Can Only Catholics Go To Heaven?

When I was in grade school in the early 1960s the nuns told us that only Catholics could go to heaven. Then, around 1965, there was a Vatican Council, where they took a vote and decided that, henceforth, non-Catholics would also be able to get into heaven. When we asked whether those who died before the vote could now get into heaven, the nuns said no, that the rule was prospective only. A few questions:
(1) Is that still the position of the Catholic church?
(2) Where do the church fathers get the authority to decide by majority vote who can get into heaven?

These links should help you understand the Church’s understanding of extra ecclesiam nulla salus. If you have any further questions or concerns that are not answered by these links, please contact Catholic Answers directly.

Recommended Reading:
Extra ecclesiam nulla salus

Salvation Outside of the Church
What is invincible ignorance?

How can the Church accept salvation for Protestants?
Are conservative Protestants Christians?
Islamics - Hindus- Buddhists - saved without Christian Faith??
Should Catholics try to evangelize Protestants?

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