Hi, Sam! I agree with Telemachus.
There is no salvation outside the Catholic Church.
But a guy washed up as an infant on a desert island, brought up by monkeys and dying at old age on the same deserted island can be saved.
How: if ***he responds fully to all the grace God sends him ***in his life. It would mean he recognizes there is a power over him and over all creation around him; upon which he is dependant. He submits to and honors this power. If he does so, he has responded to what God has given of Himself to him.
Everybody inbetween the fully practicing Catholic and this guy on the island can be saved by responding fully to all graces given.
The Catholic Church has received the fullness of the Revelation–to her God has entrusted all that He has revealed so far to man.
So how is the guy on the island saved through the Catholic Church, never even having heard the name of Jesus let alone her name?
Well, through the Church all God’s life flows out to this world. God’s life (grace) flows out to those who are in full membership with her. Grace flows out to those who are in partial membership with her. Grace flows out towards those who are in potential membership with her.
A non-Catholic can be a member of the Catholic Church in an “extended” sense: if he truly desires to be one with God in every way possible to him. * If *he would seek baptism into membership if he knew that was what was required. These “ifs” are known only to God, of course, who alone knows each man’s hidden heart.
Catholics have the sacraments, the ordinary means instituted by Jesus Christ to open ourselves to His life in us. Non-Catholics are without 5 or all of the 7 sacraments, so they lack the ordinary means to open our souls to grace. But they can still receive grace.
Insofar as people respond to these graces, that near do they approach God.
It is a grace to recognize the Catholic Church as this channel of all earthly grace. If one hears about the Catholic Church, and understands that she does indeed claim to be the One True Church of God, and still ignores her, his eternal soul is in danger, because he is hearing her claim yet rejecting it.
We are responsible to receive and respond to each and every grace given.
Those who know of the Catholic Church yet fail to follow the trail of bread crumbs which lead right up to her door–so often this is due in some part to failures/weakness/sins. So often it is because somebody does not want to give up some way of life. So often it is because there is bad will held in the soul against the Catholic Church. There are many excuses for staying outside the Catholic Church–which will not be honored by God.
Sam, I pray that you will see your way clear to coming closer and eventually into the Catholic Church. May God strengthen you as you talk to your Muslim friends whose backs are turned to the Church.