Non Catholics getting into heaven

Now I think in the CCC it says about non Catholics going to heaven if they don’t know the gospel or something. Does this include if you are, for example, a Muslim with Catholic friends but he has always been taught that the word of the Qu’ran is the word of God and that Jesus is not the son of God even though he learnt other religious beliefs like Catholic beliefs from his friend or something. Could someone like that enter Heaven?

God is both just and merciful and would rather that souls go to heaven than not…


I have a little story to tell about this topic.

When I was in elementary school, I had been taught that even though they were not Catholic, that people could go to heaven. I accepted that and thought it was a wonderful thought.

When I was in college, I shared a house with four other guys. At breakfast one day, one of the others, a baptist I think, said something along the lines - “Don’t worry, we have been taught that even though you are Catholic, you can still get to heaven”.

When it was turned around like that, I realized that I was insulted. It came across to me like this: “Even though there is something wrong with you, a benevolent God might still allow you to enter heaven”. Then the words from my elementary school came into my head.

Since that time, I have been careful to reverse the roles in things that I say to understand how they may be received.

I realize that this doesn’t directly answer your question, but the antecdote just came back into my head.


You’re 14 right? What does your religion teach say at Sunday school?

Dont you think that moral people exist in other cultures?

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Is it just harder for them?

Ron Conte on his blog The Reproach of Christ talked about this with pretty good clarity. People of other faiths and even atheists can be saved.

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There is also baptism of blood and baptism of desire.


Faith in Christ is necessary for salvation:


161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.42 "Since “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘But he who endures to the end.’"43

We also acknowledge that “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.” (CCC 848)

As for who counts as ignorant through no fault of their own, that is for God alone to judge. Here’s a couple holy Popes on this.

St. John Paul II:
Certainly, the condition “through no fault of their own” cannot be verified nor weighed by human evaluation, but must be left to the divine judgment alone.

Bl. Pius IX:
Now, in truth, who would arrogate so much to himself as to mark the limits of such an ignorance, because of the nature and variety of peoples, regions, innate dispositions, and of so many other things?

Is this an actual Catholic belief? My gut says no but hey, I could have missed something. Do you have a source that would be understood like that?


There are millions of good people who have been brought up in other religions. My father was brought up in the Church of England and my mum was taken to a Spiritualist church when she was small. They sent me to a CofE school and I was a regular attender at the CofE church. They were wonderful, honest, kind, selfless and compassionate people.

I became a Catholic when I was 55. I often wonder what my parents would think about it, were they still alive. Growing up, both they and I knew no Catholics and knew nothing about the Catholic faith. I was a seeker, I suppose.

They may or may not be fruitful. If received in good faith, they are. If received in a state of guilt for heresy or schism, then they do not bestow grace.

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I think “know” and “believe” can be used interchangeably with this issue. I know some here will disagree. However, If you don’t have the faith then you don’t have the faith. Seems if there is a Christian God, He would understand how that works. Maybe we get graded on how hard we searched for the truth, instead of whether or not we found it (?).

Of course, this line of thinking appeals to me since I don’t really have faith in any organized religion. I am pretty certain effort counts, though.

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A person that is baptised must have faith in Jesus Christ in order to be a valid baptism. They are Baptised into the Church if they know it or not.

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I don’t see how that demonstrates that at all. Obviously, a person in a state of obstinate irrepentance for a sin against faith cannot receive the sacrament of faith. However, a person in good faith, who has not deliberately committed a sin of separation or against faith, would receive the grace. The same would be said of other sacraments celebrated objectively in schism, but received in good faith.

We don’t believe in a graceless void outside the visible society of the Church–the Church has never taught this, but rather has condemned it over and over.

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I don’t think this is correct. As an RCIA sponsor I have seen many come through the program having been baptized in their former religion and they do not have to be baptized again.

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Actually, I was considering the Bull Unigenitus of Clement XI, which definitively condemned the error “Outside of the Church, no grace is granted.” With regard to that dogma (EENS), I hold it as the Church does. Do you not agree that a person can belong salvifically to the Church through faith and charity (ie belonging “in voto”), while still being outside the visible society of the Church?

Just as someone who receives baptism by the Church does, but does so in bad faith or without charity (ie irrepentant of a deliberate sin against charity) does not receive the grace, so does someone baptized in another community not receive the grace in those situations. But, on the other hand, where good faith and charity are present, so is baptism received frutifully (and so are the other sacraments).

St. Augustine runs the gambit of possible permutations in his work against the Donatists.
With regard to those who receive it “in heresy or schism without deceit, that is to say, with full sincerity of heart” he says the following:

I should have no hesitation in saying that all men possess baptism who have received it in any place, from any sort of men, provided that it were consecrated in the words of the gospel, and received without deceit on their part with some degree of faith; although it would be of no profit to them for the salvation of their souls if they were without charity, by which they might be grafted into the Catholic Church. For “though I have faith,” says the apostle, “so that I could remove mountains, but have not charity, I am nothing.”

Again, as the Church teaches, even when received in an objective state of schism or heresy, if received with faith and charity it is fruitful toward salvation because it does connect one with the Church. This is why, for example, St. Augustine did not treat such individuals as heretics:

But though the doctrine which men hold be false and perverse, if they do not maintain it with passionate obstinacy, especially when they have not devised it by the rashness of their own presumption, but have accepted it from parents who had been misguided and had fallen into error, and if they are with anxiety seeking the truth, and are prepared to be set right when they have found it, such men are not to be counted heretics.

If you need proof that the Church teaches that charity can exist in those who are not formal members of the Church, let me know.


I think I was contradicting you when you wrote: “Someone who is objectively in a state of heresy or schism, regardless of culpability, cannot receive sanctifying grace.”

Then there would be hardly any valid baptisms. What protestant doesnt reject a dogma of the faith. Maybe they would have to knowingly reject dogma, aka formal heresy.

So you are saying the only people getting into heaven are the Catholics. I don’t think your current Pope realizes this, you might want to inform him if you know something he doesn’t.


No, you haven’t, because your definition is completely wrong.

Do you read the catechism? I mean the current one. Not a smart remark - I don’t mean it to be - just a serious question.

I converted. My baptism under United Methodist doctrine was considered valid by the Catholic Church. Flash forward through RCIA, a profession of faith, and confirmation/Communion…and somehow my Methodist background got me here.

Even though I’m Catholic now, I highly doubt that Heaven is populated only by Catholics, and I’d love to know how you got proof of this and by whose authority.

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