What if they truly believe what they believe is true. For example, what if they believe that once they are “born again” or they accept Jesus as their Savior, they are “saved”/assured of salvation (unlike us Catholics, who believe there is a process of salvation).
If anyone is saved, Catholic, Christian or other, it is through Jesus Christ, we know this from the Gospels.
Generally to be saved one must believe in Christ and die in a state of grace (i.e. w/o unrepented mortal sins).
It is a complicated question for non-Catholics/Orthodox, b/c they do not have access to the sacrament of confession to absolve sin. Generally, they would need to experience perfect contrition for their mortal sins. For non-Christians, “invincible ignorance” (never heard of Christ) and a life free of mortal sin are the genral requirements. Mortal sin for non-Christians would generally be dfined as serious natural-law sins: murder, theft, adultery etc.
While ignorance may modify the nature of sin, mortal to venial, it does not excuse all actions.
Simply believing in an erroneous doctrine does not make actions non-sinful. Remember, Hitler and Stalin believed what they were doing was right. So, a sincere belief in OSAS does not make it so. Mortal sin is still mortal sin.
Hope that helps. It’s a complex issue.
Good post, bilop.
It’s not belief that’s the key so much as they way a person lives their life. (See Romans 2.) The role that faith plays is basically that of the rudder. Where the mind goes, the heart will generally follow.
This said, we must note that simply “doing good deeds” or being a “good” person in life is not quite sufficient to achieve Heaven because there are two types of goodness: natural and supernatural, selfish and selfless. Without the aid of grace, none of man’s “good” deeds amount to anything because they are ultimately done for self gain, rather than for their own sake. That is to say that no good deed done outside of grace is truly “good”, both inside and out. Thus, Christ’s life, or grace, is necessary in us.
Normally, we do not receive that grace outside of being baptized. But our faith teaches us that God appreciates people who incline themselves to the good and is not bound by the Sacraments He binds us to. Thus, we can be confident that there are “backdoor options” out there for the non-baptized of some sort or another. (Which is not to say that they “don’t have to worry” about becoming Catholic, only that, if they are never fully enlightened to the truth, this does not have to automatically mean their condemnation.)
Does this help?
It may help your understanding to read the Catechism: scborromeo.org/ccc.htm
And specifically paragraph 836, (all men are called) and 846 & 847. The question then becomes why belong to “the” Catholic Church, the answer is, if I begin walking from the East Coast of the United States, I may, someday find San Fran Cisco, but it would be much easier and more likely if I have a map, I’m told where S.F is in relation to the East Coast and given general instructions on how to get there. Can someone who has never heard of Jesus find salvation? Sure, even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then. I’ll take the easy way and follow the instructions He left me, thank you.
Laudatur Iesus Christus.
It seems to me the question here is whether religion is a real thing or not. One would never ask this sort of thing about a disease of the body.
If a person has stomach cancer, but he really and truly believes that it is an ulcer and he treats it diligently and in good faith with the prescribed treatment for an ulcer, then will God let him die of the untreated stomach cancer? Yes; He will.
Well, it is the same God who permits stomach cancer as a result of original sin who permits mortal sin in respect for human freedom.
The Lord has taught us what we need to do to be saved. Believing that we do not need to be saved, or that some other behavior will do the job, does not change the fact that religion is serious and God’s solution is the answer to sin. This answer is the Faith of the Catholic Church.
To the extent anything else will save, it must duplicate the effects of the Faith.
It is not possible that all non-Catholics will accomplish this. It is not possible that all Catholics will accomplish it, even though they are trying to practice the Faith, many fall short.
God is the God of the body as well as of the spirit.
Spiritus Sapientiae nobiscum.
While it is possible for non-Catholics to go to heaven, I believe it is very unlikely they do. The Church still teaches that there is no salvation outside the Church unless the non-Catholic is invincibly ignorant of the requirement to be a member of the Church. I honestly don’t see how someone can meet that criteria in our media saturated world today.
31 And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. 32 And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. 34 Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:
36 Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. 37 Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? 39 Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? 40 And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.
41 Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. 44 Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? 45 Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.
46 And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.