Judging who gets to Heaven

I understand these 2 basic Catholic princibles.

  1. No one outside the Catholic Church can be saved.
  2. We are not to judge people’s hearts.

So in knowing who gets to Heaven, is one to say that in general no non Catholic can get to Heaven, but on a personal level we can’t say “so and so is in Hell” because of judging their hearts?

Is that a correct idea?

Not quite. :slight_smile: What do you mean by “no one outside the Catholic Church can be saved”? If you mean no one goes to heaven without being saved through Christ, you are right. If, however, you mean no one who is not a practicing Catholic can be saved, then no that is not right.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"Outside the Church there is no salvation"
846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 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 one 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.336
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.337
848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338

So no judging of hearts is needed or indeed warranted. :wink:

The definition of who is Catholic is a little more obscure than you’re citing it here. For example, as Pope Benedict stated in Brazil, all Christians are Catholic insofar as they have held on to parts of the truth which was protected and given them by the catholic church. As such, if a protestant is saved it is by the truth which was preserved in the church and by their extended catholicity as a seperated brother of the church.

Further, those who are outside of the church as a whole may never have been exposed to proper catechesis, and as such they are not to blame for their failure to accept a doctrinal truth which was never made available to them. Such people are invincibly ignorant and, assuming they lived their lives to the best moral ability that they could off of the intrisic moral understanding written by God into the souls of all then by desire to be righteous we place such people in the care and mercy of a loving God to judge if their desire is such that it gives to them catholicity and opens them to salvific grace from God.

No, this is not a correct idea.

The Church does NOT teach that non-Catholics go to Hell or that they cannot get into Heaven.

Jesus’ words on the question, Matthew 25, verses 31-46. He spoke, as the One who is to judge us.

Yes She does…

“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.)

“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.)

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

I don’t want to butt heads at all here. Would you mind clarifying?

There’s no need to clarify what the Church has already clarified. The quote I cited from the Catechism clarifies the issue–that’s why it’s in the Catechism.

It is up to the Magisterium to interpret Church documents, not you and me.

Jesus gave us a “road map” to get to heaven and that is throgh the Church and her Sacraments. Following that “road map” is the ordinary way to Salvation and the only one we can be sure of. BUT, God in His infinite mercy and omnipotence can bring people to Heaven outside of the ordinary way available to us,

So, we can not say on any level that any person or group of persons is in Hell. That would be limiting the mercy of God.

The Church has already clarified this:

"Outside the Church there is no salvation"
846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 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 one 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. 336

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. 337

848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.” 338

These paragraphs of the Catechism are quotes from the documents of Vatican II, Lumen Gentium (LG) and Ad Gentes (AG) and Scripture:

336 LG 14; cf. Mk 16:16; Jn 3:5.
337 LG 16; cf. DS 3866-3872.
338 AG 7; cf. Heb 11:6; 1 Cor 9:16.

I take those who through no fault of their own aren’t Catholics but would be through God’s grace as already being Catholics.

Non Catholics are those who are at fault themselves for not being Catholic, even through God’s grace. Hence, no salvation outside the Catholic Church.

I’m not Catholic or Protestant but I am a person of strong faith in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Although I don’t claim to be well versed in history I see extreme similarities between the Jewish faith and practices at the time of Christ and the “Church”, today (Catholic and Protestant).

At the risk of being judgmental, the Jewish nation was exclusive with little tolerance or acceptance of those outside their blood line, or anybody that would question church authority of the day. The Gentiles were any non-Jews, and considered to be lost and without any hope.

The quotes of the Catholic faithful found on this forum seem to show history repeating itself, again.

Religion has a way of taking the universal hope found in Christ and making it exclusive…. just the opposite of what Christ taught.

Isn’t this pretty obvious, or am I missing something, here?

I think you need to reread this thread again and see that what you’re saying in this statement is very incorrect. The catholic church teaches that being a non-catholic does not necessarily damn someone to hell.

(And we should note that as a standard in scholastic applications, christians are categorized as “catholic” or “protestant”.)

So which is true?

Abal is a practicing Catholic and is of the opinion that Church teaches that anyone outside the Catholic Church is damned and he/she seem to have the support of a three of your popes.

On July 11th, 2007 Pope Benedict was quoted as saying “Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation”. And he was supporting an official Vatican statement signed by the congregational prefect.

There are quotes after quotes through history that make this claim by Vatican leaders. Regardless of how you personally believe, you would have to agree that for the average reader (and non-C), the position seems clear.

Certainly the hearts of most of the faithful are not suspect, but as an outsider, it would appear that your common parishioner in the Catholic Church is there, in part, because they have been told it is essential to their salvation.

Maybe they’re right. As far as my spiritual journey goes, I’d like to hear the arguments that support it.

Now you would think that Jews would be allowed to live in Heaven if it was in a ghetto for Jews only and they had to wear special clothing marking them as Jews so that they wouldn’t come into contact and undermine the beliefs of others. :shrug:

“The obligation of wearing a distinguishing badge was of course obnoxious to the Jews. At the same time, Church authorities deemed its injunction necessary to prevent effectively moral offenses between Jews and Christian women.”

“It was for the laudable reason of protecting social morality and securing the maintenance of the Christian Faith, that canonical decrees were framed and repeatedly enforced against free and constant intercourse between Christians and Jews, against, for instance, bathing, living, etc., with Jews. To some extent, likewise, these were the reasons for the institution of the Ghetto or confinement of the Jews to a special quarter, for the prohibition of the Jews from exercising medicine, or other professions.”

“…the real cause of the Jewish persecutions, viz., the popular hatred against the children of Israel. Nay more, it discloses the principal causes of that hatred, among which the following may be mentioned: (I) The deep and wide racial difference between Jews and Christians which was, moreover, emphasized by the ritual and dietary laws of Talmudic Judaism; (2) the mutual religious antipathy which prompted the Jewish masses to look upon the Christians as idolaters, and the Christians to regard the Jews as the murderers of the Divine Savior of mankind, and to believe readily the accusations of the use of Christian blood in the celebration of the Jewish Passover, the desecration of the Holy Eucharist, etc.; (3) the trade rivalry which caused Christians to accuse the Jews of sharp practice, and to resent their clipping of the coinage, their usury, etc.; (4) the patriotic susceptibilities of the particular nations in the midst of which the Jews have usually formed a foreign element, and to the respective interests of which their devotion has not always been beyond suspicion. In view of these and other more or less local, more or less justified, reasons, one can readily understand how the popular hatred of the Jews…”

all quotes from the Original Catholic Encyclopedia "Jews and Judaism"
oce.catholic.com/index.php?title=Jews_and_Judaism

Chosen, it’s really sad how cruel and calloused humans can be to each other; and your quote, even if it comes from non-Jewish source, explains some of the repercussions of strict religious ritual and dogma, all in the name of piety and faithfulness to God. But I would ask you the same question; does Orthodox Judaism believe that heaven is reserved for the Chosen People, the practicing Jew, only?

Once I become aware that the Catholic Church is the one founded by Christ, I need to become or remain part of it because it’s God’s will that all come into this church, which is the body of Christ on earth. I don’t think that the common parishioner would say they are Catholic because it’s “essential to their salvation”. They probably wouldn’t think about it in those terms.

:thumbsup:

Quite the contrary. Judaism believes that it is easier for the Gentile than for the Jew to get to the world to come as the Gentile has only to follow the seven Noahide commandments. The Talmud teaches that we are all descended from a single father, Adam, so that no one may claim to be superior to another - we are all equal and every human being is a complete world.

Claire, how far do you take this? What do you mean by essential? Wouldn’t you say that unity with the Church is still essential today or has something changed? Is lack of association considered lack of unity?

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