Right now I believe the Catholic Church teaches these two things, “Outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation” and “Outside the Catholic Church there is salvation.” Therefore it is up to me to pick one.
Only recently, I have become aware of what the Church fathers have taught (see below). Based upon these quotes and what other saints have said I am inclined to believe the first statement above that “Outside the Church there is no salvation.” I am confused by the double speak of today’s Catechism which does state outside the Church there is no salvation and then goes on to say how there is salvation outside the Church. I believe the Catechism is deficient in that it is silent on the statements from Popes and councils below and does not address them. Maybe I should take a historic vote on those in authority who have said there is no salvation outside the Church and those who have said there is salvation outside the Church before I decide who I’m going to believe.
"There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved." (Pope Innocent II, Fourth Lateran Council)
“We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VII, the Bull Unam Sanctam)
“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441)