The Church has always believed and taught that only those who die as Catholics can be saved. It is a dogma of the Catholic Faith, which all Catholics are obliged to believe and to profess, that non-Catholics will not go to heaven. This has been defined at three different councils as an article of the Faith. In regards to the doctrine, “There is no salvation outside the Church”, how did we go from this:
From the Council of Florence, where the Church declared infallibly:
The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews, heretics, and schismatics can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the , eternal fire ‘which was prepared for the devil and his angels,’ (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with her; and that so important is the unity of this Ecclesiastical Body, that only those remaining within this unity can profit from the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and that they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, almsdeeds, and other works of Christian piety and duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.
1058 The Church prays that no one should be lost: “Lord, let me never be parted from you.” If it is true that no one can save himself, it is also true that God “desires all men to be saved” (1 Tim 2:4), and that for him “all things are possible” (Mt 19:26)
1821 We can therefore hope in the glory of heaven promised by God to those who love him and do his will. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of God, to persevere “to the end” and to obtain the joy of heaven, as God’s eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ. In hope, the Church prays for “all men to be saved.” She longs to be united with Christ her Bridegroom, in the glory of heaven:
Is the Church changing direction and telling us that we don’t need to believe that anyone is in hell (universal salvation) and that we don’t need to be so concerned about damnation as long as we repent and turn to God? It just seems like hope has replaced dogma. Not that hope is a bad thing, but should we base our salvation on hope?