Faith/Spirituality Forum: Salvation outside the Church
Salvation outside the Church QUESTION from Rodney Beason April 24, 2001 Greetings and thank you for letting me post a question. I am involved in a discussion with some very traditionally minded Catholics who state there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church. For example Protestants are not saved. I am a Catholic as well, but when I bring up Vatican ll they scoff it is not an ancient source. Would you know of any pre Vatican ll statements I could show to them letting them know Protestants can be saved? Thank you kindly.
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on July 8, 2001 Dear Mr. Beason:
It sounds like your traditionally minded Catholic friends are actually not in communion with the Church. Don't listen to them.
While it is true that there is no salvation outside the church, that must be understood properly. Those in invincible ignorance, that is, those who through no fault of their own do not know Jesus or His Church, may yet find salvation through the mystery of God's mercy according to the knowledge of God that they do know and their sincere efforts to find Him. Thus Protestants can be saved. Even a Hindu can be saved. And when they are saved, they are saved through Jesus and the Catholic Church, whether they know it or not. Exactly how God accomplishes the salvation of even Hindus yet still THROUGH Christ and His church we are not certain, but we know that He does. (His church = Catholic Church)
What these self-absorbed heretics fail to acknowledge is that the CHURCH, not their puny opinions, dictate what's what in Catholic faith and morals. They also tend to forget that this understanding about no salvation outside the church that I just paraphrased above has NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING to do with Vatican II. It would still be as binding if it were a proclamation of Vatican II (despite what heretics and schismatic nimrods say), but in this case, it has nothing to do with Vatican II.
In the 1940's a Father Feeney proposed that Protestants and all other non-Catholics were going to hell because salvation is in the Catholic Church alone. The Church tried to education the man but he wouldn't listen. He was thus excommunicated.
Thus, we know for a fact that this idea of no salvation outside the church must be understood in a way not exclusive to literal Catholic membership was before Vatican II. It was asserted by the Church in the 1940's and before. No new innovation here.
Bottom Line: God can save whom He pleases. The Church affirms this and recognizes that others, not catholic, may indeed find salvation according to their circumstances and God's mercy.
But the SUREST way to heaven is through literal card-carrying membership and practice in the Catholic Church.
Oh, as to argue with these people, it will not matter what documents you give them, they will not accept it.
Consider the advice of St. Paul:
Titus 3:9-11 : 9 But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels over the law, for they are unprofitable and futile. 10 As for a man who is factious (detractor, heretic, dissenter), after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is perverted and sinful; he is self-condemned. Back to Index Page