Considering the Difficulty of Salvation Within the New Church
After what has been said above, we must now consider the problem of the possibility of salvation for those who live in the post-conciliar New Church.
First, it should be noted that eternal salvation is the exclusive work of God's grace. It is true that the reward of the Blessed is something really deserved due to their merits which, of course, are real and true, for they are personally attributed to each: The crown of righteousness, which at the end of his life Saint Paul said he would receive is not a gift based on anything other than divine generosity; it is, rather, the prize that God, Just Judge, grants him as a reward for the innumerable labors Saint Paul had suffered for His sake. Nevertheless, even this reward-remuneration, which is the result of justice as we have said, is in its entirety the work of divine grace and benevolence, without which there would have never been fruits of justice or any reward.
It must also be noted that nobody is saved or condemned because of the mere fact that he belongs to this or that Group or to this or that particular faction within the Church. As far as salvation is concerned, a Carthusian monk, for example, is not saved merely by being a Carthusian, even if he belongs to the strict observance; personal responsibility of each individual is always involved as a decisive factor: And they were judged, every one according to their works.
Generally speaking, except for those who we know, by Revelation or by infallible definition of the Church, are already enjoying the status of blessed, the eternal destiny of the deceased is something reserved to the secrets of God.
Man has always believed that he is the lord of History, capable of directing it in any way he wants. This is a strange and often tragic belief; in effect, the terrible events that follow that type of leadership, and which have almost always been contrary to man’s expectations, have not been able to eliminate that conviction. The great Revolutions, so eagerly awaited, carried out with the most extraordinary jubilation and most firm conviction that the new ways to be trodden would triumph; new ways which would, undoubtedly, change the course of history, elevating humanity to heights that the most optimistic dreamers would never have imagined… those great Revolutions led to outcomes that not only did not improve human existence, but which ended up by yielding fruits absolutely contrary to the expected results.
The obliteration of the philosophy of being and the joyful and definitive dismissal of the much-maligned Middle Ages, which henceforth would be referred to as the Dark Ages, introduced various systems of Idealism whose most outstanding fruits –among others—were millions of deaths caused by Communism and the reduction of entire nations to a state of slavery. The triumphal farewell to the hated Ancient Regime and the resultant disappearance of the absolute power of kings paved the way for the arrival of oppressive oligarchies and the appearance of the most horrific and cruel tyrannies ever known to humanity. At the same time, something similar happened with the fanciful illusions of liberty and equality championed by the French Revolution.
When on Thursday, October 11, 1962, Pope John XXIII delivered his triumphant and revolutionary speech at the opening of the Second Vatican Council announcing a change of direction for the Barque of Peter, he possibly forgot important things, due to the natural excess of optimism of the moment. Important things that, as usually happens on similar occasions, passed equally unnoticed by millions of people throughout the world who listened to him. Hence, it was clear, once again, that overwhelming enthusiasm and a triumphal spirit, also fed by the applause of previously exalted and prepared crowds, usually are not good advisers or promising augurs.
Epictetus said that the study of any science should begin by examining its name. If we have determined that in the post-conciliar Church there has been a change or transformation, whether in her essence or simply in her appearance, we would do well to study carefully the possible meanings of the verb change, so that we are able to reach a definitive conclusion about whether such a transformation has affected the very essence of the Church or just her mode of being, or whether the change has affected the two kinds of faithful mentioned earlier in a different way: those whom we have simply termed as Catholic (disregarding here the pejorative adjectives with which they are usually impugned) and those who have fully incorporated themselves into the post-conciliar New Church .
It seems that the Spanish Dictionary of Maria Moliner is reluctant to use the terms change, vary, or transform to signify the morphing of any one thing into something completely different; rather, it uses these terms to refer to an alteration only in the aspect or mode of the appearance of one thing, while keeping the identity or essence of that thing intact.
As for the group of those whom we have called Catholic, they present no problem. We have already said that the members of this group are not schismatic, Lefebvrian, or anything of the sort, although they are few, live scattered throughout diverse countries, and lack any external link among them; they obey all the laws that do not manifestly contradict divine laws. We can undoubtedly say that the Church exists and continues to exist in them.