Confusion about salvation of non-Catholics

In a recent “Ask an Apologist” question about the salvation of Jews, Michelle Arnold said:

This means that those non-Christians who serve God to the best of their ability according to the light that they have can achieve salvation. Only if someone knew that Jesus is Messiah and God, that he founded the Catholic Church, that all who know this are required to enter it and remain in it, and deliberately refused to do so, could that person’s salvation be at risk should he not repent before death.

My question is about the phrase “all who know this.” Is she saying that those introduced to the Church but who reject it, can be saved? It kinda sounds like she is saying that “only if a person believes in it, but chooses not to acknowledge it, can that person go to hell.”

I have always been taught that those who reject Christ, such as the Jews, are damned if they do not repent at the moment of death. However, if a Jewish person we know dies, we cannot say they are damned, since only God knows that and there may be a time at the moment of death when that person could accept Christ.

Who may be saved
"Catechism of the Catholic Church" Imprimi Potest. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict)

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 as they know it through the dictates of their conscience–those too may achieve eternal salvation

Who can be saved. Jesus says it’s about actively loving others or not which determines our eternal destiny. This therefore is the bottom line.
I am sometimes sad that there is sometimes less emphasis placed on Jesus’ words than should be placed on the words of the saviour of the human race who is God’s Son, who is God as well as human. Jesus is the source of salvation and the foundation of the Church. Can we call ourself Christians if we don’t accept the words of Jesus the Christ?

Matthew 25 verses 31-46…Jesus’ words on who will be saved:
“The Last Judgement”
“When the Son of Man comes in all His glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men from one another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats.
He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. then the King shall say to those on his right hand,” Come you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was a stranger and you made me welcome. I was thristy and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me; sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.

Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?

And the King will answer, " I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me."
Next he will say to those on his left "Go away from me with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, for when I was hungry you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in proson and you never visited me."
Then it will be their turn to ask, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty; a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and not come to your help?“
Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.” And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.”

And since Jesus is the very Person who will judge all of us, I think we have to accept HIS criteria for who may be saved! His criteria is salvation depends upon our charity towards other people, which He regards as charity directly given to Him.

:thumbsup: Great post, Trishie.

I’m confused about “know the Gospel of Christ or his Church”

Does this mean “know about Christianity, but reject Jesus as the Son of God and Savior” or “acknowledge and believe in the teachings of Christ, but acting against them?”

Thank you for your wonderful post.Stone the crows,it was spot on.

Keep it simple. The truth is all salvation comes through the Catholic Church of which Jesus is the founder. It is Gods desire that all man be saved. If you are a member of a church other than the Catholic Church and you do not know anything about the Church (ignorance) you still have a possibility of being saved. If you were born and raised in some remote part of the globe and never heard of a church or even Jesus (ignorance) you have a possibility of being saved. You will be judged by the “natural law”. Now, say you are a non-Catholic. You have never-the-less learned about the Catholic Church and know that it is the true Church that Jesus established and you reject it. Jesus said to the Apostle’s when he sent them out “He who rejects you, rejects me…” Now, you have no hope of salvation. Understand that in the two cases of ignorance above it is not an assurance of salvation but a possibility as you do not have knowledge of the salvation teaching of the Catholic Church which is Jesus.

It just means people who’ve not heard the gospel but who nonetheless live as if they did, so to speak, following the natural law written in their hearts as best they can and seeking God in whatever way they know how.

“{M}ay achieve salvation” doesn’t mean “are definitely saved”, or even “are likely saved”. It just leaves the possibility open. Every bit of truth, every kindness and every sacrament makes us more likely to be saved.

Okay, so a Jewish man who has heard about Christianity, but rejects it, can he achieve salvation or is he damned to Hell?

There is simply no way to know, because there is no way to know why he rejects it. Maybe he has been raised all his life hearing that Christianity is wrong. Maybe he was beat up by Christian kids when he was a boy. Only God knows why he rejects Christianity.

BTW, rejecting Christianity isn’t the same as rejecting the Gospel. Those who live the Gospel, as God writes it on every human heart, they may be saved. Those who do not live the Gospel, well they’re in hot water. One’s life is one’s true response to the Gospel.

Most Jews have heard of Christ and His Catholic Church and most Jews have rejected both.One would hope it is a case of invincible ignorance.

This is as clear as it gets.

ECCUMENICAL COUNCIL OF FLORENCE (1438-1445)
Session 11—4 February 1442

It firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the catholic church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the catholic church before the end of their lives; that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed his blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and the unity of the catholic church.

In the climate of the time those words were understood, but as the Jesus said,
“I** still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you now. But when the Spirit comes He will lead you to the complete truth…All He tells you will be taken from what is mine.**” “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but indeed…to the ends of the earth.” [John 16:8-9, 12-13, 15]

Matthew 25 verses 31-46…Jesus’ words on who will be saved:
**“The Last Judgement”, according to Jesus **
“When the Son of Man comes in all His glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men from one another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats.
He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. then the King shall say to those on his right hand,” Come you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was a stranger and you made me welcome. I was thristy and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me; sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.

Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?

And the King will answer, " I** tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me."**
Next he will say to those on his left "Go away from me with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels, for when I was hungry you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in proson and you never visited me."
Then it will be their turn to ask, "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty; a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and not come to your help?"
Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.” And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.

Jesus is the Person who will judge all of us and who says who may be saved! He said clearly that salvation depends upon our charity towards other people, which He regards as charity directly given to Him

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