Questions And Answers on Salvation
by Rev. Michael Muller, C.SS.R.
Father Muller was one of the most widely read theologians of the nineteenth century. This article was first published in 1875.
- Do all admit that the Catholic Church is the first and the oldest Church, and, consequently the Church established by Jesus Christ?
That the Catholic Church is the first and oldest and consequently the Church established by Jesus Christ, is and must be admitted by all, because it is a fact clearly proven by Scripture and by history.
- Who bear witness to this fact?
The Jews and the Gentiles bear witness to it, and even Protestants themselves acknowledge it, because, if asked why they call themselves Protestants, they answer: “Because we protest against the Catholic Church.”
- What follows from this answer?
That the Catholic Church is older than Protestantism; otherwise they could not have protested against her.
- If we go still farther back and ask the Greeks how they came into existence, what will be their answer?
The Greek Church must answer: "We began by separating from the Catholic Church in the ninth century.”
- What follows from this?
That the Catholic Church existed for eight hundred years before the Greek Church began, and consequently, it is older than the Greek Church.
- If we thus go back to the very days of the Apostles, what do we find everywhere in regard to the manner in which religious sects arose?
If we go back to the days of the Apostles, we find that every sect separated from the Catholic Church, and therefore we see Calvinists, Kilhamites, Quakers, Shakers, Panters, Seekers, Jumpers, Reformed Methodists, German Methodists, Wesleyan Methodists, Baptists, Particular Baptists, Hardshell Baptists, Softshell Baptists, Forty-Gallon Baptists, Sixty-Gallon Baptists, Mennonites, Millerites, Universalists, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Mormons, Christian Perfectionists, etc., etc., etc.
- Is it not all the same to God whatever religion a person professes?
If it were all the same to God whatever religion a person professes, God would not have forbidden, in the First Commandment, to worship Him in any other than in the true religion. Nor would Christ have solemnly declared: "He who will not hear the Church let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican.” (Matt. 18:17.)
- Who, then, will be saved?
Christ has solemnly declared that only those will be saved who have done God’s will on earth as explained, not by private interpretation, but by the infallible teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. “Not everyone,” says Christ, “who saith to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doth the will of My Father Who is in heaven, he shall enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 7:21.) The will of the heavenly Father is that all men hear and believe His Son, Jesus Christ. “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him.” (Luke 9:35.)
Now Jesus Christ said to His Apostles and to all their lawful successors: “He that heareth you heareth Me, and he that despiseth you despiseth Me, and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him, the heavenly Father, that sent Me.” Hence all those who do not listen to Jesus Christ speaking to them through Saint Peter and the Apostles in their lawful successors, despise God the Father. They do not do His will, and therefore heaven will never be theirs.
- Must, then, all who wish to be saved, die united to the Catholic Church?
All those who wish to be saved, must die united to the Catholic Church. For out of her there is no salvation, because only she teaches what Jesus Christ requires of everyone to be saved, and because only to her did Christ leave the means to obtain all the graces necessary for salvation. Hence Jesus said to His Apostles and to all their lawful successors: “Go and teach all nations: teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. He that believeth not all these things shall be condemned.”
Our Divine Savior says: "No one can come to the Father, except through Me."If we then wish to enter heaven, we must be united to Christ–to His [Mystical] Body, which is the Church, as Saint Paul says. Therefore outside the Church there is no salvation.
Again, Jesus Christ says: “Whoever will not hear the Church, look upon him as a heathen and a publican,” a great sinner. Therefore outside the Church there is no salvation.
Holy Scripture says: “The Lord added daily to the Church such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:47.) Therefore the Apostles believed and the Holy Scriptures teach that there is no salvation out of the Church.