July 28, 1994
by Fr. Lucian Pulvermacher, OFM Cap.
on Free Will, Intellect & Faith
Once again, I open my letter with words of St.
Peter in his 2nd Epistle, the 1st verse. I address
myself, "to them that have obtained equal faith with us in the justice
of our God and Savior Jesus Christ." May the grace and peace of Christ
be with each and every one of you. I pray that the Holy Ghost may give
to me the words of truth and that you may have the receptive power to receive
From my habitual dealing with you it appears clear to me that many of
you are not well founded in the basic truths of psychology and faith. Hence,
to make my words clear, I have developed what might be called a graph.
It explains in unmistakable terms the three different types of people that
are on earth. We belong to one of these classes. We must be concerned about
the dichotomy between "faith" and it absence.
In seems that those who are without faith are totally oblivious of their
plight, for it is revealed by God that "without faith it is impossible
to please God" and therefore it is impossible to go to heaven. Indeed this
is a great plight and tragedy. Here is the graph:
Mr. A is a person who is insane. He lacks (at least functionally) human
intelligence. He cannot even reason out that two times two is four.
Mr. B is a person who has his intellect and free will. He can think,
and he can make free choices. However, all his operations are in the natural
order. Being without divine and Catholic faith he cannot enter the realm
of the supernatural. Unfortunately, he is unaware of his plight.
Mr. C is a person who not only has the natural powers of intellect and
free will functioning in the natural order, he also has faith. Faith is
our supernatural intellect, so to say. It is a power similar to the intellect,
and yet it is entirely above the natural order. It is in the supernatural
Just as the idiot cannot reason in the natural order, so too the person
without divine and Catholic faith cannot "reason" in the supernatural order.
Briefly, Mr. A before Mr. B generally is entirely unaware that he is
lacking something. Likewise, Mr. Be before Mr. C generally is unaware that
he is lacking something. The difference between Mr. A and Mr. B is not
just a matter of degree, it is a matter of kind. Likewise,
the difference between Mr. B and Mr. C is not just a matter of degree,
it is a matter of kind.
What do we mean when we contrast "degree" with "kind?" When Mr. A has
dealings with Mr. B, we do not say that Mr. B is just more learned that
Mr. A. It would be stupid to make such a statement. Mr. A has no capacity
for learning. Hence, there is no ground for comparison. The difference
between Mr. A and Mr. B is one of kind, not degree.
When Mr. B meets another Mr. B, there is a difference not of kind but
of degree. In dealings between a Doctor and a Nurse, see a difference of
degree and not of kind. Both have natural intelligence. However,
they do not have the same degree of learning.
Next we deal with the difference between Mr. B and Mr. C. Again the
difference is not one of degree but one of kind. When Mr. C deals with
Mr. B, he is dealing with someone who is insane in the supernatural order.
This is a fact; this is a hard reality, and Mr. B loathes to admit this.
Once again, Mr. C is not just more receptive to truths. He is of a kind
different from Mr. B. Very likely, Mr. B just thinks that Mr. C is gullible,
one who believes everything and anything. Nothing could be further from
Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. When I was in
the seminary, we instructed willing non-Catholics in the faith, by means
of a correspondence course. A non-Catholic mother and grown daughter took
the course together. Both were doing very well, and it seemed that they
were converting to the Catholic Church. Both agreed on the doctrines in
the catechism until the explanation of the Holy Eucharist. There it said
that in the Eucharist, there is no bread and wine left after the Consecration
of the Mass, but only the Body and Blood of Christ (together with His soul
and divinity) under the appearances of bread and wine.
At that point, there was the parting of the ways. The mother said to
her daughter, "Do you believe that stuff? I can never believe that." In
reply, the daughter said to her mother, "Certainly, I believe that. God
revealed that truth, and I believe that with all my mind and heart." Note
well, both had the identical same knowledge. However, the mother
did not possess the supernatural faculty of learning which the daughter
now possessed. The daughter received and accepted the gift of faith. The
mother received the gifts of faith, but she rejected it.
When making man, God ordained that each and every one of His human creatures
were to function both with a natural intellect and with a supernatural
intellect. When either of these are absent, the human being is defective.
Hence, the atheist is not just less learned in supernatural truths, but
he is entirely without supernatural truth. God directs man to his natural
end by the human intellect, and He directs him to his supernatural end
with his faith. As already stated, even a naturally good intellect is defective
when it is not assisted by divine and Catholic faith.
Let us consider the Bible. Nearly all conservative ministers claim that
the King James Bible is the true Bible. Just how do they know that it is
truly authentic. Those ministers either give it authenticity themselves
or they learn of its authenticity from some higher authority. If a minister
can give authenticity to the Bible, he does not need the Bible at all.
If he depends on some higher authority, just who is that authority that
is higher than himself?
Just for fun, let us imagine the minister happens to possess the true
Bible. Can he interpret it? No way. Let us read what St. Peter (2 Peter
3, 15-16) has to say:
"And account the long suffering of our Lord,
salvation: as also our most dear brother Paul, according to the wisdom
given him, hath written to you. As also in all his epistles, speaking in
them of these things had to be understood, wrest, as they do also the other
Scriptures, to their own destruction."
In a word, we must both get the words of God from His Church and then have
it explained to us by that Church. There is no other infallible way to
supernatural truth which is absolutely necessary for us if we are to attain
the everlasting joys of heaven. Anything less than heaven is hell, where
there is unending punishment.
Lest I leave you in confusion about the full requirements for entering
heaven, I shall enumerate those supernatural qualities here. One must have
the 3 theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. When one has those
virtues, he has the supernatural life of the soul, called Sanctifying Grace.
The starting point is this dogma of the faith, "outside the Church there
is no salvation." Please note what the Council of Florence (1438-1445)
told the Jacobites in "Cantata Domino." In Denzinger, number 714, it enumerates
those not presumed to have sanctifying grace. Quote: "It
(the Catholic Church) firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those
not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and
heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but
will depart "into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and
his angels" … unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic
What You Need to Enter Heaven
It seems that some of our young people consider themselves lion trainers.
Without the least compunction, they start company keeping with those who
are without divine and Catholic faith. When you get in trouble before the
judgment seat of God, you cannot tell God that I did not warn you!
From very many credible sources, we are told that there will be 3 days
of darkness. If we are still alive when those 3 days of darkness occur,
what are we to do? I am taking the following information from a booklet
by Lousi W. Barta Publications. Without being sure (i.e. this is not a
dogma of the faith), I am going to give a reasonable trust to his quotations.
You do as you like.
The 3 Days of Darkness
Go indoors. Blessed
Taigi is quoted as saying "he who out of curiosity, opens his window to
look out, or leaves his home, will fall dead on the spot."
Pray constantly. That
is simple common sense.
Light blessed wax candles. Again Blessed Taigi is quoted as saying: "It will be
impossible to use any man-made lights during this darkness except
blessed candles." There is no universal agreement as to the content of
the candles. Must they be of bees wax? I do not know. What is demanded
is that the candles be blessed. If you do not have a blessed candle, and
are fortunate enough to have access to a true priest, then have him
bless one for you. Also, it says that the person lighting the candle
must be in sanctifying grace, hence, a Catholic. Outside the Church
there is no sanctifying grace, believe it or be damned. The size of the
candle does not matter. It will burn for the duration of the
Use Holy Water. That is a religious and common sense thing to do.
Again, if you have access to a true priest, have him bless some water for
When you pray your penance, you are to mouth your words. The penance is
all right (obligation fulfilled) even if you have distractions. However,
when making the act of contrition, no words are necessary. We use an exact
formula to lead our thoughts and sentiments where they must be. If the
formula is burdened with distractions that leaves one without the internal
acts, the act of contrition is no good. Hence, really get down to reality
whenever you make the act of contrition. This is especially necessary when
the act of perfect contrition is to remove
mortal sin. Never treat the act of contrition as some kind of prayer.
Contrition & Words
Once again, I must conclude my visit with you. I have
done this work of love prayerfully, and I hope that you also receive it
prayerfully. May we all be one in the truth. God bless you.
Sincerely yours in Jesus and Mary,
Fr. Lucian, OFM Cap.