Photo Credit: AP/Joe Rosenthal
We know who we are. We’re the ones who kneel, on the ground if necessary, to receive Holy Communion on our tongues. We’re the 30% of practicing Catholics—the Remnant—who still believe Our Lord is really and truly made present in the Eucharist. Here in the Diocese of Jefferson City, and likely elsewhere, we’re labeled as “those who persist.” Our bishop uses these very words1 to describe us stubborn, old-fashioned Catholics who won’t get with the Novus Ordo program and receive Our Lord in our hands, as if He were a Ritz cracker.
My guess is that His Excellency would also find it annoying that we in the Remnant cling to Church teaching expressed as extra Ecclesiam nulla salles (outside the Church, there is no salvation). It is such an inconvenient Truth, after all. It wreaks havoc with the modern Church attitude that evangelizing is on par with that ugly word, “proseletyzing”. How dare we try to save a non-Catholic soul who is by all appearances a good, God-fearing person? After all, didn’t Bishop Robert Barron tell devout Jew, Ben Shapiro, and the whole world that Catholicism is merely “the privileged way” to salvation? No need to convert to Catholicism! I’m okay, you’re okay, right?
Wrong. In fact, dead wrong.
The Catholic Church, with its Sacraments instituted by Christ, is still and has always been the way to eternal salvation. “Amen, amen I say unto you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.” (John 6:54)
Of course, those who through no fault of their own have not known Jesus Christ through the Sacraments might be saved in extraordinary circumstances. God only knows. It is sad, indeed, that so many eulogies these days, Catholic and otherwise, refer to our dearly departed as being “in a better place.” This side of eternity, we cannot possibly know anyone’s final destination. I’m hedging my bets on Catholicism to help get me to Heaven.
Which brings me to Deadly Indifference: How the Church Lost Her Mission and How We Can Reclaim It, by Eric Sammons. All Catholics need to read this book. Immediately. Here is my review, as published on Amazon (although I would recommend purchasing the book directly from the Catholic publisher, Sophia Institute Press):
In Deadly Indifference, Eric Sammons explains how we have become “Religious Pluralists” at the grave peril of every soul, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. “Indifference has emptied the pews,” says Sammons, as he walks us through the history of how The One True Faith has come to be considered—by both its members and secular society—just one of many ways to gain entry through the pearly gates. He answers the controversial question, “can a non-Catholic be saved?” with unchangeable Church teaching that has been effectively sidelined for decades—Church teaching that, in an earlier time, instilled love and reverence for the King of kings and Lord of lords; zeal in Catholic missionaries to convert pagan souls; and courage in martyrs to lay down their lives for Holy Mother Church. Finally, Sammons leaves us with a way forward by reintroducing and emphasizing the ancient Church teaching: extra Ecclesiam nulla salles (outside the Church, there is no salvation).
During the American Revolution era, concerned citizens would gather in salons to discuss politics and religion, thereby advancing the concept of religious freedom which has ultimately served to undermine Catholicism as “the way, the truth and the life.” We are now at the crossroads of another revolution, one which will determine the very future of the Catholic Church in an exceedingly politicized world. I challenge my fellow Catholics to begin modern-day salons, with Deadly Indifference the topic of discussion, to awaken Catholics to our exclusively God-given mission to save souls. Start the revolution by buying copies of Deadly Indifference in bulk and organizing a discussion group in your parish immediately.
1 “Decree on pastoral activities following the governor’s declaration lifting statewide restrictions for the COVID-19 pandemic”, Number 13, June 15, 2020