Refusing to Convert Souls
Thomas A. Droleskey
[This brief reflection has been written to amplify points made in A Patron Saint for Conciliarism?. The error of Universal Salvation leads quite logically to reinforce fallen man's disclination to accuse himself in the Sacred Tribunal of Penance, which sacrament the devil wants to fall into disuse precisely in order to win souls for himself for all eternity. We must as Saint Paul noted in his Epistle to the Philippians: Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation. (Phil. 2: 12) It is with this in mind that a few points by way of emphasis are being offered for further consideration and reflection.]
Save for canonized saints of the Catholic Church, God alone knows the fate of individual souls at the moment of their Particular Judgments. It is thus rash and presumptuous for anyone, such as the late Hans Urs von Balthasar and his disciples, to assume, no less state publicly, that the souls of Catholics who die in states of final impenitence are saved. To assert this is to reject one dogmatic statement after another, no less the words of Sacred Scripture itself. There is a predilection in the ethos of conciliarism to refuse to convert souls, thereby giving every indication that there is "well-founded" hope that salvation is to be obtained easily outside of the Catholic Church and that there is no urgency to seek to convert souls as the Apostles and the missionaries who followed them for centuries exhibited in their pastoral work.
Here are just a few dogmatic statements that cannot be reconciled with the current thrust in the direction of Ecumenism and its related error, Universal Salvation:
From the Canons of the Provincial Council of Constantinople, 543 A.D.:
If anyone says or holds that the punishment of devils and wicked men is temporary and will eventually cease, that is to say, that devils or the ungodly will be completely restored to their original states: let him be anathema." Canons of the Provincial Council of Constantinople (543 A.D.)
From the Fourth Lateran Council:
He will come at the end of the world; he will judge the living and the dead; and he will reward all, both the lost and the elect, according to their works…whether good or bad; the wicked, a perpetual punishment with the devil; the good, eternal glory with Christ. The Fourth Lateran Council (1215)
The Council of Florence, 1438-1445:
The holy Roman Church believes, professes, and preaches that 'no one remaining outside the Catholic Church, not just pagans, but also Jews or heretics or schismatics, can become partakers of eternal life; but they will go to the everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels,' unless before the end of life they are joined to the Church. For the union with the body of the Church is of such importance that the sacraments of the Church are helpful to salvation only for those who remaining in it; and fasts, almsgiving, other works of piety, and the exercise of Christian warfare bear eternal rewards from them alone. And no one can be saved, no matter how much alms, he has given, even if he sheds his blood for the name of Christ, unless he remains in the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church. The Council of Florence (1438-1445)
Consider also the following two propositions from Pope Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors:
15. Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true. -- Allocution "Maxima quidem," June 9, 1862; Damnatio "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851.
16. Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation. -- Encyclical "Qui pluribus," Nov. 9, 1846.
17. Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ. -- Encyclical "Quanto conficiamur," Aug. 10, 1863, etc.
Two dogmatic statements from the First Vatican Council, 1869-1870:
Therefore, all who die in actual mortal sin are excluded from the kingdom of God and will suffer forever the torments of hell where there is no redemption.
If anyone says that a man can be justified even after death; or if he says that the punishments of the damned in hell will not last forever: let him be anathema.
Yes, Our Lord is all-merciful. He is Mercy Incarnate! He gives us endless opportunities to repent of our sins and to do penance for them before we die. He will give us to our dying breaths to seek out His ineffable, unmerited Mercy. We ask Our Lady to pray for us nunc et in hora mortis nostrae every time we pray the Ave Maria. We ask her to turn her eyes of mercy towards us (illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte) in the Salve Regina. We pray to her, Mother of the Word Incarnate, in the Memorare to
despise not our petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer us (Mater Verbi, verba nostra despicere, sed audi propitia et exaudi). We must supplicants who are begging Our Lord for His Mercy at all times, keeping alive the Supernatural Virtue of Hope as we do so, ever reliant upon Our Lady's maternal intercession as totally consecrated slaves of her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, enrolled in the Brown Scapular and wearing her Miraculous Medal (being mindful to beg her all of the graces we need, especially those we might forget to ask of her).
However, we must never presume our own salvation or that of others, which is what the error of Universal Salvation, emanating as it does from the Sin of Presumption that is at the foundation of Lutheranism. We must pray ceaselessly for the souls of the faithful departed, never once presuming their salvation. Holy Mother Church calls upon us to meditate upon the Four Last Things each night before we go to bed: Death, Judgment, Heaven, Hell. Why is there any need to do that if there is Universal Salvation regardless of the state of one's immortal soul? (I know, I may be giving the revolutionaries yet another idea: doing away with a meditation on the Four Last Things.)
As I noted yesterday in A Patron Saint for Conciliarism?, the Novus Ordo Missae's removal of Collects that express the possibility of eternal loss and of the reality of a God Who judges souls has resulted in a forgetfulness of the Four Last Things in the lives of countless numbers of Catholics. I have heard numerous priests speak from the pulpit about salvation as though it is guaranteed for everyone, never receiving a word of correction for deviating from the Received Teaching of Our Lord. The lion's share of Catholic schools and religious education programs never once teach students about the simple fact that a person who dies in a state of unrepentant mortal sin will go to hell for all eternity. Indeed, many young Catholics today have never even heard the phrase "moral sin" pass from the lips of a a priest or consecrated religious or some other teacher or professor in a Catholic institution or program. The result has been quite simple: many Catholics live their lives in the spirit of Luther, content that an all-merciful God forgives whatever sins they commit, if they commit any at all, that is, as soon as they ask for forgiveness in their hearts without having to confess them in the Sacrament of Penance. How can there be a revival of the practice of auricular Confession if Catholics are affirmed in the false notions associated with Universal Salvation?
The Church must always be about the business of seeking converts. She must always be about the business of remaining faithful to the mission entrusted to her by her Divine Bridegroom and which began when the first Pope, Saint Peter, made converts out of three thousand Jews on Pentecost Sunday. To put into any doubt whatsoever the very words of Our Lord and His Apostles and Evangelists, as well as the pronouncements and decrees of the Church's dogmatic councils, is to play right into the adversary's hands. She must always be about the business of exhorting us dumb sheep to amend our lives, especially by the frequent use of the Sacrament of Penance and by living penitentially. Thus cleansed in the confessional and fortified by the worthy reception of Our Lord in Holy Communion, we must be some small instrument in helping to bring about the conversion of others to the true Faith. A pope and his cardinals and bishops and priests need to remind us of the necessity trying to win souls for the Church, not to assure that all are saved.
Consider, by way of conclusion, these telling words from Pope Pius IX in Iam Vos Omnes, 1868, issued prior to the start of the First Vatican Council a year later:
It is for this reason that so many who do not share “the communion and the truth of the Catholic Church” must make use of the occasion of the Council, by the means of the Catholic Church, which received in Her bosom their ancestors, proposes [further] demonstration of profound unity and of firm vital force; hear the requirements [demands] of her heart, they must engage themselves to leave this state that does not guarantee for them the security of salvation. She does not hesitate to raise to the Lord of mercy most fervent prayers to tear down of the walls of division, to dissipate the haze of errors, and lead them back within holy Mother Church, where their Ancestors found salutary pastures of life; where, in an exclusive way, is conserved and transmitted whole the doctrine of Jesus Christ and wherein is dispensed the mysteries of heavenly grace.
It is therefore by force of the right of Our supreme Apostolic ministry, entrusted to us by the same Christ the Lord, which, having to carry out with [supreme] participation all the duties of the good Shepherd and to follow and embrace with paternal love all the men of the world, we send this Letter of Ours to all the Christians from whom We are separated, with which we exhort them warmly and beseech them with insistence to hasten to return to the one fold of Christ; we desire in fact from the depths of the heart their salvation in Christ Jesus, and we fear having to render an account one day to Him, Our Judge, if, through some possibility, we have not pointed out and prepared the way for them to attain eternal salvation. In all Our prayers and supplications, with thankfulness, day and night we never omit to ask for them, with humble insistence, from the eternal Shepherd of souls the abundance of goods and heavenly graces. And since, if also, we fulfill in the earth the office of vicar, with all our heart we await with open arms the return of the wayward sons to the Catholic Church, in order to receive them with infinite fondness into the house of the Heavenly Father and to enrich them with its inexhaustible treasures. By our greatest wish for the return to the truth and the communion with the Catholic Church, upon which depends not only the salvation of all of them, but above all also of the whole Christian society: the entire world in fact cannot enjoy true peace if it is not of one fold and one shepherd.
These words cannot be reconciled with the lies of the Second Vatican Council's ecumenism and of Hans Urs von Balthasar's Universal Salvation. Blessed Pope Pius IX simply spoke Catholic truth about the necessity of seeking the conversion of others, in the case of Iam Vos Omnes, Protestants. We must pray for the day when a pope will speak with such Catholic forthrightness once again. For the refusal to seek the conversion of souls is one of the most glaring defections in Catholic Tradition that we have experienced in the past forty years. May our own prayers and penances help to plant the seeds that might result in the triumph of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart as the fruit of the fulfillment of her Fatima Message.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint Robert Bellarmine, pray for us.
Saint Peter Canisius, pray for us.
Saint Charles Borromeo, pray for us.
Saint John Jones (aka John Griffith), pray for us.
Saint Edmund Campion, pray for us.
Saint Oliver Plunkett, pray for us.
Saint Josaphat, pray for us.
Saint Peter Chanel, pray for us.
Saint Isaac Jogues and all of the North American Martyrs, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Blessed Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Blessed Junipero Serra, pray for us.
Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro, pray for us.
Blessed Father William Joseph Chaminade, pray for us.
Blessed Jacinta, pray for us.
Blessed Francisco, pray for us.
Sister Lucia, pray for us.