Why was "there is no salvation outside the Church" revised?

What were the theological underpinnings behind the change?

They didn’t change it.

It has never been forbidden to pray for someone who has died who was apparently not united to the Church. Since the Church is the Body of Christ, anyone who is united to Christ but, through no fault of their own, not apparently united to the Church, *may *be able to enter Heaven.

What happened at V2, as with so many other ideas, was that the ramifications for others was brought forward.

For example, before V2, the Church taught that Catholics should not force people to convert. After V2, the other side of that, that people have a [civil, not moral] right to choose a religion other than Catholicism was brought forward.

If you consider that the word which is translated outside is ex, and ex can also mean without, it might make a little more sense.

Thank you for that response, it has helped me too.

If you read a good explanation of the Church’s teaching on this from 100 years ago (or even from St. Augustine, I’m told) you’ll see its the same as the teaching today.

Most Catholics I know think it has changed, and sadly they get that view from what our teachers say and don’t say about it, but it’s the same. Even in the 1940s when the Church was more healthy than today, the Holy Father condemned an unduly strict reading of “no salvation outside the Church” by a priest named Feeney, so you can see the understanding of exceptions to the rule has always been there.

I’m of the opinion that there is more to your post than meets the eye. In this thread of yours that has about 220 posts with many explanations of the doctrine you now question, what exactly is it that you want to know? Where are you misunderstanding church teaching?

In addition, you never interacted with the participants, other than your very first post, so it seems somewhat of an opportunity to open a very controversial subject yet again. Try a search on the topic, for there are many on this forum.

It only supposes that there might be a way for non-Christians to enter heaven. People interpret the word “may” as “will” - “These too may enter heaven” is not “these too will enter heaven”. That is to say, there may be a mechanism or means for non-Christians to be saved. *However, * IF such a means exists, it has not been revealed to us, and it is safer to err on the side of caution.

Personally I feel that the fate of those outside of Christ’s Body is not something to speculate too deeply on. We know what Christ told us, and we should go from there, not from a politically correct/easy viewpoint of, “Oh, thank God I don’t have to spread the Gospel since other people will probably go to heaven anyway.”

I’m not sure how many threads are on CAF in which I’ve explained this, but I’ll give it another try here.

Christ died to REDEEM humanity–all humanity, not just those who believe in him or are formally joined to the Church. Since this redemption was through him and only through him, all who are SAVED are saved because of the REDEMPTION Christ gained for us.

People are always confusing redemption with salvation, but they are not the same things.

Those who have never heard of Christ or have barriers to faith, such as invinicble ignorance, MAY be saved (remember, they have already been redeemed by Christ) by employing the grace God gave them as they understand serving him. In doing so, they MAY have participated in the “baptism of desire” in that, if they knew of Christ or had no insurmountable barriers to belief, they would have wanted to have been baptized, as the Church prescribes.

I know this can seem a bit complicated for us to wrap out heads around–but in the end it is God who judges who deserves salvation. The Church is merely demonstrating that the love and mercy of God are as infinite and proper as is his justice, and that, as God, he is not bound by the sacrament–he saves whom he pleases and who is to say he can’t? He knows the human heart far better than anyone else, far better than we know our own hearts.

This in no way means we are not to evangelize or stop sharing the Gospels with everyone. On the contrary, we, who know and have the truth, are duty bound to “always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” (I Pt. 3:15b). The Church will go on fulfilling Christ’s commission to her by preaching the Gospel to every creature and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The teaching has not changed. It has simply been explained in a much clearer way so that we now have a better view on what is meant by no salvation outside the Church.

Hi blaskoman, fact is, it hasn’t changed, see baptism of desire, it’s an old teaching.

We know where the Church is, we do not know where it is not. I forgot which saint said that from a long, long time ago, but that is what the Church have always believed.

The debate goes even earlier than this example, but when the Americas were recognized as new continents, there were whole theological debates about why God would allow Native Americans to have lived for thousands of years with no chance at salvation. The answer, of course, was that he didn’t. (Thus, “invincible ignorance”.)

As well, (although they didn’t know it at the time) the “native” Americans of both N & S are actually Asians and Polynesians who migrated to the Americas, so they were descendants of Adam/Eve and Noah just like everyone else on the planet. The implication being their ancestors knew of God–the true God, but at some point their ideas about him became corrupted/lost. Anyway, what I’m driving at is Christ’s redemption covers every human in the world no matter how isolated they may be.

What counts as an “insurmountable barrier to belief”, though? To me, the only such barrier would be the complete absence of any knowledge of Christianity whatsoever. It does not include political oppression IMO. For example, there is an underground of perhaps thousands of former Muslims in Saudi Arabia who are now Christians, meeting secretly and risking their own lives to worship. There are probably also other Saudis interested in Christianity, but are too intimidated by the Salafi government to convert. Who is more likely to be saved?

We must not let the idea of “baptism by desire” get too broadly defined. I see it as a person who is deeply dissatisfied and distressed by whatever current spiritual presence, or lack thereof, there is in their lives, perhaps secretly desiring a savior, and, if they were aware of Christianity, they would have immediately converted to it. It does not apply to those who just never bother or care to think about Christianity, even though they know of it.

This is why the Church, and we, leave such judgments up to God. I do not know if God requires heroic virtue for salvation–for canonization, certainly, but maybe not for salvation. Let us pray for those teetering on the fence due to fear or cultural inhibitions, as well as other such factors.

Let us pray for the conversion of the whole world.

Indeed. :gopray2:

*]Council of Florence -Cantate Domino–“The holy Roman Church believes, professes, and preaches that no one remaining outside the Catholic Church, not just pagans, but also Jews or heretics or schismatics, can become partakers of eternal life; but they will go to the ‘everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels’ (Matt. 25:41), unless before the end of life they are joined to the Church. For the union with the body of the Church is of such importance that the sacraments of the Church are helpful to salvation only for those remaining in it; and fasts, almsgiving, other works of piety, and the exercise of Christian warfare bear eternal rewards for them alone. And no one can be saved, no matter how much alms he has given, even if he sheds his blood for the name of Christ, unless he abide in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.

It is really hard to set a date. It was a gradual falling away from the original definitions. Now the whole subject is so confused a Catholic is allowed to hold either the strict view of the above definition or a liberal view which is now in vogue.

Specifically, I don’t think the modern “take” on the Council of Florence’s uncomfortably severe profession of faith (infallible Magisterium) will hold up, either historically or doctrinally.

Historically, it really isn’t credible to suggest that Catholic bishops and the Pope in 1442 thought that everyone on earth by that time “had heard and had understood the Gospel message.”

Remote parts of northeast Europe were then still being evangelized; educated Catholics knew that down in Africa there were unreached tribes; the previous two centuries had seen both peaceful and warlike contact between Europeans and the Mongols, Chinese, and other large Asian populations whom educated Europeans knew had never been thoroughly — or, in some cases even partly — reached by Catholic missionaries.

In other words, the discovery of the New World 50 years after the Council didn’t change the European Catholic perspective nearly as much as some (those following the liberal Sullivan?) claim it did.

Doctrinally, there is no hint at all in the Florentine text that only those “pagans and Jews” who are culpably ignorant of the Gospel will go to hell if they are not “aggregated” or “joined” to the true Church before the moment of death.

This is a solemn profession of a doctrine that had been universally taught as perennially true ever since the New Testament times — in other words for century after century, including periods when all Christians knew there were vast quantities of people out there who had not yet heard the Gospel, and so were not culpable in their unbelief.

From St. Paul onward (“How will they believe and be saved if they do not hear? How will they hear without a preacher” — Romans 10:3-4), the constant teaching of the Church, repeated and solemnly confirmed by Florence, had been that everyone needs to hear and believe the Gospel in order to be saved.

Whether ignorance of the Gospel on the part of pagans, Jews, or Muslims was vincible or invincible, culpable or inculpable, was understood to be basically irrelevant! For those folks would all be damned, if they didn’t believe explicitly in the Trinity and Jesus as Lord and Savior before death.

So it seems the modern interpretation of the Florentine dogma, by making it condemn to Hell only those who die culpably outside the Church, basically changes its original meaning — something we are forbidden to do under anathema by Vatican I.

Vatican I --Canon on Faith and Reason:
*]"From the Constitution:] Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by holy mother church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.

I doubt the modern interpretation will last.

I have to say that in general I agree. The new interpretation is, I think, a bowing in to political correctness. The media and masses feel warm and fuzzy inside when the Pope prays inside a mosque, but that by no means makes it right. To say that we cannot know the fate of those outside Christ’s Body (although we can infer it from Scripture) is one thing. To suggest they may be saved whatever they believe or feel is right, so long as they “follow their conscience” is quite, quite another.

:wave: Chypmonk,

You’re late. I thought you’d have been here a couple days ago. Same old beat, same old drummer. Not worth it to me to try again, for the umpteenth time.

The Church bowed to** political correctness**? No leading by Divine guidance? :whistle: Maybe you are misinformed due professing Angilcan background. The vote on this “new interpretation” was made by nearly 2600 bishops/Cardinals, and I verily doubt that they were “bowing” to P/C.

Your last sentence is a serious error in understanding the Church’s true teaching. I’m not sure whether you intend to hold on to that error, or if you want/need help understanding the teaching, but I needed to correct your statement in case anyone else is misled. There have been many good posts to help you, not only in this thread, but all over the forum, since the topic has been overly revisited.

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