Non Catholics going to Heaven


Below is something that was posted by someone who tells me that I was misinformed about people who are not Catholic through no fault of thier own going to heaven.
How do I explain this change?

Pope Innocent III (circa 1160 - 1216 CE) is considered “one of the greatest popes of the Middle Ages…” 1 At the Fourth Lateran Council (a.k.a. the General Council of Lateran, and the Great Council) he wrote:
“There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one at all can be saved.”

Pope Boniface VIII (1235-1303 CE) promulgated a Papal Bull in 1302 CE titled Unam Sanctam (One Holy). He wrote, in part:
“Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins…In her then is one Lord, one faith, one baptism [Ephesians 4:5]. There had been at the time of the deluge only one ark of Noah, prefiguring the one Church, which ark, having been finished to a single cubit, had only one pilot and guide, i.e., Noah, and we read that, outside of this ark, all that subsisted on the earth was destroyed…Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” 2

Pope Eugene IV, (1388-1447 CE) wrote a Papal bull in 1441 CE titled Cantate Domino. One paragraph reads:
“It [the Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart ‘into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels’ [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.”

Perhaps they are more politically correct now? I’m not sure I would feel all that confident about such a John Scarey flip flop about something so important. After all, that seems like a pretty important point to change your mind about it…heaven or hell. Kind of one of those main points in religion I thought.

Now I am totally not trashing Catholics - because I have been really impressed with the Catholics I’ve known in my life. Honestly.


What this is an example of is of someone quoting a Church document outside of both it’s textual context as well as the context of what prompted it to be written.

These quotes are about formal heresy. What is that? A formal heretic is one who knows the Church is true, knows what the truth is, but deliberately wills not to believe but to leave to embrace heresy.

Most non-Catholics are not formal heretics, but live in ignorance of what the Church teaches, don’t know that what the Church teaches is the truth, and have never deliberately willed to disobey the Church with full knowledge and consent of their wills.

Do you see the difference? The formal heretic is culpable of rejecting the Church and its teachings because he knows better. But, most Protestants do not know these things and so are not culpable.

All Christians who have been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Ghost) are considered Christians by the Catholic Church. But, they are considered joined to the Catholic Church imperfectly and so when a Christian becomes a Catholic he is not really a convert but rather, in the eyes of the Church, has been reconciled to it.


Thanks for explaining that Della. What about a Jew, Muslim or someone else though who is not Protestant?


[quote=VeronicasJude]Thanks for explaining that Della. What about a Jew, Muslim or someone else though who is not Protestant?

The Church teaches that the redemption Christ brought us through his death on the cross was for everyone in the whole world. Salvation is not the same thing as redemption. Our salvation is what will happen to us when we go to be with the Lord, redemption is what has already happened in order to make our salvation possible.

St. Paul taught that everyone in the world has been given a measure of God’s grace. Each and everyone one of us will be accountable to God for what we did with that grace.

Those of us with the opportunity to hear about Christ and his Church have the obligation to do something about it. But, those who have never heard are not culpable of not believing what they never could have known. So, they will be judged according to what they knew and how they used the graces God gave to each of us.

Unless you think that means that we Westerners have it made, think of all the people with the opportunity to know Christ and his Church who don’t take advantage of it. Who will be more culpable in God’s eyes? The one who had opportunities or those who didn’t? This is why St. Paul wrote that those who believe need to be told.

As to evangelization, it is imperative that we evangelize because without knowledge of Christ and his Church it is very hard for people to live lives pleasing to God. They need, like all of us, the fullness of the truth and the sacraments Christ established to help us do as God wills. So, there is no “get out of hell free” card for anyone who lives a life in deliberate opposition to God’s will.


WHere can I find the scripture to back up that if someone leaves the Church with full knowledge and understanding that they will go to hell?


[quote=VeronicasJude]WHere can I find the scripture to back up that if someone leaves the Church with full knowledge and understanding that they will go to hell?

2 Peter 2, especially as warned about in verses 20-22. Peter talks about apostates who are leading the people astray. An apostate is one who has left the Church with full knowledge and understanding. However, if such a one were to repent, he would no longer be culpable of grave sin. And, I think I ought to point out that I never mentioned who would or wouldn’t go to hell. The Church has never pronounced anyone definitely in hell, not even Judas.


[quote=Della] But, most Protestants do not know these things and so are not culpable.

simple solution in sight: to read history. with a little knowledge added you can have a formal heretic! they want to destroy the Church… but, you kwow, they are innocent, they don’ t know what they are doing! Heaven is full of heretics and people who do not Christ! And jews, the ones who crucified Christ, they are also in heaven! The only ones who risk salvation are catholics, because they really know TRUTH.
Conclusion: better be heretic, ignorant or jew.



Titus 3:10-11 A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

2Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.


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