Skip to comments.Outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation??
Posted on 01/02/2002 1:15:38 PM PST by Theresa
There is considerable confusion about the Catholic teaching of salvation. I found this on the internet. It was written by a former Presbyterian who became Catholic as an adult. It should be easy to understand he explains the docterine very well. .........
The phrase (in Latin, "Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus" or "Outside the Church there is no salvation") is a very ancient one, going back to the very early days of Christianity. It was originally meant to affirm the necessity of baptism and Christian faith at a time when
(a) A number of Christians were being tempted under torture to renounce their faith and deny Christ. (He's talking about the Roman Empire and Nero's persecution of Christians, throwing them to lions and such.) (b) Large groups of Christians were being led into "pseudo-Christian" cult-type groups, which were actually just a front for pagan philosophy and religion. (Such as the cult of Mithras which I think was practiced around the time after Jesus died.)
In response, bishops repeated that, if a person were to be aware of the meaning of Christ and then freely deny him or reject him, they had essentially turned away from God and the salvation he offers.
As Christians, we believe that we are saved only through Jesus. As St. Peter reminds his audience in Acts 4:12: "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved." In most cases, this means that we believe baptism in water, in the name of the Trinity, is the fundamental requirement for salvation.
However, even from the beginning, the great Christian writer and teacher St. Augustine said that the salvation imparted through baptism can also be imparted through other means: specifically, through the "baptism of blood" (a non-Christian who dies defending Christian beliefs or holy places) and "the baptism of desire" (a non-Christian who has expressed a firm desire to become a Christian, and who shows all the signs of living a Christian life, but who dies before baptism). In both of those cases, the Church has always recognized that the Holy Spirit leads people to God in ways which we cannot always explain or document.
God is able to save anyone he chooses. We trust that he often does this is ways that are not obvious to us, within the hearts of individuals who are sincerely seeking the truth. Otherwise, it would imply that all of humanity was excluded from salvation before Christ came, and that much of humanity (which has not had the opportunity to hear the Christian message until recently) was doomed to be eternally separated from God. This would imply a very cruel and elitist God. Our belief as Christians and Catholics is that God desires the salvation of all people even those who are not Christian. How he achieves that, however, is a mystery. But we know that our God is a loving God who would not allow people to suffer on account of an ignorance that they were not responsible for.
The Church teaches that baptism, faith, and a life lived in Christ are necessary for salvation. However, Vatican II also taught that, within every human heart, God places the law of conscience. Everybody has a deep sense of right and wrong which ultimately comes from God, and which will lead people to God if they attempt to follow their conscience faithfully. Because Jesus is God, those who move in the direction of God (even non-Christians) are ultimately moving in the direction of Jesus. And if they are moving in the direction of Jesus and His truth, ultimately they are expressing a desire for the salvation that God gives. The Church teaches that, while it is certainly easier to receive salvation as a Christian, it is not impossible to receive salvation in other religions.
This is a challenging situation: on one hand, we must be respectful of the good things to be found in other faiths, and encourage people to live their faiths with sincerity and love.
On the other hand, this does not mean that all religions are the same. We believe that Christ is the ultimate revealing of God to the world, and that the more we know about his message, the greater the chance that we will accept his offer and be saved. We must therefore continue to preach the message of the Gospel, and encourage interested non-Catholics to examine the claims of our faith, without in any way coercing or intimidating them.
Father Feeney was an American priest who, back in the 1940s, taught that if a person was not a Roman Catholic, they were condemned to hell. This has never been the accepted teaching of Catholicism, and Father Feeney was reprimanded by the Vatican for his mistaken understanding.
Nevertheless, there are groups which continue to hold to this strict interpretation, even after the Pope and bishops have specifically rejected it.
The phrase "Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus" teaches us that salvation is only through Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. But God is able to save whomever he pleases, whether they are baptized in the Roman Catholic Church or not.
It is important to remember that "the Church" in this phrase does not refer exclusively to the Roman Catholic Church. Salvation is a great gift, and God is a loving Father who wants all of his children to receive it. How he works this out, however, we will only understand in heaven. That is why, whenever we quote "Outside the Church, there is no salvation", we should also remember that "God is in no way bound by the sacraments."
Until then, we continue to proclaim Jesus as Lord (evangelization) and engage in respectful dialogue with followers of other religions, to discover the truths that God had revealed to them to guide them toward salvation, and to share with them the truth as we have discovered it in Christ.
I feel I have to respond to your post. I don't know which "non Bible based organized religion" you are speaking of, I know it's not the Catholic Church since most of the Mass is from the Holy Bible. We read from the Old Testament and the New Testament, with readings from the Psalms, actually quite beautiful.
I don't feel your speaking of the Catholic Church either when you mention the "elevation of man in doctrine while deminishing Jesus Christ", after all, Jesus Christ is the centerpiece of the Holy Mass, we believe He is present in the Holy Eucharist, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. At the elevation by the priest we are all on our knees before Jesus Christ. We tell Him that we are not worthy to recieve Him and we apologize during Mass for having offended Him. Then we eat His Body and Blood, as He commanded in the Bible.
I have issue with this also "to be really saved you need our extra special religious doctrine." We believe that Jesus instituted 7 sacraments, which we recieve, frequently on our journey to heaven, they really are extraordinary helps, I don't know how people do without them.
Of course I must ask this question: Isn't "being saved" and "saying the sinners prayer" an 'extra special doctrine of man, that just originated over the last two centuries? I hope I am asking this to the right person. Because noone believed this until the 1800's I believe. Jesus never says in the Gospel to "say the sinners prayer" and you'll be saved.
Of course the never ending misunderstandings which people cling to about Catholics 'worshiping Mary', 'worshiping statues' etc. is old and tired. I don't understand why people keep bringing these up even when they are told that we don't do such things. Oh well.
Regarding salvation outside the Church, I believe we are all responsible to find the truth of what Christ wants us to do. In my opinion, and I left the Church at one time because of some of the things you mentioned, the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth. The splendor of truth. "The whole enchilada." And I shall never leave "home" again.
I believe there is alot of hatred toward the Church and people cling to old "misdeeds" and misinformation because they are comfortable living the way they think is best, which I believe is pride. From what I've read about Luther he had some valid points to be made but he let his pride get the better of him. Many Catholic saints at the same time as Luther worked for change, and they stayed.
You mentioned 'dillusional' a few times, suggesting that Catholics can only accept Church teacing. You also insinuated that somehow we are linked with Satan because of 'short tempers.'
I don't see myself as dillusional, I see myself safe in my Mother's arms and I find true freedom of spirit in the Catholic Church. I don't hold any temper for anyone who makes the accusation you make, I hold sadness. Sadness that people cling to misdeeds and misinformation and reject the truth of Catholic teaching, which I believe is the teaching of Christ Himself.
Peace be with you.
We keep bringing them up because that is what is taught in catholic schools.
Her soul would be "Baptised by desire" and she would be cleansed. Baptism is a normal requirement for entry into God's family. But, like the thief on the cross, or the situation where you're hit by a bus on the way to get Baptised, God provides.
No more arrogant than the Mormons who believe they are the "one true church"
These are both "doctrines of men and devils".
You were not taught in Catholic school to worship Mary. In Catholic school you were led through "May Crowning" experiences and veneration of Mary. These acts your adult Protestant-biased mind conceives of as "worship."
To say that you were taught and did things in Catholic School that you now conceive of as worshipping Mary is one thing. To say that you were taught to worship Mary is another.
I have never seen or heard any priest tell me that I must perform 'works' to be saved. It is through the grace of God that we achieve salvation. Of course the old arguments about faith and works have gone on forever but we are saved through grace. I do 'works' out of the love I have for Jesus Christ, but I do not consider them to be works.
I don't view those who have gone before me as 'dead.' That is what we refer to as the communion of saints. I believe they intercede for us, as the Church teaches. God answers the prayer, all prayer.
Priests forgiving sins, that is straight from scripture, "He breathed on them and said 'recieve the Holy Spirit, if you forgive mens sins they are forgiven, if you hold them bound they are held bound."
Of course I have provided a very quick answer to your statements. I would urge you to study on your own and "rediscover" the Catholic Church.
Peace be with you.
Yes it is through God's grace we achieve salvation, and yes works are done BECAUSE we are saved not TO GET saved.
The bible teaches me that grace is God's free gift to us also, but the catholic church teaches you receive grace by participating in their sacraments. Is this what you believe? If so can you show me from scripture where it says this? If so isn't this helping in the work Jesus did for you on the cross? If so is the grace really free or aren't you guys having to earn it by doing something before you get it?
I think that the threat of damnation, on a personal level, is a very valuable spiritual tool for eliciting a good Christian life within the believer -- that is, a fear of damnation motivating one to keep the faith. Of course, this can become unbalanced, but I dont' believe there's anything wrong with a healthy amount of "fear and trembling." And I also tend to find the baseless rants of non-Catholics about the evil, nefarious aspects of Catholicism and the Catholic Church (taken to such extremes, as you mentioned, with the antichrist, satan, etc.) to be born of a similar spirit that motivates Catholics (and others) to render judgment on any particular individual's immortal soul. It's no doubt a psychological condition in the individual that engenders such an attitude, encouraged by the particular flavor of religion that the individual practices.
I generally leave the job of damning up to God. Oh wait, you are God, aren't you? Ok, then I guess it's your call. /sarcasm
I'm firmly stating what the Word of God says. And I will continue to state what it says because the Word is true. You either go to Heaven through Jesus, or you will end up in hell. Period.
Case closed. Don't blame me, I didn't write the Word. But, oh! How I love His Word!
Yes, I can. And I included your quotation for reference -- was there something in your last response to me that I left out? Tell me something, if Christ were to save those pagan idol worshipers from damnation, would they not be saved through Christ? What I am saying is that, no matter how much you wish you could be God, you are not. And I am not either. And neither of us knows how God deals with people who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the historical person of Christ and the Gospel message. I happen to trust God to be merciful and just, and whatever he chooses to do, I know is perfectly just and merciful. You should learn to trust God instead of feeling like it's your duty to decide who goes to Hell.
Jesus has already told us what happens to not only ALL unbelievers, but those who claim that they know Him when they do not. Yet you feel that this is unfair through this "no fault of their own" stance.
If I started to rap to you about predestination and election, your head would start spinning!
God is God. What He says stands, regardless of man's reasoning.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
--Isaiah 55:8 & 9
Showed my wife this thread and your response, and she shouted, "good for your!" She was brought up Catholic, but found that whenever she asked a simple direct question she was fed a load of ....
She just asked my how come we never hear about that wierd doctine of limbo anymore. Heard anything? Is it one of those on again off again truths the Catholics have, like eating meat on Friday?
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