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Bishop George Hay on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus

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Bishop George Hay on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus

Post  Jehanne on Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:55 pm

Everyone,

This is a fantastic chapter from the late Bishop George Hay's book:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Sincere_Christian/Volume_2/Chapter_29

Here's the Wikipedia article on him:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Hay_(bishop)

In my opinion, what Bishop Hay wrote is definitively the mind of the Church. We cannot and ought not ever presume the salvation of non-Catholics, no matter how sincere they are in their false beliefs, nor should we even be presumptive of our own salvation. This means tirelessly, but productively (read Gaudium et Spes in that light), working for the conversion of sinners to the One True Faith & Church, outside of which no one at all will be saved.
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Re: Bishop George Hay on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus

Post  MRyan on Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:58 pm

Jehanne, excellent.

Let’s get to the heart of the matter with respect to the “mind of the Church” as Bishop Hay presents it, which is of the same mind with Quanto Conficamur Moerore, Mystici Corporis Christi, Gaudium et Spes, Lumen Gentium, Ad Gentes, Dominus Iesus, the CCC and other magisterial documents:

Q. 28. But, in the case proposed, if a person, in his last moments shall receive the light of Faith from God, and embrace it with all his heart, would this suffice to make him a member of the True Church in the sight of God?

A. Most and undoubtedly; the case is the same in this as in that of Baptism. Though Jesus Christ expressly says, "Except a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," [John 3: 5] which establishes the absolute necessity of Baptism for salvation, yet, suppose a heathen should be instructed in the Faith of Christ, and embrace it with all his heart, but die suddenly without Baptism, or be taken away by infidel friends, or put in absolute impossibility of receiving Baptism, and die in the above dispositions with sincere repentance and a desire of Baptism, this person will undoubtedly receive all the fruits of Baptism from God, and therefore is said to be Baptized in desire. In like manner, suppose a person brought up in a false religion embraces with all his heart the light of True Faith, which God gives him in his last moments-----as it is absolutely impossible for him in that state "to join the external Communion of the Church in the eyes of men, "yet he certainly will be considered united to her in the sight of God, by means of the True Faith which he embraces, and his desire of being united to the Church, were it in his power.
Jehanne wrote:

In my opinion, what Bishop Hay wrote is definitively the mind of the Church. We cannot and ought not ever presume the salvation of non-Catholics, no matter how sincere they are in their false beliefs, nor should we even be presumptive of our own salvation. This means tirelessly, but productively (read Gaudium et Spes in that light), working for the conversion of sinners to the One True Faith & Church, outside of which no one at all will be saved.
Jehanne, I agree (with a minor qualification); and, just as we ought never to presume the salvation of non-Catholics, neither ought we to presume their damnation.

However, in presenting the Church’s doctrine, Bishop Hay is also free to express what he believes is the "best" policy with respect to how the Church should approach our separated brethren. However, as a prudential matter, he may not necessarily speak with the same mind of the Church, which may change her policies as she deems necessary.

Having said that, and by way of example, I believe the Bishop is of one mind with the Church when he writes:

Q. 34. But is it not laudable and praiseworthy to show all indulgence and condescension to those who are without and to behave towards them with all lenity and mildness?

A. Most undoubtedly: it is not only laudable, but a strict duty, as far as truth can go. But to betray the truth with any such view must be grievous crime, and highly prejudicial to both parties. Experience, in fact, shows that the loose way of thinking and speaking, which some members of the True Church have of late adopted, is productive of the worst consequences, both to themselves and to those whom they desire to favor.
All well and good, but, in the minds of some, isn’t the very truth Bishop Hay expresses in response to Q. 28 a “betrayal” of the truth and a “loose way of thinking and speaking” when he teaches that there is salvation outside of external unity with the Church; in other words, as Gaudium et Spes put it: “22. … we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery."?

And, as we know, the same accusations of "betrayal" and a “loose way of thinking and speaking” are routinely levied against the official magisterial documents of an Ecumenical Council (VCII).

So the only caution I would recommend when reading Bishop Hay is to remember that the “mind of the Church” can always be found in the ecclesia docens, and to the extent that we may disagree as to the best approach the Church should take with non-Catholics, these are prudential matters that are best left to the Church to decide when formulating her official policies.

Even if we have cause to disagree with certain aspects, ambiguities or even with what may appear to be "latitudinarian principles" (subjectively speaking) within any given policy statement, never, when it comes to Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus or any other dogma, should we accuse the Church of deliberately “talking doubtfully on this point, seeming to question the truth of the doctrine, and even alleging pretexts and excuses to explain it away” (Bishop Hay, Q. 28, “(1)”).

That certain prelates appear to do precisely that is not in dispute, neither is it in dispute that, post-VII, "latitudinarian principles" have run rampant; my caution (in this case) extends only against laying the error of "latitudinarianism" at the feet of the Roman Pontiff's in their official magisterial declarations.

It is one thing to question reformable policies, it is quite another to accuse the Church of questioning or changing her own doctrines.
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Re: Bishop George Hay on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus

Post  George Brenner on Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:30 pm

As quoted from Wikipedia,


" In the Roman Catholic Church, latitudinarianism was condemned in the 19th century document Quanta Cura, because Pope Pius IX felt that this attitude was undermining the Church, with its high emphasis on religious liberty and possibility to discard traditional Christian doctrines and dogmas. Although the Church's attitude on this has softened a bit since Dignitatis Humanae, latitudinarianism is still commonly criticized under the epithet of Cafeteria Catholic."

I personally think that one endangers their soul when attacking Magesterial documents, dogma, doctrines, cannon Law and what is referred to as The Mind of the Church anymore than one could or should ever attack or disagree with the Ten Commandments. "The Church" itself is protected by the Holy Ghost. The Pope has a very special supernatural protection and assistance from the Holy Ghost in ways impossible for us or even the Pope himself to comprehend. Attacks on the Holy Father or the Church are spiritually dangerous. But those who claim to be members of "The Church" can and do mislead , misinterpret, reduce to babel, promote irrreverence , disobey, fail to discipline and hurt the Church. Such has been the case for many decades. This is not new in Church history but this is our speck of time before we enter eternity. The Mind of the Church is absolutely of clear and of Supernatural perfect health but many in the Church have lost their minds and done untold damage that remains to be restored especially in this the year of Faith.


JMJ,

George

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Re: Bishop George Hay on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus

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