Justified by Faith Alone cf. James 2:24


Note this says “seek God with a sincere heart”.

The 10 of the 12 Apostles along with Paul gave their lives in order to spread the gospel. If salvation was just based on being a good person there would be no need to do that.

While I agree with you in principle that non-Christians can be saved (God will do as he wills), I don’t agree with you in your application of this teaching. What you describe really sounds like Palagianism to me.

There is also the teaching regarding invincible ignorance (ie another contributor to this thread who will remain nameless but whose alias begins with “tg” :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:) which I believe is true also.

But I think while these are possibilities I don’t know how broad they are. I would love to believe in universal salvation but scripture and tradition simply do not teach that.



This sounds like Constantine who waited until he was on his deathbed to be baptized


This is what my earlier post actually said–

You left off my last sentence, which (at least to me) indicated it wasn’t a “normal” procedure. (i.e., I don’t consider “death” a normal occurance in my life.)

Nowhere did I recommend this. Nor did I suggest in any way that anyone “should deliberately wait” to confess their sins or say a perfect act of contrition.

Feel free to challenge what I actually wrote, but please limit yourself to that. Don’t put words into my mouth.


OK, I won’t put words into your mouth if you do the same for me. But I really, honestly don’t understand why changing the tense of the verb “saves” to “saved” makes any difference. If you say–i’m quoting!–"…absolutely eliminates and atones for the eternal punishment that every mortal sin deserves!" That makes no sense to me. I fail to see how that is Catholic doctrine. If you commit a mortal sin and aren’t sorry, you go to Hell. Christ’s death in no way “absolutely eliminates and atones for the eternal punishment…” Maybe you mean something else entirely, but as it’s worded, it simply doesn’t make sense to me personally and is certainly not Catholic doctrine.


It seems as though some are commenting just to comment and argue about things completely off-topic. I urge everyone to stay focused on the OP.

“After a first and second admonition, have nothing more to do with anyone who causes divisions.” Titus 3:10



You can’t “pick and choose” which teachings you will or won’t accept Erikaspirit116.

You have to harmonize and affirm the WHOLE package.

That’s part of what “Catholic” is—to the whole.

WHY did you appeal to a catechetical teaching (CCC 848) where it EXPLICITLY teaches God (mysteriously to be sure) leads these people to FAITH, to deny . . . .

. . . . to DENY the necessity of the grace of faith?

Excerpt from CCC 848 "Although in ways known to himself GOD CAN LEAD those . . . TO THAT FAITH without which it is impossible to please him. . . .

Notice what it DOESN’T say . . . .


NOT from CCC "Although in ways known to himself GOD CANNOT LEAD those . . . TO THAT FAITH without which it is impossible to please him but it’s possible to get into Heaven without this anyway.


CCC 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

WHY use CCC 848 to try to say people can get to Heaven without faith??

Do you see the incompatibility of what you are proposing?

And playing Baptism off from faith doesn’t work either. Why?

Because faith and Baptism are differing dimensions or “causes” of the one salvation that’s WHY.

When God works outside of the Sacraments He does not withhold the grace of the Sacrament.

God gives the grace outside of the Sacrament as He is not bound by His sacraments.

If you want to think atheists can be saved apart from God’s gracing them with faith (and by the way, you would be right about then they are not atheists any more WHEN God does that), please begin a thread this.


Here is the Council of Trent discussing these differing spheres . . . .

Causes of our justification (with some formatting and all caps changes mine) from Trent . . . .

Final cause
Efficient cause
Meritorious cause
Instrumental cause
Formal cause



What the justification of the impious is, and what are the causes thereof.
This disposition, or preparation, is followed by Justification itself, which is not remission of sins merely, but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man, through the voluntary reception of the grace, and of the gifts, whereby man of unjust becomes just, and of an enemy a friend, that so he may be an heir according to hope of life everlasting.

Of this Justification the causes are these:

the FINAL CAUSE indeed is the glory of God and of Jesus Christ, and life everlasting;

while the EFFICIENT CAUSE is a merciful God who washes and sanctifies gratuitously, signing, and anointing with the holy Spirit of promise, who is the pledge of our inheritance;

but the MERITORIOUS CAUSE is His most beloved only-begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ, who, when we were enemies, for the exceeding charity wherewith he loved us, merited Justification for us by His most holy Passion on the wood of the cross, and made satisfaction for us unto God the Father;

the INSTRUMENTAL CAUSE is the sacrament of baptism, which is the sacrament of faith, without which (faith) no man was ever justified;

lastly, the alone FORMAL CAUSE is the justice of God, not that whereby He Himself is just, but that whereby He maketh us just, that, to wit, with which we being endowed by Him, are renewed in the spirit of our mind, and we are not only reputed, but are truly called, and are, just, receiving justice within us, each one according to his own measure, which the Holy Ghost distributes to every one as He wills, and according to each one’s proper disposition and co-operation.



No argument there. One problem in all of these threads is that they tackle very involved questions and yet you’re supposed to respond in 3,000 characters or something. Most of these subjects have whole libraries written about them.

I think we agree. It all depends on your personal definition of “atheist.” As I’ve said, it seems to me there are at least two categories of atheists: 1) those who have not questioned the concept of God at all (= Why would I spend my time analyzing whether aliens exist?) and 2) those who have considered the existence of God and who sincerely believe there is no God. And yet, if they follow natural law and do not commit mortal sins, there is no reason they cannot go to Heaven. This is not, as some have charged, Pelagianism. Pelagianism is saying that by your own efforts you can attain Heaven. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that Christ’s death on the cross redeemed mankind as a whole, not just those who believe in him. Therefore all mankind is able to choose whether or not they want to enter Heaven or Hell–live a good life or commit mortal sins.


Exactly. And I would argue that a sincere atheist is doing just that if he/she lives a good life. I would argue that by consciously choosing to do the “right” things, he/she is seeking God–whether or not he/she realizes it.

I also read the article you gave a link to. Presumably you agree with it since you linked to it. I agree with it too.


Ummm…because that’s what it says???

Couldn’t agree with you more. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing. Sorry you don’t realize it.

And I certainly don’t have any quarrel with the Council of Trent. It all depends on how you interpret it.


When I find myself simply repeating what I have already said over and over, I bow out of a thread. So I am leaving you to it. I won’t read or respond to anything further.

However, a few final comments.
First, this thread was originally about the Protestant doctrine of being justified by faith alone. And I think we have seen that a lot of people who call themselves Catholics also emphasize faith, to the point where they seem to be denying that anyone without faith (again, I’m not sure in what–God, Jesus as prophet, Jesus as God…?) is doomed to eternity in Hell.

I’ve tried to point out in various ways that although this is certainly a point of view, it is not Catholic doctrine.

Second, for those disturbed by Pope Francis’s comments about people outside the Church being able to go to Heaven, I offer an interview with Benedict XVI from 2015: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/full-text-of-benedict-xvis-recent-rare-and-lengthy-interview-26142/

Here is what Benedict had to say: “There is no doubt that on this point we are faced with a profound evolution of dogma. While the fathers and theologians of the Middle Ages could still be of the opinion that, essentially, the whole human race had become Catholic and that paganism existed now only on the margins, the discovery of the New World at the beginning of the modern era radically changed perspectives. In the second half of the last century it has been fully affirmed the understanding that God cannot let go to perdition all the unbaptized and that even a purely natural happiness for them does not represent a real answer to the question of human existence. If it is true that the great missionaries of the 16th century were still convinced that those who are not baptized are forever lost – and this explains their missionary commitment – in the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council that conviction was finally abandoned.”

Third, Im not sure if most Catholics (let alone non-Catholics) really understand what Catholics actually believe. There is, of course, official Catholic teaching, which is what we have been discussing here. But if you start to look at polls of people who identify themselves as Catholic (for example http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2015/09/Catholics-and-Family-Life-09-01-2015.pdf), you find some astounding things. in a 2015 Pew poll, 11% of Catholics didn’t believe in sin. 23% thought it was NOT sinful to have an abortion. 39% said it was not sinful to engage in homosexual behavior. In terms of beliefs see http://www.uscatholic.org/blog/201305/knowing-believing-and-sometimes-not-knowing-believing-too-27323 where they found that 37% of Catholics did not believe in the real presence in the Eucharist; another 17% didn’t know the Church teaching, but believe in the real presence anyway.

My point is that there is a tremendous range of beliefs in people who label themselves “Catholic.” This thread has emphasized that, and for that reason alone it might have some value.

I’m sure I will cross paths with some of you in other threads. Be nice.


So it shall be written, so it shall be done!

And by the way (for the sake of others in this topic), the NEXT words out of Benedict’s mouth were (well worth reading the whole article):

From this came a deep double crisis. On the one hand this seems to remove any motivation for a future missionary commitment. Why should one try to convince the people to accept the Christian faith when they can be saved even without it? But also for Christians an issue emerged: the obligatory nature of the faith and its way of life began to seem uncertain and problematic. If there are those who can save themselves in other ways, it is not clear, in the final analysis, why the Christian himself is bound by the requirements of the Christian faith and its morals. If faith and salvation are no longer interdependent, faith itself becomes unmotivated.

Very loaded words.


No offense, but your words in the quote alluded to both Universalism and Pelagiansim.


Erikaspirit16 I keep hearing how everybody is saved simply by acknowledging the sacrifice of Christ and then living good lives. … on what basis do you say such things? This doesn’t sound Catholic or any other Christian perspective.

Jesus said it best when He said, …
"… whoever BELIEVES in Him should not perish
but have eternal life." Jn. 3:15
"… whoever BELIEVES in Him should not perish
but have eternal life." Jn. 3:16
"… He who BELIEVES in the Son has everlasting
life." Jn. 3:36
"…he who BELIEVES IN ME, has everlasting
life." Jn. 6:47

The one who believes Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) God come in flesh, = eternal life. Jn. 20:31

If Atheist refuse to believe in Jesus yet except His sacrifice, this is nonsensical, not to mention salvation is by grace through faith … IT IS A GIFT OF GOD… NOT OF WORKS, …" Eph. 2:8,9


I believe Erikaspirit16 has left the building.

I may start a new thread on this topic because its pretty interesting


I think pretty much everyone on this thread would agree, for the purposes of this discussion, its irrelevant what Catholics in a Pew poll believe. We are more interested in what is actually taught by the RCC.


I am more interested in imposing the word of God to each discussion. Here is some shocking news, Jesus is neither Catholic or Protestant. He is Lord over all.


No soul is saved without sanctifying grace, and when it is present it includes faith, hope, and charity.

Baltimore Catechism

  1. What are the chief supernatural powers that are bestowed on our souls with sanctifying grace?
    The chief supernatural powers that are bestowed on our souls with sanctifying grace are the three theological virtues and the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost.

  2. What are the three theological virtues?
    The three theological virtues are faith, hope, and charity.

So there abide faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (I Corinthians 13:13)


First of all, you placed my comment out of it’s context, which does not surprise me. So I will redirect for you two points.

  1. The Eucharist is not for non-believers. The Eucharist is for those who have already entered into the eternal covenant of God in the Kingdom of heaven on earth. Faith here is graduated into the fulfilled promise celebrated with the heavenly liturgy (Hebrews 12 and all of Revelation) in revelation of hope and knowledge of God’s Presence.
    a. The faith you prescribe here, is described by St. Paul describes as Christians like babes on the milk, in the prayer of St. Paul and myself, of how we wish you can begin to eat the meat of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  2. In conclusion; “What is finished” by Apostolic Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, the Passover meal, the songs of the Psalmist, which takes those who are covenanted to God in the real body, blood of Christ the Lamb of God, into the heavenly liturgy, where we are given the hidden Manna. When No one goes to the Father except through the Son (in real and substantial presence)

My discourse here does not question your faith in Jesus Christ. I am merely stating the difference between those who follow the eternal Covenant of God in Eucharist, and those who don’t believe or DO NOT understand the eternal covenant of God that must take place with a meal in consummation of the real Lamb of God, not a symbol or memory of a past event.

Peace be with you


Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Rev 3:20

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.