... nulla Salus. I am a little nervous about the emphasis laid upon this in some traddy circles, and about some of the stricter interpretations given to the phrase. It seems to me that some people may be a little over-anxious to exclude from heaven anybody who is not in full canonical communion with the See of S Peter.
I suppose that in an age suffused with Relativism and Indifferentism, it is inevitable that sensible and thoughtful people will want to resist anything that smells of these dangerous, pernicious, heresies. But, well, y'know, sometimes a pendulum does ... er ... swing ... er ... a bit far.
Well before the post-Conciliar catastrophes struck, 'Invincible Ignorance', and all that, was part of the Church's common teaching. In 1945, Evelyn Waugh, no Relativist, explains that if Lady Julia Flyte "apostatised now, having been brought up in the Church, she would go to hell, while the Protestant girls of her acquaintance, schooled in happy ignorance, could marry eldest sons, live at peace with their world, and get to heaven before her." And remember that one of Waugh's motives in writing Brideshead was to explain the Catholic Faith to his generation by novelistic means.
S John Henry Newman avowed, towards the end of his life, that he had spent it fighting against Liberalism. He, too, used novelistic means to explain the Faith.
Priest: Do you think [Anglicans] believe and practise all that is brought home to them as being in Scripture?
Reding: Certainly they do, as far as man can judge.
Priest: Then perhaps they may be practising the virtue of faith; if there are passages in it to which they are insensible, as about the sacraments, penance, and extreme unction, or about the See of Peter, I should in charity think that these passages had never been brought home or applied to their minds and consciences - just as a Pope's Bull may be for a time unknown in a distant part of the Church. They may be in involuntary ignorance.* Yet I fear that, taking the whole nation, they are few among many.
*At this point, Newman footnotes a sentence from de Lugo which I translate thus:
Those who err invincibly about some articles, and believe others, are not formally heretics, but have supernatural faith, by which they believe the true articles; and acts of perfect contrition can proceed from that faith so that they be justified and saved.