The late Fr. Gabriele Amorth was the chief exorcist of Rome in the 20th century under Pope John Paul II. In his second book, An Exorcist: More Stories, he recounts on page 124 a soldier with a demon who had originally met with him but couldn’t make future appointments. Fr. Amorth writes: “Continuing with the story of the young soldier: he called me to cancel our fourth appointment, citing military duties. Several months later, I received a letter from him. He told me that he had to leave Rome because he had been suddenly transferred to northern Italy. He gratefully thanked me for the help I had provided and joyfully reported the events that had led to his complete deliverance.”
The soldier later wrote the exorcist out of the blue: “I am completely healed. It was the Spirit of Jesus Christ who cast out the demon I had inside. I did not believe I could be healed because the pain was so strong. Even less did I believe that I could be healed so quickly. By pure chance, I met a member of an Evangelical Christian group who perceived my condition and invited me to receive the prayers of his community. I did, and the group prayed over me for a long time; the next day I could already notice a great improvement. The following Sunday, I was invited to visit their church, where they invoked the Spirit of Jesus Christ over me. This provoked the same strong reactions that I experienced when you were blessing me. After praying and doing battle with the demon for half a day, they took a break and asked me to come back late in the afternoon. When I returned, they began praying again, and when they helped me to invoke the cleansing Spirit of Christ, I fell to the ground. When I was able to stand up again, I was free from pain; I felt liberated, light. I was myself again, the person I used to be. I thank you again for all you did for me. I felt it was my duty to write to you and give witness to what Jesus Christ has done for me. The Lord accomplishes all sorts of miracles; he heals drug addicts, and he frees victims whose curse is much worse than mine was. I want to give him glory with the witness of my deliverance.”
Fr. Gabriel Amorth then does his best to explain why some non-Catholics may have achieved an apparent-liberation of an obsessed individual even as non-Catholics: “The letter included his name and address and the address of the Pentecostal Evangelical Christian Church that the Lord had used to heal him. I must confess that, at first, the letter was a bit disconcerting. Then I thought about the Gospel of Mark and the rebuke that John the apostle received from Jesus because of the following words: Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us. (Mk 9:38). Instead, I tried to admire the faith of that community and to learn from the soldier’s experience.”
Put the following on the back-burner before we consider the final recipe of this blog-post: One of the infallible dogmas of the Catholic Church is that “outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation.” Here is what numerous Popes have said about extra ecclesiam nulla salus (EENS) or “outside the Church there is no salvation.” I will refer to this simply as EENS for the rest of this blog. Seemingly-unrelated, please also put this on the back-burner before going forward: An “ordinary” is a Roman Catholic bishop who governs a diocese. Currently, I can not think of any ordinary in the world (or anyone living in-or-around the Vatican) who accepts the traditional teaching of EENS. Probably about ten fringe bishops all over the world hold to EENS, but they are not ordinaries.
Now, I can not declare anyone a formal heretic, but notice that all Roman Catholic bishops who reject EENS are technically material heretics and therefore schismatics, for according to St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa, “Whoever is a heretic is also a schismatic.”—ST II–II 39 art 1, reply to objection 3. Keep in mind that any Eastern Orthodox bishop (who would also be called a “schismatic” before Vatican II) obviously rejects EENS in reference to the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, any evangelical Protestant pastor (who the Catholic Church would call a “heretic” before Vatican II) also obviously rejects EENS in reference to the Catholic Church. But so do all Catholic bishops today—except perhaps Ab. Viganó, Bp. Schneider, Bp. Gracida, Bp. Williamson, SSPX bishops, Old-Roman bishops and sedevacantist bishops. (You can email me additions to that list, but I’m sure you’ll find none. I know the two you’re thinking of, but I have heard their teachings, and I’m quite sure they hold to ecumenism.)
I’m not saying all these normy bishops are going to hell for their diversion from traditional doctrine. I’m not their judge. Maybe they all have reduced-culpability for inheriting a wonky doctrine they didn’t want. (I doubt it, so I’m also not saying they’re going to heaven, either.) But in any case, I am just saying that the current lot of Catholic bishops and Eastern Orthodox and evangelicals are technically all in the same category as they all reject EENS. Thus, I’m not going to treat an Ethiopian Orthodox Metropolitan any differently from, say, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of a large Archdiocese in Europe. I will treat both with charity, with deference and with acceptance of the fact they all have valid sacraments but are technically schismatic.
The fact they have all rejected the traditional Catholic faith may give us a clue as to why Fr. Amorth applied this line to non-Catholics’ deliverance ministry in the first few paragraphs:
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in My name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. For the one who is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.—Mk 9:38-41
Of course, it is also true that intention matters greatly in this case, especially in this full-eclipse of the visibility of the Catholic Church. So, imagine the particular judgment of the Roman Catholic bishops and Cardinals who currently preventing people from entering the Catholic Church:
Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.—Mt 12:30-31.
Collateral circulation is a cardiac term in medicine. When a major artery on the heart (in this case, by analogy, the Catholic priesthood) is clogged, the heart creates a vascular system around the obstructed artery called “collateral circulation.” This perfusion of cardiac tissue is a compensatory plan, not the original design. But, as Dr. Malcolm in the original Jurassic Park movie says, “Life finds a way.” So also, grace if finding a way around the above clowns. Yes, it’s still going through Mary (the Mediatrix of all graces.) Yes, it’s still going through the Catholic Church. But even St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas hold that “actual graces” or “prevenient graces” can come into the lives of the unbaptized.
I blogged here in the Life Update section of my site about how many people are coming to Christ through private revelations during dreams currently in this 21st century. Apparently, if international missionaries have been nearly-sunk by ecumenism (that term that carried the devil’s lie of “opening the Church to the world”) then Christ Himself will now go in search of lost-sheep across the globe.
Even with seven books missing from their Bible, I find that the evangelicals in my life tend to hold to more of the Catholic Deposit of the Faith than the average NOM bishop in my life. So while I still hold to EENS, I have to ask: Who is truly more Catholic these days between an evangelical who believes at least in the Divine Revelation of the Bible and a putatively-conservative bishop who promotes Von Balthasar’s Dare We Hope All Might Be Saved garbage? I am at the point where I believe the term “Catholic” has more to do with data points on supernatural faith than what color vestments you put on.
I’m not saying anyone from heretical NOM bishops to “MegaChurch” evangelicals (to even myself) is going to be saved without grace just because we’re in a difficult time in Church history. But I do know that the current Vatican apparatus’ soteriology of Universalist Unitarianism (opposed publicly by not a single Cardinal in the entire world, by the way!) is clearly not the Catholicism preached by the Apostles who originally asserted that Christ crucified and the Magisterium is the only way to see the Blessed Trinity forever in heaven.
Remember that according to classic Roman definitions, “schism” refers to a group who has valid sacraments but does not recognize the primacy of place of the Roman Pope. From 1054 to 1964, the Catholic Church called the Eastern Orthodox “schismatic.” But in 2022 after sixty years of mind-blowing confusion from Rome, we must ask: Schism is now tantamount to separation from whom? Separation from the “two Popes” who—since 2013—publicly recognize each other as the other valid Pope as seen in the above picture? How can we traditional Catholics call the Eastern Orthodox “schismatic” just for refraining from being in union with our last sixty years of Roman Popes (including “two Popes” now) who themselves tell the Eastern Orthodox not to become Catholic?
I’m not in the slightest tempted to leave Jesus Christ crucified and risen or traditional Catholicism or the full Deposit of the Faith. So don’t panic if I occasionally quote a non-Catholic in a favorably light from time to time. It doesn’t mean I am joining their “squad.” In fact, the Apostle Paul once quoted a pagan-poet to make a point when speaking at the Areopagus:
Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.—Acts 17:22-25
Often, when I quote a non-Catholic on rightly believing topic x or y or z, it may be an a fortiori argument as to why Catholics should believe x or y or z all the more. In such a case, the word “even” is extremely important to what I am asserting. For example, “If even an unbaptized conservative Jew, Dennis Prager, believes killing the unborn is wicked, so also should every Catholic.” Indeed, one hazard with following me online without knowing me in real life is that people might see the above picture of Dennis Prager and I and assume I didn’t evangelize him just because he’s smiling… In fact, I did evangelize him at a dinner in a diner in California with a few mutual friends earlier this year. He wasn’t offended. I also learned some things from him on how to better fight this culture war against leftists. It’s something we’re united on. It doesn’t mean we pretend in “ecumenism” we believe the same theology necessary for salvation.
So, if you’re tempted to freak when I quote an Eastern Orthodox person or a Protestant, you should probably find a different traditional priest online to follow and donate to. I really don’t need policing unless I myself speak or write heresy, in which case I hope you write to correct me. Short of that, please know I’m in no danger of becoming “ecumenical” just because I occasionally quote a non-Catholic politician or poet (as St. Paul did) or just because you see me with a “bad Catholic.” Also, you don’t have to write me to tell me that President Donald Trump has been “married” more than once. I already know that. I believe that none of us are ever going to find another person online with whom we agree 100% of the time. Excepting heresy of course, I think a 90%-overlap on political issues is enough to keep listening to an online Catholic you mostly agree with.
Of course, we all should keep evangelizing people towards traditional Catholicism. But we shouldn’t be shocked that many evangelicals and Eastern Orthodox (and even conservative Jews) are extremely scandalized by the leftist-Vatican tactics right now. Therefore, it’s hard for them to discern entrance into the Catholic Church as decent conservative Christians. I think frequently of this quote on EENS from Pope Pius IX from the 19th century as I consider our current Church crisis:
By Faith it is to be firmly held that outside the Apostolic Roman Church none can achieve salvation. This is the only ark of salvation. He who does not enter into it, will perish in the flood. Nevertheless equally certain it is to be held that those who suffer from invincible ignorance of the true religion, are not, for this reason, guilty in the eyes of the Lord.—Pope Pius IX, Denzinger 1647, Ott p. 312.
Notice that invincible ignorance means certain people don’t know Christ or the fullness of the Deposit of the Faith, for they could not have known better. Vincible ignorance, on the other hand, means they could have known better, but still rejected Christ. Now, I’m clearly not making excuses for anyone not becoming Catholic, but realize that on the streets, I’m much more compassionate to non-Catholics than how I berate the heretical hierarchy on this blog. Why? Because such false-shepherds are blocking the way of Christ’s potential sheep into the fold. I know very well that there are many broken sheep out there searching for the truth, but what they see from the mainstream “Catholic” media is a totally different religion from what is found on this website.
We really must pray that these wolves governing the Catholic Church leave us, so we that we shepherds (like me who am very weak, but at least believe in EENS and believe that the salvation of souls is a real thing) may continue shepherding evangelicals (and others on the streets and my pathway) into the Catholic Church with less resistance coming from the top.
Keep in mind the classic truths I’m promoting never would have been controversial 100 years ago. Thus, it’s the hierarchy that has changed, not the Catholic faith. This can only be explained by the true Third Secret of Fatima, namely, that the apostasy would start at the top. No, an apostasy of the hierarchy from the top-down has never been predicted in any Marian apparition before Fatima, so don’t tell me “We’ve seen times this dark in the Church before.”
I see so many good blue-collar conservatives around this country (like people doing “Trucker’s chapels,” also near my home in the above picture) attempting to follow Christ as best they can. But why would they become Catholic seeing woke left in the hierarchy? Leftists following their satanic religion continue to commandeer so-called “Catholic” and “Jesuit” universities in their attempts to steal money and destroy minds. But the grassroots Christians all over the world are perhaps those who the Apostle Paul would call “not mighty” and “not noble:”
For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For see your vocation, brethren, that there are not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble: But the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the wise; and the weak things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the strong.—1 Cor 1:25-27
By God’s grace, many conservative Americans are already becoming traditional Catholics despite the scandals in the Catholic Church. We must evangelize these people towards traditional Catholicism, but we also must be extremely patient with people of good-will, especially due to this Church crisis where leftists in the hierarchy make the entire Catholic Church look like an enormous cult of unbelievers. And we shouldn’t be scandalized that even the unbaptized receive what St. Augustine called “prevenient graces” at extraordinary rates before people are even able to recognize advanced terms like EENS.
“Prevenient graces” are why I am such a believer in “collateral circulation.” When the Catholic priesthood (God’s chosen method of salvation) is clogged by heresy and schism, God is not bound to our sloth as He saves souls. I believe Mary and the Catholic Church are the conduit of all graces, but these initial graces may come in unusual ways as the visibility of the Catholic Church seems to be in full “eclipse” as that one prophesy predicted. (And no, I’m not proposing Rahner’s preposterous Anonymous Christian, for Rahner promoted a neo-Pelagianism where one could be saved without the grace of Jesus Christ.)
I ponder daily this short fictional story called Antichrist by Soloviev (a Russian man who converted from Eastern Orthodox to Catholic shortly after writing this around the year 1900.) I find it fascinating because—in Soloviev’s account—God uses the final antichrist at the end of time to unite the remaining faithful Roman Catholics (led by Pope Peter II) and Eastern Orthodox (led by Elder John) and Protestants (led by Professor Pauli) all under the final Roman Catholic Pope (again, Pope Peter II.)
Notice as you read the closing quote that I’m not saying it’s good enough to die a typical Eastern Orthodox man or a typical American evangelical gal. But in that fictional account by Soloviev, it is Divine Providence who ironically uses the final Antichrist to unite all faithful Christians into becoming Catholics at the very last scene of earth’s history. Yes, Soloviev’s Antichrist has killed the final Christians, but they are all found incorrupt, for they had all just united as Catholics under the final Pope, Pope Peter II. Notice also that very last sentence regarding a “brilliant light” is the Second Coming of Christ in glory:
The party that came for the bodies found them quite untouched by decomposition, not even stiff or heavy. They put them on stretchers and covered them with the cloaks they had brought with them. Then by the same circuitous route they returned to their followers. They had hardly lowered the stretcher to the ground when suddenly the spirit of life could be seen reentering the deceased bodies. The bodies moved slightly as if they were trying to throw off the cloaks in which they were wrapped. With shouts of joy, everyone lent them aid and soon both the revived men rose to their feet, safe and sound.
Then said Elder John: “Ah, my little children, we have not parted after all! I will tell you this: it is time that we carry out the last prayer of Christ for his disciples – that they should be all one, even as he himself is one with the Father. For this unity in Christ, let us honor our beloved brother Peter. Let him at last pasture the flocks of Christ. There it is, brother!” And he put his arms round Peter.
Then Professor Pauli came nearer. “Tu est Petrus!” (“You are Peter!”) he said to the Pope, “Jetzt ist es ja grundlich erwiesen und ausser jedem Zweifel gesetzt.” (“Now it has been thoroughly proven and put beyond any doubt”). And he shook Peter’s hand firmly with his own right hand, while he stretched out his left hand to John saying: “So also Vaterchen nun sind wir ja Eins in Christo.” (“Now, then, dear father, we are now one in Christ.”)
In this manner, the unification of churches took place in the midst of a dark night on a high and deserted spot. But the nocturnal darkness was suddenly illuminated with brilliant light.