Protestants cannot be saved?


“There is but one universal Church of the faithful outside of which no one at all can be saved.” - Pope Innocent III


The Catholic Church does not declare that “Protestants” or anybody else, for that matter, cannot be saved. It does declare that the “fullness to the means of salvation” is found in Catholic faith and in the sacramental life of the Church.


That doesn’t sound like what Pope Innocent III means… :confused:


Catechism of the Catholic Church

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

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.


So does that mean the Church believes some Protestants can be saved? Because even Protestants cannot deny Peter’s church, which was specifically built by the Lord himself, and in that sense, they are acknowledging the one Church that we, as Catholics, are a part of today.


Maybe the section on the One Church from the Catechism might answer your question:


Yes, Protestants can be saved. As I understand it, they are part of the Catholic Church, only not fully. They are part of the Christ’s Body (the Church) by baptism, but are not fully joined to the Church (by confirmation).
In short, everybody (even non-Christians) can be saved, as long as they are faithful to the extent of revelation of God that has been placed in their hearts. After all, God is merciful, and wouldn’t condemn somebody for not being/doing what they had no possibility of knowing.


“After all, God is merciful, and wouldn’t condemn somebody for not being/doing what they had no possibility of knowing.”

I respectfully disagree. The Church teaches only that we can HOPE these things. While we acknowledge the mercy of God, we also recognize his infinite justice. And we also recognize that God has not revealed all to us. But what he has, says that we must look to salvation through his Church.

This is much the same as the concept of Limbo. The Catechism says that we can hope that the unbaptised can find heaven, not that it can be presumed.


One sentence out os a whole document can easely be taken out of context. Reading this literally, only those people who are inside the church will be saved, those outside on the steps and in the parking lot will not be.


Then you’re wrong :slight_smile: Even the Church’s stance on mortal sin reaffirms this point: God does not hold people responsible for what they do not know.

The Church teaches only that we can HOPE these things. While we acknowledge the mercy of God, we also recognize his infinite justice.

Which is exactly why andzy made that statement above. It is God’s justice that does not hold a person responsible for they could not have done or been.



Tremendous arguments for hiding the Gospel from everyone. :rolleyes:


May I suggest that you also read this in regards to the quote stated above.

All Catholics should reference this church document when posed such quotes and questioned on this subject.


**Who belongs to the Catholic Church? **

836 "All men are called to this catholic unity of the People of God. . . . And to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God’s grace to salvation."320

837 "Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who - by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion - are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but ‘in body’ not ‘in heart.’"321

838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist."324

Hope this helps. :tiphat:


17. Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.58 The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches.59 Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church.60


I don’t think they’re good arguments for hiding the gospel. Do you?



Only if the only thing you’re wanting out of the gospel is not to go to Hell. A Christian understands though that love, devotion, obediance and connection to and for Our Heavenly Father are the goals of the Gospel avoiding Hell is a side benefit.


You may be on to something here, but perhaps in a different way than you intend. When the apostles remarked to Jesus, “But then Lord, who can be saved?” Jesus replied, “For man this is impossible. But for God all things are possible.” In other words, we are not saved by our own efforts, and the Catholic Church does not teach that we are despite what many of it’s critics and some pre-Vatican II leaning people may think. By our own efforts it is impossible to be saved, but for God nothing is impossible.

We also know from sacred scripture coupled with centuries of tradition that God wills that ALL come to salvation. So we can be confident that God will do everything that is possible to draw all people to the fullness of the means of salvation which is found in the Catholic faith.

One thing is quite certain. If anyone is not saved, God is not to blame.


just throwing a wrench…

If i witness to an atheist, and give him all the truth, and he refuses it, he is condemned right?

So, what happens if i discuss these same things with a protestant and THEY refuse to believe it. Does the same hold true for them?

Example, you have someone that truely believes and follows OSAS. to the letter… Believes water baptism is merely talking about our womb birth, etc.

If in discussions, I point out how flawed each of these arguments are, would they still be saved?

Honest question, not boding for an argument.

In Christ


:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

Wait, God! I had one foot in the door!

(Sadly, that would be the story of my life. As Maxwell Smart would say, “Missed it by that much!”).


I’m not sure how many protestants there were in the 12th century when Innocent III lived, But most of the Lutherans and Episcopalians of that century did go to Hell :o

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