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VATICAN (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is saying belief that all men are saved has crippled missionary efforts and caused many Christians to leave the Faith.
An interview of the former Pope, conducted last year, is being published today in L'Osservatore Romano. In it the former pontiff is reaffirming the dogma that there's only one true Church outside of which there is no salvation.
Discounting false churches that are founded on "assembly of men who have some ideas in common," Pope Benedict says they cannot be "the guarantor of eternal life."
Contrasting self-created institutions with the Catholic Church, Benedict clarifies, "The Church is not self-made; She was created by God, and She is continuously formed by Him."
He refutes the modern notion that all men are saved, commenting that men of today have "the sense that God cannot let most of humanity be damned."
Pope Emeritus notes that starting in "the second half of the last century," mankind believed "God cannot let go to perdition all the unbaptized" or even let them go to a place of "purely natural happiness," which the Church calls Limbo.
Benedict contrasts the zeal of "the great missionaries of the 16th century" who "were still convinced that those who are not baptized are forever lost" with the lackluster missionary efforts after the Second Vatican Council, when "that conviction was finally abandoned" by many.
The former pontiff affirms that the lost conviction that the Church is necessary for salvation causes "a deep double crisis."
"On the one hand this seems to remove any motivation for a future missionary commitment," he says. "Why should one try to convince the people to accept the Christian faith when they can be saved even without it?”
Benedict also notes that many Catholics were scandalized by this presumption into leaving the Church, explaining, "If there are those who can save themselves in other ways, it is not clear, in the final analysis, why the Christian himself is bound by the requirements of the Christian faith and its morals."
He then attacks the faulty attempts to "reconcile the universal necessity of the Christian faith with the opportunity to save oneself without it."
After dismissing Karl Rahner's mistaken notion that most men are saved as anonymous Christians, Benedict turns to another popular theory. "Even less acceptable is the solution proposed by the pluralistic theories of religion, for which all religions, each in their own way, would be ways of salvation, and in this sense, in their effects must be considered equivalent."
In saying all this, Pope Emeritus Benedict is affirming the constant teaching that the Catholic Church is the only true Church and is absolutely necessary for salvation.
To learn more about this topic, watch "Mic'd Up—Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus."
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