Last night I discovered the reason I got off of facebook with glee a few  years ago, I made a simple remark on an academic question, and then the whole thing, by another response which I thought was rather insignificant, turned into a long and ranging debate, with none other than Mark Shea chiming in by means of his usual unhelpful way. I will get to him in a moment however.
The argument turned initially on reactions to the Unity of the Church. The whole thing is long and laborious, which I link here. First some preliminary notes.
I wrote an article for Faithful Answers last year, to which I am finally going to wrap up part ii (I feel like an Ent at times, it takes forever to do anything!), which sketched out the principles of what Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus means, based on the Church’s theological tradition, from St. Thomas through Pius XII, with a number of translations of the manuals on the subject, though by no means exhaustive. The point of this was to illustrate:
There is only one Church
That Church is one in its Western and Eastern Rites
Outside of it there is no salvation, which means:
a) The ordinary means of salvation, by which we can have good hope of the salvation of a member of the Church who dies with the sacraments
b) Some hope for those who die outside the visible boundaries of the Church, based on God’s justice, true Charity, etc., since grace does indeed work outside the Church’s visible boundaries.
The argument on facebook came through the question of whether the Orthodox are in the Catholic Church, to which I argued (with the tradition) no, and two interlocutors argued yes. Thus it goes in this way.

  • Torquemada Tequila Noah, not just an Eastern Orthodox narrative of the Council. It’s also a traditional Eastern Catholic one too. I strongly believe that’s a good thing.

    In fact, the one break from previous councils (including Trent and Vatican I) at Vatican II that I find myself reluctant to agree with is the fact Vatican II does not appear to have invited the Eastern Orthodox bishops as full participants. Fortunately, the Melkites stood up and–in the words of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople at the time–acted as the voice of the Eastern Orthodox at the council.

    So God looked after the situation.

  • Ryan Grant My problem with that is that the Eastern Orthdox are not of the same faith. There are serious issues of ecclesiology that are at variance. The Eastern Catholic Church is the Eastern Church, and the Orthodox need to be converted. Of course, my Orthodox friends say the same thing – about us!
  • Torquemada Tequila Um, Ryan, if you disagree that the Eastern Orthodox and Catholics share the same faith, then I am not sure we are able to continue this conversation. Not only are they Christian, but they are fully-initiated Christians with a valid hierarchy and with whom we share all seven sacraments and a common Apostolic Tradition.

    What faith do you propose the Eastern Orthodox belong to? Islam? Judaism? Mormonism? Dawkinism?

    12 hrs · Like · 3
  • Noah Moerbeek Sects are a work of the flesh.
  • Ryan Grant Well, the Eastern Orthodox fall into that section of the catechism of St. Peter Canisius (doctor of the Church) which is given in the category of “heretics”, same as they call us. Simple fact is, their sacramental initiation is irrelevant. They don’t believe in the same notion of Church as we do. They believe in a Church where every bishop is equal (autocephalos), and there is no concept of primacy. This is contrary to the constitution Dei Filius of Vatican I. The Church has never maintained that those who adhere to teachings she has declared to be false are in fact part of her.
  • Ryan Grant This is what I find odious in modern “theology”, they treat it as though baptism makes you a Christian no matter what, and they do not admit what all the Fathers, doctors, manuals and councils clearly taught, that one can leave the Church in spite of his baptism. As St. Robert Bellarmine taught, “If the sacramental character is what put one in the Church, then the baptized in hell would be part of the Church.”
  • Mark Shea So important to make sure that as many people as possible are excluded from grace.
    12 hrs · Like · 2
  • Noah Moerbeek Your article does say that ““Although those who were baptized in infancy among heretics and nourished among them in false doctrine, after coming to adulthood, they might not sin against the catholic faith for some time, as long as it is not proposed sufficiently, that they should be obliged to embrace it; nevertheless after the Catholic faith is sufficiently proposed, and the obligation of embracing and renouncing contrary errors, if they might still persevere in them, they will be heretics.”
  • Noah Moerbeek Important to know who to labor for their conversion
  • Torquemada Tequila Ryan, your argument sounds more fundamentalist than traditionalist. Catholics and Orthodox have never been comfortable with the split, and have always recognized that each is lacking without the other. If what you argue were strictly true, then Rome contradicted itself at Trent and the First Vatican Council by inviting all of the Eastern Orthodox bishops as full participants.

    In many ways it is like the division between Judah and Israel in the Old Testament. Certain arguments applied to surrounding nations are not applied to each other.

    12 hrs · Like · 2
  • Noah Moerbeek Torquemada so you believe that a person can knowingly reject Papal primacy knowing it to be true and be saved?
  • Ryan Grant Mark, its not a question of grace, but as membership. God gives enough grace for every person to be saved, that has been taught by the Church since the council of Orange. God gives grace, but that doesn’t make them members. They need to profess the faith that Christ commanded the Apostles to teach, and that is in the Roman Catholic Church. If not, what are we doing? Why waste time if we are some unity and diversity.
    12 hrs · Like · 1
  • Mark Shea It’s a question of the Traddy habit of always always always searching for a way to minimize the reach of grace, to seek ways of making sure as many people as possible are excluded and of hoping, always, for as many human beings as possible to be damned. Sacraments are always, in this mindset, reducing valves designed to limit access to God’s grace, not as sure encounters with God.
    12 hrs · Like · 1
  • Torquemada Tequila Noah, I believe that papal primacy needs to be understood as instituted by Our Lord when He laid this burden upon St Peter.
  • Ryan Grant @Torquemada: Where can you find such a position in any papal pronouncement prior to 1965? It is not even that there is an absence, there is the opposite. Now, no, I’m not comfortable with the split, but it is one. The Orthodox and us do not share the same faith about the Pope, ecclesiology, the Trinity and even some sacraments, depending on which Orthodox or which member of which Orthodox church you are talking too. There are still many orthodox who re-baptize Catholics, for instance. Now the Orthodox can indeed be saved, particularly if we are talking about the average guy praying who is largely ignorant of these issues. But the de fide teaching of Councils, Popes and the unanimity of Fathers and Theologians is that one cannot knowingly reject what the Church has taught, as the Orthodox have. How that comes down at judgment Christ will figure out, but, theologically, there is no basis for saying Catholics and Orthodox are the same Church. Both historically and present said they are not.
  • Ryan Grant Mark, find me in scripture and tradition where one can reject what the Christ and the Magisterium He put in place have consistently taught. I’m sorry everyone, we already have an Eastern Church, it is the 18 sui juris Chruches of our Eastern Rite. The Orthodox need to get into those.
  • Mark Shea Ryan has spoken. The matter is at an end.
  • Ryan Grant Only because you can’t find in the Tradition where the Church has taught what you are saying it does.
  • Torquemada Tequila Also, Ryan, I don’t presume to judge who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. Tradition teaches through three ancient creeds that this role belongs to Christ.
    12 hrs · Like · 2
  • Ryan Grant When did we ever get to judgment? See, this is why this is going nowhere. I am laying out the principles of the Fathers, Doctors and Theologians, you are talking about me saying who is and isn’t going to hell.
    12 hrs · Like · 1
  • Ryan Grant Christ will save whom He wishes to save. We’re not talking about that. We are talking about what the Church has always and everywhere believed.
  • Mark Shea You are talking about who is and is not in the Church–and insisting that those outside are not saved. So yeah, you are talking about who is going to hell.
    12 hrs · Like · 1
  • Torquemada Tequila But again, the position is in the actions of the Popes. They never took the same hard line against Eastern Orthodox than they did against Protestants. Actions of pre-conciliar popes between the years 1300 and Vatican I included gifting Eastern Orthodox patriarchs and bishops with chalices, inviting them as full participants to every ecumenical council, sharing seminaries, etc.
    12 hrs · Like · 2
  • Ryan Grant Then read Cardinal Billot on the subject. “Non ergo impedit salutem, quod quis ignoranter ad quamcumque falsam sectam adhaereat, dummodo sit in ea animi dispositione de qua mox dictum est, et aliunde a justificationis via unicuique praeparata sese non avertat. Nonne huic veritati attestatur, quod etiam extra Ecclesiae fines, ut cum Augustino loquar, sacramenta largiter emanant? Et id quidem ex positiva Dei voluntate qui ad ipsorum sacramentorum validitatem potuisset eam conditionem apponere, ut nonnisi a legitimis ministris conficerentur. Nunc autem, si extra Ecclesiae fines sacramenta emanant, nonne ea intentione ut prosint iis qui in bona fide versantes, ab ipsius Ecclesiae visibili communione sunt de facto separati? Et non solum sacramenta, sed doctrina quoque et praedicatio undequaque foras erumpit, ut sit Ecclesia sal terrae et lux mundi, etiam respectu eorum qui magisterium ejus non agnoscunt, sed ejus influxum variis et miris modis, quamvis non advertentes, recipiunt. Ac per hoc, ab alto cathedrae ecclesiasticae, directe vel indirecte, sive per intentionem sive per occasionem, descendit et spargitur veritatis lumen, pervenitque ad multos etiam extraneos notitia divinae revelationis, saltem quantum ad fundamentales articulos qui necessario debent esse explicite crediti, ad hoc ut possit homo per charitatem perfectam se ad Deum convertere, et sic ad justificationis gratiam extra sacramentum pervenire. Quamquam nec indigeat Deus humano quocumque ministerio, ut fidem quae justificationis est initium et radix, inspiret homini sese per gratiae auxilium omnibus oblatum disponenti…
    “Quapropter calumniantur nos quicumque axioma nostrum: extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, sic interpretari affectant, quasi diceremus damnari de facto eos omnes qui de facto extra visibilem communionem corporis Ecclesiae moriuntur. …Huic quaestioni, donec veniat judicii dies, nulla patet solutionis possibilitas, quia de solis mediis generalibus atque communibus facta est nobis revelatio, non autem de modis diversissimis et in secreto Providentiae alte reconditis, quibus ad singulos quosque adultos provenit salutis possibilitas.” -De Ecclesiae Sacramentis,, pg. 120-123
  • Torquemada Tequila No Ryan, you are laying down the principles of a very narrow cadre of post-Tridentine western saints.
  • Ryan Grant And doctor’s of the Church.
  • Ryan Grant Sorry, there shouldn’t be an ‘ there.
  • Noah Moerbeek St Cyril said the same thing, so did Augustine
  • Mark Shea Poison. I’m outta here. Have fun, Torq. These guys are smarter than the Magisterium.
  • Ryan Grant No Mark, you think you are smarter than all the Fathers, doctors, theologians, doctors of the Church, and Councils who have taught this.
  • Ryan Grant Did you look at Cardinal Billot’s quote above?
  • Torquemada Tequila What do I care what Cardinal Billot has to say. Is he a Patriarch?
  • Noah Moerbeek Are you?
  • Torquemada Tequila Your point, Noah?
  • Ryan Grant Highly respected theologian and cardinal who taught in Roman Universities and wrote numerous textbooks. How about this one from Cardinal de Lugo:
    “Quamquam qui in infantia baptizatus apud haereticos et apud eos in falsa doctrina nutritur, postea factus adultus possit aliquamdiu non peccare contra fidem catholicam, quamdiu non ei proponitur sufficienter, ut obligetur ad eam amplectendam; postquam tamen ei fides catholica sufficienter proponitur, et obligatio eam amplectendi et relinquendi errores contrarios, si adhuc in iis perseveret, erit haereticus.” Quoted in Franzelin, De Ecclesia Christi, pg. 404.
  • Noah Moerbeek You could just read what the current Catechism says:

    “Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    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

  • Torquemada Tequila He’s a cardinal too.
  • Torquemada Tequila Okay, so show me that the Orthodox are outside the Church.
  • Noah Moerbeek “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”
  • Ryan Grant St. Robert Bellarmine, doctor of the Church: ““Respondeo igitur, quod dicitur, extra Ecclesiam neminem salvari, intelligi debere de iis, qui neque re ipsa, nec desiderio sunt de Ecclesia, sicut de baptismo communiter loquuntur theologi. Quoniam autem catechumeni si non re, saltem voto sunt in Ecclesia, ideo salvari possunt.”
  • Torquemada Tequila Oh joy, another Cardinal!
  • Torquemada Tequila You do realize that cardinals are inventions of the medieval Latin Church.
  • Mark Shea I don’t question “Outside the Church no salvation”. What I question is the ability of Ryan to know where “outside” is. Another reason Tradism is so ugly is its eagerness to pretend it knows and make sure as many people as possible are put there.
    12 hrs · Like · 1
  • Ryan Grant St. Peter Canisius, doctor of the Church: “At length, what might be a simple, short and upright rule of faith, by which Catholics are distinguished from heretics.

    It is this, they confess the faith of Christ and the full authority of the Church; and it behooves them to hold that as certain and fixed, which the Shepherds and Teachers of the Catholic Church have defined must be believed. The others, who do not listen to the Church, should be to you, as Christ himself said “As a heathen and a tax-collector.” Indeed he who refuses to have the Church as a mother, will not have God as Father.”
    -Parvus Catechismus Catholicorum

  • Noah Moerbeek @Mark, you do realize Ryan is citing works written by other people right?
    Mark Shea Yes. So?
  • Torquemada Tequila Yes, Ryan, I get it. Another post-tridentine western saint. You do realize there are saints from other eras, as well as other geographical areas?
    Ryan Grant Wrong, Canisius labored before during and after Trent.
  • Ryan Grant You realize the last quote in Canisius’ catechism is from St. Cyprian of Carthage? 1300 years before Trent.
  • Noah Moerbeek We have had much teaching already on what it means for a person to be outside the Church, he isn’t making up stuff
  • Torquemada Tequila The Church was Latin fundamentalist for 1965 years prior to Vatican II? Um….what language did Christ speak again?
  • Ryan Grant Non-sequitur.
  • Torquemada Tequila Or do why not like to be reminded that the original recipients of the Apostolic Tradition were Jewish, not Latin.
  • Ryan Grant Don’t throw the jews in there, They have nothing to do with it. Besides I’d have to be anti-myself, because my mother’s side is Jewish.
  • Mark Shea Yeah. So. Anyway. Outta here.
  • Noah Moerbeek Goodbye Mark.
  • Torquemada Tequila Non-sequitor, really, Ryan? Given that by Tradition, Our Lord was 33 when He was crucified, you’re argument of 1965 years is off unless you are suggesting Christ spoke Latin.
  • Noah Moerbeek Read his quote again
  • Noah Moerbeek He said “If this is”
  • Torquemada Tequila Yes, I also realize that St Cyprian’s understand of what the Church entailed is not that which you are arguing as post-tridentine fundamentalist.
  • Noah Moerbeek Anyone who willingly denies a dogma of the faith, understanding it is necessary for salvation will go to hell, that should not cause scandal. That is like saying anyone who commits a mortal sin will go to hell.
  • Hugh McDonald “Eastern Christians who are in fact separated in good faith from the Catholic Church, if they ask of their own accord and have the right dispositions, may be admitted to the sacraments of Penance, the Eucharist and the Anointing of the Sick. Further, Catholics may ask for these same sacraments from those non-Catholic ministers whose churches possess valid sacraments, as often as necessity or a genuine spiritual benefit recommends such a course and access to a Catholic priest is physically or morally impossible.” (from Vat II)
  • Ryan Grant @Torq, okay, let’s back up. I said if what I am proposing to you is Latin fundamentalism, rather than what it is, the magisterial teaching of the Church, then the Church would have to have been fundamentalist for her whole tradition, because this is what she has always taught.
  • Ryan Grant I am not trying to say the whole Church has always been Latin.
  • Noah Moerbeek Separated in Good Faith Hugh, not knowingly rejecting the truth.
  • Ryan Grant Now, let’s back up further. I asked you for a single word from the Church’s magisterium that says that the Orthodox Church are perfectly in union and are of the same faith from any Father of the Church, Doctor of the Church, Manualist, Council or Pope, and you have failed to pony up.
    12 hrs · Like · 1
  • Ryan Grant You have also misconstrued my position. By defending what the Church has always and everywhere believed, I am not saying that everyone who is not catholic is damned. There are many people who are ignorant and in good faith, and in those cases, provided they do not commit a mortal sin, or at least have perfect contrition for it, it is possible they can be saved. But that is outside of the visible boundaries of the Church, so we cannot have the same hope as those who die in the faith.
  • Torquemada Tequila And I cited actual examples from the Church’s practice between 1300 and 1900.
  • Ryan Grant That is simply not the case. You mentioned how in1300 a pope sent an eastern bishop a chalice. Did you know the Orthodox were still in union in 1300 and 1054 is a silly date by historical novices who don’t know what they’re talking about?
    12 hrs · Like · 1
  • Torquemada Tequila Regardless, Ryan, I very much appreciate you reminding me why, as a traditionalist, the Second Vatican Council was very necessary to break the Church of its Latin fundamentalism.
    12 hrs · Like · 2
  • Ryan Grant And where does Vatican II say its doing that?
    So, I’m cutting it there. From this we can derive a few things about Mark Shea. I would argue that in reality he is an angry “Rad-Con” (radical conservative) who is hostile to anything but the conservative response to the liberal craziness that permeated the Church after Vatican II, especially those who try and recoup the Tradition (Trads).
    The  method of this angry rad-con is two-fold:
    Ignore evidence contrary to his own position and never answer questions
    Inject emotional invective against into the argument to cause the person he is arguing with to get angry and lash out (which I did not do, but simply tried to focus back onto antiquity and authority), that way he can turn around and say “Angry trad subculture! See the violence inherent in the system!”
    Mark Shea has obviously been hurt by trads of some stripe before. He doesn’t need you to go to his site or facebook and tell him why you don’t like him. I am therefore offering the Trad-subculture with love challenge to all of you:
    Go to Mark Shea’s website, or his facebook, and say: “I’m a Trad, and I love you.” Everyone that reads this, go to Mark’s site here, or here, or here, and say this somewhere. Let’s draw the distinction between those who love and those who hate.


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