Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The EENS Question

Outside The Church There Is No Salvation

The doctrine that "Outside the Church there is no salvation" is one that is constantly misinterpreted by those who won't submit to the Magisterium of the Church. Faith does not depend upon our ability to reason to the truth but on our humility before the Truth presented to us by those to whom Christ entrusted that task. This is why the First Vatican Council taught that it is the task of the Magisterium ALONE to determine and expound the meaning of the Tradition - including "outside the Church no salvation."
Concerning this doctrine the Pope of Vatican I, Pius IX, spoke on two different occasions. In an allocution (address to an audience) on December 9th, 1854 he said:
We must hold as of the faith, that out of the Apostolic Roman Church there is no salvation; that she is the only ark of safety, and whosoever is not in her perishes in the deluge; we must also, on the other hand, recognize with certainty that those who are invincible in ignorance of the true religion are not guilty for this in the eyes of the Lord. And who would presume to mark out the limits of this ignorance according to the character and diversity of peoples, countries, minds and the rest?
[I could not find the text of the above document, but here's a document given March 17, 1856:
Do not cease to diligently defend your people against these pernicious errors. Saturate them with the doctrine of Catholic truth more accurately each day. Teach them that just as there is only one God, one Christ, one Holy Spirit, so there is also only one truth which is divinely revealed. There is only one divine faith which is the beginning of salvation for mankind and the basis of all justification, the faith by which the just person lives and without which it is impossible to please God and to come to the community of His children.  There is only one true, holy, Catholic church, which is the Apostolic Roman Church. There is only one See founded in Peter by the word of the Lord, outside of which we cannot find either true faith or eternal salvation. He who does not have the Church for a mother cannot have God for a father, and whoever abandons the See of Peter on which the Church is established trusts falsely that he is in the Church.  Thus, there can be no greater crime, no more hideous stain than to stand up against Christ, than to divide the Church engendered and purchased by His blood, than to forget evangelical love and to combat with the furor of hostile discord the harmony of the people of God.  Singulari quidem, March 17, 1856  (emphasis mine).



Again, in his encyclical Quanto conficiamur moerore of 10 August, 1863 addressed to the Italian bishops, he said:
It is known to us and to you that those who are in invincible ignorance of our most holy religion, but who observe carefully the natural law, and the precepts graven by God upon the hearts of all men, and who being disposed to obey God lead an honest and upright life, may, aided by the light of divine grace, attain to eternal life; for God who sees clearly, searches and knows the heart, the disposition, the thoughts and intentions of each, in His supreme mercy and goodness by no means permits that anyone suffer eternal punishment, who has not of his own free will fallen into sin.  [Emphasis mine].
These statements are consistent with the understanding of the Church contained in the documents of Vatican II, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as explaining why the rigorist position of Fr. Feeney (that all must be actual members of the Catholic Church to be saved) has been condemned by the Magisterium. It is ironic that precisely those who know their obligation to remain united to the Magisterium, and thus on whom this doctrine is morally binding, keep themselves from union with the Roman See on this point.

Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL
http://www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/outside_the_church.htm
Emphasis and added links by Scott Windsor

41 comments:

  1. You are severely wrong in your post. To learn the truth visit my blog!

    http://nosalvationoutsideofthecatholicchurch.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts disagrees with you. They APPROVED three religious orders that hold Fr. Feeney's EXACT position. In fact here is an official letter from the Diocese about it:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/24283795/Official-Letter-from-the-Diocese-Of-Worcester-regarding-communities-founded-by-Fr-Leonard-Feeney

    ReplyDelete
  3. I commend you in approaching this topic!! It is the most important in the Church today.
    But, I think you haven't studied this subject well enough yet. If you did, you would have known you are using a faulty translation, since one of your quotes you used has a heresy in it:
    "...in His supreme mercy and goodness by no means permits that anyone suffer eternal punishment, who has not of his own free will fallen into sin."
    This is Pelegianism. This is not what Pius IX wrote. The word "suppliciis" in the Latin original is translated correctly by “torments” not the word "punishment".
    The same passage is more correctly rendered:

    "...in His sovereign Goodness and Mercy, any men NOT CULPABLE OF WILLFUL SIN to be punished with eternal torments.”
    Willful sins are NOT the only thing that can condemn one to Hell,
    since according to the Councils of Lyons and Florence, Original Sin can condemn one to Hell but of a different punishment (i.e. Limbo):

    Council of Lyons II “…The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with original sin only, however, immediately descend to hell, to be punished with different punishments…-- (Denzinger 464)

    Council of Florence: “…Moreover, the souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, descend immediately into hell but to undergo punishments of different kinds.— (Denzinger 693)


    For a correct understanding of what Pius IX taught please see:

    http://catholicvox.blogspot.com/search/label/EENS%3A%20Defended-%20Ignornce%20and%20Pius%20IX

    God Bless keep defending the Faith!
    Bill Strom

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  4. Sorry to just jump in, but what about this letter from the CDF? It seems it rules out the rigorist interpretation:

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDFFEENY.HTM

    If this is NOT the case, could you explain how this is so?

    Peace,

    Victor

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  5. Sorry to just jump in, but what about this letter from the CDF? It seems it rules out the rigorist interpretation:

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDFFEENY.HTM

    If this is NOT the case, could you explain how this is so?

    Peace,

    Victor

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  6. http://www.ewtn.com/library/CURIA/CDFFEENY.HTM

    this letter does not exclude the "rigorist" view because it is a theological opinion.

    Protocol No. 122/49, (which many call it.) It was formally defective in that it was never published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis (Acts of the Apostolic See). It is this register alone which confers an official and binding character on a document. And even then, only so long as it meets the proper forms. Consequently, this letter is without any binding effect as an act of the Holy See.
    more info: http://catholicvox.blogspot.com/search/label/Fr.%20Feeney%3A%20A%20Fact%20Sheet

    If were as authorative as you and many imply then the approval of 3 religious orders which hold the "rigorist" would not have been approved. (see above)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for your response. This raises two more questions though.

    (1) Assuming that the letter is a mere theological opinion, why is it cited in Lumen Gentium 2, 16? If in this citation it is to be read as meaning the same thing as the so-called "rigorist" view, I have trouble seeing how the following statement in the letter cited could mean the same as the "rigorist" view:

    "However, this desire need not always be explicit, as it is in catechumens; but when a person is involved in invincible ignorance God accepts also an implicit desire, so called because it is included in that good disposition of soul whereby a person wishes his will to be conformed to the will of God."

    (2) How are we the following statement from John Paul II in his encyclical "Redemptoris Missio":

    "10. The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all. But it is clear that today, as in the past, many people do not have an opportunity to come to know or accept the gospel revelation or to enter the Church. The social and cultural conditions in which they live do not permit this, and frequently they have been brought up in other religious traditions. For such people salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his Sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit. It enables each person to attain salvation through his or her free cooperation.

    For this reason the Council, after affirming the centrality of the Paschal Mystery, went on to declare that "this applies not only to Christians but to all people of good will in whose hearts grace is secretly at work. Since Christ died for everyone, and since the ultimate calling of each of us comes from God and is therefore a universal one, we are obliged to hold that the Holy Spirit offers everyone the possibility of sharing in this Paschal Mystery in a manner known to God."19"

    This seems to be a downright denial of the "rigorist" view.

    While an encyclical is nowhere near an infallible declaration, as an exercise of the Ordinary Magisterium, I understand that, while it does not demand the assent of faith, it does require "obsequim" or the so-called, "adherence of the mind and will."

    (3) Finally, what would it mean that three religious orders are allowed to hold the "rigorist" view? It would seem that, if either (1) or (2) above are right, AND these religious orders are allowed to keep the view in question, then there might be some room for theological opinion on this matter, i.e., it is necessary to hold either the 'rigorist' or what I guess we could call the 'liberal' view?

    Sorry for the long post, and thanks for your time!

    Victor

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  8. I was out of town with limited access to the Internet this past weekend. I will get to your replies shortly. I'm just popping in for a moment to check on the forum for now.

    Just a quick question for those of you who have commented thus far, how many of you believe Pope Benedict XVI is the current valid pope?

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  9. I firmly believe Benedict XVI to the the currently valid Pope.

    Best,

    Victor

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  10. I accept B16 as the reining Pope and Vatican II ( understood in the continuity of Faith- as B16 has stressed.). FYI-There are very few who are sedivicantists that accept the “rigorist” view or as I prefer to say the Traditional view of EENS. The Dimond brothers and their followers are the main ones of the Sedeies, but the majority of Sedeis are sworn enemies of EENS. Also SSPX are against the Traditional view of EENS ( ironically). IMHO: Most “Novus Ordo Catholics”(-sorry don't mean to be derogatory of the Novus Ordo, which I go to as well as many EENS-ers I know, but it is just short hand for many in the Church.) have never really studied the controversies of EENS. This includes Apologists writing for Catholic Answers.
    Bill Strom
    http://catholicvox.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Victor,
    I have no problem dialoging with you as long as you promise to be honest and civil. I will promise the same.

    Firstly, If the documents of Vatican II were so perfectly phrased, why did Pope Paul VI have to add so many explanatory footnotes to the approved text? The documents of Vatican II were intended to be "norms'' for pastoral guidance "rather than definitions," John XXII refers to this in his opening address to the Council of his intentions:
    “The salient point of this Council is not, therefore, a discussion of one article or another of the fundamental doctrine of the Church which has repeatedly been taught by the Fathers and by ancient and modern theologians, and which is presumed to be well known and familiar to all.
    For this a Council was not necessary. But from the renewed, serene, and tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the Acts of the Council of Trent and First Vatican Council, the Christian, Catholic, and apostolic spirit of the whole world expects a step forward toward a doctrinal penetration and a formation of consciousness in faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a Magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character. ”
    Pope Paul VI himself stressed the same in saying that "differing from other Councils, this one was not directly dogmatic" (General Audience, 8/6/75).

    In the official footnote (#59) of the section (16) the letter concerning Father Feeney is appended, but minus the phrase of "implicit" desire's acceptability before God. Abbot Jerome Theisen, O.S.B., in his book, The Ultimate Church and the Promise of Salvation, comments on this deletion in the text: "The suppression of the votum implicitum is probably due to disenchantment with the term, especially since it was used indiscriminately to describe the situation of both separated Christians and the "unevangelized" in their diverse relations to the Roman Catholic Church."

    Furthermore, this "footnote" did not appear in the Relationes -the reports which accompanied the official schemata. Evidently, it was added later by a peritus. Are we to bind our consciences to a footnote that is not even part of the actual Constitution-anyway the footnote does not even contain the objectionable phrase. [We are indebted to the scholarly research of Brother Thomas Mary Sennott. whose unpublished manuscript, the Father Feeney Case, contains this revealing information.]


    I am, nevertheless, still not asserting that there is any heresy in the documents of Vatican II. The footnote to the text in the Constitution on the Church is not considered by us to be heretical. Rather, it is ambiguous.

    I fail to see your point in the quote from "Redemptoris Missio." How is this against the "rigorist' ie. Traditional view?

    ReplyDelete
  12. http://www.scribd.com/doc/23249763/Vatican-II-and-Extra-Ecclesiam-Nulla-Salus

    Vatican II and Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi CFT Catholic for Truth,

    My apologies if my prior comments appeared in any way uncivil--and thanks for taking the time to respond! As I mentioned before, I simply want to understand this better.

    Sadly, I'm about to leave town and will not return until late on Wednesday this week; I will not be able to respond until then.

    Thanks again for your time!

    Victor

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  14. APPROVED GROUPS in the Church that hold Fr. Feeney's position:

    In the Diocese of Worcester, there are three religious houses whose members believe and actively defend Father Feeney’s strict defense of “no salvation outside the Church.” Additionally, they all defend Father Feeney’s good name. Those three houses are St. Benedict’s Abbey, St. Ann’s House (the good sisters have no web site), and Saint Benedict Center. The Abbot of the Benedictine Abbey recently wrote a book defending Father Feeney, Harvard to Harvard. He remains a Benedictine Abbot — a prelate of the Catholic Church — in good standing.

    The following are their websites:

    http://www.abbey.org/
    http://www.saintbenedict.com/
    http://sistersofstbenedictcenter.org/

    They are listed on the religious order page of the Worcester Diocese:
    http://www.worcesterdiocese.org/


    Ecclesia Dei Commission on “Feeneyites:

    “The question of the doctrine held by the late Father Leonard Feeney is a complex one. He died in full communion with the Church and many of his former disciples are also now in full communion while some are not. We do not judge it opportune to enter into this question.”

    Msgr. Camille Perl Secretary, Ecclesia Dei Commission
    Excerpted from: http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/cedsspx2.htm


    Book about Feeney received Imprimatur:

    Brother Thomas Mary Sennott, who was one of Father Feeney’s original followers, wrote a defense of our doctrinal position in his book, They Fought the Good Fight, which was published in 1987. Besides Brother Thomas Mary’s narrative and annotations, the book has long excerpts from Father Feeney’s strongest writings on “no salvation outside the Church.” Significantly, the book bears the Imprimi potest of Bishop Timothy J. Harrington, the Bishop of Worcester. (His Excellency granted this on January 15, 1987, thus indicating that the volume is free of doctrinal or moral error.)


    “Feeneyite” made Papal Knight by Pope John Paul II:


    A well-known “Feeneyite” named Charles A. Coulombe was created Knight Commander of the Order of St. Sylvester by Pope John Paul II on 1 October, 2004. In other words, a “Feeneyite” is a Papal Knight. Mr. Coulombe is a well-traveled and brilliant scholar and historian.

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  15. Sorry Victor I didn't think you were being uncivil but I was just doing a little prevention. BTW n need to call me CFT. Call me Bill
    Keep the Faith
    Bill Strom

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  16. Is the official Church presentation of EENS as "rigid" as Fr. Feeney's interpretation? My understanding is that though the teaching itself is dogma - the rigidity of the interpretation is not. In short, there may be some flexibility on the interpretation and faithful Catholics do not need to hold to as "rigid" a stance as Fr. Feeney did. I welcome the civil discourse on this topic.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  17. Hi Scott,
    The problem is that there has been so much fog put up by the "liberal" interpretation that it is confusing to many at first glace and most Catholics follow personalities rather than really study a certain point in theology.
    So I don't blame most for there lack of understanding in the matter. One thing I would like is that the "liberal" people would allow us "rigorists" to be considered Catholics in good standing until it is finlly cleared up. The reason is above 3 orders hold the position and are indeed Catholic.

    The reason for putting "liberal" and "rigorist" in quotes is that dogmas really can't be interpreted. According to Vatican I:
    Pope Pius IX, First Vatican Council, Sess. 3, Chap. 2 on Revelation, 1870, ex cathedra: “Hence, also, that understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be a recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding.”

    Again St. Pius X pointed out interpretations are not valid Catholic procedure for dogmas, because they fall directly from heaven complete:

    Pope St. Pius X, Lamentabile, The Errors of the Modernists, July 3, 1907, par #22:

    “The dogmas which the Church professes as revealed are not truths fallen from heaven, but they are a kind of interpretation of religious facts, which the human mind by a laborious effort prepared for itself.”- Condemned

    again here:

    Pope St. Pius X, Lamentabile, The Errors of the Modernists, July 3, 1907, par #54:

    “The dogmas, the sacraments, the hierarchy, as far as pertains both to the notion and to the reality, are nothing but interpretations and the evolution of Christian intelligence, which have increased and perfected the little germ latent in the Gospel.”- Condemned

    Dogmas of the faith, like Outside the Church There is No Salvation, are truths fallen from heaven; they are not interpretations.

    The very point of a dogmatic DEFINITION is to DEFINE precisely and exactly what the Church means by the very words of the formula. If it does not do this by those very words in the formula or document (as the Modernists say) then it has failed in its primary purpose –i.e. to define.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sorry for such a long reply.

    Plus many insist that infallible DEFINITIONS must be interpreted by non-infallible statements (e.g., from theologians, catechisms, etc.) this again denies the whole purpose of the Chair of Peter.

    There are a number of Popes that make it clear that those without the Catholic Faith will perish.
    For example:
    Pope St. Gregory the Great, quoted in Summo Iugiter Studio, 590-604:

    “The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in her and asserts that all who are outside of her will not be saved.”

    Pope Innocent III, Eius exemplo, Dec. 18, 1208:

    “By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess the one Church, not of heretics, but the Holy Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church outside of which we believe that no one is saved.”

    Pope Leo XIII, Tametsi futura prospicientibus (# 7), Nov. 1, 1900: “Christ is man’s ‘Way’; the Church also is his ‘Way’… Hence all who would find salvation apart from the Church, are led astray and strive in vain.”

    Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (# 11), Jan. 6, 1928: “The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this is the house of faith, this is the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation.”

    This is my no means a complete list of what Popes have said upholding the dogma but there is consistency from 590 AD to 1928.


    Check out these articles:
    http://catholicvox.blogspot.com/2009/12/i-was-notified-by-friend-that-response.html#comments

    and this one:

    http://catholicvox.blogspot.com/2009/08/this-article-by-fr.html

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  19. Hello Scott et al.,

    Thanks for your posts and replies; I've also looked at the links you gave within your post.

    Personally, I'm just trying to understand what it is the Church teaches. As soon as that becomes clear, I'll be happy to assent to that position.

    I think it's important to put our cards on the table. I have three (sets of) questions.

    First, what precisely are the claims that are being made as far as the status of the position? Is the claim that the so-called "rigorist" interpretation of EENS is the only position and all others are in error? Or is it the claim that the "rigorist" position is a theological opinion while the so-called "liberal" position is another theological opinion, albeit incompatible with the "rigorist" position.

    Second, it would seem that most of the quotes and statements of the previous Holy Fathers, speaking of the absolute necessity of membership in the Church, could be read while being perfectly consistent with the so-called "liberal" view. In other words, if we understand Baptism of (Implicit) Desire to be essentially an act of perfect charity or contrition, then necessarily this is a grace initiated by God. Further it would seem--though it seems to be contestable--that this sanctifying grace, albeit, without the sacramental seal, could make one a member of the Church. It seems that if and only if one could be a member of the Church by sanctifying grace and without the sacramental seal, then the "liberal" reading is consistent with the statements of countless Popes you mentioned.

    ...

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  20. ...
    Third and finally--and this was my point in quoting Redemptoris Missio earlier--what are we to do with the doubtlessly many statements coming from the Ordinary Magisterium--which demands our assent of the will--which seem, at least prima facie, to be incompatible with the "rigorist" position? Here's the quote again:

    10. The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all. But it is clear that today, as in the past, many people do not have an opportunity to come to know or accept the gospel revelation or to enter the Church. The social and cultural conditions in which they live do not permit this, and frequently they have been brought up in other religious traditions. For such people salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his Sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit. It enables each person to attain salvation through his or her free cooperation.

    For this reason the Council, after affirming the centrality of the Paschal Mystery, went on to declare that "this applies not only to Christians but to all people of good will in whose hearts grace is secretly at work. Since Christ died for everyone, and since the ultimate calling of each of us comes from God and is therefore a universal one, we are obliged to hold that the Holy Spirit offers everyone the possibility of sharing in this Paschal Mystery in a manner known to God."19"

    Particularly, I point out the part that reads: "For such people salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, DOES NOT MAKE THEM FORMALLY PART OF THE CHURCH, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation...It enables each person to attain salvation through his or her free cooperation." Thus, again, the question would be, if the "rigorist" position is true, how can it be reconciled with a statement that says that, "[for those who do not know Christ and His Church] salvation is accessible by a grace which...[for such people]...does not make them formally part of the Church."? This part of Redemptoris Missio is also quoted in (20) of Dominus Iesus.

    Thanks in advance for your time; I look forward to reading your response.

    Victor

    PS: As my posts seem to be getting longer each time, I don't know if this would be the best way to discuss the matter. As I mentioned, I'm simply trying to understand what the Church teaches; I appreciate your help as I try to accomplish this.

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  21. CFT,
    I do not deny the right of "rigorists" to their view. Like it or not, your view IS an interpretation. The "rigorist" position stands in direct opposition of papal and conciliar statements (quoted earlier) but said statements were not made as infallible declarations - hence you CAN deny them - but know that you stand in denial of these Catholic teachings.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  22. To the person known as "ExtraEcclesiamNullaSalus" - You can claim I am "severely wrong" but I didn't say the things I QUOTED and CITED. I never said Fr. Feeney's position is "wrong." I respect your right to accept Fr. Feeney's position. What I DON'T accept is people who go around deciding other faithful Catholics are "wrong" because they accept OTHER Catholic teachings which do not hold to the "rigorist" view that Fr. Feeney held.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  23. Hi Victor,

    Your Question #1 (paraphrased)
    "Rigorsist" and "Liberal" are just equal theological opinions?
    Yes and No.

    Yes--They have become such because of the "Liberal" view being promoted to such an extent that it is hard for many to even hear the 'rigorist ' view. Many "Liberal" accuse us of being heretics. So I would at least like the 'Liberals" to honestly admit the 'Rigorist' view is legitimate as theirs since their "rigorist' position has been shown tolerance by the Church.

    No-- The reason I oppose the 'Liberal' view is because it has no tradition in the Church. Even the saints that could be pointed to as supporting "Baptism" of Desire would ONLY allow it for the Catechumen. The "Liberal" view of today says belief in Jesus Christ isn't even necessary.
    see doctrinal for "rigorist" tradition:
    summery:http://catholicvox.blogspot.com/search/label/EENS%3A%20Doctrinal%20Summery

    I think it is unfortunate that each side accuses the other of being heretics because the confusion in the Church is so great it only makes people angry and does little to shed light.

    I think the "liberal" view has accepted a method of thinking that is unhealthy-- the Evolution of Dogma. Cardinal Newman's book, on Development of Doctrine, I would point to as the main problem for this way of thinking
    see here:
    http://catholicvox.blogspot.com/2009/07/newman-canonization.html

    and here:
    http://catholicvox.blogspot.com/2009/07/john-henry-newmans-essay-on-development.html

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  24. To answer your second question-- I fail to see how the below 3 dogmatic definitions can be reconciled with the "Liberal "view.

    Defined dogma is accepted or rejected:
    *Mary was Assumed into heaven.

    *The Eucharist is the Body of Christ

    or
    * there is no salvation outside the Church (which summarizes the 3 definitions below. That is how the Catechism can refer to it as an axiom since it is a paraphrase used most often to summarize the definitions below):

    Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215 ex cathedra --
    * “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.”

    Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302. ex cathedra--
    * “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

    Pope Eugene IV,Council of Florence 1441- Ex cathedra--
    *“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has persevered within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” http://www.ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/FLORENCE.HTM#4

    PS: Ex Cathedra means infallibly defined


    The clear meaning of the above pronouncements should be enough to convince any Catholic that the "Rigorist" view is not only acceptable but much stronger than the "Liberal" which has no infallible statements defining their position. But the mentality that there is "evolution"(interpretation) in dogma which started way back in Newman's time has such a hold on most catholic thinking that they just can't see that defined dogmas trump everything and any lesser teaching must be seen in the light of infallible teaching and not vice-versa.
    PAX
    Bill
    As far as I can tell the "Liberal" view is more of a feeling than a doctrine. I mean depending on who I talk to the definition of their position changes.

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  25. Sorry Victor
    I will get back to you on your third question something has come up I need to take care of.

    Thanks Scott for the possibility to discuss this important topic! Plus thank you for at least accepting me as a Catholic even though I take the "Rigorist" position.

    You are right that fallible papal statements cannot be discarded easily but they must be seen to correspond with dogma and they can be interpreted.

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  26. Hi Victor,
    you still haven't really answered how is this against the "rigorist" position.

    So if you could answer a few questions to clarify what is your point.

    Are you saying this quote says there is salvation without being a member of the Catholic Church?

    Would the quote you quoted mean people outside the Church are saved? --Is that your understanding of it ?

    thanks pax
    Bill

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  27. Hello Bill,

    Sorry for the delay.

    Indeed, I think you're getting to the crux of the matter.

    It seems that what is at stake is precisely what is meant by "being a member of the Catholic Church." Both the quote from Redeptoris Missio and the current Catechism of the Catholic Church seem to affirm that it is possible for a person who is NOT an "official" member of the Catholic Church to be saved. From the CCC, along these lines regarding the Church:

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337

    848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338

    On Baptism:

    1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.60 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.61 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.62 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

    1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.

    1260 "Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery."63 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

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  28. Thus, it seems that a few things must be considered. On the one hand, the Catechism affirms that the Church does not know of any means other than Baptism with which to assure entry into heaven. On the other hand, the Catechism also affirms that while we are bound by the Sacraments, God Our Father is not.

    Moreover, the following is particularly noteworthy on this matter:

    "Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity." (CCC 1260)

    Hence the Church is affirming the existence of Baptism of Desire, which Fr. Feeney explicitly denied. Moreover, this need not be an explicit desire, but can even be implicit.

    "Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation." (CCC 847)

    The key words here, I believe, are "moved by grace." This, then, would suggest that, indeed, people who are NOT explicit members of the Catholic Church--i.e., people Baptized by water who profess the Catholic faith, can, indeed, be saved. Yet, IF this happens (and, I grant this is a big "if"), this is only though the saving merits of Christ's passion. Moroever, this is NOT because of the false religion (or irreligion) of the person in question, but rather in spite of it. Does it follow from this that all--or even many people--are saved. Not at all, in fact, this is very hard to ascertain at all, particularly since, as Dominus Iesus states, all those who do not explicitly profess the Catholic faith are in a "gravely deficient" position regarding salvation.

    Thus, as a more concise answer to your original question, it would seem that those who are NOT explicit members of the Catholic Church can be saved on the one hand. Yet, it would seem that, insofar as those "non-explicit" members receive Baptism of Desire, they are made members in some sense. In that sense, they are saved "in" the Church, outside of which there is no salvation. It seems difficult for me to read these statements from the Catechism, Redeptoris Missio, or Dominus Iesus in any other way. Moreover, insofar as those who are saved are "in" the Church--whether explicitly or not--by that grace that comes from the saving sacrifice of Christ and NOT by any merits of their false religions, this seems consistent with the countless statements of the previous Pontiffs.

    Let me know what you think,

    Victor

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  29. Also, regarding your statement about "liberal" interpretation of dogma, there are a couple of things to say. Of course, I agree that Dogma are either accepted or rejected, such as is the case with Our Lady's Immaculate Conception or Assumption, or Our Lord's real presence in the Eucharist, AND with Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus. Yet, what all the odds and ends of each dogma are, is, of course, what is in question, not the dogma themselves.

    I think this is similar to some of the definitions from the Council of Trent regarding the Holy Eucharist. Surely, the Council infallibly declares that in the Sacrifice of Calvary and the Sacrifice of the Mass are on and the same sacrifice, that Christ is the same priest and the same victim in both, that only the manner of offering is different, one bloody the other unbloody. All that much is stated, but what exactly is meant by an "unbloody" offering? That question the post-Tridentine theologians spilled a LOT of ink on--sometimes with mutually exclusive theories being proposed. Yet none of this was meant to be a denial of the dogma, but rather a deeper understanding of it.

    Thus, it would be my claim that the explanation of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, based on the CCC (or my understanding of the CCC, anyway), which would seem to represent the so-called "liberal" view, is not at all a denial of the dogma, nor a denial of the statements of all the previous Pontiffs. Moreover, it would seem that the teaching of the Church as explained in the CCC and other relevant documents seems to affirm the existence--or at least the possibility--of Baptism of implicit desire, which is explicitly denied by Fr. Feeney's view. For these reasons, I find it hard to reconcile his view with the view stated in the magisterial documents I've mentioned.

    I hope I've explained my understanding clearly.

    Best,

    Victor

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  30. CFT,
    I am pleased to allow this discussion to continue, especially if the nature and tone remains civil. I host the TradCath forum wherein this subject exploded into all sorts of venomous attacks upon fellow Catholics - and really decimated the TradCath forum (which is, I believe, the oldest ongoing forum dedicated to discussing Traditional Catholicism). Perhaps if you would like to continue this discussion there, you could and that would afford you more flexibility than the "combox" format here. I wouldn't mind seeing that forum become more active again (there are still quite a few members and some activity) and it would be ironic if the discussion which "took it down" actually helps to "bring it back."

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

    PS- If you're not already a member of TradCath you will be on moderation until I remove it. That's a safeguard against spammers to the forum. Once I recognize you (make it easy for me!) I will remove the moderation. While on moderation, messages are held until I approve them.

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  31. Hi Victor,
    The confusion on the issue is unfortunate and I think you may mean well but you and others are not using the Catholic principle of authority correctly.
    The real issue is whether NON-infallible teachings are to be understood in light of, and thus subject to, clear infallible teachings. This is the REAL issue which the "liberal" view ignores.

    Pius XII HUMANI GENERIS, par.#21
    ...[I]f the Church does exercise this function of teaching, as she often has through the centuries, either in the ordinary or extraordinary way, it is clear how false is a procedure which would attempt to explain what is clear by means of what is obscure. Indeed the very opposite procedure must be used. Hence Our Predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, teaching that the most noble office of theology is to show how a doctrine defined by the Church is contained in the sources of revelation, added these words, and with very good reason: "in that sense in which it has been defined by the Church."

    He also says in the same encyclical par. #27:
    "Some say they are not bound by the doctrine, explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years ago, and based on the sources of revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing.[6] Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation."

    This is what he "defined" in that encyclical since he is echoing the Council of Trent:
    Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis , June 29, 1943 par.# 22:   “Actually only those are to be numbered among the members of the Church who have received the laver of regeneration and profess the true faith.”

    The "Liberal" view has reduced the need to be a member of the Catholic Church into a meaningless formula. If a Moslem and a Jew can be saved while denying that Jesus is God and savior then truth is meaningless for salvation.

    If one is not baptized one is not a member of the Church.(See below)

    The "liberal" view is playing with the word and definition of member, plus the need for Divine Faith in Jesus Christ. This is more a problem of "method" I think,than holding a heresy per se.

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  32. Yes, Sacramental Baptism is necessary because it alone makes one a member of the Church.
    Those who would receive the theoretical “Baptism” of Desire would still not be members of the Church even if they received Sanctifying Grace, since they would have not received the Mark of Baptism:

    Pope Pius XII, Mediator Dei , Nov. 20, 1947 par. # 43: “In the same way, actually that baptism is the distinctive mark of all Christians, and serves to differentiate them from those who have not been cleansed in this purifying stream and consequently are not members of Christ,...”

    Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis, June 29, 1943 par.# 22:   “Actually only those are to be numbered among the members of the Church who have received the laver of regeneration and profess the true faith.”

    Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis , June 29, 1943, par.# 27: “He (Christ) also determined that through Baptism (cf. Jn. 3:5) those who should believe would be incorporated in the Body of the Church.”

    Pope Pius XII "On the Mystical Body of Christ,"June 29, 1943,par.
    # 18: "Through the waters of Baptism those who are born into this world dead in sin are not only born again and made members of the Church, but being stamped with a spiritual seal they become able and fit to receive the other Sacraments."

    Pope Pius XII "On the Mystical Body of Christ,"June 29,1943,par.
    # 57:"He [Holy Spirit] yet refuses to dwell through sanctifying grace in those members that are wholly severed from the Body."

    All the above papal announcements complement nicely with other dogmatic statements:
    Pope Eugene IV, The Council of Florence, “Exultate Deo,” Nov. 22, 1439, ex cathedra: 
    “Holy baptism, which is the gateway to the spiritual life, holds the first place among all the sacraments; through it we are made members of Christ and of the body of the Church.  And since death entered the universe through the first man, ‘unless we are born again of water and the Spirit, we cannot,’ as the Truth says, ‘enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:5].  The matter of this sacrament is real and natural water.”

    Pope Julius III, Council of Trent, On the Sacraments of Baptism and Penance, Sess. 14, Chap. 2, ex cathedra:
    “… since the Church exercises judgment on no one who has not previously entered it by the gate of baptism.  For what have I to do with those who are without (1 Cor. 5:12), says the Apostle.  It is otherwise with those of the household of the faith, whom Christ the Lord by the laver of baptism has once made ‘members of his own body’ (1 Cor. 12:13).”

    Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, Sess. 7, Can. 5 on the Sacrament of Baptism, ex cathedra: “If anyone says that baptism [the Sacrament] is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation (cf. Jn. 3:5): let him be anathema.”

    So one major difference between the theory of “Baptism” of Desire and Sacramental Baptism in effects is the Mark-- which makes one a member of the Church.

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  33. Hi Scott,
    Thanks anyway for the invitation, but I don't like traditionalist forums much. No offense I hope :)
    Pax
    Bill

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  34. Hi Bill,
    No offense taken, but give it a look-see if you want. The messages are public, so you don't have to join to read. It's not your average Traditionalist forum.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  35. The problem I have with the "rigorist" view (which would include Fr. Feeney's view) is that it denies explicit teachings from throughout Church history and even Scripture. Our God is a Just God, but He's also a Merciful God. If we rely solely upon His Justice - then NONE of use would be saved. None of us DESERVES the Sanctifying Grace He bestowed upon us. Again, that Grace is given not because we deserve it, but because while we were yet sinners, He loves us (Romans 5:8). We cannot overlook that it is "better" to have never known the way of righteousness and turned from it (2 Peter 2:21). The implication for Invincible Ignorance is there - for those whose hearts are not hardened against it. We cannot forget the Council of Trent Session VI Chapter IV states that the translation from our sinful nature to justification may only "be effected except through the laver of regeneration or its desire." Trent affirms that the desire for Baptism may suffice. I'm sure you've heard all this before, but maybe some of the readers here have not, thus it is important to expose the readers to more than just the "rigorist" statements, but also the more "liberal."

    I should also make it clear, that "liberal" is not necessarily a "bad word," as it is taken by those on the "conservative right" in politics. Afterall, Jesus was/is a liberal! Jesus did not come in to keep things the way they were, no - He opposed the "conservatives" of that day and brought in the New Covenant.

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  36. Hello Bill et al.,

    Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my posts.

    I think we're getting to the crux of the matter. Surely, I think you are write in pointing out Pius XII's statement that only those who are baptized--here sacramental baptism is pretty obviously what is meant--and who profess the Catholic faith are said to be members of the Mystical Body of Christ and hence the Church. At least it is difficult to read Pope Pius XII's statements in any other way. I apologize if I either explicitly denied this or was not clear about agreeing with this.

    That being said, the ¨liberal¨ position, as stated in the Magisterial pronouncements mentioned before--among them Lumen Gentium, Redemptoris Missio, Dominus Iesus, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church--is, I believe, pretty explicit in saying that one can be saved without receiving sacramental Baptism or even professing the Catholic faith. I don't believe it can be questioned that that this very thing is affirmed by those statements, as controversial as it may seem.

    Thus, it seems that, either these Magisterial teachings are wrong, or the ¨rigorist¨interpretation is the right interpretation of EENS. Though at times I grant that it is harder to do this--particularly with the statement of the Council o Florence--it seems that the ¨extra¨ or ¨outside¨ of EENS is being interpreted in these documents to mean something akin to ¨without,¨ not so much, ¨explicit membership in,¨ i.e., sacramental Baptism and profession of the Catholic faith.

    Now, you mentioned that ¨The real issue is whether NON-infallible teachings are to be understood in light of, and thus subject to, clear infallible teachings. This is the REAL issue which the "liberal" view ignores.¨ I think it would be wrong to say that infallible declarations are not subject to further commentary and a deeper understanding, and I think that the statements of LG, Dominus Iesus, etc. are meant to be precisely that--a deeper understanding of these infallible statements. Moreover, Lumen Gentium 25 reminds us that,

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  37. ¨This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.¨

    Thus, it seems to me that while the recent Magisterial teachings can fit into the plethora of statements of the previous Holy Fathers, the so-called rigorist interpretation cannot be made to fit into those recent Magisterial teachings.

    Personally, I the more I think about it, the more I realize how these things can become problematic as the Church accumulates more and more magisterial documents and declarations. You mentioned a correct understanding of a ¨principle of authority¨. Ultimately, the interpreter of these things--the authority--is the Church's Magisterium herself--and I think this is seen in the recent declarations--even when these interpretations might not seem as obvious for us; it really is the Holy Spirit who is guiding the Church. You might have had something else in mind, and if so, I'd be great to hear how this relates to obedience to the Church's Magisterium--both extraordinary and ordinary (as seen in the Magisterial documents pointed out). I am not a Canon Lawyer or a Theologian, and I'm sure there are and will be things that escape me on this matter.

    As a side note--though not really part of the argument itself--I find it interesting to note that Garigou Lagrange and Pope Pius X believed there to be Baptism of Desire. For the latter, in the Catechism that carries his name we can see:

    17 Q. Can the absence of Baptism be supplied in any other way?
    A. The absence of Baptism can be supplied by martyrdom, which is called Baptism of Blood, or by an act of perfect love of God, or of contrition, along with the desire, at least implicit, of Baptism, and this is called Baptism of Desire.

    This is under the section on Baptism.

    Thanks!

    Victor

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  38. Ah! Finally, with regards to reducing membership to the Church to a "meaningless formula," I think the wording of Dominus Iesus of those outside the Church as "gravely deficient" (22) with respect to their salvation need be remembered. It does not follow from the possibility of the salvation of those not explicitly professing the Catholic faith and not receiving Sacramental Baptism that many of them are saved. Indeed, I do believe that we ought to be seriously concerned for those who do not profess the Catholic faith and are not sacramentally baptized, while not dismissing the possibility of their salvation, as the current Catechism and other texts make clear.

    Thanks again!

    Victor

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  39. Hello Bill et al.,

    Thanks again for the time you took for answering and reading my posts; I appreciate it.

    Since I will be returning to school fairly soon I will not have the time to look at and respond to these as carefully and diligently. Thus, thanks again for listening and I wish you well.

    God bless,

    Victor

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  40. Hi Victor and Bill,

    First off, best wishes to you Victor on your schooling.

    Second, I must emphasize again that whereas the teaching of EENS is dogma and hence cannot be denied - the "exceptions" are NOT dogma, and MAY be denied. That is why I do not condemned those who take the "rigorist" position, including Fr. Feeney. The REAL point though, with regard to the alleged "exceptions" is that NONE of them say anyone WILL be saved! They only say that some CAN or MAY be saved. God remains the Judge, as it should be.

    There may be some whom those taking the "liberal" understanding would judge as "Invincibly Ignorant" and hope and pray for their salvation - BUT GOD, who knows their heart, may judge that they are damned, regardless of how any of us may feel.

    What Stand Should Faithful Catholics Take?

    Simply put, GOD IS THE JUDGE. That is our stance. Our DUTY is to preach THE WAY of Salvation which Jesus Christ established. Jesus Christ built His Church, ONE CHURCH, not countless denominations which disagree on many fundamental issues. We can in NO WAY be supportive of ANYONE who WILLFULLY remains outside the Catholic Church. For those who don't know of the Church and/or have never been given the opportunity to become a member of the Church, we need to leave those to God's Sovereignty - and stop trying to usurp His Throne/Judgment Seat. We can give NO ASSURANCE to ANYONE who remains outside the Catholic Church. When WE are asked about OUR FAITH we are to share the joy which is in our hearts and THE PATH which WE KNOW, and we need to do this with charity and understanding (1 Peter 3:15-17).

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  41. I am going to make my previous comment into a blog entry as this original one is nearly 2 weeks old now (and will be going into moderation soon, thus delaying comments until approved) and there are now over 40 comments here. Please continue in the newer blog entry if you wish to continue.

    Thanks!
    Scott<<<

    ReplyDelete

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