MERGED: "Outside the Church there is no salvation" and Mary and Joseph worship

Hi everyone,

I’m having a bit of a struggle with the concept of “Outside the Church there is no salvation”.

I had previously come across this phrase/concept and been told or believed through research that it was a message that had been conveyed at a time when many were leaving the Church, and that in reality the meaning was “If you know that the Catholic Church is the true Church and you leave it, you will lose your salvation.” Now I’m seeing problems with that interpretation.

I’m having a look at this article: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extra_Ecclesiam_nulla_salus

What I’m seeing is that many of the Church Fathers declared that there was no salvation outside the Church.

So how do I deal with this? I know that the Church now teaches that pagans, Jews, Protestants, anybody really, can go to Heaven if they live good lives. But surely this isn’t what the Church Fathers and early Popes were saying?

What exactly do they mean by “Salvation”?

I would really appreciate some help with this. Thanks and God bless.

I have posed a similar question. You will likely get long, complicated answers, to justify the Catholic Church is correct.

Teaching of Jesus was not complicated and long. The truth is usually simple.

If the CC would actually admit when it made a mistake, it would gain a lot of credibility. Most don’t expect perfection, unless you claim you are infallible.

Thanks for your reply, but I have no intention of leaving the the Church of Christ. I wouldn’t deprive myself of the Eucharist for anything in the world. Just trying to get my head around this one particular issue. :slight_smile:

She would lose all credibility. The problem you create is this; if the Church is fallible, then anytime I disagree with Her, I can simply say, I believe what She teaches is wrong, after all She is fallible and might have made mistakes in the past, which gives me a convenient excuse to not to submit to Her teachings. If She is fallible in Her teachings, why should I accept Her teaching that the NT is inerrant and inspired? She could be wrong about that.

My soul is at stake, should a person settle for a denomination that admits it might teach error, since if you will not claim infallibility, you are claiming fallibility? Should I settle for mediocrity?

“It’s one thing, to conclude that Catholicism is good and another to conclude that it is right. It is one thing to conclude that is right and another to conclude that it is always right. - G.K.Chesterton

Did the Church ever teach that though, not just an ECF?

Jesus himself gives a clue to there being a possibility of the salvation outside of Christianity here:

*22If I had not come and spoken to them, *they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin.***23Whoever hates me also hates my Father.

The ECF’s say there is no possibility for those who leave the Church, or who hear Christ’s words and reject it, but leave open the possibility of those who have not heard the word. I am thinking specifically of Clement of Alexandria, Origen…etc. I will give you two, but there are many more:

Let us go through all generations and learn that in generation after generation the Master has given a place of repentance for those willing to turn to him. Those who repented for their sins, appeased God in praying, and received salvation, even though they were aliens to God (Letter to the Corinthians, no. 7 [AD 95]).- Clement of Rome

When we speak of within and without in relation to the Church, *it is the position of the heart that we must consider, not that of the body. . . All who are within [the Church] in heart are saved in the unity of the ark ***(On Baptism, Against the Donatists 5:28[39] [A.D. 400]).- Augustine

Every quote I have seen by the ECF’s on this subject, it can be seen that the people that they are talking about no salvation are either: 1.) Catholics who have left Holy Mother Church. 2.) Those who have heard the Word and refuse to enter.

The Church Fathers and early popes said the same thing the Church teaches now:

Scripture, Church Fathers, and Medieval Doctors on the Possibility of Salvation for Non-Catholics
historyandapologetics.com/2015/02/scripture-church-fathers-and-medieval.html

Here are a few examples:

157 A.D. - St. Justin Martyr - “Christ is the Logos [Divine Word] of whom the whole race of men partake. Those who lived according to Logos are Christians, even if they were considered atheists, such as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus.” (First Apology 46)

180 A.D. - St. Irenaeus - “Christ came not only for those who believed from the time of Tiberius Caesar, nor did the Father provide only for those who [are currently alive], but for absolutely all men from the beginning, who according to their ability, feared and loved God and lived justly…and desired to see Christ and to hear His voice.” (Against Heresies Book IV Chapter 22 Paragraph 2)

374 A.D. - St. Gregory Nazianzus - “[A certain pagan] was ours even before he was of our fold. His way of living made him such. For…many of those outside [the Church] belong to us, who by their way of life anticipate the faith, and need [only] the name, having the reality.” (Oration 18:6)

395 A.D. - St. Augustine - “[Y]ou are not considered at fault if you, against your will, are ignorant; however, if you are ignorant because you fail to ask, you are at fault. … So even now, if ignorance of the truth and difficulty in behaving rightly are [natural]…no one properly condemns the soul because of its natural origin. But if a man refuses to strive for excellence, or wills to step back from where he set out, he justly and properly suffers punishment.” (On Free Choice of the Will Volume III Chapter 19)

~440 A.D. - St. Cyril of Alexandria - “[The Lord] is also the God of the gentiles, and has fully satisfied by laws implanted in their hearts, which the Maker has engraved in the hearts of all. For when the gentiles, [Paul] says, not having the law, do by nature the things of the law, they show the work of the law written on their hearts. But since He is not only the Maker and God of the Jews, but also of the gentiles…He sees fit by His providence to care not only for those who are of the blood of Israel, but also for all those upon the earth.” (Against Julian 3)

593 A.D. - Pope St. Gregory the Great - “The passion of the Church began already with Abel, and there is one Church of the elect, of those who precede, and of those who follow. … They were, then, outside, but yet not divided from the holy Church, because in mind, in work, in preaching, they already held the sacraments of faith, and saw that loftiness of Holy Church.” (Homilies on Ezekiel Book II Chapter 3 Paragraph 16)

~853 A.D. - Haymo of Halberstadt - “[Some pagans] show surely that they have the natural law written on their hearts, and they are the law for themselves: because they do the things that the law teaches, even though it was not given to them. For example, the Saracens who have neither the law of Moses nor of the Gospel, while by nature they keep the law, do not commit murder, or commit adultery, or other things, which the law written within them contains; they are a law to themselves. … In the second way: When the gentiles…naturally do the things…because they have the same law of Moses written on their hearts by the inspiration of Almighty God…‘their conscience bearing witness to them, and their thoughts in turn accusing or even defending.’ And when will this be? ‘On the day when the Lord will judge the hidden things of men’ according to my Gospel.” (Exposition on Romans 2:14-16)

~990 A.D. - Oecumenius - “[Some pagans] do the things of the law using the reasonings of nature for just actions. These are wonderful, not needing a teacher, being their own lawgivers and fulfillers of the legislation. … ‘Their conscience bearing witness to them,’ for it is enough in place of the law to have their own conscience testifying for them. … At that judgment we do not need external accusers or witnesses…but each one’s own reasonings and conscience either accuses or defends.” (On Romans 2:14-16)

~1134 A.D. - St. Bernard of Clairvaux - “How many are there, throughout the world, who die in complete ignorance of [the Gospel]. What then? The law [of the Gospel] has not yet been promulgated, and they are already held responsible for breaking it? … God forbid.” (Letter 77 On Baptism and Other Questions 1.2)

~1259 A.D. - St. Thomas Aquinas - “[E]ven if someone is brought up in the forest or among wild beasts…[God will] furnish everyone with what is necessary for salvation, provided that on [man’s] part there is no hindrance. Thus, if someone [who was] brought up [in the wild] followed the direction of natural reason in seeking good and avoiding evil, we must most certainly hold that God would either reveal to him through internal inspiration what had to be believed, or would send some preacher of the faith to him as he sent Peter to Cornelius (Acts 10:20).” (De Veritate Question 14 Article 11 Answer to Objection 1)

Read more >>
historyandapologetics.com/2015/02/scripture-church-fathers-and-medieval.html

You are WRONG! The Church does not teach that non-Catholics may go to Heaven just because of “good lives”! They may go to Heaven if they sincerely search for the Catholic church, unaware of it not due to their fault! In this way, they become the members of the Catholic Church in a mystical way, albeit not publicly and even unaware of it.

So, yes, there is NO salvation outside of the Catholic Church!

Wikipedia mentions that many of the Church Fathers took a “rather broad view” of who can be saved, and cites St. Irenaeus and St. Gregory Nazianzen as examples. Many of the Fathers who repeated the “no salvation” phrase on their list Also taught the Catholic Church’s broad view of who counts as a member of the Church. The same goes with the popes: as wikipedia notes, “Popes who have made such statements have also said that [others] can be saved.” Some examples are given at the link above.

Don’t worry, the Church Fathers and the modern Church teach the same thing on this point: there is no salvation outside the Church, but many people belong to the Church who, on the surface, seem not to.

Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that** it is absolutely necessary for salvation** that every human creature be **submit **to the Roman Pontiff

UUNAM SANCTAM
Bull of Pope Boniface VIII promulgated November 18, 1302

Is that what the the Roman Catholic Church teaches today?

Are these the same teachings?

“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 produce 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."
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441,

compared to

"The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day’ " (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, p.223)

Instead of Wikipedia, which is often biased, :wink: you need to read our own Catechism:

Possible salvation of non-Christians: #s 846-848.

“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

I am not looking for salvation in a denomination, or for one to be perfect - as I have yet to find one. Christ is perfect, and his perfect sacrifice is where my faith is.

A Papal Bull is not dogma. If I’m not mistaken, that was Pope Boniface VIII’s personal opinion, and therefore not a teaching of the Church.

“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 produce 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."
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441,

compared to

"The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day’ " (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, p.223)

Here’s something from this website that covers that misunderstanding: catholic.com/quickquestions/whats-the-correct-understanding-of-no-salvation-outside-the-church

I hope this helps!

Especially thru Baptism and love for Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior and not knowing the truth of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. In other words, not deliberately refusing the TRUTH of Christ’s original Catholic Church. God Bless, Memaw

Then there is no reason to go to church. What the Catholic Church teaches is perfect. By the way, why did Jesus start a Church, if He did not mean it to be perfect?

As you shouldn’t be. Denominations themselves do not save. But Christ made a Church–the Catholic Church, and through it, and only because he founded it, we are saved.

The context, intent and meaning of this line has already been discussed with you at length in a few threads… and yet, you still prefer to use it as a bludgeon. :sad_yes:

Is that what the the Roman Catholic Church teaches today?

Are these the same teachings?

“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;

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

If memory serves, Sullivan’s discussion of this passage (in his excellent book) points out that, at that particular place and time in history, they would have believed that they had evangelized the entire (known) world sufficiently at that point. Therefore, if the belief that sufficient opportunity to accept Christ had been realized was their presumption, then their conclusion would be that for all who failed to accept Christ, their personal responsibility to accept the teachings was reasonable. Therefore, if they believed – as Vatican II later taught – that they fell neither into the category of ‘through no fault of their own’ or ‘do not know Christ or his Church’ – then saying that they are responsible for their personal rejection of Christ is a consistent teaching.

Don’t get me wrong – they might be wrong in the non-infallible portion of their argument (that is, “has everyone on earth heard the Gospel?”, and “have they heard it sufficiently to conclude that they should have converted?” – but the doctrinal position still holds. :wink:

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 produce 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."

Please note that this is distinct and separate statement. It speaks not of all the people in the first statement, but of Catholics who have not “persevered in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.” In other words, here he’s talking about ‘heretics’ and ‘schismatics’ who were once Catholics but who have left the Catholic Church.

The short and sweet, from right here on CA:

catholic.com/magazine/articles/what-no-salvation-outside-the-church-means

This is also something I have been wondering about; if the notion that non-Catholics can achieve salvation without being in the Catholic Church, what purpose or incentive is there to follow the statutes of the Church when I could follow a person who has lived a virtuous life without the Church or another religion besides Catholicism? I remember reading about the concept of the anonymous Christian/Catholic and was contemplating whether or not this would fit into this question as well. Apparently an anonymous Christian/Catholic is a person who follow’s the rules and guidelines of the Church without consciously being a part of the Church. Is this the correct interpretation?

But the second such a person realizes that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ to bring about the salvation of the world, invincible ignorance disappears. For such a person no salvation outside the Church would apply, as they have willfully set themselves outside. No salvation applies to people who do not set themselves outside the Church.

The second your anonymous person realizes they are following the teachings of the Church, they must join themselves to it.

What mistake? There was none and your statement that the truth is simple (an inference of “the simplicity of the Gospel” error) is equally incorrect. Note the following links that will better inform your thinking.
Who REALLY Preaches “A Different Gospel”?

[LIST]
*]“Have You Been Saved?”
]Have You Been Saved? Video
]Extra ecclesiam nulla salus

*] Salvation Outside of the Church
*] If someone says I believe in Jesus why must they become Catholic?
[/LIST]

In the words of Yoda… “And well you should not”…

I find it odd that so many “Christians” of so many communities (and even some Catholics) are critical of this when in fact they are scarcely less adamant about whatever they hold to be “the way of salvation”. Most a-C/n-Cs contend that we Catholics are not Christians simply because we do not hold to their particular beliefs. Yet as you can see from the link to my blog article above, what they preach is less biblical than they will ever admit.

If, as Jesus stated, he is the truth, then moving closer to that fullness of truth can only bring us loser to Him. In all my errant years outside the Catholic faith I never encountered anything that is as New Testament based as the Catholic Church.

The church is not wrong, and those who wish to be PC will be disappointed that we do not flinch away from the truth of the Word of God and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Because there is objective truth and we can know it, and because Christ is the truth. then to fail to pursue it with all our hearts and to obey it as we encounter it is really vital to our salvation. Anything less is "A Different Gospel".

:thumbsup: Well said.

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