Pope Benedict XVI: There May Be Something Catholic, Even Outside the Catholic Church


Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) – “Just as one can find that which is not Catholic in the Catholic Church – that is, in the Church -, one can also find something that may be Catholic outside of the Catholic Church “: this quote from St. Augustine (On Baptism, Against the Donatists: PL 43 , VII, 39, 77) was at the center of reflection that Benedict XVI offered to pilgrims gathered today in the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo during the Angelus. The Pope – as he often does – was referring to the episode narrated in the Gospel of the Sunday Mass (Mark 9: 39-41): “a man, who was not the followers of Jesus had cast out demons in his name. The Apostle John, young and zealous, wants to stop him, but Jesus will not allow him. ”

“Jesus – continues the pope – is inspired by the opportunity to teach his disciples that God can bring about good and even miraculous things, even outside of their circle, and that one can cooperate with the Kingdom of God in several ways, even by offering a simple glass of water to a missionary (v. 41). ”

Thus Benedict XVI underlined the “ecumenical” teaching of Jesus in our time: “Church members should not feel jealous, but rejoice if someone from outside the community do good in the name of Christ, provided this is done with right intention and with respect “. At the same time, he insisted that often jealousy and the desire to block the action of someone also exist within the Church: “Even within the Church itself – he added – it can sometimes happen that one can have difficulty in appreciating and recognizing, in a spirit of profound communion, the good things done by the various ecclesial realities. Instead we should all be able to always appreciate and respect each other, praising the Lord for the infinite ‘fantasy’ with which he acts in the Church and in the world”.

The pope also commented on the second reading of today’s Mass, taken from the Letter of St. James, which concerns “the invective… against the dishonest rich, who put their trust in the riches accumulated by dint of abuse” (cf. Jas 5.1 to 6).
“The words of the Apostle James – said the pope – while they warn against the vain desire for material goods, are also a powerful call to use them in the perspective of solidarity and the common good, always acting with fairness and morality, at all levels “…

The pope also bid farewell to the faithful at Castel Gandolfo, because tomorrow he returns to take up residency in the Vatican.

This may of course come as a great shock to those within the Church who believe differently!



4 thoughts on “Pope Benedict XVI: There May Be Something Catholic, Even Outside the Catholic Church

  1. Amen, indeed. There is an old joke that there is a different religious order for every personality type within the Church! But when you think of all the sodalities, confraternities, lay organisations, rites, dioceses and on and on – it is amazing thatthe thing functions at all!

  2. But this must be taken against the teaching of invincible ignorance. For those genuinely out of the Church through no fault of their own, seeking after the truth..God will truly bless…but for self serving types who make their excuses to come to the feast, they may yet go to Hell.

    1. Indeed the old Roman doctrine of the Baptism of Desire, is simply overt scholastic reason. Often just one verse of Holy Scripture wipes this out! Indeed we must leave “mystery” in God’s hands! There is simply no free “invincible ignorance” in the sinful man, but concupiscence is always sin…concupiscentia carnis! Romans chapter 1, bears this out, etc.

  3. A good person whose only fault was the he was born in 5th century Mesoamerica or a catechumen who was killed before being baptized will -probably- become Catholic; if a person has not been given the opportunity to be Catholic now, then he will be Catholic in Heaven. This is “Probably” as the ultimate determinant of a person’s final destination is God Almighty, for even within the Catholic Church, a large percentage will probably go to hell. But I do not believe that Christ was a liar nor was He crazy nor was He a fool, so I trust in Him and in His Church, in which He is truly present, that it is the surest path to salvation.

    It’s another case when a person, who was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and instructed in the Catholic Faith, willfully and intentionally with all his knowledge, renounces his affiliation with Christ and His One, Holy, and Apostolic Church. Indeed, it is also another case when a person, who is introduced to Christ and His Church has only this for an answer: “Thanks, but no thanks.”

    Can you imagine anyone who met Jesus Christ and said “Thanks, but no thanks!” Once He started preaching about eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood? Are we going to say that they have a right to Heaven because they’re “good people”? Or people who meet actual representatives of Jesus’ Church but are met with statements such as “That’s unbiblical!” Talk about pharisees, or in this case, the sadduccees who do not even believe in the Resurrection as it was “Unbiblical” through their literal reading of Scripture. I can think of many “Christians” who are nothing more than latter-day sadducees, and they are nothing more than Bibliolaters who cannot conceive of the fact that the Bible is -about- Jesus, and does not contain Him; that Jesus is the living embodiment of Scriptures instead, and He established His Church on Peter and his successors, and not even Hell can overcome Her.

    Now the atheist or even the protestant who claims to be able to do good without God or without the Pope or without a Church- I do not doubt that their actions are good. (As Christ says, let them do good.) But they cannot earn salvation through good works alone. At least that’s what the Church Fathers have understood. They probably will not go to heaven. But if God allows them, let God allow them.

    I will be fair, though; the greatest example that I can recall about a Catholic community that existed before the knowledge and involvement of Rome, would be the spread of Christianity to the Korean People; I am so amazed and so proud of Korean Christians, as they educated themselves and have practiced the faith unbeknownst to the larger Church and with little or no outside involvement in their catechesis- and what witness have they made! So many persecutions, so many martyrs and saints, and to this day, Christianity is still a strong presence in Korea, weathering not only persecution, but two world wars, Japanese occupation, communist invasion, and at the moment, materialist decadence.

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