MERGED: Before Vatican 2 Protestants were heretics?/No salvation outside the Church


I’ve talked with a couple of people who were raised before Vatican 2 and attended Catholic schools where they were taught by nuns. These people are from different families and attended different schools. They tell me that before Vatican 2 that they were taught that non-Catholics were going to hell and Protestants in particular were heretics.

Then Vatican 2 happened.

Now Protestants are not heretics but simply lack the fullness of the truth.

Did we prudentially decided to just stop calling them heretics (hoping it would encourage them to become Catholic?) while still believing that they are heretics? Or has the Church changed its teaching and no longer believes they are heretics - if this is true then it seems it was either an error before or its an error now as Protestants can’t be both heretics and non-heretics at the same time.

I’m hoping someone can explain this to me as it bothers me.



I don’t really have the answers, but I did want to subscribe to this thread, hence the post.



Eric, I’m 67& attended Catholic school, 1st. through 10th. grades. Grade school was with Notre Dame Nuns. Believe me, these Nuns would cut the top of head off and pour in the teachings if necessary. I do not remember being taught protestants were going to hell, but I do remember them telling me that if I didn’t change my ways, I’d be going there.:smiley:
Sorry if this isn’t of any help & I hope others will post their thoughts.


I remember reading an old Baltimore Catechism from the 50’s that said Protestants would not go to heaven. It was very clear about that, but it made an exception for “baptism of desire” and “baptism of blood”.


Strictly you can only be a heretic if you were once a Catholic in good standing, have your opinions declared incompatible witht he faith by appropriate authority, and persist in promulgating them despite warnings, and then the bishop undertakes a formal process of excommunication against you.

However loosely we can call movements derived from heretics as “heretical”. The term is useful if the members declare themselves to be members of the Church, or the true Church. However it can be an obstacle if the origins of the heresy go far back into history and the descendants are trying to solve political and cultural barriers to rejoining.


I am of the opinion that it was an error before.In the 1500s, the Catholic church was in a state of absolute bedlam, and it was a good thing to reform it instead of leaving it, and thats what I’d have done(which is a reason why Im still Catholic), but the Protestants who left it were quite right, too, it was just a different way of ridding themselves of the abuses.I think Protestants and Catholics should just be friends.All we really did different was interpret the Bible differently and use different methods of making the Church a better place.There is one Lord Jesus Christ and the rest is a dispute over trifles.


Most protestant faiths engage in one or more heresies as part of their doctrine.

Certain Lutherans are pretty close to the Truth.
Some Anglicans.

The Western Rite Orthodox, they tend not to be heretics, but those who have left the Catholic faith for the WRO have committed schismatic acts… All this, despite the Missae chosen for use being inherited from heretical or at least schismatic traditions, and adopted into Orthodoxy.


The protestantism is an heresy and the the protestant communities aren´t churches, the Church is necessary for the salvation like Dominus Jesus said.
Respect Vatican II separated brothers is a charitative way of saying, buit they continue to be separated from God and the Church, when Jesus said, that people that don´t receive the body and flesh of God aren´t from Him, was he being charitative? It´s clear.


Of course Protestants are heretics. What is a heretic? A heretic is someone who denies a truth revealed by God. Protestants deny almost all of them. They deny the true presence, purgatory, the sacrificial nature of the Mass, the preisthood, the Papacy, the complete canon of the Bible, the Assumption, the Immaculate Conception, five of the seven sacraments, etc. etc. etc. It only takes the denial of one dogma to make a person a heretic - the Protestants deny the majority of the dogmas.

Of all the heresies in the history of Christianity, the modern day Protestants are about as bad as it gets. They have almost no resemblance to Biblical or historical Christianity. Most of them have maintained belief in the inspiration of the Bible, the Divinity of Jesus, and the Trinity (although more and more are now denying that), but aside from these truths they have rejected almost all the rest. Of course they are Protestants… and don’t forget every single heretis without exception will indeed go to hell, as has been defined de fide by the Church.

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441, ex cathedra:

“The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives; that the unity of this ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the Church’s sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia productive of eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”

Don’t let the indifferent liberals try to convince you otherwise. The above quote is an infallible dogma of the faith. The liberals always try to “explain away” that quote and the others like it, but it is true nevertheless and all Catholic are bound to believe it. I’ll end with a quote written by a Pope in order to counter the error of indifferentism (which is everywhere today) when it was first being born…

Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio, May 27, 1832, on no salvation outside the Church: “Finally some of these misguided people attempt to persuade themselves and others that men are not saved only in the Catholic religion, but that even heretics may attain eternal life… You know how zealously Our predecessors taught that article of faith which these dare to deny, namely the necessity of the Catholic faith and of unity for salvation… Omitting other appropriate passages which are almost numberless in the writings of the Fathers, We shall praise St. Gregory the Great who expressly testifies that THIS IS INDEED THE TEACHING OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. He says: ‘The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in her and asserts that all who are outside of her will not be saved.’ Official acts of the Church proclaim the same dogma. Thus, in the decree on faith which Innocent III published with the synod of Lateran IV, these things are written: ‘There is one universal Church of all the faithful outside of which no one is saved.’ Finally the same dogma is also expressly mentioned in the profession of faith proposed by the Apostolic See, not only that which all Latin churches use, but also that which… other Eastern Catholics use. We did not mention these selected testimonies because We thought you were ignorant of that article of faith and in need of Our instruction. Far be it from Us to have such an absurd and insulting suspicion about you. But We are so concerned about this serious and well known dogma, which has been attacked with such remarkable audacity, that We could not restrain Our pen from reinforcing this truth with many testimonies.”


Material heresy and formal heresy are two different things.

A person can commit material heresy without being guilty of formal heresy. A person acting in good faith can adhere to the heretical beliefs of Protestantism yet still be in a state of grace. So yes, Protestant doctrine is still considered heretical, but no, Protestants are not automatically doomed.


In the Church there are two types of sins. Material and Formal. A material sin isn’t sinful. A material sin is objectively sinful, but the person who has the material sin hasn’t committed a sin. If a sin is formally sinful, that person has committed a sin. This applies to heresy. In the Baltimore Catechism, it states that it is hard, but not impossible, for protestants to enter into Heaven. It listed a few requirements:

*]To truly believe that the religion is the true religion.
*]To never doubt your religion. If you have any doubts, you must settle them.
*]To be baptized (all forms of baptism count)
*]To never commit a mortal sin, because confession is not an option and perfect contrition is hard to achieve.


In other words, Protestantism is still a heresy. The degree of subjective culpability pertaining to the individual Protestant depends upon the degree of his personal will in embracing the heresy.

Once a person understands and believes that the Catholic Church is the Church established by Christ, and that she contains the fullness of truth, and one STILL refuses her, then one places one’s soul in great peril because to deny what you understand to be the Truth is to deny Christ.


Those naughty nuns were often guilty of propagating their own version of Catholicism, which often bore little resemblance to the official Vatican line. Examples of this would be limbo of little children(never Church teaching), it was a sin to take biscuits from the jar in the kitchen in fact they are in the family domain) and it was a mortal sin to kiss a girl behind the tuck shop. it took me years to shake off the evil effects of these harridans, and I suspect many catholics never did succeed.On the issue of heresy, the plank in your own eye might be the best approach. Perhaps a good (heretical) protestant is preferable to a bad Catholic.


One of those “trifles” is the Real Presence. Another “trifle” is the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and that of the other saints.


Those are pretty big “trifles”—and along with this let me add—the ministerial priesthood.


So you are saying that those who do not partake of the eucharist are damned? I am sympathetic not because I want anyone damned but because this view of “no salvation outside the church” makes more sense to me. However, I am sure the Catholic position is that those outside her visible bounds (and therefore not receiving the eucharist) are not necessarily damned.


Picky, picky, picky!


I guess it’s also to picky to mention the merit of suffering as one of those trifles. My protestant sister thinks there is absolutely no merit whatsoever to suffering (Jesus suffered once for all, you know), and she rolls her eyes and verbally scoffs whenever it gets mentioned by a Catholic member of our family. I did get the opportunity to explain the merits of suffering to her recently, though, but her position hasn’t changed. Yet.


Keep casting the seed. Lightly.


Believe me I favor your interpretation of no salvation outside the church as it is the only one that makes sense – the current understanding really means little and leads to a sort of “invisible” Church. But I do have to say that I think what you are saying has been condemned as a heresy. I think in the last century Fr. Feeney (?) held your position and was condemned.

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