Last night I discovered the reason I got off of facebook with glee a few years ago, I made a simple remark on an academic question, and then the whole thing, by another response which I thought was rather insignificant, turned into a long and ranging debate, with none other than Mark Shea chiming in by means of his usual unhelpful way. I will get to him in a moment however.
The argument turned initially on reactions to the Unity of the Church. The whole thing is long and laborious, which I link here. First some preliminary notes.
I wrote an article for Faithful Answers last year, to which I am finally going to wrap up part ii (I feel like an Ent at times, it takes forever to do anything!), which sketched out the principles of what Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus means, based on the Church’s theological tradition, from St. Thomas through Pius XII, with a number of translations of the manuals on the subject, though by no means exhaustive. The point of this was to illustrate:
There is only one Church
That Church is one in its Western and Eastern Rites
Outside of it there is no salvation, which means:
a) The ordinary means of salvation, by which we can have good hope of the salvation of a member of the Church who dies with the sacraments
b) Some hope for those who die outside the visible boundaries of the Church, based on God’s justice, true Charity, etc., since grace does indeed work outside the Church’s visible boundaries.
The argument on facebook came through the question of whether the Orthodox are in the Catholic Church, to which I argued (with the tradition) no, and two interlocutors argued yes. Thus it goes in this way.