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.

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.


#2

The *Catechism of the Catholic Church * (847) states that “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”.

Thus, a faithful Protestant, who truly seeks God, but who had seen no evidence or insufficient evidence for the Catholic faith, such a person could be innocently ignorant. It is not a salvation outisde of Christ, but one through his grace. On the other hand, if a Protestant is not ignorant of the gospel of Christ and of his Church, but knowingly and willingly rejects the truth and dies outside of it, he cannot be saved.

The Catechism (848) goes on to say that “Although 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, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”

Therefore, it is not permissible to permanently leave non-Catholic Christians in a state of ignorance concerning the truths of the Catholic faith, for Christ commanded us to preach the gospel to every creature and to teach them “to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt 28:20, John 6). “Be always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you but with respect and gentleness” 1 Peter 3:15

God bless you!


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