Is it easier to get to heaven as a Catholic than a Protestant?

I understand that Catholics receive graces through the sacraments that makes it easier to follow God. Do protestants not receive these graces or do they somehow also get them due to ignorance?

The answer to your OPQ is Yes

And you are correct about Sacramental graces, which BTW are rather unique as far as grace goes.

Grace is od course a FREE Gift fro our God who makes it available as He sees “fit” to do. However when it comes to sacramental Grace it is WE {God approved} who initiate the flow of these graces which God commits to offer us who partake of the Sacraments worthily.

God still determines the amount; BUT our disposition and that of the Priest have a role in how much grace is made available to us.

Therefore, because the Protestant community lacks Direct Apostolic succession, they in FACT lack what is necessary for them to participate in 6 of the 7 Sacraments:

Sacramental Confession {John 20:19-23} GOD"S WAY for sin forgiveness
Confirmation
The Most Holy Eucharist {REAL Presence of Jesus}
Holy Orders {the Catholic Priesthood}
The “Last Rites” Final anointing which can have the same effects upon a Soul as Does
Marriage as a path of sacramental grace

Protestants do have the sacrament of Baptism; which might make them conditionally able to merit Eternal Life. And they do receive an offer of sufficient grace to help them live the State of Married life; BUT not to the same degree as Catholics in a sacramental Marriage.

From the Catholic Catechism:

**1260 **“Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.” Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

**846 **How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the on***e Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.***

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.

God Bless you

Patrick

Yes, it’s much easier for a Catholic to get to Heaven than a Protestant. Just by looking at the Sacraments you can see they are going to have a difficult time since they don’t have the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist. Not having these two Sacraments puts them at a very great disadvantage since Penance absolves us of sin and Communion is the food of our souls. They also lack Extreme Unction so they don’t receive the graces that strengthen them at the point of death, and they don’t have Holy Orders so they don’t have the Sacrifice of the Mass, which deprives them of many more graces. Not having Confirmation deprives them of the graces & gifts of the Holy Ghost that help us live faithfully. Without the immense graces that these Sacraments give, it becomes extremely difficult for the Protestant to get to Heaven.

Absolutely. The whole point of being the “true religion” is that the Catholic Church provides the easiest path to God.

What a gift we have!

Yes, better chance at heaven as a Catholic and better chance at a easier go at it purgatory as a Catholic." Saved" protestants go purgatory whether they believe it or not.

We also receive grace as we read the Word of God. And many protestants do a lot of that…so i think many of them are going to be ok.

Of course that depends on the Protestant denomination (at least from the Protestant perspective). I mean many of us have Eucharist, Extreme Unction, and Confession as well.

I believe that the bolded is in error. The Catholic Church teaches that validly baptized Protestants do marry sacramentally. A bishop or priest is not absolutely required for a sacramental marriage.

See:

canonlawmadeeasy.com/2009/02/19/can-non-catholics-receive-the-catholic-sacrament-of-matrimony/

ewtn.com/v/experts/showmessage_print.asp?number=411900&language=en

Here is how I see it.

If a Catholic loves the Lord with all his heart, soul, and ,mind as mentioned in Matthew 22:37-39 and loves his neighbor as himself, and follows God to the best of his ability, he should have a good shot at entering heaven. I assume that the Catholic sacraments are very helpful in that regard. In fact, I trust that they are, which is one of the reasons I came to CAF was to learn more about them.

If a non-Catholic Christian loves the Lord with all his heart, soul, and ,mind as mentioned in Matthew 22:37-39 and loves his neighbor as himself, and follows God to the best of his ability,he should likewise have a good shot at entering heaven, provided he repents of his sins and serves God and his fellow man as best he knows how, spending time in God’s Word studying and meditating on it to become closer to Jesus and practicing it in service to mankind. The bottom line is that none of us are God and we’ll find out when we pass away and meet our maker.

I personally don’t know if there is a Purgatory or not, but if there is one and if I am sent there, I’m ok with it, because that means I will be eventually be in heaven, if I understand the concept correctly.

I find it hard to believe that someone like evangelist Billy Graham would have a harder time entering heaven just because he is Protestant – even though he has led millions of souls to Christ – than a garden-variety Catholic for whom a relationship with God is to legalistically follow all the Catholic rules and obligations like a checklist but whose faith otherwise has no bearing on their decision-making in life than the man on the moon. I am referring to those people who have been sacramentalized but not evangelized.

In short, being a Catholic may have its advantages in terms of the sacraments, but to make Protestants out to be like a bunch of disadvantaged and confused souls meandering around aimlessly in life is condescending, inaccurate, and distasteful, in my opinion.

After all, Catholic leaders like Tim Staples and Scott Hahn obviously benefited from becoming Catholic, but they weren’t ignorant of the things of God before they converted and then became holy and wise all of a sudden when they became Catholic. Much of who they are that is admired by Catholics today came from their Protestant upbringing.

I thought only the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Communities have the Eucharist?

Depends on who you ask. But no matter who you ask, other Ecclesial communities (some Old Catholics, PNCC) are recognized as possessing valid/illicit orders, and assuming all other sacramental factors are valid, confect a valid sacrament.

If Billy Graham were to commit a mortal sin and not repent of it before he dies, he would likely go to hell if I understand Catholic teaching correctly. Even St. Paul was worried that he might not make it to heaven at the end of his life. If this “garden variety catholic” dies in a state of grace he goes to heaven (probably through purgatory.) What I understand is that the sacraments help catholics fight mortal sin and stay in a state of grace.

Hi Tommy.

Yes you understand it correctly, 100% chance of heaven for the souls in purgation. So thats great news. Most of us are going there if Church teaching is accurate.

And you are also correct about Hahn, Staples, Grodi and others. Some of the most dynamic Catholics are former protestants. I hope none of us here are giving the impression that Protestants are these foolish lost souls who are clueless and on their way to hell. Not true, they are brothers and sisters in Christ with a different understanding of Christianity than we have. But they earnestly love Jesus and His Word. And for this reason, many of them are going to heaven as they are trusting in the Lord for salvation and doing the best they can.

Church says Anglican orders are not valid but it doesnt mean there isnt some sort of spiritual benefit from it. Where 2 or more are gathered in His name, there he is in the midst of them.

Yes, Catholics have many more aids to reach heaven. However, they are held to a higher standard and more is asked of them. Because the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth, we as Catholics are expected to know it and live it.

At the time of death, Catholics have a good chance of getting the Last Rites from a priest and this will put them into the state of grace for heaven. :signofcross:

What this thread is not: knowing who will go to heaven and about good and bad Christians. There is some confusion there. The fact is, anybody can go to heaven; and anybody can be good or bad Christians, regardless whether one is Protestant or Catholic.

Having said that, Catholics are advantaged because they have the Sacraments. Basically these are tools to get to heaven. It is easier to work with good tools to achieve your purpose rather than to be with less efficient ones.

We can only get eternal life because of grace, not purely on our merit. Sacraments are outward graces that are available. Protestants being without them would need to work harder (holier and better Christians) and to seek other form of graces available.

A simple analogy for the Protestants would be like a good Catholic who lives the Christian life without the Sacraments.

I a recent convert and I agree wholeheartedly with this post.

There are two very important points that you made in that post (which I bolded).

The first one is “to the best of his ability” - I absolutely agree that Protestants who are loving God, loving their neighbor (through their actions, not just some contrived “feeling” of love), and who are unaware of what the Catholic Church teaches and who remain without mortal sin have at least a shot (like us Catholics who die without mortal sin) at heaven.

However, I have encountered many Protestant friends, who after questioning our decision to become Catholic and listen as we begin to explain about certain beliefs/doctrines, they say, “Don’t tell me anything more because I don’t want to be responsible for this information.” In other words, they WANT to remain ignorant because they want to stay idle where they are. They don’t want to seek Truth, even when they feel that maybe that Truth lies outside their denominational tradition. God calls us all to seek Him and to seek Truth. Doing exactly that is what led my husband and me into the Catholic Church. It was not easy and the road was long (nearly three years long!) but we spent a LOT of time and energy in pursuing it. So many times, you hear a Catholic convert say things like, “Wow, I never knew or realized this before” or “If only someone had told me about this sooner” or “You mean the early church REALLY believed this regarding the Eucharist, baptism, etc.” For most of these people, they spend their entire time listening to sports radio, perusing Pinterest, watching football or reality t.v., etc. and they never take the time to study even their own faith to know if what they believe is built on solid ground. In essence, they aren’t seeking.

Confessing and repenting of sins - Many Protestants I know take this very, very seriously but most I know do not because of their OSAS theology. Jesus gave the Apostles (and their successors through Apostolic Succession) the ability to forgive sins. Yes, of course, God can and does forgive sins but He left a system in place for this and those that ignore or circumvent it cannot be guaranteed that they have been forgiven without the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

I view the Catholic Church this way:

Jesus is the Great Physician. By Him and His Sacrifice, our souls can be healed. He is the one in charge of the prescription pad for doing so and that prescription pad is the Sacraments. They (because of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ working through them) are the healing balms for our souls.

A person who chooses to ignore those prescriptions is akin to the person who, when told by a physician that they need antibiotics to clear up their strep throat, says they don’t believe in the use of antibiotics and will just try herbal remedies at home and therefore, have no use for the pharmacy (the Church) that is the dispenser for the antibiotics (the Sacraments).

Can the person recover from strep throat without meds? Yes, they might.
Would they get better more quickly if they took the meds? ** Most likely**
Can they actually get worse by not taking the meds? Yes, that is also very possible.

As for Billy Graham, thankfully only God is the judge. He knows the motives of a person’s heart that none of us can see. I am sure that Billy Graham had helped lead many souls to Christ, but, it is the power of the Holy Spirit that truly does the leading. I respect the fact that every Billy Graham Crusade, he had Catholics on hand for the people who came forward who wanted to rededicate their lives after having been away from God. He was criticized greatly by other Protestant groups for doing so. I also recall people also criticizing him once because during an interview, he stated that he felt that some people may go to Heaven who had never “accepted Jesus” because they had never been taught about Him but nevertheless had lived their life charitably. I remember people saying “Billy Graham sounds like a Catholic!” :rolleyes:

Right, if it were based on merit, only our dogs would get to heaven :wink:

The disposition of the person’s heart matters - no matter what branch they are a part of. The Church stresses this and we see a example in the gospels with the good thief, he likely had perfect contrition.

That is not true. Some Protestants (e.g. Lutherans) believe in the Real Presence in a consubstantial manner, meaning they believe the Real Presence coexists with the bread and wine after consecration which is a heresy. They deny transubstantiation.

Yes we do:)

Perhaps I was unclear?

A Sacramental Marriage is between a Catholic {or Catholic …man & woman}, in a Catholic Church.

But many Protestants Christians do not marry a Catholic, nor get married in a Catholic Church and hence my position; there’s is not a “Sacramental marriage.”.

God Bless you

Patrick

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