Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mr. Jerry Benitz has forgotten this truth

Mr. Jerry Benitz, an individual who leaves many comments at the Bryan Hehir Exposed Blog, and who has been critical of Pope Benedict XVI at that very same forum, has suggested that Professor Fakhri Maluf was some sort of dry martyr who was persecuted by the Church for defending the dogma "Outside the Church there is no salvation."  He writes, "Br. Francis was one of the four Boston College professors who brought the charge of heresy against the school for teaching salvation outside the Church, the famous 'Boston Heresy Case.'  Brother (Prof. Maluf) suffered for his courage." (See here).

This is, of course, sheer nonsense.  Professor Maluf ran into trouble with Boston College and with the Church for insisting that the Church's interpretation of "Outside the Church there is no salvation" - Extra ecclesiam nulla salus - is incorrect and that Father Leonard Feeney's interpretation of this dogma is the correct one.

In a letter of the Holy Office to Archbishop Cushing of Boston dated August 8, 1949, the Holy Office explained that the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation because of the command of Christ and also because the Church is a necessary means for salvation. However, it was explained that since the Church is such a means only by divine institution and not by intrinsic necessity, that formal membership in the Church is not required of all men under all circumstances: "The infallible dictum which teaches us that outside the Church there is no salvation, is among the truths that the Church has always taught and will always teach. But this dogma is to be understood as the Church itself understands it. For Our Savior did not leave it to private judgment to explain what is contained in the deposit of faith, but to the doctrinal authority of the Church....Of those helps to salvation that are ordered to the last end only by divine decree, not by intrinsic necessity, God, in his infinite mercy, willed that such effects of those helps as are necessary to salvation can, in certain circumstances, be obtained when the helps are used only in desire or longing. We see this clearly stated in the Council of Trent about the sacrament of regeneration and about the sacrament of penance."

This is the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which tells us that: "God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments." (CCC, 1257).

Mr. Benitz has forgotten this truth: "..the task of authentically interpreting the Word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ." (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum) No. 10.

More on Professor Maluf's legacy here.

More on the Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire and Holocaust denial here.


Jerry said...


I trusted you with private information, and you have violated that trust. Now remove my last name, or you have sinned.

Alzina said...

I saw where this unhappy person was promoting Fr. Nicholas Gruner and Catholic Family News. This link explains why that is so disturbing:

How can Mr. Benitz castigate Fr. Bryan Hehir for his dissent when he engages in dissent from the Church's teaching himself?

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

Jerry, you have attacked my character at another Blog. You have left comments at this Blog critical of the Holy Father and of some of my posts. You provided me with your full name, your email address and your location. While I have no intention of releasing your location and email, I have every right to release your name.

You have set yourself in opposition to the Church's teaching. You have been publically critical of His Holiness and you have been publically critical of me (not to mention scores of others in the Church). Do you not stand by your comments? If so, why the need for anonymity?

At any rate, you do not dictate what I publish at this Blog. In the future, your comments will simply be deleted.

Stewart said...

Astute readers will, of course, realize that you have not committed a sin Paul. This because you never made Jerry a promise to withhold his full name. If anyone is guilty of sin, it is Jerry. He is critical of the Church and her teaching and freely attacks the reputation of others without divulging his name.

That smacks of cowardice and is truly vile.

Andrew said...

In one comment at BHE, Jerry asserts that, "..Gaudium et Spes has to be discarded."


Gaudium et Spes, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, is one of the sixteen documents of Vatican II. We are bound to accept what the Pastors of the Church teach in an ecumenical council.

How can the Archdiocese of Boston be expected to take its critics seriously if they engage in such dissent themselves?

Ellen Wironken said...

Since Jerry rejects the Church's document Gaudium et Spes, he also rejects the authority of the Holy Roman Pontiff.

The Catechism explains:

"The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council. But 'there never is an ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such by Peter's successor.' (884).

Then the Catechism teaches in 888: "Bishops, with priests as co-workers, have as their first task 'to preach the Gospel of God to all men,' in keeping with the Lord's command. They are 'heralds of faith, who draw new disciples to Christ; they are authentic teachers' of the apostolic faith 'endowed with the authority of Christ.'

889: "In order to preserve the Church in the purity of the faith handed on by the apostles, Christ who is the Truth willed to confer on her a share in his own infallibility. By a 'supernatural sense of faith' the People of God, under the guidance of the Church's living Magisterium, 'unfailingly adheres to this faith.'

890: "The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium's task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church's shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. The exercise of this charism takes several forms:

891: "The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals.... The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium," above all in an Ecumenical Council. When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine 'for belief as being divinely revealed,' and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions "must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.' This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself."

Paul Anthony Melanson said...

I posted this here years ago at La Salette Journey, but post it here because it is most relevant:

Ralph McInerny [professor at the University of Notre Dame] explains in his book "What went wrong with Vatican II: The Catholic crisis explained" that:

"Contemporary accounts of Vatican II portrayed it as a battle between two forces, conservative and liberal, the hidebound and progressive. As a result, the documents of the council came to to be looked upon as the triumph of one side over the other. The good guys who had won were the progressives. That such a political division existed among members of the press who covered the council is undeniable. That a similar division could be found among the theological experts [periti] who advised individual bishops or national conferences of bishops is also true. And there doubtless were prelates who regarded the members of the Vatican Curia as obstacles to the renewal that John XXIII had called for. Does this mean that the council was a victory for one side and a defeat for the other? This question indicates the limitations of such a factional interpretation. The Church is not merely a human organization. She is a divinely instituted mystery whose life is guided by the Holy Spirit. Whatever wrangling went on outside St. Peter's, however much a partisan spirit might have been carried within, when the various schemata were argued over and revised, once they received a majority of the votes of the Fathers of the council and were promulgated by Paul VI, they could no longer be looked upon as the product or property of some party within the Church. Now they were regulative of the faith of all Catholics. No Catholic could presume to reject the council and think that he remained a loyal member of the Church." (pp. 150-151).

It is my belief that there are many who profess to be Catholic but who do not accept this truth. But it is nevertheless the truth.

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