Where do souls of non-Christian go after they die?


The joining one another in the breaking of bread would seem to be a one way journey for the Methodist church to come into a fuller communion with the Catholic church…theologically speaking. For example, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, a belief that some of the Catholic Sacraments, like holy orders and first communion, are only found in the Catholic Church, and effectively, have no equal outside of themselves. That seems like a long way to go.

But I cannot help but consider how many Catholics profess a belief in Catholic theology and Sacraments yet do not give assent to Church teaching out of, not ignorance, but disagreement with the teachings. And how these dissenting Catholics are permitted to have full use of the Sacraments.

I’m left wondering then what is the purpose of excluding our brothers and sisters in Christ, who are not Catholic but may wish to participate in the Sacraments, from participating in the Sacraments.

Sure, individuals can join the Catholic Church, but it’s the integration of an entire Christian denomination into the Catholic Church seems to be what Pope Francis is referring to in his talk to the Methodist Church.

I’m having trouble seeing the dissenting and nominal Catholics as being distinct from baptised Protestants. It seems like a difference without a distinction. I don’t understand how it doesn’t amount to legalism.


It’s always a beautiful thing when a priest – acting pastorally – chooses to not say “you’re wrong”, but rather, “here’s what’s right.” It’s also beautiful when a Catholic receives that message in the spirit in which it’s been given. :wink:


You betcha!


True, St Paul says that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). When speaking of the little children, Jesus said that it is not the will of his Father in heaven that any of them should perish. This is God’s universal salvific will.

Jesus is the universal Redeemer of all mankind and the Church teaches that he died for all men without exception, to save them. By his sacrifice on the cross, Jesus merited all the graces necessary to save all human beings so every human being without exception is given sufficient grace to save their soul. The CCC#1260 says “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery” (Guadium et spes, 22).

In the encyclical, HAURIETIS AQUAS - On Devotion to the Sacred Heart, Pope Pius XII wrote:
88. It is beyond doubt, then, that His heavenly Father “Who spared not even His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all,”(93) when appealed to with such loving urgency by so powerful an Advocate, will, through Him, send down on all men an abundance of divine graces.

And St Peter said “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality,
but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10: 34-35).

As the Church teaches, God is not limited in the bestowal of his grace to the sacraments of the Church though these are the ordinary means. Yet, at the same time, “all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his body” (CCC#846) and the Church is the universal sacrament of salvation (CCC#774). The Church as Christ’s body and united to Christ as his inseparable bride is mysteriously linked through Jesus, the universal Redeemer, to the whole human race and their salvation and all those who are not formal members of the Church. In this connection, the declaration from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, DOMINUS IESUS, issued by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and authorized by St John Paul II, it says:

The Church is the “universal sacrament of salvation”, since, united always in a mysterious way to the Saviour Jesus Christ, her Head, and subordinated to him, she has, in God’s plan, an indispensable relationship with the salvation of every human being… With respect to the way in which the salvific grace of God — which is always given by means of Christ in the Spirit and has a mysterious relationship to the Church — comes to individual non-Christians, the Second Vatican Council limited itself to the statement that God bestows it “in ways known to himself”.

Every Mass the Church celebrates is offered for the salvation of the whole world as the sacrifice of the Mass is the same sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for all mankind and so a rich supply of graces is shed on the whole human race in every Mass.




It’s also not easy to qualify for ignorance that is invincible.



Regardless of stripe, Protestantism is one of the Great Heresies

To your point

1791 This ignorance can often be imputed to personal responsibility. This is the case when a man “takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, or when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through the habit of committing sin.” In such cases, the person is culpable for the evil he commits."

IOW, Since Knowledge has never in all of history been so easy to access as it is today, it’s not a given that one’s ignorance on this subject can automatically be considered innocent, NOR invincible.


They go to Hades or Sheol to await the resurrection.


Hodos, I presume you are speaking from your non-Catholic tradition when you say that. It’s suggested that you make clear for what faith you are answering, so people do not become confused over what the Catholic Church actually teaches.


I am not speaking from “tradition”, scripture bears me out on this.


When we talk about the relative knowledge/ignorance of a person, we are not speaking merely about “head knowledge”. We are talking about more than incidentally hearing some things about Christianity and then failing to adhere.

Referring to ignorance, we are talking about someone who has heard, understands, absorbs, knows from the heart… and rejects out of ill will, saying in effect “I choose to do it My Way”. This is what Satan did. He knows God in the deepest sense and rejects God.
Any Catholic ought to think about the profound implications of this for their own salvation and have equal concern for his own salvation as that of others.

It is true that many doctrines contrary to Christianity can be called heretical doctrines and ideas, however:
Protestant people are not guilty of heresy. The Church explicitly states this and it’s counterproductive to throw the term around.
If the Church speaks kindly even of Martin Luther, who probably was guilty of heresy, why would modern day protestants be labeled?
Plus, heresy is a legal matter for canon lawyer types, and probably no one here is remotely qualified to throw it around with any authority.


I meant “tradition” in the sense of what religion you belong to, not literally. I believe that was clear from the context.

So I will assume based on your answer that you’re answering from some Sola Scriptura Protestant tradition. Clearly not Catholic as your answer is not consistent with Church teaching.


I am very comfortable with that if the Church isn’t teaching in accordance with the apostolic doctrine. That being said, are you saying the Church teaches there is no resurrection of the dead? Or are you just unfamiliar with what Hades or Sheol are?


I am familiar with Hades or Sheol, but because I believe the OP was seeking a Catholic answer (based on a large number of their previous threads), I also feel you are taking the discussion off topic, so I respectfully will not respond. Someone else may well wish to discuss this with you.

God bless


Right, so are you claiming the Catholic Church teaches there is no resurrection of the dead, or the existence of Hades/Sheol?

Since you are copping out on offering an answer, the OP didn’t specify to whom the answer should be limited. She said Christian, not Catholic. I offered a thoroughly orthodox Christian response that quite frankly doesn’t even contradict what the Catholic Church teaches. You just inserted your own assumption rather than reading what I actually said. And again, my answer was perfectly on topic, addressing her question directly whether you “feel” it was or not.



2089 " Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same;

Luther was condemned a heretic , and was excommunicated by the Church Decet Romanum Pontificem Leo X (1521 )


And, we don’t call modern day protestants heretics or call them guilty of heresy. That’s my point. That’s the CC’s official stance.


If they are baptized AND are given the truth, and refuse to believe, they are THEN by definition guilty of heresy.


So a baptized Catholic for instance, who is given the truth and still holds anti-ecclesial positions that are not docile to the faith?


Them too.

Don’t take my word for it

2089 Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. " Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."


Yes, we know the definitions. We proclaim the Gospel to PEOPLE.



No need to do that if nobody is guilty regardless of what they believe…right?

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