Why doesn't the Catholic Church believe in justification by faith alone?


Yes, I’m a non-denominational Protestant. However, I’m not trying to be disrespectful to the Catholic Church; rather, I’m just trying to find out why it believes what it believes. So thank you in advance for your answer.

I don’t understand why the Catholic Church doesn’t believe in salvation/justification by faith alone. In the book of Romans, Paul goes on at length about how righteousness is attained through faith. He puts the emphasis on Christ’s workon the cross, notour works. It seems to me that God could only accept a perfect sacrifice to pay for the world’s sins and only the sacrifice of God’s Son would be perfect. Any thing we add to Christ’s work, however well-intentioned and sincere, will not be perfect enough to satisfy God’s holiness. ***

*Yes, it appears that this “faith alone” doctrine would encourage Protestants to live shabby moral lives because their salvation is secured only by believing in Jesus. However, Paul addresses this in Romans as well. He answers the question, “Shall I sin that grace may abound?” by saying “May it never be.” He doesn’t believe that faith alone gives us license to sin. He also later writes in his epistles that “Christ set us free for freedom. Only do not use your freedom for licentiousness.” *

I’ve even heard a Protestant minister say that if we are not living a different quality of life after accepting Christ that we have reason to question if we have even been saved at all.
So, please help me understand why the Catholic Church doesn’t believe in salvation by faith alone. Please tell me why.

Thanks so much and God bless,




These links should be helpful in understanding the Catholic position on sola fide, or salvation being by faith alone. If you have any further questions or concerns that are not answered by these links, please contact Catholic Answers directly.

Recommended Reading:
Salvation is “just believing in Jesus”…
Doesn’t the good thief prove sola fide?
Sola Fide before the Reformation?

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.