Here’s the Second Letter of Vigano to President Trump. It is rather strange for the far right in Catholicism to praise President Trump with such lack of restraint, putting him above the Roman Pontiff, calling the Pope evil and appealing to the U.S. political leader for assistance in fighting against perceived evils (from the current far right conspiracy theory). It’s strange because Catholics on the far right believe that it is mainly Catholics who are saved. They think, as Athanasius Schneider and Michael Voris have stated clearly and as Vigano has only hinted, that one must be a believing and practicing Catholic to be saved. They think that Jews, Muslims, atheists, and all other non-Catholics must convert and be baptized to be saved. This is seen in particular in their claims that only the baptized are children of God by spiritual adoption — a popular heresy today.
But does this mean that Protestant Christians are also saved? The far right usually cites the Council of Florence to condemn also Protestants, as being heretics and schismatics who also need to repent to be saved. That is their view, by the way, not mine. So then, why does Vigano appeal to President Trump as if he were the leader of the children of God, when Trump is not a believing and practicing Catholic, Trump who has clearly lived a very sinful personal life, and why does Vigano exalt Trump above the Roman Pontiff?
This question of soteriology is crucial in the current debate about the Pope. For refusal of submission to the Pope is schism, and as the far right has long claimed, schismatics, heretics, Jews, and Muslims need to convert to be saved. (Again, that is not my view.) So how then does Vigano reject Pope Francis, refusing to call him Pope or Roman Pontiff, and repeatedly describing the Pope as if he were an apostate leading a false Church? Are schismatics saved or not? If not, then why reject the Pope, becoming a schismatic? Are Protestants, Jews, and Muslims saved without converting?
These are questions that Vigano, Schneider, Taylor Marshall, Michael Voris and others on the far right refuse to answer, as they don’t want to be unmasked as the Feeneyites that they are. Fr. Feeney was condemned for heresy for claiming that only Catholics are saved.
And this question of soteriology also factors into the debate on civil unions and marriage for gay persons. If gay persons can be saved by invincible ignorance and a sincere but mistaken conscience, then why not let them live by freedom of conscience and freedom of religion? But if these ideas of freedom of religion and of conscience are errors, then why to the papal critics refuse to obey their own religions and refuse to form their consciences according to Church teaching? You cannot claim an unrestricted right of freedom of religion and conscience for yourself, which extends to accusing the Vicar of Christ of being allied with Satan, and then deny that freedom to LGBTQ+ persons who are non-Catholic and often non-Christian.
Answer the question, Vigano. Answer, Schneider, Voris, Marshall and other papal critics. Who is saved and what must we all do to be saved?
My answer: those persons are saved who love others selflessly and who follow their own conscience, including gay persons who are sexually active, Jews, Muslims, atheists, and other persons living in contradiction to Church teaching. For in order to truly love others, they must be in the state of grace, and that is all that is needed to enter heaven (perhaps after a purification in Purgatory). I also believe that apostates, heretics, and schismatics can be saved if they have invincible ignorance and a sincere but mistaken conscience, and of course if they also love others. That any other basis but love would be the path to Heaven is absurd. For the journey is like the destination. Heaven is a place of love, and so the path to Heaven is that of love.
Their answer, which they hide from the world, is that they do not think even Protestants are saved. They believe, as Athanasius Schneider has explicitly stated, that Jews and Muslims lack supernatural faith (implying that they lack the state of grace needed to love selflessly and to enter heaven). They believe that only Catholics are saved, and only few of them.
Ironically, these persons who think that atheists, Jews, and Muslims are not saved also believe that schismatics are not saved, and yet that is what they are. And this is the reason they will not admit that they have rejected Pope Francis as the valid Roman Pontiff, because they think that schismatics are not saved, and to reject the Pope is clearly schismatic.
So why does Vigano appeal to President Trump, when he thinks that Trump is not saved and is not among the elect? Why turn away from the elect Roman Pontiff, elected by the Holy Spirit to be the Vicar of Christ and the Father and Teacher of all Christians, to appeal to someone that Vigano himself does not think is saved?