"Through no fault of their own"


#1

****I’m not Catholic but, I’ve been attending a Catholic Church for about a year. I’m having difficulty understanding what the Catholic belief about salvation is, in particular, when the phrase “who, through no fault of their own” is in question concerning those who do not/ cannot claim Christ as their Savior. (People, who, through no fault of their own do not believe in Christ can/will be “Saved”) I’ve heard this explained several different ways.

  1. **Everyone will be saved. Everyone has their own way to get to Heaven. **Those who practice their religions sincerely and who think they are doing good will be in Heaven. Of course, one immediately thinks of the Muslim extremist. They think they’re doing what’s right – therefore – they are doing what’s right. One also has to think of the Inca who sacrificed humans so the sun would keep coming up. This would also have to be a saving act. For, if the sun didn’t come up, everyone would die. I’ve brought up these concerns with a priest and he said that’s a different topic and dismissed the question.
  2. **It’s not a person’s fault if they don’t receive God’s grace. **Therefore, those who hear the Gospel of Christ and don’t believe are still “saved” because God didn’t give them the grace to receive himself. Personally, I don’t see much difference between this explanation and the first explanation. *God has given me the grace to understand that killing and robbing people is wrong. Even if I know it’s wrong and do it anyway, God hasn’t given me the grace to have self control. *
  3. It isn’t a person’s fault if they’ve not heard of the saving grace of Christ. It’s possible that God will save those who seek after Him even if they’ve never heard His Name. I don’t have issue with this, but it’s not what I’ve heard in my RCIA/Church.

I’d really rather believe that no one knows the mind of God and that we don’t know who will/won’t be “saved”. I think that’s the right approach. But, if I’m considering joining a church who claims to know, I’d like to be informed of what they really believe as a whole. (If that’s possible)

Thanks, I know this is long.
-Rhonda


#2

Hi Rhonda,

Number 1 is the one, although it may encompass the other two. You talk about religious extremists (there have ben Catholics and Protestants among them). “Sincerity” is the key are word. None of the great religions promotes killing people. So are religious extremists sincere? Only God knows the heart of men and only God saves.

Verbum


#3

As catholics, we believe the grace of Jesus saves us. We accept His grace through faith, but our faith is evidenced by our words and deeds. Our works show the faith in our hearts, therefore (we say that) faith and works bring us salvation. So do we/can we believe that people of other faiths, who do not believe in Jesus Christ as their savior, are guaranteed Salvation? Well Grace is a gift from God Eph 2:8, received through faith Rom 5:1, that is active in good works(just hearing the law doesn’t justify) Rom 2:14 “rather those who observe the law will be justified., Here’s the biggee in my opinion…Which comes through faith and obedience to Christ…Matt 7:21 Not everyone will enter the kingdom, only the one who does the will of my Father” Long way around to my opinion is…Through no fault of their own, has to be very few people. How would God not provide Grace to all who have faith in Jesus, so here is where #3 comes in, and yes I have heard this taught,“If” you have never heard of Jesus Christ and you obey the laws of God, then yes there is Salvation. To those who have been given much, much is expected. If you know ,you know, “if” you don’t then how would such a loving God deny Salvation. He wouldn’t! I’m not sure if I made any sense there!!!


#4

So, since only God knows the heart of a man, why can’t we just say “we don’t know” about the whole topic? Basically is what you’re saying is that salvation is based on sincerity. This is complicated to me because many folks have their sincerity rooted in selfishness. I find it hard to trust sincerity. If I assist people committing suicide because I was an invalid for 6 years and understand why someone would want to die - if I do that sincerly out of love for them… is that a problem?
This “doctrine” is a real problem for me because I believe most people are sincerly (in their eyes) trying to do the right thing. I mean the folks who ordered the fire bombings in Tokyo sincerly thought they were doing the right thing. Burning millions of people to death may be a sincere way of looking out for your own country, but I don’t think that makes it a possitive point in the way of salvation.
I also wonder how sincere one must be and how long one must be sincere.
-Rhonda


#5

So, since only God knows the heart of a man, why can’t we just say “we don’t know” about the whole topic? Basically is what you’re saying is that salvation is based on sincerity. This is complicated to me because many folks have their sincerity rooted in selfishness. I find it hard to trust sincerity. If I assist people committing suicide because I was an invalid for 6 years and understand why someone would want to die - if I do that sincerly out of love for them… is that a problem?
This “doctrine” is a real problem for me because I believe most people are sincerly (in their eyes) trying to do the right thing. I mean the folks who ordered the fire bombings in Tokyo sincerly thought they were doing the right thing. Burning millions of people to death may be a sincere way of looking out for your own country, but I don’t think that makes it a possitive point in the way of salvation.
I also wonder how sincere one must be and how long one must be sincere.

I know that there have been Catholics and Protestants who have been extremists. That’s one of the reasons I think sincerity isn’t the key.

-Rhonda


#6

Rhonda;

The Church doesn’t actually claim to know who all will be saved.

We can discern whether we ourselves are being saved, by whether we have done our best to follow God’s way to the best of our understanding, and whether we have repented and been absolved of our sins - but no Catholic knows or thinks he knows anyone else’s fate.

The only exeption to that would be the greatest Saints, who make themselves known to the Church as a whole through miracles.


#7

Mary,
If I’ve read your post correctly, I feel comfortable with this explaination. How does your explaination fit with Verbum’s?
-Rhonda


#8

Take a look at all the people that have lived and died after the Resurrection that never had the
Gospel preached to them. Think about all the Real Americans that lived and died here prior to the discovery of the Americas.

Do you really think God would send them to eternal damnation because they did not know Christ thru his Word?


#9

I can believe this. But, how does it fit with the more universilist view of salvation that I keep being taught? To me, if you have a universilist view of Salvation, you claim to know who God is saving. And, I’ve heard it rationalized down to “everyone will be saved” because everyone is sincere in something or has only been given the grace to be what they are.


#10

So, since only God knows the heart of a man, why can’t we just say “we don’t know” about the whole topic?

The Church does say “we don’t know” - regarding judgement of an individual. The teaching regarding salvation for non-Catholics is a general declaration that merely says it is possible for them to be saved - IF (inculpable ignorance, sincere,etc). It is God, and not the Church, who judges whether the individual fulfills the “if”.

  1. Everyone will be saved. Everyone has their own way to get to Heaven.

On it’s own, this statement is not in accord with Church teaching. The Church does not teach that everyone will be saved.

Hope this helps.

Nita


#11

No and I’m not sure. At this point, I’m more concerned about the folks who WERE Catholic and now say God and the Church are phonies. These people, most likely, understand who Christ is and I’ve been told that they are saved as well - they just have a different way of getting to Heaven than I do. I’m also talking about people who have been told about Christ and who persicute his Church - let’s take Nero - he knew and he rejected. Where does that leave him and where does it leave the souls who have heard the Gospel but have philosophically rationalized it away?


#12

I know what Universalism is, but we Catholics consider that to be a heresy. I’m not sure what you’re referring to here, though - is this something you’re hearing in a Catholic Church? Are there Catholics who claim to know who (apart from themselves and the Saints) is being saved? If so, you need to be aware that this is not in line with official Catholic teaching.

And, I’ve heard it rationalized down to “everyone will be saved” because everyone is sincere in something or has only been given the grace to be what they are.

Could everyone be saved? In theory, sure. In all likelihood? That’s a different story altogether.


#13

Yes it does help. This is what I WANT to believe the Church believes. It’s just that the subject is so slippery that it’s hard to find out what most people believe.


#14

One thing you will discover over time is that what the Church teaches and what “most Catholics” (ie: the loudest voices) believe can be several different things. :wink:

Fortunately, in the Catholic Church, we get our teachings from Christ; not from popular opinion. :thumbsup:


#15

The Truth is Jesus Christ and not subject to personal opinion.

What most people believe is not important. The important question is what does the Church actually teach.


#16

This is a very good question. I would like to point out that there is a difference between the way that people are judged based on what they know, and how they responded. About pagans, Paul writes that everyone has evidence of the divine through His creation:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. Rom 1:18-23

This seems to indicate that every person, whether they have been exposed to “religion” or not, has a built in ability to perceive and respond to the Divine, and that, if they fail to honor that, they will be found guilty.

People who have been baptized or given themselves to Christ are judged by that:

4 For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they then commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt. 7 For land which has drunk the rain that often falls upon it, and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed; its end is to be burned. Heb 6:3-8

I think we can say" it is up to God, only He sees the heart" but I don’t think we can say we don’t know. In fact, since we DO know (ourselves being enlightened and having tasted of the heavenly gift) we have a responsibility to go into all the world, and preach that gospel. Read the first two chapters of Romans, and that might help.

14 When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
Rom 2:13-16

God has placed a conscience within each of us, and the function of it is to help that person remain within the revelation of the Divine that they have. Is what you mean by sincerity?


#17

Yes, but people keep telling me that the Church teaches/means different things. I’ve recently stopped going to an RCIA class where I was taught by all 6 sponsors that Satan doesn’t exist, Gandhi will defiantly be in Heaven, that Abraham is a fable and that everyone (Hindus, Muslims… will be able to take communion in at least 10 years) When I asked about the more conservative views I was told that “(Conservitives) are phasing out of the church” Actually, it was more like “we are phasing them out”. So, I want to know what church I’m joining. Am I joining the church down the street who claims the Church is changing. Or, am I joining the Church I hear about on Catholic Answers?


#18

To me it seems arrogant to say that one knows who is being saved. It is also erroneous to think that everyone will be saved. This is contrary to what Jesus teaches. You also know that not everyone is sincere in living according to what they know is right and wrong.

Jesus warns even believers against doing things that will send themselves to hell:

2 But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.Matt 5:22

Matt 25:41
41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;

Saying that everyone will be saved is the same as calling Jesus a liar.


#19

Thank you, this helped a lot.:slight_smile:


#20

Hearing this sort of thing breaks my heart.

Unfortunately in the current state of affairs you have to listen with significant skepticism to anything any “Catholic” tells you.

Fortunately we have resources. We have media outlets such as EWTN and Catholic Answers.

Also, we have the Catechism of the Catholic Church or I have heard very good things about the Compendium to the Catechism which is written in a Q&A format. I would be willing to bet your specific question is in there and answered.

I am not qualified to advise you on how to handle the your RCIA class as the idea that Satan does not exist is clearly contrary to church teaching.

But the good news is that they are not only wrong about that. According to every source I trust the recent crops of seminarians are Orthodox so help is on the way. It is the liberal brand of American Catholicism that is not being replenished and is dieing out.

Perhaps you could investigate another RCIA class or if you are still eligible to enter the Church this Easter continue on and then find a place in line with Church teaching?


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