Luther = Salvation!


So yesterday my parish priest proclaimed that anyone, of any denomination, can get into heaven. He proclaimed some people as “narrow minded” when it comes to this question. I know the Pope recently made some clarification on this, but that it was not a binding teaching, and that nothing has changed since Saint Cyprian declared “Outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation”.

I know about baptism of desire and all that. He wasn’t talking about that. What he taught yesterday is that you can go be a Lutheran, follow their doctrines and laws and get into Heaven.

A little confusion at my parish yesterday I believe, and I want to question him on it. I’m sure someone has some input.



While the traditional and historical teaching of the Church is that there is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, apart from which there is no salvation, Lumen Gentium indicates that ther is a possiblity of those who are not fully united with the Church, but are partially united to her may receive a share of Christ’s grace and could possibly attain salvation if they sincerely follow God as he has been revealed to them.

It must be said however, that the Ordinary Means of salvation is through the Church and her Sacraments. And the question must be asked, if it is difficult for Catholics to attain salvation with the grace of the Sacraments and the intercession of the Saints, how much more so is it for those who are in schism or heresy? We must pray for Protestants, Orthodox, and schismatic traditionalists, especially those belonging to sedevacantist or conclavist groups, that they may be reunited to the one Church established by our Lord.

Not having heard what exactly your priest said, I am hesitant to pass judgement, but I’m not sure why he would bring this up given the readings and Gospel of the day. It would seem that prudence would dictate that a homily be aimed at helping the faithful live the faith, rather than confuse them.


The Compendium to the *Catechism of the Catholic Church *has a good concise answer to your question:

  1. What is the meaning of the affirmation “Outside the Church there is no salvation”?


This means that all salvation comes from Christ, the Head, through the Church which is his body. Hence they cannot be saved who, knowing the Church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her. At the same time, thanks to Christ and to his Church, those who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ and his Church but sincerely seek God and, moved by grace, try to do his will as it is known through the dictates of conscience can attain eternal salvation.

So it is indeed possible for anyone of any denomination to enter heaven, but not if they know the Catholic Church is the true Church and refuse to be part of it.

The reference “846–848” above refers to the corresponding paragraphs of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which you can read at this website: (scroll down to #846).


If the bolded part is exactly what was taugtht by your priest then it appears he is in error. One cannot “Go be a (whatever)” and still get to heaven. Since one is already in the atholic Church and at least should know that it is the one true church setablished by Christ, if one left the Church, it would deeply imperil their soul.
If one is raised outside the Catholic Church then the issue of formation becomes more important. If you haven’t been exposed to the Church, and/or been misinformed about her you cannot be held accountable for not being a member.



The problem is, many Catholics have not been properly catechized. They may have been baptized into the Catholic Church as infants, and perhaps even received some religious instruction (or even attended Catholic schools for a while) without being taught (or without understanding) that the Catholic Church is the one true Church. Much of a whole generation of Catholics have had very poor catechesis, and today their children are being raised by parents who are Catholic in name only. If they leave the Church, are they personally culpable? I’ll leave that for God to decide.

We have to trust that God’s mercy will reach those who have separated themselves from the Church.


If the congregation believes him the church will be empty next week.

Maybe thats what he wants. When priests say things like that John and Mary Catholic are further indoctrinated into relativism. Soon they stop going to church…because they see no real reason as to to to church.


I’m curious why he would say that too. What does he seek to gain from that? No more evangelizing? No more conversion to the Catholic faith which is handed down to us from the Apostles?


No one was more surprised than my wife and I! He started off the homily by telling a joke he heard at an ecumenism conference. One about catholics being the only one’s in Heaven.

He also was telling us yesterday that we all receive an invitation to the banquet. Father always tells us how great it will be when we arrive, but never gives any directions on how to get there.

It’s very frustrating to sit through week after week.


I came from the Anglican Communion, and was religiously educated by my gran who is a traditional Presbyterian. Therefore I am not opposed to ecumenism. However, we should not dilute the faith just for the sake of looking ‘‘all-inclusive’’. We must tell the faithful that we are the One True Church which Jesus our Lord founded with Saint Peter at it’s head. Without a grave reason, how could a non-Catholic Christian, who uses artificial birth control (mortal sin in Catholic teaching) be saved?

Lets stand up for our own beliefs and not concede to others for the sake of appearances.


Absoluelty! By it’s very nature ecumensim is doomed to fail. You cannot combine contradictory principles. We cannot unite truth and error so as to form one thing, except by adopting the error and rejecting all or part of the truth.

I stole that last bit from Archbishop Lefebvre!


How do we expect to keep members, if we say that other churches are just as valid and a way to salvation as the Catholic Church?

Members of other Christian Churches do not have to follow the stricter morality rules in the Catholic Church. Whether they like it or not, its Truth and what God wants.


That really depends on what the purpose of ecumenism is. If it is simply to say “this is what I believe, that’s what you believe, but who cares, because does it really matter?” then of course it’s doomed to failure. But if you look at what Vatican II actually wrote about it (in Unitatis Redintegratio) and what John Paul II actually wrote about it (in Ut Unum Sint), you’ll see that true Catholic ecumenism is about dialog that leads to conversion, rather than bullying that leads to conversion. If people don’t believe in what the Church teaches, the Church needs to explain it to them better (not change what it teaches).


A number of traditionalists assume that the Second Vatican Council contradicted Church Tradition in its teachings on ecumenism. If this assumption is correct, then the Catholic Church has a serious problem.

Catholic ecumenism is solidly founded in Catholic Tradition, as handed down from previous ecumenical councils. The teachings of Vatican II on ecumenism build upon the Church’s ecumenical precedents established at the Council of Florence and the Council of Trent.

There are a lot of Catholics who are unaware of these examples of the Catholic Church’s practice of ecumenism with those who have separated from her. Yet such precedents do exist within Catholic Tradition. The most striking example is probably the ecumenical Council of Florence. This entire Council offers a clear precedent from Catholic Tradition for the Church’s present involvement in ecumenical dialogue. During the Council’s fourth session, Pope Eugene IV decreed:

“Eugenius, bishop, servant of God, for an everlasting record. It befits us to render thanks to almighty God . . . For behold, the western and eastern peoples, who have been separated for so
long, hasten to enter into a pact of harmony and unity; and those who were justly distressed at the long dissension that kept them apart, at last after many centuries, under the impulse of Him from whom every good gift comes, meet together in person in this place out of desire for holy union.”

And, then, from Trent’s thirteenth session, we read:

“The sacred and holy Synod of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost . . . grants, as far as regards the holy Synod itself, to all [Protestants] and each one throughout the whole of Germany, whether ecclesiastics or seculars, of whatsoever degree, estate, condition, quality they be, who may wish to repair to this ecumenical and general Council the public faith and full security, which they call safe-conduct . . . so as that they may and shall have it in their power in all liberty to confer, make proposal, and treat on those things which are to be treated of in the said Synod; to come freely and safely to the said ecumenical Council, and there remain and abide, and propose therein, as well in writing as by word of mouth, as many articles as to them shall seem good, and to confer and dispute, without any abuse or contumely, with the fathers, or with those who may have been selected by the said holy Synod; as also to withdraw whensoever they shall think fit.”

The Council of Trent clearly issued an invitation to ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Protestants.

Several important observations should be made here. First, the Council of Trent both invited and offered safe passage to Protestants who wished to come and participate at this ecumenical Council. Second, the Council Fathers invited Protestants of all social and ecclesiastical ranks to share their theological views, propse topics for debate, and generally participate in the daily affairs of this ecumenical Council. Third, the Council Fathers allowed Protestants to withdraw at any time. Finally, the Council Fathers invited Protestants to be more than simply observers.

As Catholics, we can embrace the Second Vatican Council’s teachings on ecumenism, because these teachings are solidly rooted in Catholic Tradition.


I agree on this one. Most friends that I have that have left the Church, didn’t really leave the Church. They left what they thought it was. Am I saying that releaves them of all responsibility, no. But is it as if they said, “The CC is the true Church and I firmly believe this but I still want to leave,” no.


Hear!!! Hear!!!
I feel truly sorry for the OP who has to listen to this dribble every week. The truth is the truth is the truth. We can change the packaging, the sales pitch as it were, but we just can’t change the product.
I do agree with some of the interfaith dailog and the “lets talk” attitude of the Church today, but as Papa Benedict has said, we must do so in a spirit of understanding and acknowledging our differences and not fudging or blurring the line.

Perhaps the OP’s pastor needs to be told that, while this inclusive feel good kind of preaching might be OK occasionally, what the parishoners really need is honest catachetical teaching in our faith, not in any other. If we want more priests and religious he needs to emphasize the beauty and fullness of what we have in THIS faith.
The Parish here that holds the TLM, has a priest that really does teach from the pulpit and he does a good job. You feel like you’ve recieved something when you leave Church.



Put these two answers together and the OP has an answer! :thumbsup:


By the practice of ecumenism do we really believe that protties and non Christians will denounce their faith and become Catholic? If dialog leads to conversion I’m all for it, as the Church’s primary goal is the salvation of souls.

In this case ecumenism should be called by it’s true name - evangelization. But we can’t tell the people we are evangelizing that we are evangelizing. Because that would mean that we think they need evangelizing, and that somehow makes them feel bad.:rolleyes:

What I posted originally, what I sat through yesterday, this type of false ecumenism teaches error. To try to make protties feel good about their religion does not bring them to the church. It does not bring them to salvation. And it makes catholics doubt what they thought they knew.

And to bring protties to the faith by deceptive means such as changing church teaching is abhorrent. We cannot teach error as truth. That’s what I have a problem with.

And you should too.


I don’t think ecumenism, as taught by the Church, can be thought of as NOT evangelization. Ecumenical evangelization wouldn’t be impossible, would it?


Here’s some support for you.

“Different dimensions of the work of ecumenism can be distinguished: above all, there is listening, as a fundamental condition for any dialogue, then, theological discussion, in which, by seeking to understand the beliefs, traditions and convictions of others, agreement can be found, at times hidden under disagreement. Inseparably united with this is another essential dimension of the ecumenical commitment: witness and proclamation of elements which are not particular traditions or theological subtleties, but which belong rather to the Tradition of the faith itself. … Therefore, the work of ecumenism does not remove the right or take away the responsibility of proclaiming in fullness the Catholic faith to other Christians, who freely wish to receive it.” (“Some Aspects of Evangelization”, 12)

“The Catholic Church’s teaching on the relationship between priestly ministry and the Eucharist and her teaching on the Eucharistic Sacrifice have both been the subject in recent decades of a fruitful dialogue in the area of ecumenism. We must give thanks to the Blessed Trinity for the significant progress and convergence achieved in this regard, which lead us to hope one day for a full sharing of faith.” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 30)

“The way and method in which the Catholic faith is expressed should never become an obstacle to dialogue with our brethren. It is, of course, essential that the doctrine should be clearly presented in its entirety. Nothing is so foreign to the spirit of ecumenism as a false irenicism, in which the purity of Catholic doctrine suffers loss and its genuine and certain meaning is clouded. At the same time, the Catholic faith must be explained more profoundly and precisely, in such a way and in such terms as our separated brethren can also really understand. Moreover, in ecumenical dialogue, Catholic theologians standing fast by the teaching of the Church and investigating the divine mysteries with the separated brethren must proceed with love for the truth, with charity, and with humility.” (Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 11)


I don’t think that comments like the one alledged to have been made by OP’s priest are made to “make protties feel better.” I think they are made because for some reason this priest, inspite of his theological training, appears to believe in indiffrentism, that is the idea that any faith is pleasing to God and can get you to heaven. This is not the view expressed by the documents of the Church, not even in the case of Vatican II documents, which seem to make it clear that while it is possible for non-Catholics, or even non-Christians to get to Heaven if they suffer from invincible ignorance and seek out God as he has been revealed to them, the Ordinary means of salvation is through the Holy Catholic Church and the Sacraments entrusted to her by our Lord.

For some reason, living in a pluralistic society makes American Catholics very reluctant to say that they believe the Catholic Church, and only the Catholic Church, teaches the fullness of truth as revealed by Christ and the Holy Spirit to the apostles and early fathers, and that other faiths are in error to whatever extent they disagree with the Catholic Church. My CCE students always seem shocked when I tell them this at the beginning of the year. They think it is arrogant and judgemental because they have been raised in a secular society that teaches them that truth is relative. I explain that I would not be teaching them about the Catholic Church if I did not believe that it is the Church established by Christ and fed by the Holy Spirit. I then spend the rest of the school year teaching them the Truth and trying to convince them that the Truth matters. And as Fr. Corapi says, “the Truth is not a something, but a someone and that someone is Jesus Christ.”

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