Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Heresy of Pluralism [& Indifferentism]

By Richard Salbato

[Note: This is a short version of the article.]

In the documents of Vatican II under the Decree on Ecumenism we read, “Every effort to avoid expressions, judgments and actions which do not represent the condition of our separated brethren with truth and fairness and so make mutual relations with them more difficult. (should be avoided).  … The results will be that, little by little, the obstacles to ecclesiastical communion are overcome, all Christians will be gathered, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, into the unity of the one and ONLY Church, which Christ bestowed on His Church from the beginning.  This unity, be believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time.”


It is the very change in language that has caused the ultra-Traditionalist to reject Vatican II, and the ultra-liberal to fall into indifferentism, or pluralism. Changing the language from heretic to separated brethren and from the rejection of essential truths to holding to some truths angered Traditionalists and confused liberals.  Nothing changed except the language and this only to enter into a dialogue that could bring those who left back to the faith.  I use the same method when evangelizing.  I do not walk up and say you are a heretic and going to hell.  I say you and I hold to some truths that are the same, and some that are different.  The truth is that no doctrine has ever changed and doctrine cannot change, as is stated by Pope Benedict XV.

Pope Benedict XV, Codex Iuris Canonici” (1917) The year of Fatima:
“Our Lord Jesus Christ entrusted the deposit of faith to the Church, that under the constant guidance and assistance of the Holy Spirit, she might sacredly guard and faithfully explain this divine revelation. (c. 1322).
“The Church guards and explains this deposit of faith. She does not add to it, for it was completed and closed with the death of the last Apostle, Saint John. To guard means to keep and defend; in doing this the Church must sometimes declare truths which are not contained in revelation but which are necessary to keep revealed truth. To explain means to make clear what is obscure. The so-called developments of doctrine through dogmatic definitions may be compared to the sharpening of the focus on a film which is projected on a screen. The details which become discernible with clear focus are not new; they were all in the original picture, but they are now brought out more clearly.
“All those truths must be believed fide divina et catholica, which are contained in the written word of God or in tradition and which the Church proposes for acceptance as revealed by God, either by solemn definition or through her ordinary and universal teaching. To pronounce a solemn definition is the part of an Ecumenical Council or of the Roman Pontiff speaking ex cathedra. No doctrine is to be considered as dogmatically defined unless this is evidently proved (c. 1323).
“It is not enough to avoid heresy, but one must also carefully shun all errors which more or less approach it; hence all must observe the constitutions and decrees by which the Holy See has proscribed and forbidden opinions of that sort (c. 1324).
“One who after baptism, while remaining nominally a Christian, pertinaciously (that is, with conscious and intentional resistance to the authority of God and the Church) denies or doubts any one of the truths which must be believed de fide divina et catholica, is a heretic; if he falls away entirely from the Christian faith, he is an apostate; finally if he rejects the authority of the Supreme Pontiff or refuses communion with the members of the Church who are subject to him, he is a schismatic (c. 1325, §2).”

Since, as I believe and the Church teaches, Vatican II could not change any doctrine of the Church, we must look at these old doctrines of the faith that we must believe in the light of Ecumenical language used to draw people into the church in a loving way but which do not take away from the deposit of faith that we must believe.

Pluralism is a Masonic and Charismatic belief that states all religions are the same in the eyes of God. Catholic Doctrine states that  “except for invincible ignorance, there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church.” Anyone who says that any other religion is not  “against the word of God”  is a heretic.

Fourth Lateran Council 1215 AD (ex cathedra):  “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one can be saved.

Unam Sanctam 1302 (ex cathedra):  “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

Cantate Domino 1441 (ex cathedra):  “The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes, and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. Unless before death they are joined with her; and that so important is THE UNITY OF THIS ECCLESIASTICAL BODY that only those remaining within this UNITY can profit by the sacraments of the church unto salvation ... NO ONE, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, NO ONE, even if he pour out his blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the UNITY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

The same has been expressed in Vatican II, and can be found in 1 Tim. 2:4, Acts 4:12, Gal. 1:8, Tit. 3:10, 2 John 10, St. Ireneaus, St. Cyprian, St. Jerome, St. Augustine, St. Fulgentius and St. John of the Cross.  Nonetheless, Vatican II does express that non-Catholics (Protestants, Orthodox, Jews and Moslems) do have some truths and do have some good signs of charity.  But Vatican II does not say that for that reason they will be saved or are roads to salvation.  No where does Vatican II express salvation outside the Church except as she has always taught, through baptism of desire or blood.  Consider what Pope Pius XI says about the outward signs of holiness and faith.

Pope Pius XI (1922-1939), On The Promotion of True Religious Unity (Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928):
“When the question of promoting unity among Christians is under consideration many are easily deceived by the semblance of good. ... Yet beneath the coaxing words there is concealed an error so great that it would destroy utterly the foundations of the Catholic Faith.
“They, therefore, who profess themselves Christians cannot, we think, but believe in Christ's establishment of one Church and only one. Yet when one asks what that Church by the will of its Founder ought to be, then not all agree. Indeed a great many deny, for example, that Christ's Church ought to be visible - at least in the sense that it should stand forth as one body of faithful united in one identical doctrine and under one authority and rule. On the contrary, by a visible Church they understand nothing but a society formed by various Christian communities, even though these adhere to different and even mutually contradictory doctrines. 
“And here there is presented the opportunity to set forth and remove a falsity upon which, it seems, this whole question hinges, and from which is drawn the multiple effort of the non-Christians who strive, as We have said, for the confederation of the Christian churches.” 
“The authors of this plan are in the habit of quoting the words of Christ: That ye all may be one. ... There shall be one fold and one shepherd, (John 17, 21; 10, 16), yet in the sense that these words express a desire and a prayer of Jesus Christ which thus far has lacked all effect. They contend that the unity of faith and governance which is the sign of the true and one Church of Christ, has almost never existed up to this time, and does not exist today; that it can be wished for and perhaps sometime be obtained through common submission of the will, but meanwhile it must be considered a fiction. 
“They say, moreover, that the Church by its very nature is divided into parts; that it consists of many churches or particular communities which are separated among themselves and, although they have certain points of doctrine in common, differ in others; and that at most the Church was the one Church and only Church between the Apostolic Era and the first Ecumenical Councils.” 
“Therefore, they say, the controversies and old differences of opinion, which to this day divide the Christian name, should be put aside, and with the remaining doctrines there should be formulated and proposed a common rule of faith, in the profession of which all can know and feel themselves brothers. United by some sort of universal covenant, the multitude of churches or communities will then be in a position to oppose fruitfully and effectively the progress of unbelief. This, Venerable Brethren, is the more general opinion. 
“There are, however, some among them who assume and grant that Protestantism, as they call it, has rejected very inadvisedly certain articles of faith and certain rites of external worship that are fully acceptable and useful, which the Roman Church still preserves. But they add immediately that the Church has corrupted the early religion by adding to it and proposing for belief certain doctrines that are not only foreign to, but are opposed to, the Gospel - among which they bring forth chiefly that of the primacy of jurisdiction assigned to Peter and his successors of the Roman See.” 

What the Holy Father was referencing above is movements in the world at the time (mostly by Masons) to create a worldwide organization that would unite all Christian religions into one church void of absolute doctrine.  This became the World Council of Churches.  I have no problem with these being Cultural Pluralism, or freedom of religion, but not Doctrinal Pluralism.

Doctrinal Pluralism's difficulty (and contradiction of Catholic teaching) comes when it insists on the uniform equality of all religions, in common with cultures and ethnicities. This claim necessarily conflicts with the Church's claim to unique truth, that she and she alone possesses and passes on the whole truth given to man by his Creator.

This statement of pluralism's tenets clearly reveals its roots in another position which has been condemned by the Church. Indifferentism, the idea that all religions are equally capable of saving man (in other words, that God is indifferent to the way in which He is worshipped and, indeed, to whether or not the truth about Him is believed), bears a striking similarity to pluralist doctrine.

Pluralism also shares with indifferentism the tendency to destroy all real religion within their spheres. As the popes have declared, indifferentism results in the abandonment of all substantive religion4; after all, if the particular religion by which one worships God is irrelevant, then will not God be just as well pleased by an individual worship which is minimal to the point of non-existence?

Indifferentism thereby leads its followers into a religion which requires neither morals nor worship, a religion devoid of any substantive content. Pluralism extends this tendency of indifferentism into the public sphere. The state, immediately or gradually, reaches the point where the only religious tenets it supports or even acknowledges are completely banal, or at least deprived of all significant content.5

Thus, pluralism falls under the same condemnations as indifferentism,6 in addition to the many which have been levied against it in its own right.7 The Church has always reacted very strongly to these theories, which presume to sever the state from its true philosophical, and therefore necessarily religious, underpinnings. That is because indifferentism and pluralism necessarily involve yet another heresy, a sort of liberal quietism, by which faith is a personal and private matter which must never enter into one's public dealings.

Faith, however, must be lived out in action, as Our Lord Himself9 and St. James10 have told us. This means that faith must be lived out both by individual Catholics, by Catholic families, and by the state.11

Catholics must shun pluralism just as they would any other heresy as harmful to the soul and contrary to the social teachings of the Church.2

The extreme, to which modernity regularly takes this otherwise reasonable proposition, is insisting that all cultures are necessarily of entirely equal value, regardless of the objective evils which that culture encourages or even requires. Catholic teaching, on the other hand, would argue that some cultures must necessarily be purified of these fundamentally immoral elements. Excellent examples are ancient Carthaginian society, which regularly performed mass infant sacrifices; Canaanite society, which performed human sacrifices to Baal; and Aztec society, which sacrificed enormous numbers of people to their dark gods. Generally, however, conversion to the one true religion will rectify these faults, as is demonstrated by Spanish Mexico having become one of the most Catholic countries on God's earth.

This tendency of even Catholics accepting Pluralism has led Catholic theologians to accept the premise that the conscience is the ultimate arbitrator of good and evil, and that is why Pope John Paul II wrote “The Splendor of Truth,” to dispel this heresy.  This is also why 80% of Catholics practice illegal birth control, and many have abortions. 

4 See, e.g., Pius XI, Mortalium Animos no. 2 (arguing that those who fall into indifferentism  “in distorting the the idea of true religion . . . reject it, and little by little, turn aside to naturalism and atheism”).
6 See, e.g., Pius XI, Mortalium Animos no. 2 (declaring that the idea  “which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy . . . and by which we are led to God” is a “false opinion”) and no. 9 (referring to indifferentists as “unhappily infected with these errors”). See also Pius IX, The Syllabus of Errors nos. 16-17, 79.



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.

18. Protestantism is nothing more than another form of the same true Christian religion, in which form it is given to please God equally as in the Catholic Church. -- Encyclical "Noscitis," Dec. 8, 1849.

21. The Church has not the power of defining dogmatically that the religion of the Catholic Church is the only true religion. -- Damnatio "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851.

55. The Church ought to be separated from the State, and the State from the Church. -- Allocution "Acerbissimum," Sept. 27, 1852.

77. In the present day it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the State, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship. -- Allocution "Nemovestrum," July 26, 1855.

Venerable Brothers, it is surprising that in our time such a great war is being waged against the Catholic Church. But anyone who knows the nature, desires and intentions of the sects, whether they be called Masonic or bear another name, and compares them with the nature the systems and the vastness of the obstacles by which the Church has been assailed almost everywhere, cannot doubt that the present misfortune must mainly be imputed to the frauds and machinations of these sects.

It is from them that the synagogue of Satan, which gathers its troops against the Church of Christ, takes its strength. In the past, Our predecessors, vigilant even from the beginning in Israel, had already denounced them to the kings and the nations, and had condemned them time and time again, and even We have not failed in this duty. If those who would have been able to avert such a deadly scourge had only had more faith in the supreme Pastors of the Church! But this scourge, winding through sinuous caverns . . . deceiving many with astute frauds, finally has arrived at the point where it comes forth impetuously from its hiding places and triumphs as a powerful master. Since the throng of its propagandists has grown enormously, these wicked groups think that they have already become masters of the world and that they have almost reached their pre-established goal. Having sometimes obtained what they desired, and that is power, in several countries, they boldly turn the help of powers and authorities which they have secured to trying to submit the Church of God to the most cruel servitude, to undermine the foundations on which it rests, to contaminate its splendid qualities; and, moreover, to strike it with frequent blows, to shake it, to overthrow it, and, if possible, to make it disappear completely from the earth.

Things being thus, Venerable Brothers, make every effort to defend the faithful which are entrusted to you against the insidious contagion of these sects and to save from perdition those who unfortunately have inscribed themselves in such sects. Make known and attack those who, whether suffering from, or planning, deception, are not afraid to affirm that these shady congregations aim only at the profit of society, at progress and mutual benefit. Explain to them often and impress deeply on their souls the Papal constitutions on this subject and teach them that the Masonic associations are anathematized by them not only in Europe but also in America and wherever they may be in the whole world.

Our Lord did not put the mighty of this century in charge, but Saint Peter, whom he entrusted not only with feeding his sheep, but also the goats; therefore no power in the world, however great it may be, can deprive of the pastoral office those whom the Holy Ghost has made Bishops in order to feed the Church of God.