Where does the Church believe non-christians will go in the after life?


#1

Does the CC believe that others who are non-christian are destined for hell? I’ve never asked the priest so I’m not sure, but I’m wondering what the official church teaching is on this matter. This also applies to atheists/agnostics. (Anyone who is not a Christian) - does the church say they are going somewhere specifically or is it just a “I dont know” type of situation? What is the church teaching? Also, feel free to include your personal belief.

I don’t believe everyone who doesn’t follow the Christian faith is going to hell, but I do believe certain people will, mostly from free choice obviously, as not everyone seems to be or wants to be destined for heaven. And that is not a joke. I have heard people say that if they believed God was real, they’d rather be in hell than heaven. Obviously that is a ridiculously foolish thing to say, but some people really despise God. Anyways, what do you think? Whats the churches teaching on this matter?

And PS- I don’t mean to offend anyone. :slight_smile:


#2

Holy Mother Church teaches that those non-Christians who do not know - that is believe - that the Catholic Church is the true religion of God wherein dwells all the plenitude of divinely revealed truth, for whatever reason, no matter what physical, psychological, familial, cultural etc. conditions are preventing them from coming to this understanding, and who follow the Will of God as known to the dictates of their conscience as best as possible will attain to salvation through the grace of the Holy Spirit who is operative outside the visible confines of the Church.

We believe that such people, of whom there will likely be many, are spiritually members of the Catholic Church since they have the true character of a Christian and the implicit desire for baptism, and would be formally incorporated into the Church through water baptism if they understood the truth of the Catholic religion.

These people are baptized into the Church through implicit desire which makes them substantial, spiritual members of Christ’s Mystical Body. They are thus Catholics without knowing it.


#3

So every non-Christian who does not know the CC church’s teaching will make it into heaven by grace, but if they do know the truth and choose to reject it then they go to hell?

So basically those ignorant of the truth will make it into heaven with a free pass by grace, but those who were told of the truth and choose to reject it will not get that free pass?


#4

[quote="PumpkinSeed, post:3, topic:286029"]
So every non-Christian who does not know the CC church's teaching will make it into heaven by grace, but if they do know the truth and choose to reject it then they go to hell?

So basically those ignorant of the truth will make it into heaven with a free pass by grace, but those who were told of the truth and choose to reject it will not get that free pass?

[/quote]

My dear brother Pumkin :)

Thanks for the question!

I wouldn't see it in terms of a "free pass". Salvation is not a free ticket to a magical paradise. Its the return to our original state of holiness and the ascent of our soul to our true home in God, where we become divinised and achieve union with God and the joy of self-fulfilment in seeing the Beatific Vision, God face-to-face, his Essence.

God gives his grace to all equally, it is our own choice whether to accept it or not. Hell is not considered to be a place in Catholicism but rather a state of being which begins with actions, thoughts, decisions in this life and extends into eternity, separating our hearts from God and cutting off his saving grace.

Non-Christians who do not understand/believe that the Catholic Church is the true Church but who still, nevertheless, follow the Will of God as known to the dictates of their conscience will -through the grace of God - become united with God in life and become incorporated spiritually into his Church and therefore attain to salvation, the joy of the Beatific Vision.

Those who do not follow the Will of God but reject the dictates of their conscience and live lifes of great sin, or who have reached an awareness of the truth of the Catholic religion but have no desire to follow through with this dictate of their conscience calling them towards the Catholic Church, could perchance consign themselves to that state of hell and estrangement from God because to deny ones conscience is to deny one's true self, which is the Image and likeness of God. In this case we can only pray to God. He is capable of all things, nothing is impossible to him. Perhaps, through his boundless, infinite mercy they will attain salvation. In such cases we do not know, we cannot judge the salvation of any soul.

So if a non-Christian sincerely believes that his chosen religious path is absolutely true and does not believe that the Catholic Church is the true religion, and faithfully lives his life as a good Muslim/Jew/Hindu/Sikh the best as he possibly can and follows the dictates of his conscience always and adheres to the inspired truths the Holy Spirit has placed in his religion, then he will attain to salvation. Vatican II also taught that even atheists can attain to salvation.

This is of course provided that the hypothetical non-Christian in question has made a thorough, heartfelt and geuine investigation of and search after truth. Every human being has an in-built duty to seek the Truth.


#5

Well it sounds like the Chruchs teaching is fair enough. Thanks for enlightening me.


#6

[quote="PumpkinSeed, post:5, topic:286029"]
Well it sounds like the Chruchs teaching is fair enough. Thanks for enlightening me.

[/quote]

No problem :) If you would like, when I have a little time, I could quote for you some official statements from the Catholic Church on the salvation of non-Christians so that you can read them for yourself?

Just ask and I'll provide you with some on this thread when I get the chance.


#7

At the same time, Vouthon, doesn’t the Church believe that a surer, though by no means certain, basis of attaining salvation is by direct participation and engagement in the Sacraments of the Church, particularly those of the Holy Eucharist, Reconciliation, and traditional Baptism? Further, is the concept of invincible ignorance clearly defined?


#8

It depends. If they do not know that Christianity is the true religion through no fault of their own, yet live the most moral life that they can, then they die in a state of ignorance, and therefore go to heaven. If they know Christianity is the truth, yet willingly reject it, then they are eternally lost.


#9

My dear brother Meltzer :slight_smile:

Thanks for the great questions!

Certainly we believe that there are benefits, or rather graces such as the sacraments (other than baptism which as I say can be obtained without water by any person of good will) which non-Catholics are obviously deprived of. The Church naturally wishes that all people could be under its bosom and partake of these gifts of God but this is not, of course, possible given the complexity of human psychology and a whole variety of ameliorating circumstances. God will of course take consideration for the lack of ability of non-Christians to partake of these divine gifts.

Pope Pius XIII wrote in an encyclical:

In his encyclical Mystici Corporis (1943), 103 Pope Pius XII said that:

“…We urge each and every one of [those outside Catholic unity] to be prompt to follow the interior movements of grace…For even though, by a certain unconscious desire and wish, they may be related to the Mystical Body of the Redeemer, they remain deprived of so many and so powerful gifts and helps from heaven, which can be enjoyed only within the Catholic Church…”

I believe that the doctrine of invincible ignorance is rather well-defined in the variety of documents, ranging from the Fathers, to Medeival theologians and mystics, to post-Reformation saints and the 20th century popes and documents of Vatican II and so on, although you will not find any document specifically addressing invincible ignorance alone.

There are other threads where I have elucidated many of these teachings from the past. From reading them one can form a coherent understanding of the concept.


#10

Nicely worded. :thumbsup: Would that all Catholics knew this, understood it, and believed it.


#11

=PumpkinSeed;9345475]Does the CC believe that others who are non-christian are destined for hell? I've never asked the priest so I'm not sure, but I'm wondering what the official church teaching is on this matter. :)

Fair question,

Allow me to ask one in return.

Does God whom we claim is "Good" [a certain truth! :D] HAVE TO be "fair and just"?

The answer of course is YES! Because:
God IS Good
And Goodness includes both fairness and justice.

So what does God Himself say? Actions always have the consequences THEY CAUSE.

*Heb.6: 10 *“For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.”

Rev.2: 23 “and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.”

1 Peter 1: 17 “Now if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one's works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, “

In ALL of recorded history in the God-man relationship there is a perfect consistancy in God's Teaching. [If I'm wrong PLEASE feel free to prove it].:rolleyes:

Always taught:

One God
Only that One God's OWN set of Faith beliefs
And always has God protected; guided, inspired ONLY His Chosen people:
OT = Jews
NT = the Catholic Church BECAUSE the Jews rejected Him Mt. 10: 1-8; Mt. 28:16-20

Because the ONLY faith that God Taught and protects can be found in the CC; all other sets of man-made; man modified belief systems are extremely unlikely to grant salvation.:eek:

Here is what the CC Teaches from our Catechism:

169 Salvation comes from God alone; but because we receive the life of faith through the Church, she is our mother: "We believe the Church as the mother of our new birth, and not in the Church as if she were the author of our salvation." Because she is our mother, she is also our teacher in the faith [because this is the ONLY means and the "Way; the Truth and The Life" God Personally choose for humanities salvation]

780 The Church in this world is the sacrament of salvation, the sign and the instrument of the communion of God and men.

846 "How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it".

The meaning of the first 3 passages on jusging our actions is that God absolutely MUST because He is God; judge humanity NOT on what we Know; NOT on what We choose to accept; BUT ONLY on what God makes possible for one to know.:)

The Teachings and Doctrines and Dogmas of the CC date back to the Apostles and Christ Visitiation. Most explicitly; some Implicitly. The idea that God somehow changed His mind
Mal.3: 6 "For I the LORD do not change” Because King Henry and then Luter came along with there OWN versions is reckless at best. And Only the CC has the Holy Spirit and Christ Personally to guide, guard, protect AND WARRANT Her Teachings on Faith and Morals.

John.14: 26 “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. “ .. John.20: 22 “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.” … Acts.1: 2 “until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen"

And as promised in mt. 28:20 Christ DOES remain ever present within His Catholic Church.

John 17:15-18-19 **"**As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. *[Which Means with Gods Own Powers and Authority] And for their sake I [GOD] consecrate myself, that they [My Catholic Church] also may be consecrated in truth"*

Mt. 16:19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Mt. 28: 18-20 "And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you;[Meaning the Apostles ANd the CC ONLY!] and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

John 20:21-22 ** "Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. **As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them,** "Receive the Holy Spirit. **"

ONLY Christ Own CC!

The RISK is or ought to be; or could be OBVIOUS.

Do you believe in:
The Primacy of Peter?
The Authority of the CC?
The Real Presence?
How sin ia actually [the ONLY way] forgiven?
The Entire Bible as thee Inspiried WORDS of our God?

IF NOT; then your salvation is at RISK and this IS what the CC Teaches.

God Bless you, and thanks for asking,
pat/PJM


#12

Actually, the Catholic Church teaches that no other religion but the Catholic Church can grant salvation. There is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church, so I think that you are wrong to say that other belief systems are “unlikely” to grant salvation, they can’t ipso facto by their very nature. Salvation comes to people outside the Church through their spiritual baptism into the Church through following the Will of God as known to their conscience.

On the other hand, the Catholic Church believes and teaches that the world religions have arose from man’s openess to God and have at their origins the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Church believes that there is divinely inspired truth, seeds of the Word, in all world religions. These truths, the Church teaches, are the presence of Christ in these religions and by embracing these truths, these non-Christians are actually embracing Jesus - who is the Truth incarnate - without knowing it. These teachings, which in many cases came from the religion’s founder’s genuine experience of the Holy Spirit, guide the followers of these religions to more faithfully adhere to the dictates of their consciences and therefore to attain to salvation.

In this respect, we actually do not believe that other religions “are man-made”. That is erroneous.

And as to how many non-Christians attain to salvation we cannot possibly know just as we cannot know how many Christians attain to salvation. Only God judges hearts and minds and knows this, so please never assume with your own knowledge to judge other peoples’ salvation. However, the Fathers of the Church seem to suggest that MANY non-Christians are spiritually members of the Church:

“…How many sheep there are without, how many wolves within!..When we speak of within and without in relation to the Church, it is the position of the heart that we must consider, not that of the body… All who are within in heart are saved in the unity of the ark…”

- Saint Augustine, Church Father (354–430 AD), Baptism 5:28:39

“…He was ours [a Christian] even before he was of our fold. His way of living made him such. For just as many of ours are not with us, whose life makes them other from our body [the Church], so many of those outside [the Church] belong to us, who by their way of life anticipate the faith and need only the name, having the reality…”

- St. Gregory of Nazianzus, 18.5 (c. 374 AD)

That being true then one should expect many non-Christians to attain to salvation.

After all God desires all men to be saved.

St Thomas Aquinas said in the 13th century:

“…It is the characteristic of Divine Providence to provide every man with what is necessary for salvation…In the case of a man who seeks good and shuns evil, by the leading of natural reason, God would reveal to him through internal inspiration what had to be believed…”

and Vatican II in the mid-20th century:

“…Since Christ died for everyone and since the ultimate calling of each of us comes from God and is therefore a universal one, we are obliged to hold that the Holy Spirit offers everyone the possibility of sharing in this Paschal Mystery in a manner known to God…”

as well as Blessed Pope John Paul II saying in the late 20th century:

“…The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all…For such people salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace…This grace comes from Christ…”

And thus Jeff Mirus writes on “Catholic Culture”:

“…People can be saved without explicitly embracing Jesus Christ and His Church. This is not merely my assertion, of course, but the clear teaching of the Magisterium. The decrees of the earlier councils and popes admit the possibility [of salvation outside the Visible Church] by referring to being “added” or “joined” to the Church, rather than insisting upon explicit formal membership, as a condition of salvation (e.g., Council of Florence in 1442, Cantata Domino, Denzinger #714); and this traditional teaching has been developed and carefully explained by, among others, Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis Christi (103), by the Second Vatican Council in Lumen Gentium (16), and by Pope John Paul II in Redemptoris Missio (10)…”

  • Jeff Mirus

That is Catholic doctrine :slight_smile:

Rather than speculating about the salvation of non-Christians and indeed trying to claim like your good self how unlikely it is for them to attain to salvation, Catholics should be working on their own salvation.

Because, sure as God, you can bet that “to those who are given more, more will be demanded”. If a Catholic does not lead a just life, having all these graces and the fullness of truth, then he will fair far, far worse than a non-Christian who might be excused on grounds of lack of knowledge.


#13

[quote="Vouthon, post:12, topic:286029"]
Actually, the Catholic Church teaches that no other religion but the Catholic Church can grant salvation. There is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church, so I think that you are wrong to say that other belief systems are "unlikely" to grant salvation, they can't ipso facto by their very nature. Salvation comes to people outside the Church through their spiritual baptism into the Church through following the Will of God as known to their conscience.

On the other hand, the Catholic Church believes and teaches that the world religions have arose from man's openess to God and have at their origins the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Church believes that there is divinely inspired truth, seeds of the Word, in all world religions. These truths, the Church teaches, are the presence of Christ in these religions and by embracing these truths, these non-Christians are actually embracing Jesus - who is the Truth incarnate - without knowing it. These teachings, which in many cases came from the religion's founder's genuine experience of the Holy Spirit, guide the followers of these religions to more faithfully adhere to the dictates of their consciences and therefore to attain to salvation.

In this respect, we actually do not believe that other religions "are man-made". That is erroneous.

And as to how many non-Christians attain to salvation we cannot possibly know just as we cannot know how many Christians attain to salvation. Only God judges hearts and minds and knows this, so please never assume with your own knowledge to judge other peoples' salvation. However, the Fathers of the Church seem to suggest that MANY non-Christians are spiritually members of the Church:

"...How many sheep there are without, how many wolves within!...When we speak of within and without in relation to the Church, it is the position of the heart that we must consider, not that of the body.... All who are within in heart are saved in the unity of the ark..."

- Saint Augustine, Church Father (354–430 AD), Baptism 5:28:39

"...He was ours [a Christian] even before he was of our fold. His way of living made him such. For just as many of ours are not with us, whose life makes them other from our body [the Church], so many of those outside [the Church] belong to us, who by their way of life anticipate the faith and need only the name, having the reality..."

- St. Gregory of Nazianzus, 18.5 (c. 374 AD)

That being true then one should expect many non-Christians to attain to salvation.

After all God desires all men to be saved.

St Thomas Aquinas said in the 13th century:

"...It is the characteristic of Divine Providence to provide every man with what is necessary for salvation...In the case of a man who seeks good and shuns evil, by the leading of natural reason, God would reveal to him through internal inspiration what had to be believed..."

and Vatican II in the mid-20th century:

"...Since Christ died for everyone and since the ultimate calling of each of us comes from God and is therefore a universal one, we are obliged to hold that the Holy Spirit offers everyone the possibility of sharing in this Paschal Mystery in a manner known to God..."

as well as Blessed Pope John Paul II saying in the late 20th century:

"...The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all...For such people salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace...This grace comes from Christ..."

And thus Jeff Mirus writes on "Catholic Culture":

"...People can be saved without explicitly embracing Jesus Christ and His Church. This is not merely my assertion, of course, but the clear teaching of the Magisterium. The decrees of the earlier councils and popes admit the possibility [of salvation outside the Visible Church] by referring to being “added” or “joined” to the Church, rather than insisting upon explicit formal membership, as a condition of salvation (e.g., Council of Florence in 1442, Cantata Domino, Denzinger #714); and this traditional teaching has been developed and carefully explained by, among others, Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis Christi (103), by the Second Vatican Council in Lumen Gentium (16), and by Pope John Paul II in Redemptoris Missio (10)..."

  • Jeff Mirus

That is Catholic doctrine :)

Rather than speculating about the salvation of non-Christians and indeed trying to claim like your good self how unlikely it is for them to attain to salvation, Catholics should be working on their own salvation.

Because, sure as God, you can bet that "to those who are given more, more will be demanded". If a Catholic does not lead a just life, having all these graces and the fullness of truth, then he will fair far, far worse than a non-Christian who might be excused on grounds of lack of knowledge.

[/quote]

Well stated, Vouthon. Thank you for answering so many of my questions. One more, though: do these "other" religions in which one may attain to salvation include those which are not monotheistic?


#14

[quote="meltzerboy, post:13, topic:286029"]
Well stated, Vouthon. Thank you for answering so many of my questions. One more, though: do these "other" religions in which one may attain to salvation include those which are not monotheistic?

[/quote]

My dear brother Meltzer :)

Thanks for the questions!

Yes, the Church certainly does not limit salvation to the monotheistic religions. She even teaches, in the Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes, that atheists can even attain to salvation.

Nostra Aetate one of the Vatican II documents, specifically mentions in quite some depth Hinduism and Buddhism which are both, one could say, not monotheistic (although Hinduism does have the concept of Brahman, the Self, with the various other gods being but Manifestations of him).

Blessed Pope John Paul II, in his papal encyclical of 1998 Fides et Ratio, further mentions Mahavira the founder of a decidely atheistic religion called Jainism.

Back in the 1600s, Fr Robert di Nobili, a Jesuit priest, became the first Westerner to read the Vedas in the original Sanskrit. He then steeped himself throughly in the Hindu philosophy of the Upanishads and wore the clothing of a Brahmin priest. The Pope issued a decree approving his efforts. Similar endeavours took place with other non-theistic religions in China, for example Servant of God Matteo Ricci and other Jesuits embracing many good, inspired teachings in Taoism and Confucianism.

In the Early Church, the Fathers regarded the pagan philosophers Plato, Aristotle, Heraclitus etc. as being divinely inspired even though they belonged to polytheistic religions and as being Christians before Christ, spiritually members of the Church.

"...Greek philosophy is a clear image of truth, a divine gift to the Greeks. Before the advent of the Lord, philosophy helped the Greeks to attain righteousness, and it is now conducive to piety; it supplies a preparatory teaching for those who will later embrace the faith. God is the cause of all good things...The way of truth is one. But into it, as into a perennial river, streams flow from all sides...God is the Teacher, who instructs the enlightened Christian by mysteries, and the faithful labourer by cheerful hopes, and the hard of heart with His keen corrective discipline; so that His providence is particular, public, and universal... for He is the Saviour not of these or those, but of all...Should it be said that the Greeks discovered philosophy by human wisdom, I reply, that I find the Scriptures declare all wisdom to be a divine gift...Thus philosophy, a thing of the highest utility, flourished in antiquity among the barbarians, shedding its light over the nations. And afterwards it came to Greece. First in its ranks were the prophets of the Egyptians; and the Chaldeans among the Assyrians; and the Druids among the Gauls; and the Sramanas among the Bactrians; and the philosophers of the Celts; and the Magi of the Persians, who foretold the Saviour's birth, and came into the land of Judaea guided by a star. The Indian gymnosophists are also in the number, and the other barbarian philosophers. And of these there are two classes, some of them called Sramanas, and others Brahmins..."

- Saint Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 - c. 220), Early Catholic Church father

And so we find that the Fathers highly praised the prophets of a great number of religions and proclaimed them as being inspired, and as being believers in the same philosophy despite difference of religious faith, including:

*- The philosophers of the Jain religion and the Bactrian Buddhists (Sramanas)

  • The Buddha himself

  • The great Greek philosophers Plato, Aristotle, Socrates and Heraclitus (among others)

  • The prophets of the Egyptian faith

  • The prophets of the Chaldean people

  • The Druids of the Gaulic people

  • The philosophers of the Celts

  • The Magi of the Zoroastrian faith

  • The Sages and Prophets and priests of the Hindu religion (Brahmins, Gymnosophists) *

St Clement of Alexandria, in the 2nd century CE, had high praise for Buddha:

"...Among the Indians are those philosophers who follow the precepts of Buddha, whom, on account of his extraordinary sanctity, they have raised to divine honours..."

— Saint Clement of Alexandria, Stromata (Miscellanies), Book I, Chapter XV

St Justin Martyr (103–165) lauded and reverenced the great Greek philosophers as genuine prophets:

*"...We have been taught that Christ is the first-born of God, and we have declared above that He is the Word of whom every race of men were partakers; and those who lived reasonably are Christians, even though they have been thought atheists; as, among the Greeks, Socrates and Heraclitus, and men like them..." *

Of Plato Justin wrote:

*"...Well done, Plato! Thou hast touched on the truth...Whence, O Plato, is that hint of the truth which thou givest?...let it not be this one man alone--Plato; but, O philosophy, hasten to produce many others also, who declare the only true God to be God, through His inspiration...For the knowledge of God, these utterances, written by those we have mentioned through the inspiration of God..." *

(continued....)


#15

Yes, Plato is described as being inspired by God. From his writings we learn also that Clement of Alexandria came to faith after a personal search for philosophical truth that had led him on a good many travels. Clement led the catechetical school and many believe his writings were used in the training. It is clear that Clement followed in the philosophical mindset of Philo. He quotes or alludes to Plato hundreds of times. For Clement, Plato was the Moses of the Greek world, revealing the truth of God through his philsophical insights.

This is why Pope John Paul II once said, “You speak of many religions. Instead I will attempt to show the common fundamental element and the common root of these religions…From the beginning, Christian Revelation has viewed the spiritual history of man as including, in some way, all religions, thereby demonstrating the unity of humankind with regard to the eternal and ultimate destiny of man. The Church sees the promotion of this unity as one of its duties.”


#16

=Vouthon;9346231]Actually, the Catholic Church teaches that no other religion but the Catholic Church can grant salvation. There is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church, so I think that you are wrong to say that other belief systems are "unlikely" to grant salvation, they can't ipso facto by their very nature. Salvation comes to people outside the Church through their spiritual baptism into the Church through following the Will of God as known to their conscience.

No my friend; and here's why,

CCC #1783 "Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings"

What this means is that God Will, because God MUST pass judgment not on whta "we know"; or choose to know; or choose to believe; BUT OB what he God makes POSSIBLE for us to know.

And thus Jeff Mirus writes on "Catholic Culture":

...People can be saved without explicitly embracing Jesus Christ and His Church. This is not merely my assertion, of course, but the clear teaching of the Magisterium. The decrees of the earlier councils and popes admit the possibility [of salvation outside the Visible Church] by referring to being “added” or “joined” to the Church, rather than insisting upon explicit formal membership, as a condition of salvation (e.g., Council of Florence in 1442, Cantata Domino, Denzinger #714); and this traditional teaching has been developed and carefully explained by, among others, Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis Christi (103), by the Second Vatican Council in Lumen Gentium (16), and by Pope John Paul II in Redemptoris Missio (10)..."
[quote]

Which both afffirms and confirms what I said. "WHAT GOD MAKES POSSIBLE FOR ONE TO KNOW"

If one "could have" God judges as "SHOULD HAVE".:)

If one has TRULY never had the opportunity; then the primary but not only factor is their charity.

846

How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it"

847 "This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

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."

I see no error between this teaching and what I said:)

Rather than speculating about the salvation of non-Christians and indeed trying to claim like your good self how unlikely it is for them to attain to salvation, Catholics should be working on their own salvation.

I certainly don't disagree in principle BUT I WAS [AM] responding to a CAF POST.:D Am I not to do that:shrug:

God Bless,
pat/PJM
[/quote]


#17

=Vouthon;9346231]Actually, the Catholic Church teaches that no other religion but the Catholic Church can grant salvation. There is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church, so I think that you are wrong to say that other belief systems are “unlikely” to grant salvation, they can’t ipso facto by their very nature. Salvation comes to people outside the Church through their spiritual baptism into the Church through following the Will of God as known to their conscience.

On the other hand, the Catholic Church believes and teaches that the world religions have arose from man’s openess to God and have at their origins the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Church believes that there is divinely inspired truth, seeds of the Word, in all world religions. These truths, the Church teaches, are the presence of Christ in these religions and by embracing these truths, these non-Christians are actually embracing Jesus - who is the Truth incarnate - without knowing it. These teachings, which in many cases came from the religion’s founder’s genuine experience of the Holy Spirit, guide the followers of these religions to more faithfully adhere to the dictates of their consciences and therefore to attain to salvation.

In this respect, we actually do not believe that other religions “are man-made”. That is erroneous.

And as to how many non-Christians attain to salvation we cannot possibly know just as we cannot know how many Christians attain to salvation. Only God judges hearts and minds and knows this, so please never assume with your own knowledge to judge other peoples’ salvation. However, the Fathers of the Church seem to suggest that MANY non-Christians are spiritually members of the Church:

“…How many sheep there are without, how many wolves within!..When we speak of within and without in relation to the Church, it is the position of the heart that we must consider, not that of the body… All who are within in heart are saved in the unity of the ark…”

- Saint Augustine, Church Father (354–430 AD), Baptism 5:28:39

“…He was ours [a Christian] even before he was of our fold. His way of living made him such. For just as many of ours are not with us, whose life makes them other from our body [the Church], so many of those outside [the Church] belong to us, who by their way of life anticipate the faith and need only the name, having the reality…”

- St. Gregory of Nazianzus, 18.5 (c. 374 AD)

That being true then one should expect many non-Christians to attain to salvation.

After all God desires all men to be saved.

St Thomas Aquinas said in the 13th century:

My friend your post brings to mind a {IMO} necessary question:

IS A PARTIAL TRUTH OF GREATER VALUE THAN AN UNTRUTH?:shrug: Perhaps; but it remains NOT “thee truth” Amen!

pat/PJM


#18

Can you please show me what document states this? It would seem to shed some light on this passage of the CCC (emphasis added):

2125 Since it rejects or denies the existence of God, atheism is a sin against the virtue of religion. The imputability of this offense can be significantly diminished in virtue of the intentions and the circumstances. “Believers can have more than a little to do with the rise of atheism. To the extent that they are careless about their instruction in the faith, or present its teaching falsely, or even fail in their religious, moral, or social life, they must be said to conceal rather than to reveal the true nature of God and of religion.”


#19

The following is from the Cathechism of the Catholic Church. Notice in 847 those too MAY ACHIEVE ETERNAL SALVATION, I have put in bold print. The CCC doen’t say THEY WILL BE yet they can be SAVED.

“Outside the Church there is no salvation”

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

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.337

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


#20

ST Paul tells us that folks who act as if they are baptized, are baptized, and vice versa. It's a basis premise that God does not punish good people. That would contradict a good and merciful God, and contrary to common sense and justice in any form.
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