Catholic University of America.

American ecclesiastical review, Volume 27 online

. (page 7 of 78)
Online LibraryCatholic University of AmericaAmerican ecclesiastical review, Volume 27 → online text (page 7 of 78)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


internal, that is, in our beliefs and affections alone ; or it may be
external, that is, in our outward practices alone ; or lastly, it may
embrace the internal beliefs and affections together with the out-
ward practices, producing that oneness with the Catholic body
which constitutes the highest form of union with Christ. As a
result of this union we have true faith in Him ; we love Him ; we
prove our faith and our love by fulfilling His commands in the way
He has appointed. Such is the complete union of the soul on
earth with Jesus Christ. It is that of the vigorous branch on the
fruit-tree ; it shares in the life and vigor of the tree, and shows
that it does so by the good fruit it bears.

Internal Union Only.

But it is possible for a person to be united to our Divine Lord
by deep faith in Him and true love of Him, and yet be outside
His Church through ignorance of the true Church. We see at
once that such souls have part union with Christ : within all is
sound ; faith is there, though often imperfectly, and charity too,
which renders it fruitful. Their union, however, with Him is
not complete, for the essential requisite of external practice, the
necessary outcome of perfect internal dispositions, being wrongly
or only partially understood, is wanting. Their hearts are indeed
perfect, as far as their lights lead them ; but their union with



Digitized by



Google



52 THE ECCLESIASTICAL REVIEW.

Christ and their subsequent membership in His Church are incom-
plete. The mother calls her child, and the child's desires and
affection urge him to go to her ; he does his best, but he is fast
bound by the shackles of ignorance of the way. Such a child
belongs to his mother perfectly, according to his belief in her
and his love of her, yet not completely ; his hands indeed are
stretched out to her, but they do not embrace her. So it is
with sincere souls who are yet separated from external com-
munion with the Church. It may be birth, early training, sur-
roundings, which prevent the claims of the one Church appeal-
ing to them in their true light. Thus with hearts " unspotted in
the way," they yet fail because " the way they see not clearly."

One may be tempted to say, This makes the difference be-
tween Catholics and those who, though not Catholics, are in
good faith, very slight. Is it worth while making strenuous
efforts to convert such persons to the one true fold ?

Perhaps the difference is not so slight as would appear at
first sight. In speaking of His own divine mission to the chil-
dren of men, our Lord urged as a distinct duty the fact : " Other
sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also must I bring;
and they shall hear my voice ; and there shall be one fold and
one shepherd." * He spoke of those to whom the Messianic
prophecies were not known, though they might walk in the
path of righteousness according to their lights. What the Mas-
ter thus required from Himself, His ministers are likewise
required to do. " Preach the word, be instant in season, out ot
season ; reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine." * The
true life of the mystic vine, the Church, is perpetuated through the
organism of the Sacraments. It is the means of communicating
those special graces by which the supernatural life of the soul is
maintained and strengthened. The true life of the individual
Catholic is the life of grace which flows into the soul along the
channels which Grod has appointed for that purpose. " Except
you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, you
shall not have life in you." * We know that those outside the
body of the Church have not these necessary helps. Catholics
and observant non-Catholics know, too, what effects the Sacra-

' John lo : i6. * 2 Tim. 4:2. * John 6 : 54.



Digitized by



Google



" EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUSr 53

ments produce on the practical lives of those who use them
rightly. It is " the wine that bringeth forth virgins." ^ Even if
externally there were little difference between a Catholic who en-
joys the peace of God as the result of the sacramental action, and
a Protestant who Uves according to the dictates of his conscience,
interiorly there is an immense difference, a difference like that of
a magnetized piece of steel and a polished iron bar that lacks the
attracting power of the magnet. The measure of worth between
the two souls, one open to the full communication of the Divine
influence, the other feir but constrained and inaccessible to certain
heavenly gifts, is immense. This difference is the warrant ol
Catholic zeal to make conversions among those who seek and
love the truth.

If we saw a sheep wandering outside the fold, we should not
excuse ourselves from showing it the entrance, on the ground that
it would not know the danger of remaining outside. We would
not tell a child to be satisfied with the mere desire, however genu-
ine, to please its mother ; we should feel compelled, if it lay in our
power, to point out to it the true way of doing so. In like man-
ner we are moved and justified in urging those whose hearts are
in harmony with God*s will to place themselves outwardly and
completely in accord with God's designs by external oneness
of religious practice, as becomes the children of a common faith.
It does not suffice to rest satisfied in the conviction that we pos-
sess a soul and that therefore we should not trouble about the
conservation of the body. The soul is indeed the best part of
us ; it is that which perfects the body ; yet without the body
the soul should not satisfy the purpose of man's existence on
eajth.

So it is with the Church. Faith in God, the grace of God,.
love of Him, all these we may have and our hearts are thus knit
to Him, and we belong to the soul of the Church ; but surely that
\s not enough. We must belong to the body of it, that is, we must
believe the same things as the body of the faithful believe ; we
must be knit to them as well as to God by sharing in the same
sustenance, the Sacraments, as they do ; by adhering to and obey-
ing the same supreme head as they do. And why? Because it is

• Zach. 9 : 17.



Digitized by



Google



54



THE ECCLESIASTICAL REVIEW.



not only the natural order of things, but it is His express wish.
** I pray for them . . . that they all may be one^ as Thou
Father in Me, and I in Thee ; that they also may be one in Us,
and that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me . . .
that they may be one as We also are one — I in them and they in
Me ; that they may be made perfect in Mel " And St. Paul in his
letter to the Ephesians is but explaining and amplifying this prayer
for unity when he writes : " Careful to keep the unity of the
Spirit in the bond of peace, one Body and one Spirit, as you are
called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one Faith, and one
Baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through
us all and in us all.''

We may perhaps grasp more clearly what has been said, if we
study the following diagram. We start with the principle that
membership of Christ's one true Church depends upon our
degree of union with Him.

This union with Christ may be :



merely possible

( Sinners and heathen

may be converted. )



or actually existing,
and this in two wajrs —



Internal.



By love of God. By faith in Him.
(Charity.)



Imperfect Perfect Faith

Faith. which necessarily results in;—



External Oneness

with the

Body of the

Church Catholic.



The above relative positions may enable us to realize to what

^John 17: 9, 21-23.



Digitized by



Google



" EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SAL USr 55

extent different classes of men can be said to be members of the
true Church.

Complete Membership in the Church

Let us take a good, practising Catholic. We say that he is
a complete and a perfect member of the Church, because he not
only frequents the Sacraments and thus has external union with
Christ, but moreover he has true faith and true charity, which two
together make perfect interior union with Christ. Putting together
these interior and exterior bonds of union, we say that he belongs
to the soul and to the body of the Church, — he is a complete
and a perfect member.

Some Catholics Are Imperfect Members.

But a Catholic may fall into mortal sin ? Yes ; and then,
though he is still a complete member of the Church, he is no
longer a perfect member, — he lacks charity, which rs necessary
for perfect union. And he may continue in mortal sin and cease
to go to the Sacraments ? Yes ; and then he is a still less per-
fect member, for even the external bonds are relaxing ; he still
retains the seal of Baptism and of Confirmation ; he consorts with
Catholics ; he goes to Mass and hears sermons ; he even says his
Rosary ; but as long as he perseveres in, and clings to, and does
not repent of, that mortal sin, he is a very imperfect member of
the Church. He still keeps something of his interior bond of
union with his Lord, namely. Faith ; and something too, as we
have seen, of his exterior union ; and so far he has still sufficient
to make him a complete member of the Church.

Some, Externally Catholics, Are Dead Members.

But the day may come when the light of Faith grows dim,
and his spiritual life becomes almost extinct, because of his sinful
state. Then, with Faith gone, and Charity gone, he is neither a
perfect nor a complete member ; he is like the dead branch which
the tree waves in the breeze ; the stream of sap has ceased to
circulate in it ; it is dead and withered ; shriveled leaves still cling
to it, testifying to what it once was; and so Catholic practices
cling to the dead member of the Church, relics of by-gone days ;



Digitized by



Google



56 THE ECCLESIASTICAL REVIEW.

the sap may one day find the long-forgotten channel ; grace may
one day touch his soul ; the branch has a chance as long as it is
not lopped off; but woe to it when the word goes forth : '* Cut it
down ! Why cumbereth it the ground ? " ®

This truth has been well expressed by Melchior Canus, the
Dominican theologian. He says: "We see that when some
member of the body withers away for lack of life and feeling, it
yet shares in some external motion communicated by the breath
of life, although that same breath of life communicates to it
nothing internal, nothing vital. And the same method is observed
by the spirit of Christ in His body, the Church. For some por-
tions of it He so animates and vivifies that no vital motion seems
to be wanting to them, while He seems to so flow out upon others
as to internally confer upon them not so much life as a certain
mere breathing of life. While, lastly, to others He seems to im-
part His influence and power internally, so that, though they are
wholly dead and withered members, yet because they are not
lopped off from the body, they are moved with the body by the
spirit of life." ^

The Well-Intentioned Protestant.

But there is another class, with whom we are more immedi-
ately concerned. They have never known the true Church. To
them some sectarian Church has been everything ; all their train-
ing has taught them to look askance upon the Catholic Church ;
and they have never really studied her, for they have no doubt as
to the security of their own position. It is clear that they are not
complete members of the Church, for they have no external union
whatever with her. But are they perfect members of the Church?
That is, are they interiorly perfectly united to Christ, the Head ?
Supposing they truly love Him and serve Him loyally, then the
perfection of their union will depend upon the nature of their
faith, which is either perfect or imperfect

Now the faith of Catholic and non-Catholic Christians may
be radically the same, if by faith we understand, on its widest

* Luke 13 : 7.

• De locis theologicisy lib. iv, Gip. vi. ad I2in.



Digitized by



Google



'* EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUSr S7

basis, assent to God's revealed truth. The grounds on which a
Catholic accepts those truths are of course very different from
those on which a Protestant receives them : the former accepts
them on the authority of the Infallible Church ; the latter, at least
the High Churchman and the Ritualist, because his Church holds
them and teaches them, not, however, infallibly, but fallibly, and
he thus introduces, without perhaps being fully aware of it, the
principle of private judgment. This difference is, it is true, a very
important one ; but it is one of which the ordinary non-Catholic
is hardly conscious ; and it is one which, so long as it is not
recognized, unconscious, does not perhaps vitally affect the value
of his acceptance of these revealed truths. As far as he sees, he
accepts the Creed because it contains the body of revealed truth ;
and if he be asked how he knows that the Creed contains the
sum of divine Revelation, he would, if logical, be obliged to
answer that his Church tells him so ; and that he, if in good faith,
sees no reason to doubt his Church. He has been brought up in
it, as were his forefathers before him ; what was good enough for
them, ought to satisfy him. He does not, it is true, make an act
of divine faith in his Church, as a Catholic does ; he has probably
never really studied the question nor satisfied himself as to the
absolute necessity of having a living, energizing, vivifying Church
putting before him infallibly a living faith, not merely in a stereo-
typed Creed, but in a form adapted to his daily life with all its
needs.

His faith then is the same divine gift as that of his Catholic
friend, but it has come to him through a different channel and in
a sadly mutilated form. Its scope is limited, and its view short-
sighted; but its main object is the same, viz., God's revealed
truths, or at least some of them ; and its motives for their accept-
ance is, at least remotely, the same, viz., God's declaration of
them. The vehicle of this declaration is a faulty one ; the truths
conveyed are sterilized ; no living voice declares them or expands
and develops them as need arises. And so the faith of a non-
Catholic falls immeasurably short of that of a Catholic, even in the
very best and most earnest ; but it remains at root the same, —
an assent to divinely revealed truths, precisely because they are
revealed.



Digitized by



Google



58 THE ECCLESIASTICAL REVIEW,

In this sense it is that it constitutes a bond between Catholics
and non-Catholics professing the Christian religion. In many,
indeed, it is non-existent, and has given way to reason or private
judgment; but where it remains, it is a gift of God, the fruit of
their Baptism and their link with Christ — ^the primary essential
for Church membership.

Hence, non-Catholic Christians have, even interiorly, only im-
perfect union with Christ, for their faith is imperfect as being
stunted and as reaching them through an illegitimate channel.
But because they have charity, namely, that love of God which
moves them to serve Him to the best of their knowledge, they
have implicitly the same faith as Catholics have, and, if it were
not for their education, their want of instruction, and the pre-
judices which hem them in, they would gladly believe exactly as
Catholics do.

Those Who Have No Religion.

Lastly, there are others who know neither Christ nor His
Church, " who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death," —
what of them ? The most we can say is this : they retain, as
long as they live, the possibility of being truly united to Him.
His gfrace is all-powerful, because " no word shall be impossible
with God," and their wills are free.

The Terms "Perfect" and "Complete" Members.

Some, indeed, may be inclined to quarrel with this distinction
between the complete and the perfect. But the soul is perfect,
and so is the body ; and the perfection of each consists in their
adaptability to one another ; yet no one would say that they were
each of them complete ; each is rather the complement of the
other, and the harmonious interaction of the two presents us with
the complete idea. So, similarly, there may be perfect internal
union with Christ, our Head, if its two essential elements be
severally perfectly present ; for either may be defective, and thus
there arise degrees in the perfection of our union with Him.
But however fully these elements be present, they can never of
themselves constitute complete union with Him until they expand,



Digitized by



Google



FATHER LUIS DE BARB ASTRO. 59

as they of necessity do when perfectly possessed, from implicit to
explicit belief accepted on the only true ground and shown by
the further bond of external practice and oneness with other
members.

St. Cyprian and St. Augustine.

To return to St. Cyprian and St. Augustine, or rather to the
proposition, "outside the Church there is no salvation." The
Christian Fathers in using the expression are speaking of those
who are knowingly outside the true Church. He is contemplating
the case of those who in their attachment or their repugnance to
some particular doctrine, or out of pride and obstinacy, wilfully
separate themselves from communion with the one true Church.
These are warned that the possession of the true faith implies the
possession also of true charity ; and that the possession of both
means nothing less than the actual and practical communion
with that Church which they recognize as the only true fold of
Christ.

Hugh Pope, O.P.

Hawkesyard Priory^ England,



FATHER LUIS DE BARBASTRO.
Florida Martyr of the Sixteenth Century.

THE Catholic Directory for A. D. 1902,^ under the rubric of
Tampa, Hillsboro Co., Florida, has the following note:
" St, Louis — In honor of Father Louis Cancer, OS.D,, who suf-
fered martyrdom on the coast upwards of three hundred years ago''
The meaning of which is, that the Catholic Church of St. Louis,
in Tampa, Florida, was so named in honor of the man whom I pro-
pose as the subject of the following biographical sketch. His
full name was Luis Cancer De Barbastro. He was a native
of Zaragoza in Spain. Aside of his being one of the very first
priests to shed his blood for the faith in what is now United States
territory, Father Luis Cancer will ever remain one of the bright-
est lights that adorn the pages of early American Ecclesiastical

^ Page 496.



Digitized by



Google



6o THE ECCLESIASTICAL REVIEW.

History. Yet it is no exaggeration to say that among Catholics,
and even among American priests, he has been comparatively
unknown, except for the fact that his name appears in the Catholic
Directory.

Of Father Luis' early life I have been unable to obtain any
reliable details. In 1533 the annalist mentions his name as a
member of a community of Dominicans on the island and in the
city of San Domingo. Already he was spoken of as " a man of
great holiness/' and for that reason " quite famous."

Bartolome de Las Casas, the first American priest, and the
Protector of the Indians, was about to undertake his second
voyage to Peru to see to it that the natives of that vast
empire, lately conquered by Almagro and Pizarro, were not de-
prived of their liberty. For this purpose Las Casas sought to
establish as soon as possible a monastery of the Dominican Order.
Father Luis Cancer was chosen one of his four travelling com-
panions. The apostolic band set forth from Santo Domingo,
taking probably the course by sea to Puerto Cabellos or to
Trujillo. Thence they journeyed across the continent to the
Pacific coast. They rested on the road in St. Paul's Convent, in
the city of Leon, Nicaragua, which had been founded two years
before by the same Bartolome de Las Casas and his friend
Pedro de Angulo. Three of the travelling companions of Las
Casas were left in charge of this new foundation. Pedro de An-
gulo and Father Luis Cancer continued on their journey with Las
Casas to Peru.

Picturesque Realejo (now called Corinto) was the nearest port
on the Pacific, not more than forty miles distant from Leon. The
three fathers sailed from there on a small ship, that should have
taken them to Panama, whence they intended to proceed further
south to the empire of the Incas. But a hurricane put them at
the mercy of the elements. After being cast about for several
days, during which they experienced a short spell of absolute
calm, they were obliged, some weeks after their departure, to seek
the shore for protection, since their provisions were gone and their
boat showed signs of being unsea worthy. Their place of refuge
was the land-locked port of Realejo. Having no resources what-
ever, they were compelled to make their way back to the Con-



Digitized by



Google



FATHER LUIS DE BARB ASTRO, 6l

vent of St. Paul in Leon. This happened at the beginning of the
year 1534.

It had been the consistent policy of Spain, in its conquest and
settlement of new territory in America, to divide the acquired
portions at once into separate ecclesiastical jurisdictions or dio-
ceses. Thus we find that in 1534, when the Spaniards had
scarcely been ten years in possession, the dioceses of Leon and
Nicaragua had already been established, while Don Francisco
Marroquin (a secular priest) had been appointed first Bishop of
Guatemala, having his see at the settlement or rising city then
known as Santiago de Los Caballeros.

In Bishop Marroquin's episcopal dty the early Dominican
missionaries had erected a convent, but the Fathers had been
called to other fields and the monastery remained untenanted.
Guatemala suffered from a scarcity of evangelical laborers, while
Nicaragua had quite a sufficiency of them. As was natural, Mar-
roquin (who was a personal friend of Las Casas) invited some of
the Dominicans of Leon to his diocese, and the invitation was
accepted.

Bartolome de Las Casas, Pedro de Angulo, and Luis Cancer
went to Santiago de Los Caballeros and took possession of the
old convent. The natives of Guatemala had a language of their
own, and the Fathers applied themselves at once to learn it under
the guidance of Bishop Marroquin, who had already composed a
Catechism in it for the use of the Indians.

Many of the haughty Spanish Conquistadors had adopted a
way of their own for evangelizing the aboriginal Americans.
They would issue an edict inviting the natives to acknowledge the
King of Castile as their temporal sovereign and the Pope as head
of all things spiritual. The failure on the part of the Indians to
comply at once with this request gave a pretext for an attack
upon them, as a consequence of which all so-called prisoners of
war were made slaves. Their idols were shattered and their
places of worship obliterated. Although seldom if ever forced to
adopt the religion of their conquerors, the natives, who were
reduced to a condition of servitude, if not of real slavery, gener-
ally adapted themselves in the course of time to the new condi-
tions. This was effected mainly through the influence and



Digitized by



Google



62 THE ECCLESIASTICAL REVIEW.

guidance of the Catholic clergy, who were their only protectors
and friends. Despite numerous Bulls from the Roman Pontiffs
and the royal decrees forbidding this method of Christianizing the
Indians, there was no abatement of this violence during the first
fifty years after the discovery of the New World. The authority
of the American bishops seldom succeeded in curbing the tyranny
and stemming the greed of the Spanish adventurers, who, having
risen by bold exploits from the ranks of ordinary soldiers in the
old country to commanding positions in the new, assumed the
privileges of veritable monarchs.

It shall ever be to the credit of the sons of St. Dominic that
they were the first to raise their then powerful voice in defence ot
the helpless native Americans. In the pulpit and in the con-
fessional, in America and in the Spanish Court, Bartolome de Las
Casas had protested in no equivocal terms from the beginning of
his sacerdotal ministry against the inhuman conduct of the Con-
quistadors. And now, while studying the Utlateca or Quiche
language of Guatemala, he found time to write a tract {De Unico
Vocationis Mode) to prove to priests and people alike that the only
way to bring to the true Faith the American Indians was the
evangelical one of meekness and charity. Not soldiers, but priests
should approach them, who by their preaching and their example
would illumine their minds and move their hearts to accept the
truth.

The proud Castilian hidalgos, clad in mail and armor, laughed
at the, to them, novel doctrine, that savages could be brought to



Online LibraryCatholic University of AmericaAmerican ecclesiastical review, Volume 27 → online text (page 7 of 78)