Why Religious Indifference is Deadly

March 08, 2024 00:58:21
Why Religious Indifference is Deadly
Crisis Point
Why Religious Indifference is Deadly

Mar 08 2024 | 00:58:21

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Hosted By

Eric Sammons

Show Notes

8 out of every 10 Catholics believe that other religions can lead to eternal life. How does this religious indifference impact the Catholic Church's ability to live out her mission to convert the entire world to Catholicism?
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:10] Speaker A: Eight out of every ten Catholics believe. [00:00:12] Speaker B: That other religions can lead to eternal life. How does this religious indifference impact the Catholic Church's ability to live out her mission to convert the entire world to Catholicism? So today what I'm going to do. [00:00:26] Speaker A: Is I'm actually going to share a. [00:00:27] Speaker B: Talk I gave in Detroit a couple of weeks ago at Assumption Grotto Parish, where I talk about this issue about a religious indifference, which really is the issue of my book, deadly indifference. I'm going to go through exactly the history of how religious indifference grew in the Catholic Church and the impact it's had on the church. I hope you enjoy it. I'll see you next time. [00:00:47] Speaker A: Thanks. So, as father mentioned, I am associated with Crisis magazine one Peter five. I'm the editor in chief of Crisis magazine. We also run one Peter five. So I encourage anybody to, if you want to find out what's going on in the church, go to those websites. Also, one thing, as you mentioned, I'm an author of many books, but one thing of note is that I am a convert to the catholic faith. I actually came to church over 30 years ago, 1993 Easter. And I was an evangelical Protestant before I became Catholic. And for those who aren't sure exactly what an evangelical Protestant is, it just means a Protestant who's really annoying about trying to get everybody else to become Protestant. So that's essentially what an evangelical is. Very much though, I would go dorm to dorm when I was in college, sharing the good news, trying to get people to accept Jesus as their personal lord and savior. And so evangelism was very much a part of who I was as a Christian. So then I became Catholic, and I didn't lose that desire and that passion for evangelization. I started doing it as a Catholic. So at my parish, my first parish, I was involved in many activities. We actually did like a revival meeting. We put up a tent in the front part of the facility and invited people to come to that. And we invite people, go to the grocery store outside of it, invite people to come to revival and all that. In another parish, I became the head of evangelization. We did door to door campaigns. We go door to door in the parish boundaries, invite people to come to mass, tell them about what we're doing at our parish. And then I then became the director of evangelization for a diocese for five years, where I helped Catholics and parishes on how to evangelize. And I even ended up writing a book on it, the old evangelization, which unfortunately, I sold out of the other night. So I don't actually have any of those back there. But the point of all this is just that evangelization is very important to me, and I've been doing it for a long time as a Catholic. But I want to be honest that during that whole time, I had an underlying frustration that I really couldn't articulate for a long time. But it had to do with the fact that most Catholics I knew didn't really care about evangelization. They didn't really care about sharing their faith. And in fact, I remember when we started door to door campaigns at one parish, we announced it. And after Mass, this lady comes up to me and she says, door to door, really? Are we that desperate? And I was kind of taken aback at first, and I was like, yeah, actually we are. Until every single person on earth is Catholic, we are that desperate to share the faith. But what I found was there was this underlying kind of assumption among many Catholics that kept them from being enthusiastic about evangelization. And that was this idea that it really didn't matter if you were Catholic. It really didn't matter whether or not one was Catholic or non Catholic, if they were Protestant, if they were Jewish, if they were Muslim. It just didn't matter, because we're all going to heaven anyway. We're all in good shape. And that really undercut the desire to share the faith, the desire for missionary work, the desire to evangelize with our family and friends. And so that was a real issue. And that's what actually led me to write the book. Deadly indifference was through that kind of research of, like, why is this happening? Why is it that nobody, Catholics don't seem to really care about this very much? And it's because ultimately, most Catholics don't believe that it's necessary to be Catholic. And in fact, there was a pew study done a few years ago, and it was in 2015. I think the numbers actually be worse today if they did it now and they asked the question, can many religions lead to eternal life? And 79% of Catholics, almost eight in ten Catholics, said yes. And like I said, it's likely higher now. Now, note very carefully the question. The question isn't, can somebody who is not your religion get to heaven? It's, can many religions lead to eternal life? And that's a very specific question, because what's saying is that the practice of other religions can lead somebody to heaven. Now, believing that is actually heresy for a Catholic. The Catholic Church teaches very clearly that outside the church, there is no salvation, that it's through the Catholic Church that people are saved. But this idea that many religions can save us is called religious pluralism. I have a hard time saying it for some reason, but it's bad. You don't want to do it. So essentially what's happened is that Catholics are indifferent to what religion people are. If you're indifferent to it, a lot of things flow from that. The most obvious one I've already talked about is you're not going to really make a big effort to get other people to become Catholic. But also what happens is you don't really think it's necessary for you to be Catholic anymore. And we see that in the tragic numbers in the church with how many millions of people are leaving. I've crunched the numbers, I've looked at all these studies and I've seen how many people have left the church in America, the Catholic Church, over the years. And if you look at the charts in 1970, you see a drop of number of people, number of people who are practicing Catholics. It kind of levels off in 1975 or so until about the year 2000, and then it drops off a cliff. And what's happening is we see millions of people, like I said, leaving the church because ultimately they're indifferent. They don't think it's important because obviously if they thought it was important, they would stay Catholic. So there's this just deep indifference to whether or not it matters if you're a Catholic. And like I said though, this is completely contrary to the actual teachings of the church, which still are, that outside the church there is no salvation. This has been the belief of the church, the teaching of the church and the belief of most Catholics for almost 2000 years. And most Catholics believe this until about the 1950s or so. And that's what we're going to talk about tonight, a little bit of how did this change? Because what we'll find is the teaching on the book, so to speak, hasn't changed. If you go to the catechism, it still says this, it still says baptism is necessary, still says outside the church there's no salvation. You see it in church documents, what have you. But the belief on the streets, in the pews, most Catholics don't believe this. And so why is that? Why is it that the church didn't change a teaching, but yet the beliefs of almost every Catholic has changed? And so that's what I go through in my book, deadly indifference. That's what we're going to go through tonight, how this happened. But then also more importantly, what can we do about it? Because this is a major scandal, but it's also just something that has to be changed, because what we're having is, like I said, millions of people leaving the church, a real lack of recognition of the necessity of the Catholic Church. And so what happened really was, in a nutshell, before I go through it a little more in depth, what happened was that the church did not change her teachings. Of course, on outside the church, there's no salvation. But what happened was so many leaders ended up, and Catholics in general ended up undermining those teachings by their actions, by the way they interacted with non Catholics, the way they interacted with the church, way they talked about things. They undermined it until nobody believed it anymore. I give this analogy in the book, and I want to give it here. Is that so? I'm a big baseball fan. I'm from Cincinnati, so I'm a red fan. So good luck Tigers this year. But I doubt anything's going to happen there. Not that I can speak, not if the Reds are that good. But imagine, for example, that a dad is a big Yankees fan. He has a son. And as somebody who actually indoctrinated my own son in being a Reds fan, I know how this works. I know how you do this to make sure they will always be a Reds fan. But let's say he's a Yankees fan. He has a son. He's like, okay. And he tells his son early on, like, from the time he's three, four, five years old, we're Yankees fans in this family. He has Yankees banners up in his house. He wears a Yankees hat, t shirt. They watch the Yankees games. They're Yankees fans. And his son's like, great, we're Yankees fans. I'm in. I mean, let me tell you, even at the age of five, a boy can get really into a sports team. So they become Yankees fans. And then over time, like, the next couple years, all of a sudden, the dad takes down a few of the Yankees signs. Maybe he does, stops wearing the hat. They still watch some of the games, but they watch less of them. And the son's like, oh, are we still Yankees fans? Yes, we are Yankees fans. This is a Yankees family. And then let's say the dad starts to watch Red Sox games. Now he starts to watch the Boston Red Sox. And the son gets confused. Like, wait a minute. He takes down all the Yankees signs. He stops wearing Yankees paraphernalia, and the son's confused. Like, wait a minute, dad. Let's say he's a teenager. Like, are we still Yankees fans? He's like, yes, we are Yankees fans. This family is Yankees fans. But he's watching the Red Sox. He's not watching the Yankees anymore. He doesn't have any Yankees things up anymore. Well, what's the son going to think? The son's going to think maybe one or two things. He might think, okay, I guess we're Red Sox fans, actually. Or more likely, he's just going to be so confused, he'll stop being a baseball fan. And essentially, something like that has happened where the church, in the church today, the church believes something, teaches something officially, but has undermined it in so many ways that nobody actually believes it anymore. And it's a real crisis in the church. And I think it's one of the main causes, one of the main underlying causes for why we have the crisis we do today, why so many people are leaving the church. Now. I'm not going to be one person who says, the person who says, okay, there's one reason why everybody's left the church. I don't think it's as simple as that. I don't think it's the sex abuse, Cris or Vatican II or something like that. I think there's a lot of reasons, but I think an underlying reason for it all is that Catholics don't believe it's important to be Catholic. In fact, they don't think it is necessary to be Catholic. And that fundamentally undermines everything else. So like I said, first of all, the church's teaching is outside the church. There's no salvation. Now, I have found when I bring this up, it's always controversial among Catholics. Most catholics feel very awkward when they hear that. They might even be a bit upset. And maybe some people here are upset about that. They're like, no, you can't really believe that. So I want to kind of give a defense of that and why it is the church believes what she does and how the church has always believed that and then show how it was undermined. So the teaching of the uniqueness and the necessity of the church really dates back before the time of Christ. It goes all the way back to the Old Testament. If you look at the Old Testament, you see that God is insistent with his people, with the Israelites. You must worship me and me alone, and you need to worship the way I tell you to do it. And so what's the first commandment? I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me. This is the first and most important commandment. And if you look at Israel, when Israel is doing well. Why is it? It's because it is following that first commandment. When you see Israel start to give to the pagan practices of the neighboring nations, then all of a sudden Israel goes downhill. God makes it very clear, you need to worship me and me alone. You cannot believe that any of these other religions will be of any good to you. And he's so insistent that there are some very uncomfortable passages in the Old Testament. There's uncomfortable passages in many ways, but that have to do with this one in particular, I think. I can't now remember if it's first or second kings it's in, but it's about a king, King Jehu, and basically King Jehu, he was one of the good kings. If you look at the history of Israel, you'll see there's good kings and then bad kings, then a good king and a bad king. And they always describe a bad king. The reason they were bad is because they allowed the worship of other gods in Israel. That's what made them a bad king. They weren't necessarily even themselves, those worshippers of pagan gods, but they allowed it. Well. So King Jehu followed a bad king. And what happened was that when he came to power, though, he was a good king, but he said to the people, okay, we're going to have a worship of the pagan gods. Everybody come who wants to worship the pagan gods, this location, we're going to do that. So they come and he has the army wipe them out, kill them all. And what's amazing about this is that it doesn't just kind of say this and just pass over it. It says, God commended him, he commended the king for this. Now just to be clear, I'm not saying this is what the Catholic Church should do today. That's not the way we do things in the time of Christ. But it shows the importance to God of maintaining the right religion and of worshiping him in the right religion. And that is insisted upon in the Old Testament. And then we get to the time of Christ and what do we hear Christ say? He says, I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father but by me. He makes it very clear you cannot get to the father. In other words, you cannot be saved except for through him. He's not one teacher, he's not one way, he's not a privileged way. He is the way, the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. In fact, nobody is in heaven today except through Jesus Christ. And so he makes that very clear. And in fact, he makes it so clear. You see, the apostles talk about St. Peter in the acts of the apostles. When he's preaching, what does he says? There is no other name under heaven which you can be saved. No other name in which you can be saved other than Jesus Christ. And so the first christians were very insistent. It's only through Jesus Christ that you can be saved. Now the early church fathers, then they started to contemplate about this and think about it and say, how does this apply then to the church membership in the church? Because what was happening is there were people saying they were Christian, they were following Christ, but they weren't members of the Catholic Church. And so the church fathers were like, okay, what does this mean? And they made it very clear that this is where the phrase comes up outside the church. There's no salvation. You see, in St. Cyprian in the third century is the first that we know of who really insists upon it. But many other church fathers talk about it, that it's only in membership of the church that you can be saved. And they likened it. The analogy they often gave was of Noah's ark, that the church is the ark of salvation. Like in the time of Noah, if you were not in the ark, you were in trouble, you drowned, you died. They would say, if you're not in the church, you're going to spiritually die, you're going to be in trouble. So you had to be part of that ark. And so this was very important to them. And this is something that's difficult for us, modern Americans in particular, to comprehend. And I think it's because we have a very individualistic way of everything. We look at everything in a very individualistic way. And we do that with our religion as well. You see, it's particularly true in Protestantism, but I think it infects us as well. And this idea of, okay, my salvation is me and Jesus. I have my religion, me and Jesus. And that's how I'm going to get to heaven or not get to heaven. It's all that matters. But that's not how the Church fathers saw it. They saw it as the church is the body of Christ. It's the body of Christ that's being saved. It's not Joe and Mary and John. It's the body of Christ being saved as one. And so you're either on the boat, you're in the ark, or you're not. And so that is how you got saved, was by being a member of Christ's body. Because obviously, if it's through Christ that we're saved. You have to be a member of the body of Christ. And then the question becomes, okay, how am I a member of the body of Christ? How am I a member of the church? And there was only one answer to that. Baptism. It's baptism in which you become a member of the church. And that was the key point that they insisted upon. But there is a caveat here. They actually taught three different types of baptism. The first is the most obvious one, the normative one. That's water baptism, sacramental baptism. Pour water over somebody's head, you say, I baptize, you. Name, father, son, Holy Spirit. The sacrament happens. They become a member of the church. That's the way 99.9% of people enter the church, become and are members of the body of Christ. Water baptism. But there's another baptism, baptism of blood. That was the martyr who had not yet been baptized. There were a number of instances in the early church where a Christian would be martyred and his executioner would be so moved by the witness of that martyr that he would proclaim Jesus Christ right there on the spot. And they would kill him right there on the spot. And the Church fathers saw very clearly, okay, this person clearly has given their life for Christ. They are saved. But they weren't water baptized. And so what they said was, this is a baptism in their blood. So this was a way that you could be saved. Now, obviously, that's an extreme situation, doesn't happen very often, but this was a valid baptism, so to speak. Even though they weren't water baptized, they were members of the church for about a second on earth and then eternity in heaven. And then there was a third type of baptism, a baptism of desire. And this typically the most common example that was used, probably the only example that was used by church fathers was the example of the catechumen who was preparing for baptism, had made a public declaration that, I desire to be baptized. I'm going through the program, whatever it is that I need to, to get baptized. But they die before Easter, before they can be baptized. And so in that situation, the church father said, okay, yes, this is a baptism desire. They've made an explicit proclamation that they desire that they want to be baptized. They intended to be baptized, but they died before their actual water baptism. This is a baptism desire. That person can be saved as well. But that was it. That's it. But now the key thing to note is that in the church father's mind, and in all Catholics mind back then, water baptism was the normative by far. Like 99.99%. You had a few martyrs who weren't baptized yet, and you might have a handful of catechumens who die before their actual water baptism, but that was who was in a member of the body of Christ, nobody else. The baptism of blood and baptism desire were very small. And so the likelihood of somebody who's not Catholic to be saved was just not really heard of, except for in these exceptional cases. Now, this became, like I said, the outside of church salvation. It became official church teaching. In fact, at the fourth lattering council in 1215, it was declared, this is what we believe. And you see it then repeated in other councils. You see it repeated by popes over and over again. This idea that outside the church there is no salvation. Now then we get to the point where a major event happened in the life of the church that made Catholics, theologians in particular, really think about this some more. And that was the discovery of the new world. Because now, all of a sudden, there's millions of people on these other continents that have never heard of Jesus. They have no idea what Catholicism is. Because remember, at this time, like in the Middle Ages, the average Catholic believed that everybody had heard of Jesus. Either you're in Europe, you're catholic, and so there, you heard of it, or you're muslim, you heard of Jesus and you rejected him. Or maybe you're part of the mongol hordes, but you've still heard of Jesus. Their world was such that they assumed everybody had heard of Jesus. Now all of a sudden, we find out that a lot of people had never heard of him. So what do we do about this? And there was a lot of debate in the church, like, how does this fit? Can they be saved? And really what people focused on, what theologians focused on was the baptism of desire. Is there a possibility of salvation through baptism of desire of these people who've never heard of Jesus? And the idea of invincible ignorance then came to be discussed. Is it possible that somebody who's ignorant of the gospel, invincibly ignorant, meaning through no fault of their own, I mean, somebody who's ignorant because they don't ever look into anything, they're not invincibly ignorant. We're talking about the person who has no way of finding out about Catholicism, invincibly ignorant. Can they be saved? And there was theologians who said no. Theologians who said yes, and there was some debate about it in the church. And then in the 19th century, Pope Pius IX, he basically said, yes, it is possible that somebody who's invincibly ignorant could be saved. It's not impossible for that to happen. But he stipulated in such a way that he made it clear he believed it was very difficult, it was very unlikely because he basically said the person would have to live an upstanding moral life. They would have to really kind of give their life to God in the way they knew best. And he made it clear, like without sacramental graces, that's almost impossible to do. So while there's like this door that gets opened, that yes, it is possible. It was clear from church leaders that it was highly unlikely the door had opened up just a little bit. What we're going to find is eventually the door is going to get kicked down and open up, so the whole world comes through. But at this point, we're talking about the early 20th century or so. It's still, the idea is that most Catholics believe that only Catholics are saved, except for in extremely exceptional circumstances. Now this common belief among Catholics had a major impact on how Catholics lived. The most obvious one is that spurred missionary activity. This is what drove missionary activity for 2000 years, was this idea that we need to go out and preach the gospel and share the gospel and Catholicism with these people, or else they're not going to be saved. And so they went far and wide throughout the world to be missionaries, to share the gospel. In fact, the reason that the catholic church is still today the largest religion in the world, is because of those missionaries. We're kind of living off of their work because we're declining, but the reason we're so big, we are now, is because all that they did, and if you read the words of those missionaries, you find the driving force behind it, is they truly believed that if they did not go and baptize these people, they would be damned. They would go to hell. St. Isaac Jogs is one of my favorite saints. He's one of the great north american martyrs, jesuit martyrs, and he was in the upstate New York area that he worked. And his story is just amazing because he comes here, he's evangelizing the native Americans. He's persecuted, he suffers greatly for the gospel. He's eventually captured and tortured by some people who hated him. And you even have a situation where they gnawed his fingers off, like some of them actually bit off his fingers. And so he loses his fingers. He's been tortured. He ends up going back to Europe. And what does he want to do? He wants to go back to America because he wants to save souls some more. There is a problem, though. A priest without fingers cannot say mass, they're not allowed. So he needs a dispensation from the pope. So the pope finds out about this and gets a dispensation. He basically says something to the effect of, how can I deny someone who has shed their blood for Christ to be able to offer the blood of Christ? So he gives him dispensation. What does St. Isaac joke do? He goes back to America, and he's again captured, and he's martyred. And they threw his body in the river. We don't even know where it ended up. And he did this. And you read his writings. He did this because he believed very strongly that if he didn't, that these men and women here in the Americas would be damned. They would go to hell. They needed to be baptized. So the thing that drove him was the belief in, outside the church, there is no salvation. Another way that this strong belief in this doctrine impacted the church is Catholics were very careful about how they interacted with, you know, we all know about the catholic ghettos, and there's catholic ghettos in this country and like in England and other places, yes, there was for economic reasons, yes, there's some political reasons, but it was often self chosen. They wanted to live together because they did not want to be tempted to leave the church by interacting with non Catholics. In fact, there's a funny story I found out when I was researching for the book. There's this bishop in England tells a story when he was young, and there was a protestant church in the neighborhood, and when they were walking down the street, they would always walk on the other side of the road. So they didn't walk right by the protestant church. They didn't want to get too close to it. And it is kind of funny to think about, and we can kind of Chuckle about that, but that was because it was insisted upon them. You have to keep the faith. That's the most important thing. Nothing else matters. So you don't want to have too much interaction with non Catholics in a daily life. Obviously, you want to evangelize them and maybe send out missionaries to them, but you don't want to interact with them too closely because you could lose your faith. And of course, another way this came into effect was mixed marriages were extremely discouraged Catholics, married Catholics. Yes, you could get dispensation, but it was rare, really, the Catholics should be marrying Catholics. And all this is because of this belief among the average Catholic, among the average priest, bishop, pope, that outside the church, there's no salvation. It was very important to them, and this was the belief all the way up until the 19, really, the 1950s. In fact, there's a pope, Pius XI. In 1943, he wrote, those who do not belong to the visible body of the Catholic Church, we ask each and every one of them to correspond to the interior movements of grace and to seek to withdraw from that state in which they cannot be sure of their salvation. So he wrote that, 1943, he makes it very clear that if you are not part of the visible body of Christ, you cannot be sure of your salvation. You need to enter into the visible body of Christ. So we all know that's not the way things are today. That's not the belief. Like I already said, eight and ten Catholics, at least, don't believe that. We don't hear our church leaders say things like, you need to be part of the visible body of Christ or your salvation is in jeopardy. We don't see church leaders even really encouraging Catholics to only marry Catholics and things of that nature. So the question is, what happened? How is it that now none of that really exists? While at the same time, as I've emphasized, the church never changed their teachings. Now, one thing that I know, sometimes you'll hear Catholics, some Catholics will say they'll blame it all on Vatican II. Well, it's Vatican II's fault. I'm not in that camp. What we see is there was a whole shift in how the church really interacted with the world. I call it the emphasis shift, where they changed their emphasis in a lot of ways. And it occurred during, it started in, like, the 1950s, really, in the 1960s, and it occurred concurrently with Vatican two. It influenced Vatican two, and Vatican two then exacerbated it as well. So we see it's beyond just this one council that caused it all. But really there was like a threefold emphasis shift. We see it in three different ways, that the church did not go and change what she taught, but instead, church leaders said, we're going to do things differently now. I mean, that was kind of the attitude in the 1960s. Let's just change it all up, and I'm sure it'll all work out. Things will be better. And, of course, that's not what happened. And so specifically in this area, the church made a number of key changes that ended up undermining the teaching so radically that nobody even believes it anymore. The first one of those changes is what is really, I think, the biggest one. And it was a change from proclamation to dialogue. Historically, the way the church interacted with the world was to proclaim the gospel. You see it with St. John the Baptist, you see it with our Lord himself. Repent and believe the good news. Repent and believe the gospel. That's how you interacted with the world. Those who were sinners, those who were outside the church, you told them to repent, and you asked and told them to believe in the gospel. Now, how different saints and did that changed over the years and how they reached out. But the essential message was the same, was that the Catholic believes, I have something that's been given to me that is worth eternity, so I need to proclaim it to others so that they can receive it and they can have it as well. It's like somebody says to you, I'll give you a million dollars, but you can only keep it if you then give out a million dollars to ten different people. That's basically what's happening here, is we're given this much more, worth much more than a million dollars gift, but we give it to others then, and so we proclaim the gospel. That's how the church has always interacted with the world. But there's a major shift happening in the 1960s, and it really, I think it was influenced a lot by some bad psychology and just the way things were interacted, a lot of different social reasons and political reasons. But it really started with an encyclical by Pope Paul VI in 1964 called ecclesiastuum. This was not a document of the Vatican Council, but it was written and published during the Vatican Council, right in the middle of it. And in it. The whole purpose of the encyclical is to basically say, now the church is going to dialogue with the world. No longer are we going to. I mean, he doesn't say this part explicitly proclaim, but we're going to dialogue with them. We're going to sit down at the table, and we're going to dialogue and interact with them. And he explicitly says the church isn't separate from the world, but just distinct from it. Well, historically, Catholics always did believe we were separate from the world. If you look at how the world's described in the Gospel of John, the world is the enemy. It's what we're trying to combat and escape from, because who is the prince of this world? The devil. And so the world is always seen as something that we need to fight against. Well, Paul Vi and many other church leaders at the time were like, no, we're going to dialogue with them because there was this idea that was popular at the time that basically, if we all just sit down together at the table, we'll all come to the truth together that you don't necessarily have the absolute truth. Neither do you. We all have parts of it. We'll come together and we'll all agree to what the truth is. Now, I think hopefully we all know here tonight that that's nonsense, but that people really believed that back in the day, back in the 1960s. And I think some of it was like the horror of World War II and the Holocaust made many Christians and many Catholics very hesitant to say, you are wrong and I am right, because it was like this false idea that if you did that, you're like two steps away from the Holocaust. Like, basically you're going to start killing people you don't agree with. But that, of course, is not true because for centuries, we have saints, we have missionaries who do this who didn't kill anybody. But I think that was kind of made the gunshyness about being really sure about what we believe. And so what happened was in this encyclical, Ecclesia Suem, he basically called on the church to now dialogue with the world, that we will all come to agreement somehow. And you see a massive, this is like almost an overnight shift when you look at church documents, because if you look at the church documents before this encyclical, you never once have an instance of this word dialogue used in this way, ever. The idea of dialogue being kind of the mission of the church is simply nonexistent before 1964. Now, though, it's become the actual mission. You'll see. I mean, Paul Vi says this. You see other popes and other church leaders talk about this like dialogue being the mission of the church. But this is completely innovative, it's completely new, and it had actually an impact on the council itself. If you look at the doctrines of Vatican two, the ones that are written before this encyclical don't mention dialogue at all, but the ones written after do. So, like the decree on ecumenism, interreligious dialogue. Those all talk about dialogue in this way. So the church really embraced this and said, okay, this is the way we're going to do things now. No longer are we going to do things where we say we're right and you're wrong. Now we're going to do like, let's sit down together, sing Kumbaya, and we'll come to agreement. And that was the first major shift. Now, the important thing to note is there was no change in church teaching here. Paul IX didn't utter heresy in this encyclical. He just simply said the way we're going to do things is going to change and I'm going to accept that he had sincere motives and he thought this would be very successful. And I know all the people, all the catholic leaders who accepted this way thought the same thing. It's just like with the changes in the mass, they thought, okay, everybody's going to become Catholic now because these magical changes we make, and I think they sincerely believed it. But we see what happens in practice is that dialogue becomes like our downfall because we no longer are in a situation where we can say we have the truth and you need to accept it. Now we have to say is, well, you're right about this and I'm right about, and you're right about that and we're not going to say anything about you're wrong about, and we're just going to hope that everybody kind of comes to agreement, but they don't because of human nature. That's the fundamental problem with dialogue as a mission, is it assumes the good intentions and kind of the openness to the truth everybody would have. And that's not reality after the fall. The fact is the fall, it disorders our intellect, it disorders our will. We choose things that are not good for us. This is like Catholicism 101, the basics. I mean, original sin is the one doctrine of church that's proven time and time again because we all have it. And so what happens is you can't actually have dialogue with somebody and then just intellectually they'll come to a realization, oh, okay, the Catholic Church is right about this. I guess I'll become Catholic. No, the reason we proclaim is because we know it takes the Holy Spirit to actually convert somebody. And it's through proclamation that the Holy Spirit works always traditionally, that's always been for 2000 years. Through proclamation of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit works and convicts the soul of the truth of the catholic faith. So we see this. Like I said, the problem of proclamation is dialogue. Another way in which the church changed her emphasis that ended up undermining the teaching is that she toned down the uniqueness of Catholicism. The church has always considered herself to be unique, the unique and necessary means of salvation. Even in these cases of invincible ignorance or baptism, desire, whatever, the church always still believed that was through the Catholic Church. That person was saved. They didn't know it, but that's how it happened. But then all of a sudden we started to downplay the importance, the uniqueness of the Catholic Church. And there's one time like the encyclical eclasium suem did for dialogue. What undermined this uniqueness to catholic church was one line from Vatican II probably did more damage than the other. And that was from lumen gentium eight, where it says the one church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church. This is probably the most controversial line in the whole council. And in fact, it was known to be controversial when it was written. It would be controversial when it was written. The author of that, the one who actually wrote that said, more ink will be spilled about this than anything else. And he was right, because the problem is, first of all, why didn't you say the one church of Christ is the Catholic Church? They didn't want to do that, though. Instead they used the word subsist. And the word subsist is enough that the more conservative members of the council, bishops, were like, okay, we'll accept that, because you can interpret that in a way that says the Catholic Church is the church of Christ, but you can also interpret it differently. And that's what happened. So what happened was a number of theologians, mostly Jesuits, they took that and ran with it. And what they started to do is they started to say, like, okay, the one church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church most fully, but it also subsists in some way in the anglican church, in the Lutheran Church, in the Orthodox Church, in whatever the Methodist church. And this just ran rampant. And this became the phrase that was used to have a new type of ecclesiology, a new type of theology, where people were just like, all these churches are part of. We're all part of the one church of Christ. It's kind of like the old branch theory that there's different branches of the one true church. Now, again, the catholic church in her official teachings never said that. Never said, okay, there's this branch theory, or all these churches are also true churches. In fact, often they denied it, but in practice, you see this all the time. There's the famous catechism in the came out Father Richard McBrain, I think it was, it was called Catholicism, something like that. I mean, he just ran with that and made it basically explicitly stated that the catholic church isn't the one true church. And he used the subsistan language. Now the Vatican tried to walk that back a few times and say, it really does mean this. And people were like, okay, good, again, officially. But the damage had been done that the uniqueness, the idea that the catholic church is somehow unique had been lost. Another consequence of this idea of the uniqueness of the catholic church and the idea of these other churches and everything. We see the rise of what was called the anonymous Christian. This was the teaching of a famous jesuit theologian, Carl Ronner. He was one of the most influential theologians at the time. He came with this idea of an anonymous Christian. What he meant by that was there are people around the world who are not explicitly christian. Maybe they're even muslim or something, or buddhist or whatever, but essentially in themselves, they do choose for Christ. And if they had the full opportunity, they would become christians. So they're anonymous christians. And so this idea of, like, needing to be Catholic was completely thrown out the door because we have all these anonymous christians out there. It might be your neighbor, it might be the Hindu down the street, it might be your jewish friend, it might be your atheist friend. They're really anonymous christians because in their heart, they really do choose Christ in some unknown way. Well, this became a super popular belief, and it directly led to the collapse of the missions. Because what's the point of all the suffering and going across the world and giving up everything, maybe even being persecuted and even martyred? If the guy's a Christian already, anonymously, why bother going over there? And so it really led to a real collapse in the mission. So what it did was it took the valid idea of invincible ignorance that Pius IX in the 19th century said, yes, it is possible, and it opened it up. So the whole world just drove through. So now basically everybody, I mean, unless your last name was Hitler or Stalin, you're good to go. There's no need to evangelize. There's no need to worry about your salvation. So that was the second way, toning down the uniqueness of Catholicism. And then the third real shift was the church stopped condemning error. I mean, in 19th century, we literally had popes issuing syllabuses of errors. And the reason for that wasn't because the pope wanted to be some big buzkill on people, what they believed. No, it was, okay, these things are very dangerous if you believe them. And they could lead to your damnation if you believe them. So they would lift heirs and say, these are condemned. Well, the church just stopped doing that. And it was all kind of tied up in the dialogue as well. But it was said, okay, the way we dialogue is we just talk about the ways in which we agree the things we have in common. And so no longer do we say Protestants are wrong about this teaching or Islam's wrong. Let's say Luther is wrong about justification, or Islam's wrong about their conception of God or whatever. We just say, oh, Luther believed in Christ, so do we. The Muslims believe in one God, so do we. And we'll just leave it at that. We won't ever go beyond that. Now, I've been involved in the past. No longer in the ecumenical movement. I actually even wrote a book on ecumenism. I've been at some of these ecumenical meetings. The USCCB sponsors in DC and all that stuff. And let me tell you, the one way you can be assured you'll never be invited back again is if you say in one of these meetings, what's wrong about another religion? Unless you say something's wrong about Catholicism, then you can come back, but you cannot say that about any other religion. And that's what the ecumenical movement has become. It's this idea that all we do is we sit down and we talk about where we agree, what's good about these other religions. There's no real proclamation of. The goal of ecumenism should be unity in the Catholic Church. It's kind of funny, because the goal of evangelization is for everybody to become Catholic. Well, the goal of ecumenism actually should be that everybody become Catholic. Because the idea of ecumenism should be, we're all united in one church. Well, there's only one church we can all be united in, and that's the Catholic Church. But that's not at all what it is. Because what happened was, in the ecumenical movement, there was this kind of watering down over time. Less and less talked about the idea of being in communion with the Catholic Church. And just like being united in this generic way. Now to be have. I am a big supporter of practical ecumenism. What I mean by that is something like the pro life movement. I mean, that's how I became Catholic. Was involved in the pro life movement. Hung out with a bunch of Catholics on the street corners, in front of the abortion clinics, at marches and jail sales, or wherever you hang out with Catholics. Eventually I became Catholic. So I'm not against that. But there's a big difference, because that is a practical inch. Humanism, where we have a united goal, we know, okay, we need to end the evil of abortion. We'll work together. But like on the streets, when the Catholics and Protestants hanging out, we debate about who's right. We actually say, I think you're wrong about this. And they say, we think you're wrong about that. I'm fully supportive of that, because that's actually true ecumenism, where we're working together toward a common goal. But the ecumenical movement as it exists today, and this is true of the interreligious dialogue movement as well. Simply has no purpose other than has some very nice fancy wine and cheese dinners in DC, because that's essentially all it really does. So we see that through this emphasis shift, what's happened is that Catholics no longer believe that the church is the means of salvation. And we see that what's happened is the idea of the baptism of desire has been opened up so that we all assume that basically everybody has this desire as long as they're a decently good person. I think all of us have probably heard it say, well, yeah, they don't go to catholic church. My daughter doesn't go catholic church. She goes to the local megachurch, but she's a good person, so she's okay. But that's not what the church teaches. Because here's the key point that I want to make, is that we have focused too much on what God's obligations are, what his responsibilities are. We're like, oh, well, he would never damn somebody who was a good person. He would never damn somebody, never heard Jesus, whatever. But the fact is we've ignored our own responsibilities and obligations. What God does and doesn't do is not our affair. We don't tell him what to do and he can do whatever he wants to do. But we do know. He's told us what we need to do and he's told us the way in which we are to be saved. He has said, if you are baptized Catholic, if you practice the faith, you stay in the church till death, you will be saved. That's the one way we know, guaranteed. And we're obligated for ourselves to follow it. And we're also obligated to tell others to follow it. Now whether or not somebody who doesn't follow that, whether or not God decides in his divine wisdom and mercy and justice to save that person, we can hope for that. We can say, okay, but that's God's responsibility. We don't change what he does or doesn't do. What we have a responsible for is our own business. And so we see this aftermath of this undermining of the teaching where theologically most Catholics are effectively heretics because they believe that other religions can lead people to heaven. Now there are some more careful thinkers that will say that's not really true, but then they ultimately undermine, really the teaching in practice. And I'm going to kind of come across, I'm picking on somebody. I'm not really picking on them. Bishop Barron, who's pretty well known and I use him an example in my book, and I'm using an example here because he is the face of evangelization for the catholic bishops. So he is the representative of evangelization. So if he's the public face, that's the one we're supposed to look towards for evangelization. But he often undermines it himself. In fact, I know he believes what the church teaches. I don't think he's a heretic. But what I am saying though is he undermines it because he has such a liberal view of the baptism desire. A perfect example of this is a couple years ago, I can't remember exactly when he was on Ben Shapiro's show. Now Ben Shapiro is a well known conservative commentator and he's a practicing jew. And he asked Bishop Barron, he said, do you think I need to become Catholic? Essentially now, historically, if a catholic bishop is asked, do you think I need to become Catholic? There's only one answer that can be the, and in fact, that's kind of the assumption. And I assume, I'm willing to bet that's what Ben Shapiro assumed would be answered. You ask a catholic bishop, should I become Catholic? The only answer is yes. That's not the answer he gave, though. What Bishop Barron did was he did this whole explanation about the aboriginal Christ is the conscience. And the council said this and St. John Henry Newman said this and there's these different ways and all this stuff. And he talked about like, jesus is the privileged way and all this. In the end though, Ben Shapiro could go away from that and think, oh good, catholic church doesn't even think I need to become Catholic, so I'll just stay. He would. You can't blame Ben Shapiro for thinking that because that is kind of the message he was given. Even though, like I said, I think Bishop Barron believes that the Catholic Church is the way of salvation. He undermined it so much and I use him as an example. You know why? Because he's the best one. He's actually the best. Most bishops wouldn't even give as good an answer as he did. And frankly, a lot of priests and the vast majority of lay Catholics wouldn't give a better answer. But practically though, that's what's happened, is now basically we can't even answer a simple yes no question with yes, should I become Catholic? The answer is always yes. And there's no other answer given. Now how you answer that, of course, depends on the situation. I'm not saying he should have said right there, yes. And if you don't become Catholic right now you're going to hell. I'm not saying that he could answer yes and then explain why. Explain how Catholicism is the fulfillment of Judaism and all these different, you know, he didn't do that, and most Catholics don't do that. Again, it's not picking on him in particular. I'm using him as the best representative. So we see the practical consequences of this where we have today, Bishop Barron, who's a good one, doing this. And of course, there's many examples of even worse. And we see this. I mean, there's just so many examples at the highest level of the Church of Catholic leaders who do not really talk about the necessity of becoming Catholic. Now the question is, I want to end with this part, which is, I know, first of all, that in a lot of ways, this talk has probably been depressing because we talk about all the people leaving the church. We talk about how so many church leaders have not done their jobs. And frankly, when I say church leaders, I also mean, like priests and bishops, but also even laypeople. None of us have done our jobs. And so I want to talk here about what do we do about it? What is the answer? How do we move forward from here? I actually don't think, in one sense, I don't look at this as a depressing thing or a reason to get down or anything to discourage, because I look at it honestly as a gift that God has given us. He's given us an opportunity. We have what is called a target rich environment. We have lots and lots of people that we can help become Catholic. If you lived in, like, for example, that catholic ghetto in the 1940s, you might not have known anybody who's not practicing Catholic. So you had no opportunity to really evangelize. You had no opportunity to bring somebody to Jesus Christ to give them the greatest gift that they could be given, because everybody around you had it. But now we have the gift that lots of people don't have it. Loved ones. I mean, I'm sure there's probably people here whose spouses are not Catholic, kids are not Catholic, parents are not Catholic, friends are not Catholic, whatever cousins, whatever the case may be. But we now have this opportunity that we can share with them the truth about the Catholic Church, to give them this great gift. And to do that, I think the first thing we need to do is we need to kind of internally embrace that teaching outside the church. There's no salvation. And how do we do that? It doesn't mean we're on the street corner and we're like, you're going to hell. You're going to hell. Oh, you're catholic. You're good. You're going to hell. You're going to hell. That's not what it means. What it means, though, is, again, we take the focus off of what are God's responsibilities, and we look at what are our responsibilities, and we make a presumption that if somebody is not a practicing Catholic, that their salvation is in jeopardy and that God has put us in their lives to help lead them to the Catholic Church, not just to mope about it or to condemn them or something like that, but instead to be like, well, okay, this is somebody God has put in my life who I need to make sure I let them know about the catholic faith. I let them urge them to become Catholic. That's the thing that's lost in evangelization, is this idea today, at least, even the people who do evangelize, they often realize you have to urge people to become Catholic. The person who brought me into the catholic church was, frankly, an obnoxious jerk about it. I'm so glad, because now I'm Catholic. I'm not saying you should be obnoxious, church, but frankly, it worked in my case, so it might work in others. The point is that he urged me. He made it very clear I need to become Catholic. He believed outside the church there was no salvation. And because of that, I'm catholic today. So I think we have that opportunity to do that. And so I think we should be skeptical of these official ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, all that stuff. And we should make sure that people know that we believe that it's important to be Catholic. It's not just something like, okay, I'm Catholic, you're not Catholic. It doesn't matter. No, it matters a great deal. Now. I believe that right now the church is undergoing her passion. I really do believe that because we see how much we've decreased in the world, how much we're ridiculed. Just like our Lord on the cross, he looked like a complete failure to everybody, except for, of course, our blessed mother and a few others. But to the world, he looked like a failure. He was ridiculed, and he was a joke. And if we're being honest with ourselves, that's what the Catholic Church looks like to a lot of people. If you go online, certain areas, the catholic church is just. It's a laughingstock. And so I really do believe we're undergoing our passion, and a lot of it, unfortunately, unlike our Lord, is self inflicted. I realize that. But the fact is we're undergoing our passion. However, the great part of the story is we know that's not where it ended. It did not end on Good Friday. It did not end on the cross. It did not end on the passion. It ended with the resurrection. And I truly believe that if we embrace this teaching of outside the church, there is no salvation and we really practice it, that we can't have our own resurrection. Like Cardinal Ratzinger, Father Ratzinger, Pope Benedict, before long before 1971, he made the prediction kind of famous now that he believed the church would decrease in size greatly. And obviously he nailed it, unfortunately. But the idea wasn't that's the end of the story. And I do think that's happening and I think it'll continue to happen. Like, I personally think the rapid decline will continue. Like in 2030, for example. I think we're going to be much smaller, at least in America and other places like in the west than we are today. But I think from that we develop our mustard seed. We have our mustard seed that then goes out and really can reconvert the world in a lot of ways. We're given the privilege that the first christians got. They were put into the first century, the roman empire, and they're surrounded by pagans, they're surrounded by all the enemies of the Church of Christ. And they had this great opportunity. They can now build the church up and they do. And they conquered the whole roman empire. They basically conquered the world. And I think that's what God is giving to us. He's saying, okay, you guys were born in this time. You're not going to live in a catholic ghetto. You're not going to live surrounded in the 13th century, surrounded by all catholic culture and all this stuff. You're going to be in a time where I'm giving you lots of opportunities to be faithful to me and to share the gospel with others. So I really feel like in a way is a gift. And I think the church declines often and then it rises. And I know we're in our decline now, but I think if we embrace this teaching of outside the churches of salvation, the church will rise again and we will again conquer the world at some point. Thank you very much. God love.

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