No salvation outside the church


My neigbor used to catholic and now is luthern. She says she left the church because they taugh unless you are catholic you are damned. She grew up in the 60’s. I’m a new catholic(about 2 weeks confirmed) so I was wondering if this was believed back before vatican 2.


Yes, it was, but to varying degrees, and still is.

On one extreme, there’s the notion that if you’re not Catholic…you’re doomed, which is the understanding that a lot of people I know were taught in Catholic gradeschool. The other extreme, i.e. that all will be saved, is not accepted in Catholic theology.

This is a complicated issue, with the answer lying somewhere in the middle. With varying beliefs, our Protestant brothers and sisters do have, for the most part, communion (not in the Eucharistic sense) with the RC church to one degree or another and thus can be saved.

As to Buddhists, etc., they too may have some communion with the same God as we, and although ignorant of the Gospel message may have partaken in a sort of Baptism by desire.

As to non-believers, say in remote areas who have never heard the Gospel message, there is the possibility of salvation for them as well.


Christ is the Church.

We are the members.

Christ is our Savior.

We are saved by God’s love in and through Jesus Christ, true God and true man.

There is no salvation other than in Jesus Christ.


I’ve a good friend who grew up Lutheran and left because (he says) for same reason you cited. Exactly the same, but going in the opposite direction. Ironic.

One thing I’ve learned over the years, the 1st “reason” cited is never the real reason.

And, it would depend where one catches someone on the “okay, am I really going to tell the truth or just come up with a good sounding reason for this person” continuum.

I was pretty well damned prior to becoming Catholic. Living a damnable existence if one could even call it an “existence.”

List important chunks of truth proclaimed by the Church prior to 1500 – be sure to include the Bible – your list will probably wind up looking like the teachings of salvation familiar to Christians.


It is likely your neighbor was taught using the Baltimore Catechism. The Baltimore Catechism No. 2 says:121. Q. Are all bound to belong to the Church?A. All are bound to belong to the Church, and he who knows the Church to be the true Church and remains out of it cannot be saved. Notice that only those who know that the Catholic Church is the true Church and remain out of it are condemned. Those who do not belong to the Catholic Church because they do not know that the Catholic Church is the true Church are not condemned. As a child she may not have understood this distinction.


God is ever-merciful. There is no other name by which men are to be saved than the name of Jesus.

Without the Church following the command of Christ to baptise and make disciples of all nations, their would be no message of salvation. “He who listens to you listens to Me, he who rejects you rejects Me and the One who sent Me.” He who has not the Son has not the Father also.

The Church gave the world the Scriptures. It spreads, lives, and defends the deposit of faith entrusted It by Christ. How can you say there is salvation in any other? The protestants, our brothers in the Holy Spirit, have the Scripture because the Church gave it to them. Many may have salvation because it is provided first by the Church, although I do not speak with authority.


This is a often used line that many religions use. That My religion XXX is the only one you can be saved in, or something like that.

As far as the Catholic Church goes, salvation is possible outside the Church, though the language puts other Christian ones (I believe the official line only includes Christianity) on a slightly lower pedestal, but you can still go to heaven.

Personally, I think other religions can be included, and even those who even expose “no religion” can go. The entire person needs to be taken into account when talking about salvation.


The Church teaches, fyi, that anyone who is saved is saved through the Catholic Church, whether one is a “card-carrying member”, so to speak, or not. IOW, salvation is not possible outside of the Body of Christ, the Church, though one may be saved who isn’t a visible member of the same.


If Catholic Church ever hopes to bring the Protestants back within the fold … this idea/belief needs to die.

Christ was asked what was required for our salvations. His response to Nicodemus was two fold. Be born again … of water baptism & the H.S.

Now the Church had yet to start at that time, but just before He left earth for heaven … He instructed his disciples to do three things: 1) to take the gospel to the world, 2) baptizing in name of the Trinity, and 3) being obedient to the Christian calling to the end of the age.

Now any Church can do the first 2 things of great commission, but the Universal Church is better at doing all 3, especially # 3.

Thats what Catholics need to focus on … to bring Protestants back to the Catholic fold.


My own opinion is that it is easier to save complete heathens through evangelizing than it is in wasting time on committed protestant heretics. The prior at least have an open mind and the latter are for the greater part so poisoned by false teaching that the time could best be spent on those that have not been brainwashed by the lie of Protestantism. The Catholic Church tried to bring back in some of the early heretical branches but by and large we let them just die the natural death of any branch that separates itself from The Catholic Church.

Those committed to Protestantism are every bit as disruptive to the Catholic Church and Jesus’ true teaching as are any other heretical sect and should be treated as fallen away but prayed for. Protestant’s “may” be saved but “most” will not.



This the Church cannot do. I think this article may help you understand why:


I don’t think this is quite right. I think Catholic teaching is that there is only One Church, One Body, and that this one Church is the avenue through which people are saved. A person may not be recognized externally as a Catholic, but if they are saved, it is somehow through the One Church Jesus founded, because outside of it, there is no salvation.


That is correct; they have a connection to the Church.


For various reasons my sister left the Catholic church and embraced the Protestant faith. Since leaving, her faith and knowledge has grown immeasurably. She prays more, studies more and lives a much more God pleasing lifestyle. She will soon be baptized in this new Church. (despite having been baptized Catholic)

Perhaps I am misunderstanding, but your replies seem to say that she is NOT heaven bound because she knows of, but is not part of, the ONE true Church. Now that I cannot buy, even as a Catholic who loves being Catholic.


It was believed before the Council, affirmed at it, and should still be believed. What it means is that all salvation comes from Christ, the Head, through His Body, the Church. A member that is cut off from the Body shrivels and dies.

That being said, it is Baptism that unites us to the Church (or if it is unavailable, at least the implicit desire for it) and it is willful heresy, schism, or apastacy that cuts us off (since they break the unity of faith). But God only knows who is or is not culpable of these sins so it is possible for someone to be saved even if they are not explicitly Catholic.

(NB: salvation is not guaranteed for Catholics or non-Catholics.)


She left because she never understood what it meant to be Catholic. No one that does would ever leave. However, the Church teaching is clear that the HS works through these ecclesiastical communities to bring people to the True Faith. I had the same experience, and it took a long time for me to find my way home. She may not in this life, but surely she will in the next, if she persists in her faith.


It is not that one must have an awareness of the Church’s existence, but that one must know that it IS the Church founded by Christ and then reject it.

Objectively it is more difficult for a soul that has left the fullness of the Catholic Faith to be saved; that does not mean that God does not see the subjective state and the greater or lesser culpability of each soul in making a decision against the fullness of the Faith.


Salvation “Outside of the Church” is an issue with which I have always struggled. :frowning:

In particular with how it relates to non-Catholic Christians.

Using a situation like your sisters as an example:

She is “apparently” living a more holy life now than she was. How can that not be a good thing?

However, she has also cut herself off from the sacraments.

Are the sacraments “100% always under every circumstance necessary” for one’s salvation?

Of course not, there is no limit on what God can do or who He “may” save (the good thief comes to mind here.)

However, is one “more likely” to see Heaven without the grace of His sacraments?

I do not think so.

Verses like the following give me great pause:

Matthew 7:13-14.

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that
leads to life. And those who find it are few.”

Yet I have great hope when I read versus like:

Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

I have seen this verse as pointing implicitly at the sacraments.

For those who embrace the sacraments Christ established in His church will find a burden that is light and rest for their souls, but those who embrace His sacraments are relatively few: particularly the sacraments of reconciliation.

Those who try it “their own way,” I fear, will find they were on what “seemed like” a much nicer path but in the end it leads at best to an obstacles they must climb over and in worse cases to a cliff.

I find that theologically we share much more with our non-Catholic brothers and sisters than we have issues that separate us.

I am afraid, however, that some non-Catholic Christian theology may prove to be more responsible for the damnation of souls than the many non-Christian belief systems.

Misunderstood application of beliefs like “Scripture Alone” and “Faith Alone” particularly when coupled with “Once Saved Always Saved” may “feel” good and offer more “freedom” in what we would like to believe, but IF they allow one to “justify” and “live with” unrepentant sin I truly fear for the salvation of those who embrace such beliefs systems.

In this regard, I am more fearful for those who leave the Church than those who were never formally part of Her.

But my greatest fear is for those who remain “in the Church” but do not follow The Way.

To those whom more has been given, more will be expected.

**Can one formally outside of the Catholic Church informally embrace and receive the graces formally provided in the sacraments?

I certainly Hope so, but with regard to the frequency with which this actually happens, I have my doubts.:confused:



In recent years the gospel message has spread rapidly in China. Current estimates are 100 million plus Christians there … mainly via small non-denominational home churches. Churches are doubling in size every 3-4 months. Whats the population … 2 billion plus ??

Would Christ ignore such interest in the Trinity …because it lacks a Catholic structure ?

If not, the Catholic Church will need to address the non-denominational Christian movement in an effective manner … beyond just Catholic prayers.


Has it been the gospel message or the anti-Catholic Protestant message?

There are quite a few Catholics in China but there is an issue with the bishops who are not ordained and recognized through The Catholic Church due to government controls. I don’t personally know enough about what is happening inside China to comment much deeper than this though except to say they have brutalized Catholic priests in prison for decades and still do.

If all it takes is to have a bible in one’s hand to call oneself “Christian” then we might as well print out billions of microdots containing the text of the bible and crop dust the entire planet and declare the planet Christian, raise the “ready for rapture” signal flag and wait to be beamed up. :rolleyes:



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