Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Nullus Salvus Extra Ecclesiam

"There is no salvation outside the Church."

Back during the rough-and-tumble years of the Reformation the Roman Catholic Church had a problem. Bunches of sects were splitting away from the Church and setting themselves up in their own businesses.

It is not my intention at this point to regale you with the bloody history of what happened next, least of all with the Thirty Years' War and all the other strife that convinced Our Founding Fathers to avoid establishing a state religion.

It is my intention to tell you what happened at the Council of Trent.

The Catholic Church decided that it needed to reform itself a tad and to make sure that all these little sects (Lutherans, Calvinists, Zwinglians, Baptists, Anabaptists, etc.) didn't horn in on its turf. Part of that is the doctrinal assertion you see at the top of this post (and in Latin as the title).

Over the years, the Church finally relaxed this somewhat, saying that it was possible for all Christians to achieve salvation.

Until recently. In 2000 the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asserted that any non-Catholic denomination (such as Presbyterian or Russian Orthodox) were not true churches in the full sense of the word. Brushing aside all the Jesuit casuistry, it's a reassertion of the nullus salvus doctrine (although it sweetens it a tad by saying that the other churches aren't true churches because they can't trace their descent back to the Apostles).

The head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2000 was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who is now dignified with the name and title Bendict XVI, Pope and Vicar of Christ.

Big Benny wants to turn the clock back, it seems, and it's got some of the major Protestant and Orthodox churches steamed at him. It was only a matter of time before he turned on the Protestants; he'd already pissed off Islam by quoting a medieval Byzantine emperor who had nothing good to say about the Prophet (pboh), and he angered the Jews by reviving parts of the Tridentine Mass.

Now I want to see if he'll go after the Hindus and Buddhists, and the battle lines will be re-drawn.

Although he'd be horribly miscast as Urban II, going around preaching crusade. "Deus vult!" he'll scream, and people will nod and go back to their iPhones.

And Catholicism will slump a bit further into total irrelevancy.


Blogger PeterofLoneTree said...

Hi Walt,
You might be interested, if not already aware of it, in the Quantum Future Groups Master Index Site, and in relation to religious topics, the "Esoteric History" section about 1/3 of the way down.
Tons of other good stuff on that site also.

7:51 PM EDT  
Blogger BlondeSense Liz said...

You know, this depressed the hell out me. I studied Vatican II ad nauseum and I had felt that the Catholic Church was getting with the program.

I suppose we shouldn't be surprised though.

7:21 AM EDT  
Blogger Peter Albert said...

Walt, if you check out my site, you'll see some of the discussion of the dogma. But, in short, I disagree with your implication that the Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Sallus was just a weapon of ideological warfare used at the time of Trent. In fact, the dogma was first advanced by Cyprian in his debate on the unity of the Church and on the validity of sacraments, and later reaffirmed by Council of Florence in 1441. In short, the Catholic problem with the Protestant communities is that they do not offer sacraments that are crucial for sanctification of believers (especially the confession). In this the Church does not discriminate--both Catholics and non-Catholics need sacramental confession to have their sins absolved, and one measure is applied to all Christians in this regard.

8:56 AM EDT  

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