I’m hoping that someone here can point me in the direction for where to get a comprehensive outline of what the Church teaches about Christians outside of Catholicism. I’ve been in some discussions with Protestants and they brought up that before Vatican II (I think it was) the Church maintained that only people who were in fellowship with Rome were saved, and that Vatican II’s declaration that those outside of Rome could inherit eternal life was done more to please the Protestants than anything and that it actually hurt their position of being a valid authority than anything because it was like they were backpedaling.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from returning to the Church after 7 years, it’s that the Church always has an answer if you’re willing to ask it. So, here I am.
As a former Protestant, I have met and know people who are just obviously walking with the Lord. Their love for Christ and their love for others is so evident that you can practically smell it on them (the aroma of Christ and all that). That being said, pre-Vatican II, would the Church really have taught that they weren’t saved? (I’m not getting into once saved, always saved, I think my question is clear without diving into all that.) If the answer is that the Church did teach that they would not inherit eternal life, and changed at V II, then does that mean that the Church was wrong for 1950 years?
I hope these aren’t ridiculous questions. I’ve fallen so in love with the Eucharist that I can’t help but trust that the Church is who she says she is and that her goal is to lead us all into a deeper union with Christ, but if it wasn’t for my love for the Eucharist, this would be a real stumbling block for me.