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Michael Fritts wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have been a Catholic for about four years, and I love the Church. After fourteen years of Charismatic churches I always knew there was more, so I started my journey to the Church.
After watching EWTN and all the Masses I stepped into my local Catholic parish and attended a Mass. I was a bit taken back; I could not find the tabernacle and the statues of St. Mary,
St. Joseph and then I saw a statue titled: "Touchdown Jesus". I had never seen at statue "touchdown Jesus" before and was sad. The Mass was liturgically sound as far as I knew and the priest was a loving, caring man that made up for the rest of the disappointment.

There are many things that bother me to various degrees.

One is the teaching on No Salvation outside the Church contrary to those who accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior as St Matthew said in his Gospel.

  • How can a Jew, Muslim, and Hindu, etc. be saved when they deny Jesus who says if you deny me, I will deny you to my Father in Heaven?

I know that if you do not know of Jesus you will be judged according to your life.

  • Another question is how can infallible teaching be changed by another pope as in the case
    I just mentioned about salvation?
  • Was not the Council of Florence clear on salvation?
  • Why did Vatican Council II disregard the first infallible teaching?

This is most important question:

  • How can over 1900 years of the Church be changed so much to its detriment?
  • Why did Vatican II change the Church so much that some aspects are unrecognizable?

I sometimes attend a Church downtown that is beautiful; it has no bands, no dancers, no people handling the Lord but the priest.

I love the Church no matter what because I know the gates of hell will not prevail against it,
but am curious as to why it is now a shadow of it's former self.

Thanks and God Bless you all.

Respectfully,

Mike Fritts

  { On salvation, infallibility and the vast changes in the Church since Vatican II. }

Mary Ann replied:

Hi, Mike —

You said:
I know that if you do not know of Jesus you will be judged according to your life.

Actually, those who do not KNOW Jesus will be judged according to their lives. There are many who have heard of Jesus and know OF Him, who don't KNOW Him; they don't know that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Only those who reject what they know to be true are in danger of damnation.

The Church does not change, she develops. The doctrine that outside the Church there is no salvation is true, and has always been true. It means that without the Church, without the presence of Christ in the world in sacrament and Word, there is no salvation for anyone.

The Church is the means of grace, the means through which the Holy Spirit normally acts, but even when He acts outside the Church, He is acting because He is the Life of the Church, which is Christ's mystical Body.

Mary Ann

Mike replied:

Hi, Mike —

Great to hear from you again.

RE: Salvation outside the Church.

On this issue, we have really given some very good answers. If you wish to read them all, just go to the sub category below. There are about 40 postings that address the issues from various angles.

Questions on the Catholic doctrine "Outside the Church there is no Salvation"

On the apparent contradiction between the council of Florence and Vatican II, our colleagues over at Catholic Answer had this answer:

Question:

I am confused about a statement made by the ecumenical council of Florence in 1442. In its Decree for the Jacobites it stated "that no one, whatever almsgivings he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church." Does this mean we must have a rigorist view on the subject of salvation outside the Church?

Answer:

Florence's decree that no one outside the Catholic Church is saved is absolutely true in the sense that those who lack any and all connection to the Church are damned. But it is possible to have an invisible link to the Church. Being in the Church does not require full, formal communion.

This was the understanding of St. Thomas Aquinas, who spoke of being in the Church in voto (in desire) rather than in re (in reality), and of the Council of Trent, which taught that we can be justified and consequently saved by water baptism or a desire for it.

In the last few centuries has come a refinement of the Church's understanding of what constitutes the votum (desire) needed for in voto membership. An implicit desire is sufficient. A person who seeks and tries to conform himself to the truth has an implicit desire or votum for Christ and for the Catholic faith because, by seeking to conform himself to the truth, he is seeking to conform himself to Christ (who calls himself "the Way, the Truth, and the Life") and his Church, even if he doesn't know it.

Florence's statement concerning the inefficacy outside the Church of almsgiving and martyrdom is thus to be understood to refer to those who do these deeds in an external fashion that lacks the votum needed for in voto membership.

Imagine a Jehovah's Witness who ostensibly sheds his blood for Christ. His martyrdom would be ineffective for salvation unless he had the required votum and thus the supernatural love needed to make martyrdom effective for salvation.
As Paul says, "If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:3).

I would just add that the Lord doesn't bring people into this life, just to dam them. Our Blessed Lord is the Lord of Mercy, Understanding and Love.

You said:

  • How can over 1900 years of the Church be changed so much to its detriment?
  • Why did Vatican II change the Church so much that some aspects are unrecognizable?

Here are four words to answer your first question: That bastard the devil.

Both the clergy and parishioners allowing him to persuade us. Prayer helps keep him away.

My understanding of the purpose of Vatican II was to make the Church more welcoming and participatory for the parishioners. Many strived to take Vatican II out of it's original intent, as you can see by the "Jesus Touchdown" statue — certainly irreverent.

This was not the intent of Vatican II.

Hope this helps,

Mike

Eric replied:

Hi, Mike —

You said:

  • How can over 1900 years of the Church be changed so much to its detriment?
  • Why did Vatican II change the Church so much that some aspects are unrecognizable?

This betrays a misunderstanding of the nature of the Church.

There is a myth that the Church in 1962AD was the same as the Church in 1517AD was the same as the Church in 1054AD was the same as the Church in 325AD was the same as the Church in 33AD.

I think you would be surprised if you could go back into a time capsule and see the Church at all of those points, and how different they are. Heck, you can even see how different the Church is in its diversity. If you were offended that the Mass was changed at all, you should go to:

  • a Maronite Catholic liturgy
  • a Byzantine Catholic liturgy
  • a Chaldean Catholic liturgy
  • a Syro-Malabar Catholic liturgy
  • a Syro-Malankara liturgy
  • a Coptic Catholic liturgy, or
  • an Armenian Catholic liturgy

all of which are part of the Catholic Church and her patrimony and have been celebrated in their present forms pretty much for hundreds, if not, well over a thousand years and differ in very significant ways from any liturgy celebrated in the Roman part of the Catholic Church. The Church doesn't demand uniformity in all things, or a fixed, unchangeable liturgy.

The faith does not change. They way the faith is celebrated and lived out does, however.
This is part of organic change in the Church.

On the other hand, it is important to acknowledge that there has been a whole scale falling away from orthodox Catholicism in the last forty years.

  • Part of this is the upheaval that follows any council.
  • Part of it is global secularization.

It is not to be attributed to Vatican II itself.

I encourage you to read the actual documents of Vatican II. I think you'll be surprised. It doesn't even call for abandoning Latin.

Much of what is blamed on Vatican II is foreign to it.

Eric

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