Explain salvation to me, please

What does a person have to do to be saved, according to Catholicism?

Saving Grace is imparted by Christian Baptism.

By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam’s sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God. CCC 1263, emphasis mine]

If we die with our Baptismal Grace intact then we are assured salvation. This also applies to most protestants, as most protestants practice valid Christian Baptism.

We can voluntarily forfeit our Baptismal Grace through mortal sin. It can be restored through Sacramental Confession.

Catholics are not saved by faith, works, beliefs, or any other thing besides Baptismal Grace.

Ok, so I’m just gonna repeat it in my own words to make sure I understood you.

In order for a person to be saved they must a.) be baptized and b.) not be in mortal sin at the time of their death.
There is no requirement to believe or do anything else?

Yes, that is correct.

There is no requirement to believe or do anything else?

It’s possible for disbelief to be sinful, and, like all sin, it could rise to the level of mortal sin, which results in the loss of our saving Grace.

But most Catholics who are struggling with belief issues want to believe but are finding it hard to do. This is not sinful (since all sin requires some measure of freewill consent). The Church calls this a “crisis of faith,” and even great Saints and Doctors of the Church have endured it.

Haven’t you asked this before?

I don’t think I have?

I was asking about salvation and just rephrasing your response in which you mentioned no other belief or action was required…

So then technically what is required is not to commit mortal sin.

Where does that idea come from?

It’s also a huge requirement because the way it seems is that there are a million ways to commit mortal sin.

1854 Sins are rightly evaluated according to their gravity. The distinction between mortal and venial sin, already evident in Scripture,[sup]129[/sup] became part of the tradition of the Church. It is corroborated by human experience.

1855 Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him.

1856 Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us - that is, charity - necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and a conversion of heart which is normally accomplished within the setting of the sacrament of reconciliation:

When the will sets itself upon something that is of its nature incompatible with the charity that orients man toward his ultimate end, then the sin is mortal by its very object . . . whether it contradicts the love of God, such as blasphemy or perjury, or the love of neighbor, such as homicide or adultery. . . . But when the sinner’s will is set upon something that of its nature involves a disorder, but is not opposed to the love of God and neighbor, such as thoughtless chatter or immoderate laughter and the like, such sins are venial.[sup]130[/sup]
1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.”[sup]131[/sup]

1858 Grave matter is specified by the Ten Commandments, corresponding to the answer of Jesus to the rich young man: “Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and your mother.”[sup]132[/sup] The gravity of sins is more or less great: murder is graver than theft. One must also take into account who is wronged: violence against parents is in itself graver than violence against a stranger.

1859 Mortal sin requires full knowledge and complete consent. It presupposes knowledge of the sinful character of the act, of its opposition to God’s law. It also implies a consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice. Feigned ignorance and hardness of heart[sup]133[/sup] do not diminish, but rather increase, the voluntary character of a sin.

1860 Unintentional ignorance can diminish or even remove the imputability of a grave offense. But no one is deemed to be ignorant of the principles of the moral law, which are written in the conscience of every man. The promptings of feelings and passions can also diminish the voluntary and free character of the offense, as can external pressures or pathological disorders. Sin committed through malice, by deliberate choice of evil, is the gravest.

1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.

1862 One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent.

1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul’s progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God’s grace it is humanly reparable. “Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness.”[sup]134[/sup]

While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call “light”: if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession.[sup]135[/sup]
1864 “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.”[sup]136[/sup] There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit.[sup]137[/sup] Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss.

129 Cf. 1 Jn 16-17.
130 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II,88,2, corp. art.
131 RP 17 § 12.
132 Mk 10:19.
133 Cf. Mk 3:5-6; Lk 16:19-31.
134 John Paul II, RP 17 § 9.
135 St. Augustine, In ep. Jo. 1,6:PL 35,1982.
136 Mt 12:31; cf. Mk 3:29; Lk 12:10.
137 Cf. John Paul II, DeV 46.

It’s also a huge requirement because the way it seems is that there are a million ways to commit mortal sin.

But it still requires “full knowledge and deliberate consent” [1859] to be mortally sinful. There’s no such thing as a sin that is always mortally sinful, since the act itself is only 1/3 of the equation.

Yes, that is correct.

Well… close, but not quite. David’s telling you what is required normatively. This does not mean that only the baptized may be saved. The Church teaches that other non-baptized persons, under particular circumstances, may be saved by God giving ‘saving grace’ in a way that does not include a physical baptism. It’s an exception, but I didn’t want you getting the idea, Doubtfire, that the Church says that all unbaptized people go to hell.

[quote=D0UBTFIRE]So then technically what is required is not to commit mortal sin.

Well, more precisely, no “post-baptismal mortal sin.” But, even saying that, there are certain specific conditions, not to mention the fact that you need to understand what the conditions for ‘mortal sin’ are. Speaking generally, yes: no unforgiven mortal sin.

Yes. It would have been better had I said that anyone who meets those two conditions is assured salvation. It’s possible to be saved otherwise, but the Church doesn’t know how that works (or if anyone has actually done it).

Well, more precisely, no “post-baptismal mortal sin.”

That’s interesting. I never considered the idea of “pre-Baptismal mortal sin.”

So without making use of the confessional, how does that workout for baptized Protestants in the view of the Church?



Not too good.

There’s a centuries-old theological debate about whether it is “easy” or “hard” for a person of good will to commit mortal sin. For the sake of protestants, I hope it’s “hard.”

Because, if it’s “easy,” then they ordinarily have no recourse to Sacramental Confession.

So there is no teaching from the Church regarding it being easy or hard?

It’s more a matter of philosophy than theological certainty, so it’s not really something the church would make a proclamation on.

Yeah, I don’t think the Church will ever resolve that debate.

Back in the middle ages the prevailing thought was that just about all sins are mortal. Nowadays many theologians speculate that it’s just about impossible for a person of good will to satisfy the requirements for “full knowledge and deliberate consent.” The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.


To come to God and be saved, you need to repent, have faith, and be baptized. If you commit mortal sin, you need to repent, have faith, and go to confession.

The majority of Catholics are Baptized as infants, who don’t repent and have no personal faith.

But, yeah, adult converts are expected to have faith, or they would be joining the Church under false pretenses. Though I can’t think of why anyone would want to do that…

Right I know.

Faith and Baptism

1253 Baptism is the sacrament of faith. But faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe. The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop. The catechumen or the godparent is asked: “What do you ask of God’s Church?” The response is: “Faith!”

1254 For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism. For this reason the Church celebrates each year at the Easter Vigil the renewal of baptismal promises. Preparation for Baptism leads only to the threshold of new life. Baptism is the source of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth.

1255 For the grace of Baptism to unfold, the parents’ help is important. So too is the role of the godfather and godmother, who must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized - child or adult on the road of Christian life. Their task is a truly ecclesial function (officium). The whole ecclesial community bears some responsibility for the development and safeguarding of the grace given at Baptis

This Protestant (who by the way likes the idea of a confessional) confesses her sins corporally each week that she goes to church and before she takes communion. We also believe that we can confess our sins to one another, to God Himself thru prayer, and to the pastor on a one-to-one basis. I’ve never heard of sins having levels as I have here in CAF but consider one sin the same as any other sin. Sin is sin and it separates from the will of God, must be repented and must be attempted to stop doing - I can’t gossip about a friend, confess it and then continue to gossip- because I repented it I must work on that sin that I confessed.

I realize this was asked about Catholics and salvation but when Protestants were brought in I felt the need to explain from my perspective.

God bless all,


Indeed, the Scriptures teach:

If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death. [1John 5:16,17]

(“mortal” is Latin for “leads to death”)

Here, John clearly distinguishes between venial and mortal sin. He tells us not to pray for someone in mortal sin. That’s unusual - I’m pretty sure this is the only place where we are told to NOT pray.

Why not pray? Well, it won’t do any good. That’s not how mortal sins are forgiven. They are forgiven through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Your approach is fine for venial sins. Your options are considerably more limited for mortal sins. Let’s hope that isn’t a problem for you.

I’ve never heard of sins having levels as I have here in CAF but consider one sin the same as any other sin.

I think John clears that up.

Wow… I had never seen that. We are NOT supposed to pray for someone if their sin leads to death, but how are we supposed to know the condition of their heart and whether or not their sin is mortal???

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