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Faith/Spirituality Forum: Questions about doctrine

by Catherine Frakas 08 Aug 2001

Questions about doctrine QUESTION from Jeff January 28, 2001 I have been raised Catholic, confirmed, and still am Catholic. Recently I have had a few questions and have not been able to find a place to ask (the priest at my parish is gone and we have guest priests right now).
First, let me tell you about what I do. I am a youth leader in a Christian organization called Young Life. This brings up my first question. I have heard that in order to be saved you must be Catholic. This raises some questions for me because I see kids being saved and thank the Lord that He has chosen to work through me and allow me to witness this. Young Life is a non-denominational organization devoted to sharing the Gospel with those who have never heard the Truth. I think of a couple of verses that make me feel that the key to salvation is through knowing Christ on a personal level. The first is when Christ says that the only way to the Father is through Him. The second is The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus.
My next curiosity is in the realm of marriage. I have read some about marriages to non-Catholics and wonder on the scripture for the churches guidelines. The reason I ask is that I am currently dating(for 3 years) a young woman who is Lutheran. Can you let me know of the reasoning behind the churches policies on marriages?
Thank you very much for your time and patience. These questions have recently been tugging at my heart and I want to know the reasoning behind these doctrines. If they are not from scripture yet from the Pope, then can you point me towards the reasoning behind the Popes decision?
In Him, Jeff
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on March 19, 2001 Dear Mr. Jeff:
Salvation is only through the Catholic Church is a dogma of the faith and thereby an infallible teaching and a teaching from God. But we cannot know the full extent of this teaching by only quoting a single phrase. The Church does elaborate.
The Church teaches that those who through no fault of their own do not not Jesus or His Church may yet be saved through the mercy and grace of God based upon what those people do know of God and based upon their efforts to know God and live for Him according to their understanding.
Thus, a Protestant that is not convinced about the Catholic Church being the true church, can still be saved based upon the faith that he does know. This is called invincible ignorance.
So, while these kids may be converting to Christ outside the visible Catholic Church, they are still apart of the Catholic Church by virtue of their baptism and by virtue of what they do know of the faith in the Jesus. Non-Catholic Christians do have a Christian faith that saves, but they do not have the FULLNESS of the faith. Only the Catholic Church has the Fullness of the faith.
On the issue of Mixed marriages, first, it is common sense to discourage a mixed marriage. Marriage is tough enough without the couple arguing over something as personal and fundamental as religion. Mixed marriage are in MAJOR risk of failure because of the difference in values and believes. Common Sense tells us that it is best to marry within one's own faith group.
Scripture is FILLED with this advice. Open up the Old Testament and read the story of Israel. God repeatedly tells the Jews to NOT marry outside of their faith because that will cause foriegn and hostile ideas to intrude upon the Jewish community. And the Jews constantly disobeyed that directive of God and did marry outside of the faith and it cost them apostasy in many instances.
2 Corinthians 6:14 is primary verse referring to this: Do not be mismated with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
If you are a Catholic wanting to marry a non-Catholic baptized Christian, it is possible. You must get permission from your Bishop.
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