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Chris Martinez wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • How do I reply to my non-Catholics friends when they ask me whether salvation comes only through the Catholic Church?

My thought is that Jesus died for all. I'm never quite sure how to respond to that question.

Chris

  { How do I reply when they ask me whether salvation comes only through the Catholic Church? }

Paul replied:

Dear Chris,

If your question is related to the AskACatholic.com web site please remember to include all the e-mails from the team and if you are replying use the Reply All feature of your e-mail program when replying to an answer so that all of us can have a shot at your question and replies.

Here is my take on your question. We need to take into consideration all four of these truths:

  1. Grace is what is necessary for salvation. All grace comes from God and through Jesus Christ.
  2. The Church is the body of Christ. Therefore all grace comes through the Head (Jesus) and His body (the Church).
  3. All who are validly baptized (from any denomination) enter the Church.
  4. The Catholic Church is the Church that Jesus historically founded; and the fullness of the Truth remains with her.

Putting these together we can deduce two conclusions:

  1. Catholics (as well as Orthodox) possess the best means to salvation. It is best for everyone to be Catholic.
  2. It seems possible for non-Catholics and non-Christians to attain salvation, if:

    1. God works outside of his sacraments for those that are invincibly ignorant, through no fault of their own, that Catholicism is the true faith, and
    2. Those that are invincibly ignorant are open to grace and follow God according to their conscience.

That may seem like a convoluted answer because Jesus did die for all but we also have to follow everything Jesus taught us to attain salvation.

For those that know the Catholic Church is the one Christ established, and freely refuse to enter it, they shall be judged harshly — they can't be saved (CCC 846).

For all that don't know, we hope and pray for their salvation through extra-sacramental grace that mysteriously flow through the Body of Christ to the world. In the meantime, Catholics have a responsibility to evangelize and catechize.

Peace,

Paul

Mike replied:

Hi Chris,

Good question.

If you want an in-depth reply to your question and similar questions you should schedule a period of time to read through all the postings in our No Salvation Outside the Church section.

There are 25 postings on three separate pages that cover almost every question you will receive as a Catholic.

My favorite posting is this one:


Mike

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