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Outside the Church There is No Salvation - Part 4

Recently, I gave a presentation to a Catholic Men's group made of a 'regular' Catholic Men, plus one priest (SJ) on the dogma of the Necessity of the Church for Salvation.

Previous articles on this topic can be found  at these links part 1part 2part 3).

There was general surprise when I pointed out that the Second Vatican Council reiterated the necessity of the Church for Salvation with the same caveat of Invincible Ignorance as noted by Pope Pius IX (see slides below - also note I mislabeled the source - it was LG16 not LG17) .

At one point, the comment was made that it is possible to quote these teachings however a person wants when taken out of context.  The complete text of LG 16 concerning the salvation of Jews and Muslims was quoted as an example.

Now, my objective was to demonstrate alignment between the pre-conciliar teaching and that of the Second Vatican Council. So, the ancillary statements I excluded from my slides.  I do not believe that I was experiencing 'confirmation bias'.  I remember seeing the following passage and noting the continuity between the prologue and the section that I quoted ('those also can attain ...').

Here is the quotation that was read from an iPhone:
Finally, those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God.In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh. On account of their fathers this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues. But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind. Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and all things, and as Saviour wills that all men be saved. LG16
The commenter was, I believe, trying to prove that LG16 changed Church doctrine and that the Old Covenant is still salvic. That opinion was decisively ruled out in an earlier council of the Church (name escapes me).

I do admit that I am not a linguistic expert, however, the first sentence in the above quote introduces those who have not yet received the Gospel, and the the first sentence of the following paragraph explains how the aforementioned groups may (not will) be saved.  The teaching is a repetition of the doctrine concerning invincible ignorance.
Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. (see slide 4)
What is necessary for non-Catholics to be saved (slide 0)?  First they have to be 'Invincibly Ignorant', have Super Natural Faith (at a minimum believe there is a God and that He rewards the good and punishes the bad), have at least an implicit desire to enter the Church (see below) and make a perfect act of charity / contrition. These requirements were clearly described in the letter to Archbishop Cushing.

At this point we analysed the state of a Jewish or Muslim person vis-a-vis the four points necessary.
  1. An unbaptized person (or even baptized non-Catholic) achieves a state of invincible ignorance, removing culpability for not entering the Church.
  2. By default a person of either the Jewish or Islamic religion, can achieve the minimum requirements for Supernatural Faith.  It is much easier for a protestant.
  3. If this person is trying to align his will to that of God as he understands it and manifests implicit desire. Meaning if he knew that the Church of Christ is the True Church, then he would transition from an implicit to explicit desire to enter the Church.
  4. Finally, based on the aforesaid items, if this person made a perfect act of charity / contrition then they will achieve a state of grace. 
If the person then died in this state, they would be saved.

These are the principles, however, there are four issues to remain aware of:
  1. A person will not know if they have achieved this state of grace via a perfect act of contrition until they've died. At this point, it is a little late if they fell short. 
  2. Nor will they know if they are invincibly ignorant.
  3. No one else will know if that person was saved via this path until they die in their turn.
  4. If the individual is saved, it is because of the aforementioned conditions, not because of anything salvic within their religion.
In other words, a non-Catholic person is saved in spite of their religion, not because of it (per se).

It is an interesting topic and actually consoling to see this is one area where the Church, aside from the rather fluffy prologue, is simply a repetition of prior doctrine.

Attached below are some of my slides.


Slide 0

Slide 1

Slide 2

Slide 3

Slide 4

Slide 5

Slide 6

Slide 7


  1. I would like to know what the qualifications are for a "Catholic traditionalist," please.

    1. Welcome to my blog!

      I don't think I quite understand your question.

      Could you be a little more specific?


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