Salvation through the Church


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

In my quest to understand my catholic faith better, I have another subject which I would like clarified please.

The Church teaches that “Outside the Church there is no salvation” and it also teaches that salvation is possible for non-catholics but only through the Church.

Now my understanding is this. Jesus, at the last supper, established a New Covenant between God and His people. The conditions of the covenant are that we:

  • Believe in Jesus
  • Be baptized
  • Keep His commandments
  • Eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ in Holy Communion.

If we fulfil these conditions, God promises us salvation in return. So…

  1. Have I got the conditions correct?

  2. Is it by the fulfilment of the conditions of the New Coventant
    that the Church brings salvation?
    Is this the basis of the doctrine of “outside the Church there is no salvation”?

Please note, I’m only interested in the official Catholic teaching on this please. No guessing or non-catholic opinions please :slight_smile:

God bless,


It’s not really easy, and in some ways its not really useful, to list off requirements, because at once there are no requirements for salvation and far too many to ever list.

Let me build this from the ground up.

In Catholic teaching, ultimately what matters is if a person loves God - and because loving God requires loving neighbor, to love neighbor too. However, since this is included in loving God, we can just say to love God.

And this hits on the key. To love God is both very simple and very complicated. It’s simple in itself, but there are also many things that go in to loving God. Loving God is really one requirement that breaks down into many. If we really love God, we will approach Him with faith, and obey Him. If we obey Him, we will fulfill His ordinances, such as baptism. If we obey Him, we will keep His commandments. If we love Him, we will love our neighbor, which means we will do lots of different things for them, etc.

Now ultimately, we get this Love only through Jesus Christ. Apart from Him, it is impossible for a person to love God. You can’t give what you don’t have, so we have to have God’s Love given to us. God does this through Grace. When a person receives God’s Love through Grace, they are united to His mystical body. He left us the Church on earth which is mystical his body. Anytime then, that a person accepts the Grace to love God, they are united to the Church. Every Protestant that loves God is united to the Church, even if they don’t know it and even if they would consciously deny any affiliation with the Catholic Church. Those that love God are united to the Church.

Now, if a person loves God, he is going to go where God asks him to. If a person then has the knowledge that the Catholic Church is Christ’s Church and refuses to visibly be united, this is an act of not loving God, and so that person by that act is failing to fulfill the one real requirement of loving God, and so will not be saved unless he repents. If a person ought to know the Catholic Church is Christ’s Church but in some way refuses to admit it to themselves or perhaps to consider it, that too would be an act of not loving God. On the other hand, if a Protestant, or anyone else for that matter, honestly through no fault of their own did not know, and honestly believed they were doing what God asked of them, then they would be loving God, thus united to the Church and through it be saved. The person would be loving God, because they would be doing the very best they knew how to do what He asked of them.

(Btw, baptism is required, even though for those who don’t know it’s necessary they can still be saved without water baptism. I left this out because it will cloud the discussion, but if you are interested in this, just ask.)


To the extent that God’s grace operates outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church, that operation is a bond of communion with the Catholic Church. Christ is at work even in non-Christians, and Christ does not work without his Bride. The Head does not operate except through the Body.

What this means is that even those who are not baptized but who seek to do God’s will as they understand it are oriented toward the Catholic Church which has the fullness of the grace and the truth that they seek.


My understanding is that those who honestly seek the truth and live good lives and are just never told the good news of catholicism are still going to heaven. For instance Ghandi (if when he gets to heaven excepts God, who wouldn’t?) is probably saved because he was a good man and tried to promote peace.

However only God knows the state of somones salvation its not for man to guess.

Its just our job to remain holy and preach the good news. :gopray:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
Mahatma Gandhi


If you find yourself in heaven it will have been through the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church that Jesus founded.


Do I see myself as a guilty, lost sinner who stands condemned before a holy and righteous God (Romans 3:10-19,23)? Do I recognize that my own heart is deceitful and wicked and incurably sick (Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-23)? Do I see myself as deserving of death and hell (Romans 6:23)? Do I realize that if God were to give me what I deserve and repay me for the way I have lived, then I would be totally destroyed (Psalm 130:3; compare Psalm 103:10)?

Do I recognize that there is absolutely nothing I can do to save myself (Titus 3:5)? Do I understand that trying my best to perform good works will never gain me or earn me an entrance into heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9)? Do I realize that my church or my religious system cannot save my soul (Jeremiah 17:5)? Am I convinced that my own righteousness and my own goodness falls far short of the righteousness that God requires and demands (Romans 3:10-12; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)? Do I, in and of myself, have any personal credentials that are acceptable before God (Isaiah 64:6)?

Do I believe that Jesus Christ is God’s only Solution to my sin problem (Acts 4:12)? Do I recognize Him as the only way to God (John 14:6), the only Door to salvation (John 10:9), the only Saviour for sinners (Matthew 1:21) and the only One who can give me eternal life (John 10:28; 17:3)? Do I understand that Jesus Christ is the eternal God (John 1:1-3) who came into this world and became a man to save me (John 1:14; 1 Timothy 1:15; John 3:17)? Am I convinced that He loved me even when I was a great sinner (Romans 5:8; John 3:16) and that He died and rose again to save my soul (Romans 4:25)? Am I persuaded that the Lord Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that He died in my place as my perfect Substitute, dying in my stead and paying completely the full penalty for my sins (Isaiah 53:6; 1 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:21)?

Am I trusting in Him and in Him alone to save me (Acts 16:31)? Have I come to Him in simple, child-like faith (John 6:35,37; Matthew 11:28)? Have I, by faith, personally received the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour (John 1:12)? Am I resting my entire self on who He is (John 8:24), on what He has done (1 Cor. 15:3-4) and on what He has said (John 6:47)? Do I believe that He is able to completely save all those who come unto God through Him, including me (Hebrews 7:25)? Do I believe the statement of Christ found in John 5:24? Is John 3:16 true of me? Have I ever shared with others that Jesus Christ is my Saviour (Romans 10:9-10; Matthew 10:32)? Am I able to say from my heart: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ Name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand—all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand!” [Edward Mote]:thumbsup:


See Dominus Ieysus for the answer to your question


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