Catholic Doctrine on "Saved by Works"

Where can I locate the doctrine that the Roman Catholic Church explains or teaches: saved by works?

I would like to read the doctrine.

I do not wish to argue it.

I only want to read it.


It’s an impossibility. Never been such a doctine in the Catholic Church.

Begin reading the Catechism at #2008: :slight_smile:

Yes. And other profitable readings to follow up the CCC are the Parable of the Talents along with Matt 25:31-46-to gain an understanding of how we’re held accountable in any case for what we do. Especially if we’re given much, much is expected of us. Luke 12:48

CA has several links you can check out that should give you an informed thinking with the church on this.

*]Born Again - The Bible Way
*]Why Catholicism Is Preferable to Protestantism
*]What is the difference between a Catholic and a Christian?
*]Assurance of Salvation?
*]Salvation is “just believing in Jesus”…
*] Doesn’t the good thief prove sola fide?
*] Sola Fide before the Reformation?
*]Faith and Works
*] Does the Church Teach that Works Can Obtain Salvation?

I think the Council of Trent reconfirmed the saved by faith and good works doctrine.
Plus today’s second reading at Mass had a lot to do with it. I believe it was one of St. Paul’s letters.

Yes, that’s a good study. Session 6 of Trent formulated the Church’s teachings on justification more thoroughly than ever before:

Everyone who dies in the state of grace will have eternal life in Heaven, perhaps after a temporary stay in Purgatory. The state of grace includes the three infused virtues: love, faith, hope. Whoever dies in this state is saved.

The state of grace is lost by any actual mortal sin, causing the loss of love and hope. The virtue of faith often remains, but it is not a faith enlivened by love and hope, so this type of faith does not save. Even so, by this dead faith, the person can know that he has sinned, and know that repentance leads to forgiveness and a return to the state of grace.

Certain sins, such as apostasy, cause the loss of the virtue of faith, as well as love and hope.

The state of grace can be lost by an actual mortal sin of omission. So sometimes “works” are required in order to attain salvation. If you refuse to do any and all good works, then you lose the state of grace.

Good works are also a testimony to our love of God and neighbor. So if you have faith, but no good works (indicating a lack of love), you might not be saved. But if you have faith and works (indicating love), then you are saved.

So it is not that works save, but that good works are a testimony to our love of God and neighbor, showing that our faith is enlivened by love and hope.

There is no such doctrine of the Catholic Church.

The Church has much to say about grace, faith, and works, but the Church does not teach we are saved by works.

Doesn’t exist.



Perhaps a good place for someone to learn a bit about what we have to say on justification is the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification available on the vatican webpage. I do believe that this was a document formulated jointly with the Lutherans on our shared beliefs…

Let me add (from today’s second reading): Letter of James (2:14-18)

"What good is it, my brothers and sisters,
if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
Can that faith save him?
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear
and has no food for the day,
and one of you says to them,
“Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well, ”
but you do not give them the necessities of the body,
what good is it?
So also faith of itself,
if it does not have works, is dead.

Indeed someone might say,
“You have faith and I have works.”
Demonstrate your faith to me without works,
and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works."

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

I was talking with my priest last week who is giving me private instruction in the Catholic faith. He said this passage from Ephesians summed up the Catholic understanding of salvation. First comes grace, grace leads to faith. Works are merely a manifestation of your faith.

I think that is what Luther and his followers maintained, and they were condemned for it.

None. That is Pelagianism.

The CC rejects the teaching that one is saved by faith* alone*, as if all one need to do is retain faith, continuing to trust in God. This amounts to and depends on a subjective self-assessment of ones level of faith. Am I still trusting, do I still believe, still persevering in faith; do I have the right kind of faith: “saving faith”-or the right* amount* of faith? I’m sort of believing in my faith in this case.

If, OTOH, one means by “faith” a kind of qualified faith that always produces fruit, with such works as those outlined in matt 25:31-46 following, then that comes closer to the Catholic understanding. IMO it’s better to understand that faith doesn’t necessarily produce works, primarily because faith doesn’t necessarily produce love; it just sort of leads to His doorstep. Historically the Church has considered it proper to conceive of the virtues: faith, hope, and love, as separate, even as love may well encompass all three in the end.

There is a difference in saying “works are necessary” and “saved by works”.

We are not saved by works, for grace is a pure gift from God and not obtained by any work a person would do. Grace means gift.

But we are not saved without works, which makes them necessary. For instance, not doing a necessary good work will remove sanctifying grace, like not feeding someone who is starving.

So “works are necessary” and “saved by works” sorta sound alike but they are quite different.

I am the OP.


James 2:24 will always be true.

You’re welcome. And here is a prayer on the subject by the church.

Psalm-prayer - 34th week in Ordinary Time 1914

Take our shame away from us, Lord, and make us rejoice in your saving works. May all who have been chosen by your Son always abound in works of faith, hope, and love in your service.

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