BOOK OF ACCUSATION AGAINST THE CCC
The error of a son of God united to all men for ever,
by his mysteries infallibly saving them all
“ IN the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ”.
234. … “ The whole history of salvation is none other than the history of the way and the means whereby the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals Himself and reconciles and unites with Himself those men who turn away through sin. ”
Committed to this vision of a world of saved souls, the CCC takes up its second chapter on the mystery of Jesus Christ with the major preoccupation of showing the perfectly successful character of such an undertaking, an undertaking that is divine and therefore necessarily crowned with total success, all things being possible to God.
The CCC has already taught us that “ all men are implicated in the sin of Adam, which he has transmitted to us, affecting us all from birth, and which is the ‘ death of the soul ’ ” (403); and next that “ through this ‘ unity of the human race ’, all are implicated in Christ’s justice ” (404). It is full of promises. Now, if I may be so bold, Christ must keep the Father’s promises… or at least the CCC must succeed in its challenge by showing us that in Jesus all men are effectively saved ! Before, we had the infinite love of God the Father leading men universally to their ultimate end, without losing a single one ! an untenable pledge, as we have seen. Now, we shall be presented with the “ the revelation, the reconciliation, and the unification wrought by Christ ”, all of which will enjoy a similar success, with no one excluded and everyone saved unconditionally !
The formulas follow one after the other. After declaring, without the merest beginning of a proof, that the Creator is the “ Father of all men ” (268) and thus under an obligation to save everyone, will not the Son of God likewise be declared the “ Universal Brother ”, and by that token be responsible for dispensing salvation to everyone ?
That is exactly how the CCC proceeds. Almost, except that its two different writers have followed two different lines of demonstration and affirmation. It is curious. One line is perfectly Catholic and solidly founded, inasmuch as it does not inevitably conclude in a universal and necessary result. The other line straightway gains its full object, but it is obscure and not well reasoned, and this is the one I accuse of heresy, both formal and material.
Even more curious is the fact that the venom of heresy is mixed with the nectar of orthodox doctrine in such an integrated and yet, at the same time, isolated manner, that one has the impression of catching a forger in the act of introducing the poison into an honest text, where it can curl up like the serpent in the newly born baby’s basket. I shall put the heresy in small capitals surrounded by brackets to draw attention to this curiosity… so disturbing.
Jesus in His Incarnation
430. Jesus in Hebrew means : “ God saves. ”… In Jesus, God thus recapitulates the whole of His salvation history on behalf of men.
432. … It is the divine name that alone brings salvation and henceforth It can be invoked by all, for [HE UNITED HIMSELF TO ALL MEN THROUGH THE INCARNATION in such a way that] “ there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved ”. (Acts 4.12)
By contrast with this bizarre novelty included in a mediocre but orthodox text, here is the splendour of pure Catholic truth to which I wish to pay homage :
460. The Word was made flesh to make us “ partakers of the divine nature ” (2 Pet 1.4) : “ For such is the reason why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man : it is so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God. ” (St. Irenaeus) “ For the Son of God became man to make us God. ” (St. Athanasius) “ The only Son of God, wishing to make us share in His divinity, assumed our nature, so that He, having become man, might make men gods. ” (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Extraordinarily bold words, and yet perfectly Christian and Catholic, making room, in the work of our salvation by Christ, for the indispensable part played by each in welcoming it and consummating it in a meritorious and glorious union of hearts !
Our communion in the mysteries of Jesus
521. Everything that Christ Himself lived, He arranges so that we may live it in Him and He may live it in us. [“ BY HIS INCARNATION, THE SON OF GOD HAS IN SOME FASHION UNITED HIMSELF TO EVERY MAN. ”] We are called to be but one with Him ; that which He lived in His flesh for us and as our model, He makes us share in as members of his Body…
The two theses follow each other without being fused. The one is inhuman and intolerable, with no reference except to a single text, that of Vatican II : Gaudium et Spes, 22, 2. The other is extended here by an admirable sermon of St. John Eudes, who manifests its full truth and mystical beauty (521) !
I am happy to point out that orthodoxy is recalled on nearly every page, contrary to the novelty. For example :
542. … Into this union with Christ all men are called [my emphasis].
543. All men are called [my emphasis] to enter into the Kingdom… which is intended to receive [again, my emphasis] men of all nations. To attain the Kingdom, one must receive the word of Jesus.
The dialectical tension between these two theses is clearly visible : should all men be shown as entering into the way of salvation or as having entered into salvation ? Having entered, they are already saved ! Entering is a small portion of those invited, who will by that fact be chosen !
And here, from a Catholic perspective, is what is decisive :
545. … Jesus invites them to that conversion without which one cannot enter into the Kingdom…
546. Jesus invites us to enter…, but He asks for a radical choice : to gain the Kingdom, one must give everything ; words are not enough, there must be deeds…
Otherwise we are cut off and damned.
Christ in His redemptive sacrifice
To cancel this sad impression of failure, the other theory quickly makes its appearance a propos the sacrifice of the Cross :
616. … The existence in Christ of the divine Person of the Son, which surpasses [AND, AT THE SAME TIME, EMBRACES] all human persons, [AND WHICH CONSTITUTES HIM AS THE HEAD OF ALL HUMANITY], makes possible His redemptive sacrifice for all.
Again and again we come across the poison in the nectar.
618. The Cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “ one mediator between God and men ” (1Tim 2.5). But, [BECAUSE, IN HIS INCARNATE DIVINE PERSON, “ HE HAS IN SOME WAY UNITED HIMSELF TO EVERY MAN ” (GS 22, 2)], He “ offers all men, [IN A WAY KNOWN ONLY TO GOD], the possibility of being associated with the Paschal mystery ” (GS 22, 5). He calls the disciples to “ take up their Cross and follow Him ” (Mt 16.24)… He wishes in effect to associate with His redemptive sacrifice the very people who are its first beneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the person of His Mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of His redemptive suffering. “ Apart from the Cross, there is no other ladder by which to climb to Heaven. ” (St. Rose of Lima)
Christ in His glorious Resurrection
A further irruption of heresy :
654. … The Resurrection brings about filial adoption, for men become Christ’s brethren, as Jesus Himself calls his disciples after his Resurrection : “ Go and tell my brethren. ” Brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace, [because this THIS ADOPTIVE FILIATION PROCURES A REAL SHARE IN THE LIFE OF THE ONLY SON], which was fully revealed in His Resurrection.
The thinking sways a little incoherently, the cause becoming the effect and the effect the cause. In this gnosis, the logic of the argument collapses together with the precise reality of the mysteries, the objects of our faith. Anything will do that provides an argument to support this major heresy, a heresy that is bereft of any foundation, but which would settle all the problems of religion by reducing them to a dull quietism and a total immoralism. Well, here is what it says apropos of marriage :
1612. The nuptial covenant between God and His people Israel had prepared the new and eternal Covenant [in which THE SON OF GOD, BY BECOMING INCARNATE AND GIVING HIS LIFE, HAS UNITED TO HIMSELF IN A CERTAIN WAY ALL HUMANITY SAVED BY HIM (GS 22,2)], thus preparing for the “ wedding-feast of the Lamb ”. (Ap 19.7-9)
For the Author, this explains and justifies “ Jesus’ unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond ” (1615).
This text adds to those that precede it the wholly novel idea that it is Christ’s union with all humanity that supposedly constitutes the indissoluble bond of the new Covenant – eternal and therefore retroactive – which exists between Christ the Bridegroom and … no, not the visible, hierarchical and, dare I say, sacramental Church that He was going to institute, but the Humanity that invisibly constitutes His Spouse… a mystical or physical spouse ? There is total uncertainty over the nature of this bond, and no attempt is ever made to define it for us… with good reason ! since a moral union by mutual consent has to be excluded ! There remains the option of a Covenant by unilateral divine decree, a sort of mystical invasion, enforced and inescapable… but at least salvific.
Would at least that this union were consummated, by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ in His redemptive sacrifice, through an effusion of His essential grace, received by faith in the sacraments of Baptism and of the Eucharist ! But this bizarre “ union ”, which Christ thus establishes with all men, seems to be an substantial supplement and soon, doubtless, an automatic substitute for baptism, as in Gaudium et Spes 22, the only document, mark you, that can be quoted in support of this monstrous heresy. But what is Gaudium et Spes worth ? The contempt of all men of spirit and the detestation of every mystic soul.
1260. “ Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must believe that the Holy Spirit, in a manner known only to God, offers to every man the possibility of being associated with the Paschal Mystery. ” (GS 22, 5) Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and His Church, but who seeks the truth and does the will of God inasmuch as he understands it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly, if they had known of its necessity.
But why go so far in search of reasons to be this audacious ? It was, in fact, our Pope John Paul II who, in his encyclical Redemptor hominis of March 4, 1979, formulated this novelty in the most audacious terms, a novelty which is today found wedged a little shamefacedly between texts that are firmly Catholic, though somewhat shorn of its more extreme and daring elements.
“WE ARE DEALING WITH ‘ EACH ’ MAN ”, he spelt out, “ FOR EACH ONE IS INCLUDED IN THE MYSTERY OF THE REDEMPTION, AND WITH EACH ONE JESUS CHRIST HAS UNITED HIMSELF FOR EVER THROUGH THIS MYSTERY. ” (no.13) “ BECAUSE CHRIST IN SOME FASHION UNITED HIMSELF TO MAN, TO EACH MAN WITHOUT ANY EXCEPTION, EVEN THOUGH MAN MAY NOT BE AWARE OF IT. ” (no.14)
This new gnosis fits in perfectly with “ the design of God ” as the CCC would have us imagine it. This universal and unconditional salvation gains us some very beautiful and charming words, but ones that are specious and fallacious ; they invite us to a deadly state of quietism in the work of our eternal salvation. Thus it is with the prayers of Jesus, according to our CCC :
2602. … He includes all men in his prayer, [SINCE HE ALSO ASSUMES OUR HUMANITY IN HIS INCARNATION], and He offers them to the Father in offering Himself. He, the Word who “ took flesh ”, shares by His human prayer in all that “ His brethren ” experience. (Heb 2.12) …
2606. All the perennial distress of humanity enslaved to sin and death, all the requests and intercessions of salvation history are gathered up in this Cry of the Word incarnate. Now, the Father welcomes them and, beyond all hope, answers them by raising up His Son. Thus is fulfilled and consummated the drama of prayer in the economy of creation and salvation… It is in the Today of the Resurrection that the Father says : “ You are my Son, today have I begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will make the nations Your heritage, and the ends of the earth Your possession ! ” (Ps 2.7-8)
Yet, in this same sacerdotal prayer, Jesus said : “ I am praying for them ; I am not praying for the world but for those whom Thou hast given Me, for they are Thine. ”
When I read in this Catechism certain of its triumphant thoughts, lacking all fear or love of God, about the glory of man whom Christ has supposedly united to Himself for ever, I am fearful that this heresy – the master idea of this gnosis animating postconciliar catechesis – may triumph in the Church by means of this Catechism of pride.
1741. By His glorious Cross, Christ OBTAINED THE SALVATION OF ALL MEN. He redeemed them from the sin that held them enslaved. “ For freedom Christ has set US free ” (Gal 5.1). In Him WE have communion with the “ truth that makes US free ” (Jn 8.32). The Holy Spirit has been given to US and, as the Apostle teaches, “ where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom ” (2 Cor 3.17). Even now WE GLORY in the “ liberty of the children of God ”. (Rom 8.21)
We ? Who is we ? Everyone ! All men. I think I hear Jesus interrupting this insolent paean : “ You ? I never knew you ; depart from me, you evildoers ! ” (Mt 7.23)
I. If anyone dogmatises that Christ in some fashion united Himself to man by his Incarnation, to each man without exception, even though man may not be aware of it, let him be anathema.
II. If anyone says that each and every man is included in the mystery of the Redemption and of the Resurrection by virtue of the fact that Jesus united Himself to each individual for ever through this mystery, let him be anathema.