"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Fr. Campbell, "Who is Catholic"

Who Is a Catholic?
Fr. Campbell

The closing words of today’s Gospel: “And he was teaching daily in the temple” (Lk.19:47). Jesus taught with authority, as we hear from St. Mark: “And they were astonished at his teaching; for he was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the Scribes” (Mk.1:22). As the Son of God He had absolute authority, the authority of God.

We believe whatever God has revealed, because God is absolute truth. God can neither deceive nor be deceived, as we say in the Act of Faith. We believe unconditionally. This is the definition of what it means to be Catholic. When the Son of God teaches we listen. Those truths which have been divinely revealed by Our Lord have been preserved by the Church since apostolic times, so that all generations may know the truth that sets us free. For instance, to those who would be saved He taught the necessity of Baptism: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Jn.3:5).

The Church teaches with the authority given to it by Jesus Christ. It alone has authority to teach what Christ taught. But it does not have the authority to change it, dilute it, or pollute it with innovative or man-made doctrines. Quite the opposite! The Church must jealously guard and preserve what has been handed down, under the watchful eye of the successor of St. Peter. As it says in the Papal Oath (no longer taken by the later conciliar popes): “I vow to change nothing of the received Tradition, and nothing thereof I have found before me guarded by my God-pleasing predecessors, to encroach upon, to alter, or to permit any innovation therein…”

We must believe as Peter did. But scarcely a doctrine that the Church received from Christ through the Apostles has remained untouched by the Novus Ordo false church with its “new theology,” beginning with the question of the necessity of Baptism. The Church has always taken Our Lord’s words about Baptism quite literally, considering the Sacrament of Baptism an absolute must, as appears from this definition from the Council of Trent:

“If anyone denies that infants newly born from their mothers' wombs, are to be baptized, even though they be born of baptized parents, or says that they are baptized indeed for the remission of sins, but that they derive nothing of original sin from Adam, which must be expiated by the laver of regeneration for the attainment of life everlasting, whence it follows, that in them the form of baptism for the remission of sins is understood to be not true, but false: let him be anathema. For what the Apostle has said: ‘By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned’ [Romans 5:12], is not to be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere has always understood it” (Denzinger 791).

This strongly worded anathema from the Council of Trent did not deter the false pope, John Paul II, from asking the theologians to examine the question of the fate of unbaptized infants, as in the case of abortion, recommending that they come up with a “more pastoral” approach than the traditional teaching on limbo, where the souls of unbaptized infants were said to spend eternity in a state of natural happiness, but without the Beatific Vision, which is the true essence of Heaven. The expected result, of course, was that Baptism in their case would be judged unnecessary.

The new teaching is exemplified by Benedict XVI, while still a Cardinal, in one of his theological works, in which he denies the necessity of the Sacrament of Baptism:

“The question of what it means to say that baptism is necessary for salvation has become ever more hotly debated in modern times. The Second Vatican Council said on this point that men who are seeking for God and who are inwardly striving toward that which constitutes baptism will also receive salvation. That is to say that a seeking after God already represents an inward participation in baptism, in the Church, in Christ. To that extent, the question concerning the necessity of baptism for salvation seems to have been answered, but the question about children who could not be baptized because they were aborted then presses upon us that much more urgently.”

After an explanation of the traditional teaching on limbo, the Benedict continues:
“In the course of our century, that (teaching on limbo) has gradually come to seem problematic to us. This was one way in which people sought to justify the necessity of baptizing infants as early as possible, but the solution is itself questionable. Finally, the Pope [John Paul II] made a decisive turn in the [1995] encyclical Evangelium Vitae, a change already anticipated by the [1992] Catechism of the Catholic Church, when he expressed the simple hope that God is powerful enough to draw to himself all those who were unable to receive the sacrament” (God and the World, Ignatius Press, 2002, pp.401-402, as quoted in novusordowatch.org).

How a “simple hope” can result in a “decisive turn” for the whole Church on as important a doctrinal issue as the necessity of Baptism remains a mystery. As for us, may we make a decisive turn to God in hope of final perseverance in the grace granted us through the mercy of God and our holy Baptism. 

The Catechism of the Council of Trent offers us a traditional definition of Baptism based on the words of Holy Scripture:

Unless, says our Lord, a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God (Jn.3:5); and, speaking of the Church, the Apostle says, cleansing it by the laver of water in the word of life (Eph.5:26). Thus it follows that Baptism may be rightly and accurately defined: The Sacrament of regeneration by water in the word. By nature we are born from Adam children of wrath, but by Baptism we are regenerated in Christ, children of mercy. For He gave power to men to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name, who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (Jn.1:12,13)” (Tan Books, 1982, p. 163).