Newsletter of the District of Asia

 December 1997

Letter of Fr. Peter Scott,
District Superior of USA

      September 1, 1997

Dear friends,

Where does the new theology lead?  This was the question asked by the renowned thomist, Father Garrigou-Lagrange, in an article written in 1946.  His answer, based upon a series of citations from anonymous articles being secretly passed around at the time, was “they have gone so far as to want to change not only the manner of explaining theology, but even the very nature of theology, and much more, even that of dogma” (La synthèse thomiste, p. 713).  He remarks that this new theology leads into scepticism, fantasy and heresy, based upon the principle of the evolution of dogma.  The evolution of dogma itself can be traced to the false notion of truth as changeable, condemned by St. Pius X in 1907 under the name of modernism (Db 1058 & 2080).  The consequence is to be found in the then already widely spread teilhardian formula for the religion of the future: “A general convergence of all religions into a universal Christ, which deep down satisfies them all” (Ib. p. 715).

The prophetic nature of such an assessment has become apparent some 50 years later, as evidenced by a document entitled Christianity and the World Religions published by the International Theological Commission and just translated into English (Origins 27,10).  Although this commission is but an advisory body serving the Vatican, examining contemporary questions in theology, and although this document is consequently not magisterial, it does reflect the consensus of conciliar theologians, and it has been approved by its president, Cardinal Ratzinger, who is also head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and who testifies that it contains nothing contrary to the faith!

The essential dilemma faced by the modern theologians, and which this document attempts to resolve, is the reconciliation of the Catholic dogma Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus (Outside the Church there is no salvation) with the statement of Vatican II (Unitatis redintegratio, no. 3) that non-Catholic churches are “means of salvation”.  A solution to this contradiction had already been proposed by John Paul II in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope (p. 140-141), in the form of a non-exclusivist interpretation of this dogma, which he considered would be accepted by non-Catholics who understood it: “Besides formal membership in the Church, the sphere of salvation can also include other forms of relation to the Church...This is the authentic meaning of the well-known statement ‘Outside the Church there is no salvation’.  It would be difficult to deny that this doctrine is extremely open.  It cannot be accused of an ecclesiological exclusivism.  Those who rebel against claims allegedly made by the Catholic Church probably do not have an adequate understanding of this teaching.”  As far as the Pope is concerned this crucial dogma has evolved in such a way as to include non-Catholics, who are no longer condemned to hell for refusing to join the Catholic Church.

Similar assertions are to be found in the ITC’s Christianity and the World Religions.  An example of the clear evolution of dogma is found in the following statement: “A theological evaluation of the religions was impeded over a long time because of the principle extra ecclesiam nulla salus, understood in an exclusivist sense.” (no. 62, in Origins 27, 10).  How is it possible to say that a Catholic doctrine is an impediment to an understanding of religion?  This can only be by an evolution of doctrine in the direction of a pluralistic acceptation of all religious bodies, in flagrant contradiction to the traditional teaching that one can only be saved by being a member of the Catholic Church, either in reality or by desire.  This is precisely what has happened.  The word which has a radically different meaning is the word “church”, now defined as “the universal sacrament of salvation” (Ib.).  In other words, the church is a symbol (of which the Catholic Church is but a part, for it subsists in it) of the salvation of all men.

This doctrine, which condemns to hell those who are (knowingly and willingly) separated from the Catholic Church’s unity of Faith, sacraments and jurisdiction, is as a consequence reinterpreted as a pure exhortation which refers only to the faithful, and not to infidels, heretics and schismatics: “Thus the original meaning is restored to the expression extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, namely that of exhorting the members of the church to be faithful.  Once this expression is integrated into the more universal extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, it is no longer in contradiction to the universal call of all men to salvation.”  This statement is tantamount to saying that the traditional doctrine is in contradiction to God’s will for all men to be saved, and that the new doctrine is in no way opposed to the idea that all men can be saved regardless of what religion they belong to.  This is a direct denial of the fact that although God wants “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim 2:4), many in fact will be damned by their infidelity in converting or in remaining faithful to the one true Roman Catholic Church.

In fact, a little later on it is explained that the necessity of the church is no longer that of belonging to it as a member, as once was thought.  To the contrary, the church supposedly performs its “universal salvific the union of all men with God and in the unity of all men among themselves” (Ib. no. 74).  Here it is absolutely clear that the union which the church is supposed to effect is in no way supernatural, and in no way requires Faith, the sacraments, the accepting of the Church’s authority or any disposition on the part of man at all.  The church is all men.

Although opposing itself to the radically pluralistic and subjectivist theory of religions which pretends that they all have equal value, the I.T.C. nevertheless draws conclusions diametrically opposed to the objective truth of the Catholic Faith.  Not only are other churches means of salvation (as Vatican II teaches), but even other non-christian religions!  “Given this explicit recognition of the presence of the Spirit of Christ in the religions, one cannot exclude the possibility that they exercise as such a certain salvific function, that is, despite their ambiguity, they help men achieve their ultimate end” (Ib. no. 84).  One wonders how a religion which explicit denies the Blessed Trinity, which refuses to believe in the one true Mediator, the Son of God made man, could possibly help a soul to gain the beatific vision.

Furthermore, it is not the objective and only truth of the Catholic Faith which is the criterion of all dialogue, with the unique objective of converting souls to the Catholic Church.  It is instead a personal conviction about the truth or “truth claim”.  “Every dialogue lives on the truth claim of those who participate in it” (no. 101).  That this is in fact entirely subjectivist is manifested by such conclusions as the seeking of a communion with other religions based upon the respect of man’s freedom and others’ truth claims (no. 102), “the aim of excluding a false claim of ‘superiority’” for the Catholic Church (no. 103), and the thinly disguised prohibition of all efforts to make converts: “Every form of proclamation which seeks above all and over all to impose itself on its hearers (ie. preaching the Catholic Faith) or to dispose them by means of a strategic or instrumental rationality (ie. Catholic apologetics) is opposed to Christ, to the Gospel of the Father and to the dignity of the man of whom he has himself spoken” (Ib.).

You might wonder why I choose to present this analysis of the new theology.  It is to show the radical evolution in the meaning of words and hence in dogmas, and the depth and depravity of the modernism which reigns supreme in the post-conciliar church.  It is to show the seriousness of the planned jubilee of the year 2000, planned as an effort to unite all religions.  It is to demonstrate the entire naturalism which permeates this whole movement, excluding the supernatural order of divinely revealed Faith and the grace received through the Catholic sacraments.  It is to convince you, if ever there were a need to do so, that our battle must remain on the supernatural level of the defense of our one true Catholic Faith, the only supernatural principle of communion and unity among men.

May Our Divine Savior grant us wisdom and clearsightedness, that our response to these new theologians might be no different from Pius XII’s statement of September 19, 1946 concerning the new evolutionary theology: “If such an opinion is to be embraced, then what will become of unchanging Catholic dogmas, what will become of the unity and stability of the Faith?” (cited in Garrigou-Lagrange, op. cit. p. 710).  May our holy patron, St. Pius X, obtain for us on his feast day that we might share the supernatural simplicity with which he defeated modernism and won the crown of glory of a true shepherd.

Yours faithfully in Christ Our Lord,

Father Peter R. Scott

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