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Thursday, August 3, 2006
Can Non-Catholics Be Saved?

The Church has always taught that there is no salvation outside of the Church (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus). We are called to bring all people into the One Church of salvation, the Catholic Church.

Some Papal Documents:

Pope Innocent III: "There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved." (Fourth Lateran Council, 1215)

Pope Boniface VIII: "We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff." (Unam Sanctam, 1302)

Pope Eugene IV: "The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church." (Cantate Domino, 1441.)

Pope Pius IX: "It is to be held of faith that none can be saved outside the Apostolic Roman Church . . . but nevertheless it is equally certain that those who are ignorant of the true religion, if that ignorance is invincible, will not be held guilty in the matter in the eyes of the Lord" (Solemn Allocution Singulari Quadam, December 9, 1854). "We all know that those who are invincibly ignorant of our religion and who nevertheless lead an honest and upright life, can, under the influence of divine light and divine grace, attain to eternal life; for God who knows and sees the mind, the heart, the thoughts, and the dispositions of every man, cannot in His infinite bounty and clemency permit any one to suffer eternal punishment who is not guilty through his own fault" (QUANTO CONFICIAMUR, August 10, 1863).

Now those documents all clearly state that the Church is the one means of salvation. So those that reject the Catholic Church, reject Jesus Christ.

Saints' Statements:

St. Augustine: "When we speak of within and without in relation to the Church, it is the position of the heart that we must consider, not that of the body" (Treatise on Baptism). "All who are within in heart are saved in the unity of the ark."

St. Thomas Aquinas: "... a man receives the effect of Baptism by the power of the Holy Ghost, not only without Baptism of Water, but also without Baptism of Blood: forasmuch as his heart is moved by the Holy Ghost to believe in and love God and to repent of his sins: wherefore this is also called Baptism of Repentence" (Summa Theologica Part II. Question 66. Article 11). "The other two Baptisms are included in the Baptism of Water, which derives its efficacy, both from Christ's Passion and from the Holy Ghost. Consequently for this reason the unity of Baptism is not destroyed."

My Conclusion:

I appeal to all Protestants and fellow Christians to not put your salvation at risk at all. Enter the Church of Jesus Christ - the Catholic Church, which only has the four marks of the Church of Jesus. I appeal to you to come to the authentic Sacraments because Protestant Sacraments (usually except Baptism and Marriage) are invalid.


del_button August 4, 2006 at 10:43 AM
Jerry said...

I try to tell fellow Christains that the Catholic Chuch does not comdem them but them tell me that I don't know the Catholic faith and I am more like them and sould leave and join their church.

del_button August 4, 2006 at 11:21 AM
Moneybags said...

Jerry, I certainly hope and pray taht you will remain in the Catholic Church.

del_button August 6, 2006 at 4:26 PM
jerry said...

I have had this pull for over twenty years but I always tell the Church explain herself before believing others as it is now I am glad to be a fourth degree Knight of Columbus and plan to stay here.

del_button March 30, 2012 at 3:33 PM
Anonymous said...

I am a Catholic and defend the faith as you do.

The Catechism of The Catholic Church (CCC 847)
The truth is God does not condemn those who are innocently ignorant of the truth about his offer of salvation. Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will guided by their own conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation.

This statement includes those who are baptized Christians who through no fault of there own are ignorant of the fullness of truth contained in the Catholic Church. If they believe in Jesus and have been baptized they are connected to the Body of Christ though in an imperfect way. Yet they seek God with a sincere heart. So there still remains the possibility of salvation for them.

I agree we have a responsibility as Catholics to spread the fullness of truth to all including our separated Protestant brothers and sisters. We should never condemn them. We should love them back.

Peace of Christ

del_button March 30, 2012 at 3:54 PM
Matthew said...


Your comment raises several points and concerns.

Firstly, you are citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church as if that is a stand alone document. This new Catechism extensively references prior catechisms and is meant to be a means to pull different teachings into one document. It is not authoritative in and of itself. Rather, it is authoritative if and only if it draws from the Magesterial teachings of the Church as presented through such documents as the Catechism of the Council of Trent or other infallible documents.

Now that being said, you are citing "invincible ignorance" as if that is a common way for people to be saved. Do you know what "invincible" ignorance means? Do you know how rare it is for someone in the modern world to be "invincibly" ignorant of the Church?

Also, you are seemingly saying that protestants are saved invincibly. This is not in the spirit of Blessed Pope Pius IX (whose statement is in the post). Protestants rebel against the teachings of the Church and outright reject fundamental dogmas that are absolutely necessary for salvation (e.g. the Divine Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the necessity of a ministerial man-only priesthood, the Holy Eucharist, Sacramental Confession, etc).

The Council of Trent in its anathemas clearly stipulated that those who believe what the protestants believe can not be saved. They are damned. They are not "invincibly" ignorant since they are rejecting the Church outright.

Invincible ignorance is applied to virtuous pagans and cultures that are alien from the modern world and have never heard of the Gospel or the name of Christ. It does not apply to those in our world that know of the Church and reject Her divine teachings or the Sacraments. Those who reject them, whether they be Mormons, protestants, muslims, jews, etc., can not be saved.

del_button April 7, 2012 at 1:55 PM
Anonymous said...

Matthew, I know you have a sincere heart and desire for the truth. But to say that all other protestant denominations are going to hell is harsh and not true.

Your own post reflects the truth that those who seek God with a sincere heart can be saved if they are ignorant of the truth. You kind of poo poo’d my quoting the Catechism but you did as well.

And in your own post you quote Fr. Ray Rayland who said the same thing I did. "The Church speaks of "implicit desire" or "longing" that can exist in the hearts of those who seek God but are ignorant of the means of his grace. If a person longs for salvation but does not know the divinely established means of salvation, he is said to have an implicit desire for membership in the Church. Non-Catholic Christians know Christ, but they do not know his Church. In their desire to serve him, they implicitly desire to be members of his Church. Non-Christians can be saved, said John Paul, if they seek God with "a sincere heart." In that seeking they are "related" to Christ and to his body the Church"

Families who have been raised in some protestant denomination can't reject what they don't know. All they know is what they have been taught generation after generation.

The Catholic Church is the fullness of faith. It is like a mirror that reflect the entirety of truth. If that mirror is broken any small piece can reflect part of the truth. If all someone knows is that small piece how can you say they are rejecting the entire truth. They would first have to be catechized in the catholic faith and with full understanding then reject it to condemned.

I would agree that those who don’t have the fullness of truth are in more danger of losing their souls because they don’t have the full grace and teaching of Christ and His sacraments. But to say that all protestants reject the fullness of truth is a very inaccurate statement. Most don’t have a clue what the full truth is.

del_button April 7, 2012 at 8:23 PM
Matthew said...

"But to say that all other protestant denominations are going to hell is harsh and not true. "

You say this on behalf of what the Church and the Council of Trent infallibly declared or because you feel that it is too harsh to condemn false religions to hell?

Again, in reference to Fr. Ray Rayland and an implicit desire and longing for the Truth, why do you believe this is to be found in heretical forms of worship of groups that preach hatred toward the Church, toward the Virgin Mary, and toward the Sacraments? Do you not see that Fr. Rayland is describing in those peoples who have never heard the name of Christ an implicit desire - he is not directing these words at protestants.

You also say, "Non-Christians can be saved, said John Paul, if they seek God with "a sincere heart."" Now, if John Paul said this, he is wrong and such a personal statement would not be an infallible one, unlike those declared at Trent.

"The Catholic Church is the fullness of faith." Now on this we agree but outside of this fullness, we can not be saved.

"They would first have to be catechized in the catholic faith and with full understanding then reject it to condemned." No this is not what the Church teaches. One can reject the Catholic Faith without first knowing it completely. Can someone reject what they do not fully understand? Absolutely.

"But to say that all protestants reject the fullness of truth is a very inaccurate statement. Most don’t have a clue what the full truth is." And, most do go to Hell as our Lord described the way to Hell as broad and many follow it.

I would encouage you to read the Canons of the Council of Trent which clearly and unequivocally teach that those who believe certain things are, for that reason in and of themselves, condemned to Hell (if that person dies believing it without conversion)

del_button April 8, 2012 at 4:04 PM
Matthew said...

I might also suggest Bishop Williamson's article from this April 7, 2012:

As in any dispute involving the dreadful ambiguities of Vatican II, it might take long and scholarly articles to prove, or attempt to disprove, what Dr Wolfgang Schuler puts forward in his book of 2008 on “Benedict XVI and How the Church views Itself”. However, his main line of argument is clear enough, and it is well worth presenting to readers of “Eleison Comments”, to help them to see clear amidst much confusion. In this respect, comparisons have their limits, but they do help.

A whole can be composed of parts in two different ways, like a living tree, or like a pile of coins. Either the whole is primary and the parts are secondary, as with a tree, or the parts are primary and the whole is secondary, as with a pile of coins. The tree as a whole is primary because parts like branches may be cut off, but the tree continues to live its life as a tree and grows new branches, while the branches cut off lose their life and become something quite different, like a log or a chair. On the contrary each coin separated from its pile of coins remains exactly what it was in the pile, and if only enough coins are taken from the pile, it is the pile that perishes.

Now, is the Catholic Church, taken as a whole, more like the tree or the pile of coins ? The Catholic Church is that special society of human beings who are united in that society by three things: the Faith, the sacraments and the hierarchy. To all three life is given by God himself. Faith is a supernatural virtue of the mind which God alone can give. The sacraments use material elements like water and oil, but what makes them sacraments is the supernatural grace they carry, that can only come from God. Likewise the hierarchy consists of natural human beings, but if these had no guidance from God, they could never succeed by themselves in leading souls towards Heaven.

Therefore the Catholic Church is much more like a living tree than like a pile of coins, even golden coins. For just as every living organism has within it a principle of life that gives it its existence and unity, so the Catholic Church has within it primarily God himself, secondarily his hierarchy, giving to it existence and unity. When what was a part of the Church cuts itself off from the hierarchy by schism, or from the Faith by heresy, it ceases to be Catholic and becomes something else, like the schismatic Orthodox or heretical Protestants. True, Orthodox believers may have kept valid sacraments, but since they are no longer united with Christ’s Vicar in Rome, nobody in his right mind calls them Catholic.

But now comes Vatican II. It changed the view of the Church, as it were, from that of a living tree or vine-plant (Our Lord’s own comparison: Jn. XV, 1-6), to that of a pile of golden coins. From the desire to open the Church to the modern world, the Conciliar churchmen began by blurring the frontiers of the Church (L.G.8). That enabled them to pretend that there are elements of the Church outside the visible bounds of the Catholic Church (U.R.3), like gold coins separated from the heap. And since a gold coin remains a gold coin, then they could further pretend (U.R.3) that what were elements of salvation inside the Catholic Church remain such outside also. From which the natural conclusion drawn by countless souls is that I no longer need to be a Catholic in order to get to Heaven. This is the disaster of Conciliar ecumenism."

del_button August 14, 2012 at 4:26 AM
Anonymous said...

i'm having trouble understanding. i believe what the church teaches in the earlier councils but are we to reject what the church taught in vatican 2 regarding our separated brethren? or are we to join all council teachings together as one?

del_button August 14, 2012 at 6:05 PM
Matthew said...

Vatican II was vague and unclear. We must look to the Traditions of the past and the clear, unequivocal proclamations of the Church for guidance on this matter.

del_button March 10, 2014 at 9:25 PM
Anonymous said...

I am a catholic christian;; for me i dont believe that only catholic relegion will be save.i am a catholic i am happy that i know the lord and to have a good relationship with him is here in catholic.but i also believe that there are others Domenation , relegion that faithful to GOD as mother mary says in medogorie that GOD love all of us all the relegion . it a confermation that i am rigth that all are equal as long as you believe in and be faithful to him there are no Relegion can save your life but they can only lead you and teach you to know about GOD.IT IS ONLY US OURSELF CAN SAVE OUR LIFE WITH THE HELP OF GOD....IF you been a good christian and follow the law of God .be obedients to God that is all matter since i was baptized by the Holy Spirit and be born again i have a diffrent believed that God love us all no matter what relegion you are only God knows who will be save no anyone else....

del_button March 18, 2014 at 8:10 AM
Matthew said...

Only Catholics can be saved. This is what the Catholic Church teaches and you must believe it if you are Catholic. Medjugorje is wrong:

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