Implicit submission, another absurdity.

As the ex cathedra pronouncement by Pope Boniface VIII states, "it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff."  As with implicit faith, the modernistic response to this infallible declaration is to say that non-Catholics can have implicit submission to the Pope. As my posts on implicit faith demonstrate, such an idea is manifestly absurd.  It is like saying that I can be explicitly "married" to my beloved wife yet at the same time I am not really married to her but am married, albeit "implicitly," to an unknown woman whom I have never met but will meet in Eternity and with whom I have "unconscious desires & bonds of charity" linking me to her.  In other words, my marriage to my wife is an illusion even though I love her deeply, have sex with her on a regular basis, and she has given birth to five of our children, all of whom are doing fine.

Consider another example, a brave Union soldier from the American Civil War. Many of these fine men fought and died to keep the United States of America as one nation.  The death toll from that War was enormous, and while I am personally convinced that North & South would have united, eventually, even without the loss of 620,000 lives, the men who fought on both sides were brave and courageous men.  To suggest, however, that a brave soldier could be fighting for either the North or the South, bravely risking his life while taking the lives of his enemy, obeying his commanding officers, going into battle on a day-by-day basis, consciously and obediently saying his pledges and prayers on a daily basis, yet on an unconscious level, in a way that is completely unknown to him, he is actually living in implicit submission to the other side (i.e. our Union soldier is really a Confederate one, but he just does not know that fact) even though he is killing their soldiers.  This idea is an abject absurdity of the highest kind.  No one, and I repeat, no one, can be an unconscious traitor.  Not even Sigmund Freud would go that far!

It's like saying that a soldier could be loyal to the US President, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, yet at the same time be disobedient to his commanding officer even when the President has told him that he must obey that individual. Do you think that such a soldier should and ought to be court-martialed for his insurrection?  When could such a soldier ever lawfully be disobedient to his commanding officer? The answer is, of course, when the latter is being disobedient to the US Constitution, which is the highest law of the Land. Believe it or not, the Salvation Army understands these concepts very well!

To say that one could be implicitly submitting to the Pope, who is the Vicar of Christ, while at the same time opposing and denying Catholic dogmas is an insult, not only to Catholics but to non-Catholics, also.  To say that one could submit to Christ, who is the Supreme Head of His Mystical Body, the Church, while disobeying His divine command of "He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me," (Luke 10:16) is to claim that treason and/or insurrection against political and/or military authority is an impossibility.  Now, of course, Protestants and most Orthodox do not believe in the Primacy of the Pope, but such does nothing to change the fact that they are wrong.  In the end, maybe Christ, the Supreme Judge, perhaps will excuse them, maybe not, perhaps giving them the opportunity at "death's door" to recant, abjure, and renounce their errors and/or heresies.  As for me, I think that Christ's Words are crystal clear on this question.

If you acknowledge the Pope as the earthly head of the universal Church and Jesus Christ as its Supreme Head, then it is absurd to say that one could obey the latter while being unlawfully disobedient to the former.  One might as well say that our lives are nothing but an illusion and that reality is, in actuality, a computer simulation on some "mad scientist" alien's desk.  More about that "possibility" in a future post.

What about the Orthodox?

If someone of the Orthodox Church denies the Primacy of the Pope, Vicar of God, or any other Catholic dogma, then that individual has fallen from grace and is in a state of mortal sin.

To try and use the Argument from Geography that an individual who was baptized and raised as Orthodox cannot be guilty of schism is to say that someone who is raised in Russia cannot be guilty of espionage.  This logic is absurd, and constitutes a denial of human free will and/or alleges the "insufficiency" of the One and Triune God's Revelation to His Creation. It is tantamount to saying that our hypothetical person born in Russia (an all-too real situation, by the way), who is loyal to his/her county to the point of growing-up and joining the GRU (Russian foreign military intelligence directorate), ought not to be charged with espionage if that person spies on the US, for such a person must be "invincibly ignorant" and/or "morally inculpable" of US federal laws against espionage, since they were, after all, raised in Russia!

As Saint Thomas taught,
If the defect in the apprehensive power were nowise subject to the will, there would be no sin, either in the will, or in the apprehensive power, as in the case of those whose ignorance is invincible. It remains therefore that when there is in the apprehensive power a defect that is subject to the will, this defect also is deemed a sin. (Summa Theologica, Ia IIae, q.74, a.1)
If I told you to go and find a novel and exact solution to Einstein's Field Equations of General Relativity (a set of 10 non-elliptic partial differential equations), you almost certainly would not be able to do that (I couldn't either), and such would not be your (or my) fault! If I told you that it was "absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff," then you would know that and would be without excuse. If a person is capable of unbelief, then he/she must also be capable of belief, and to claim otherwise is to deny human free will.

The fact that post-Vatican II Popes do not emphasize submission to the Roman Pontiff as being a necessary but not necessarily sufficient condition of eternal life does nothing to change this immutable truth.  The fact that these recent Popes sometimes assert "tongue-in-check" that 2+2 = 5 does nothing to change the obvious.

You can't have your (theological) cake and eat it, too! Either the Orthodox (and, for that matter, everyone else) do not have free will and/or the One and Triune God's Revelation to His Creation is too lacking and/or defective to "convince" the Orthodox (and others) of their heresies and errors.

I agree that a native Russian who spies against the US deserves less punishment than does a native American for the same crime, but the former group still gets arrested, spends time wearing handcuffs, and if convicted (which is almost always the case) is still sent to jail and prison. After all, there are levels in Hell, aren't there? So, God believes in proportionate punishment also.

If you believe and profess what Pope Boniface declared in Unam Sanctam, then the Orthodox are without excuse, and we who work with the Saint Benedict Centers will continue to make that fact known to them, if only on an "implicit" basis, and especially out of charity for the salvation of their (and our) immortal souls.

What about Pius IX?

Some were surprised by the election of Pope Pius IX to the Pontificate, who allegedly had some liberal tendencies, Catholic liberalism, of course, having spawned into Catholic (sic) intellectual circles out of the Enlightenment.  Here is what Pope Pius IX said:
And here, beloved Sons and Venerable Brethren, it is necessary once more to mention and censure the serious error into which some Catholics have unfortunately fallen. For they are of the opinion that men who live in errors, estranged from the true faith and from Catholic unity, can attain eternal life. This is in direct opposition to Catholic teaching. We all know that those who are afflicted with invincible ignorance with regard to our holy religion, if they carefully keep the precepts of the natural law that have been written by God in the hearts of all men, if they are prepared to obey God, and if they lead a virtuous and dutiful life, can attain eternal life by the power of divine light and grace. For God, Who reads comprehensively in every detail the minds and souls, the thoughts and habits of all men, will not permit, in accordance with his infinite goodness and mercy, anyone who is not guilty of a voluntary fault to suffer eternal torments (suppliciis). However, also well-known is the Catholic dogma that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church, and that those who obstinately oppose the authority and definitions of the Church, and who stubbornly remain separated from the unity of the Church and from the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff (to whom the Saviour has entrusted the care of His vineyard), cannot attain salvation. (Quanto conficiamur, 7-8)
The Church clearly declares that the only hope of salvation for mankind is placed in the Christian faith, which teaches the truth, scatters the darkness of ignorance by the splendor of its light, and works through love. This hope of salvation is placed in the Catholic Church which, in preserving the true worship, is the solid home of this faith and the temple of God. Outside of the Church, nobody can hope for life or salvation unless he is excused through ignorance beyond his control. The Church teaches and proclaims that if sometimes we can use human wisdom to study the divine word, our wisdom should not for that reason proudly usurp to itself the right of master. (Singulari quadam, 7)
If we take the Holy Pontiff at his word (depending on which translation you are reading!), then no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church (and those individuals who are outside the Church cannot hope for salvation unless they are "excused through ignorance beyond their control" which they are afflicted with, or "struggling with" or "labor in", as some translations render the passage), which would, of course, include the "invincibly ignorant," which means that the "beyond their control"-group mentioned in Singulari quadam must still become Catholic to be saved.  So, we can conclude that the One and Triune God will give the "beyond their control"-group divine light and grace so that these individuals can become Catholic!  Pope Pius IX was not talking about those who are "invincibly ignorant" but about those who are "struggling with invincible ignorance," as the Holy Spirit, by His divine light and grace, is trying to lead those individuals into the One True Church, which is the Catholic Church, hence, "the struggle."

We know this to be so because the One and Triune God is a Perfect Being; as such, He cannot lie, ever, which means that He will never, by His divine light and grace, lead someone who is genuinely seeking Him into a false religion.  Such can never happen; to claim otherwise is to deny the Perfection of God; it is to claim that God is a liar, that He would lead someone who is seeking Him to embrace false beliefs.  The First Vatican Council would, later on, teach this fact explicitly:
To this witness is added the effective help of power from on high. For, the kind Lord stirs up those who go astray and helps them by his grace so that they may come to the knowledge of the truth; and also confirms by his grace those whom he has translated into his admirable light, so that they may persevere in this light, not abandoning them unless he is first abandoned.
Still, the Pope's words were at least somewhat ambiguous.  Pius IX's Syllabus of Errors would, of course, come after the above two paragraphs.  Coming over a century later, the Catechism of the Catholic Church nowhere even footnotes the Syllabus.  I will leave it to the reader to check what the CCC does reference from Pope Pius IX.

In my opinion, Pope Pius IX "dropped the (theological) ball" without teaching anything heretical, but Catholic modernism is, of course, all about choosing which Popes to ignore.

Pope Pius IX's predecessor -- Pope Gregory XVI

"You know how zealously Our predecessors taught that article of faith which these dare to deny, namely the necessity of the Catholic faith and of unity for salvation… Omitting other appropriate passages which are almost numberless in the writings of the Fathers, We shall praise St. Gregory the Great who expressly testifies that THIS IS INDEED THE TEACHING OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.  He says:  'The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in her and asserts that all who are outside of her will not be saved.' Official acts of the Church proclaim the same dogma.  Thus, in the decree on faith which Innocent III published with the synod of Lateran IV, these things are written: 'There is one universal Church of all the faithful outside of which no one is saved.' Finally the same dogma is also expressly mentioned in the profession of faith proposed by the Apostolic See, not only that which all Latin churches use, but also that which… other Eastern Catholics use.  We did not mention these selected testimonies because We thought you were ignorant of that article of faith and in need of Our instruction.  Far be it from Us to have such an absurd and insulting suspicion about you.  But We are so concerned about this serious and well known dogma, which has been attacked with such remarkable audacity, that We could not restrain Our pen from reinforcing this truth with many testimonies." (Summo Iugiter Studio, May 27, 1832)

The First Vatican Council -- a forgotten clarification.

Dear Reader, take note of the fact that  Singulari quadam was promulgated by Pope Pius IX on December 9, 1854 and Quanto conficiamur was promulgated on August 10, 1863The First Vatican Council opened on 8 December 1869 and adjourned on October 20, 1870 and declared the following:
First Vatican Council -- Chapter 3 On faith

7. And so faith in itself, even though it may not work through charity, is a gift of God, and its operation is a work belonging to the order of salvation, in that a person yields true obedience to God himself when he accepts and collaborates with his grace which he could have rejected.

9. Since, then, without faith it is impossible to please God and reach the fellowship of his sons and daughters, it follows that no one can ever achieve justification without it, neither can anyone attain eternal life unless he or she perseveres in it to the end.

13. So it comes about that, like a standard lifted up for the nations, she both invites to herself those who have not yet believed, and likewise assures her sons and daughters that the faith they profess rests on the firmest of foundations.

14. To this witness is added the effective help of power from on high. For, the kind Lord stirs up those who go astray and helps them by his grace so that they may come to the knowledge of the truth; and also confirms by his grace those whom he has translated into his admirable light, so that they may persevere in this light, not abandoning them unless he is first abandoned.

15. Consequently, the situation of those, who by the heavenly gift of faith have embraced the Catholic truth, is by no means the same as that of those who, led by human opinions, follow a false religion; for those who have accepted the faith under the guidance of the Church can never have any just cause for changing this faith or for calling it into question.

This being so, giving thanks to God the Father who has made us worthy to share with the saints in light let us not neglect so great a salvation, but looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, let us hold the unshakable confession of our hope.
Father Michael Mueller, in his book, The Catholic Dogma:  Extra Ecclesiam Nullus Omnino Salvatur, sums-up the correct interpretation of Pope Pius IX's teachings and those of the First Vatican Council:
"Hence it is evident that the first step towards God and salvation is supernatural knowledge of God and divine faith in the four great truths of salvation as a necessary preparatory means to obtain the grace of justification; that neither invincible ignorance of the necessary truths of salvation, nor the mere knowledge of these truths can be means to convey sanctifying grace to the soul: To the knowledge of those truths must be joined supernatural divine faith in them, confident hope in the Redeemer, and perfect charity, which includes perfect sorrow for sin and the implicit desire to comply with God's will in all that he requires of the soul, to be saved." (pg. 11-12)

"All good theologians attribute justification neither to inculpable ignorance of, nor even to the knowledge of, the necessary truths of salvation; they attribute it to the infinite mercy of God, who unites himself with the soul only when it is prepared by the supernatural acts of divine faith, hope, and charity." (pg. 12)

"We know what theologians say of invincible ignorance and we do not contradict them: Invincible ignorance excuses from sin in that whereof one is invincibly ignorant; but it gives no faith, no virtue; and without faith, without positive virtue, no man can be saved. The man who holds implicitly the Catholic faith, but errs through invincible ignorance with regard to some of its consectaria, and even dogmas, may be saved; but how can a man be said to hold implicitly the Catholic faith, who holds nothing, or rejects every principle that implies it? It is not safe to apply to Protestants, who really deny everything Catholic, a rule that is very just when applied to sincere but ignorant Catholics, or Catholics that err through inculpable ignorance. Protestantism does not stand on the footing of ordinary heterodoxy, it is no more Christian than was Greek and Roman paganism." (pg. 27-28)
You can download Father  Mueller's book here:

Fr Michael Mueller -- The Catholic Dogma of EENS

To sum up.

1) Implicit submission is a denial of human free will.  It's like saying that a person could be an "unconscious traitor."  How could someone with only "implicit submission" ever choose to be guilty of schism? It's like saying that an American citizen who only has "implicit patriotism" could still be guilty of treason while at the same time still be "implicitly patriotic," and therefore, not guilty of treason, in spite of that person's human actions.  It's like saying that Osama bin Laden was "an implicit American patriot" even as he was masterminding the September 11th attacks.  No court would, of course, ever accept this type of "logic."

2) Implicit submission is a denial of the Perfection of the Triune God.  The and One Triune God is a Perfect Being, therefore, He cannot lie, ever.  As such, He would never, by His "divine light and grace," lead someone to believe in a false religion.

3) Ignorantia juris non excusat.  This principle is universally recognized; ignorance of divine law & revelation may diminish one's culpability for sin; it does not excuse it.  The "we were just following orders" is not a valid defense, so the Orthodox, even though they were raised as Orthodox, are without excuse.