Exclusive Mortality?

Malachi 2
7For the priest’s lips should guard and keep pure the knowledge [of My law], and the people should seek (inquire for and require) instruction at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.

10Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then do we deal faithlessly and treacherously each against his brother, profaning the covenant of [God with] our fathers?

I had always heard stories about Rev Jose Rene Angel at the San Isidro Catholic Church but never really met the guy before. My church in Edinburg went out to my home church in San Isidro once to put on an outdoor event and I remember the drive way being lined up with cars of those watching from afar.  Good thing we took the projection, i should have brought a fm transmitter too.  Come to find out later, these were visitors from the Catholic Church who felt they were not allowed to come down and visit but still wanted to see what was going on.  Small town for you.  I shrugged it off at first but it always seamed to bother me.  The other day on a popular social site, I came across a photo from a former classmate.  The text of the photo read “Visiting Protestant Places is a Mortal Sin”  I think the only words that could come to mind were “wow”  The next day another image came up, this time taken during the day…

Visiting Protestant Places Is a Mortal Sin
Photo: Jennifer Margo Livingston

After letting this bug me all day, I began questioning the validity of this statement.  A RFC (request for comment) was made to the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville.  They responded but only to indicate that they were still waiting on an official response.

So I resorted to the next best thing:

Wikipedia defines a Mortal Sin by Roman Catholic moral theology  which must meet all of the following conditions at the same time:

  1. Its subject must be a grave (or serious) matter.
  2. It must be committed with full knowledge, both of the sin and of the gravity of the offense (no one is considered ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are inborn as part of human knowledge, but these principles can be misunderstood in a particular context).
  3. It must be committed with deliberate and complete consent, enough for it to have been a personal decision to commit the sin.

A grave matters are those against the ten commandments.  Throughout the years however, Catholics have lightened up on a few of the sins such as divorce and sexual sins.  With a little bit of confession, a few “Our Father’s” and “Hail Mary’s”  and these can be forgiven.

The Catholic Encyclopedia has a section on Moral Sin, with a subset on “Protestant Errors”

Luther and Calvin taught as their fundamental error that no free will properly so called remained in man after the fall of our first parents; that the fulfillment of God’s precepts is impossible even with the assistance ofgrace, and that man in all his actions sins. Grace is not an interior gift, but something external. To some sin is not imputed, because they are covered as with a cloak by the merits of Christ. Faith alone saves, there is nonecessity for good works. Sin in Luther’s doctrine cannot be a deliberate transgression of the Divine law.Jansenius, in his “Augustinus”, taught that according to the present powers of man some of God’s precepts are impossible of fulfilment, even to the just who strive to fulfil them, and he further taught that grace by means of which the fulfilment becomes possible is wanting even to the just. His fundamental error consists in teaching that the will is not free but is necessarily drawn either by concupiscence or grace. Internal liberty is not required for merit or demerit. Liberty from coercion suffices. Christ did not die for all men. Baius taught a semi-Lutheran doctrine. Liberty is not entirely destroyed, but is so weakened that without grace it can do nothing butsin. True liberty is not required for sin. A bad act committed involuntarily renders man responsible (propositions 50-51 in Denzinger-Bannwart, “Enchiridion”, nn. 1050-1). All acts done without charity are mortal sins and meritdamnation because they proceed from concupiscence. This doctrine denies that sin is a voluntary transgression of Divine law. If man is not free, a precept is meaningless as far as he is concerned.

So does this mean that by visiting a non-catholic place you have committed a moral sin?  Is your eternal salvation forever doomed?  For that answer we must look back at a few things.  What does it take to get to achieve salvation, or more easily put, what does it take to get to Heaven?  Thankfully that isn’t as complicated.

4 thoughts on “Exclusive Mortality?”

  1. that is not right that he puts that. i have been going to this church ever since i was born and this is the only priest that causes a problem. i would understand telling people in church that is not right to change religion after being baptized or first communion but saying u are going to hell if u visit a baptist, methodist, or any other protastant church is just not right.

  2. My brother sent me a picture of this over the weekend. The logical side of me just shook my head in shame. The facetious part of me laughed out loud.

    Not being a religious man, I prefer to not even get into the religious aspects of this. Being a logical person, I see this as 100% offensive, and 100% ignorant.

    It’s a shame that the church I used to attend in my hometown has been allowed to devolve into a place that condones these types of public statements. Seeing things like this makes me absolutely glad that I moved away. If I ever see this ignorant “priest” while visiting home, he’s going to be hearing some very, very unkind words.

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