In The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost, Cardinal Manning delineates points which prove that the highest form of the use of Reason is the acceptance of Revelation.
Of course, as he notes in this book, this idea contradicts the Rationalists, and the Protestants.
Rationalists maintain that only what can be understood by Reason may be considered valid.
The good Cardinal also notes that the sign of the perfection of Reason is the acceptance of the Revelation of the Catholic Church.
In other words, he underscores the point I have been stressing for several years concerning perfection,that the first step is the acceptance of the Teaching Magisterium of the Church.
In other words, the first rung on the step of perfection is orthodoxy. This has been a theme on this blog for a long time.
Cardinal Manning writes that to submit to the “Voice of the Holy Spirit in the Church is the absolute condition to attain a perfect knowledge of revelation.”
What the Protestants deny is the continual Presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church from the time of Christ to the present day.
The two huge errors in rational thinking may thus be summarized in these notes:
1) Atheists, agnostics, pagans, those of other “faith” and Protestant cannot begin to climb the road to perfection with assent to orthodoxy, as passed down in the Catholic Church;
2) Those who belong to Protestant groups which deny orthodoxy in any way are actually denying the work of the Holy Spirit in the world, only fully in and through the Catholic Church.
Cardinal Manning writes that Reason is illuminated by God to bring all to the Catholic Church, and that this “mission” of the Holy Spirit has been entrusted to the Church.
He believes, as I do, that the natural moral laws, which are part of the soul of all humans and part of the conscience of humans, also can lead people to the truth. This is the basis of the seeking of God-moral natural law.
In addition, Cardinal Manning elaborates on the fact that all philosophies point to the truth of the Catholic Church. He also states that nature itself leads one to God and to the truth of the Church. Obviously, the Church has had a missionary effort, until modern times, to help those who have come to some truth to find the fullness of truth.
Cardinal Manning emphasizes that there are not many “Christianities”, but that there is one Christianity and that is Catholicism.
One of the weaknesses in modern catechesis has been the ignoring of the fact that one cannot become perfect, follow the road to perfection, without the acceptance of the Creed and the teaching of the Eucharist.
Also, many Catholics who have fallen away, or even some who attend weekly Mass, move away from orthodoxy in some way. I know one woman in her 80s, who is Irish and believes that the Church is wrong about women priests. She has moved off the road to perfection by adamantly refusing to accept St. John Paul II’s infallible statement on this fact.
To depart from the teaching of the Church interrupts one’s progress. Some step off the ladder because of contraception, divorce and remarriage without annulment, acceptance of homosexual sins, and so on.
One must conform one’s mind to the mind of Christ. Thankfully, if we “fall off the ladder” and repent, God is there is pick us up and lead us onward and upward.
At baptism, one becomes a child of God and heir of heaven. Not until then is one given the virtues necessary for the way of perfection. The Indwelling of the Trinity means that the Catholic who follows Church teaching does so in a unity of grace. Those who deny something which is given through the Holy Spirit to the Church have caused a division in that Indwelling of the Trinity. Manning compares the present day divisions of Protestant faiths with the myriad groups of pagans at the time of the Coming of Christ-and that the Incarnation ended all possible assents to paganism.
states that since Satan could
no longer tempt those to give up Reason through paganism, that he caused the
divisions in the Church through heresies. St. Augustine
Strong words from a great Doctor of the Church and words which are ignored by those involved in false ecumenism.
How have we moved so far from the truth that Protestant sects are not “religions” as states in Dominus Iesus, and that there are few differences in these sects either among themselves or with Catholicism?
How have priests come to accept the fallacy of mixed marriages as not being a serious harm to the growth of perfection and the pursuit of saintliness? There are Hahns who can testify to success in mutual support for conversion.
Cardinal Manning refers to
Cyprian on “One God, one Christ, one Church”, as a statement which caused him
to realize that moral unity was dying among Christian denominations.
Do we not see this with the almost universal acceptance of divorce and remarriage, homosexual relationships, and contraception among those denominations?
Reason has not lead to a full acceptance of Revelation in the Church because of sin. The “intrinsic anarchy” of the Protestant Revolt continues, which is one reason why the Church cannot canonize either pagans or Protestants. The anarchy of relativism only adds to the institutionalized chaos of those who have chosen to depart from the unity of the Trinity, which is found in and through the Catholic Church only.
Can one be saved outside the Church? Only through the merits of the Church and this puts the onus on all of us to become saints, as we gain the merits for this Church.
Pray for those who are separated from the Church. Pray for those who continue in anarchy against the Teaching Magisterium.
Sadly, the remnant may become very small, indeed.
More on this excellent book later-- Cardinal Manning’s section on the Church being immutable throughout all ages in knowledge, discernment, and enunciation of the truth is truly exciting reading.