No contradiction here . . .

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Puritan Board Junior
The Council of Florence (1441) declared in the Decree for the Jacobites, in the Bull Cantata Domino: It firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart “into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic [read Roman] Church. See Henry Denzinger, Enchiridion Symbolorum, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, trans. Roy J. Deferrari, Thirtieth Ed. (Powers Lake: Marian House, published in 1954 by Herder & Co., Freiburg), #714, p. 230.

Now compare the pronouncement of the "infallible" council of Florence with the statements that Pope John Paul II made on Wednesday, September 9, 1998 to a general audience in St. Peter’s Square on The Spirit of God and the ‘Seeds of Truth’ in non-Christian Religions (the contradictions you are about to witness between Florence on the one hand, and John Paul II and Vatican II on the other, are only apparent)

Pope John Paul II: Every true prayer is inspired by the Holy Spirit, Who is mysteriously present in the heart of every person. Through the practice of what is good in their own religious traditions, and following the dictates of their consciences, members of other religions positively respond to God's invitation and receive salvation in Jesus Christ, even though they may not recognize Him as their Savior. The attitude of the Church and of individual Christians with regard to other religions is characterized by sincere respect, deep kindness, and also, where it is possible and appropriate, cordial collaboration. This does not mean forgetting that Jesus Christ is the only Mediator and Savior of the human race. Nor does it imply lessening the missionary effort to which we have an obligation, in obedience to the command of the Risen Lord: ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ These words appeared on the official Vatican web site,

In contrast to Reformed theology, Roman Catholicism today places a great deal of emphasis on the sufficiency of natural theology derived from the innate knowledge of God in man for a knowledge of God and salvation. For example, Vatican II states:

But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Moslems, these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day. Nor is God Himself remote from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, since he gives to all men life and breath and all things (cf. Acts 17:25–28), and since the Saviour wills all men to be saved (cf. 1 Tim. 2:4). Those who, who through no fault of their own, do not know the gospel of Christ or His Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation. Vatican Council II The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, Austin Flannery, O.P., General Editor (Boston: St. Paul Editions, 1980), Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium II:16, p. 367.

Any Roman apologist will tell you, "nothing to see here, move along..." Contrary to what your mind tells you, there is no contradiction between these dueling "infallible" pronouncements.


Staff member
David, it has been my experience, and no doubt yours also, that Roman Catholic apologists use an additive methodology. They don't like to throw anything out, and contradictions don't matter to them. So, no matter what position a Protestant attacks, there is a RC "answer" for it. It's a bit like California laws. There are so many of them, and so many contradictory laws, that almost everyone is almost always breaking one of them. This is how California generates income. Push a knife into this foam, and it just gives before you, and closes up around your knife.


Puritan Board Junior
Indeed Lane, as one infamous Roman apologist was obliged to insist repeatedly on your blog in his responses to others and to me: "And that’s fully compatible with the Catholic [read "Roman"] position." It's certainly not compatible with true catholicity.
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Puritan Board Graduate
The Pope's latest pronouncements on capital punishment are the most recent example of RCC 'development'

Florida Reforming

Puritan Board Freshman
Traditional Roman Catholics all recognize that post-Vatican II Romanism is diametrically opposed to much of the "infallible" teaching from before the council. However they differ on how to deal with it. Yet I expect that if Newman were alive today he would view such as "development of doctrine."
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