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Penny B. wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Does the Catholic Church believe that all Muslims and other non-Christians will go to Hell?

My friends believe they will. I cannot believe that God, our Creator would create people just to simply send them to Hell.

  • What should I tell my friends?


  { Does the Catholic Church believe that all Muslims and other non-Christians will go to Hell? }

Paul replied:

Dear Penny,

You can tell your friends that the Catholic Church does not take a stand on exactly who goes to Hell. Only God, the perfect Judge, can know this.

Although we don't know how often or to what degree it may occur, we do acknowledge that God can work outside of His sacraments for those who through no fault of their own are sincerely ignorant about the Church, baptism, and the other sacramental forms of God's saving grace.



Penny replied:

Paul —

Thanks so much for your answer!


Mike replied:

Hi, Penny —

In addition to what Paul said I wanted to add the following posting:

In another posting my colleague, John replied to paragraph 841 of the Catechism this way:

841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."

There is one plan of Salvation; it's called Calvary! All those who will be saved, will be saved by the Blood of Jesus Christ. Actually, to be more accurate, all those who are saved, are saved in and through the Incarnation. There is no salvation without Jesus.

  • Now, does that mean that every person will know Him in this life?

That question is open. We know that in all cases, we rely on the grace and mercy of God so when we talk about a plan of salvation to include the Muslims, it simply means some Muslims may be saved by the Blood of Jesus — but not because they followed Islam!!

The Church likes to build on common ground to start the discussion so with the Muslims, we see that we can talk to them about there being one God. They also believe in the God of Abram; the God revealed in Hebrew as Elohim — a very limited revelation that got completely distorted by Muhammad. Despite the distortions and the warped understanding of God, there remain elements of the salvation history in the Koran. Therefore, these can be conversation starters, but the Church is in no way, shape, or form, saying the Islam is an alternative road to salvation.

Here's my simplified version of salvation: (all three are important in understanding salvation.)

  • those who through no fault of there own don't know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but seek the Lord God with a sincere heart, can be saved.
  • those who know the Church to be the True Church, yet refuse to enter it, cannot be saved.
  • All people are bound to:
    • form their conscience and to grow in knowledge of their own faith
    • grow in knowledge of the historical nature of their church and faith, and
    • be open to joining another faith if they believe it is the True Church of God.

Hope this helps,


Penny replied:

Thank you both.

This has really helped me.


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