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Question: Not long ago I listened to a nine tape lecture on the Old Testament by a secular scholar from Pepperdine University. Her big assumption was that the Hebrews adapted their religious beliefs from the Babylonians and surrounding peoples. So, the creation account is an adaptation of the Sumerian creation myth of the water gods Apsu and Tiamut and Noah is just a Hebraized Gilgamesh. Now whereas this is plausible, it is just as plausible that the Babylonians and Sumerians got their creation myths from the Hebrews. Right?
Question: What do you say about the Feeneyite crowd that says there is no salvation outside of formal membership in the the Roman Catholic Church? There's this one particular traditionalist I've been dealing with who insists on it.
Question: Jesus said "for you and for many". And every single translation of the Bible, the most liberal Catholic, the most periphrastic, sloppy, unliteral Protestant translations, all accurately record our Lord's words as being, "My Blood shall be shed for you and for many." Not a single one says "for you and for all". Not even the comic-strip Bible, says "for you and for all". They all say "for you and for many". For 2,000 years, the Latin text of this has read, pro vobis et pro multis, – "multis" meaning "many".
Question: While I agree with you that Vatican II's declarations must be accepted with "religious submission" of mind and of will, this is not because it made any new infallible statements. Granted it reiterated doctrines that had already been infallibly defined, but in regard to any new statements, particularly the ones you list in your article "No Salvation Outside the Church" (e.g. the Council's declaration on Religious Liberty), I'd have this to say: Surely the Pope who approved the statements of Vatican II should know what its status is as regards infallibility or non-infallibility, and Paul VI had this to say:
In view of the pastoral nature of the Council, it avoided any extraordinary statements of dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility, but it still provided its teaching with the Authority of the Ordinary Magisterium which must be accepted with docility according to the mind of the Council concerning the nature and aims of each document. ( General Audience, 12 January 1966 )
Please don't misunderstand my comments as implying that I don't believe one is morally bound to accept the teachings of Vatican II. On the contrary, I do. This is because the Church is our Mother and we can trust her not to deceive us even when there is the theoretical possibility that that this might occur. There is the remote possibility that my food might be poisoned, but it would be ridiculous of me to refrain from eating for this reason! (For a full explanation of the infallible/non-infallible binding statement controversy, please see Father William Most, Catholic Apologetics Today, TAN Books.)