12.0 Gaudium et Spes

Claim: GS#22 says that, “For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man. He worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin.” (Vatican Translation) Yet, if God is united to every person then no one can go to hell which is the absence of God.

Response: The claim about a universal salvation because Christ has united himself in some fashion to everyone does not follow from your argument. First, uniting in some fashion does not mean that Christ is physically present within us. All that phrase could mean is that when Christ became man, he became part of humanity. As a result, just as everyone that is human is connected through their humanity, we are also connected to Christ by that very fact when he chose to become human. In fact, in the Franciscan -Bld. John Dunn Scotus – tradition humanity itself was made in the image of the Christ’s future humanity when Adam and Eve were formed. Second, on the topic of hell. Yes God is not present to those in hell. That is what makes hell – hell. Yet, as St. Thomas Aquinas taught God not only created the universe and souls but sustains their existence. Hence, hell could not exist at all if God did not continue to sustain its existence. Thus, all souls in hell are at least connected to God by their sustained beings even if God is not present to them. Part of the reason for the incarnation was to become human and unite himself to all people. Yes, baptism is required for salvation, yet this fact does not exclude the fact that Christ is united -in some fashion- to all people through human nature. Note the in some fashion part. Baptism is a salvific union, while simply being united distantly through being a human is not salvific. Christ could have became a horse, and died as a horse, yet it was fitting that Christ became man unite himself to all then suffer for all and die to save all. Salvation is open to all because Christ was human and we are all human. Salvation is then only granted to those who are baptized or who have invincible ignorance.

I hope this helps you see how being united to Christ is part and parcel with the Incarnation while note denying that baptism is necessary. If Christ was not united to all people through the Incarnation I would question the fittingness and need for the Cross and death. If Christ was not united to all that would mean that Christ died to save the chosen only (those chosen to be united through baptism), rather than all – an all that has the free will to say yes or no.

Claim: GS#58 says, “But at the same time, the Church, sent to all peoples of every time and place, is not bound exclusively and indissolubly to any race or nation, any particular way of life or any customary way of life recent or ancient. Faithful to her own tradition and at the same time conscious of her universal mission, she can enter into communion with the various civilizations, to their enrichment and the enrichment of the Church herself.” (Vatican Translation) Yet, the Church has both Scripture and Tradition so it is connected to particular customs and a great Tradition.

Response: There is nothing wrong with saying that the Church is not bound by any custom or way of life of particular peoples. The capital T, Tradition, of the Church is not something earthly nor bound up with any nation. Please note that the ancient customs here spoken off are not capital T -Tradition- but small t -tradition items. Capital T -Tradition- is a timeless source of knowledge given by Christ. To say that the Tradition of the Church is bound up with things that are passing away as all earthly even ancient small t-traditions- are would be to mistake our practices with those of God, just as the Pharisees did.

Claim: GS #99 says, “Undeniably this conciliar program is but a general one in several of its parts; and deliberately so, given the immense variety of situations and forms of human culture in the world. Indeed while it presents teaching already accepted in the Church, the program will have to be followed up and amplified since it sometimes deals with matters in a constant state of development.” (Vatican Translation) This is heresy because it says that while indeed it presents teaching accepted (hence given by Christ) it also says it deals with matter in a constant state of development. Dogma does not evolve and change it was given once and for all by Christ!

Response: If you read the paragraph carefully and slowly you can see that what is in a state of constant development is not the doctrine or dogma but the world and how the Church applies the dogma to the world. It is not wrong to say that latter there will need to be developments to the pastoral applications of the one time given deposit of the faith to the ever changing modes of culture and way of life on earth. Hence, the Austin Flannery OP translation says, “Faced with the wide variety of situations and forms of human culture in the world, this conciliar program is deliberately general on many points; indeed, while the teaching presented is that already accepted in the church, it will have to be pursued further and amplified because it often deals with matters which are subject to continual development.” Therefore, things like pastoral applications which apply the one deposit to different times and modes of expression can and do rightfully develop and change. One change that is famous is moving the language of the liturgy from Greek to Latin in the early Church and then from Latin to Vernacular during Vatican II. Same worship different development of application to best meet people’s needs.

Claim: GS #51, #52 and #87 promote birth control and that parents may control the number of children they have by using means such as Natural Family planning. (Vatican Translation) GS #51 “This council realizes that certain modern conditions often keep couples from arranging their married lives harmoniously, and that they find themselves in circumstances where at least temporarily the size of their families should not be increased. As a result, the faithful exercise of love and the full intimacy of their lives is hard to maintain.” GS #52 “Those too who are skilled in other sciences, notably the medical, biological, social and psychological, can considerably advance the welfare of marriage and the family along with peace of conscience if by pooling their efforts they labor to explain more thoroughly the various conditions favoring a proper regulation of births.” GS #87 “For in keeping with man’s inalienable right to marry and generate children, a decision concerning the number of children they will have depends on the right judgment of the parents and it cannot in any way be left to the judgment of public authority. But since the judgment of the parents presupposes a rightly formed conscience, it is of the utmost importance that the way be open for everyone to develop a correct and genuinely human responsibility which respects the divine law and takes into consideration the circumstances of the situation and the time.

Response: First, Natural Family Planning with the right intentions is not evil. See this great article on the subject. (Link Here) Basically, the claim that Casti Connubii by Pope Pius XI #54 implies that Natural Family Planning is evil because it frustrates that primary purpose of the marriage act which is to produce children is false. Pope Pius XI never taught that using natural periods of infertility is wrong. Just think that means anyone nursing, or above a certain age should refrain from the marriage act because it is impossible to become pregnant. Read #53 carefully where Pius XI makes the distinction between virtuous continence and something that frustrates the marriage act. The next paragraph #54 talks about the un-virtuous contraception’s frustration of the primary purpose of marriage. Yet, reading #59 we get this direct support of Natural Family Planning. “Nor are those considered as acting against nature who in the married state use their right in the proper manner, although on account of natural reasons either of time or of certain defects new life cannot be brought forth. For in matrimony as well as in the use of the matrimonial rights there are also secondary ends, such as mutual aid, the cultivating of mutual love, and the quieting of concupiscence which husband and wife are not forbidden to consider so long as the intrinsic nature of the act is preserved.” (Ed. Terence P. McLaughlin, C.S.B., The Church and the Reconstruction of the Modern World: The Social Encyclicals of Pius XI, Translation) Hence in #54 the mention of stopping the primary purpose of marriage was in reference to contraception not Natural Family Planning or else paragraph #59 becomes a direct contradiction.

Claim: GS #26 and #12 says, “At the same time, however, there is a growing awareness of the exalted dignity proper to the human person, since he stands above all things, and his rights and duties are universal and inviolable.” “According to the almost unanimous opinion of believers and unbelievers alike, all things on earth should be related to man as their center and crown.” Yet, God’s law not man is the center and reference for the world. (Vatican Translation)

Response: Saying that humanity is above all things, does not deny that he is below God and his law. If you read further down in paragraph #12 you get many references to “For Sacred Scripture teaches that man was created “to the image of God,” is capable of knowing and loving his Creator, and was appointed by Him as master of all earthly creatures that he might subdue them and use them to God’s glory.” The fact is, that all of creation is crowned by humanity just as Humanity is crowned by Christ and God’s law.

Claim: GS #24 says, “For this reason, love for God and neighbor is the first and greatest commandment.” (Vatican Translation) Yet, Jesus says (Mk 12:28-31) that love of God is the first commandment and that love of neighbor is the second.

Response: Read the net sentence of GS #24, “Scripture, however, teaches us that the love of God cannot be separated from love of neighbor: “If there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself…. Love therefore is the fulfillment of the Law” (Rom. 13:9-10; cf. 1 John 4:20). To men growing daily more dependent on one another, and to a world becoming more unified every day, this truth proves to be of paramount importance.” (Vatican Translation) Hence, GS simply is saying that the first and second are related as shown in Romans by St. Paul and by St. John.

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