“You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart.”
Pope Francis, September 2013
The media has interpreted the Pope’s recent statements about atheists as meaning that people don’t need to know or trust Christ to go to heaven.
Progressives and atheists feel a sense of victory and relief.
Good grief, those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith don’t even believe in heaven, or hell or God, and certainly not the Bible and certainly wouldn’t even recognize Christ, never mind “trust” Him.
While Catholic Church apologists are attempting to clarify the Pope’s intended meaning, whatever that may be, his statement as interpreted by the media is consistent with 50 year old Vatican II doctrinal statements.
Regardless of attempts of Papal apologists to modify the Popes words to avoid making the Catholic Church look like a useless institution, the Catholic hierarchy believe it is time to trot out their doctrine that a person does not need to know, never mind TRUST, Christ to be reconciled to God in eternity. This doctrine is contained in their “dogmatic constitution”, Section 16 of Lumen Gentium approved by Catholic hierarchy in 1964, which is quoted at the end of this blog.
This doctrine requires people to ignore numerous clear pronouncements of Scripture that say, in numerous ways and from numerous sources, that “trust in Jesus Christ alone” is required for our eternal salvation.
But the Pope insists…
“Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.”
The conscience of a great proportion of the world’s population is shaped by evil, hateful, warped, even Satanic cultures, religions, nations, or families. Such conscience would not know what is pleasing to God if it was staring him in the face. If my conscience was shaped by evil, doing good would go against my conscience and be interpreted as “sin.”
Devout Muslims are one example. To such Muslim it would be sin to refuse to strap on a suicide bomb vest to kill a dozen women and children who, while innocent, are not believed to be so because of his conscience shaped by his faith. Conversely, would the donning of a suicide vest, giving him a clear conscience, be his ticket to the Christian heaven? Hardly.
Assuming that conscience determines what is sin is the height of moral relativity. “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” is not the most edifying verse of the Bible, but it sounds like it may be edifying to the Pope.
In fact, the above Papal quote is inconsistent with even the Catholic doctrine of original sin, not to mention many clear Biblical declarations such as:
“…both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Apparently Catholicism is in such dire decline that their leaders feel a desperate need to appeal to the masses by ignoring the foundations of the Christian faith.
Apparently Catholicism now believes that the remnant of faithful Christians who believe that trust in Christ is essential to eternal life are narrow minded and bigoted for believing what the Bible has clearly taught for 2,000 years.
I understand that Catholic doctrine holds their tradition to be in some cases superior in authority over the Bible. But I thought that pertained to methods and patterns of worship as well as their salvation requirement of “works”, i.e., following the dictates of the Catholic hierarchy.
This new papal twist now even contradicts their unbiblical “works” requirement. Now not only Protestants have additional reason to be leary of the doctrines of the Catholic Church, but Christian Catholics, too. This and other recent Catholic edicts have now made it plain that there are “Christian Catholics” and as well as the now official “non-Christian Catholic Church.”
Further nailing another thesis to the Catholic wall of shame is this additional papal pronouncement:
The Catholic Church must shake off an obsession with teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality and become more merciful or risk the collapse of its entire moral edifice "like a house of cards".
That sums up the motive. In today’s corrupt culture, the Catholic Church believes in order to survive it must sacrifice its moral teachings and be open to all sorts of un-Biblical pandering to the masses.
Here is the little known Vatican II doctrine that has been dragged out of obscurity to make the Church more popular at the expense of Biblical faithfulness and truth:
DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCHLUMEN GENTIUM SOLEMNLY PROMULGATED BY HIS HOLINESS POPE PAUL VI ON NOVEMBER 21, 1964
16. Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God.(18*) In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh.(125) On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.(126) But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things,(127) and as Saviour wills that all men be saved.(128) Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.(19*) Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.(20*) She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.(129) Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, "Preach the Gospel to every creature",(130) the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.
Here is a critique of the Pope’s anti-Christian decrees from “A Cleansing Fire”, a website of a conservative lay-run Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester. Conservative Catholics are not happy.
Somehow many in the Church (both clergy and laity) have moved to the extreme interpretation that if God can lead those ignorant of the Gospel to find pleasing faith, God has led those who are ignorant of the Gospel to pleasing faith. And somehow, many in the Church (both clergy and laity) have moved to the extreme interpretation that if Men and Women can gain salvation in other ways known to God alone, they have gained salvation even though they do not know the Gospel.
A study of the primary Second Vatican Council text (LG 16) upon which the two above quotes are based is the same primary text used by many in the Church to promote consequent extreme and erroneous interpretations that all are saved whether they heard the Gospel or not.
In fact instead of emphasizing what is actually taught (…without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, can be saved even if they have not been baptized…..[see CCC 1281 1997 edition], many in the Church (both clergy and laity) incorrectly teach “are saved”.
The jump from possibility to certainty about the salvation of people (who have not heard the Gospel through no fault of their own) to certainty about their salvation is not warranted by the text upon which all of these statements are based. (LG 16)
An analysis of the last three sentences of Lumen Gentium 16 is particularly essential to understanding what Vatican II actually teaches; the same three sentences that virtually always are ignored or if they are ever mentioned at all, are mentioned only very briefly, and without significant comment.
“But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator. Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, “Preach the Gospel to every creature”, the Church fosters the missions with care and attention. (LG 16)
Those are three very significant sentences which should neither be ignored nor given only brief attention without significant comment. Why should sustained attention be paid to these neglected last three sentences of LG 16?
Why these last three sentences are ignored indeed. Why? The Catholic Church is desperate. They need to staunch the outflow of their members. Or perhaps even more accurate, they need to sacrifice the faith of their existing members to attract a whole new set of people who don’t believe in anything. With what hope does this Church have of leading these new comers to anything of value if they have given up the truth to attract them in the first place?
They have stooped to even more radical apostasy to do it. It is no wonder why some faithful Christian denominations refer to the Papacy as The Anti-Christ.