The Heresy of Indifferentism

The heresy of indifferentism is the notion that all world religions have an equal chance at getting someone to heaven.  Pope Leo XIII taught that the main problem with this heresy is that it overturns the unique mission of Jesus Christ to save people of every nation.   In Satis Cognitum (AD 1896) Pope Leo XIII wrote, “The mission of Christ is to save that which had perished: that is to say, not some nations or peoples, but the whole human race, without distinction of time or place.”—Satis Cognitum, #4, emphasis mine.

Recently, the largest online journal of Pentecostals, Charisma News, claimed that Pope Francis’ first video of 2016 overturned the unique and exclusive mission of Jesus Christ.

Without weighing in on the Pentecostal’s implication of heresy and a One-World Religion of Pope Francis, I want to point to something that Bishop Athanasius Schneider recently said.  He noted that we have had four main crises in the Church over 2,000 years.  The first was the Arian crisis (fought by his namesake).  The second was when the papacy was occupied by immoral people of the Roman Mafia in the 9th and 10th century.  The third crisis was the great Western Schism (2 alleged Popes in the 14th century, resolved by St. Catherine of Siena.)  The fourth is current. Bishop Athanasius Schneider says that we now live in a time of “relativism,” especially “doctrinal and moral” as well as “liturgical anarchy.”

Relativism is the philosophical root of the heresy of indifferentism.  Relativism is reflected in phrases like “Whatever floats your boat” and “You have your truth and I have mine.”  The theological root, however, comes down to a denial of original sin.  Is each person born as a child of God?  This is reflected in questions like, “Do you think only Catholics go to heaven?” You immediately feel a dump of epinephrine in your system.  You understand very well they mean: “Does God hate everyone who is not-Christian?”

 I usually answer this question with an analogy.  Imagine an enormous ocean-liner where Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Christians are on the balcony enjoying the sunset.  Jesus Christ walks the balcony and throws anyone overboard who does not have the ticket of baptism.  This is the basic premise of the questioner who asks “Do you think all non-Catholics go to hell?” In other words, the secular person insists that everyone is born in union with God, but it is we Catholic/Christian fundamentalists want to present an angry Jesus who throws people overboard.

I like to present a different analogy that actually reflects the true doctrine of original sin.  Imagine Jesus Christ is walking the balcony of an ocean-liner and there are people from every nation already overboard and drowning:  Africans, Asians, Indians and Caucasians are drowning and surrounded by sharks.  Jesus Christ throws each person a life-preserver (baptism) and offers to bring them into His boat (the Catholic Church) if only they will accept His love and mercy.  The fact that they are already-overboard is the true teaching of original sin. Only when we understand original sin can we actually see Jesus the Savior of all nations…not the selectively-grumpy friend of Europeans.

Do you see the difference between the two analogies refers primarily to original sin?  When people say “Do you think all non-Catholics go to hell?” they really mean “Is God mean to all non-Christians?” But if we can show them that the status-quo of humanity begins with separation from God (in the ocean, unbaptized) then we can understand Jesus as the Savior who really wants to save even the worst sinner from any nation.

The Pentecostals in the above link may not use terms like “heresy of indifferentism,” but they do know this:  Jesus is not a savior of the human race.  Rather, he is the only savior of the human race.  This assumes that the status-quo of every person in humanity is separation-from-God.  In fact, the following drawing did not originally come from Protestants, but rather from St. Catherine of Siena:


 That chasm makes each of us a separated enemy of God. Even the greatest saint (except the Mother of God who herself was saved pre-emptively by the Passion of Christ before sin could set-in) was at one point an enemy of God through original sin.  Yes, literally an enemy, but by our decision, not God’s.  “For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.”—Romans 5:10.  This is preceded by my favorite line in the Bible: “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”—Romans 5:8.

By the way, if you need a direct answer to that question on salvation, give them the answer of Pope Pius IX:   “By Faith it is to be firmly held that outside the Apostolic Roman Church none can achieve salvation. This is the only ark of salvation. He who does not enter into it, will perish in the flood. Nevertheless equally certainly it is to be held that those who suffer from invincible ignorance of the true religion, are not, for this reason, guilty in the eyes of the Lord.”—Pope Pius IX, Denzinger 1647 (Ott 312)

But if you have the time and ability to explain the love behind the theology of original sin, do that!  Then they will understand that “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”—John 3:17.  Then they will understand that it was not exclusivism but love that led the Apostles to proclaim that “there is no other name under Heaven given to men whereby we must be saved.”—Acts 4:12.  Pope Leo XIII adds, “The Church, therefore, is bound to communicate without stint to all men, and to transmit through all ages, the salvation effected by Jesus Christ.”

—Fr. Dave Nix.  See more writing at


  1. If you want some historical evidence as to why Jesus rose from the dead and why He is the only savior of the human race, read this book.
  2. If you want to know why the Catholic Church remains without error even during the occasional Pope-in-error, read this article.

Musing on the Apocalypse


I don’t know when Jesus is going to return in glory. I don’t even think that Satan knows when Jesus is going to return in glory. But the angelic intellect (even a fallen one) is probably better at recognizing the signs that will precede Christ’s second coming (cf. St. Matthew ch. 24.) Is Satan going to distract hearts in the same way for Jesus’ first coming as Jesus’ second coming?

Well, let’s consider what the enemy of human nature did to religion in the first century to divert minds from the coming of the Messiah. In short, Satan twisted the one true religion of the world (Judaism at the time) into a legalistic frenzy. The Pharisees desired the law more than love, and so Jesus says to them: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”—St. Matthew 23:23. Fear of the law made the complex people miss the Son of God. Only simple (not simplistic) hearts recognized Him.

As much as I hate the words “conservative” and “liberal” in terms of Our Catholic Faith, for sake of brevity, we can say that Satan prepared the world for Christ’s first coming by putting her into a state of extreme conservative legalism. Wouldn’t then it be the perfect trick of Satan to prepare the world for Christ’s second coming by putting her into a state of liberal legalism?

What would Satan’s liberal legalism look like? Excessive loopholes on moral theology would mean that nothing could possibly be a mortal sin. It could only be a grave sin because of a constant parsing down with so-called merciful terms like “reduced culpability.” Satan’s liberal legalism would destroy the simple faith of children. Simple people’s faith would be clouded by complex and clouded theological terms surrounding endless excuses on “conscience” under the guise of mercy. Mercy, for Satan, would imply that God arbitrarily turns His head from a rigorious, legalistic imputation of sin, making God the enemy.  (This is so different from what the Desert Fathers taught, namely, the medical view of a transformed life at the foot of the healing cross of Jesus Christ!)

Satan’s liberal legalism would twist the Gospel into a bare-minimum of human-centered legalistic loopholes that leaves nothing but social justice at the end of the day. Priests who preached the full truths of the Gospel would be told by others they have to remember that St. Thomas Aquinas said that “conscience is infallible” and “Does anyone really have the ability to commit a sin with full consent of the will?” We can never know. Alas, we can never know…

This would be the perfect way for Satan to distract the world for the second coming of Christ. My proposal is not a return to conservative legalism. Furthermore, I’m not saying we’re at the end of the world. My proposal is a simple return to the Gospel at its heart: Repent and Believe as little children, with unfeigned trust in Jesus Christ and the One Church that He has established. Stop playing games. Start adoring the Blessed Trinity with a pure heart.  Trust the full and traditional Magisterium of the Catholic Church without games.


—Fr. David Nix,

New Beginnings – Building On The Faith Of Our Fathers

Saving souls…That was a constant theme on the mind of Father Carota. It permeated his thoughts and his actions.  This blog, is a fruit of that theme.  He originally wanted to start a Catholic TV station and build up a group to help priest learn the Latin Mass.  Over the time, those things didn’t come to pass but what did happen was for the best.  His blog has been an inspiration to all of us.

We got a chance to see the actions of a traditional priest on a daily basis.  The things he would post and say would make me cringe, laugh, feel intense pain as they could cut to the heart of the matter, and of course, like an old Disney movie, would leave us with hope at the end! He would post about buying auto parts,  blessing a business, telling a lady her tight pants were offending God, and then explain why our Pope was costing souls their salvation.  He didn’t pull any punches.  As a reader, it made me wonder how in the world did he get away with actually stating the TRUTH online in this day in age of Bishops clamping a stopper on anything that isn’t the “company line”.

This means, of course, he had enemies.  Satan of course, but there were many that were highly offended and put off by his frank online dialogues.  One of the things I helped Father with was going through the emails that were sent in and helping him to answer them.  It’s amazing how people get so angry about what he would write sometimes.  Some of the comments (that weren’t published) and some of the personal attacks were astounding.  Of course, when talking with Father about it, he would just chuckle and quickly forgive and excuse the people.  Some he knew, others he didn’t.  He was too busy trying to save souls to allow it to bother him much.

He asked me to make sure this blog continued.  Of course, I said yes as hosting a blog is not a big deal.  He always viewed this blog as an instrument to save souls.  I get that now from reading all of the comments over the years and the emails that have come in since I was asked to help.  It isn’t so much that Father would say something truly magnificent or new, no, he would just state the truth in Love.  That is, of course, why we loved him so.  We knew, that he loved us.  He didn’t know most of the readers, but he prayed for them.  He wanted to offer bits of hope everyday so that our souls would be comforted and we would, with renewed vigor, continue fighting the good fight no matter where we were or how far we might have strayed.

I feel such a profound loss in my soul with his passing.  I grieve, but not as one without hope.  I miss his daily reminders to be faithful and the small ways he showed how to be a faithful catholic in this sordid world we live in.  But with that grief, I am reminded that the battle is not over.  Father Carota did his part.  He was faithful to the call that God placed on him.  His part of this fight (at least on earth) is over and it is up to us to pick the slack.  In a time when we have apostate priests right and left, he stood in the gap and said “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord” and he made good that motto with his actions.

What now?

As promised, this blog will continue the mission of saving souls.  Changes will occur, new writers will help us, but the goal will always be the same: the salvation of souls.

Princesses of Ireland

St. Catherine of Siena taught that there was only one infinite thing in our life.  We do not have the ability to love infinitely.  We do not have the ability to sin infinitely.  We do, however, have an infinite desire or an infinite longing.

When we respond to this in a positive way, this becomes an ability to love with God’s love, which is infinite.  When rejected, our time in hell is infinite.  But for now, it is enough to say that we have an infinite longing.  Only God can fill that infinite longing.

But we cover up that desire with sin.  When that desire is not fulfilled, we heap addiction upon addiction into our lives to distract us from that infinite longing. When a person turns to God, she begins a relationship with Jesus and is baptized and/or makes a good confession.

Even after initial conversion, it is a lifelong battle to go deeper into the human longing and divine fulfillment by the ascetical life (fasting or sacrifice) as well as mental prayer leading (hopefully to) Holy Liturgy.  This is not a casuistic formula, but rather the means to the end which is nothing short of Divine Union in charity, where the soul actually knows God via love (the classic definition of Wisdom, the ultimate of the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.)

This ascent to God is God’s initiative but our cooperation.  The union of charity that comes from the ascetical life and the prayer life is probably the main difference between a saint and a person who simply dies in sanctifying grace.

For the children of Christendom, an initial encounter of beauty in a parish was probably an important launching point into the making of saint, later to be a married or religious person.  And perhaps this is why the parents of Christendom put so much more than their tithe into the making of the physical Church buildings:  The art had to be equal to an infinite longing.

But most importantly, they believed that God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass deserved the best.  Building such beauty around liturgical splendor seems to us to be something relegated to the past, something relegated to Europe.

However, after spending a month in Louisiana this year, I saw that our forefathers in this country—simple French, German, Irish and African forefathers—were the workingmen who not only built glorious Cathedrals, but even small Catholic Churches on the Mississippi.

For instance, Convent, Louisiana (pop 711 souls) is home to a small parish called “St. Michael the Archangel.”


It has the jubilee doors for the year of mercy.  As I went through those doors, I saw what 19th century Catholics could do if they were true believers.  Most likely, this was built by very poor barge workers on the Mississippi (the river being only 100 meters away) who surely gave more than their tithe.  More important than the money, however, was the transcendent aspects of the Holy Mass that can be seen in the art they made, century unknown on the art but seen here:


Everything about that high altar and dome says “You are no longer on earth but in heaven.”  The eyes of even the simplest believer must look up to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.  It is no wonder that people wanted to be saints when they entered a Church like this.

About an hour away, in New Orleans, I was welcomed by a friendly pastor into his ante-bellum rectory.


This is St. Patrick’s parish in a busy part of New Orleans.  Father let me offer the Traditional Latin Mass on the high altar, where he himself offers the TLM:


Being an Irishman myself, I was moved that this building was built not only by Irishmen of the 19th century, but poor Irishman who gave their blood, sweat and tears to build something this beautiful and transcendent.  How many of them, in their daily lives, felt like St. Peter sinking?  This very old painting is found to the right of the altar, and the figures are larger than life size:


What especially struck me, however, was the picture of St. Patrick baptizing the princesses of Ireland.  This too was an old painting honoring the true Irish-Catholic heritage that probably meant a lot more to the 19th century Irish workers than Mardi Gras or the St. Patrick’s parade.  It too is larger than life, to the left of the high altar:


It should be no wonder that parishes more recently built, like St. Bernadette’s in France, can not bring the human heart (or eyes!) to the transcendent gaze of beauty that leads to grace.


To me, this looks like a face on Pixar’s Cars.

But back to the Irish Princesses.  The only thing that would convert these princesses of Ireland would be the grace and truth of Jesus Christ flowing through a saint like St. Patrick.  And the response of Ireland from the 6th to 10th centuries was one of love, a fire of love that could only be fueled by beauty.

Liturgical beauty and majesty was surely not the only part of Irish life, but the art of the country or city parish had to be focused on God in order to tap that infinite longing and desire.

My proposal is simple:  If we want a return of the princesses of Ireland (or the United States) to Christ and His one Church, then we need to return to building Churches with a transcendent and majestic beauty that honors the God who made heaven and earth, seen even outside St. Patrick’s in New Orleans:




Fr. Dave Nix

More Requiem Masses For Fr. Carota

Fr. Joseph Illo will offer a low Requiem Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church (1813 Oakdale Rd., Modesto, CA 95355) on Saturday, July 16 at 12 noon. For those who have come from out of town for the funeral services and will stay through the weekend and would like to attend the Requiem Mass for Fr. Peter Carota, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is about a 40-minute drive from Stockton.

Canon Olivier Meney will offer a sung Requiem Mass (possibly Solemn Requiem Mass if he can find a deacon or straw deacon) at St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church (1219 Excelsior Ave., Oakland, CA 94610) on Saturday, July 23 at 10:00 a.m.

All are welcome to attend these Masses.