John Vennari on Blessed Columba Marmion’s Spiritual-Ecclesial Doctrine

In the February 2010 issue of Catholic Family News is an excellent article by Editor John Vennari, entitled: “Blessed Abbot Marmion and the Centrality of Christ.” Starting deservedly on the front page, this is taken from a speech Mr. Vennari has given in various places throughout our country, and even once in India.

The focus is on the Catholic doctrine on the spiritual life, based on the writings of Blessed Marmion, because, as Mr. Vennari so correctly emphasizes, “In spite of the forces of evil now revolting against Catholic truth and the natural law, it is good that we fix our minds on eternal truths that no enemy can take away.”

First mentioned is The Divine Plan given by God for our ordered return to Him. Then emphasized is that Our Lord Jesus Christ is not just one of many means God has established for this return, but, rather is the ONLY means. This develops into the necessity of sanctifying grace, which can be received only through the sacramental system administered by the Catholic Church.

Toward the end of this splendid article there is a paragraph which should delight, I think, especially those familiar with the Crusade of Saint Benedict Center:

And just the way there is no salvation apart from Jesus Christ, likewise there is no salvation apart from His Mystical Body, the Catholic Church. Abbot Marmion insists that Jesus Christ and His one true Church form one mystery (emphasis his). It is not two separate entities, as if we can accept Christ and reject His Church. No! Christ and His Church, His Mystical Body, form one inseparable mystery, and to reject His Church is to reject His Body. The Catholic Church is the extension of the Incarnation in time. To reject His Holy Catholic Church is to reject Christ Himself.

There is a useful note at the end of this article, for those interested in reading works by the Blessed Abbot, in which Vennari stresses the importance of taking care in locating these books. Some publishers, to their credit, have brought out new editions; unfortunately, however, they have had added footnotes in an effort to “update” the Abbot’s works, something Vennari appropriately terms “pointless.” He also warns of introductions being written for these new editions by folks who are on record, saying “I have never believed the doctrine ‘no salvation outside the Catholic Church’.” Vennari recommends using internet search instead to find reliable used-books.

See also, “The Mystical Incarnation” (3/10/2008), by Brother Andre Marie.