[quote="josephback, post:1, topic:328407"]
Hi all. I've been reading an old high school religion book I have and I thought what it says is interesting. Here it is:
D. Necessity of belonging to the Church
1. Absolutely necessary
Jesus Christ founded a visible, spiritual organization called the Church, whose purpose is to glorify God by sanctifying souls. He told that Church to teach all nations. He guaranteed it infallibility in its teaching, and He indicated clearly that He wanted all men to belong to that Church and no other. If you want Scriptural proof look up John 3, 5 and John 15, 6. It is plain, from these references, that to attain eternal salvation, membership in that spiritual society which Christ founded is absolutely necessary; so necessary, in fact, that there is no salvation for those who do not belong to the Church.
This sounds like a very harsh statement, and some poorly instructed persons paraphrase it by saying that the Catholic Church teaches that all Protestants and others will go to hell.
2. Will All Non-Catholics Suffer Eternal Damnation?
The Church does not teach that all non-Catholics will be eternally damned; she merely teaches that Christ made membership in the one, true Church which he established necessary for salvation. Now only they are members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith and who have not withdrawn or been excommunicated from body-unity. There are those who are active, participating members, visibly united and conscious of their membership in the Church, and there are those who are not conscious members, nor visibly united, but who, because they possess sanctifying grace, are united with Christ.
Now, not only Catholics but non-Catholics as well can attain to the state of grace. For instance, any validly baptized child, even though by birth a non-Catholic, is a member of the true Church until he cuts himself off from the Church by deliberate act, such as heresy or apostasy. Also a non-Catholic who, by an act of perfect love or contrition, has received the baptism of desire, belongs to the Church as long as he persists in the state of grace.
3. Value Of Membership in the Visible Church
You see, then, that it is false to say that the Church teaches that only Catholics can attain heaven and that all the rest will be damned. But at the same time, we must insist that those who do not participate in the visible membership and communion of the Church will find it difficult if not impossible to maintain themselves in the state of grace. The y lack the graces of the sacraments and the benefits of assistance at the Holy Sacrifice, they lack also the infallible guidance of the Church and the social atmosphere of Catholicism, as well as many other things which the members of the Church enjoy. Certainly then it will be immeasurably harder for them to maintain themselves in union with Christ than it is for those who go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, participate in the Mass, and enjoy the countless benefits of the visible Church.
The above is taken from "Our Quest for Happiness: The Ark and the Dove, by Clarence Ewell, etc. Its copyright is 1945 and publication date is 1950. The sentiments it expresses are in line with a paragraph from a book of similar time period and also with "the Church of Christ" by E. Sylvester Berry, published 1927.
Thank you & God bless you. I will read this later on.:)