'Salvation outside of the Church' Revisited

Dearly beloved friends,

Cordial greetings and a very good day.

A short while before Christmas I was engaged in a discussion on these boards with a very learned Protestant who was asserting that the Catholic Church had, since Vatican II, changed her position regarding the final salvation of those outside her borders.

In my response I said that such decrees as, for example, Pope Eugene IV (Cantate Domino, 1441), were addressed to those already within the bosom of the Church, lest they should be tempted to join heretical bodies or abandon the faith. My interlocutor, was having none of this and said that "…it was a figment to interpret Eugene’s words to mean that Jews and pagans were as you say: “defecting from the faith and not to those who were outside of the Catholic Faith”. He went onto say that various Popes had, over a period of many centuries, issued very similar decrees to Pope Eugene’s, asserting no salvation outside the Catholic Church, which was very different from current Catholic teaching on the topic. My efforts were in vain as I tried to explain that the development of Church dogma has led to the conclusion that the Church extends not only to her avowed baptized membership, but also to all men of good will who earnestly seek after the truth. Of course, it does not automatically follow that all men will benefit from the salvific plan, merely that they may do so.

What I am desirous to learn is, what is or are the Catholic apologetic arguments for those, both Catholic and Protestant, who contend that current Church teaching on the salvation of non-Catholics is not congruent with teaching prior to the Second Vatican Council? Moreover, what arguments do the apologists usually employ to refute the assertion that Church teaching has radically changed on this matter? Finally, has the alleged ‘ambivalence’ of the VII documents, led to much confusion, even among the faithful, concerning salvability of non-Catholics and even of non-Christians (what are to make, for example, of Karl Rhaner’s notion of ‘anonymous Christian’s’)?

God bless and thankyou for your time, ladies and gentlemen.

Warmest good wishes,



If I were to refute the argument that the Church has changed its stance, I’d start with patristics quotes. Follow up with post V2 official documents from the Church, and finish with a link or two to some This Rock articles.

I’d say that many people speaking or acting in “the spirit of V2” has lead to ambiguity. Liebral interpreters have made it seem like the Church has changed.


What I have seen on a number of threads is the explanation that the Catholic Church’s position on no salvation outside the Catholic Church (Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus) has not changed–Vatican II just defined EENS more clearly.

As for claims that the CC’s position has changed, one could look to Catholic Traditionalists (“breakaway Catholics.”)

There is also The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, founded in 1949 by Father Leonard Feeney, M.I.C.M. They quote a number of sources such as the following:

There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.)

“We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.)

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 and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, 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 by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the 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 he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.)
Link: catholicism.org/category/outside-the-church-there-is-no-salvation



                    by Fr. William Most presented by EWTN

It is a defined doctrine that there is no salvation outside the Church.
Yet, as the Holy Office pointed out in condemning L. Feeney (DS 3866) we
must understand this the way the Church means it, not by private

First we find that the Church insists many times over that those who
through no fault of their own do not find the Church, but keep the moral
law with the help of grace, can be saved:

#16 says: “For they who without their own fault do not
know of the Gospel of Christ and His Church, but yet seek God with sincere
heart, and try, under the influence of grace, to carry out His will in
practice, known to them through the dictate of conscience, can attain
eternal salvation.” John Paul II in his Encyclical on the Missions in #10
says the same [underline added]: “For such people [those who do not
formally enter the Church, as in LG 16] salvation in Christ is accessible
by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the
Church, does not make them part of the Church.” We underline the
word “formally” to indicated that there may be something less than formal
membership, which yet suffices for salvation. A similar thought is found in
LG #14 which says “they are fully incorporated” who accept all its
organization. . . . ." We will show presently that there can be a lesser,
or substantial membership, which suffices for salvation.

What should we say about a line in LG #8: "This Church, in this world 

as a constituted and ordered society, the Catholic Church. .
. even though outside its confines many elements of sanctification and
truth are found which, as gifts proper to the Church of Christ, impel to
Catholic unity."

We must not overlook the words in LG #8 which speak of “this one and
only ] Church of Christ, which we profess in the Creed. . . .”
Similarly the Decree on Religious Liberty in #1 says that" it [this decree]
leaves untouched the traditional Catholic doctrine about the duty of men
and societies to the true religion and the one and only ] Church of

So there really is only one true Church. But really, we it seems that 

some think that protestant churches are as it were of the
Church of Christ. And they think that follows from the words about
“subsisting in” and the statement that elements of sanctification can be
found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church.

So there really is only one true Church. But really, we it seems that
some think that protestant churches are as it were of the
Church of Christ. And they think that follows from the words about
“subsisting in” and the statement that elements of sanctification can be
found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church.

This does not mean that there are other legitimate forms of
Christianity. Pope Gregory XVI (DS 2730. Cf. Pius IX, DS 2915 and Leo XIII,
DS 3250) condemned “an evil opinion that souls can attain eternal salvation
just any profession of faith, if their morals follow the right norm.”
So although people who do not formally join can be saved, as LG #16 says,
and #10 also says, they are not saved such a
faith. It is in spite of it.

Yet we can account for the words about and about finding
elements of salvation outside. For this we need the help of the Fathers of
the Church.

In this way we find <a way of filling in on what the Magisterium 


We begin with St. Justin the Martyr who c. 145 A. D. in 1. 46,
said that in the past some who were thought to be atheists, such as
Socrates and Heraclitus, who were really Christians, for they followed the
Divine Logos, the Divine Word. Further, in 2. 10 Justin adds that
the Logos is in everyone. Now of course the Logos, being Spirit, does not
take up space. We say a spirit if present .
What effect? We find that in St. Paul, in Romans 2:14-16 where he says that
“the Gentiles who do not have the law, do by nature the works of the law.
They show the work of the law .” and according to
their response, conscience will defend or accuse them at the judgment.


So it is the Logos, the Spirit of Christ, who writes the law on their
hearts, that, it makes known to them interiorly what they need to do. Some
then could follow it without knowing that fact. So Socrates: (1)read and
what the Spirit wrote in his heart; (2) he had ; (3) he . We see this obedience in the fact that Socrates
went so far as to say, as Plato quotes him many times, that the one who
seeks the truth must have as little as possible to do with the things of
the body.

Let us notice the three things, just enumerated: St. Paul in Romans 3:29
asks: “Is He the God of the Jews only? No, He is also the God of the
gentiles.” It means that if God made salvation depend on knowing and
following the law of Moses, He would act as if He cared for no one but
Jews. But God does care for all. Paul insists God makes salvation possible
by faith for them (cf. Romans chapter 4). Faith in Paul includes the three
things we have enumerated which Socrates did.

So in following that Spirit of Christ Socrates was accepting and
following the Spirit of Christ, But then, from Romans 8:9 we gather that if
one has and follows the Spirit of Christ, he " Christ". That
is, He is a , which in Paul’s terms means a , which is the Church.

So Socrates then was a member of the Church, but not formally, only 

substantially. He could not know the Church. So he was saved, not his
false religious beliefs <but in spite of them. He was saved by faith, and
similarly protestants and others who do not formally join the Church today
are saved not as members of e. g. , the Baptist church, which some seem to
think is an integral part of the one Church of Christ – no, they are saved
as individuals, who make use of the means of sanctification> they are able
to find even outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church.

Many other Fathers speak much like St. Justin. A large presentation of 

them can be found in Wm. Most, <Our Father’s Plan>, in a 28 page appendix.

Lumen gentium also likes to speak of the Church as a <mystery>. This 

is correct, for it is a mystery, since it is . It does
have visible structure, and no one who knowingly rejects that can be saved.
It has members visibly adhering. But it also has members who belong to it
even without knowing that, and without external explicit adherence. Hence
there is much mystery, to be known fully and clearly only at the end.

So all other forms of Christianity are heretical and/or schismatic. They
are not legitimate.

The Decree on Ecumenism states that the worship and liturgical actions
of other Christian bodies 'can truly engender a life of grace and can be
rightly described as capable of providing access to the community of

Here is the actual text of the Decree: “In addition, out of the elements
or goods by which, taken together, the Church herself is built up and made
alive, certain things, or rather many and excellent things can exist
outside the visible bounds of the Catholic Church: The written Word of God,
the life of grace, faith, hope and love, and other interior gifts of the
Holy Spirit and visible elements: all these things, which come from Christ
and lead to Him, belong to the one-only Church of Christ. Even not a few
sacred actions of the Christian religion are carried out among the brothers
separated from us. . . which beyond doubt can really generate the life of
grace, and are to be said to be apt to open the entry into the community of

We notice the things mentioned: (1) – Protestants read it.
(2)– yes, one can reach the state of grace without
formally entering the Catholic Church, as 16 says:“They who
without fault do not know the Gospel of Christ and His Church, but yet seek
God with a sincere heart, and try with the help of grace to fulfill his
will, known through the dictate of conscience, can attain eternal
salvation.” Even pagans can do this. (3) - yes, outsiders can have
faith, at least if they are not misled by Luther’s great error on what
faith is. (4) - again, even a pagan may attain these.
(5)– yes, if outsiders reach the
state of grace, they also have the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. (6) - Baptism if validly given. BUT we must note the next
words in the decree:" all these things. . . belong to the one-only Church
of Christ." In other words, it is not a protestant church as protestant
that can provide these things -these are things that belong to the Catholic
Church, which the Protestants have not completely rejected. So some
religious actions are carried out in protestantism which can really
generate the life of grace. Yes, Baptism does that. Reading of Scripture,
prayers, and other things enumerated above in the first 6 items can do
that. But again, it is not protestant worship as protestant that gives
grace – it is things the protestants have retained even after breaking
with the one-only Church of Christ. As the previous sentence said:"

So the Decree continues in the next sentence cited above: "they belong 

to the one-only Church of Christ."

Sorry about the Cut and Paste, due to this particular comp. its safe IMHO this way.

Great post Gary. This is the best explanation I have heard yet but clairify one thing please: The above bolded statatment does not NECESSARLY apply to fallen away Catholics, correct?:shrug: The understanding being adults that have left the Catholic church with complete and absloute understanding of what the church actually teaches as opposed to adults that leave without complete understanding.

F.A.O. Gary Taylor

Dear Gary Taylor,

Cordial greetings and a very good day. Jolly good to see you again so soon after the previous thread in which we were both involved. Hope all is well. Thankyou, my dear brother, for your excellent detailed response.

Whilst I understand our Churches stance in relation to those outside of its borders, it is still sometimes exceedingly difficult to reconcile the teachings of past Popes and Councils, which unequivocally declared that “Jews and heretics and schismatics” will suffer everlasting damnation (Cantate Domino 1441) , with the current, less harsh teaching of the Second Vatican Council. Please, do not misunderstand my meaning, old chap, I accept fully our Church’s teaching on this matter and I do belive that present teaching is consonant with previous teaching. However, I find it extremely difficult to present a cogent apologetic to a Protestant or Catholic who sincerely believes that there has been a radical change in teaching and a more softer approach to those without the bosom of the Church. In short my desire is to give a compelling and rational argument that will sound convincing, especially to those who have not submitted to the Roman obedience and who therefore reject the magisterium of our Church. Thus to say, for example, to a Protestant that we do not worry ourselves about ‘reconciling’ past and present teaching, because Christ established our Church and invested it with the authority to bind and loose in such matters, would not cut any ice since they do not accept the authority of the Catholic Church in the first place. Now of course the authority of the Church is the fundamental issue that must needs be addressed in our controversy with Protestantism, but I think we should also seek to explain other areas that they find highly problematic, such as the topic currently under review.

The major problem for the Protestants is that the documents prior to VII do seem to be quite self explanatory (please understand that I am playing devil’s advocate here and not saying that this is an issue for me personally) and admit of only one conclusion - they distinctly speak of those outside of the Catholic Church, namely, Jews, Muslims, pagans etc. Thus, for example:

“There is but one universal Church of the faithful outiside of which no one at all can be saved” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215, emphasis mine).

Now it is easy for us Catholics to say that there is no contradiction between a dogmatic statement such as this and present day Church teaching, but we surely need, as good apologists, to try to give a satisfying explanation as to why there is no contradiction. Now it is this, my dear brother, that I find so very difficult and I confess that I struggle with it. What do say when our learned Protestant brethren say that the older documents and decrees clearly have reference to those outside the Church and insist that such persons cannot be finally saved if they remain so. They then say that all this is in stark contrast to current, post VII teaching.

In my next post I will show how I have attempted to answer such an argument. Whether it is wholly convincing as an apologetic is another matter. However, I would like to hear what others think and if they have anything to say by way of criticism.

God bless.

Warmest good wishes,



Nope nothing changed there is no Salvation outside of the CC. But what people do not understand this teaching was directly for the people in the Church. The CC at that particular time of teaching was always meant to be Jesus Christ.

When I explain to my brothers and sisters that what was taught is there is no Salvation outside of Jesus Christ, they are like:confused: Oh! Okay Then!:smiley:

To make this even more simple The Mystical Body or the CHURCH is called in Tradition and Scriptures the Whole Christ or the Fullness if Christ.

We know that when Jesus told us he would send his Spirit on the day of Pentecost that he took on the Mystical Body, and he would continue to teach, govern, and to sanctify through other human natures united IN his Body or the Church.

So when you take this into the true Context that it was taught from Actually Christ himself, you can see why this could never change.

Who can change the word of God?

Catholic’s can relate even more to this when we are taught that Christ and his Church are ONE.

So when you see that he united himself with his Spirit to the Church you can see how they are one.

Hope that helps!

The reason this gets out of hand, is because we have to remember back in the day, all Christians were united together in One Church. So if you were a Christian back then, you were all taught the same thing. You saw the true teaching, and understood it more clearly.

Many do not understand the Mystical Body as it was taught in Tradition and Scripture.

But we can all learn!:smiley:

This is the article that appeared in This Rock about this subject.

Rinnie, with your first post don’t we have to be careful when speaking to our separated brethren (protestants)? No one is going to be saved through “The St. Francis National Evangelical Spiritual Baptist Faith Archdiocese of Canada”.

But anyone who will be saved will be saved by Christ, through His Body whether they know what His Body truly is or not.

Regarding EENS, Pagans, Jews, etc. would not be included, since they do not accept Christ.

Pope Eugene IV, in the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441, was very specific. He identified pagans, Jews, heretics, and schismatics as existing outside the Catholic Church; and he clearly stated they cannot share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.

Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441
"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 and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, 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 by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the 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 he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” Link: catholicism.org/category/outside-the-church-there-is-no-salvation

I just don’t see how you can have it both ways.

Dear rinnie,

Cordial greetings and a very good day. What a pleasant surprise, yet another contributor from the previous thread that I was involved with. Hello my dear friend and jolly good to see you again - I am just wondering who is going to turn up next here. Thankyou for coming on board and thankyou for your input to the discussion.

Regarding your remarks above, this was actually one of the lines of argument that I also took, that is that* Ext**ra Ecclesiam Nulla *Salas (no salvation outside the Church) was addressed to those already within the bosom of the Church, lest they should be tempted to join heretical bodies and forsake the one true religion of Christ. It was not a statement that all non-Catholics would be condemned to Hell.

Now, I agree, that does satisfy the Catholic who accepts the magisterium of the Church, but a Protestant will, by way of reply, point to what is to him, at least, the self-explanatory words of say the Un**am Sanctum Bull of Pope Boniface VIII (1302):

“We declare, say, and define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff” (emphasis mine).

Thus, to a Protestant, it would appear that a plain natural reading of these words declares that the Bull of Pope Boniface applies to all of mankind and not only to the faithful who may thinking of defecting from the faith; that it is addressed even to those outside of the borders of the Church.

In my discussion with my interlocutor, I responded to this by saying that decrees and bulls such as Cantate Domino, Unam Sanctum and other vehement declarations by the magisterium were all antecedent to the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Thus when Cantate Domino was promulgated in 1441, the Gospel was thought to have been preached to every man in the then known world. Therefore this would explain Pope Eugene’s severe censures, for because of the dissemination of the Gospel message men were held to be utterly without excuse and could not plead that they were inculpably ignorant.

Now, my dear brother, is this really a modern Catholic apologetic to rationalize what is considered by Protestants opposing contradictions between previous and present Church teaching. Or, on the contrary, is it having due regard for the historical setting in which the papal decrees etc. emerged?

God bless.

Warmest good wishes,




Again, the Jews, pagans, etc were not within the bosom of the Church.


P.S. You have got to be one of the most polite people on the forum. :slight_smile:

If all Christians were united and believed the same thing; there would be no one to fall under the label of “schismatics.” So, this doesn’t work either.



Would you define/explain the “Mystical Body as it was taught in Tradition and Scripture”?


My good Sister

Isn’t this a crystal clear quality with Portrait:thumbsup: An example of what we should all strive to achieve, though not you Anna you to are very respectful. I try but often fall short. I always apologize though. :shrug:

Now I have go back and read all this. :smiley:


Dear Anna Scott,

Cordial greetings and a very good day. Thankyou for your this and your previous post and as a former High-Anglican (C of E) is jolly good to meet you, dear sister. Have some very happy memories of my 25 years as an Anglican, first as an Evangelical and then a High-Churchman in the tradition of Christopher Wordsworth, Walsham How, E.B. Pusey and E.M. Goulbourn (the ‘Devout Dean of Norwich’ here in the UK). The delightful Collects of the 1662 Prayer Book will stay with me forever as will the order for Morning and Evening Prayer (Mattins and Evensong).

This, I fully appreciate, is a problem from the non-Catholic standpoint, since Pope Eugene does appear to be quite clear that those groups are without the Church and not within it. Moreover, I am not sure even if it is official Catholic teaching that the decree of Pope Eugene was directed to those who were already Catholics and who were toying with the idea of abandoning their most holy religion. It is certainly an apolgetic with which I familiar and I have seen it in the text books on Catholic dogma, but as to whether it is official doctrine, I am not really sure, Anna. Perhaps someone can enlighten us.

My response would be, I think, the one I outlined in my post to rinnie above, namely that the harsh sounding decrees and bulls etc. were issued prior to the discovery of the New World and thus could only be applicable the then *known *world in which Pope Eugene lived and moved and had his being. In that world the message of the Gospel had been thought to have been proclaimed to all men and so none could hide behind invincible ignorance. They knew the Gospel and the claims of the Church and so were without excuse for refusing to embrace her.

Do you think that is a satisfactory explanation, my dear sister?

Thankyou for your kind words.

Warmest good wishes,




Not exactly. If once the Gospel is proclaimed to all and none could hide behind invincible ignorance; my inability to accept the authority of the Roman Pontiff, thus placing me outside the Catholic Church, would send me to Hell, wouldn’t it?


Hi Portrait,

You know what I thought of from reading through this; EWTN today. Today EWTN ran a new Journey Home show. In the show is profiled a married couple, one whom was a very devote and educated Lutheran, and her husband who was a lapsed Catholic.

So they meet and are married. Now her being very devote Christain attended private Lutheran schools etc. She then decided they would attend the Lutheran church and they then had a newborn. Which he had no issue with.

So then, a few years pass all still attending the Lutheran church and they move from NYC to Ohio due to carreers. She now has another newborn and a pre-kindgergarden child. So then, she needs to find a day-care to continue her carreer as an English teacher. She visits one and its secular and they paddle the children which is un-acceptable and I agree.

The only other place is a Catholic School with a day-care ran by the Sisters. So she sees’s the statue of Our Lady, the whole nine yards and is reluctant. As God has it she becomes very good friends with the Sister of her childs class to be.

So now, she figures since she already has reservations she better read the CCC and the encyclicals of Bl John Paul II and Pope Benedict to start with on the Vatican websight.

And as God would have it her husband arrives home while all the Catholic copys are scattered across the bed and shes reading. So she aks her husband about the scapular, and he has no idea of what she’s talking about. :eek: LOL…anyway, she pulls up another chair and suggest he begins to readwith her also. Great hey?

As our Lord would have it since she is already a Mom, the Marion Doctrines hit her like a ton of bricks. Not a far reach to understand when you already have children you love. Not hard to comprehend Jesus and Mary from here.

From here all the preconceived thinking started to crumble piece by piece. Sacrements, reconciliation, marriage etc. The childens Baptisms of course were already valid, they had their marriage Blessed then and the oldest child started in the RCIA then to the Sacrament of Communion.

Now, here’s my point. This was a very good Christian woman…no doubt a leader in the Lutheran community in Queens NYC. Yet she was oblivious to the CC teaching. So too even though he was a lapsed Catholic, he knew even less than her. So even though he had left the church he was oblivious to the CC teaching.

So here when we say No Salvation Outside the Church. The CCC also clarifys not just knowing the Church exists on Earth, but really knowing Her teaching and thus rejecting it at this point. For example to this womans husband the Lutheran Church was really no different than the CC. Church was Church to him.

So here ignorance to the teaching becomes involved also. The glaring difference would be someone like you are I and many others here who do know the CC teaching somewhat and then reject the teaching after clearly understanding it.

We see for example with …I can’t think of what Democrat is supporting Pro-Choice. However her Bishop took a year talking to her and clearly walking her through the church teaching on Pro-Life. She continued to promote Pro-Choice which by doing so she excommunicated herself. To the dismay of the Bishop and in total disregard for the CC she then showed up for communion. She was rejected.

Nevertheless, here we see the teaching laid out crystal clear and yet one would choose to ignore this. Here there in No Salvation. Course their is always forgiveness and correcting ones error with the Lords Mercy. However to continue on this path knowing clearly the teaching? Well I suppose one may rationalize this and attend another church whatever. Assuming this would be the case than No Salvation would apply.

Same could be said in regards to many aspects.

Nevertheless, from my understanding this is where we are at with this today.

Last week for example was a Jewish man who converted. Now he also never read the CC teaching. He assumed that Orthodox Jew teaching was it and never bothered. However once he did take the time to read he seen that connection of how Jesus and Mary and Joseph followed Jewish law to the tee right till the NT and changes Jesus instituted. So the reality too became crystal clear for him. Prior he stated he just never bothered reading through it all. He always felt the CC in his travels, with the Cathedrals were very pretty. Yet he to was oblivious to understanding the meaning or the connection of OT-NT. So the Jewish liturgical calender and the Catholic started to fall into place for him also. And so forth and so on.

Funny fellow who in humor stated; and BTW Jesus Mary and Joseph were Jewish. However the Levite priesthood, the Davidic bloodline and on and on just hit him also with clarity. So he seen how one was really and extension of the other. Often not understood by many who read Bible.

So again we are talking about the Chosen People of God. Opposed to Christianity and by lack of understanding usually theres all sorts of human error, lack of knowledge, denial etc. So there some key phrase’s in the CCC.

Schism take’s on another meaning especailly in regards to the EO. They are not a different church. Though some may claim so. Thsi too has been clearly defined by Pope Benedict.

Ironically another question which arose as these individuals aged is Purgatory. Since all had lost loved ones. Then, after understanding the CC teaching it dawns on them that; gee, I don’t think its possible they could have obtained Heaven as they lived? But yet these were still very good people just imperfectly seeking God or in one case Christ.

Did this create more questions than answers? :confused::confused::smiley:


Dear Anna Scott,

Hello again and thankyou for the above, dear sister.

A man can, I believe, still be inculpably ignorant if he sincerely believes that the Catholic Church is not the one true Church established by Christ upon St. Peter. However, he must not be responsible for that ignorance by deliberately neglecting to inquire when doubts have, perhaps, entered his mind respecting his beliefs. Thus as a member of the Church of England I first entertained serious doubts about Protestantism after hearing a debate on audio tape between Karl Keating (a Catholic Apologist) and an Evangelical minister. These doubts led me to inquire further into the claims of the Catholic Church and this was the beginning of a painstaking examination and intensive study of Catholic dogma that lasted some 20 years. Finally, I became convinced of the truth of the Catholic faith and crossed the Tiber, as they say, and became subject to the Roman obedience, may God be praised. However, for the purposes of our present topic, I think I had a responsibility to look into those initial doubts and at least take the trouble to examine the claims of Rome more closely, otherwise I could hardly plead invincible ignorance.

However, it is quite possible that a man could still examine carefully the claims of the Church and yet remain unconvinced and unconverted, possibly because of the strength of inbred prejudice against the Church or, perhaps, a simple failure to properly understand what the Church actually teaches. Now such a man, be he a Protestant or Muslim, could die with perfect contrition for his sins and with a sincere love for God. However, such good dispositions are an implicit will to be a Catholic. For the will to do God’s will is the will to fulfill all that He commands. Now such a chap would surely join the Catholic Church did he only realize that that was also part of God’s will for him. Thus in this sense, my dear sister, the Catholic Church is the only way to Heaven, for all who are saved belong to her either actually or implicitly.

Therefore, your inability to accept the authority of the Pope may not necessarily place you outside of the Church. Hope that helps a little.

This will be final post today, but thankyou for responding to my posts. God bless.

Warmest good wishes,



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