This is something that has been in my mind since my aunt married into a family of devout Church of Englanders.
Can a Catholic that leaves the Church for Anglicanism, which is very similar in both structure and theology, liturgy, and so on (but varies greatly in such as well), achieve salvation? I know we are not right to limit God’s endless and loving mercy, but it is a question nonetheless. What would the view of the Church be? What if the said individual is so convinced that God is found everywhere? Would it be an offence against God if they are truly convinced of this?
As far as I know, the Catholic Church has never declared who will go to Hell. Rather, they have declared how a person can go to Hell (die in a state of mortal sin). The determination of who dies in a state of mortal sin is left to God, not the Church.
Pope Francis wrote: “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience."
If they love Jesus, believe in his death, resurrection, ascension and look forward to His return and if they believe that He is the Son of God part of the Trinity, then the answer is yes. Their hearts are what Jesus’ sees…
Even Vatican II reaffirmed, in continuity with many popes and councils, that the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is necessary for salvation. Non-Catholic religions, in and of themselves, are not sufficient for salvation, Anglicanism included (since they have essentially renounced apostolic succession).
Joining the Anglican church as a Catholic is like trying to shelter under a tile that fell from the house. It is highly unlikely that Christ’s mercy would allow you to lose your soul, however, one would have to question if you had not lost your mind. The historical establishment of the Church as a ploy to legitimize an invalid marriage surely puts its legitimacy in question from the start. Its acceptance of women and homosexual priests and now same sex marriage seals the deal.
There’s a few things at work here. First of all, we should never put limits on God’s grace and mercy. He wants all mankind to be with Him in Heaven. This is the most important concept. However, the Church is the ordinary means by which He has given to draw people to Himself. As such, if a person realizes the necessity of belonging to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, then that person must do what is necessary to be a member of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. If this knowledge is lacking for some reason, due to no fault of his (or her own), it would be considered invicible ignorance. However, if the person has had the opportunity to learn the necessity of belonging to the Church and has ignored the Truth, or if the person knows the necessity of belonging to the Church, then he/she is culpable for his/her own sin - and the sins that he/she has caused anyone else to commit.
In other words, if a person legitimately does not truly understand the necessity of belonging to the Catholic Church for salvation and leaves the Church, he/she will not be held culpable - unless the person has had the opportunity to understand and simply rejected the opportunity. However, if one leaves the Catholic Church knowing full well that the Church has the fullness of the Truth and that “outside the Church, there is no salvation”, then the person has committed a mortal sin - which can only be rectified by returning to the Church and going to confession.
It is like changing a 100 watt bulb in your house with a 40 watt
one!!! Some like the dimness more than the light, but only God
can discern what the INTENT of the heart that seeks the
shadows rather than live in the light.
Anglicanism is not as similar as you might think. High Church Anglicans are quite similar, although they still are often reluctant to accept the Papacy and the Church’s teaching on tradition.
liturgy, and so on (but varies greatly in such as well), achieve salvation?
If he sincerely repents, yes without doubt. In order for this to be a mortal sin, he must know that it is gravely wrong, or should know it is wrong and is gravely negligent in seeing to it, it must be gravely wrong, or sincerely thought to be gravely wrong, and it must be done with full consent. Only God knows if this has actually happened. So, it depends on his knowledge of the teachings of the Church.
I know we are not right to limit God’s endless and loving mercy, but it is a question nonetheless. What would the view of the Church be? What if the said individual is so convinced that God is found everywhere? Would it be an offence against God if they are truly convinced of this?
To say that God is found everywhere is in some ways true, but in the way you’re intending it (in this question, I mean, not as a position you hold), obviously false. It is manifestly false to say that all religions lead to God and salvation. Only the Catholic religion does this. But the rays of truth in other Christian confessions, as well as other religions do have positive impact in some ways.
If a person knowing the truth of the Church left it, he would be gravely guilty of a sin against faith (or, if it’s purely schismatical sect, against charity and obedience).
I hope this was helpful, Benedicat Deus,
People who commit suicide can go to Heaven. We cannot limit the power of God’s mercy to save those in error. There is no life in falsehood, however, and there never can be.
We ought to be careful that we never abandon what we know to be true for something that looks similar but is chosen not because it is true but because it is easier or because it indulges ourselves over the truth. If we choose because we chose not to examine the choice too closely, that is itself a sort of examination. Heaven will not be mocked by our mental shell games. We have to also be careful we don’t presume to examine someone else’s conscience on that account, though.
We ought to tremble at these two possibilities, then:
a) we can lie to anyone, even ourselves, but when the end comes it will be impossible to lie to God.
b) the measure we used to judge others will be the measure used to judge us.