The Instigator
dairygirl4u2c
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
numberwang
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

official catholic church teaching is that noncatholics and unbaptized infants go to hell

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
numberwang
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/17/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 665 times Debate No: 54901
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

dairygirl4u2c

Pro

the only teachings that might say otherwise, are fallible, nonauthoritative statements. remember to be authoritative, it has to be the pope, intentionally, teaching, the church, on faith and morals. private letters, presentations to limited audiences etc, do not count.

limbo, just some examples:

Council of Florence Session 11 (Bull Cantate Domino): "With regard to children, since the danger of death is often present and the only remedy available to them is the sacrament of baptism by which they are snatched away from the dominion of the devil and adopted as children of God, it admonishes that sacred baptism is not to be deferred for forty or eighty days or any other period of time..."

Council of Florence Session 6 "..the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains."

No salvation for noncatholics:

you can find plenty of rigorist authoritative quotes here:
http://en.wikipedia.org...

the only authoritative type statements that i see that they can be saved are vatican ii. it could be argued that they said they didnt intend to define anything, and it's always possible to hope that noncahtolics would somehow repent or 'be shown an angel before death' or something as is traditionally the only way of getting saved. so when they say noncatholics 'may' be saved, it is a political statement loaded with far out possibilities while making it look like they actually have a shot. it's a political statement.
numberwang

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for this debate and will reserve my first round for my main argument before really addressing my opponent's.

I'll preface this by saying I went to Catholic school (though I am an atheist) and was taught that all Christians, Jews, Muslims and those who are ignorant of the Church, including kids who die before Baptism, go to Heaven. I like to play devil's advocate (and Catholic, harhar) whenever a theological question comes up, so this will be a fun exercise for me.

I would like to state, before I do anything else, that my opponent must defend that official Church teaching is that all non-Catholics, including the unbaptized, go to hell.

First I'd like to clarify what "authoritative" means in terms of Catholicism.

The Pope may define doctrine of the Church when speaking "ex cathedra". The definition my opponent gave for authoritative basically is the exact same thing--

...when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, (the Bishop of Rome) defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church. (wikipedia)

The actual teaching authority is called, in Catholicism, "magestirium". The authority is vested in the Pope and the council of Bishops when in communion with him. A critical point of magestirium When the Pope calls a convention of Bishops and, working with them, defines church doctrine, that is as authoritative as the Pope speaking ex cathedra.

Sources and definitions-
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.newadvent.org...

So what has the Church said so far, authoritatively, about who gets past the great pearly gates?

Well, as my opponent points out, the Cante Dominio (Papal Bull of Eugene IV, so it is ex cathedra and is therefore authoritative) clearly states that --

"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 Church."

http://catholicism.org...

--only Catholics go to heaven (I think my opponent could have picked better quotes!). Even if a man sheds his blood for Christ he may not be saved lest he remain "in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church." That was the deal in 1441, what have they said since?

Well in 1964, some good ol' reform came to the Church. The Council was convened by the Pope and made in union with the council of Bishops, and has the same authority as the Cante Dominio (and since the Church is infallible, the Church follows Vatican 2 at this point).

What did we hear from Vatican 2?

"The Catholic Church professes that it is the one, holy catholic and apostolic Church of Christ; this it does not and could not deny. But in its Constitution the Church now solemnly acknowledges that the Holy Ghost is truly active in the churches and communities separated from itself. To these other Christian Churches the Catholic Church is bound in many ways: through reverence for God's word in the Scriptures; through the fact of baptism; through other sacraments which they recognize."

5. The non-Christian may not be blamed for his ignorance of Christ and his Church; salvation is open to him also, if he seeks God sincerely and if he follows the commands of his conscience, for through this means the Holy Ghost acts upon all men; this divine action is not confined within the limited boundaries of the visible Church."

And...

"The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection. For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. ...it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ's body, and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church."

"The brethren divided from us also use many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. These most certainly can truly engender a life of grace in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community. These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving access to the community of salvation."


http://www.religioustolerance.org...

In plain English Vatican 2 states that those who are ignorant may be saved and that those who are non-Catholic Christians may be saved as well. Whether or not, this was a "political statement" as my opponent conjectures, it is undeniably authoritative Church teaching. It is official Church doctrine and states, explicitly, that non-Catholics and even non-Christians may be saved! On the condition of ignorance, non-Christians may be saved! How awesome is that? I could make a much larger case in defense of the point Vatican 2 may include Muslims and Jews among those who are saved as well, but I think the point stands that, according to the Catholic Church today, anyone who is ignorant of the Church (including those who know of and do not understand it) can be saved if they act as God wishes.

I am not sure how much of a case I can make specifically for children who are yet to be baptised without making a counter argument.

I researched and found the Vatican website's paper on the Church's position on pre-Baptismal death. My opponent may read it himself, as may the viewers. I will point out that even before Vatican 2 unofficial Church teaching was that Limbo was where unborn and unbaptized infants went; since they had done no wrong but had not been cleansed of original sin they could not be damned to Hell nor admitted to Heaven. The Church ostensibly has no official position on infant death; I see no evidence to support they would be damned to hell. I will leave that to pro to prove more fully.

http://www.vatican.va...

TL,DR- I think I have made a strong case that non-Catholics may be saved (which is authortative Church teaching) and I will leave it to Pro to really prove that infants go to Hell as the Church does not have a strong position on the issue. In any case I look forward to the rest of this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

as to your vatican references, it's basically like i said, those are political statements given the times. mosto f your quotes just says other christians have got some good points to them, it doesn't say anything definitive. 'they are brothers' 'they have the holy spirit' etc. the one quote says 'salvation is open to him to him also'. taken in a political vein, this could mean an angel would appear to him before death or something like that, as is custumarily the only way to be saved. notice it says salvation is open, esse3ntially 'salvation is possible'. even a rigorist wouldn't necessarily deny this at this level of abstraction. again bottomline is you ahe to read it in a political vein, and then consider the weight of everything said about the matter.

con says he sess no evidence they would be damned to hell, the infants. but the quote i provide above show exactly that. only infants die of oritinal sin alone, everyone else has other sins. baptism is the 'only way' we have to save them. i could provide plenty other quoes but that is sufficient. .
numberwang

Con

If making a political statement given the times is a disqualifying factor for evidence, then my opponent is out of luck. The only reason the Catholic Church made such exclusive political statements regarding other denominations was the fracturing during the Reformation. For example, many of the strict requirement for Baptism statements were to challenge reformers like John Wycliffe who were denying the necessity of Baptism.


Con has undeniably failed to disprove any of my evidence from Vatican II. Con states that Vatican II is a political statement, but provides no evidence. Additionally, Con doesn't dispute that Vatican II was authoritative church teaching. Even if it was a political statement (and it wasn't) that would not prove it is not authoritative.

My opponent does not effectively dispute this evidence, and I will reiterate what my evidence says

"The non-Christian may not be blamed for his ignorance of Christ and his Church; salvation is open to him also..."

That is the debate in that line right there. My opponent says the Church teaches non-Catholics go to Hell. Vatican II says they can go to heaven. According to Vatican II, if a non-Catholic or non-Christian acts as God wills they will go to heaven.

If my opponent was correct, Vatican II wouldn't say non-Catholics could be saved, it would say they were damned to Hell.

What does my opponent say on my evidence?

"even a rigorist wouldn't necessarily deny this at this level of abstraction. again bottom line is you have to read it in a political vein, and then consider the weight of everything said about the matter."

I will focus on 2 things he says here, and I believe he has basically conceded the debate right here.

If a rigorist Catholic would concede that non-Christians may be saved, what are we even talking about? You are taking a rigorist perspective, perhaps the most rigorist perspective possible, and you agree that a rigorist would say that non-Christians have the possibility of salvation?

As for the weight of everything said about the matter, this is exactly my case. The Church said in 1441 that salvation is not possible outside of itself, but at Vatican II the Church changed that position. The weight of the statements at Vatican II are of the highest authority. As I pointed out in my explanation of magestirium, a statement made by the Pope speaking ex cathedra carries the same weight as statements made by a council convened by the Pope. The most recent Church teaching on who gets into heaven is that non-Catholics and non-Christians can get in. My opponent dismisses this as a political statement. Would the Catholic Church issue a findings of the highest magestirium, from a council that speaks infallibly on faith and morals as a mere political statement? No! And to say so with 0 evidence provided to back up that claim is frankly ridiculous.

Unless my opponent can, somehow, prove that Vatican II was not authoritative, than he will have failed to fulfill his burden of proof and he should lose the debate. As of now, I would say that he has failed to do so.

The other thing my opponent said was--

"most of your quotes just says other Christians have got some good points to them, it doesn't say anything definitive."

If the quote in large, bold font was not clear enough, I will provide a couple more that show that, as stated at Vatican II, non-Christians can attain salvation.

"The brethren divided from us also use many liturgical actions of the Christian religion. These most certainly can truly engender a life of grace in ways that vary according to the condition of each Church or Community. These liturgical actions must be regarded as capable of giving access to the community of salvation."

Their actions are "capable of giving them access to the community of salvation". Non-Catholics can access the community of salvation through their actions even though they are not Catholics. If they can access the community of salvation (the Church), they can access the salvation.

My point at this point should be pretty clear. The Church says, definitively, that non-Catholics can attain salvation. It is possible. The Church may say that non-Catholics and non-Christians achieve a Catholic salvation through the Catholic church, but they can receive salvation nonetheless.



On infants and aborted babies going to hell-- the Church does not have an official position. I will concede that it can be inferred that, since they are unbaptized, they would be damned. However, as I have previously presented, the Vatican has no official position of damnation. The Church believe that the mercy of God would allow these infants to go to heaven. Additionally they may be viewed as martyrs, since their deaths are the result of rejection of Catholic faith. Either way, the lack of an official position is clear, and the fact that they aren't damned is clear in this newly discovered (really took some digging) official position, approved by John Paul II in 1992 and written by a council which he convened in 1985. The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains the most recent, official and, most importantly, authoritative, position on the issue of pre-baptism infant death.

"As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: 'Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,' allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism."

The Church does not take the position that unbaptized infants are saved, but it does not take the position that they are damned. Any concrete answer to this question is pure speculation, because the Church officially does not have a concrete answer. My opponent may speculate that, since they are not baptised, they will be damned. I may speculate, as the Church does, that since they are innocent and since God does not have to abide by the sacraments, they may be saved. Either way, the most important thing to take away from this passage is that officially they are not damned, so my opponent is wrong.


http://catholiceducation.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...


This ended up being far longer than I intended, but I never intended to find the CCC thing so I guess it all works out in the end. Conclusion for round 2: my opponent has failed to prove that Vatican II was not authoritative, therefore he has failed to prove that official Church teaching damns all non-Catholics. My opponent has not yet had the chance to respond to my latest finding on the official position on infant death, but the official position is that they are not damned, so we shall see. In any case, as my opponent has the BOP to show that both (infants and non-Catholics) are damned, I would say that, as of now, he has not fulfilled his burden.
Debate Round No. 2
dairygirl4u2c

Pro

there's been plenty of saints who thought the rigorist view. augustine (or aquanism?) said he would hope an angel would appear to the good hearted ignorants. he said this because he knew it was the only way for them to be saved. then there's folks like fr. feeney. sure, he was publically opposed by church officials, but that's because he beleived the original teaching, and the new guys were close to the times of vatican ii. i could provide plenty of other saints. what people believed is indicative of what was taught.

"If a rigorist Catholic would concede that non-Christians may be saved, what are we even talking about?"

it's a matter of how you read it. it is possible for the noncatholic to see an angel or convert before death etc. i concede it's streching things, but that is the nature of a political statement.
surely, the only way you could read those rigorist quotes as allowing the possiboity of nons to be saved, is to do loop de loops wih the teaching. except, given the weight of qutoes etc, it's much worse here.

con also says that those rigorist quotes were for protestants etc were were not ignorant. he doesn't establish this with any hard evidence, first. second, they deny the plain teachings themselves, and the weight of saints who understood them to be rigorist.
for an atheist, con almost sounds like a catholic. he could just argue the teachings contradict htemselves, but that there's more than one offical teaching, thus negating the proposition of the debate. but he tries to argue it as if he were catholic. just an interesting point is all. (well, con contradicts himself and later says vaticvan ii changed the position)

when i said most of the quotews weren't definitive, i wasn't referring to the large bold font stuff, as i said earlier. but what could appear defintive is a political statement.

the catechism is not considered an official teaching. it is just a teaching. the older catechisms say they go to limbo. limbo is a part of hell. to be considered official, it has to be the pope intnetionally binding the church on faith and morals. that is not present in those catechism teachings.

i dont know how con says it can be inferred that they would be damned, and then argue that the vatican has no official teaching of damnation. it can be more than inferred, it is the only option. only unbaptaized infants have only orignal sin. tehrefore, the teaching says they go to he;ll. so, officially they are damned, so my opponent is wrong.

we can just agree to disagree about the poltical nature of the vatican ii teaching. but, for catholics, the only way they could be reconciled is to say it was poltical, given the weight of the other teachings. for the rest of people, you can only judge it as politcal or not based on the totality of the situation.
numberwang

Con

Before anything else I would like to thank my opponent for a really interesting debate topic and a good debate. It brought up a lot of questions about my former faith and it was interesting to research the Catholic Church from this perspective. As my opponent pointed out I did debate from the perspective of a Catholic and it was a fun exercise.

Non-Catholic salvation

I would like to clarify how, from a Catholic (or rather the official Catholic perspective), the statement made in the Cante Dominio and the statements made in Vatican II are both infallible. I actually did mention this apparent contradiction is rectified.

In the Cantate Dominio helped establish the dogmatic idea that "outside the church there is no salvation". This idea was repeated by at least 3 Popes between 1200-1400. This idea is not necessarily overruled by the statements made at Vatican II.

The statements made at Vatican II say that non-Catholics and non-Christians can be saved if they are ignorant of the Church and if they act as God wills. This seems to blatantly contradict the Cantate however, the nature of their salvation is of pivotal importance. These members of the Church who have not joined but are ignorant receive a Catholic salvation. They are united with the church in spirit even if they are not members of it, therefore they receive salvation through the Church.

"if he seeks God sincerely and if he follows the commands of his conscience, for through this means the Holy Ghost acts upon all men; this divine action is not confined within the limited boundaries of the visible Church."

Though they are not visibly members of the Church they are spiritually members of the Church. Therefore non-Catholics receive salvation through the Church, which satisfies the infallibility of the Bull Cantate and Vatican II.

In summary:
Since they are both infallible, which my opponent has NEVER CHALLENGED, Vatican II must be regarded by the Church (and the readers!) as infallible, authoritative Catholic teaching, therefore non-Catholics may be saved through the Catholic church.


1 more objection to my opponent on this subject

"there's been plenty of saints who thought the rigorist view."

Saints do not really matter in official teachings of the Church. The full authority of the Catholic Church says it is one way, if the saint disagrees then the saint is simply wrong.


Infants and Limbo

I would like to loudly and enthusiastically object to the following statement by my opponent regarding the CCC-

"the catechism is not considered an official teaching. it is just a teaching. the older catechisms say they go to limbo. limbo is a part of hell. to be considered official, it has to be the pope intentionally binding the church on faith and morals. that is not present in those catechism teachings"

The CCC is official church teaching, and the Church NEVER OFFICIALLY endorsed limbo. The CCC was authored by a convention called by John Paul II, it was endorsed by John Paul II and deemed official Church teaching by John Paul II. It is authoritative Catholic teaching, as are all Catechisms.

http://www.usccb.org...
http://www.usccb.org...

Here is what John Paul said about Catechism--

"The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved June 25th last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church's faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the Church's Magestirium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion."

John Paul II, who by his papal authority summoned, authorised, and endorsed the CCC says it is official teaching. All catechisms are official teachings. Therefore what the CCC says on infantile deaths is the official Catholic position, and the CCC says there is no definitive answer.

On limbo- it does not and never did exist as an official Catholic teaching. It was never presented authoritatively by the Church as a real argument. Even wikipedia knows that. And Benedict officially killed the idea in 2007 anyway.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.reuters.com...

My opponent questions how I say babies are not damned when there is an inference they might be. There are a few ways-

1. They are martyrs, so they go to heaven
2. They are ignorant of the Church, so they go to heaven
3. God is merciful and can, in his infinite power and wisdom, make a merciful exception for murdered infants

In any case, Pro's guess is as good as mine, because the official Church teaching is that they don't know either. They CCC says so, Pope Benedict said so, that's the way it is.

"The conclusion of this study is that there are theological and liturgical reasons to hope that infants who die without baptism may be saved and brought into eternal happiness even if there is not an explicit teaching on this question found in revelation," -The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptised, 2007, authorised by Pope Benedict

I don't think you get more explicit or official than that.




Conclusion

There were 2 contentions on the table in this debate. The first was whether non-Catholics can be saved. I have shown that authoritative Catholic teaching says they can be saved. My opponent never challenged the official teaching authority of Vatican II, therefore he has failed to prove that the Catholic Church does not follow this teaching and has failed his BOP on point 1. My opponent dismissed Vatican II as political which does not take away from its teaching authority. Since my opponent was responsible for proving both points to win, this should be enough for him to lose the debate.

The second point was on infant death. I have shown that official Church teaching says there is no answer. My opponent did not address the substance of my argument (but in fairness I did find one in round 2) and rather attempted to, incorrectly, say that Catechisms are not official Church teachings. Since he is incorrect in saying so, and since he did not otherwise prove that the Church said they were damned, I think this point also goes to con. My opponent also based his argument on limbo, which is not Catholic, and on the fact that they were not baptized, even though point 1 shows that non-Catholics (non-baptized people) can be saved.

Keep in mind only 1 point needs to go to Con for a win. Pro had burden of proof for both claims. If he failed to convince you on either count than send a vote my way!

I'd like to apologize for my spelling and grammar. I realized after the fact that I dropped some critical words from my round 1 argument which may have made it harder to understand and I realized in round 3 I was spelling 'Cantate' wrong the whole time. Hope no one had any difficulty understanding what I was trying to say.

Anyway, vote con! Thanks again for an interesting debate.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Wylted 3 years ago
Wylted
dairygirl4u2cnumberwangTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con showed an official document that sheds doubt on pro's only major contention. Pro then attempts to shift the BOP, and never actually debunks the cited claims con made.
Vote Placed by Cobo 3 years ago
Cobo
dairygirl4u2cnumberwangTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had some really weak arguments. I'm very surprises that the pro didn't even come up with some more arguments since more can be made. Con's first speech essentially defined and dictated the debate, which is what the pro was supposed to do. The Con also used more sources that were outside of wikipedia.