And in his Letter XXII, To Eustochium (A.D. 384), St. Jerome says the following concerning virginity,
“… I will say it boldly, though God can do all things He cannot raise up a virgin when once she has fallen. He may indeed relieve one who is defiled from the penalty of her sin, but He will not give her a crown. Let us fear lest in us also the prophecy be fulfilled, "Good virgins shall faint." Notice that it is good virgins who are spoken of, for there are bad ones as well. "Whosoever looketh on a woman," the Lord says, "to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." So that virginity may be lost even by a thought. Such are evil virgins, virgins in the flesh, not in the spirit; foolish virgins, who, having no oil, are shut out by the Bridegroom.
“… Do you wish for proof of my assertions? Take examples. Sampson was braver than a lion and tougher than a rock; alone and unprotected he pursued a thousand armed men; and yet, in Delilah’s embrace, his resolution melted away. David was a man after God’s own heart, and his lips had often sung of the Holy One, the future Christ; and yet as he walked upon his housetop he was fascinated by Bathsheba’s nudity, and added murder to adultery. Notice here how, even in his own house, a man cannot use his eyes without danger. Then repenting, he says to the Lord: "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight." Being a king he feared no one else.
“… It is hard for the human soul to avoid loving something, and our mind must of necessity give way to affection of one kind or another. The love of the flesh is overcome by the love of the spirit. Desire is quenched by desire. What is taken from the one increases the other. Therefore, as you lie on your couch, say again and again: "By night have I sought Him whom my soul loveth." "Mortify, therefore," says the apostle, "your members which are upon the earth." Because he himself did so, he could afterwards say with confidence: "I live, yet not I, but Christ, liveth in me." He who mortifies his members, and feels that he is walking in a vain show, is not afraid to say: "I am become like a bottle in the frost. Whatever there was in me of the moisture of lust has been dried out of me." And again: "My knees are weak through fasting; I forget to eat my bread. By reason of the voice of my groaning my bones cleave to my skin."
“… Some one may say, "Do you dare detract from wedlock, which is a state blessed by God?" I do not detract from wedlock when I set virginity before it. No one compares a bad thing with a good. Wedded women may congratulate themselves that they come next to virgins. "Be fruitful," God says, "and multiply, and replenish the earth." He who desires to replenish the earth may increase and multiply if he will. But the train to which you belong is not on earth, but in heaven. The command to increase and multiply first finds fulfillment after the expulsion from paradise, after the nakedness and the fig-leaves which speak of sexual passion. Let them marry and be given in marriage who eat their bread in the sweat of their brow; whose land brings forth to them thorns and thistles, and whose crops are choked with briars. My seed produces fruit a hundredfold. "All men cannot receive God’s saying, but they to whom it is given." Some people may be eunuchs from necessity; I am one of free will.
“… In paradise Eve was a virgin, and it was only after the coats of skins that she began her married life. Now paradise is your home too. Keep therefore your birthright and say: "Return unto thy rest, O my soul." To show that virginity is natural while wedlock only follows guilt, what is born of wedlock is virgin flesh, and it gives back in fruit what in root it has lost. "There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a flower shall grow out of his roots." The rod is the mother of the Lord--simple, pure, unsullied; drawing no germ of life from without but fruitful in singleness like God Himself. The flower of the rod is Christ, who says of Himself: "I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys." In another place He is foretold to be "a stone cut out of the mountain without hands," a figure by which the prophet signifies that He is to be born a virgin of a virgin. For the hands are here a figure of wedlock as in the passage: "His left hand is under my head and his right hand doth embrace me.
“… I praise wedlock, I praise marriage, but it is because they give me virgins. I gather the rose from the thorns, the gold from the earth, the pearl from the shell. "Doth the plowman plow all day to sow?" Shall he not also enjoy the fruit of his labor? Wedlock is the more honored, the more what is born of it is loved. Why, mother, do you grudge your daughter her virginity? She has been reared on your milk, she has come from your womb, she has grown up in your bosom. Your watchful affection has kept her a virgin. Are you angry with her because she chooses to be a king’s wife and not a soldier’s? She has conferred on you a high privilege; you are now the mother-in-law of God. "Concerning virgins," says the apostle, "I have no commandment of the Lord." Why was this? Because his own virginity was due, not to a command, but to his free choice. For they are not to be heard who feign him to have had a wife; for, when he is discussing continence and commending perpetual chastity, he uses the words, "I would that all men were even as I myself." And farther on, "I say, therefore, to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I." And in another place, "have we not power to lead about wives even as the rest of the apostles?" Why then has he no commandment from the Lord concerning virginity? Because what is freely offered is worth more than what is extorted by force, and to command virginity would have been to abrogate wedlock. It would have been a hard enactment to compel opposition to nature and to extort from men the angelic life; and not only so, it would have been to condemn what is a divine ordinance.
“… In those days, as I have said, the virtue of continence was found only in men: Eve still continued to travail with children. But now that a virgin has conceived in the womb and has borne to us a child of which the prophet says that "Government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called the mighty God, the everlasting Father," now the chain of the curse is broken. Death came through Eve, but life has come through Mary. And thus the gift of virginity has been bestowed most richly upon women, seeing that it has had its beginning from a woman. As soon as the Son of God set foot upon the earth, He formed for Himself a new household there; that, as He was adored by angels in heaven, angels might serve Him also on earth. Then chaste Judith once more cut off the head of Holofernes. Then Haman - whose name means iniquity - was once more burned in fire of his own kindling. Then James and John forsook father and net and ship and followed the Savior: neither kinship nor the world’s ties, nor the care of their home could hold them back. Then were the words heard: "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." For no soldier goes with a wife to battle.
“… In the same strain, the apostle writes: "He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord but he that is married careth for the things that are of the world how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she that is married careth for the things of the world how she may please her husband.” (Letters of St. Jerome, Letter XXII, To Eustochium)
St. Jerome in his “Against Jovinianus” continues to explain the perfection of chastity. He writes,
“Among other things the Corinthians asked in their letter whether after embracing the faith of Christ they ought to be unmarried, and for the sake of continence put away their wives, and whether believing virgins were at liberty to marry. And again, supposing that one of two Gentiles believed on Christ, whether the one that believed should leave the one that believed not? And in case it were allowable to take wives, would the Apostle direct that only Christian wives, or Gentiles also, should be taken? Let us then consider Paul’s replies to these inquiries.
“Let us turn back to the chief point of the evidence: "It is good," he says, "for a man not to touch a woman." If it is good not to touch a woman, it is bad to touch one: for there is no opposite to goodness but badness. But if it be bad and the evil is pardoned, the reason for the concession is to prevent worse evil. But surely a thing which is only allowed because there may be something worse has only a slight degree of goodness. He would never have added "let each man have his own wife," unless he had previously used the words "but, because of fornications." Do away with fornication, and he will not say "let each man have his own wife." Just as though one were to lay it down: "It is good to feed on wheaten bread, and to eat the finest wheat flour," and yet to prevent a person pressed by hunger from devouring cow-dung, I may allow him to eat barley.
“Does it follow that the wheat will not have its peculiar purity, because such an one prefers barley to excrement? That is naturally good which does not admit of comparison with what is bad, and is not eclipsed because something else is preferred. At the same time we must notice the Apostle’s prudence. He did not say, it is good not to have a wife: but, it is good not to touch a woman: as though there were danger even in the touch: as though he who touched her, would not escape from her who "hunteth for the precious life," who causeth the young man’s understanding to fly away. "Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk upon hot coals and his feet not be scorched?" As then he who touches fire is instantly burned, so by the mere touch the peculiar nature of man and woman is perceived, and the difference of sex is understood, Heathen fables relate how Mithras and Ericthonius were begotten of the soil, in stone or earth, by raging lust.
“Hence it was that our Joseph, because the Egyptian woman wished to touch him, fled from her hands, and, as if he had been bitten by a mad dog and feared the spreading poison, threw away the cloak which she had touched. "But, because of fornications let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband." He did not say, because of fornication let each man marry a wife: otherwise by this excuse he would have thrown the reins to lust, and whenever a man’s wife died, he would have to marry another to prevent fornication, but "have his own wife." Let him he says have and use his own wife, whom he had before he became a believer, and whom it would have been good not to touch, and, when once he became a follower of Christ, to know only as a sister, not as a wife unless fornication should make it excusable to touch her. "The wife hath not power over her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power over his own body, but the wife."
“The whole question here concerns those who are married men. Is it lawful for them to do what our Lord forbade in the Gospel, and to put away their wives? Whence it is that the Apostle says, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman." But inasmuch as he who is once married has no power to abstain except by mutual consent, and may not reject an unoffending partner, let the husband render unto the wife her due. He bound himself voluntarily that he might be under compulsion to render it. "Defraud ye not one the other, except it be by consent for a season, that ye may give yourselves unto prayer." What, I pray you, is the quality of that good thing which hinders prayer? which does not allow the body of Christ to be received? [Here St. Jerome refers to the biblical teaching from the Book of 1st Kings 21:4 which teaches that one are to remain chaste for three days before receiving the Eucharist.] So long as I do the husband’s part, I fail in continency. The same Apostle in another place commands us to pray always. If we are to pray always, it follows that we must never be in the bondage of wedlock, for as often as I render my wife her due, I cannot pray.
“The Apostle Peter had experience of the bonds of marriage. See how he fashions the Church, and what lesson he teaches Christians: "Ye husbands in like manner dwell with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor unto the woman, as unto the weaker vessel, as being also joint-heirs of the grace of life; to the end that your prayers be not hindered." Observe that, as St. Paul before, because in both cases the spirit is the same, so St. Peter now, says that prayers are hindered by the performance of marriage duty. When he says "likewise," he challenges the husbands to imitate their wives, because he has already given them commandment: "beholding your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be the outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on apparel: but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."
“You see what kind of wedlock he enjoins. Husbands and wives are to dwell together according to knowledge, so that they may know what God wishes and desires, and give honor to the weak vessel, woman. If we abstain from intercourse, we give honor to our wives: if we do not abstain, it is clear that insult is the opposite of honor. He also tells the wives to let their husbands "see their chaste behavior, and the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit." Words truly worthy of an apostle, and of Christ’s rock! He lays down the law for husbands and wives, condemns outward ornament, while he praises continence, which is the ornament of the inner man, as seen in the incorruptible apparel of a meek and quiet spirit. In effect he says this: Since your outer man is corrupt, and you have ceased to possess the blessing of incorruption characteristic of virgins, at least imitate the incorruption of the spirit by subsequent abstinence, and what you cannot show in the body exhibit in the mind. For these are the riches, and these the ornaments of your union, which Christ seeks.
“But you will say: "If everybody were a virgin, what would become of the human race"? Like shall here beget like. If everyone were a widow, or continent in marriage, how will mortal men be propagated? Upon this principle there will be nothing at all for fear that something else may cease to exist. To put a case: if all men were philosophers, there would be no husbandmen. Why speak of husbandmen? There would be no orators, no lawyers, no teachers of the other professions. If all men were leaders, what would become of the soldiers? If all were the head, whose head would they be called, when there were no other members? You are afraid that if the desire for virginity were general there would be no prostitutes, no adulteresses, no wailing infants in town or country. Every day the blood of adulterers is shed, adulterers are condemned, and lust is raging and rampant in the very presence of the laws and the symbols of authority and the courts of justice. Be not afraid that all will become virgins: virginity is a hard matter, and therefore rare, because it is hard: "Many are called, few chosen." Many begin, few persevere. And so the reward is great for those who have persevered.” (Against Jovinianus, Book 1, Section 7, A.D. 393)
Free DVDs and Books INFALLIBLE CATHOLIC DOGMA AND DOCTRINE YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT INTRODUCTION
The unchanging dogma Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation and the necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism for Salvation, was defined as a truth by our first pope St. Peter himself:
“… the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ… Nor is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name, under heaven, given to men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).
There is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ, and the Catholic Church is His Mystical Body. Since there is no entering into the Catholic Church of Christ without the Sacrament of Baptism, this means that only baptized Catholics who die in the state of grace (and those who become baptized Catholics and die in the state of grace) can hope to be saved.
“If anyone abideth not in me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth.” (John 15:6) Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis (# 22), June 29, 1943: “Actually only those are to be numbered among the members of the Church who have received the laver of regeneration [water baptism] and profess the true faith.” Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis (# 27), June 29, 1943: “He (Christ) also determined that through Baptism (cf. Jn. 3:5) those who should believe would be incorporated in the Body of the Church.”
THE KEYS OF ST. PETER AND HIS UNFAILING FAITH It is a fact of history, scripture and tradition that Our Lord Jesus Christ founded His universal Church (the Catholic Church) upon St. Peter.
Matthew 16:18-19-“And I say to thee: That thou art Peter: and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.”
Our Lord made St. Peter the first pope, entrusted to him His entire flock, and gave him supreme authority in the universal Church of Christ.
John 21:15-17-“Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He saith to him a third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep.”
And with the supreme authority that Our Lord Jesus Christ conferred upon St. Peter (and his successors, the popes) comes what is called Papal Infallibility. Papal Infallibility is inseparable from Papal Supremacy – there was no point for Christ to make St. Peter the head of His Church (as Christ clearly did) if St. Peter or his successors, the popes, could err when exercising that supreme authority to teach on a point of Faith. The supreme authority must be unfailing on binding matters of Faith and morals or else it is no true authority from Christ at all.
Papal Infallibility does not mean that a pope cannot err at all and it does not mean that a pope cannot lose his soul and be damned in Hell for grave sin. It means that the successors of St. Peter (the popes of the Catholic Church) cannot err when authoritatively teaching on a point of Faith or morals to be held by the entire Church of Christ. We find the promise of the unfailing faith for St. Peter and his successors referred to by Christ in Luke 22.
Luke 22:31-32- “And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have all of you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.”
Satan desired to sift all the Apostles (plural) like wheat, but Jesus prayed for Simon Peter (singular), that his faith fail not. Jesus is saying that St. Peter and his successors (the popes of the Catholic Church) have an unfailing faith when authoritatively teaching a point of faith or morals to be held by the entire Church of Christ.
Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, 1870, ex cathedra:
“SO, THIS GIFT OF TRUTH AND A NEVER FAILING FAITH WAS DIVINELY CONFERRED UPON PETER AND HIS SUCCESSORS IN THIS CHAIR…”
Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, 1870, ex cathedra:
“…the See of St. Peter always remains unimpaired by any error, according to the divine promise of our Lord the Savior made to the chief of His disciples: ‘I have prayed for thee [Peter], that thy faith fail not ...’”
And this truth has been held since the earliest times in the Catholic Church.
Pope St. Gelasius I, epistle 42, or Decretal de recipiendis et non recipiendis libris, 495: “Accordingly, the see of Peter the Apostle of the Church of Rome is first, having neither spot, nor wrinkle, nor anything of this kind (Eph. 5:27).”
The word “infallible” actually means “cannot fail” or “unfailing.” Therefore, the very term Papal Infallibility comes directly from Christ’s promise to St. Peter (and his successors) in Luke 22, that Peter has an unfailing Faith. Though this truth was believed since the beginning of the Church, it was specifically defined as a dogma at the First Vatican Council in 1870.
Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, 1870, Session 4, Chap. 4:
“…the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra [from the Chair of Peter], that is, when carrying out the duty of the pastor and teacher of all Christians in accord with his supreme apostolic authority he explains a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the universal Church... operates with that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer wished that His Church be instructed in defining doctrine on faith and morals; and so such definitions of the Roman Pontiff from himself, but not from the consensus of the Church, are unalterable.”
But how does one know when a pope is exercising his unfailing Faith to infallibly teach from the Chair of St. Peter? The answer is that we know from the language that the pope uses or the manner in which the pope teaches. Vatican I defined two requirements which must be fulfilled: 1) when the pope is carrying out his duty as pastor and teacher of all Christians in accord with his supreme apostolic authority; 2) when he explains a doctrine on faith or morals to be held by the entire Church of Christ. A pope can fulfill both of these requirements in just one line, by anathematizing a false opinion (such as many dogmatic councils) or by saying “By our apostolic authority we declare…” or by saying “We believe, profess, and teach” or by using words of similar importance and meaning, which indicate that the pope is teaching the whole Church on Faith in a definitive and binding fashion.
So, when a pope teaches from the Chair of Peter in the manner stipulated above he cannot be wrong. If he could be wrong, then the Church of Christ could be officially led into error, and Christ’s promise to St. Peter and His Church would fail (which is impossible). That which is taught from the Chair of Peter by the popes of the Catholic Church is the teaching of Jesus Christ Himself. To reject that which is taught by the popes from the Chair of Peter is simply to despise Jesus Christ Himself.
Luke 10:16- “He that heareth you, heareth me: and he that despiseth you despiseth me…”
Matthew 18:17 -“And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican.”
Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum, 1896:
“… Christ instituted a living, authoritative and permanent Magisterium… If it could in any way be false, an evident contradiction follows; for then God Himself would be the author of error in man.”
NO SALVATION OUTSIDE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH The following statements on Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation are from the highest teaching authority of the Catholic Church. They are ex cathedra Papal decrees (decrees from the Chair of St. Peter). Therefore, they constitute the teaching given to the Catholic Church by Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Such teachings are unchangeable and are classified as part of the solemn magisterium (the extraordinary teaching authority of the Catholic Church).
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441, ex cathedra ( infallible statement from the chair of Peter): “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives; that the unity of this ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the Church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.” As we can see from this infallible statement from the chair of Peter, no one at all can be saved unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives.. Yet, many people today who call themselves Catholic or Christian, boldly and obstinately assert the direct opposite of this statement and claim that protestants, heretics, Jews, schismatics and even Pagans can attain eternal life.
Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio (# 2), May 27, 1832: “Finally some of these misguided people attempt to persuade themselves and others that men are not saved only in the Catholic religion, but that even heretics may attain eternal life.”
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, The Athanasian Creed, Sess. 8, Nov. 22, 1439, ex cathedra: “Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity.” (Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Vol. 1, pp. 550-553; Denzinger 39-40.)
Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 1, 1215, ex cathedra: “There is indeed one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which nobody at all is saved, in which Jesus Christ is both priest and sacrifice.”
Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam, Nov. 18, 1302, ex cathedra:
“With Faith urging us we are forced to believe and to hold the one, holy, Catholic Church and that, apostolic, and we firmly believe and simply confess this Churchoutside of which there is no salvation nor remission of sin… Furthermore, we declare, say, define, and proclaim to every human creature that they by absolute necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff.”
Those who refuse to believe in the dogma Outside the Church There is No Salvation until they understand how there is justice in it are simply withholding their Faith in Christ’s revelation. Those with the true Faith in Christ (and His Church) accept His teaching first and understand the truth in it (i.e., why it is true) second.A Catholic does not withhold his belief in Christ’s revelation until he can understand it.That is the mentality of a faithless heretic who possesses insufferable pride. St. Anselm sums up the true Catholic outlook on this point.
St. Anselm, Doctor of the Church, Prosologion, Chap. 1: “For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, that unless I believed, I should not understand.”
CONCERNING THOSE BAPTIZED VALIDLY AS INFANTS BY MEMBERS OF NON-CATHOLIC SECTS The Catholic Church has always taught that anyone (including a layman or a non-Catholic) can validly baptize if he adheres to proper matter and form and if he has the intention of doing what the Church does.
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Exultate Deo,” 1439: “In case of necessity, however, not only a priest or a deacon, but even a layman or woman, yes even a pagan and a heretic can baptize, so long as he preserves the form of the Church and has the intention of doing what the Church does.” (Denzinger 696)
The Church has always taught that infants baptized in heretical and schismatic churches are made Catholics, members of the Church and subjects of the Roman Pontiff, even if the people who baptized them are heretics who are outside the Catholic Church. This is because the infant, being below the age of reason, cannot be a heretic or schismatic. He cannot have an impediment which would prevent Baptism from making him a member of the Church.
Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Sess. 7, Can. 13 on the Sacrament of Baptism: “If anyone shall say that infants, because they have not actual faith, after having received baptism are not to be numbered among the faithful… let him be anathema.”
This means that all baptized infants wherever they are, even those baptized in heretical non-Catholic churches by heretical ministers, are made members of the Catholic Church. They are also made subject to the Roman Pontiff (if there is one). So, at what one point does this baptized Catholic infant become a non-Catholic – severing his membership in the Church and subjection to the Roman Pontiff? After the baptized infant reaches the age of reason, he or she becomes a heretic or a schismatic and severs his membership in the Church and severs subjection to the Roman Pontiff when he or she obstinately rejects any teaching of the Catholic Church or loses Faith in the essential mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation.
Pope Clement VI, Super quibusdam, Sept. 20, 1351: “…We ask: In the first place whether you and the Church of the Armenians which is obedient to you, believe that all those who in baptism have received the same Catholic faith, and afterwards have withdrawn and will withdraw in the future from the communion of this same Roman Church, which one alone is Catholic, are schismatic and heretical, if they remain obstinately separated from the faith of this Roman Church. In the second place, we ask whether you and the Armenians obedient to you believe that no man of the wayfarers outside the faith of this Church, and outside the obedience of the Pope of Rome, can finally be saved.”
So, one must be clear on these points: 1) The unbaptized (Jews, Muslims, pagans, etc.) must all join the Catholic Church by receiving Baptism and the Catholic Faith or they will all be lost. 2) Among those who are baptized as infants, they are made Catholics, members of the Church and subjects of the Roman Pontiff by Baptism. They only sever that membership (which they already possess) when they obstinately reject any Catholic dogma or believe something contrary to the essential mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation. In the teaching of Pope Clement VI above, we see this second point clearly taught: all who receive the Catholic Faith in Baptism lose that Faith and become schismatic and heretical if they become “obstinately separated from the faith of this Roman Church.”
The fact is that all Protestants who reject the Catholic Church or its dogmas on the sacraments, the Papacy, etc. have obstinately separated from the Faith of the Roman Church and have therefore severed their membership in the Church of Christ. The same is true with the “Eastern Orthodox” who obstinately reject dogmas on the Papacy and Papal Infallibility. They need to be converted to the Catholic Faith for salvation.
MATERIAL HERESY The children or people that are baptized in heretical communities cannot become heretics until they reach the age of reason or until they adopt any heretical views that are opposed to the Catholic Church. This means that some of those baptized persons who are now going to a heretical or schismatic “Church” might not yet be heretics even if everyone else in the same Church are heretics. However, when these children reach the age of reason, many of them might fall into an error called “material heresy.”
The term “material heresy” is used to describe persons who believe in a heresy without knowing that they are contradicting the Catholic Church’s official and infallible teaching. There’s no such thing as a material heretic in the dogmatic teaching of the Church.There are heretics; there are schismatics; and there are Catholics. Material heretic is simply a name for a Catholic who is erring in good faith about a dogma. In other words, it’s another name for a mistaken Catholic. It’s a person who is holding a false position – one that is strictly incompatible with Catholic dogma. However, that person is not obstinate against that dogma. He would change his position immediately upon being informed of the true position. The “material heretic” is a Catholic. This is very important to understand. Many Catholic saints have been material heretics. St. Thomas, for example, did not believe that Mary was conceived immaculately (Summa Theologica, Part. III, Q. 14, Art. 3, Reply to Obj. 1) even though it is now a defined dogma that Mary was conceived immaculately, and no wonder that even Saints have erred in their teaching, for it is very hard to imagine that a human can know every Church teaching that exists.
THE NATURAL LAW The natural law is written on the heart of all men, so that all men know that certain things are against God’s law and that certain things are in accordance with the natural law of charity, etc.
As the Haydock Bible and Commentary correctly explains about Romans 2:14-16,
“these men are a law to themselves, and have it written in their hearts, as to the existence of a God, and their reason tells them, that many sins are unlawful: they may also do some actions that are morally good, as by giving alms to relieve the poor, honoring their parents, etc. not that these actions, morally good, will suffice for their justification of themselves, or make them deserve a supernatural reward in the kingdom of heaven; but God, out of His infinite mercy, will give them some supernatural graces” which if they continue to cooperate with they will get more graces and eventually be exposed to the Catholic Faith, which they must have to be saved.”
All baptized infants are Catholics, even if they are baptized in a Methodist church-building, etc. This is de fide. These baptized Catholics, when they reach the age of reason in a Protestant building, if they hold the Trinity and the Incarnation (which are the two essential mysteries of the Catholic Faith) hold the absolutely essential mysteries of the Catholic Faith.
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Athanasian Creed, Sess. 8, Nov. 22, 1439, ex cathedra: “Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity.– But the Catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in the Trinity, and the Trinity in unity..
“But it is necessary for eternal salvation that he faithfully believe also in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ...the Son of God is God and man... This is the Catholic faith; unless each one believes this faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.”