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Archive for the ‘St. Alphonsus Liguori’ Category

This second installment is a defense of the post-Vatican 2 sedevacantist clergy having authority to administer the sacraments, which sedevacantist home-aloners deny. Also included will be two arguments why the home-alone position is problematic.

Before the great apostasy, the Church had customary channels of power and authority, which we now refer to as ordinary times. Formerly, the Church enjoyed normal papal succession, world-wide hierarchy, and ecclesiastical laws, so that everything worked within the framework of the Church’s existence in those times.

The predicament of the great apostasy, however, is an extraordinary phenomenon unprecedented in history. It has affected the Church to such an extent that many laws of the Church can’t apply, can’t be applied, nor can be enforced; an example being the law on papal elections requiring cardinals. See THE CASE THAT PROVES CHURCH LAWS CAN’T ALWAYS APPLY – Revised

Some theologians and canonists have argued this nightmare can’t happen, but obviously that opinion is proven wrong by the very fact it has.

The Catholic Church has gone into what I call survival mode. Some things that would be illicit now become licit as the 4th rule of Pope Gregory IX lays out:

Propter necessitatem, illicitum efficitur licitum (Necessity makes licit was illicit)

In ordinary times, bishops and priests had ordinary and delegated jurisdiction, which is the power to rule and the authority to administer. In these extraordinary times, the power and authority has taken on a new form due to the circumstances. Therefore, the Church must supply the jurisdiction to stay alive and carry on its mission of saving souls. Exactly how supplied jurisdiction is granted to sedevacantist clergy is the question.

Supplied jurisdiction is when ordinary or delegated jurisdiction is absent and the Church confers it extraordinarily, when it was not bestowed regularly for the purpose of a grave cause and common good of souls.

Since no pope exists, no bishops with ordinary or delegated jurisdiction exist (insofar as we can tell), the Church must carry on lest the gates of hell effectively prevails.

According to the First Vatican Council, just as Peter has by Divine right successors in the primacy, so too, as is natural, the Church has by Divine right to live and carry on its mission of saving souls through the sacraments. What Catholic could deny this fact?

Rev. Ludwig Ott taught in his Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, “The Sacraments are the means appointed by God for the attainment of eternal salvation. Three of them are in the ordinary way of salvation so necessary, that without their use salvation cannot be attained. Thus, for the individual person, Baptism is necessary in this way and after the commission of a grievous sin, Penance is equally necessary, while for the Church in general, the Sacrament of Holy Orders is necessary. The other Sacraments are necessary in so far as salvation cannot be so easily gained without them.” [1] Ott tells us on p. 332, “All the Sacraments of the New Covenant confer sanctifying grace on the receivers. (De fide.)”

No ecclesiastical law could be used to prevent the Church as a whole from carrying on its mission of saving souls through these life-giving sacraments.

Just as doctrine develops over time, so too, ecclesiastical law develops. It is in this development that we discover how our clergy have jurisdiction supplied to them by the Church.

For example, canon law tells us that Confession can only be granted by a priest lacks ordinary or delegated jurisdiction in the case of danger of death.

Can. 882 states: When there is danger of death, any priest, even though not otherwise approved for hearing confessions, may validly and licitly absolve any penitent from whatever sins and censures, including those which are reserved and notorious, even though an approved priest may be present.  But the rules laid down in can. 884 and 2252 must be observed. [2]

Therefore, based on this canon, any priest (including valid non-Catholic priests) can absolve when there is danger of death. Over the years, the application of this canon has developed.

Several canonists such as Rev. Guiseppe d’Annibale and Rev. Matthaeus a Coronata taught that a long-term lack of a confessor may be regarded as equivalent to danger of death for purposes of supplied jurisdiction. It’s an opinion not agreed upon by others. However, I find that d’Annibale and Coronata are applying a fundamental rule of jurisprudence by applying as broad as possible an interpretation on the words of a favorable law. [3]

The novel interpretation by d’Annibale and Coronata demonstrates that the canon does not have to be interpreted absolutely in the strictest sense. If d’Annibale and Coronata are correct, then by this particular canon, the Church supplies jurisdiction to our sedevacantist clergy. Therefore, we have a law that’s lacking an expressed prescription that canonists think is possible and considered within that law.

Where did they get the opinion that a long-term lack of a confessor is equivalent to danger of death? d’Annibale cites two earlier authorities that taught the “in danger of death” law to mean possibly dying without a priest or confessor over a long period of time. A particular auspicious authority we’ll examine is the Doctor of the Church and Patron Saint of Confessors, St. Alphonsus Liquori who taught:

“Is any priest able to absolve from any sins and censures, not only at the point of death, but also in danger of death? This is denied by [various names] but more truly and more commonly affirmed by…The reason for this is that in this matter, the danger is taken for the point, as is clear from…For in such a case, anyone in mortal sin is bound to confess in the same way as if he were at the point of death. This is accepted by…provided that such a danger be so grave that it can scarcely be distinguished with certainty from the point: but, more immediately, it seems to be sufficient that there be prudent fear that death will arise in the danger. Now such a danger is considered to be present in a battle, in a long sea voyage, in a difficult delivery, in a dangerous disease, and similar cases…The same is true of one who is in probable danger of falling into insanity (amentia)…and the same of those who are captives among infidels with small hope of liberty. For it is believed that they will have no other priests in the future.” [4]

It would seem that in battles, long sea voyages, etc. the same priest without ordinary jurisdiction will be present throughout the situation. In such a case, that same priest can absolve a man repeatedly over the duration of war, long sea voyages, etc.

That said, St. Alphonsus then offers another situation that’s related, but not precisely the same as in danger of war, long sea voyage, pandemic, etc. He refers to those who are captives among infidels (not those who are in danger of falling captives). He’s not very clear what this means precisely. However, we can conclude that this particular situation is not exactly a danger of death. It’s a case outside of some immediate danger of death.

It may be that St. Alphonsus intended to mean those who expect to never have a priest again, which is manifestly not the situation where Catholics today have access to a priest regularly.

If we were able to ask St. Alphonsus, what if there was a priest without ordinary jurisdiction made captive himself with small hope of liberty, can he absolve the other captives as long as they are captives, since there’s small hope of liberty?

It’s reasonable to presume that St. Alphonsus would say yes, since it’s the obvious conclusion. That conclusion is precisely the situation Catholics find themselves today. The problem with our situation is that it’s not addressed anywhere, probably because it wasn’t considered possible.

When Rev. Guiseppe d’Annibale explains the law of absolving in danger of death, he lists the different situations in the same order as St. Alphonsus. He even cites St. Alphonsus, because he’s using him as the source. However, when d’Annibale comes to the section of “probable danger of falling into insanity and captives among infidels with small hope of liberty,” he lists it as “Besides, if one is in danger of falling into perpetual insanity, or is in such circumstances that henceforth he is likely not to have a confessor available any more, he is likewise to be regarded as if he were in danger of death.” [5] Interestingly, he doesn’t cite St. Alphonsus, perhaps because he’s already cited him twice, even though Liguori speaks about insanity, but d’Annibale does cite Rev. Leonardo Duardo.

Rev. Leonardo Duardo wrote in Commentaria in Bullam Coenae Domini (1638):

“But that is also to be noted, that if one bound by some censure of our Bull is found in that state, in which if he is not absolved now, it is to be feared as likely, that before death he will not have a Confessor available, as can happen in India, or in some captivity; then I say that he can be absolved by someone other than the Roman Pontiff; because although he is said to be outside the imminent danger of death, still in this matter, and morally speaking, this case is not different from danger of death: all the more, because in such a case, if he were to have access to a confessor he would be bound by divine law to make his confession: as Suarez says in the place cited: as taken from Suarez.” (probably Suarez de pentitentia, disp. 35, sec. 2 & 3) [6]

Duardo and Liguori make the “in danger of death” clause to include in danger of dying without another priest or confessor. It’s technically not “in danger of death” at all. Yet, they include it in the law. These authorities have developed the application of the law to mean something the law doesn’t specifically mention.

Rev. Matthaeus Conte a Coronata, O.F.M. Cap., Institutiones Iuris Canonici, IV. n. 1760 4th edition, published in 1955, writes:

“Danger of death is present for him who is in such circumstances that death is truly and gravely probable, but who also may survive. This situation can arise from various causes, e.g. from illness, injury, difficult childbirth, extreme old age, dangerous journey, imminent battle, surgical operation to be undergone, extreme torture etc.”

“He may be regarded as equal to those in danger of death who is in grave danger of falling into perpetual insanity or who is in such a condition that henceforth he will not have a confessor available anymore.”

Coronata cites d’Annibale as the source demonstrating that he agrees with d’Annibale’s analysis of Duardo and St. Alphonsus. They don’t spend much time on the topic, probably because it’s such a rare situation. Perhaps, they didn’t think an in-depth examination was needed. However, their explanations using confessor rather than priest have connotations that resembles our great apostasy age. As long as Catholics are in a situation where they could die without a confessor, any priest can absolve as many times as needed. It’s the logical extension of Duardo and Liguori’s application.

Duardo and St. Alphonsus are laying out a principle that cases exist outside of immediate danger of death that are equivalent to being in danger of death. They don’t list every possibility, but they came up with something that’s novel and not found elsewhere.

There’s no reason why our scenario can’t be figured into the law and put into practice by our theologians and canonists. d’Annibale and Coronata already point that way.

In his Moral Theology, book 6, n. 560, p. 443, St. Alphonsus Liguori lays out a practical teaching:

“The question is: whether heretics, schismatics, and vitandus excommunicates can absolve a dying man, if no other priest is present.”

“The first opinion says that they can, based on the Council of Trent’s statement that it is ecclesiastical tradition that there’s no reservation [of jurisdiction to absolve] when a man is dying.”

“The second opinion, (which St. Alphonsus agrees), says that such priests can’t validly absolve a dying man because the council wasn’t speaking of priests with no jurisdiction, but of those who lack jurisdiction over reserved cases (that is, reserved to the bishop or the Holy See on account of censure); also because the Council of Trent didn’t make a new law, but only approved the ancient law, which was that priests cut off from the unity of the Church cannot validly absolve under any circumstances.”

“Nevertheless, the Continuator of Tournely says rightly that in such a case, a priest who is a heretic or a vitandus excommunicate, when no other priest is present, may well give conditional absolution to a dying man, because in extreme or urgent necessity according to the common opinion of doctors, as we said n. 482 [citation omitted] … it is licit to follow an opinion that is only slightly probable.” [7]

The Holy Office settled the issue on July 39, 1891, which affirmed the first opinion. However, the relevant part of Liguori’s answer is the last sentence. To follow the opinion of d’Annibale and Coronata is licit.

To follow the opinion of d’Annibale and Coronata is licit. Also, the Church is in urgent necessity of bishops and priests. The fact that we have all of our theologians and canonists presenting the same argument (I would think) makes it at least slightly probable.

I can think of other possible scenarios not addressed by saints or any theologian (that I’ve found). What if a priest shipwrecks on an island where no civilized persons have ever witnessed? Therefore, the likelihood of being rescued is slim to none. The priest converts the natives and baptizes them. However, we are to understand that he can’t administer the other sacraments because of some particular Church law that’s not referring to this particular situation? Is this the will of Christ and His Church? The priest wasn’t technically sent by the ordinary laws of Church, therefore, the poor Catholics are just out of luck until there is imminent danger of death?

Again, the logical conclusion is that “in danger of death” could include dying without a confessor, but if a priest is present, he can absolve as long as necessary. It isn’t specifically mentioned, but it doesn’t need to be. It wasn’t in the books about possibly dying without a priest or confessor years in the future until a theologian and a canonist thought of it years later. St. Alphonsus and Duardo’s scenarios don’t become true for the law, because they thought of it. It was always true. The same thing applies to our situation. The “in danger of death” law provides the means for our sedevacantist clergy.

If home-aloners reject my explanation out of novelty or because it’s not a real danger of death scenario, then they would have to apply that same rule to St. Alphonsus Liguori for the same reasons. Then the argument turns against the Patron Saint of Confessors.

The Council of Trent declared, “For those who after baptism have fallen into sin, the Sacrament of Penance is as necessary unto salvation as is baptism itself for those who have not yet been regenerated” (Sess. XIV, c. 2).

We don’t wait until we’re in imminent danger of death for the Sacrament of Penance. We are not living in ordinary times with ordinary circumstances. We have no recourse to ordinary channels of priests with ordinary and delegated jurisdiction. Yet, we have priests and bishops all around us. There’s a law that lacks an express prescription, which is considered by our theologians and canonists to work for the current situation.

Getting back to the problem with home-aloners, I have a question to ponder:

Is it possible for the Church to unintentionally prohibit the administration of all the sacraments to the whole Church except Baptism and Marriage for a day, a year, 50 years, or indefinitely?

The home-alone position must submit that the Church is withholding and prohibiting the sacraments to the whole Church unintentionally, which is contrary to Christ’s mission of the Church. The Church’s mission can’t become counter-missionary to itself. Would Christ place a time-bomb in the establishment of His Church?

It doesn’t say much for a loving Mother that hinders ALL HER children from living and dying as holy a life as possible to be saved.

Home-aloners necessarily hold that the entire Church is incapacitated and paralyzed from administering the sacraments. It would mean that Christ does not and has not provided the means for the administration of the sacraments to His whole Church. The mission of the Church has come to a screeching halt and the devil has thwarted God’s positive Will for His Church of accomplishing what it was sent out to do.

I submit the gates of hell have prevailed if our clergy are wrong for administering the sacraments. What good is a Church that has been totally incapacitated? It would mean the Church’s mission is effectively over and the devil has won. In my estimation, the home alone position is not just impossible, it’s anti-Catholic.

This all leads to my two final arguments.

Before the great apostasy, there were opinions permitted to be held, which post-apostasy circumstances prove to be false opinions. One such false opinion held by the majority of theologians and canonists is the universal acceptance of the Church guarantees a true pope. At least 5 theologians and canonists disagreed with this opinion and were proven right by the circumstances of the great apostasy. This is one reason why listing a collection of theological opinions proves nothing.

So too, the circumstances of the great apostasy prove that the home-alone opinion of supplied jurisdiction to be false by the mere fact that the Church can’t be counter-missionary to itself and be completely incapacitated to administer the sacraments as a whole. The Church has by Divine right to exist and carry on its mission of saving souls through the sacraments. That Divine right must exist somehow even if it can’t be shown explicitly.

Lastly is the argument of reason: If we consider both the home-alone position and the sedevacantist clergy position as sincere opinions, what are the pros and cons of each position from the viewpoint of being right or wrong?

If the home-aloners are correct and avoided sedevacantist clergy, they have gained nothing, but the fact they followed their conscience, which both sides do anyway. However, if they are wrong:

     1. They lose numerous graces from the sacraments they could have received.

     2. Their chance of losing their souls becomes greater.

     3. Their chance of gaining heaven becomes less.

     4. The probability of having a tougher purgatory becomes greater.

     5. They will not have lived and died in the greatest possible manner.

     6. They will not be as close to Jesus and Mary in life and in death.

     7. Their place in heaven may not reach the heights it could have been.

If our sedevacantist clergy are wrong, we have lost nothing. We died in good faith, but were mistaken. However, if we are right:

     1. We gained numerous graces from the sacraments.

     2. The chance of losing our souls decreases.

     3. The chance of gaining heaven increases.

     4. The probability of having a tough purgatory decreases.

     5. We will have lived and died as holy as possible with the sacraments.

     6. We will be closer to Jesus and Mary in life and in death.

     7. Our place in heaven becomes the highest it could possibly be, because of the sacraments.

The argument from reason demonstrates that the home-alone position gains nothing and stands to lose so much. Our position stands to lose nothing and gains everything. While this argument doesn’t prove which side is right, it does prove which opinion is better.

 

Footnotes:

[1] Rev. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, pp. 340-341:

The Sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for the salvation of mankind. (De fide.)

As Christ instituted the Sacraments and bound them up with the communication of grace they are necessary to us for the achievement of salvation (necessitate medii), even if not all are necessary for each individual. The efficacious reception of a Sacrament can, in case of necessity, be replaced by the desire for the Sacrament (votum sacramenti) (hypothetical necessity).

The Council of Trent declared against the Reformers who, on the ground of their “sola fides” doctrine, contested the necessity of the Sacraments for salvation: Si quis dixerit sacramenta novae Legis non esse ad salutem necessaria, sed superflua, ct sine eis aut eorum voto per solam fidem homines a Deo gratiam iustificationis adipisci, licet omnia singulis necessaria non sint. A.S. D. 847. In the Middle Ages the necessity of the Sacraments was controverted by the Cathari.

The Sacraments are the means appointed by God for the attainment of eternal salvation. Three of them are in the ordinary way of salvation so necessary, that without their use salvation cannot be attained. Thus, for the individual person, Baptism is necessary in this way and after the commission of a grievous sin, Penance is equally necessary, while for the Church in general, the Sacrament of Holy Orders is necessary. The other Sacraments are necessary in so far as salvation cannot be so easily gained without them. Thus Confirmation is the completion of Baptism, and Extreme Unction is the completion of Penance, while Matrimony is the basis for the preservation of the Church Commonwealth, and the Eucharist is the end (finis) of all the Sacraments. C£ S. the III 6S, 3 and 4.

[2] Rev. Charles Augustine, A Commentary on the New Code of Canon Law, vol. IV, p. 286

[3] “A fundamental rule of jurisprudence is to put as broad as possible an interpretation on the words of a favorable law and to interpret unfavorable laws strictly (e.g., penal laws). (C. 19.)” Moral Theology, Fr. Heribert Jone, p. 23.

[4] Theologia Moralis, Liguori, Bk.6, no. 561, Q.2

[5] Summula theologiae moralis : Giuseppe d’ Annibale : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

[6] Commentaria in bullam S.D.N.D. Pauli Papae V lectam in die Coenae Domini … – Leonardo Duardo (C.R.) – Google Books

[7] https://archive.org/details/theologiamoralis02ligu_0/page/442/mode/2up

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After my podcast on Feeneyism, the Feeneyites have come out of the cracks to attack Baptism of Desire.

One of their fundamental errors is failing to make the distinction between making an error over an opinion and actually teaching heresy.

Popes, saints, and theologians most certainly can err over theological opinions, but they can’t err against a dogma and remain Catholic. Feeneyites will say St. Alphonsus was a material heretic and/or erred innocently. They won’t apply that same courtesy to the Vatican 2 popes (if sedes.) When the Vatican 2 popes error against the faith, it’s malicious, but when great popes and saints do the exact same thing, it’s not malicious. 

St. Alphonsus Liguori taught two things that Feeneyites call heresy. I dealt with one of those issues over 4 years ago here.

The second issue concerns the faith and what is needed to be saved. Feeneyites profess that it’s dogmatic that those who are of the age of reason absolutely must have explicit faith in the essential mysteries of faith to be saved. 

However, Catholicism is clear that it’s not dogmatic. It’s a theological opinion. This opinion is broken down into different classes of necessity.  

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains: In relation to the means necessary to salvation theologians divide necessity into necessity of means and necessity of precept. In the first case the means is so necessary to salvation that without it (absolute necessity) or its substitute (relative necessity), even if the omission is guiltless, the end cannot be reached. Thus faith and baptism of water are necessary by a necessity of means, the former absolutely, the latter relatively, for salvation. In the second case, necessity is based on a positive precept, commanding something the omission of which, unless culpable, does not absolutely prevent the reaching of the end.

According to Feeneyites, the above teaching from the Catholic Encyclopedia is heretical for denying that the Sacrament of Baptism is a necessity of means for salvation.

The faith that’s a necessity of means can be broken down even further. St. Alphonsus taught that it’s “sufficiently probable – that by necessity of precept all are bound to believe these Mysteries explicitly; but by necessity of means, it suffices if they be believed implicitly.” 

Those same Feeneyites must call St. Alphonsus a formal heretic, since he’s contradicting their believed “dogma” that explicit faith is a necessity of means. 

St. Alphonsus Liguori taught in Theologia Moralis, Lib. II, tract. 1, cap. 1 

1.  Which mysteries must be believed by a necessity of means?

Of those things which the faithful are bound to believe explicitly, some must be believed by a necessity of means, or end; without which, even if inculpably unknown, no one can obtain the ultimate end; others, by a necessity of precept, without which, if they be inculpably omitted, the ultimate end may be obtained. — Sanchez, Azor, Valentia. By a necessity of means these two things are necessary: (1) To believe explicitly that God is, and is a rewarder of the good; according to that of the Apostle to the Hebrews, xi. 6: One must believe. Council of Trent. (2) After the sufficient promulgation of the Gospel, to believe explicitly, as says Molina; or at least implicitly, as some teach as probable with Coninck and Laymann, in Christ and the Most Holy Trinity.  See Escobar, where from Vasquez he teaches that culpable ignorance of these mysteries, or negligence in learning them, is a grave sin, distinct from that which is its cause.  See Diana. It is a theological virtue, infused by God, inclining us to firmly assent, on account of the divine veracity, to all that God has revealed, and by the Church has proposed to our belief.  It is said (1) A theological virtue, that is, which has God for its object; for faith, as also hope and charity, is aimed directly at God, and thus differs from the moral virtues, which refer to Him indirectly.  (2) Infused by God; because faith is a supernatural gift of God.  (3) Inclining us to firmly believe; for the assent of faith cannot be joined with fear, as was wrongly said in proposition 21 proscribed by Innocent XI, but must be absolutely firm.  (4) On account of the divine veracity.  For the infallible truth (which is God Himself) is the formal object of faith. (5) To all that God has revealed; for everything revealed by God is the material object of faith.  (6) And by the Church has proposed to our belief; for the divine revelation would not be made known to us, except by the Church, which proposes the things revealed; as it is otherwise evident, on account of the signs of credibility (among which are prophecies, miracles, the constancy of the Martyrs, and such like), that the Church can neither deceive nor be deceived.  Apart from which St. Augustine famously uttered the saying: I would not believe the Gospel, unless the authority of the Catholic Church so moved me.

2.  Whether the mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation must be believed explicitly?

It is asked: whether the Mysteries of the Most Holy Trinity and the Incarnation, after the promulgation of the Gospel, must be believed with an explicit faith by necessity of means or of precept?

The first opinion, which is more common and seems more probable, teaches that they are to be believed by a necessity of means. Thus hold Sanchez, Valentia, Molina, Continuator Tournely, Juenin, Antoine, Wigandt, Concina with Ledesma, Serra, Prado, etc.; also Salmant., Cuniliati and Roncaglia. But these last three say, that accidentally and in a rare case one may be justified with a faith that is only implicit. — This they prove from the Scriptures, from which they say is clearly proved the necessity of means.  They prove it also from reason: for, granting that before the promulgation of the Gospel an implicit faith in Christ was sufficient, yet after the promulgation, because the state of grace is more perfect, a more perfect knowledge is required, indeed an explicit faith in Christ and the Trinity.

The second opinion, which is also sufficiently probable, says, that by necessity of precept all are bound to believe these Mysteries explicitly; but by necessity of means, it suffices if they be believed implicitly. — Thus Dominicus Soto, where he says: Although the precept of explicit faith (that is, in the Trinity and the Incarnation) is absolutely obligatory upon the whole world, nevertheless many may be excused from this obligation on account of invincible ignorance.  Franciscus Sylvius writes: After the sufficient promulgation of the Gospel, explicit faith in the Incarnation is necessary for all for salvation by a necessity of precept, and indeed also (as is probable) by a necessity of means.  And in the conclusion that follows, he says the same about the mystery of the Trinity.  Cardinal Gotti says: I say (1The opinion which denies that explicit faith in Christ and the Trinity is so necessary, that without it no one can be justified, or be able to be saved, is very probable.  And he asserts that Scotus holds this opinion.  Eusebius Amort, the recent and most learned writer, defends absolutely the same opinion.  Elbel writes, that today this opinion is held by the illustrious Doctors Castropalao, Viva, Sporer, Laymann, who says this (second opinion) is not less probable than the first, with Richardo, Medina, Vega, Sa, and Turriano. — Cardinal de Lugo calls the first opinion speculatively probable [footnote: Or more correctly: Lugo n. 90, calls the first opinion fairly common], but defends absolutely and in great detail this second one as more probable, with Javello, Zumel, and Suarez; and de Lugo writes, that this same opinion appears to be that of St. Thomas, where the Holy Doctor says: Before Baptism, Cornelius and others like him receive grace and virtues, through their faith in Christ and their desire for Baptism, implicit or explicit.  From which Lugo argues: as Cornelius obtained grace through implicit faith, because the Gospel was not yet perfectly promulgated in that region, likewise he can obtain it who is invincibly ignorant of these mysteries; for likewise to these the Gospel is not sufficiently promulgated.

But they say it is repugnant to the divine goodness and providence, to damn adults who are invincibly ignorant, who live honestly according to the light of nature, against which there is: In every nation, he who fears Him, and works justice, is acceptable to Him? (Acts x. 35) — Indeed they respond that all Scriptures, and testimonies of the Holy Fathers that are opposed to this view, can easily be explained as of necessity of precept: either because ordinarily almost no one can be saved without explicit faith in these Mysteries, because after the promulgation of the Gospel almost no one labors under invincible ignorance of them; or because, says Lugo, they may be explained as referring to implicit faith, or explicit in desire. — Furthermore, says Laymann, an adult, if mute and deaf from birth, though he be baptized, could not receive the other Sacraments, although he so desired; indeed he could not be saved, because it is unbelievable that such a man could rightly apprehend and explicitly believe the mystery of the Incarnation, and especially of the Trinity.

It is noted by Tannerus, Silvius, Azor and Valentia, with Gulielmo Parisiensi according to Sanchez, that if one were so very untaught, that he could not grasp these mysteries, then he would be excused on account of inability, and compared to infants, and dunces. — But Sanchez says, that it is one thing to believe, another to know the mysteries, and to give an explanation of them.  Thus he thinks that all adults are bound by a necessity of means, to eventually believe such mysteries, but by a necessity of precept to know them; from which precept to know the slow of mind are excused; and he says that the authors cited are to be understood in this way.  And he concludes with Gabriele, who says: It is sufficient … for them (that is, the untaught), that … they explicitly believe individual [articles] when proposed to them.

However, propositions 64 and 65 condemned by Innocent XI, say: A man is capable of being absolved, however ignorant he may be of the mysteries of faith, and even if through negligence, even culpable, he does not know the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity and the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ — It suffices that he should have believed them once; but Viva says with Marchant, that it is probably not necessary to repeat Confessions made in ignorance of the aforesaid Mysteries; since by the aforementioned opinion it is quite probable that they were valid, if the ignorance was inculpable.  For it is certain, that such ignorance, if it be vincible, is a mortal sin.  But the aforesaid proposition was justly condemned, because it said that even he is capable of being absolved, who at the time of confession suffers from ignorance of the aforesaid mysteries. — But the opinion of Father Viva is not sufficiently probable in my view.  For although the penitent probably made a valid confession, so that afterwards he appears exempt from repeating his confession, because he confessed in good faith before; yet out of respect for him who certainly sinned gravely, it should always be urged that above all one is obliged to make a confession, not only probably, but certainly valid.  On which account, when one becomes aware that his confession was possibly valid, but also possibly null, because of ignorance of the mysteries of the Most Holy Trinity or the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, he is obliged, after he has been instructed in these Mysteries, to repeat his confession.

Moreover, he is said to believe implicitly, who believes something explicitly, in which another thing is implicit; for example, if you believe what the Church believes.  See the Scholastics and Laymann. [1]

 

Footnote

[1] https://archive.org/details/theologiamoralis01ligu_0/page/212/mode/2up

 

 

 

 

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One of my favorite books is The Sermons of St. Alphonsus Liquori.

 

By law, there are no excuses for clergy not knowing the dogmas on the sacrament of water baptism and outside the Church there is no salvation. Therefore, clerics who deny these dogmas could only be called formal heretics. Yet, we have many popes and saints who rightly taught the doctrine of Baptisms of Desire and Blood. One of those great saints is St. Alphonsus Liquori, (1696-1775 Doctor of the Church) who taught in his Moral Theology, Bk. 6, n. 95-7. Concerning Baptism:

Baptism, therefore, coming from a Greek word that means ablution or immersion in water, is distinguished into Baptism of water [“fluminis”], of desire [“flaminis” = wind] and of blood.

We shall speak below of Baptism of water, which was very probably instituted before the passion of Christ the Lord, when Christ was baptised by John. But Baptism of desire is perfect conversion to God by contrition or love of God above all things accompanied by an explicit or implicit desire for true Baptism of water, the place of which it takes as to the remission of guilt, but not as to the impression of the [baptismal] character or as to the removal of all debt of punishment. It is called “of wind” [“flaminis”] because it takes place by the impulse of the Holy Ghost who is called a wind [“flamen”]. Now it is de fide that men are also saved by Baptism of desire, by virtue of the Canon Apostolicam, “de presbytero non baptizato” and of the Council of Trent, session 6, Chapter 4 where it is said that no one can be saved “without the laver of regeneration or the desire for it”.

Baptism of blood is the shedding of one’s blood, i.e. death, suffered for the Faith or for some other Christian virtue. Now this Baptism is comparable to true Baptism because, like true Baptism, it remits both guilt and punishment as it were ex opere operato. I say as it were because martyrdom does not act by as strict a causality [“non ita stricte”] as the sacraments, but by a certain privilege on account of its resemblance to the passion of Christ. Hence martyrdom avails also for infants seeing that the Church venerates the Holy Innocents as true martyrs. That is why Suarez rightly teaches that the opposing view [i.e. the view that infants are not able to benefit from Baptism of blood – translator] is at least temerarious. In adults, however, acceptance of martyrdom is required, at least habitually from a supernatural motive.

It is clear that martyrdom is not a sacrament, because it is not an action instituted by Christ, and for the same reason neither was the Baptism of John.

Again, St. Alphonsus Liquori

Truly Baptism of Blood is the pouring forth of blood, or undergone for the sake of the faith, or for some other Christian virtue; as teaches St. Thomas, Viva; Croix along with Aversa and Gobet, etc. This is equivalent to real baptism because [it acts] as if it were ex operato and like Baptism remits both sin and punishment. It is said to be quasi – as if, because martyrdom is not strictly speaking like a sacrament, but because those privileged in this way imitate the Passion of Christ as says Bellarmin, Suarez, Sotus, Cajetane, etc., along with Croix; and in a firm manner, Petrocorensis.

Therefore martyrdom is efficacious, even in infants, as is shown by the Holy Innocents which are indeed considered true martyrs. This is clearly taught by Suarez along with Croix and to oppose such an opinion is indeed temerarious. In adults it is necessary that martyrdom be at least habitually accepted from supernatural motives as Coninck, Cajetan, Suarez, Bonacina and Croix etc. teach. ….

Not in passing that such was also the teaching of Coninck, Cajetan, Suarez Bonacina and Croix.

 

CONCLUSION

1. Baptism of Desire must be accepted by Catholics because it’s taught by Trent according to the interpretation of the Latin documents by St. Alphonsus Liquori.

2. Arguing that St. Alphonsus Liguori was materially heretical or in theological error is erroneous because: a.) Not only was he not corrected or condemned, his position was promulgated by law and catechism, b.) even if he was wrong, he couldn’t be considered materially heretical or in theological error for contradicting a dogma especially since he said baptism of desire is de fide, and the Church would necessarily be condemned for affirming the teaching of St. Alphonsus Liquori.

I don’t argue very long with those who think they know better than St. Alphonsus Liguori because if they won’t accept his teaching, they won’t care at all what I have to say.

 

 

 

 

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