Did the Pope really say that?


#1

My sister just told me something that I hope is wrong, because I do not believe this at all. I was gone to a camp for a loooong time so I missed out on recent world events. Anyways, I was just told that Pope Benedict XVI announced that only Catholics will ever enter heaven. I know that Pope John Paul II said one does not have to be Catholic, although it is the best option, which is what I’ve always believed.
Could anyone tell me exactly what the Pope said and why?
Thank you! :slight_smile:


#2

All those who enter heaven will be found to be members in the one and only Church that Christ founded. And that Church is the Catholic Church.

The surprising thing in many cases will be how they were members of his one and only Church.


#3

The best option? Is that what they teach in CCD? That’s not what I learned in RCIA. I was told that to knowingly reject catholicism is to choose eternal hell fire. Man, somebody has to get fired. My RCIA instructor or your CCD teacher.


#4

I really don’t like that at all. I know soooo many people who aren’t Catholic and are so kind. Most of them simply were raised Catholic and, if what the Pope said is true, I don’t see why I was so lucky to be put into a family of devout Catholics. In a way, that puts our salvation up to chance (yes, I know anyone can become Catholic, but if you’re raised Catholic, you’re much more likely to be Catholic when you die) I really don’t think you must be Catholic to go to heaven, and Pope Benedict XVI really is implying that. No wonder I always get accused of being a part of a judgemental Church.


#5

“Outside the Church There Is No Salvation” is a dogma within the Church (CCC 846) and the Pope can’t change it even if he wanted to.

I have struggle with this hard teaching as well, but I think the best way to understand it is through the Salvation in the Sacrements.

  1. Baptism is necessary for salvation, this is Church teaching.

  2. Those sins retained in confession are retained those forgiven are forgiven. This command was given by Christ. Priest’s can’t give absolution if they don’t hear the sins.

  3. The most important, unless you eat Christ’s Body there is no life in you, as He said. The Eucharist is really His Body. Those who deny it commit a grave sin.

Any watering down of “Outside The Church There Is No Salvation” is a watering down of the salvific ability of the Sacraments given by and through Christ.


#6

Are you aware of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus?


#7

You are not comprehending. Those “kind” people, if they end up in heaven, will in fact have been members of Christ’s one and only Catholic Church, even if you didn’t know it, and even if they didn’t know it.

And what’s wrong with being judgemental? Aren’t you being judgemental by calling the Church judgemental?


#8

Life’s not fair. This is church teaching and it’s not going to change. I’m kind of surprised that you’re just learning that the church with regard to those outside the church. You have my sympathies.


#9

It just bothers me when people say for certain who is going to heaven and who isn’t. I just saw the Pope’s quote as saying you have to be completely Catholic (i.e. baptized by a priest, received sacraments, etc.) to go to heaven and I don’t think it’s that black and white. No one knows for sure that they are going to heaven or that someone else is going to hell. Or at least that’s always what I was taught.


#10

The pope never said what you seem to think he said.


#11

Yeah seems harsh. I was bothered by it too. I converted and my family didn’t which meant they rejected Christ. I will go to heaven(assuming I persevere in my faith) and they will be damned(assuming they are obstinate in their refusal). Well what can you do?


#12

No Catholic, Pope or otherwise, knows who is going to heaven or not. But, maybe another way to say it is this: Anyone who enters heaven, who has died after Christ, has the Church that Christ founded to thank, whether or not they were expressly a part of it.

Or maybe you like this better:

The part of them that agrees with Catholic theology is what got them to heaven.

Also, keep in mind the Catholic idea of Invincible Ignorance. If they didn’t know the Catholic Church is the one true Church Christ founded, then they are invincibly ignorant and some unknown measure of grace will be bestowed upon them due to this ignorance.


#13

You are leaving God out of the equation. Sure, whether one will be born Catholic or not is a product of a certain change, but God gives people the chance convert if they sincerely seek him. God leads us to the truth, but we just have to listen and cooperate.

Now, I’m not sure what the pope said, but the truth that there is no salvation outside of the Church. That’s a dogma. Those, however, who, because of their invincible ignorance, never join the Church will not be condemn for their ignorance. While the ignorance will not save them, they still have some chance for salvation. If they seek God and the truth, follow their conscience and die in the state of grace, they may indeed be saved. However they would be saved because they were were joined to the Church even thought they weren’t in visible communion with her.

It just bothers me when people say for certain who is going to heaven and who isn’t

We don’t say who is specifically going to hell but God has revealed to us some details about what is necessary for salvation (e.g. baptism, faith etc.)

I just saw the Pope’s quote as saying you have to be completely Catholic (i.e. baptized by a priest, received sacraments, etc.) to go to heaven and I don’t think it’s that black and white.

I would like to see that quote. I would be surprised if he would openly say that.

One small correction: it doesn’t matter who baptizes you.

No one knows for sure that they are going to heaven or that someone else is going to hell. Or at least that’s always what I was taught.

You are correct. I can’t say whether Bob, John or Paul are going to heaven or hell. However I can say that an atheist isn’t going to be saved.


#14

see paragraphs 1790-1794 in the CCC for more on Invincible Ignorance.

In short, they do not know that they are turning their back on Christ’s Church so they cannot be held culpable for it.

If you are told your whole life that the CC is wrong how should you know otherwise?

Also see John 9:41 for a Biblical account of invincible ignorance.


#15

In the Catechism of the Catholic church, it states that people from another faith will go to heaven as long as they do truly believe they are following jesus and that the believe Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Its worded something like that. Why would the pope say this and now the catechism teach different? I thought our religon did not change?


#16

he is not contradicting the Catechism, like someone else said, he is just reiterating an idea that the CC has always held.


#17

This might be true only if they do not know. I think that it important to assume that they do know. The through no fault of their own clause also means that if it is their fault that they are outside the Church, they may very well may be headed for hell.

I think it is important to assume that those outside the Church are outside by their own fault and we should try to bring them in. Otherwise there may be temptation to leave them outside and it could be much to our sorrow on the other side of eternity.


#18

Actually, it also mustn’t be their fault.

In the Catechism of the Catholic church, it states that people from another faith will go to heaven as long as they do truly believe they are following jesus and that the believe Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Its worded something like that. Why would the pope say this and now the catechism teach different?

The CCC doesn’t say that because it’s not true. Bellow I explained that why this is not true. Also notice that I mentioned state of grace. This is essential for salvation and much more difficult when you don’t have the access to the sacrament of penance.

I thought our religon did not change?

Exactly!

“There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.”

  • Fourth Lateran Council (1215)

“We are compelled in virtue of our faith to believe and maintain that there is only one holy Catholic Church, and that one is apostolic. This we firmly believe and profess without qualification. Outside this Church there is no salvation and no remission of sins”

  • Pope Boniface VIII, Bull Unam Sanctam (1302)

“It is clear that this Roman Church is to all churches throughout the world as the head is to the members, and that whoever separates himself from it becomes an exile from the Christian religion, since he ceases to belong to it’s fellowship.”

  • Pope Boniface I, Epistle 14.1

“It is impossible for the most true God, who is Truth Itself, the best, the wisest Provider, and rewarder of good men, to approve all sects who profess false teachings which are often inconsistent with one another and contradictory, and to confer eternal rewards on their members. For we have a surer word of the prophet, and in writing to you We speak wisdom among the perfect; not the wisdom of this world but the wisdom of God in a mystery. By it we are taught, and by divine faith we hold, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and that no other name under heaven is given to men except the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth in which we must be saved. This is why we profess that there is no salvation outside the Church. … For the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth. With reference to those words Augustine says: `If any man be outside the Church he will be excluded from the number of sons, and will not have God for Father since he has not the Church for mother.’”

  • Pope Leo XII (1823-1829), Encyclical Ubi Primum

“There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace since God who clearly beholds, searches, and knows the minds, souls, thoughts, and habits of all men, because of His great goodness and mercy, will by no means suffer anyone to be punished with eternal torment who has not the guilt of deliberate sin.”

  • Pope Pius IX, Quanto conficiamur moerore, 7

“It is our duty to recall to everyone great and small, as the Holy Pontiff Gregory did in ages past, the absolute necessity which is ours, to have recourse to this Church to effect our eternal salvation.”

  • Pope Pius X (1903-1914), Encyclical Jucunda Sane

“Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation.”

  • Pope Pius XII (1939-1958), Encyclical Humani Generis

“They could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it, or to remain in it.”

  • Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium

#19

I still see this as saying for certain whether or not someone is going to hell or heaven. For example, my ex-boyfriend is atheist. Not only was he not raised Catholic, but his mother is greatly opposed to the Catholic Church. We did not date for a long time (reason for this is pretty evident) so all I did was loosen some hostility. However, I don’t see why I get to be so lucky to be raised Catholic and knowing what I know, while my ex-boyfriend, who has a big heart, is as charitable as ever, just happened to be born into a environment of divorced parents and secular California teenage lifestyle. I, as I said before, see this as chance. Why wouldn’t the standard for heaven be based on how one handles whatever environment they are born into?

Thank you everyone for all the responses by the way!


#20

I just read through all of the posts thus far, and yours is the only one that really begins to discuss the heart of the matter, sanctifying grace.

If a person dies without sanctifying grace (i.e. in a state of mortal sin), he/she is going to spend eternity removed from God’s grace (i.e. in hell).

How do we get sanctifying grace? Through the sacraments. Here is the important part: who has the sacraments? The Catholic Church does.


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