Extra Ecclesiam Non Est Salus

As I understand it the above is no longer official church teaching, and have commented on that else where, but need help understanding the new teaching. How can people get to heaven without the benefit of the sacraments? Without confession, which is necessary by canon law unless you have, a perfect contrition. Please provide sources.


A common misunderstanding/misrepresentation which cannot be corrected in 25 words or less. Start with Lumen Gentium from Vatican II for the truth. There is no “new teaching,” merely an enriched understanding of the premises of the original and consistent teaching.


Er, I don’t know Latin?

The title of the encyclical is Latin, but the Vatican webpage (www.vatican.va) should have it in English translation. :slight_smile:


Yup, here it is!


Is it the “No Salvation outside the Church”? Just guessing.

That’d be the one :smiley:

This teaching was an official dogma of the Church and it still is. Why should it? Dogma doesn’t change.


A nice explanation from Catholic Answers. :slight_smile:


even better, I think, from ewtn. :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Here’s an audio download (that I haven’t listened to yet)


Here’s another thread dealing with the topic


I have a friend who is being challenged on this very topic. I guess I’ll do some reading on it this week. :slight_smile:

That just means that there is no Salvation outside the Catholic Church.

However, a person may be a member of the “soul” of the Church (via the Holy Spirit) while not being a member of the visible Church. Such a person would possess sanctifying grace through the Holy Spirit through IMPLICIT Baptism of Desire.

There are some traditionalists who hotly deny baptism of desire, but it was the ordinary teaching of the Church for hundreds of years and No Salvation Outside the Church must be understood in light of Baptism of Desire, etc., and not as a stand-alone affirmation.

Jaypeeto3 (aka Jaypeeto4)

I think it’s actually extra ecclesiam nulla salus - ‘outside the church (there is) no salvation’

extra ecclesiam non est salus would be ‘salvation is not outside the church’

And yes, according to Fr Shannon Collins CPM on EWTN, it is still the teaching of the Church - but it has to be understood correctly.

My own rough paraphrase:
It does not mean that one has to be formally a member of the church to be saved, but that people of good will who attain salvation can do so only because the Church has been instituted to bring God’s salvation to the world.

Yes, it is extra ecclesiam nulla salus. Here are the three definitions that are usually used in discussing the doctrine:

“There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.)

“We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.)

“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 and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.)

I just know there’s IMPLICIT Desire exceptions in those 3 pronouncements.
Well, actually the IMPLICIT Desire is in fact, IMPLICIT. So don’t be lookin fur EXPLICIT stuff in those prouncements.

To summarize, IMPLICIT Desire is IMPLICIT in the EXPLICIT pronouncements.

Did I get that right? I mean “properly” understood.
For instance, a protestant who denied Mary’s Immaculate Conception, Assumption, & the pope’s authority whatsoever, can go to heaven because they IMPLICITLY wanted to believe, but had no idea they wanted to believe because they spent all their time EXPLICITLY denying (which makes their desire to believe IMPLICIT).

Well, that wasn’t so hard. Just don’t get the EX crossed with the IM…

With IMPLICIT desire you can even skip asking a non-catholic if they truly desire to go to heaven. Even if they said NO, it’s IMPLICIT that they really want to.
But just to be safe you could ask them, and if they said YES, then IMPLICIT Desire is there & that’s the end of the Evangelizing. Even if they said that the Catholic church is Satan’s religion, pay no attention to that because they have an IMPLICIT Desire to join it since to go to heaven you have to be Catholic per the 3 pronouncements.

Eh…a bit too much wiggle room.

There is no salvation outside of the Church, with a few rare, rare, RARE, exceptions for those who die in innocent ignorance or perhaps some of our close brothers like the Orthodox.

Thats really all the explaination needed…none of that ecumenical jargon

Should we include the SSPX since the Orthodox got a pass?
Wouldn’t they even be closer “brothers”?
Here’s another one of those IMPLICIT EXPLICIT pronouncements.
Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis (# 22), June 29, 1943:“[FONT=Book Antiqua]Actually only those are to be numbered among the members of the Church who have received the laver of regeneration [water baptism] and profess the true faith.”[/FONT]

In nomine Iesu pax vobiscum,

Of course and I argue even more so because they continue to bear most fully Holy Catholic Tradition faithfully and with deep humility.

Pax Vobiscum

:rotfl: You must have met different SSPX than I have.

He He He… :smiley:

Real cute.

Ah, more papal bull. Take a breath—it’s a joke!!! :smiley:

But, keep in mind a couple of things—first all three bulls were before the Reformation. The only real split in Christianity was with the Orthodox. Innocent, Boniface, and Eugene were dealing with religious POLITICAL problems. For instance, Unam was directed primarily at Phillip IV of France.

Also, and most importantly, we are bound by God’s rules; He is not bound by our rules. All salvation is through the Savior, but He saves who He saves.


Indeed, you have not met my wife!

This forum is a refuge for Trads so as to keep the mutual harassement bet Trad snarkers & progressive snarkers to a minimum.
You are invited (by me) to join in but refrain from snarking such as
":rotfl: You must have met different SSPX than I have."

If you want to start a snark-the-SSPX thread :)go right ahead.
Just kindly if not charitably put it somewhere other than the Trad Catholic Forum.

RE:"Unam was directed primarily at Phillip IV of France."
What was the SECONDARY target if there was one?
“we are bound by God’s rules; He is not bound by our rules.”

I am a total idiot. All the while I thought that dogmatic infallible definitions/pronouncements were a REFLECTION if not and explication of “God’s Rules”.
As it says (infallibly):
(On the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff)

For the Holy Spirit promised to the successors of Peter, not that they would unfold new doctrine which He revealed to them, but that, with His assistance, *they would piously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith handed on through the Apostles. All the venerable Fathers and holy orthodox doctors venerated and followed their * apostolic doctrine; they knew full well that this See of St. Peter always remained unstained by all error, according to the divine promise which Our Savior made to the chief of His disciples when He said, ‘I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail, and you, having turned, strengthen your brothers.’ Therefore this charism of truth and unfailing faith was divinely given to Peter and his successors in this chair so that they might fulfill their high office for the salvation of all,

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.