I just think it best if each person read and see the answer to this for themselves.
But I will provide a few quotations from High Authorities that might give some help:
(1) Blessed John Paul II, General Audience, September 9, 1998, paragraphs 2 and 3:
“Because of the human spirit’s constitutive openness to God’s action of urging it to self-transcendence, we can hold that “every authentic prayer is called forth by the Holy Spirit, who is mysteriously present in the heart of every person” (Address to the Members of the Roman Curia, 22 Dec. 1986, n. 11; L’Osservatore Romano English edition, 5 Jan. 1987, p. 7). We experienced an eloquent manifestation of this truth at the on 27 October 1986 in Assisi, and on other similar occasions of great spiritual intensity. The Holy Spirit is not only present in other religions through authentic expressions of prayer. “The Spirit’s presence and activity”, as I wrote in the Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, “affect not only individuals but also society and history, peoples, cultures and religions” (n. 28). Normally, “it will be in the sincere practice of what is good in their own religious traditions and by following the dictates of their own conscience that the members of other religions respond positively to God’s invitation and receive salvation in Jesus Christ, even while they do not recognize or acknowledge him as their Saviour.”
(2) From Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s book Salt of the Earth, 1996, page 24:
“Q. But could we not also accept that someone can be saved through a faith other than the Catholic?
A. That’s a different question altogether. It is definitely possible for someone to receive from his religion directives that help him become a pure person, which also, if we want to use the word, help him please God and reach salvation. This is not at all excluded by what I said; on the contrary, this undoubtedly happens on a large scale.”
(3) Doctrinal Note on some Aspects of Evangelization, paragraph 7 (2007, Cong. of Doctrine of the Faith):
“Although non-Christians can be saved through the grace which God bestows in ‘ways known to him,’ the Church cannot fail to recognize that such persons are lacking a tremendous benefit in this world: to know the true face of God and the friendship of Jesus Christ, God-with-us.”
Note how the above quote refers only to a “benefit in this world,” and says nothing about a benefit with regard to attaining eternal life in Heaven.
But, it is so key for a person who REALLY WANTS TO KNOW the Church’s teaching on all this TO GO DEEP into the official Church documents. A quote here and there just won’t do it. If someone wants this all reduced to a SOUND BITE or one-liner, then they will be doomed to substantial ignorance/misunderstanding.
This matter really cannot be answered and understood in the context of an apologetics forum or radio show.
A person who really wants to understand must sit and read and reflect on all the major Vatican II Council documents, and on John Paul II’s encyclical on ecumenism. These documents must not be read just once.
The person must also really seek to understand what Pope Benedict XVI means by the terms “hermeneutic of continuity” and “hermeneutic of reform.” One place in which he explains those are here:
Trust me. You cannot get the understanding you seem to be seeking on this in a sound bite or on a Catholic forum web site. Don’t get caught up in the “quote wars” that often breaks out on issues like this.
This will take time. You must go deeper. You must spend time alone with the original documents and with the Holy Spirit.
On second thought, don’t trust me. And don’t trust all the people, many with good intentions, stand ready to explain it all to you. Find out for yourself, if it really matters to you.