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All Plausible if Contrary Excluded

The Anathema is an Act of Love

Better to Be a Bad Catholic Than a Good Protestant?

Calls to Wandering / Lost Sheep

Catholics Not Living Their Faith Will Be Swept Away

Christians Who Do Not Persevere Are Subject To Eternal Punishment

Continued Searching After Obstinate Sheep

Conversion

Do Not Despair of Salvation of Those Still Living

Friends vs. Flatterers

Gospel Doesn't Support False Tolerance

Greater Knowledge / Greater Blame

Ignorance

Laments

Loss of the Fear of God

No One Can Be Certain That He Will Be Saved

None Should Presume Their Own Salvation or Despair of Neighbor's Salvation

One Who Calls Himself Catholic But is Actually No Longer Catholic

The Purpose of Life

Religion and Peace / Happiness

Should Devote Greater Solicitude For Soul Than For Body

Some Considering Their Deserved Punishment Would Prefer That There Be Nothing After Death

Those Not in the State of Grace May Not Receive Holy Communion

Those Who Make Scripture Mean What They Want it to Mean

Those Who Mention Only Jesus' Clemency

Those Who Resist Lawful Authority Resist God's Ordering

What Delayed St. Augustine's Conversion

Who Really is a Christian / Truly Following & Believing in Christ

The Worth of One Saved Soul

Misc.

Category
Quotation

All Plausible if Contrary Excluded 

"Anything will become plausible, if you read all that can be said in its favor, and exclude all that can be said against it." (Cardinal Newman)

Also See: Truth / Error / Nature of Man | Duty to Reject Strange Doctrine

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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The Anathema is an Act of Love

Also See: Love / Charity (Topic Page)

"The anathema is an act of love of God because it condemns the offense against God which lies in the distortion of Christian revelation and of the teaching of the holy Church, and because it officially unmasks error as error. The protection of the divine Revelation has been entrusted to the holy Church, and to fulfill this holy trust is a central act of holy obedience and of love for divine truth, and indeed for God Himself. And it is an act of sublime love of neighbor to protect the faithful from the poison of false teachings, for it is far more important and higher objective good for man to remain in the truth faith, than to be relieved in his physical or psychic sufferings. The anathema is for men in statu viae (in their pilgrimage through life) something which protects that greatest good, which is so important for the salvation of their souls. It is thus a very great act of love because it protects the faithful from the deceits of heretics, who speak in the name of the Church, especially when they hold a position of authority and thus belong to the ecclesia docens (the teaching Church). These heretics are listened to which much sympathy and openness by the simple believing layman, and this makes it quite easy to seduce him to error and to poison his faith. Is it not a more fundamental, deeper act of love of neighbor to protect the faithful by unmasking heretics - and suspending them if they hold any office of authority - than to protect men against a plague, or to mitigate their poverty, or even to eliminate social injustice?... And even for him who is condemned it is an act of the greatest love of neighbor. It is for him like the knife of a surgeon which cuts away the cancer of a patient. It is a fully earnest admonition, an enlightenment as to his errors, an invitation to return to the truth. It protects him from completely lapsing into heresy without fully realizing it - it enables him to grasp the full incompatibility of his theses with the teaching of the holy Church, to feel the significance of his error, and with terrible seriousness it forces him to decide 'for or against God and His holy Church.'" (Von Hildebrand)

Also See: Flattery Confirms Sinners | Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke | We Must Not Refrain From Correcting Our Neighbor | Gospel Doesn't Support False Tolerance | Heresy/Heretics & Schism/Schismatics

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Better to Be a Bad Catholic Than a Good Protestant?

Also See: Those Outside the Church (Topic Page)

"[P]eople often say: 'it is better to be a good Protestant than a bad Catholic.' That is not true. That would mean, at bottom, that one could be saved without the true faith. No! A bad Catholic remains a child of the family, although a prodigal, and however great a sinner he may be, he still has the right to mercy. Through his faith, a bad Catholic is nearer to God than a Protestant is, for he is a member of the household, whereas the heretic is not. And how hard it is to make him become one!" (St. Peter Julian Eymard) 

Also See: Against Religious Indifferentism | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Cannot Have God For Father Without Church For Mother | Protestantism is Not Another Equally Pleasing Form of the Same Christian Religion | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners

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Calls to Wandering / Lost Sheep

"Although pained by the injustice and downcast in fatherly sorrow, it is so far from Our thought to repulse or to disown children who have been miserably deceived and have strayed so far from the truth and salvation that We cannot but invite them with all possible solicitude to return to the maternal bosom of the Church. May they lend ready ears to Our voice, may they return whence they have left, to the home that is truly their Father's, and may they stand firm there where their own place is" (Pope Pius XI, "Quadragesimo Anno", 1931 A.D.)

"We ask each and every one of them to correspond to the interior movements of grace, and to seek to withdraw form the state in which they cannot be sure of their salvation. For even though by an unconscious desire and longing they have a certain relationship with the Mystical Body of the Redeemer, they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church... We wait for them with open and outstretched arms to come not to a stranger's house, but to their own, their father's house." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"But at the present moment all of us ought to make still further efforts...to disseminate far and wide the better knowledge and love of Jesus Christ by teaching, persuading, exhorting, if perchance our voice can be heard; and this, not so much to those who are ever ready to listen willingly to Christian teachings, but to those most unfortunate men who, whilst professing the Christian name, live strangers to the faith and love of Christ. For these we feel the profoundest pity: these above all would we urge to think seriously of their present life and what its consequences will be if they do not repent. The greatest of all misfortunes is never to have known Jesus Christ: yet such a state is free from the sin of obstinacy and ingratitude. But first to have known Him, and afterwards to deny or forget Him, is a crime so foul and so insane that it seems impossible for any man to be guilty of it." (Pope Leo XIII, "Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus", 1900 A.D.)

"It is on this account that many of those We allude to men of sound judgment and seeking after truth, have looked to the Catholic Church for the sure way of salvation; for they clearly understand that they could never be united to Jesus Christ as their head if they were not members of His body, which is the Church; nor really acquire the true Christian faith if they rejected the legitimate teaching confided to Peter and his successors. Such men as these have recognized in the Church of Rome the form and image of the true Church, which is clearly made manifest by the marks of God, her Author, placed upon her: and not a few who were possessed with penetrating judgment and a special talent for historical research, have shown forth in their remarkable writings the uninterrupted succession of the Church of Rome from the apostles, the integrity of her doctrine, and the consistency of her rule and discipline. With the example of such men before you, Our heart appeals to you even more than Our words: to you, Our Brethren, who for three centuries and more differ from Us on Christian faith; and to you all likewise, who in later times, for any reason whatsoever, have turned away from Us: Let us all meet in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. Suffer that We should invite you to the unity which has ever existed in the Catholic Church and can never fail; suffer that We should lovingly hold out Our hand to you. The Church, as the common mother of all, has long been calling you back to her; the Catholics of the world await you with brotherly love, that you may render holy worship to God together with us, united in perfect charity by the profession of one Gospel, one faith, and one hope." (Pope Leo XIII, "Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae", 1894 A.D.)

"What Christ has said of Himself We may truly repeat of Ourselves: 'Other sheep I have that are not of this fold: them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice' (John x., 16). Let all those, therefore, who detest the wide-spread irreligion of our times, and acknowledge and confess Jesus Christ to be the Son of God and the Savior of the human race, but who have wandered away from the Spouse [the Church], listen to Our voice. Let them not refuse to obey Our paternal charity. Those who acknowledge Christ must acknowledge Him wholly and entirely. 'The Head and the Body are Christ wholly and entirely. The Head is the only-begotten Son of God, the Body is His Church; the Bridegroom and the Bride, two in one flesh. All who dissent from the Scriptures concerning Christ, although they may be found in all places in which the Church is found, are not in the Church; and again all those who agree with the Scriptures concerning the Head, and do not communicate in the unity of the Church, are not in the Church' (S. Augustinus, Contra Donatistas Epistola, sive De Unit. Eccl., cap. iv., n. 7). And with the same yearning Our soul goes out to those whom the foul breath of irreligion has not entirely corrupted, and who at least seek to have the true God, the Creator of Heaven and earth, as their Father. Let such as these take counsel with themselves, and realize that they can in no wise be counted among the children of God, unless they take Christ Jesus as their Brother, and at the same time the Church as their mother. We lovingly address to all the words of St. Augustine: 'Let us love the Lord our God; let us love His Church; the Lord as our Father, the Church as our Mother. Let no one say, I go indeed to idols, I consult fortune-tellers and soothsayers; but I leave not the Church of God: I am a Catholic. Clinging to thy Mother, thou offendest thy Father. Another, too, says: 'Far be it from me; I do not consult fortune-telling, I seek not soothsaying, I seek not profane divinations, I go not to the worship of devils, I serve not stones: but I am on the side of Donatus.' What doth it profit thee not to offend the Father, who avenges an offence against the Mother? What doth it profit to confess the Lord, to honor God, to preach Him, to acknowledge His Son, and to confess that He sits on the right hand of the Father, if you blaspheme His Church?... If you had a beneficent friend, whom you honored daily - and even once calumniated his spouse, would you ever enter his house? Hold fast, therefore, O dearly beloved, hold fast altogether God as your Father, and the Church as your Mother' (Enarratio in Psal. lxxxviii., sermo ii., n. 14)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

Also See: Calls to Repentance | The Church Can Forgive All Sin | No Repentance is Too Late | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Fallen Away Catholics / Those Who Leave the Church | Sin / Repentance / Forgiveness | Zeal for Souls | Tough Love in the New Testament

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Catholics Not Living Their Faith Will Be Swept Away

"The Catholic who does not live really and sincerely according to the Faith he professes will not long be master of himself in these days when the winds of strife and persecution blow so fiercely, but will be swept away defenseless in this new deluge which threatens the world. And, thus, while he is preparing his own ruin, he is exposing to ridicule the very name of Christian." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Redemptoris")

Also See: Christians Who Do Not Persevere Are Subject To Eternal Punishment | Fallen Away Catholics | Cannot Live as One Chooses | Against 'Cafeteria Catholicism' | The Church Can Forgive All Sin | No Peace When We Wander From God | Those Not in the State of Grace May Not Receive Holy Communion | Sin / Repentance / Forgiveness | No Repentance is Too Late | Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | Penance (Sacraments/Reflections) | Tough Love in the New Testament

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Christians Who Do Not Persevere Are Subject To Eternal Punishment

Also See: Hell / Eternal Damnation (Topic Page)

"According to Augustine (De Civitate Dei xxi, 20,21), there have been some who predicted a delivery from eternal punishment not for all men, but only for Christians, although they stated the matter in different ways. For some said that whoever received the sacraments of faith would be immune from eternal punishment. But this is contrary to the truth, since some receive the sacraments of faith, and yet have not faith, without which 'it is impossible to please God' (Hebrews 11:6). Wherefore others said that those alone will be exempt from eternal punishment who have received the sacraments of faith, and professed the Catholic faith. But against this it would seem to be that at one time some people profess the Catholic faith, and afterwards abandon it, and these are deserving not of a lesser but of a greater punishment, since according to 2 Peter 2:21, 'it had been better for them not to have known the way of justice than, after they have known it, to turn back.' Moreover it is clear that heresiarchs who renounce the Catholic faith and invent new heresies sin more grievously than those who have conformed to some heresy from the first. And therefore some have maintained that those alone are exempt from eternal punishment, who persevere to the end in the Catholic faith, however guilty they may have been of other crimes. But this is clearly contrary to Holy Writ, for it is written (James 2:20): 'Faith without works is dead,' and (Matthew 7:21) 'Not every one that saith to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of My Father Who is in heaven': and in many other passages Holy Scripture threatens sinners with eternal punishment. Consequently those who persevere in the faith unto the end will not all be exempt from eternal punishment, unless in the end they prove to be free from other crimes." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Catholics Not Living Their Faith Will Be Swept Away | Fallen Away Catholics | No Repentance is Too Late | Sin / Repentance / Forgiveness | Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | Penance (Sacraments/Reflections) | Tough Love in the New Testament | Catholic Basics | Fear of the Lord (Topical Scripture) | Hell (Topical Scripture) | Repentance (Topical Scripture)

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Continued Searching After Obstinate Sheep

"These wandering sheep, obstinate sheep, are offended because we run after them, as if their wandering made them cease to be ours. - Why dost thou call us? They say; why dost thou peruse us? - But the very reason of our cries and our anguish is that they are running into their ruin. - If I am lost, if I die, what is it to thee? What does thou want with me? - What I want is to call thee back from thy wandering; what I desire is to snatch thee from death. - But what if I will to wander? What if I will to be lost? - Thou willest to wander? Thou willest to be lost? How much more earnestly do I wish it not! Yea, I dare to say it, I am importunate; for I hear the Apostle saying: 'Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season' (cf. 2 Tm. iv. 2). In season, when they are willing; out of season, when they are unwilling. Yes then, I am importunate: thou willest to perish, I will it not. And he wills it not, who threatened the shepherds saying: 'That which was driven away you have not brought again, neither have you sought that which was lost.' Am I to fear thee more than Him? I fear thee not; the tribunal of [yours] cannot take the place of Christ's judgment seat, before which we must all appear. Whether thou will it or not, I shall call back the wandering sheep, I shall seek the lost sheep. The thorns may tear me; but however narrow the opening may be, it shall not check my pursuit; I will beat every bush, as long as the Lord gives me strength; so only I can get to thee wherever thou strivest to perish." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Calls to Wandering / Lost Sheep | Calls to Repentance | No Repentance is Too Late | The Church Can Forgive All Sin | Sin / Repentance / Forgiveness | Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke | The Anathema is an Act of Love | Zeal for Souls | Tough Love in the New Testament

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Conversion

Also See: Becoming a Catholic / Converting (Topic Page)

"There is no happiness in the world comparable to that of the experience known as conversion." (Benson)

"The Church is a house with a hundred gates: and no two men enter at exactly the same angle." (Chesterton)

"There are in truth three states of the converted: the beginning, the middle, and the perfection. In the beginning the experience the charms of sweetness, in the middle the contests of temptation, and in the end the plenitude of perfection." (Pope St. Gregory I, Doctor of the Church, 6th century A.D.)

"Oh, long sought after, tardily found, desire of the eyes, joy of the heart, the truth after many shadows, the fullness after many foretastes, the home after many storms, come to her poor wanderers, for she it is and she alone, who can unfold the meaning of your being and the secret of your destiny. She alone can open to you the gate of heaven and put you on your way." (Cardinal Newman)

"God has not chosen every one to salvation: it is a rare gift to be a Catholic; it may be offered to us once in our lives and never again; and, if we have not seized on the accepted time, nor know in our day the things which are for our peace, oh, the misery for us! What shall we be able to say when death comes, and we are not converted, and it is directly and immediately our own doing that we are not?" (Cardinal Newman)

Also See: Conversion / Repentance | Calls to Repentance | No Repentance is Too Late | The Church Can Forgive All Sin | Sin / Repentance / Forgiveness | Some Don't Want To Convert Because They Want to Continue in Their Sinful Ways | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Religion and Peace / Happiness | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | Zeal for Souls | Tough Love in the New Testament | Tips for Apologists | Non-Catholics (apologetics) | Catholic Basics | Conversion (Topical Scripture)

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Do Not Despair of Salvation of Those Still Living

"...the grace of God encourages us never to despair of anyone's salvation while he lives" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Salutem", 1930 A.D.)

"We need not despair of any man, as long as he lives." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"To the one who still remains in this world, no repentance is too late." (St. Cyprian of Carthage)

Also See: Do Not Despair of the Living | None Should Presume Their Own Salvation or Despair of Neighbor's Salvation | Calls to Repentance | Conversion / Repentance | No Repentance is Too Late | Sin / Repentance / Forgiveness | The Church Can Forgive All Sin | Fallen Away Catholics | Better to Be a Bad Catholic Than a Good Protestant? | Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | Zeal for Souls | Penance (Sacraments/Reflections) | Tips for Apologists

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Friends vs. Flatterers

"For in this way especially does a friend differ from a flatterer: The Flatterer speaks to give pleasure, but the friend refrains from nothing, even that which causes pain." (St. Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: The Anathema is an Act of Love | Flattery Confirms Sinners | Gospel Doesn't Support False Tolerance | Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke | Those Who Mention Only Jesus' Clemency | Tough Love in the New Testament

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Gospel Doesn't Support False Tolerance

"The modern theory that you should always treat the religious convictions of other people with profound respect finds no support in the Gospels. Mutual tolerance of religious views is the product not of faith, but of doubt." {Lunn}

"It is the fashion in some quarters to first put aside the divinity of Jesus Christ, and then to mention only His unlimited clemency, His compassion for all human miseries and His pressing exhortations to the love of our neighbor and to the brotherhood of men. True, Jesus has loved us with an immense, infinite love... But for the realization of this temporal and eternal happiness, He has laid down with supreme authority the condition that we must belong to His flock, that we must accept His doctrine, that we must practice virtue, and that we must accept the teaching and guidance of Peter and his successors. Further, while Jesus was kind to sinners and to those who went astray, He did not respect their false ideas, however sincere they might have appeared. He loved them all, but He instructed them in order to convert them and save them." (Pope St. Pius X, Our Apostolic Mandate)

Also See: Duty to Profess / Defend the Faith | Duty to Reject Strange Doctrine | Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke | The Anathema is an Act of Love | One Should Not Be Open Minded to Error | We Must Not Refrain From Correcting Our Neighbor | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Non-Association with Heretics / Schismatics | Novel Teachings Are Forbidden | Tough Love in the New Testament | Heresy / Error (Topical Scripture)

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Greater Knowledge / Greater Blame 

"[W]here there is the greater gift of knowledge, there the transgressor lies under the greater blame." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church) 

Also See: Ignorance | Duty to Profess / Defend the Faith | One Should Not Be Open Minded to Error | Truth & the Nature of Man | Truth is Unchanging | We Must Persevere

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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Ignorance

"How many and how grave are the consequences of ignorance in matters of religion!" (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo Nimis", 1905 A.D.)

"[I]gnorance...is the food of heresy" (Liturgical Year)

"In matters of religion, the majority of men in our times must be considered uninstructed." (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo Nimis", 1905 A.D.)

"[T]he worst of poverties is the ignorance of divine truths, because it would make a man poor and miserable for eternity" (Gueranger)

"It is hardly surprising that so many lapse from the Faith when they have not been taught what the Faith is." (Davies)

"How can that be true happiness which has no assurance of lasting in eternity, while the soul either in ignorance of the truth does not know what misery is approaching, or is, in its happiness, unhappily terrified?" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 420 A.D.)

"You, above all, know that many evils generally arise from ignorance of divine matters essential for salvation. Hence, you will understand that it behooves you to use every care and diligence that so detrimental a condition be prevented." (Pope Pius IX, "Quanto Conficiamur Moerore", 1863)

"It is rather ignorance than ill-will which keeps multitudes away from Jesus Christ. There are many who study humanity and the natural world; few who study the Son of God. The first step, then, is to substitute knowledge for ignorance, so that He may no longer be despised or rejected because He is unknown." (Pope Leo XIII, "Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus", 1900 A.D.)

"We declare that a great number of those who are condemned to eternal punishment suffer that everlasting calamity because of ignorance of those mysteries of faith which must be known and believed in order to be numbered among the elect." (Pope Benedict XIV, as cited by Pope St. Pius X in "Acerbo Nimis", 1905 A.D.)

"What does ignorance of God beget us? Despair! A man who ponders all the evil he has done becomes anxious about himself. If he does not know how good and forgiving the Lord is, how willing to forgive and welcome him back, he falls into despair and becomes impenitent. He does not realize that Omnipotent Goodness could manage all his affairs, not wanting anyone to perish but that the sinner could be converted and live." (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, Doctor of the Church)

"A man who walks with open eyes may, indeed, turn aside from the right path, but a blind man is in much more imminent danger of wandering away. Furthermore, there is always some hope for a reform of perverse conduct so long as the light of faith is not entirely extinguished; but if lack of faith is added to depraved morality because of ignorance, the evil hardly admits of remedy, and the road to ruin lies open. How many and how grave are the consequences of ignorance in matters of religion! And on the other hand, how necessary and how beneficial is religious instruction! It is indeed vain to expect a fulfillment of the duties of a Christian by one who does not even know them." (Pope St. Pius X, "Acerbo Nimis", 1905 A.D.)

"From this Apostolic Center of the Church of Christ, We turn Our eyes toward those who, unfortunately in great numbers, are either ignorant of Christ and His Redemption or do not follow in their entirety His teachings, or who are separated from the unity of His Church and thus are without His Fold, although they too have been called by Christ to membership in His Church. The Vicar of the Good Shepherd, seeing so many of his sheep gone astray, cannot but recall and make his own the simple but expressive words of Christ, words which are permeated through and through by the longings born of divine desire: 'And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring.' (John x, 16) He cannot but rejoice in the wonderful prophecy which filled even the Sacred Heart of Jesus with joy. 'And they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.' May God, and We join with you and with all the faithful in this prayer, shortly bring to fulfillment His prophecy by transforming this consoling vision of the future into a present reality." (Pope Pius XI, "Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio", 1922 A.D.)

"I answer that, Ignorance differs from nescience, in that nescience denotes mere absence of knowledge; wherefore whoever lacks knowledge about anything, can be said to be nescient about it: in which sense Dionysius puts nescience in the angels (De Coelesti Hierarchia vii). On the other hand, ignorance denotes privation of knowledge, i.e. lack of knowledge of those things that one has a natural aptitude to know. Some of these we are under an obligation to know, those, to wit, without the knowledge of which we are unable to accomplish a due act rightly. Wherefore all are bound in common to know the articles of faith, and the universal principles of right, and each individual is bound to know matters regarding his duty or state. Meanwhile there are other things which a man may have a natural aptitude to know, yet he is not bound to know them, such as the geometrical theorems, and contingent particulars, except in some individual case. Now it is evident that whoever neglects to have or do what he ought to have or do, commits a sin of omission. Wherefore through negligence, ignorance of what one is bound to know, is a sin; whereas it is not imputed as a sin to man, if he fails to know what he is unable to know. Consequently ignorance of such like things is called invincible, because it cannot be overcome by study. For this reason such like ignorance, not being voluntary, since it is not in our power to be rid of it, is not a sin: wherefore it is evident that no invincible ignorance is a sin. On the other hand, vincible ignorance is a sin, if it be about matters one is bound to know; but not, if it be about things one is not bound to know." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: Ignorance / Sin | Invincible Ignorance | Those Who Do Not Wish To See / Hear | False Opinions Influence / Pervert Actions | Truth / Error / Nature of Man

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Laments

"[F]or it is impossible to think of such a large portion of mankind deviating, as it were, from the right path, as they move away from Us, and not experience a sentiment of innermost grief." (Pope Leo XIII, "Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae", 1894 A.D.)

"[F]or it is one of the most painful and grievous sights to see so many souls, redeemed by the blood of Christ, snatched from salvation by the whirlwind of an age of error, precipitated into the abyss of eternal death." (Pope Leo XIII, "Supremi Apostolatus Officio", 1883 A.D.)

"The manifold sins committed by the Church's children against the divine precept show that they who so sin are rotten members, members alien to the body of Christ. Nevertheless the Church forgets not that she gave them birth in the laver of salvation; she forgets not the promises they then made to renounce the devil, and the pomps of the world, and all sin. Therefore does she weep over their fall, being their true mother, and never losing the hope of winning their resurrection by her tears. O what a flood of tears is thus every day shed before God! What fervent prayers does this spotless virgin send, by the ministry of the holy angels, up to Christ, who is the salvation of sinners!" (St. Laurence Justinian)

"While we recall with grateful hearts, as is only fitting, these and other outstanding gains, which the divine mercy has bestowed on the church especially by means of the last ecumenical synod [the Council of Trent], we cannot subdue the bitter grief that we feel at most serious evils, which have largely arisen either because the authority of the sacred synod was held in contempt by all too many, or because its wise decrees were neglected. Everybody knows that those heresies, condemned by the fathers of Trent, which rejected the divine magisterium of the Church and allowed religious questions to be a matter for the judgment of each individual, have gradually collapsed into a multiplicity of sects, either at variance or in agreement with one another; and by this means a good many people have had all faith in Christ destroyed. Indeed even the holy Bible itself, which they at one time claimed to be the sole source and judge of the Christian faith, is no longer held to be divine, but they begin to assimilate it to the inventions of myth... With this impiety spreading in every direction, it has come about, alas, that many even among the children of the Catholic Church have strayed from the path of genuine piety, and as the truth was gradually diluted in them, their Catholic sensibility was weakened. Led away by diverse and strange teachings and confusing nature and grace, human knowledge and divine faith, they are found to distort the genuine sense of the dogmas which holy mother Church holds and teaches, and to endanger the integrity and genuineness of the faith." (First Vatican Council)

"You are well aware, venerable brothers, of the many misfortunes which now afflict the Catholic Church. You know, too, that holy religion is being attacked by the pollution of errors of every kind and by the unbridled rashness of renegades. At the same time heretics and unbelievers attempt by cleverness and deceit to pervert the hearts and minds of the faithful You are aware...that practically no effort has been left untried in the attempt to overthrow the unshakeable building of the holy city. In particular, We are obliged, alas! to see the wicked enemies of truth spread everywhere unpunished. They harass religion with ridicule, the Church with insults, and Catholics with arrogance and calumny. They even enter cities and towns, establish schools of error and impiety, and publish their poisonous teachings which are adapted to secret deceit by misusing the natural sciences and recent discoveries. Furthermore they enter the hovels of the poor, traverse the countryside, and seek the acquaintance of the farmers and the lowest classes. They try every method of attracting the uneducated, especially the youth, to their sects, and of making them desert the Catholic faith, whether by means of Bibles inaccurately translated into the vernacular, pestilential newspapers and pamphlets of little weight, or by seductive speeches, pretended charity, and gifts of money. There is hardly any uncivilized district left in the entire world to which headquarters of the main societies of heretics and unbelievers have not sent scouts and emissaries without counting the cost. These men, by waging secret or open war on the Catholic religion and its pastors and ministers, tear the faithful from the bosom of the Church and prevent unbelievers from entering it." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Probe Nostis", 1840 A.D.)

"But it is yet more to be lamented, Venerable Brethren, that among the faithful themselves, washed in Baptism with the blood [of Christ], and enriched with grace, there are found so many men of every class, who laboring under an incredible ignorance of Divine things and infected with false doctrines, far from their Father's home, lead a life involved in vices, a life which is not brightened by the light of true faith, nor gladdened by the hope of future beatitude, nor refreshed and cherished by the fire of charity; so that they truly seem to sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Moreover, among the faithful there is a greatly increasing carelessness of ecclesiastical discipline, and of those ancient institutions on which all Christian life rests, by which domestic society is governed, and the sanctity of marriage is safeguarded; the education of children is altogether neglected, or else it is depraved by too indulgent blandishments, and the Church is even robbed of the power of giving the young a Christian education; there is a sad forgetfulness of Christian modesty especially in the life and the dress of women; there is an unbridled cupidity of transitory things, a want of moderation in civic affairs, an unbounded ambition of popular favor, a depreciation of legitimate authority, and lastly a contempt for the word of God, whereby faith itself is injured, or is brought into proximate peril. But all these evils as it were culminate in the cowardice and the sloth of those who, after the manner of the sleeping and fleeing disciples, wavering in their faith, miserably forsake Christ when He is oppressed by anguish or surrounded by the satellites of Satan, and in the perfidy of those others who following the example of the traitor Judas, either partake of the holy table rashly and sacrilegiously, or go over to the camp of the enemy." (Pope Pius XI, "Miserentissimus Redemptor", 1928 A.D.)

Also See: Calls to Repentance | Calls to Wandering / Lost Sheep | Continued Searching After Obstinate Sheep | Conversion / Repentance | Loss of the Fear of God | No Peace When We Wander From God | No Repentance is Too Late | Sin / Repentance / Forgiveness | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | We Must Persevere | Current Issues / Catholic News (Reflections) | Scandals in the Church / Bad Catholics | Tough Love in the New Testament | Tips for Apologists

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Loss of the Fear of God

"The spirit of independence and of false liberty, which is nowadays so rife amongst us, is a great enemy to the fear of God; and one of the miseries of our age, is that there is little fear of God. Familiarity with God but too frequently usurps the place of that essential basis of the Christian life. The result is, that there is no progress in virtue, such people are a prey to illusion; and the sacraments, which previously worked so powerfully in their souls, are now well-nigh unproductive. The reason is, that the gift of fear has been superceded by a conceited self-complacency. Humility has no further sway; a secret and habitual pride has paralyzed the soul; and seeing that these people scout the very idea of their ever trembling before the great God of heaven, we may well ask them if they know who God is." (Gueranger)

Also See: Fear of the Lord / Habitual Sins | Christians Who Do Not Persevere Are Subject To Eternal Punishment | Sin / Repentance / Forgiveness | Tough Love in the New Testament | Fear of the Lord (Topical Scripture) | Sin (Topical Scripture) | Judgment (Topical Scripture) | Hell (Topical Scripture)

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No One Can Be Certain That He Will Be Saved

"Can. 15. If anyone shall say that a man who is born again and justified is bound by faith to believe that he is assuredly in the number of the predestined: let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 16. If anyone shall say that he will for certain with an absolute and infallible certainty have that great gift of perseverance up to the end, unless he shall have learned this by a special revelation: let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing. No, I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 9:24-27) 

Also See: None Should Presume Their Own Salvation or Despair of Neighbor's Salvation | Christians Who Do Not Persevere Are Subject To Eternal Punishment | Those Who Mention Only Jesus' Clemency | We Must Persevere | Tough Love in the New Testament | Catholic Basics | Non-Catholics (apologetics)

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None Should Presume Their Own Salvation or Despair of Neighbor's Salvation

"There be very many come to the faith, yet but few arrive at the heavenly kingdom; many follow God in words, but shun Him in their lives. Whereof spring two things to be thought upon. The first, that none should presume ought concerning himself; for though he be called to the faith, he knows not whether he shall be chosen to the kingdom. Secondly, that none should despair of his neighbor, even though he see him lying in vices; because he knows not the riches of the Divine mercy." (St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: No One Can Be Certain That He Will Be Saved | Do Not Despair of Salvation of Those Still Living | Christians Who Do Not Persevere Are Subject To Eternal Punishment | We Must Persevere

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One Who Calls Himself Catholic But is Actually No Longer Catholic

"Nowadays, faith is rare. Pride of intellect is at its height, and docility to the Church's teachings is far from being general. A man calls himself a Christian and a Catholic, and yet he has his own views upon certain subjects, which he would very reluctantly give up, where they to be condemned by the only authority on earth which has the power to guide us in what we are to hold or reject in matters pertaining to faith. He reads dangerous, sometimes even bad, books, without thinking of inquiring if the laws of the Church forbid such books. His religious instruction has been of a very meager kind, and he seems to wish it to remain so, for he takes no pains to come to a solid and perfect knowledge of his religion; the result is, that his mind is filled with the fashionable prejudices of the world he lives in, and, on more than one point, he may depend upon his having imbibed heretical notions. He is looked upon as a Catholic; he satisfies the exterior obligations of his religion, either because of his early training, or because the rest of his family does so, or because he feels more satisfied to do than to omit them: and yet - how sad it is to say it! - he is not a Catholic, for his faith is gone." (Gueranger)

Also See: Who Really is a Christian / Truly Following & Believing in Christ | Against 'Cafeteria Catholicism' | Catholics Not Living Their Faith Will Be Swept Away | Christians Who Do Not Persevere Are Subject To Eternal Punishment | Sin / Repentance / Forgiveness | Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke | Those Not in the State of Grace May Not Receive Holy Communion | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | Fallen Away Catholics | We Must Persevere

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The Purpose of Life

"The sole purpose of life in time is to gain merit for life in eternity." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next." (Baltimore Catechism)

Also See: Religion and Peace / Happiness | No Peace When We Wander From God | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | We Must Persevere | Catholic Basics | Our Father's Love

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Religion and Peace / Happiness

"But what else is it to live happily, except to know what one has something eternally?" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?" (St. Gerard Majella)

"There is no good capable of making any rational or intellectual creature happy except God." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"What greater blessing could we have than to come to the knowledge of God?" (Gueranger)

"What would he not give to his children who ask, since he has already granted them the gift of being his children?" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"It is a strange thing: I have met plenty of people who repented at not having loved God. Never have I met one who repented of having loved him." (St. John Vianney)

"How can that be true happiness which has no assurance of lasting in eternity, while the soul either in ignorance of the truth does not know what misery is approaching, or is, in its happiness, unhappily terrified?" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 420 A.D.)

"If you would be wise, recognize that you were created for God's glory and your own eternal salvation, that this is your end, this is the center of your soul, this the treasure of your heart. If you reach this end, you will be happy. If you fall short of it, you will be wretched." (St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church)

"[N]o gift of God either to individuals or to nations is greater than to receive by His grace the Catholic faith, and having received it, to keep it with perseverance. This gift contains an abundance of other gifts by means of which individual persons receive both eternal happiness in heaven and greatness and prosperity for their state on earth." (Pope Leo XIII, "Quod Multum", 1886 A.D.)

"And let them be convinced that nowhere, even on earth, can they find full happiness save with Him who, being rich, became poor for our sakes that through His poverty we might become rich, Who was poor and in labors from His youth, Who invited to Himself all that labor and are heavily burdened that He might refresh them fully in the love of His heart, and Who, lastly, without any respect for persons will require more of them to whom more has been given and 'will render to everyone according to his conduct.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Quadragesimo Anno", 1931 A.D.)

Also See: The Purpose of Life | Nothing More Glorious Than Belonging to the Church | No Peace When We Wander From God | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Catholic Basics | Our Father's Love | Why I Love Being Catholic | Feed Your Faith

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Should Devote Greater Solicitude For Soul Than For Body

"There are many people who exert greater care for their bodies than they do for their soul. But they should devote a greater solicitude for their soul, where the image of God is. When the flesh, which they have loved so much, begins to be devoured by worms in the grave, the soul is presented to God by the angels in heaven. Then, if it has been good, it is crowned; but if evil, it will be cast out into darkness." (St. Caesar of Arles)

Also See: The Purpose of Life | We Must Attend To Our Own Souls | No Peace When We Wander From God | The Worth of One Saved Soul | Zeal for Souls | Christians Who Do Not Persevere Are Subject To Eternal Punishment | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | We Must Persevere | Tough Love in the New Testament | Catholic Basics

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Some Considering Their Deserved Punishment Would Prefer That There Be Nothing After Death 

Also See: Hell / Eternal Damnation (Topic Page)

"I am not ignorant of the fact that many, in the consciousness of what they deserve, would rather hope than actually believe that there is nothing for them after death. They would prefer to be annihilated rather than be restored for punishment. Nor is there either measure or end to these torments...just as the fires of Mount Etna and Mount Vesuvius and of burning lands everywhere blaze without being wasted; so also that fiery punishment is fed not by consuming those who burn, but is nourished by the unending eating away of their bodies. That they who do not know God are deservedly tortured for their impiety and injustice, none but a godless man can doubt; for the crime of not knowing the Author of all and Lord of all is not less than that of offending Him." (Minucius Felix, 3rd century A.D.)

Also See: Calls to Repentance | Conversion / Repentance | No Repentance is Too Late | Sin / Repentance / Forgiveness | The Church Can Forgive All Sin | Sinners Should Call on Mary | Fallen Away Catholics | Christians Who Do Not Persevere Are Subject To Eternal Punishment | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | Penance (Sacraments/Reflections) | Tough Love in the New Testament

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Those Not in the State of Grace May Not Receive Holy Communion

Also See: Holy Communion (Topic Page)

"If it is not becoming for anyone to approach any of the sacred functions except solemnly, certainly, the more the holiness and the divinity of this heavenly sacrament is understood by a Christian, the more diligently ought he to take heed lest he approach to receive it without great reverence and holiness, especially when we read in the Apostle those words full of terror: 'He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself not discerning the body of the Lord' (1 Cor. 11:29). Therefore, the precept, 'Let a man prove himself' (1 Cor. 11:28), must be recalled to mind by him who wishes to communicate. Now ecclesiastical usage declares that this examination is necessary, that no one conscious of mortal sin, however contrite he may seem to himself, should approach the Holy Eucharist without a previous sacramental confession. This, the holy Synod has decreed, is always to be observed by all Christians, even by those priests on whom by their office it may be incumbent to celebrate, provided the recourses of a confessor be not lacking to them. But if in an urgent necessity a priest should celebrate without previous confession, let him confess as soon as possible." (Council of Trent)

Also See: Penance (Sacraments/Reflections) | Holy Eucharist (Sacraments/Reflections) | Sacraments (Reflections) | Sacraments Section | Catholics Not Living Their Faith Will Be Swept Away | Christians Who Do Not Persevere Are Subject To Eternal Punishment | Fallen Away Catholics | Against 'Cafeteria Catholicism' | Loss of the Fear of God | Sin / Repentance / Forgiveness | The Church Can Forgive All Sin | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Those Who Mention Only Jesus' Clemency | Tough Love in the New Testament

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Those Who Make Scripture Mean What They Want it to Mean

"I prefer to say nothing of men who, like myself, have passed from profane literature to Biblical study, but who, if they happen once to have caught men's ears by their ornate sermons, straightway begin to fancy that whatsoever they say is God's law. Apparently they do not think it worthwhile to discover what the Prophets and Apostles really meant; they are content to string together texts made to fit the meaning they want. One would almost fancy that instead of being a degraded species of oratory, it must be a fine thing to pervert the meaning of the text and compel the reluctant Scripture to yield the meaning one wants!" (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Personal Interpretation of Scripture / Rejection of Truth | Private Interpretation / Twisting Scripture (Scripture Reflections) | Error / Truth | Duty to Reject Strange Doctrine | Novel Teachings Are Forbidden | One Should Not Be Open Minded to Error | False Opinions Influence / Pervert Actions | Heresy/Heretics & Schism/Schismatics | Popes as Preservers of Tradition / Against New Doctrines (Vatican View Reflections) | Infallibility (Vatican View) | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Scripture (Reflections) | Truth (Topical Scripture) | Heresy / Error (Topical Scripture) | Biblical Societies Rejected

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Those Who Mention Only Jesus' Clemency

"[I]t is the fashion in some quarters to first put aside the divinity of Jesus Christ, and then to mention only His unlimited clemency, His compassion for all human miseries, and His pressing exhortations to the love of our neighbor and to the brotherhood of men. True, Jesus has loved us with an immense, infinite love, and He came on earth to suffer and die so that, gathered around Him in justice and love, motivated by the same sentiments of mutual charity, all men might live in peace and happiness. But for the realization of this temporal and eternal happiness, He has laid down with supreme authority the condition that we must belong to His flock, that we must accept His doctrine, that we must practice virtue, and that we must accept the teaching and guidance of Peter and his successors. Further, while Jesus was kind to sinners and to those who went astray, He did not respect their false ideas, however sincere they might have appeared. He loved them all, but He instructed them in order to convert them and save them. While He called to Himself in order to comfort them, those who toiled and suffered, it was not to preach to them the jealousy of a chimerical equality. While He lifted up the lowly, it was not to instill in them the sentiment of a dignity independent from, and rebellious against, the duty of obedience. While His heart overflowed with gentleness toward the souls of goodwill, He could also arm Himself with holy indignation against the profaners of the House of God, against the wretched men who scandalized the little ones, against the authorities who crush the people with the weight of heavy burdens without putting out a hand to lift them. He was as strong as he was gentle. He reproved, threatened, chastised; knowing and teaching us that fear is the beginning of wisdom, and that it is sometimes proper for a man to cut off an offending limb to save his body. Finally, He did not announce for future society the reign of an ideal happiness from which suffering would be banished; but, by His lessons and by His example, He traced the path of the happiness which is possible on earth and of perfect happiness in heaven: the royal way of the Cross." (Pope St. Pius X, "Notre Charge Apostolique", 1910 A.D.)

Also See: Tough Love in the New Testament | No One Can Be Certain That He Will Be Saved | Christians Who Do Not Persevere Are Subject To Eternal Punishment | Loss of the Fear of God | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Fear of the Lord (Topical Scripture)

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Those Who Resist Lawful Authority Resist God's Ordering

"Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves." (St. Paul, Rom. 13:2)

"Take pains to impress on the Christian people a due obedience and subjection to rulers and governments. Do this by teaching, in accordance with the warning of the Apostle, that all authority comes from God. Whoever resists authority resists the ordering made by God Himself, consequently achieving his own condemnation; disobeying authority is always sinful except when an order is given which is opposed to the laws of God and the Church." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846 A.D.)

Also See: The Chair of Peter | Those Who Reject the Church Reject Christ | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Necessity of Union With the Roman Pontiff (Vatican View Reflections) | Those Who Say They Are Not Confided to Peter Confess That They Are Not Christ's Sheep | Catholic Life | Vatican View Section | Priests & Vocations | Catholic Basics | Non-Catholics (apologetics) | Church (Topical Scripture)

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What Delayed St. Augustine's Conversion

"The chief reason why I continued to live so long in the errors of the Manichees and impugned the Catholic Church with so much violence, was because I thought that all I had heard against the Church was true. But when I found out that it was all false, I made known this falsehood to the world, in order to undeceive others who were caught in the same snare. I mingled joys and blushes, and was ashamed that I had now for so many years been barking and railing, not against the Catholic faith, but only against the fictions of my carnal concepts. For so temerarious and impious was I that those things which I might have learned by Catholics by inquiry, I charged upon them by accusation. I was readier to impose falsehood than to be informed of the truth." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Conversion | Recognizing the True Religion | Truth / Error / Nature of Man | Catholic Basics | Non-Catholics (apologetics)

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Who Really is a Christian / Truly Following & Believing in Christ

 

"It will not be out of place to consider the ancient tradition, teaching and faith of the Catholic Church, which was revealed by the Lord, proclaimed by the Apostles, and guarded by the Fathers. For upon this faith the Church is built, and if anyone were to lapse from it he would no longer be Christian either in fact or in name." (St. Athanasius, Doctor of the Church)

"How can a man say he believes in Christ if he doesn't do what Christ commanded him to do?" (St. Cyprian of Carthage)

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 14:15)

"Even the heretics appear to have Christ, for none of them denies the name of Christ; yet anyone who does not confess all that pertains to Christ does in fact deny Christ." (St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church)

Also See: Who Are Truly Numbered Among the Members of the Church | Those Not United to the Body of the Church Are Not Her Members or in Communion With Christ | Those Who Reject the Church Reject Christ | Those Gathered Outside the Church of Christ | Those Not Following Christ / Those Not of Christ | Those Who Say They Are Not Confided to Peter Confess That They Are Not Christ's Sheep | Necessity of Union With the Roman Pontiff (Vatican View Reflections) | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | One Who Calls Himself Catholic But is Actually No Longer Catholic | Church (Topical Scripture) | Tough Love in the New Testament

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The Worth of One Saved Soul

"One soul saved is worth more than our lives." (St. Madeleine Sophie Barat)

Also See: Zeal for Souls | Should Devote Greater Solicitude For Soul Than For Body | We Must Have Charity For All People | Solicitude For Those Outside the Church | Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke | Catholic Basics

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