The current lack of Catholic evangelization is due to the widespread post-Vatican II notion that almost everybody will be saved.

Far from a human race that is presumed innocent or essentially saved, the Council Fathers see a world in which salvation is neither assured nor easy.  It is a world in which, “very often,” rejection of Christ has been a reality, is still possible, and is a main reason for Christian missions.  Indeed, the Council also warned about the severe judgment falling on Catholics who do not persist in charity and faithfulness.

The Council’s “optimism,” Martin rightly notes, is about the possibility of salvation outside of the Church, not the probability that everybody inside or outside it will be saved. 

The Council doesn’t give odds on this question or tell us whether Hell is densely populated or not, nor does Martin attempt to do so.  But he notes that the “very often” is attached to the negative possibility. In a chapter examining the scriptural references in LG 16 he demonstrates that this bad news is indeed biblical.

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Editor’s note: It’s also due to the fact that since the end of Vatican II – priests, bishops – and even popes – have no longer been at all certain about the validity or applicability of the settled teachings of the Catholic Church – nor have they been unified and consistent in their efforts to pass along the full, complete and traditional Catholic faith to others. In fact, just the opposite has been true!

Worst of all worlds: Gay … Jesuit … theologians.

Three theologians who teach at Jesuit institutions–Paul Lakeland of Fairfield University, Daniel Maguire of Marquette University, and Frank Parella of Santa Clara University–blasted the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for its opposition to same-sex marriage.

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Editor’s note: The obtuse spirit of Vatican II must have overcome these poor souls … and even poorer theologians.

Kreeft: “Catholic” theologians showed politicians how they could get away with murder.

Kreeft said these Catholic advisers “told the Kennedys how they could get away with murder.” Kreeft then made one of his boldest comments of the evening, suggesting the theologians who first convinced Democratic politicians they could support abortion rights and remain Catholic did more damage to the Catholic Church than pedophile priests.

“These were wicked people. These were dishonest people. These were people who, frankly, loved power more than they loved God,” Kreeft said.

“Sorry, that’s just the way it is. In fact, I’d say these were even worse than the child molesters — though the immediate damage they did was not as obvious — because they did it deliberately, it wasn’t a sin of weakness. Sins of power are worse than sins of weakness. Cold, calculating sins — that’s straight from the devil.”

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Editor’s note: And the vast majority of bishops remained silent. Some things never change!

Radical German “Theologians” Conjure Up Tired Old “Spirit of Vatican II” (Again).

In anticipation of Pope Benedict XVI’s forthcoming visit to his homeland, more than 200 German theologians — men and women who have earned doctoral degrees in theology and teach in German universities — have issued a manifesto, “The Church in 2011: A Necessary Departure.” The manifesto itself does not identify the destination for which the Church is to depart, but the terminus ad quem seems reasonably clear from a careful reading of the document: Catholicism is to transform itself into another liberal Protestant sect by conceding virtually every point at issue between classic Christianity and the ambient culture of the postmodern West.

It is, perhaps, no surprise to find German Catholic theologians publicly supporting the ordination of married men and women to the ministerial priesthood (overtly), same-sex “marriage” (slyly), and full communion within the Church for those in irregular marriages (subtly but unmistakably). These causes have been espoused for years. German theologians dissented en masse from the 1993 teaching of Veritatis Splendor on the nature of moral acts and from the 1994 teaching of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis on the Church’s inability to admit women to Holy Orders. What was particularly striking about this new manifesto was its attempt to address serious problems with tried-and-failed solutions. That bespeaks a remarkable lack of intellectual creativity and historical sense.

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Latest Scandal: Catholic hospital administrators shop for theologians to support practices that conflict with church teachings.

By ANNE HENDERSHOTT

The severing of ties last week between the Catholic Church and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix, Ariz., is the latest example of the fraying relationship between the bishops and Catholic hospital administrators. In recent years, some Catholic hospitals have taken greater liberties, authorizing abortions and sterilization procedures that the church strictly prohibits. Earlier this year, for instance, Rev. Robert Vasa, bishop of the Diocese of Baker, Ore., ended the church’s sponsorship of St. Charles Medical Center in Bend over the hospital’s performance of tubal ligations.

But the Phoenix case breaks new ground. In explaining his decision, Rev. Thomas Olmsted, bishop of the Phoenix Diocese, was the first to explicitly point to the role played by Catholic theologians in providing theological cover for “a litany of practices in direct conflict with Catholic teachings.”

The break began more than a year ago, when a Catholic nun and longtime administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital gave permission for doctors to perform an abortion. She claimed the pregnancy was terminated to save the life of the mother. Sister Margaret McBride’s decision drew sharp criticism from Bishop Olmsted. After excommunicating Sister McBride, the head of the diocese then turned his attention to the role of the hospital itself.

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Benedict XVI offers St. Hildegard of Bingen as a role model for women

Among other things, the pope noted that Hildegard demanded that the priests of her day live “a life consistent with their vocation,” in response to perceptions of widespread corruption and immorality in the clerical ranks.

At the same time, Benedict added, Hildegard was opposed to the Cathars, a quasi-Gnostic medieval reform movement seeking a more “pure” church.

Here’s what Benedict said:

“The Cathars … proposed a radical reform of the church, above all to combat abuses by clergy. She criticized them strongly for wanting to subvert the very nature of the church, reminding them that a true renewal of the ecclesial community isn’t obtained so much with change in structures, but a sincere spirit of penance and a difficult path of conversion.”

“This,” Benedict concluded, “is a message that we must never forget.”

On a different note, Benedict XVI also offered St. Hildegard of Bingen as a role model for women theologians, praising the perspective that women bring to theological discussions.

“Theology can receive a unique contribtuion from women, because they’re capable of speaking about God and the mysteries of the faith with a special intelligence and sensibility,” the pope said.

“I therefore encourage all those women who perform this service to do it with a profound ecclesial spirit, nourishing their own reflections with prayer, and looking to the great richness, in part still unexplored, of the medieval mystical tradition, above all that represented by luminous models such as Hildegard of Bingen.”

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Read more about St. Hildegard

New! Catechism driven lessons from CatechismClass.com

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First the “Catholic” reformers couldn’t recognize the Truth.

Then the “Catholic” theologians couldn’t recognize the Lie.

Now the “Catholic” Politicians can’t recognize the Difference.

– From CatechismClass.com