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 Fenton on Membership of the Church and Salvation 
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Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:56 pm
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New post Fenton on Membership of the Church and Salvation
Reading some of Monsignor Fenton's writings, I am becoming slightly confused... In several places he emphatically shows that the Church is a visible society, and that there is not an invisible Church, and thus that membership in the Church means something visible, and not invisible.

And yet, he also states that the Catholic dogma is not that one must be a member in order to be saved, only that one must be in some way within the Church; and that it is possible to be "within" the Church without actually being a member, if one has an implicit desire (hence baptism by desire or by blood).

My question is this: how can we say that even implicit desire makes one "within" the Church if the Church is a visible society? If you can be in the Church by some way other than visible membership, doesn't it follow that one can be in the Church invisibly?

I'm having a hard time seeing how Fenton doesn't contradict himself, at least indirectly.

For example, these two articles: http://www.catholicapologetics.info/mod ... nteens.htm
http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/fento ... Church.pdf

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Jonathan Culbreath

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Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:12 am
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New post Re: Fenton on Membership of the Church and Salvation
The Maestro wrote:
My question is this: how can we say that even implicit desire makes one "within" the Church if the Church is a visible society? If you can be in the Church by some way other than visible membership, doesn't it follow that one can be in the Church invisibly?

From the Catechism: the Church consists of the Church Militant (us), the Church Suffering (those in Purgatory), and the Church Triumphant (those now in Heaven).

Does this perhaps help you?

I suggest that what you are finding most difficult to get clear in your mind is the Church's, (and Fenton's) understanding and use of the word "visible".

It is applied in different aspects, depending on what or who you are discussing at the moment.

However, the Church's understanding of its own "visibility" is directly contradictory to the protestant idea that "the Church" consists of everyone who "...believes on the Lord Jesus Christ...", no matter how lacking in precision that term can be taken. To a Catholic, it is what we do that counts, not so much what we believe.

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Kenneth G. Gordon


Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:24 pm
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New post Re: Fenton on Membership of the Church and Salvation
The Maestro wrote:
Reading some of Monsignor Fenton's writings, I am becoming slightly confused... In several places he emphatically shows that the Church is a visible society, and that there is not an invisible Church, and thus that membership in the Church means something visible, and not invisible.


True. The conditions for membership depend upon something visible.

Quote:
And yet, he also states that the Catholic dogma is not that one must be a member in order to be saved, only that one must be in some way within the Church; and that it is possible to be "within" the Church without actually being a member, if one has an implicit desire (hence baptism by desire or by blood).


True.

Quote:
My question is this: how can we say that even implicit desire makes one "within" the Church if the Church is a visible society? If you can be in the Church by some way other than visible membership, doesn't it follow that one can be in the Church invisibly?


I think you are confusing the term "inside the Church" with "member of the Church". The Catholic Church is made up of visible members, but some persons may be "inside the Church" without being members. In other words the term "inside the Church" is a generic term which includes both members and those who have a desire (either explicit or implicit) to be members. These last ones are not "part" of the Church.

I don´t see the problem.

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Leon Bloy


Mon Sep 30, 2013 4:52 pm
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New post Re: Fenton on Membership of the Church and Salvation
Cristian, I think you are right to highlight the concept of "member". A member of the Church is one of her component parts. She is her members (rightly ordered). Her members are therefore usually called, at least in older theology books, "members and parts" of the Church.

Cristian Jacobo wrote:
I don´t see the problem.

Neither do I, although I wonder if perhaps the following might assist our new friend. There are many men at any given time who are not very clearly members of the Church. That is, they may be members, or they may not be. It's hard to tell. I'm not saying that in most cases if a little attention were given to the matter, the doubt could not be cleared up, however it remains true that the actual edges of the Church are always slightly blurred, if you'll excuse the expression. She does not cease being visible because of this doubt about some. Now if these men cannot affect her visibility, then a fortiori neither can those who are, ex hypothesi, not members and yet are "within." These cannot affect her visibility in any manner at all. Indeed, they are by definition not visibly connected to the Church, are not her members, and are not therefore "parts" of the Church, but can be thought of as "guests" within her.

Does this help?

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Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:42 pm
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New post Re: Fenton on Membership of the Church and Salvation
Thanks for the replies. That does help.

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Jonathan Culbreath

http://foretasteofwisdom.blogspot.com/


Tue Oct 01, 2013 2:11 am
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