Someone please explain the Catholic view of other religion groups being saved?

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.

848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338

"The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day."330

This sounds like universalism…how can you be saved without professing Jesus is Lord?

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You can’t, as the Catechism says:

161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.42 "Since “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘But he who endures to the end.’"43

What we do acknowledge is right there in what you quoted: “God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him.” That faith, without which it is impossible to please Him, is faith in Christ.

Here is how St. Robert Bellarmine explained how following an upright conscience with the aid of grace can lead to this faith (he is countering certain Protestants who said that the existence of non-Christians means Christ does not offer salvation to all):

St. Robert Bellarmine, De Gratis et Libero Arbitrio, lib. 2, cap. 8

This argument only proves that not all people receive the help they need to believe and be converted immediately. It does not, however, prove that some people are deprived, absolutely speaking, of sufficient help for salvation. For the pagans to whom the Gospel has not yet been preached, can know from His creatures that God exists; then they can be stimulated by God, through His preventing grace, to believe in God, that He exists and that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him: and from such faith, they can be inspired, under the guidance and help of God, to pray and give alms and in this way obtain from God a still greater light of faith, which God will communicate to them, either by Himself or through angels or through men.

Pope Francis teaches the same thing in his first encyclical:

Lumen Fidei

Because faith is a way, it also has to do with the lives of those men and women who, though not believers, nonetheless desire to believe and continue to seek. To the extent that they are sincerely open to love and set out with whatever light they can find, they are already, even without knowing it, on the path leading to faith…Any-one who sets off on the path of doing good to others is already drawing near to God, is already sustained by his help, for it is characteristic of the divine light to brighten our eyes whenever we walk towards the fullness of love.


Who said you had to?

This link may answer some of your questions


‘Universalism’ would assert that all roads are equal and bring salvation on their own merits.

The Church is proclaiming that there is only one source of salvation – Jesus – and only one means through which that is achieved – His Church.

Those who do not approach the Church directly, but yet are saved, are still saved through the graces which flow from Jesus through His Church.

Moreover, it’s not an ‘automatic’ kind of thing, as universalism (and/or syncretism) would assert. Rather, if you know that the Church is necessary, then your salvation depends on your acceptance of it and membership within it.


the Bible…

So quote the text and lets examine the context…

Romans 10:9 is the one that pops in my head. I could search google for plenty more but then I wouldn’t really be being honest.

And the translation you are using is…

NRSVCE, but they all get the point across

We’re bound by God’s rules. So if we’re aware of his rules, we need to comply with them to the best of our ability-- because that’s how we’ll be judged.

God isn’t bound by God’s rules. He can do whatever he wants, and is only bound by his own nature. :slight_smile:

There’s a little passage right off the bat in Therese of Lisieux’s Story of a Soul, where she’s contemplating the idea of salvation for people who have never heard of God. And then she realized that souls were like flowers. Your great saints are like roses and lilies, but there are multitudes of lesser saints, too, who are content to be like daisies and wildflowers.

… Perfection consists simply in doing his will, and being just what he wants us to be.

This, too, was made clear to me-- that our Lord’s love makes itself seen quite as much in the simplest of souls as in the most highly gifted, as long as there is no resistance offered to his grace. After all, the whole point of love is making yourself small; and if we were all like the great Doctors who have shed lustre on the Church by their brilliant teaching, there wouldn’t be much condescension on God’s part, would there, about coming into hearts like these? But no, he has created little children, who have no idea what’s going on and can only express themselves by helpless crying: he has made the poor savages, with nothing better than the natural law to live by; and he is content to forget his dignity and come into their hearts too-- these are the wild flowers that delight him by their simplicity. It is by such condescension that God shews his infinite greatness. The sun’s light, that plays on the cedar-trees, plays on each tiny flower as if it were the only one in existence; and in the same way our Lord takes a special interest in each soul, as if there were no other like it. Everything conspires for the good of each soul, just as the march of the seasons is designed to make the most insignificant daisy unfold its petals on the day appointed for it.


Yes. Eternal life is about “the more”, not the minimum. We as Catholics who are given the fullness, are called to live fully.
“Compliance with the rules” is not mere, it’s more. The rules are not for their own sake; they lead us to beatitude.
And the source and end of all this is God himself, who works in his ways, as you note above. We work with what he gives us, as St Terese says.

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You attempt to argue that large sectors of the population are damned over a single sentence in the Bible which you blithely assert means what you wrote it to mean…yet you cannot be bothered to put up an accurate quote or even identify the verse even after three challenges to own your unusual interpretation, provide the evidence and argue the case.

I don’t know why the Catholic Church bothers to have highly trained Biblical scholars, theologians and a Magisterium if private interpretation of any old translation of the Bible on a single verse is sufficient to do so.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry :joy:.

It’s not universalism. The passages from the CCC you quoted don’t say everyone will be saved, but rather that those who through no fault of their own do not know Christ still have a chance. We don’t know how big that chance is or if it has happened before, but we know that God is not bound by his rules for us. He may choose to save a non-Christian if he so pleases.

We still must act according to our good conscience. We still must try to do God’s will, or in the case of atheists, to try to do good. And not everyone does that. So not everyone will make it to heaven. Plus, it is also official Church teaching that some will go to hell.

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