Do only Catholics have salvation?

I’ve become confused on what the Catholic Church actually holds in their belief about the salvation of Non-Catholics.

Does the church believe only those in the Catholic Church are saved? I find this idea hard to believe. Especially with the fact that while I believe it’s a Holy Church, it’s filled with imperfect men/women, and people might not be in it for a myriad of reasons, while still having the faith and works of great Christians.

Can someone help me out with this? And also explain why the church believes one way or the other.

I’m not trying to attack the CC, I love it! :o) It’s my home. I’m just concerned with this and perhaps we shouldn’t even bring up what the other denominations think, because I don’t mean to bring this up as debate over who’s better, just want the truth

Please see this link. I believe it will answer your questions.

forum.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=12690&highlight=salvation

Hello Skyron,

“No Salvation outside the Church”, infallibility, ecumenanism; Your not the only one who is confused. For the sake of ecumenanism, Church leaders seem to be working double overtime trying to find ways around Pope Eugene IV “infallible teaching” from the council of Florence. What it says and what modern Church leaders now say it says, seems to be totally opposites.

Jesus gave the Church the power to “hold sins bound” and “hold sins loost” or in other words “the keys to the Kingdom”. If papal infallibility has any realtion to the “keys to the Kingdom”, as I have heard some say it dose, one would think that the “infallible” Church teaching on “No Salvation outside the Church” is one that the Pope should now consider “holding loost”. Again, I am no expert on “No Salvation outside the Church”, infallibility and ecumenanism. However, to read the “infallible” doctrine on “No salavation outside the Church” does not make me happy about being Catholic.

I do know that the “infallible” doctrine on no salvation to non-Catholics was not brought up until after the Joint Catholic Lutheran Declaration on Justification was already signed by the Lutherans. They were greatly upset when it came out later. Why did Catholic leaders not see any sence in bringing up, what they believe to be infallible knowledge of no salvation for the Lutherans, when discussing salvation with them?

"There are three ex cathedra papal pronouncements that outside the Church there is no salvation. The most explicit and forceful of the three is from Pope Eugene IV (1431-1447), who infallibly taught at the Council of Florence:[indent][indent]“The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics, and schismatics can never be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels,’ (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with Her; … no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and*** unity*** of the Catholic Church.”

Quoted from John Vennari
oltyn.com/V2-unity.htm

[/indent][/indent]

Peace in Christ,
Steven Merten
www.ILOVEYOUGOD.com

As a young man I was asked by a friend who was searching for his faith to attend a Baptist Bible Study class. I attended several times, my first experience of another ‘Christian’ denomination, indeed, I was not sure there were ‘other’ denominations and thought that everyone was Catholic and believed as I did.

Spending time with these people was interesting, the ministers obvious zealous pursuit of God and his undoubted knowledge of scripture. He questioned me and I remember with great fondness how innocently and frankly I must have answered his questions, fully seated in the absolute knowledge I was loved by God as a Catholic. The Minister told me repeatedly that I was ‘going to hell…’ until I got so fed up with him I wished he would! I asked him if two people were on a plane, one a good and true man, who always had lived a good life and had helped his brother, loved his parents and his family and the other a mass murder on his way to death row. Suddenly, the murderer stood up and renounced his sins and pronounced his acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Lord and king. Then the plane crashed. The Minister said that the good man would go to hell, and the murderer would go to heaven. I couldn’t know that.
It is funny that this is one area where Vatican II seems to contradict earlier Church teaching Lumen Gentium states that “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” (CCC 847) and yet you have Steven’s post above.
Personally, I think many people sincerely try to follow God. If this is the case, then God will not abandon them and if their pursuit is frank and in earnest, many do seem to be lead to the Catholic Church in any case. However, I do think that you can only know the fullness of God through the Catholic Church.

“No salvation outside the Church.” I believe this statement to be true with the understanding that the Church exists in three “states”:

  1. The Church Militant here on Earth

  2. The Church Suffering in Purgatory

  3. The Church Triumphant in Heaven

Non-Catholics who never came to the church in this life will have the opportunity to do so in Purgatory. Purgatory proves the justice and mercy of the Lord.

[quote=FightingFat]It is funny that this is one area where Vatican II seems to contradict earlier Church teaching Lumen Gentium states that “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” (CCC 847)
[/quote]

I would be loathe to disagree with the infallible teachings of Lumen Gentium, but I think that this passage is often misconstrued. Just yesterday at Mass we heard St. Paul recount to Timothy how he “was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and arrogant, but [he has] been mercifully treated because [he] acted out of ignorance in [his] unbelief.” In other words, God did not hold Holy Paul’s blasphemy against him, because Paul did not realize the significance of his sin. That said, the “mercy” which God showed Paul was to bring Paul into the Church.

Given the many infallible teachings which make plain that one cannot be saved apart from the Catholic Church, I think that this is the sense in which we must take Lumen Gentium’s comforting words - those who, through no fault of their own, seek God with a sincere heart outside of the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church may be brought into the Catholic Church. They may even do this without us ever knowing about it (moved to an act of faith at the last fleeting moment of their lives, unable to confess their faith to another living human). If the Church is a trustworthy witness, however, it is futile to hope that one might be saved outside the Catholic Church. Holy Mother Church has already dogmatically clarified several times that we must be in faithful communion with Her in order to be saved.

Hello Chickamauga,

You are talking in direct opposition to the “infallible” teaching of Pope Eugene IV who says that unity in the Church must be done “before death” and not “Non-Catholics who never came to the church in this life will have the opportunity to do so in Purgatory” as you say. I bring this observation forth to point out my point of how Church leaders make all these suttle restatements which are opposite of what Pope Eugene says.

I am for using Paupal power (hold loost) to delete Pope Eugene’s statment. Then a more appropriate statment can be “held bound” by the Pope as to papal leadership and Church unity. As to deciving people as to what Pope Eugene is saying, I do not see this as desireable.

unless before death they are joined with Her; … no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity**** of the Catholic Church**."

Peace in Christ,
Steven Merten
www.ILOVEYOUGOD.com

[quote=Chickamauga]…Non-Catholics who never came to the church in this life will have the opportunity to do so in Purgatory. Purgatory proves the justice and mercy of the Lord.
[/quote]

Perhaps this statement needs to be clarified. One doesn’t get additional opportunities for salvation in Purgatory. Once in purgatory, your fate has already been sealed - “saved with need of purification before entry into heaven”.

[quote=Steven Merten]Hello Chickamauga,

You are talking in direct opposition to the “infallible” teaching of Pope Eugene IV who says that unity in the Church must be done “before death” and not “Non-Catholics who never came to the church in this life will have the opportunity to do so in Purgatory” as you say. I bring this observation forth to point out my point of how Church leaders make all these suttle restatements which are opposite of what Pope Eugene says.

I am for using Paupal power (hold loost) to delete Pope Eugene’s statment. Then a more appropriate statment can be “held bound” by the Pope as to papal leadership and Church unity. As to deciving people as to what Pope Eugene is saying, I do not see this as desireable.

unless before death they are joined with Her; … no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity**** of the Catholic Church**."

Peace in Christ,

Steven Merten
www.ILOVEYOUGOD.com
[/quote]

Hello, I just wanted to give my two cents worth. As I understand Vatican II, I thought unity of the CC, also meant an “invisible unity” of where the person visibly outside the unity of the Church, is still connected to Her “invisibly” though not Perfectly. Meaning, if he/she were givin the Graces to know the Truth, he/she would come into Her fullness before death. However, the necessary Graces are not always giving so they remain imperfectly connected to Her yet still within Her bosom.

Only Christ has Salvation. Those who are in Him thuus have that Salvation. Normally speaking, even from my Protestant perspective, you cannot be seperated from the Church (I am not saying who is and is not the Church) and expect to be saved. Though I am sure God can make exceptions. A guy stuck on an Island who trusts in Jesus I am sure will not be held accountable for neglecting fellowship.

And since Baptism is the normal means of incorporation into Christ and bpatism is through the church, normally speaking there is no salvation outside the church. The church being the body of Christ.

Mel

At the time Pope Eugene IV said this there were really only two churches; the Eastern Church and the Western Church. The question we should be asking then is this: would Pope Eugene IV consider the Eastern Church to be in the bosom and unity of the Western Church? From what I know about history I don’t think he would. Any takers?

[quote=Juxtaposer]At the time Pope Eugene IV said this there were really only two churches; the Eastern Church and the Western Church. The question we should be asking then is this: would Pope Eugene IV consider the Eastern Church to be in the bosom and unity of the Western Church? From what I know about history I don’t think he would. Any takers?
[/quote]

I do not know that it would be quite accurate to say that there were only two “churches” at Eugene IV’s time. Setting that point aside, however, Eugene made the statement quoted above in the context of the Council of Florence, a council which was held with the specific intent of restoring unity among the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches. As such, when Eugene made that statement, he quite definitely did consider the various eastern Churches to be within the unity of the Church, and the warning of Cantate Domino was directed against those lone individuals who refused to accept the reconciliation to which the various bishops agreed at the council.

[quote=Skyron]I’ve become confused on what the Catholic Church actually holds in their belief about the salvation of Non-Catholics.

Does the church believe only those in the Catholic Church are saved? I find this idea hard to believe. Especially with the fact that while I believe it’s a Holy Church, it’s filled with imperfect men/women, and people might not be in it for a myriad of reasons, while still having the faith and works of great Christians.

Can someone help me out with this? And also explain why the church believes one way or the other.

I’m not trying to attack the CC, I love it! :o) It’s my home. I’m just concerned with this and perhaps we shouldn’t even bring up what the other denominations think, because I don’t mean to bring this up as debate over who’s better, just want the truth
[/quote]

I think your question is an excellent one. Unfortunately, the definition of what it means to be “outside the Catholic Church” in the absolute sense is not entirely clear. Theologically you must remeber that Christ can only have one bride - his church - and through that relationship the church becomes one with Christ in analogous fashion to a man and wife being one flesh. So if you’re not in the Church you can’t enter into that relationship. That much being said, I don’t believe the concept(the Church) to be as narrowly defined as you presume it to be in your original post. One thing that is for certain, if someone knows the Catholic Church to be what it is and they still choose to remain apart from it, they will not be saved.

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that WHOSOEVER believes in Him will have everlasting life.” John 3:16

The scripture does not say Whosoever ends up in the one true church (Catholic ?) but rather, whosoever believes in Jesus has salvation. I’m prepared to be clobbered over the head - the whole sola scripture thing but honestly, isn’t that what the scripture says and I thought tradition could never contradict scripture? Could it have been that when that Pope wrote that all Christians WERE Catholic so he was basically saying that there was no salvation outside of Jesus?

yikes, if I’m going to quote scripture I should at least get it right:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him, WILL NOT DIE but have everlasting life.

carol,

if we believe in Jesus, then we believe what he says. We cannot merely be saved by believing in Christ. For the demons believe and they are not saved.
Belief in John 3:16 has a different definition than merely accepting that Jesus is the Messiah.
Belief means that we respond to Christ’s invitationin faith hope and charity.
The bible makes clear that salvation is by grace and through all three of these, faith hope and charity.
Where do we get these supernatural aides? We get them through the Church.
maybe you misunderstand what the CHurch is.
The Church is the mystical body of CHrist.
those who would not enter into the Church would not enter into Christ’s mystical Body.
One cannot separate CHrist from His Church becuase the bible clearly does not separate them either.
So if the Church IS the Body of CHrist. Then to remain out of the CHurch is to remain away from Christ.

So the faith hope and charity that we receive, we receive through the Church. If we have not faith hope and charity, then we are not in the bosom of the CHurch.

And it is the Catholic CHurch alone that fits the marks of what Christ instituted in the bible, namely the the CHurch be One, Holy Catholic, and APostolic.

So you see, the question is not nearly as simple as you may have thought for we cannot separate Christ from His Church.

[quote=carol marie]Could it have been that when that Pope wrote that all Christians WERE Catholic so he was basically saying that there was no salvation outside of Jesus?
[/quote]

Carol Marie, I like your insight. That is, as long as the belief is followed by action. We have to remember that the Catholic Church back then was not the Catholic Church we know today. If GrzeszDeL is right about what the Pope considered the Catholic Church then he could have been saying just that. However, if the purpose of the council was to bring unity to the churches, why would the pope say that there is no salvation outside the unity of the Church if the Eastern Church and Oriental Church were in the Catholic Church? It almost seems like he’s trying to scare them back into the Catholic Church. I think we need to see the context of that quote. Anyone want to dig it up?

there were schismatics and apostates and heretics that existed even in the times that the NT was being written by Paul.
Paul clearly says that these people who preach another gospel do not inherit eternal life.
Gal 1:6-9 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace o Christ and are turning to a different gospel- which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

I appreciate everything so far. But it’s obviously not a simple answer is it? :slight_smile:

Ok, so we have Pope Eugene with his “infallible” teaching. However, it’s believed that the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Churches were part of the salvation. So here’s a few more questions to help get a better understanding.

  1. Why were these churches included? I understand it, there really any other MAJOR christian churches then. Perhaps he included them because they were Catholic? Perhaps becasue of their apostolic tradition? Does this mean he meant that everyone believing in Jesus for salvation will have it?

  2. What exactly does it mean to be part of the Church?

  3. What exactly does it mean to be part of the Catholic Church?

[quote=Juxtaposer]I think we need to see the context of that quote. Anyone want to dig it up?
[/quote]

Here you go (go down a few paragraphs to the one that starts “It firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the catholic church…”).

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