How can I?


#1

Hello all,

For the few of you who have read my posts in the past, I know you may be tired of me…but this thing is a constant struggle.

When I converted to Catholicism (at age 29) I was taught that one has to believe in everything which the Church teaches…or they are in heresy and are not truly Catholic. I have found myself falling away…and even becoming somewhat angry…because there are some things which (no matter how hard I try) cannot bring myself to believe.

I believe that the Catholic faith is the true one because it is the only one which was founded by Jesus himself…however…I am having a hard time believing that God limits his grace to only Catholic people, or that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic church. I know many good-hearted God-fearing people who are not Catholic; and to say that they will not see the face of God, simply because they do not worship in the same way as Catholics…well…I don’t know…seems wrong.

I’ve tried having a decent conversation about this with other Catholic who simply shake their heads and dismiss everything that I say, quoting things that the saints have said. For those who were born in the faith, unquestioned obedience is seems imprinted on their soul. For those who have been raised in other faiths…it’s not so black & white.

As a Catholic…it is sinful to doubt. But to doubt…to wonder…to question…is it not human nature? If something as simple as this doubt I have is good enough to disqualify my as being a “true Catholic”…then is it even worth trying?

How can I bring myself to believe that a person who belives and trust and Jesus…and who follows his comandments…will go to Hell…simply because they are not Catholic? How can I bring myself to believe that God is so narrow-minded?


#2

Hi Cure - I imagine that the “No Salvation outsite the Catholic Church” doctrine is one of the most misunderstood doctrines. It is true, and it is a teaching that was reaffirmed by Pope John Paul II, but it is not as black and white as it sounds. To answer your question I will quote an answer given in the book “Catholic Replies” by James J Drummey (1995, C.R. Publications) to the question “Does the doctrine of ‘no salvation outside the Church’ mean that all non-Catholics who are good-living people are destined for eternal damnation?” (p.93). Another question was grouped with this asking about the teaching of baptism of desire and baptism of blood.

Answer: "Baptism of blood and/or desire was taught by such Church Fathers as Irenaeus in the second century, Tertullian and Cyprian in the third century, Cyril of Jerusalem and John Chrysostom in the fourth century, Augustine in the fifth century, and the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century. Writing about Baptism in the year 400, for instance, St Augustine said: ‘I find that not only suffering for the name of Christ can supply for that which is lacking by way of Baptism, but even faith and conversion of heart if, perhaps, because of the circumstances of the time, recourse cannot be had to the celebration of the mystery of Baptism.’

In The City of God, Augustine wrote: ‘Those who, though they have not received the washing of regeneration, die for the confession of Christ - it avails them just as much for the forgiveness of their sins as if they had been washed in the sacred font of Baptism.’

…everyone’s salvation - Catholic or non-Catholic - is through the Catholic Church, either as faithful members of the Church (baptism of water), or as good-living persons who give their life for Christ (baptism of blood) or who would belong to the Catholic Church (baptism of desire) if they knew that it was the true Church founded by Jesus Christ to help us get to Heaven. To interpret the doctrine literally, as you suggest, would be to damn hundreds of millions who never heard of the Catholic Church, including, for example, all the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere before 1492."

I hope this reply helps to answer your question.


#3

To doubt is, in itself, not an active willing of sin, but it means that you need to keep asking questions. For instance, you say that you have a hard time believing that God limits His grace to only Catholic people. It is perfectly fine to doubt that, because that’s not a Catholic teaching!

If you “believe that the Catholic faith is the true one,” then when a difficulty arises in your mind, just realize that there is a good answer even though you may not know it or fully understand it.


#4

There is no sin in questioning to increase your knowledge of the church. I would be so bold as to say that every person on this forum has questions about our church and her teachings. Some teachings are very hard to follow, some are hard to understand. But we never stop learning. Keep questioning, keep searching. You’re in the right place :slight_smile:


#5

Cure,
Here’s an analogy, albeit not perfect…

When we say that there is “no salvation outside the Catholic Church”, it does NOT mean that non-Catholics cannot be saved! It means that they might be saved in SPITE of a lack of knowledge. They will be doing the will of God, as passed down through the Bible and proclaimed most fully through the Catholic Church, without even realizing it. It’s akin to this. Imagine the Catholic Church as a 16 year old who goes out and buys a brand new car. They read the entire instruction manual, sign up and take driving lessons, and are successfully able to drive their car and make it to school. Now, imagine other groups are 16 year olds who go out and buy used cars. They have only partial instruction manuals, or perhaps no instruction manual at all. Some get lessons, but some do not. Now, they may eventually make it safely to school as well, but if school represents the Kingdom of Heaven, which route is the safer choice? If they DO make it to school, it will be by unintentionally following the rules that were in the book they never read and the lessons they never signed up for. (In other words, they were still saved THROUGH the Catholic Church).


#6

Hi, I think that you may have been misinformed about this Church teaching…

the Church does not teach that grace is only limited to Catholics. It teaches that God offers grace to everyone, but in different ways… this could be through faith, through Sacraments, etc… in the Church, we have the correct doctrine and Sacraments. So we have more graces than non Catholics. But they have graces too… and it’s important for them to respond to these graces for their salvation.

Regarding salvation… Catholics have a better chance here, because we have more ‘tools’ given to us, in the Sacraments,etc. However, it’s also harder for us in a way cause to whom much is given,much is expected. For non Catholics, they have less to help them, but they can still be saved through invinsible ignorance… this can include Protestants or even non Christians. So no there won’t be only Catholics in Heaven… this is the teaching of the Church. It’s true that there’s no salvation outside the Church…but where is the Church? We know it’s the Catholic Church…but the Catechism also says that non Catholics who are baptized are imperfectly united to it as well…and so they can be saved through that link to Christ.

I think it might be a good idea to read the Catechism on this :slight_smile:

God bless!


#7

[quote="Cure, post:1, topic:176574"]
Hello all,

For the few of you who have read my posts in the past, I know you may be tired of me...but this thing is a constant struggle.

When I converted to Catholicism (at age 29) I was taught that one has to believe in everything which the Church teaches...or they are in heresy and are not truly Catholic. I have found myself falling away...and even becoming somewhat angry...because there are some things which (no matter how hard I try) cannot bring myself to believe.

I believe that the Catholic faith is the true one because it is the only one which was founded by Jesus himself...however...I am having a hard time believing that God limits his grace to only Catholic people, or that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic church. I know many good-hearted God-fearing people who are not Catholic; and to say that they will not see the face of God, simply because they do not worship in the same way as Catholics...well...I don't know...seems wrong.

I've tried having a decent conversation about this with other Catholic who simply shake their heads and dismiss everything that I say, quoting things that the saints have said. For those who were born in the faith, unquestioned obedience is seems imprinted on their soul. For those who have been raised in other faiths...it's not so black & white.

As a Catholic...it is sinful to doubt. But to doubt...to wonder...to question...is it not human nature? If something as simple as this doubt I have is good enough to disqualify my as being a "true Catholic"...then is it even worth trying?

How can I bring myself to believe that a person who belives and trust and Jesus...and who follows his comandments...will go to Hell...simply because they are not Catholic? How can I bring myself to believe that God is so narrow-minded?

[/quote]

It is natural to question the faith for it is through questioning that we grow in understanding. Also God's grace is not limited to the catholic church alone. The Catholic church is the CATHOLIC CHURCH that is universal. the orthodox, anglican and protestant churchs are in a degee of communion with the catholoc church via shared belifes. Jews and muslims are in a degree of communion based on their faith in the one true god and teachings on morality, so to are other religions. even athiests are in a degree of communion with the church due to being human being with souls created in the image of god. Only the catholic church has the FULLNESS of all spiritual truth and teachings of morality. look into the documents of vatican 2 on the churchs relation to not christan faiths and you will see god is not narrow minded. you will see jews and muslims and all kinds in heaven. It is like the joke-this guy who lived his whole life in the jungle and never heard of god dies and find himself in heaven. and angel takes him on a tour showing him all the manisions pointing out where the jews live and the muslims and the protestants live, when the angel says when we come to this next mansion keep low behind the wall and stay silent. the guy asked why and the angel says "that is where all the catholics live and they think they are the only ones up here".


#8

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