At this very troublesome and difficult time, the hidden designs of God have conducted Our poor strength to the office of Supreme pastor, to rule the entire flock of Christ. The enemy has, indeed, long been prowling about the fold and attacking it with such subtle cunning that now, more than ever before, the prediction of the Apostle to the elders of the Church of Ephesus seems to be verified: "I know that. Coming to a different explanation, each points out, according to his own view, a different plan for the protection and restoration of the kingdom of God on earth. But it seems to Vs, Venerable Brethren, that while we should not overlook other considerations, We are forced to agree with those who hold that the chief cause of the present indifference and, as it were, infirmity of soul, and the serious evils that result from it, is to be found above all in ignorance of things divine. This is fully in accord with what God Himself declared through the Prophet Osee: "And there is no knowledge of God in the land.
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Stanfill Benns This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. Recently a reader complained that Pope St. Because we have already demonstrated at length why the claims of the Feeneyites cannot be true in articles posted to the site, we will not spend much time here.
But it is important to make distinctions where this teaching is concerned, since so many have fallen into error for failing to do this. While we believe that those living today are more justified in claiming invincible ignorance than ever before, owing to the absence of a readily visible Church and its infallible head, we refuse to extend it any further than the popes themselves did.
In fact this author has long complained of the very ignorance Pope St. Pius X details in his encyclical, an ignorance especially rife among Traditionalists.
Please note the comments below in bold, as these will be used later for talking points. And when we mention Christians, We refer not only to the masses or to those in the lower walks of life — for these find some excuse for their ignorance in the fact that the demands of their harsh employers hardly leave them time to take care of themselves or of their dear ones — but We refer to those especially who do not lack culture or talents and, indeed, are possessed of abundant knowledge regarding things of the world but live rashly and imprudently with regard to religion.
It is hard to find words to describe how profound is the darkness in which they are engulfed and, what is most deplorable of all, how tranquilly they repose there…We are forced to agree with those who hold that the chief cause of the present indifference and, as it were, infirmity of soul, and the serious evils that result from it, is to be found above all in ignorance of things divine.
Cursing and lying and killing and theft and adultery have overflowed: and blood hath touched blood. Thereafter shall the land mourn, and everyone that dwelleth in it shall languish.
And even this as too often happens only when the dying man is not so sinfully ignorant as to look upon the ministration of the priest as useless, and then calmly faces the fearful passage to eternity without making his peace with God. In the above paragraphs, Pope St. Pius X speaks primarily of baptized non-Catholics , for reasons explained below. We by no means wish to conclude that a perverse will and unbridled conduct may not be joined with a knowledge of religion.
Would to God that facts did not too abundantly prove the contrary! But We do maintain that the will cannot be upright nor the conduct good when the mind is shrouded in the darkness of crass ignorance. A man who walks with open eyes may, indeed, turn aside from the right path, but a blind man is in much more imminent danger of wandering away.
Furthermore, there is always some hope for a reform of perverse conduct so long as the light of faith is not entirely extinguished ; but if lack of faith is added to depraved morality because of ignorance, the evil hardly admits of remedy, and the road to ruin lies open. How many and how grave are the consequences of ignorance in matters of religion! And on the other hand, how necessary and how beneficial is religious instruction!
It is indeed vain to expect a fulfillment of the duties of a Christian by one who does not even know them. We must now consider upon whom rests the obligation to dissipate this most pernicious ignorance and to impart in its stead the knowledge that is wholly indispensable.
There can be no doubt, Venerable Brethren, that this most important duty rests upon all who are pastors of souls. On them, by command of Christ, rest the obligations of knowing and of feeding the flocks committed to their care; and to feed implies, first of all, to teach.
First it should be noted that this is the famous encyclical on catechetical instruction from which this pope is often quoted. It is generally assumed that those receiving catechetical instruction are already baptized Catholics.
Secondly, notice that St. Also crass ignorance, not invincible ignorance is mentioned here, and this term crass means grossly negligible ignorance, where no lack of means and intellectual ability exist, making the act fully culpable. Clearly he is addressing those intended in Holy Scripture where it reads, that to whom much is given, much is expected. How should they learn about their faith? From their pastors of course, who no longer are available to us, as this site has long demonstrated.
The priests of both of these sects are not even lawful pastors. Pope St. Pius X could scarcely have contradicted his predecessors on this teaching concerning ignorance, for in his Oath Against Modernism he says the Church has always taught the same truths of faith in the same sense and we must accept this on faith.
So if these people wish to use Pope St. Outside the Church means outside the doctrinal boundaries set for us by the popes and councils. In championing Fr. Rejection of the papacy and the championing of external religion has been the most prominent feature all Traditionalists share, and the Feeneyites are no exception. With their mouths they profess to accept what the Church has taught but their actions speak so loudly we cannot hear what they are saying.
First we must remember that Bp. Hay, so often wrongfully quoted as favoring the rigorist interpretation of no salvation outside the Church, died decades before the reign of Pope Pius IX; in his time the question of invincible ignorance was still open for debate.
Thus their definitive teaching in this matter is to be held superior to anything from the theologians which proceeded it. Once Rome has spoken, the matter is no longer open for debate. This is precisely the reason we refuse to debate or tolerate in any way the heretical twaddle of the Feeneyites. Secondly, in regard to what is written above, it is clear that Pope St.
Pius X is addressing lax baptized Catholics and baptized non-Catholics, for invincible ignorance is usually associated with those not actually baptized with water or those baptized in another false rite. Why else even admit that there could be baptism of desire which the Feeneyites so fiercely deny?
And since this can happen in the case of a Protestant who is not validly baptized, although he believes such baptism is valid, baptism of desire necessarily comes into play. This we see clearly stated in the Council of Trent, both in reference to the sacrament of regeneration and in reference to the sacrament of Penance. Here we see the actually possibility of those being saved who are not even thinking they are baptized, but nevertheless wish to know and love God.
These are very important distinctions. In the first instance, Catholics and baptized non-Catholics are already included in the Mystical Body through baptism.
Secondly, those not baptized, if they truly love God and persevere in their own faith, have expressed their desire to be so baptized, even though they did not receive the Sacrament.
This covers both those mentioned in two and three above. As Rev. How much more true these words ring today, when even if they were wholly convinced Rome and Traditionalism are in error and they must join the Church, they see no place to go. Only certainly validly baptized Catholics returning to the Church in the required manner after recanting their heresy and schism may be counted as true members.
But even this reinstatement as members of the juridic Church is not complete since they still await absolution by true hierarchy. Traditionalists and Feeneyites alike may think themselves able to dictate to God what He can and cannot do concerning His creation, but that only casts them alongside Satan and the fallen angels who also believed themselves superior to God.
Those who cannot obey what they have taught on faith, without questioning the decisions they made long ago, have no right to challenge anything said here, for they long ago ceased to be Catholic. Francis J. But they are not to be reckoned as members of the Church — not even invisible members.
Connell was Rev. I have never said that those who are not validly baptized are actual Church members. Whatever God does in this regard is a secret, and Pope Pius IX basically says it is none of our business. God alone knows the exceptions He allows to this rule.
Feeneyites are wasting their time beating this dead horse. Your email address will not be published. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. On invincible ignorance First we must remember that Bp.
Stanfill Benns on October 26, at pm. Submit a Comment Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.
Acerbo nimis and invincible ignorance
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List of encyclicals of Pope Pius X