Saint Benedict Center
Richmond, New Hampshire
Palm Sunday, A.D. 2019
Updated Tuesday of Holy Week, A.D. 2019
The following exposition of the doctrinal beliefs of the Saint Benedict Center has as its core those propositions extracted from a letter dated March 7, 2017 authored by Brother André Marie, acting as the representative of the Saint Benedict Center, addressed to the Diocese of Manchester and copied to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Neither the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith nor the Diocese of Manchester have ever qualified the following beliefs as “unacceptable.”
The following propositions are provided here to lend greater clarity and depth to the doctrinal tenets of the Saint Benedict Center. They are all subject to the “disclaimer” found at the end of this page.
- The members of the Saint Benedict Center believe with Divine and Catholic Faith all those things contained in the Word of God, written or handed on, that is, in the one Deposit of Faith entrusted to the Church, and at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the Solemn Magisterium of the Church or by its Ordinary and Universal Magisterium which is manifested by the common adherence of the Christian faithful under the leadership of the Sacred Magisterium, avoiding any doctrines whatsoever contrary to them.1
- We embrace and retain each and every thing which is proposed definitively by the Magisterium of the Church concerning the doctrine of Faith and Morals, that is, each and every thing which is required to safeguard reverently and to expound faithfully the same Deposit of Faith.2
- We adhere with submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate when they exercise their authentic Magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim these teachings by a definitive act.3
- We believe that Jesus Christ, Son of God, Lord and only Savior, through the event of His incarnation, death and resurrection has brought the history of salvation to fulfillment.4 We affirm with the Scriptures that “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
- We affirm that all salvation comes from Christ through the Church, which is the Body of Christ, the Sacrament of Salvation.5
- We believe and profess to be a dogma of Divine and Catholic Faith that Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, “Outside the Church there is No Salvation,” and that union with Jesus Christ through His Mystical Body, the Catholic Church, is necessary for salvation by an absolute necessity of means.6
- We affirm that the dogma “Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus” must be interpreted according to the official doctrine of the Church.7
- We affirm that all must hold that the Church is necessary for salvation.8
- We affirm that this doctrine must not be set against the universal salvific will of God.9
- We believe that the supernatural virtue of Faith is necessary for salvation by an absolute necessity of means.10 This is true even if, in ways known to Himself, God can lead men ignorant of the Gospel without their fault to the Faith, without which it is impossible to please Him.11 This theological virtue is always concomitantly infused with the grace of justification.12
- We believe that the Sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation by a relative necessity of means.13 We likewise affirm: “All, therefore, must be converted to Him, made known by the Church’s preaching, and through Baptism be incorporated into Christ and into His Church, which is His body.”14
- We believe that “The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude.”15 For this reason, in the practical realm of moral action, it is our duty to proclaim the necessity of the sacrament of Baptism by which we are saved.16
- We affirm that those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and His Church have the possibility of obtaining eternal salvation.17 This proposition is affirmed in conjunction with all of the other conditions sine qua non for salvation explicitly narrated in the Epistula ad Archiepiscopum Bostoniensem of 8 August 1949 referenced in footnote n. 342 of the CCC, which themselves are referenced as extracted from the Encyclical Letter Mystici Corporis Christi of Pope Ven. Pius XII, namely: 1) perfect Charity (“perfecta caritate”) and 2) Supernatural Faith (“fidem supernaturalem”)18 Such souls can and must be united to Jesus Christ through his Mystical Body, the Catholic Church.19
- Ignorance of Christ and His Church does not excuse one from all fault. One is obligated to follow the natural law. It should be recalled that invincible ignorance of Christ and His Church does not confer either justification or salvation.20 Only a merciful God, acting as efficient cause, can confer justification and salvation. As Pope Bl. Pius IX has admonished, it is “unlawful” (nefas) to try to discern the boundaries of invincible ignorance extant among diverse peoples.21
- When non-Catholics die, we leave them to God’s mercy. The Father has given all judgment to the Son (cf. John 5:22), and He is the Just Judge.
- We believe in God’s particular Providence for all of His elect, in keeping with the principle laid down by Saint Thomas Aquinas: “For it pertains to Divine Providence to furnish everyone with what is necessary for salvation, provided that on his part there is no hindrance.”22
- We affirm that for non-Christians, salvation in Christ is accessible [“patens”] by virtue of a grace, which, coming from Christ and communicated by the Holy Spirit, has a relationship with the Church, and is bestowed by God in ways known to God Himself.23
- How God Almighty chooses to exercise His omnipotence in “difficult cases” is not ours to say. In keeping with the teaching of Pope Bl. Pius IX in Singulari Quadam, referenced above, it is not for man, a mere creature, to “arrogate” to himself such judgments. And, as the Holy Father says in that same Allocution, “let us hold most firmly that, in accordance with Catholic teaching, there is ‘one God, one faith, one baptism”’ [Eph. 4:5].”24 Hence the importance we attach to preaching the necessity of sacramental Baptism and joining the Catholic Church without exception.
- We hold, as a theological opinion only, that, since Pentecost, God Almighty can and does incorporate all the elect into His Mystical Body by actual sacramental Baptism.25
- We affirm that the Church certainly has a perennial obligation and sacred right to evangelize all men.26
- We believe that subjection to the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, is necessary for salvation by a necessity of divine precept.27
- Dialogue with members of other religions can never substitute the mission of the Church, called to bring salvation to all.28
The above Doctrinal Beliefs, and any other proposition, article, writing, or document pertaining to Faith or Morals uploaded to Catholicism.org are asserted by the Saint Benedict Center as being a) subject to the truths proposed for our belief by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, and b) not in opposition to the same. If any other text posted on this website be in irreconcilable opposition to what is contained on this page of doctrinal beliefs, the Saint Benedict Center affirms that the text in said opposition is solely posted for purposes of historical reference and research.
This page is subject to being updated for purposes of added clarity and depth.
— Footnotes —
1. Cf. can. 750, § 1 of the Code of Canon Law [“CIC”].
2. Cf. can. 750, § 2 CIC.
3. Cf. can. 752 CIC; Pope John Paul II, Motu Proprio, Ad Tuendam Fidem, n. 2.
4. Cf. Declaration Dominus Iesus [“DI”], 13.
5. Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church [“CCC”], n. 846.
6. Cf. John 10:9, John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Rom. 8:9; Lateran IV, cap. 1, The Catholic Faith: DH 802; Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam: DH 870; Florence, Cantate Domino: DH 1351.
7. Cf. CCC, nn. 846-848; DI, nn. 20-22.
8. Cf. DI, n. 20.
9. Cf. DI, n. 20.
10. Cf. Mark 16:15-16, John 3:14-18, Acts 16:30-31, Rom. 10:8-15; Vatican I, Dei Filius, cap. 3: Denzinger-Hünermann [“DH”] 3008-3014, esp., 3010. This means that it is necessary for one to have the infused theological virtue of Faith (working by Charity) in one’s soul in order to be saved.
11. Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, Ad Gentes, n. 7: “Oportet igitur ut ad Eum, per praedicationem Ecclesiae agnitum, omnes convertantur, et Ipsi et Ecclesiae, quae Corpus Eius est, per Baptismum incorporentur” […] “Etsi ergo Deus viis sibi notis homines Evangelium sine eorum culpa ignorantes ad fidem adducere possit, sine qua impossibile est Ipsi placere […].”; DI, 21.
12. Cf. Conc. Trid., Sess. VI, cap. 7: DH n. 1530.
13. Cf. Matt. 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, John 3:3-5, Acts 2:37-41; Trent, can. 4 on the Sacraments in General: DH 1604; can 2 and can 4 on the Sacrament of Baptism: DH nn. 1615, 1618.
14. Ad Gentes, 7.
15. CCC n. 1257.
16. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter Placuit Deo to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Certain Aspects of Christian Salvation, n. 13 in L’Osservatore Romano, CLVIII, 50, 2 March 2018, pp. 4-5.
17. Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, Lumen Gentium, 16: “Qui enim Evangelium Christi Eiusque Ecclesiam sine culpa ignorantes, Deum tamen sincero corde quaerunt, Eiusque voluntatem per conscientiae dictamen agnitam, operibus adimplere, sub gratiae influxu, conantur, aeternam salutem consequi possunt.”
18. Cf. Heb. 11:6; Conc. Trid., Sess. VI, cap. 8: DH n. 1532; the term, “fidem” is understood here as defined by Pope Bl. Innocent XI in his Decree of 2 March 1679 condemning proposition n. XXIII, Cf. DH, n. 2123; can. 754 CIC.
19. Cf. John 10:9, John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Rom. 8:9; Lateran IV, cap. 1, The Catholic Faith: DH n. 802; Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam: DH 870; Florence, Cantate Domino: DH n. 1351.
20. According to Pope Bl. Pius IX per his Allocution, Singulari quadam of 9 December 1854, “[I]t must be held to be of the Faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood; but, on the other hand, it is equally necessary to hold for certain that they who labor in ignorance of the true religion, if it be invincible, are to be fettered with no guilt in this matter [of invincible ignorance] before the eyes of the Lord. Now, on the contrary, who would arrogate so much to himself as to mark the boundaries of such an [invincible] ignorance, due to the nature and variety of peoples, regions, innate dispositions, and of so many things […] let us hold most firmly that, in accordance with Catholic teaching, there is ‘one God, one faith, one baptism’ [Eph. 4:5]; it is unlawful [“nefas”] to proceed further [in] inquiring.”; “Tenendum quippe ex fide est extra Apostolicam Romanam Ecclesiam salvum fieri neminem posse, hanc esse unicam salutis arcam, hanc qui non fuerit ingressus, diluvio periturum; sed tamen pro certo pariter habendum est, qui verae religionis ignorantia laborent, si ea sit invincibilis, nulla ipsos obstringi huiusce rei culpa ante oculos Domini. Nunc vero quis tantum sibi arroget, ut huiusmodi ignorantiae designare limites queat iuxta populorum, regionum, ingeniorum, aliarumque rerum tam multarum rationem et varietatem? […] ulterius inquirendo progredi nefas est.”
21. Pope Bl. Pius IX, Allocution Singulari Quadam, 9 December 1854.
22. The Disputed Questions on Truth, Vol. II, Q. 14, a. 11; translated by Fr. James V. McGlynn, S.J., Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, 1952, pp. 258, 262.
23. Cf. DI, n. 20-21.
24. Pope Bl. Pius IX, Allocution Singulari Quadam, 9 December 1854: “[F]irmissime teneamus ex catholica doctrina unum Deum esse, unam fidem, unum baptisma.”
25. Cf. Acts 2:41-47; Vienne, Fidei catholicae: DH n. 903.
26. Cf. CCC, n. 848.
27. Matt. 16:18, John 21:15-17; Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam: DH n. 875.
28. Cf. DI, n. 22.