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It saddened me that, having renounced Sedevacantism, quiavideruntoculi should have used some of its rhetorical style when discussing what he acknowledges was a delicate subject, the murder of the Copts by Daesh adherents in Libya. The comments there, and more notably in Neo’s initial post on the topic showed, I fear, that whatever his intention, QVO gave both offence, and the impression of using the martyrdom as part of a polemic against the Pope. I am as sure he meant to do neither as I am that he did both; as an example of witness, it left, shall we say, much to be desired. But was he right, was the Pope claiming they were ‘Catholic’ martyrs, and was he committing heresy in giving the impression that he thought their sacrifices took them to Heaven?

Rather then rely upon one’s own reading of snippets from the Fathers bolstered by partial commentaries, let us turn to what the Church actually teaches.

The CDF document, Dominus Iesus states:

This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in [subsistit in] the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him”.54  With the expression subsistit in, the Second Vatican Council sought to harmonize two doctrinal statements: on the one hand, that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions which exist among Christians, continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church, and on the other hand, that “outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth”,55 that is, in those Churches and ecclesial communities which are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.56 But with respect to these, it needs to be stated that “they derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.57

And on the subject of salvation for those outside the formal boundaries of the Church, it says this:

The Church is the “universal sacrament of salvation”,79 since, united always in a mysterious way to the Saviour Jesus Christ, her Head, and subordinated to him, she has, in God’s plan, an indispensable relationship with the salvation of every human being.80  For those who are not formally and visibly members of the Church, “salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit”;81 it has a relationship with the Church, which “according to the plan of the Father, has her origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit”.82

So, far from the Pope in any way transgressing what the Church teaches, he understands it in the mind of the Church, as we should. It is usually unwise, and often dangerous, to comment on the question of ‘salvation’ without doing so in the full mind of the Church, and it has thoughts, prayed, and written much on that subject since St Cyprian wrote. Of course, one is entitled to take as one’s own view, one;s own limited understanding of what the Saint meant, but in doing that, one is not entitled to do two other things: to claim one is speaking in the mind of the Church; and to claim that the Pope is not.