Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus. This is the constant teaching of the Church: outside the Church there is no salvation. Today, many Catholics seem to think that it is fairly easy to obtain salvation outside the visible Church, but in light of such infallible declarations as the following (and to my knowledge they constitute infallible declarations, someone correct me if they are not), I question how many shall be saved outside visible bounds of the Church.
"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 ever 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."
Pope Eugene IV
"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
My problem is this. If you take their words at face value, these popes didn’t seem to allow for the possibility of salvation outside the Catholic Church proper. It almost seems that we must twist their words to make it fit with the infallible declaration of Vatican II. I can see how both statements can be true…but with this line: 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 seems very hard to reconcile with the concept of most (or at least many) Protestants and Orthodox being saved. He does, after all, say ‘no one’.