Before We Were Separated Brethren…

The Called to Communion blog recently presented a number of entries on “the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” following a webpage from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Maybe some Roman Catholics are interested in unity, but I guess it depends on exactly what you read.  For instance, consider the following excerpts from this book with the Nihil obstat and Imprimatur: Familiar Explanation of Christian Doctrine For the Family and More Advanced Students in Catholic Schools (1875) (pp. 70, 91-93, 97-98).

Q. Does the Lord make use of apostate Catholics, such as Martin Luther, Calvin, John Knox, Henry VIII., King of England, to reform the manners of the people?

A. The thought is absurd. The lives of those men were evil, and it is only the devil that makes use of them to pervert the people still more. The Lord makes use of His saints, such as a St. Francis of Assisium, a St. Dominick, a St. Ignatius, a St. Alphonsus, to convert the people and reform their evil manners by explaining to them the truths of faith, the commandments, and the necessity of receiving the sacraments with proper dispositions, and by setting them in their own lives the loftiest example of faith, purity, and all Christian virtues.

Q. Are there any other reasons to show that heretics, or Protestants who die out of the Roman Catholic Church, are not saved?

A. There are several. They cannot be saved, because

1. They have no divine faith.
2. They make a liar of Jesus Christ, of the Holy Ghost, and of the Apostles.
3. They have no faith in Christ.
4. They fell away from the true Church of Christ.
5. They are too proud to submit to the Pope, the Vicar of Christ.
6. They cannot perform any good works whereby they can obtain heaven.
7. They do not receive the Body and Blood of Christ.
8. They die in their sins.
9. They ridicule and blaspheme the Mother of God and His saints.
10. They slander the spouse of Jesus Christ: the Catholic Church.

Q. What is the act of faith of a Protestant?

A. O my God, I believe nothing except what my own private judgment tells me to believe; therefore I believe that I can interpret Thy written word the Holy Scriptures as I choose. I believe that the Pope is anti-Christ; that any man can be saved, provided he is an honest man; I believe that faith alone is sufficient for salvation; that good works, and works of penance, and the confession of sins are not necessary, etc.

Q. Have Protestants any faith in Christ?

A. They never had.

Q. Why not?

A. Because there never lived such a Christ as they imagine and believe in.

Q. In what kind of a Christ do they believe?

A. In such a one of whom they can make a liar, with impunity, whose doctrine they can interpret as they please, and who does not care about what a man believes, provided he be an honest man before the public.

Q. Will such a faith in such a Christ save Protestants?

A. No sensible man will assert such an absurdity.

Addendum
A CTC blog entry from last year asks,  Do You Wan to Go to Heaven? which addresses, “So do you mean to say that if I decide to skip Mass on Sunday, and then drop dead on Monday, I will go to Hell?” Which, after various considerations, is affirmed (but not given the typical loopholes and qualifications that many other Roman websites do). The article presents an apologetic against “once saved always saved” etc. and explains to ill-informed Protestants why going to mass is so serious for Roman Catholics that if missed, qualifies as a mortal sin: “When we ‘skip Mass’ we are deciding that we would rather be elsewhere than in the presence of God the Father, with the angels and saints, in that perfect act of worship which is the presentation of the sacrificial Lamb of God to the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit.”

Compare this to: Just Why Are Only 20% of Catholics Attending Mass? Here, a priest explains why only a small percentage of Roman Catholics actually go to mass (poor homilies, poor music, poor hospitality). “A Protestant once said: “If you Catholics really believed what the Church teaches about the Mass and the Most Holy Eucharist, your churches would be full and you would see Catholics crawling on their knees to attend Mass!

Interesting. CTC is busy calling wayward Protestants to “communion,” but 80% of their fellow brethren are in danger of hell. Most Protestants, according to a Roman paradigm, just don’t know Rome is the true church. That is, many Protestants could at least make it to Purgatory due to ignorance. This seems to me to be a poor strategy for CTC. Their goal: “Our aim is to effect reconciliation and reunion between Catholics and Protestants, particularly those of the Reformed tradition.” Perhaps calling their fellow brethren to actually attend communion would be a more consistent use of CTC’s bandwidth.