider people with post-grad qualifications such as PhD and MPhil to meet the criteria.

          Perhaps i should resubmit under the name of “Deacon Disgustin'” and see if that goes anywhere? 😉

          • Deacon Augustine,

            Well my M.Th. is a post-grad degree… But, hey, you’re some academic. No wonder they don’t mind being associated with thee!

            I haven’t checked recently, so I will not presume the worst just yet, but last time I DID check, my signature was notable by its absence.

            Having commented (on this blog) a tad negatively about Dr Shaw’s “liturgical pluralism” article in the Catholic Herald, I may not make the grade, post-grad degree or no post-grad degree – we shall see. All will be revealed in due course, assuming the entire list of signatories is made public.

            • I hadn’t thought about run-ins with “traddie establishment” figures, but that may also be a tad negative for yours truly. I have a nasty habit of mauling ultramontanists even if they have “trad credentials”.

                • Athanasius, it is a word which has suffered some changes in meaning over the last century or so and was probably not the best one to use. Please mentally delete the term “ultramontanists” and reinsert “sycophantic papolaters.”

                  • Deacon Augustine

                    Yes, “sychophantic papolaters” certainly describes today’s post-conciliar Catholics. They drive me nuts, too.

                    Mental gymnastics duly completed!

          • Deacon Augustine

            That may have been a plausible explanation if it were not for the fact that there is at least one name on the list without any qualifications. Yours should definitely be added without the need to re-sign as Deacon Disgustin’! Maybe later you could submit another attempt signed Deancon Disgusted!

            • Athanasius, I have resubmitted on the new form, but as Editor says, there is no place to put your qualifications or whether one holds any office in the Church. So how exactly they are going to “moderate” this I have no idea.

              I would have thought that having the Director of a Diocesan Marriage & Family Life Commission on their list would have been quite useful as it hardly betokens a “bat-shit crazy traddy” and the office is just ever so slightly relevant to the subject matter at hand.

              C’est la vie.

        • Athanasius,

          “All joking aside” allow me to assure you that I’m no “true academic”… But, in terms of this list, I’m sure it would pass muster if only the name in front of the letters were different – say, Paige Turner or Sadie Vacantist… 😀

          Won’t jump to conclusions just yet, though. One waits and one sees…

            • There’s one signature from an official of Una Voce, but no academic qualifications shown:

              Leo Darroch
              President, Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce 2007 – 2013

              That seems to confirm that it’s a case of who you know, not what you know, LOL!

              I’m also wondering what happens if it becomes clear that the Pope is not going to respond to this Filial Correction? So far, it’s all been about people submitting questions and concerns but getting no answers. How long can that go on?

  12. MM,

    Not only is Leo Darroch not the current President of FIUV, but there is another editor listed, who, again, has no academic qualifications:

    Dott. Mauro Faverzani
    Editor of the Magazine “Radici Cristiane” (Italy)

    Well, it seems to me, if you’re going to make an unreasonable rule to prevent certain people signing, who are considered undesirables (like us yins, here at Catholic Truth), you ought to at least stick to that ridiculous rule.

    Of course, it goes without saying that this enterprise will not be graced IF it is underpinned by such a lack of charity that seeks to exclude signatures for less than noble reasons. It will achieve little, if anything, of its desired aim, although the documented answers to the specified heresies is very useful, indeed, to have filed in one place, so we thank the organisers for that.

      • Editor,

        The link you have been checking is the one I clicked on. Idiot that I am, have just noticed that I missed out the word “not”. It should in fact read that my name will not be on the list.

        Back to the drawing board. Sad to say I a few years back had been working towards an Open University degree, but never finished for reason or another about 80 points short.

        • Theresa Rose,

          I think it’s clear now that only “those and such as those” will be included on this list. It will not be blessed by God – there is a clear question mark over the motivation; were the motivation purely for the good, for the correction of the Pope, the organisers would be seeking as many signatures as possible AND they would prompting the consciences of senior prelates not aiding and abetting their silent complicity in the scandal of Amoris Laetitia and other words and actions of Pope Francis.

          This “Filial Correction” amounts to nothing more than a PR exercise.

    • Theresa Rose,

      I thought the moderated list was an extension of signatures to the original list, not a separate list. Are you sure you’re not getting confused with Steve Skojec’s initiative over at 1P5?

    • Deacon Augustine

      Thank you for posting that link to LSN. I absolutely disagree with Dr. Shaw and his rationale.

      He says, for example, that they deliberately chose not to invite Cardinals to sign the filial correction because Cardinals are closer to the Pope and this makes matters more difficult for them. And yet from the Acts of the Apostles we have St. Paul correcting St. Peter publicly.

      Who was closer to the first Pope than St. Paul? Who was more senior in the Church after St. Peter than St. Paul? And did St. Paul use diplomacy and long-winded theological argument in his rebuke of St. Peter? No, he simply told St. Peter straight to his face that he was acting contrary to the Gospel. Cardinals of the Church should be doing the same thing without fear of losing their position. There is no need for lengthy theological argument, Our Lord Himself has condemned divorce and remarriage as adultery, that’s all any Catholic needs to know and recount to those who seek to undermine the Church’s moral teaching.

      Archbishop Lefebvre put theological truth to the Modernist authorities in Rome for forty years, yet it did not, as Dr. Shaw reasons, win over those in error. That’s because the ones in error knew that what they were doing was contrary to Catholic teaching and practice.

      There has been far too much diplomacy going on at the highest levels for too long, too many putting position and reputation before truth and the salvation of souls. Time for some refreshing honesty from those shepherds who still hold to the truth, time for some martyr-like bravery. Diplomacy is fine under certain circumstances but is all too often put forward as an excuse for cowardice. Our Lord was not a diplomat, He spoke openly and to the point and was crucified for it. Likewise the Apostles and martyrs.

      Straight talking to Pope Francis does not equate to disrespect or disobedience. The Pope has had ample time and opportunity to answer the concerns put to him and yet seems determined to let confusion reign. Time for a change in strategy. Time for forthright, but respectful, confrontation from those whose duty it is in the first place, namely, the Cardinals and other prelates. Let them take St. Paul as their example and rebuke Peter publicly for causing scandal. Better than 25 pages of theological argument that gets ignored!

      • Athanasius,

        Well, if that latest jewel of a post from you doesn’t win you a huge pay rise, nothing will. If only we had some money!

        Seriously, I endorse each and every word – you could not be more correct. Everything you say is right on the button, nails hit on head, spot on, you-name-it… etc!

        The time for diplomacy masquerading as prudence, is long gone. It’s time for those who claim to be genuinely concerned to break cover. To speak out. To warn – that is the basic Confirmation, prophetic, duty of every baptised Catholic; to warn of the danger of incurring the wrath of God by ignoring and flouting His revealed truth.

        We have lacked leadership from priests and bishops throughout this time of trial in the Church. Too many are guilty of moral cowardice and they will pay a heavy price at their judgment, for souls are being lost due to their weakness.

        Priests and bishops forget that the majority of the lay faithful keep them dusted and polished on top of pedestals, and argue with people like us, saying “If what you are telling me is true, Father (and Bishop) So & So would be objecting… Ergo, it’s not true, we have a good pope… you are wrong!”

        Those who are not afflicted by the spiritual blindness that is a feature of this crisis today, that is, those priests and bishops who see the problem, who recognise the destructive stranglehold that Modernism is having on the Church of Christ, MUST stand up to be counted. They MUST show leadership now, better late than never.

      • I think you make some very fair points, Athanasius. Have you ever read St Alphonsus Liguori’s sermon on “The Sin of Human Respect”? I reckon it gives some accurate pointers to the reason behind all this “diplomacy” at the highest levels.

        • Deacon Augustine,

          The sermons of St Alphonsus Liguori are truly sobering. I have a copy on my bookshelf. This from the sermon on Human Respect: it is impossible to serve God, and not be persecuted.”

          Which is why it is very foolish of priests and prelates to play the “prudence” game when it is often nothing more than the kind of shallow diplomacy practised by Pontius Pilate – patron saint of all moral cowards.

    • Deacon Augustine,

      I’m not remotely impressed with Joseph Shaw’s rationale at all. I agree with Athanasius’s clear thinking on this, and especially with his remarks about brevity. While it is useful to have all that documentation in one place to trounce Amoris Laetitia, it has to be said that, as a means of communicating concerns to the Pope, the Correction is unnecessarily lengthy. It’s hardly surprising that he’s not responded – it would take most people quite some time to read and digest it all, let alone reply.

      • Editor,

        I agree with you completely. All we hear these days from modern Catholics is that we should be “prudent”. We heard it about Jacob Rees-Mogg and now we hear it about Cardinals.

        You cannot be prudent when Faith and Morals are at stake. Remember Our Lady said more souls go to Hell due to sins of the flesh than any other sin, therefore it is incumbent on ALL Catholics, ESPECIALLY the prelates of the Church, to protect and defend the Doctrine of the Church.

        Cardinals are the very prelates who SHOULD be signing. I mean let’s face it, will the current pope care if Professor Whatshisface, with a PhD in Whatdoyoucallit, signs? I don’t think he will bother his little white bunnet! He would care if a sizeable number of his Cardinals signed.

  13. Editor and Deacon Augustine

    I agree with everything you say, and with the reference to the admonitions of St. Alphonsus Liguori. I have come to despise that word “dialogue” in its modern interpretation. Everyone wants to dialogue but no one wants to speak plainly. The conciliar Popes have entertained and encouraged this modern fork-tongued dialogue, making more and more concessions to the Church’s enemies along the way in order to keep it alive. Their predecessors for almost two thousand years were heralds of divine truth, unwilling to make the least concession to sin and error. These understood well that the fall of our first parents began when Eve entered into dialogue with the serpent. Read any Encyclical Letter of the Popes prior to Vatican II, or the documents of any doctrinal council of the Church, and the truth is there in black and white in short and concise teaching.

    Contrarily, read the documents of Vatican II and the Encyclicals of the post-Vatican II Popes and they are conspicuous by their length and verbosity, as also by their ambiguity, the desired end! Truly, Modernists are intoxicated with the exuberance of their own verbosity. In a nutshell, it is intellectual and spiritual pride. They thought themselves more enlightened than their predecessors, thought themselves chosen above their fellows to make peace with a rebellious world and reach a peaceful coexistence with error, and look what has happened as a result. A predictable, if gradual, eradication of all that was once so clearly true and holy.

    Better stop now lest I too become intoxicated with the exuberance of my verbosity! Nuff said!

    • Atahansius, indeed. Case in point: Amoris laetitia is longer than the entire New testament. Mortalium animos is such light relief and to the point in comparison.

      It reminds me of the words written by one of Churchill’s speech-writers in the margin of one of his speeches: “Your point is weak here: speak louder.”

  14. Just carried out a quick check of the signature list of the filial correction and I see it has been updated with names added on September 25.

    As predicted, neither Editor, Deacon Augustine nor myself have made the grade. I have no problem personally with this since God knows my good intention. I’m sure editor and Deacon Augustine are of the same disposition.

    What it does now appear to confirm, however, is that whoever is moderating this list is not motivated by true charity and love of the Church, which is a great tragedy. Since our qualifications are not in question, it follows that another motive underlies the exclusion of our signatures and it can only be a discrimanatory one. The moderator, it would seem, is weighing not only the qualifications of individual signatories, but also their Catholic standing as he judges it. Very, very sad!

    I’m actually quite relieved that my name has been rejected, given my comment on the LSN article linked by Deacon Augustine. I really do not want to be associated with any kind of elitist lay initiative that excuses Traditional Cardinals and other prelates from doing their public duty on the one hand, while excluding the ordinary faithful on the other. The entire business smacks of snobbery, though I cannot help but hope that it will somehow move Pope Francis to reflection.

  15. Steve Skojec has apparently started a petition for the laity to sign (that is, for those of us with no prestigious credentials except the sensus fidelium and the mark of Baptism). I don’t know why he thinks this will have any effect on a Pope drunk with pride, but as the other bloggers have already said (more politely), the hierarchy needs to get in Francis’ face, not in his mailbox.

    • I doubt it will have any positive effect on the Pope but 1) it will certainly add to the barrage of protest which he and his henchmen quite obviously FEAR. Yes, they are afraid. 2) It gives everyone the chance to do something positive publicly for God 3) God sees it and therefore it WILL have a positive effect somewhere along the line, although we might not know it in this life.

    • RCA Victor,

      I will now go and see if my signature of the 1P5 petition is accepted; it’s clear that my submission to the Correction is not going to be published; there are now 149 names up there – I checked a minute ago, for the last time. I am taking no further interest in this document, which seems of dubious motivation.

  16. Deacon Augustine,

    I found a comment from you in the SPAM box this morning. I released it, but now can’t find it on this thread. I am having to abandon my computer for a few hours, so don’t have time to devote to another search.

    You were saying that you have re-signed the copy of the Correction which does not ask for academic qualifications, as I did, and that, like me, you received a “thank you” message explaining that the moderators would now decide whether or not you should be added to the list. You rightly ask the question how will they decide, given that there are no academic credentials given…

    How, indeed!

    PS sorry about the lost comment – you may be able to find it yourself. The mysteries of WordPress, as I have frequently opined, surpass the greatest of the mysteries of Faith!

    • Editor, not a problem. You obviously have an angel working as your moderator and he was determined that I should not “come out” as a greater fool than I already have done.

      As Athanasius said, we have done what we felt to be right with the right intention, so if it has not worked out then at least we can have a clear conscience. Its not worth wasting any more bandwidth over it.

  17. I know this question has been raised before here, but I am once again wondering where all these “academics” and other “correctionists” have been for the past 50 years. Sipping their Cabernet Sauvignon whilst indulging their ecumenical, liturgical and doctrinal fantasies? Fiddling while Rome burned? How many of them, besides Bishop Fellay, have been raising the alarm all these years?

    Well, it is now 11:59:59 PM in the crisis of the Church, yet all we have are these powerless corrections which continue to be ignored by the Pope, who is silent because he has sized up his enemies and concluded that they do not have the will to stop him.

    This situation reminds me of the Novus Ordo Rite of Exorcism, in which the devil is politely requested to remove himself from his victim – rather than being commanded to do so. Likewise the correctionists, who, though they have stepped into the void created by a supine hierarchy, can do no more than politely request.

    If the Church had not been reduced to anarchy, and to groveling in the mud for human respect, she would have commanded by now. Our Lord displayed His power openly only once during His Passion, at the very beginning when Judas and the soldiers came to arrest him in the Garden. I am longing for just one such display by the Church in her passion.

    Perhaps I’m just seeking relief from this chastisement, but I am so tired of the hierarchy inhaling the smoke of Satan, and then blowing it in our faces.

    • RCA Victor

      I agree with every word, and loved the last sentence.

      Archbishop Lefebvre was the example that all prelates in the hierarchy must follow. He spoke publicly and openly about the dangers to faith that the conciliar Popes were either introducing or permitting. There was no human respect in his corrections, just solid faith. I remember him saying “Satan’s masterstroke has been to sow disobedience through obedience”. Well I think we can alter that a little to meet the present circumstances and the silence of the shepherds by saying “Satan’s masterstroke has been to sow disrespect through human respect”. If Popes endanger the Faith publicly they should be corrected publicly, that’s what St. Paul demonstrated to all subordinates in the Church for all time.

    • RCA Victor,

      I think you are absolutely right. Where have all these “academics” been for the past 50 years – Fiddling while Rome burned? Yes, I agree, fiddling while Rome burned.

      I don’t think they will make much difference now, at this late stage, with their petition. I really don’t.

  18. I turned to the website “The Remnant” where there is a lengthy video of Matthew Matt discussing “filial correction”. I did not play the whole video but I got the general drift of it quickly enough. He moved on to gossip which is circulating in the Vatican and according to that gossip one of the next moves which Pope Francis will make is to remove the College of Cardinals and the reason behind that move would be so that he can choose his successor as Pope!
    I shudder at that thought. Another Pope like Pope Francis! De his libera nos Domine!

  19. This is a reply to David K ‘s comment of September 29, 2017 at 8:22 pm because there is no reply button there.

    Your Catholic relatives who praise Pope Francis are obviously modernists and Pope Saint Pius X defined Modernism as “the synthesis of all heresies”. That’s very serious because the one thing we are bound to hate is heresy!

    I’ve enjoyed reading through your comments and the replies to them, but reading your 8.22pm comment today, I think it is clear that you are (understandably) confused about what it means to be a true Catholic and a faithful pope. There is warfare going on in the Church today due to the rise of Modernism and the recent popes not acting in accord with their office to teach and correct heresies. Your relatives seem to be unaware of the purpose of a pope. Talking about forgiveness and mercy in the wrong way (as if it justifies sin) is wrong. Pope Francis doesn’t condemn sin, but talks as if we can live a life of sin and be sure of God’s mercy, even if we don’t repent and try to change. That’s not the teaching of Christ who always said “repent!”

    Our Lady of Fatima did warn us about this crisis, and it will all come right soon enough, in God’s own time, but please do not be misled into thinking that it’s OK for Catholics to have their own opinions about serious matters of faith because it’s not. Your relatives are not educated in the faith or they would know that, with all due respect.

    • David K,

      I forgot to say that I am not an “arch conservative” – your relatives are wrong to label people like that who are doing nothing more than sticking to the eternal teachings of the Church. If they are calling us “arch conservatives” then they must be “arch liberals” and there is no place in the Church for liberalism. I once read a great article entitled “Liberalism is a sin”. If I can find it, I will post a link here.

      • David K

        Since all we do here is uphold the same Catholic Faith that was held and professed by the saints and martyrs, then I guess your family members must also consider them to be “arch conservatives”.

        There are of course no such deliniations in the Catholic Church. One is either a Catholic faithful to Tradition or one is an apostate, it’s that simple. But just to help you understand what is taking place in the Church today with the Modernist rebellion, whose adherents mistake human respect for mercy and charity, here are the wise words of Archbishop Lefebvre for your meditation: “The martyrs sacrificed their lives for the truth, now they sacrifice the truth”

        One final point: St. Paul calls the gods of the pagans “demons”. That doesn’t bode well for you and your interest in Eastern cults, I’m afraid. Reflect!

  20. Athanasius, “The martyrs sacrificed their lives for the truth, now they sacrifice the truth”

    How absolutely spot on! I couldn’t quite get my head around that until recently when our PP, upon being presented with the fact that the martyrs had died for the Faith ( truth), replied: “Oh we’ve moved on from there. We are all christians and profess the same faith”. And more drivel to that effect! It was then that the scales dropped from my eyes and I realised that we were discussing 2 very different religions.

    I always was a bit on the slow side……

    • RCA Victor,

      I think most priests think like that these days. I’ve been astonished to read the dates of birth of some Scots priests – they are FAR too young to have ever been near an orthodox catechism. Imagine a priest in his thirties – what POSSIBLE chance does he have of knowing the Catholic religion. No question mark because the answer is obvious!

      • Editor, I have 6 young adults and I assure you that every one of them would know the Catholic Faith. There are still some informed Catholics out there.

        • O well, Olaf, that’s good. I’ve been wrong about Catholic schools. I thought there were a couple of generations not taught the Faith, but I am obviously wrong. Thanks for putting me right. We can scrub Catholic education off the list of concerns. Wonderful news.

          • Editor, none of our children went to Catholic schools. God forbid! We sent them to State schools and catechised them at home. Then we sent them to Catholic Summer schools south of the border every summer.
            Oh the thought of sending them to Scottish Catholic schools makes me shiver!

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