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Bernadette Price wrote:

Dear Mike,

I am relatively new to your Holy Quotes but I do appreciate you taking the time to compile these quotes, and to put us more in touch with the writings of the Early Fathers, the Saints, etc. However, I would like to make a comment about the most recent quote taken from St. Augustine.

Holy Quotes for Bernadette Price

Quotes of the Early Fathers and Christians of the Church (33 A.D. to 750 A.D.)

"Only the Catholic Church is the Body of Christ . . . Outside this body, no one is animated by the Holy Spirit."

St. Augustine of Hippo (354 — 430 A.D.) on the Church
Mini-Bio: North African; bishop, theologian, Doctor of the Church

It is true that although the Catholic Church contains the fullness of truth, it is a truth that continues to unfold and to become clearer and clearer, and better and better articulated.

In the light of this, it is also true that not every statement ever made by each and every Catholic over the centuries, whether a Father of the Church, Saint or Mystic, fully and wholly contains the fullness of this truth, which we are required, not only to believe and safeguard, but also to pass on. Rather, at times, some statements are limited to the scope of understanding of that particular age or circumstance, but thankfully the Spirit does not leave us in our ignorance, choosing to ignore other relevant information. Rather, what we see is a continuing unfolding of the truth, a widening and deepening of our understanding, bringing us to greater clarity and wholeness.

  • In light of the Vatican II documents on the Church as mystery
  • on ecumenism concerning having communion, though an imperfect communion, and
  • on the whole understanding of wherever truth is

so too is the Spirit of God. In so very many ways, many a Catholic is so out of tune with the Spirit, and very many non-Catholics are animated and alive to, with, and in the Spirit.

To be Catholic is to be universal, and no less could be said of God. Proposing God as being confined solely to the Catholic box is ludicrous, as it is ridiculously simplistic, and surely we, meaning all of us, should know better by now. It is over 40 years that the teachings of Vatican II have been around.

  • Are we so unteachable?

Similar are the teachings from St. Augustine concerning limbo. The Church, though interested in the understanding at one point in time, came to see and to believe that, although they could understand St. Augustine's logic, from where we stand today, it is clear that there is so much he did not take into consideration, and therefore limbo is not even mentioned in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church, and nowhere is it today found as a formal teaching of the Church.

Such statements from Peter Lombard concerning Church and the one quoted above from Augustine are now eternally outdated.

Please, I beg you, do justice to the work of the Spirit in how it is leading and guiding the Church, and keep alive that vision as it unfolds, instead of inadvertently locking us into myopic ways of preserving what is now outdated and no longer the current position of the Church, regarding non-Catholics, or for that matter, God.

Regardless of good intentions, propagating outdated theology can lead to real harm, not only to all the hard work and dialogue that is constantly taking place towards ecumenism, but also it will help to solidify in the minds of non-Catholics, that Catholics are just so full of arrogance and that the split caused by the reformation should be maintained.

"May they all be one, Father, as you and I are one."

John 17:21

One in truth and one in love. I would like to see quotes reflecting the truth of the current Catholic position, not otherwise, unless so stated, or maybe several quotes showing the development of faith. I am not ashamed of any part of our history. A lot of it has been a learning experience, even though we must have tried the Spirit sorely at many a point in time. To God be the glory, for leading us beyond our faults and failures, and closer to the fullness of truth and the establishment of His kingdom, a unity in diversity.

Yours in Christ,

Bernadette

  { Why are you using eternally outdated theology that no longer represents the view of the Church? }

Mike replied:

Hi Bernadette,

Thanks for the e-mail. I agree with about 85% of it.

We have to differentiate between "Holy Quotes" spoken in a certain culture and at a certain time, by holy men and women of our Divine and Catholic Faith and the doctrines and dogmas of the Church which must be believed by all Catholics.

For short, Holy Quotes are not necessarily doctrines or dogmas, but should be understood within the development of the Church at a given point in time. This is why most of them are dated within the mini-bio that accompanies the saint's quote.

Reflecting on the work I've done on this project, I have:

  • two sets of Holy Quotes, and
  • a set of Scriptural Defenses for Church teachings (Apologetics)

but except for the Compendium of the Catechism for Christians and non-Christians, have no evangelization/teaching quotes. Yours would be a good idea.

I'll listen to where the Holy Spirit leads me in this area.

  • Maybe I can e-mail a set of paragraphs from the Catechism of the Church daily?

I'll have to take issue with you on several points though.

You said:

  • In light of the Vatican II documents on the Church as mystery
  • on ecumenism concerning having communion, though an imperfect communion, and
  • on the whole understanding of wherever truth is

so too is the Spirit of God. In so very many ways, many a Catholic is so out of tune with the Spirit, and very many non-Catholics are animated and alive to, with, and in the Spirit.

The letters of Vatican II never encouraged false ecumenism. Like I tell my Baptist friend,

"On faith issues we have discussed, we can agree to agree; and in other areas, agree to disagree."

Nevertheless, you can't say, "wherever the truth is". Only the Catholic Church has the fullness of the truth. it is there! Other separated brethren agree with some of that truth, and to that extent, we can celebrate with them the truths we agree on. Those truths are the grace of the Holy Spirit of God working in them, motivating them on to the fullness of truth.

  • Does God allow people to be born non-Catholic, just to damn them?

No, of course not! (See CCC 847) If Fred, my Baptist friend is saved, he will be saved despite his Baptist beliefs, through the grace of the Catholic Church. This does not mean the lay Catholic can just remain unconcerned and self-righteous, and do nothing. That would be a major sin of omission, an omission of the missionary work of the Church to bring all Americans and mankind to the fullness of the Faith in the One Church Jesus founded, the Catholic Church.

Also, we have to always separate the Official Teachings of the Church, from the bad behavior of some of its members. I am very familiar with the zeal of our separated brethren. What it comes down to is:

They need what we have, and we need what they have.

The difference is that their need for all of the truths of the Church, the Sacraments and the Church, Herself, is greater than our need to get off our "butts" and get more involved.

You said:
To be Catholic is to be universal, and no less could be said of God. Proposing God as being confined solely to the Catholic box is ludicrous, as it is ridiculously simplistic, and surely we, meaning all of us, should know better by now. It is over 40 years that the teachings of Vatican II have been around.

  • Are we so unteachable?

I couldn't disagree with you more.

  • Yes, to be Catholic is to be universal but what does this mean?

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

830 The word "catholic" means "universal," in the sense of "according to the totality" or "in keeping with the whole." The Church is catholic in a double sense:

First, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in her. "Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church." In her subsists the fullness of Christ's body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him "the fullness of the means of salvation" which he has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in Apostolic Succession. The Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on the day of Pentecost and will always be so until the day of the Parousia.

831 Secondly, the Church is catholic because she has been sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race:

All men are called to belong to the new People of God. This People, therefore, while remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God's will may be fulfilled: he made human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all his children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one. . . . The character of universality which adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself whereby the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods, under Christ the Head in the unity of his Spirit.


So to share only part of the Gospel, or to be ashamed of the development of the Church's teaching, explained in its proper generational and cultural context, is ludicrous and puts the Church in a box!!

That's what the Reformation and fall out was all about!

Believe what you want to believe. Name it, claim it, then start your own faith!

You said:
surely we, meaning all of us, should know better by now.

  • Are you suggesting that men know more the Jesus Our Lord and His Church?

You said:
It is over 40 years that the teachings of Vatican II have been around.

  • Are we so unteachable?

Surely, we are teachable.

  • Are you suggesting that the pagan teach Aquinas?

I personally believe the Church has to start teaching what Catholic Apologetics is in the early CCD classes and implementing like programs at the parish level. This would immunize our young faithful Catholics from Protestant ways of thinking that they will obviously be receiving from friends and peers. Also, if our young teen Catholics were knowledgeable about the Early Church Fathers and knew what they taught — Surprise! — was Roman Catholic, it would be a big help to the young Body of Christ.

You said:
Similar are the teachings from St. Augustine concerning limbo.

Limbo was never an official teaching of the Church, just a theological proposition.

Side note: I couldn't find a quote of Peter Lombard in my database.

  • Can you forward the Holy Quote to me?

Thanks for writing.

For those unaware of it, my Holy Quotes program can be found here:
http://www.AskACatholic.com/holyquotes

Mike

John replied:

Hi Bernadette,

Look at the date of the Quote!

At the time when Augustine said this, there was no other Church. There were heretical groups such as the Gnostics and the Arians.

Both of these groups were not Christians because of their Christology. Other than that, we had some "internal heresies", e.g., the Novations and Donatists.

During the fifth century, two other groups, the Monophysites and Nestorians, left the Church over issues of Christology. At the time, language was a barrier to communication. These two groups from the East did not have the same understanding of Greek (which, at the time, was the language of the entire Church). Hence, semantical disagreements over Christology caused the first significant schism. At the time, of course, no one realized the problem was language.

The point is that Augustine's claim was, in fact, accurate at the time.

John

Terry replied:

Hi Bernadette,

St Augustine did not have the privilege of infallibility. Only a Pope speaking under defined conditions, and a General Council, can define dogma, that which is to be held de fide.

Many theologians, indeed Saints, have frequently erred in their pronouncements! They look at Newman and his thesis on Development of Doctrine.

If your enquirer wishes to research de fide use:

Another thought which your correspondent may not like, but which remains doctrine,
is "extra ecclesia nulla salus" — Outside the Church there is no salvation.

Over the past 40 years, the Church has developed/clarified her interpretation of this doctrine, especially within the Catechism of the Catholic Church CCC 846. This reflects a view similar to how earlier theologians had interpreted the dogma.

Kind regards

Terry

Bernadette replied:

Excellent, both Terry and Mike.

Terry ended it exactly with what I was trying to say regarding our now broader understanding of Church. Absolutely correct. Thanks for the great information. Now I am looking forward to reading Newman's thesis on the Development of Doctrine.

Much thanks again.

Shalom,

Bernadette

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