Protestants and salvation


#1

Hi! I am a Catholic, but I have many Protestant friends. I was wondering what exactly Catholic Church teaching is on Protestants and salvation. Does the Catholic Church think, for example, that a Methodist who loves God and seeks to do His will will not receive salvation because he does not belong the the one, Holy, catholic Church? Any answers would be helpful. Thanks.


#2

Start with the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council:

"Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it…

“Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.”

(As quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church)


#3

Members of the Methodist Church can go to heaven. It is not like being a member is a disqualification :slight_smile:

But are you also asking if all those who will end up in heaven are considered by Catholics to be in some sense a part of the Catholic Church even if the person doesn’t call themselves Catholic?


#4

This part of the Catechism is what I was unclear about:
"Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it…"
So I guess I am also asking if “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church” includes Protestants who don’t know enough about Catholicism to want to join the Catholic Church.


#5

[quote=Cathkelley]This part of the Catechism is what I was unclear about:
"Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it…"
So I guess I am also asking if “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church” includes Protestants who don’t know enough about Catholicism to want to join the Catholic Church.
[/quote]

It does. It also covers those who for what ever reason cannot admit that the Church is correct while holding no ill will towards it. It does not cover those who know intellectually that the Church is correct and then walk away. Nor does it cover those who think it might be correct then refuse to investigate. If you seek and do not find, so be it, but if you are called and do not seek, there is a problem.


#6

[quote=Cathkelley]I am also asking if “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church” includes Protestants who don’t know enough about Catholicism to want to join the Catholic Church.
[/quote]

Yes.

Most Protestants that I meet grew up in their denomination. They have no particular reason to suspect they should be anywhere else. When they feel called to become closer to God, I would surmize that they most likely act on that by using the avenues suggested in or consonant with their denomination. There is no fault in this. You can only choose to do those things that appear to you as options. If it never seriously crosses your mind that the Catholic Church has the following merits… and that you should join it for the following reasons…, then you aren’t going to consider it.

But people who realize that they need to look around at their options and who realize that they need to investigate the truth further, and yet fail to heed that call…these people should change their ways and heed the call that they are ignoring. Also, people who know the Catholic Church is the real deal, but prefer to lead a life based on personal preferences rather than the known truth, they should think hard about that choice. No one should ever exchange the truth for a lie (knowingly).

I recommend saying things about how you like the Catholic Church to non-Catholic friends. But who am I to talk! I often hide my Catholicism under a rock in public.


#7

[quote=Cathkelley]Hi! I am a Catholic, but I have many Protestant friends. I was wondering what exactly Catholic Church teaching is on Protestants and salvation. Does the Catholic Church think, for example, that a Methodist who loves God and seeks to do His will will not receive salvation because he does not belong the the one, Holy, catholic Church? Any answers would be helpful. Thanks.
[/quote]

There is enough truth for the salvation of any person THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN that if they live life as best that they can, honor God’s laws to the best of their ability and treat their neighbor as they wish to be treated… salvation is very possible…
there are people born every day that will spend their whole lives never hearing the words Jesus Christ… they were not created as fodder for hell… That’s why we are supposed to do our best by word and practice to witness and to help bring them to God through his church as established by Jesus Christ and spread apolosticly… Now if the person belives this is the church of christ and rejects the message… well, i wouldn’t want to be standing between them and ST PETER… but to reject it, you first have to believe it’s true… you have to do more than just tell them this is the true church… Hearing it, being informed, accepting it as gospel, then rejecting is the deal… just hearing the words from you and me are but a small piece of the pie… :thumbsup:


#8

The section of the Catechism speaking on those who do not now know the Catholic Church “through no fault of their own” are a category of folks, theoretically unknown to Christianity, who have, by an outward showing of grace, do come to Christ though never united with the official Christian church.

With regards to Protestants, yes of course they’re all saved, granted they accept the fundamentals of Christianity: repentance unto life, total need of God’s Grace, and accepting Christ as their Savior.

The Catechism says that all other Christians are “separated brethren” which are united with Catholics in an “imperfect communion.” So…when the Catechism says that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church, remember it is saying that all Christians are technically in communion with the Catholic Church, hence, fall under this. This is why when Protestants become Roman Catholics, they are not re-baptized…because they are already members of Christ’s catholic (catholic means universal) Church.

Be careful how you define Christians though, since the Church does not recognize Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, as Christians.


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