Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Kinder, Gentler Generation of Bishops?

I just came across this quote from the fifth-century bishop of Ruspe, St. Fulgentius:

Firmly hold and never doubt that every baptized person outside of the Catholic Church cannot share in eternal life, if before the end of his life he does not return and is incorporated into the Church.... Not only pagans but also all Jews, all heretics and schismatics who finish this life outside of the Catholic Church will go into eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels (On Faith, To Peter, 37, 38).

I realize that the writings of the fathers are not on par with the Catholic Church's de fide pronouncements or anything, but I would be curious to hear how these sentiments (which are shared by many other fathers) square with the post-Vatican 2 business about the universal Church "subsisting" in the Church of Rome and we Protestants being only "separated brethren" who may still be saved, even though we're Presbyterians.
Has the Catholic Church lost the gall to condemn me?