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If there is no salvation outside the Church, then what does Christ’s death do for those who die without entering the Church?

Full Question

If there is no salvation outside the Church, then what relationship does Christ’s sacrifice on the cross have with those who sincerely believe in a false religion and die having never entered the Church?

Answer

Remember that Jesus said from the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34). What did his sacrifice on the cross have to do with those who mocked him, spit at him, and crucified him? In other words, what did it have to do with those for whom he was asking forgiveness from God the Father? The answer is: everything. For some, it was through ignorance that they crucified him, and invincible ignorance can diminish one’s culpability for evil done—even the crucifixion of our Savior. They still could be saved, or Jesus’ plea for their forgiveness to the Father would make no sense. Whoever enters heaven will do so only because of Christ and his sacrificial work on the cross. Some people may enter heaven having never heard of Christ, but it will be because of him that they enter.










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22 comments

  1. Vicki Reply

    Those who are considered ‘saved’ but did not partake of the blessed Eucharist, in the Holy Catholic & Apostolic Church will go to Paradise. However, Paradise is not heaven, as non-Catholics believe, It is Purgatory. They will not suffer the pains of hell but they will never be in the presence of God the Father. Even Catholics who have not received the Last Rites of the Catholic Church or are not in the State of Grace, do not go directly to heaven. Their souls go to Purgatory until they are purified. Nothing unclean, shall enter the presence of God the Father..

    Jesus Christ established the Catholic Church & it is the One True Church. All others were started by man who decided he knew better then Jesus &/or did not want to follow all His teachings. As an example, the Anglican church was started by King Henry VIII because he wanted a divorce to marry another woman, which he later beheaded. Others eliminated certain books of the Bible & yet, many Protestants believe only
    in their bible. All the acceptance of immorality & being politically correct, instead of following the Commandments, will NOT save your soul.

    Do you want to have anything & everything while on earth, or will you follow God’s Commandments as the preparation for eternity?

    1. Peter Reply

      Amen Vicki.

  2. El Reply

    The Church consists of the Church Militant or the living people on earth, the Church Suffering or that in purgatory, and the Church Triumphant in Heaven. THERE IS JUST ONE STATE THAT IS OUTSIDE THE CHURCH, THAT IS HELL. In hell, there is no salvation. That is the meaning of that doctrine.

  3. Barbara Hines Reply

    Don’t know where you get your theology from. No one can say anyone will ‘never’ be in the presence of God the Father. Only God knows the heart of all people.

    1. Vicki Reply

      If you know Catholic teachings, you know what I said is true. At one time this was taught to all, but the more the secular community pushes their political agendas, even some priests are reluctant to say it, as it truly is.

      1. El Reply

        The Church consists of the Church Militant or the living people on earth, the Church Suffering or that in purgatory, and the Church Triumphant in Heaven. THERE IS JUST ONE STATE THAT IS OUTSIDE THE CHURCH, THAT IS HELL. In hell, there is no salvation. That is the meaning of that doctrine.

        1. Vicki Reply

          Sorry E! but you are wrong. Maybe you have Protestant teaching or explanations. There is most definitely a purgatory. Souls who do not deserve to be in hell, but need to be purified before they enter the presence of God. When Jesus told the thief that he would be with Jesus in Paradise, it was Purgatory that he was taken to. Protestants belief that Paradise is Heaven. They are mistaken. Just think about it. Does my explanation not make more sense? It ought to, as it is the truth. Learn the truth about the Catholic church. It will save your soul.
          A good place to start is EWTN. Either TV or the website. Marcus Grodi & The Journey Home are great.

          1. El

            Vicki, regarding your reply. Please read my comment again. It says that on Earth, on Purgatory, and in Heaven, there is salvation. Only in hell, meaning those people in hell cannot be saved. That is the Church’s definition of “Outside the Church”. I am a Catholic and of course, I believe in puegatory.

          2. El

            Another one Vicki, i am a Catholic and I am a firm believer of the purgatory, of purification. May I just ask you if I left any one comment against the purgatory? That comment that you are replying to is according to the official doctrine of the Church. I learned it as a theologian from a pontifical university and confirmed it with my professor who is a cardinal. Again what I am saying is that there is salvatio in earth, in purgatory, and heaven, there is salvation because those comprises the Church, while in hell, there is no salvation because hell is outside the church.

          3. Vicki

            El, what can I say. I do not have the wisdom & information that you or your Cardinal friend have. I do, however, have the ability to communicate with spirits. I have had this ability for approx. 3 yrs. I know many things about the spirit world that no one else does. About salvation, for non catholics, it is purgatory.

            There is much that theologians & even cardinals do not know. ie. the Apostles Creed. Jesus Christ is His begotten Son but not His only Son.. He was conceived by God the Father, not the Holy Spirit. Many believe that Jesus was raised up by God. He rose by His Own Power!

  4. Roch Reply

    Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes, teaches on salvation through the Church:

    “All this holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way. For, since Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate vocation for man is in fact one, and divine, we aught to believe that the Holy Spirit, in a manner known only to God, offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this pascal mystery.”

    For those not familiar with “invincible ignorance,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1735 states:

    “Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors.”

  5. Roch Reply

    Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes, teaches on salvation through the Church :

    “All this holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way. For, since Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate vocation for man is in fact one and divine, we aught to believe that the Holy Spirit, in a manner known only to God, offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this pascal mystery. ”

    For those not familiar with ” invincible ignorance, ” the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1735 states:

    “Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological and social factors.”

  6. Vicki Reply

    I presume that this is the comment you are concerned with==For those not familiar with " invincible ignorance, " the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1735 states:

    “Imputability and responsibility for an action can be diminished or even nullified by ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological and social factors."

    Okay, these souls will not go to hell & you can consider them saved, as such, BUT they will never be in the presence of God the Father. Even Catholics who have not received the Last Rites of the Catholic Church or are not in the State of Grace, do not go directly to heaven. Their souls go to Purgatory until they are purified. Nothing unclean, shall enter the presence of God the Father.. I have the ability to communicate with spirits, including ghosts, whom I have been able to send to God, so I know that what I say is true. Surely you have heard of saints who have had this ability as well. And, no, I am not a saint.

  7. Roch Reply

    Bless your heart, Vicki,
    The main point is in the quote from GAUDIUM ET SPES! There the Church teaches that, since Christ died for all men, that the Holy Spirit offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this pascal mystery — i.e., the crusifiction of our Lord, Jesus Christ! This teaching is on point to the original question: “… what relationship does Christ’s sacrifice on the cross have with those who sincerely believe in another religion…?” We can not gain any merit without God’s gift of grace! Pray for the grace to become a saint! God’s grace through Jesus is the only way for any of us to enter into and perceive the presence of the Holy Trinity! Loving you all through Christ,
    Roch

  8. christopher Michael Reply

    Didn’t Jesus said ‘i am the way, the truth, and the life ? And that no one goes unto the father but by me?

  9. Roel Reply

    Hello. Im just a lay person and i personally believe in salvation outside of the catholic church but that is for God to decide. I think, the question should be is “Is there salvation for Christians outside of the Catholic church? What do you think?

  10. catstclair12000 Reply

    Vatican II, in the document, “On the Constitution of the Church”, made it clear that those who, through no fault of their own, are not members of Christ’s Church, are still able to gain salvation. That’s everyone. The Holy Spirit, not the Bible, guides the Church.
    Too many people, normally fundamentalist Protestants, see the Bible as a rule book. No one can point to another person, as some love to do, and say this person and that person are going to Hell because the Bible says so. Jesus promised an admitted thief who was dying on a cross that he would be in Paradise that very day. He was not approving of the thief; He was forgiving the man.

    1. Barbara Hines Reply

      I fully agree castclair12000 Says it all.

  11. Roch Reply

    Roel, The question asked is broader than only Christians and includes all Humanity. Christopher Michael correctly quotes Jesus Christ, Who instituted the one, true, holy Catholic and Apostolic Church! Exclusively through His Catholic Church, God, the Holy Trinity,offers His Salvation to all, who obey the Laws of God placed in their hearts!

    Salvation is not offered exclusively to Catholics but is offered exclusively through the Catholic Church to all those obeying God’s Laws! I hope that this makes clear that Doctrine of the Church.

    1. Vicki Reply

      There is a list of all Popes from the time of St. Peter, our first Pope. Some of them were anti-popes. Satan is extremely powerful & has on occasion, mimicked the Holy Spirit when popes were being elected. Vatican II, has been the result of this. Web of Faith on EWTN could shed some light on this. This caused a lot of confusion & many Catholics abandoned the church at this time. Just one of the disasters was the language in prayers being changed to that of lack of respect to God & the Virgin Mary.Instead of using Thee & Thou, etc, some of us use the terms of you & yours. Today in church, the Gospel was about the Body & Blood of Jesus Christ. He also said, Unless you eat my Body & drink My Blood, you shall not enter the Kingdom of God. This also used to be taught by the priests, until Vatican II. This means that you must receive the Holy Eucharist & reconciliation. Some Protestant churches give out, what they call communion, but their pastors do not have the power of transubstantiation., which is the changing of bread & wine into the Body & Blood of Jesus Christ.

      1. Roch Reply

        I’ve been praying for you Vicki,

        Jesus stresses to us that God is very approachable, and to pray to Him in the second person, grammatically, — i.e. “Thee” or ” You!” Even telling us to pray to “Abba” which translates better as “Daddy!” St. Augustin sent a tremendous amount of criticism to St. Jerome regarding his translation of the Bible into Latin. Using modern, but still formal English, shows the same reverence as using Archaic English, but, if you believe that you show increased reverence by using it, then by all means do! Archaic English comes to us from the King James Version as well as others.

        I remember an old Art Linkletter rerun in which a little boy said that he knew God’s First Name. When asked what it was, he said “Howard — we pray Howard be Thy Name!” So it is also very necessary for the Bible’s language to be easily understood — even though truly understanding the meanings is not easy. Casual English is also reverent when it aids in understanding.

        Remember that nothing is impossible with God! Jesus may provide a way of receiving Holy Eucharist in the next world to deserving souls. Jesus’s Catholic Church never states that any soul, in particular, is in hell, but only confirms those in Heaven through the Canonization Process. And we, you and I, are part of the Catholic Church!

        AMDGIHS

  12. Roch Reply

    Somehow, I am not able to see all of the new comments at the same time! The exact quote from the Vatican II document is included in my previous comments — twice, because I hit a wrong button, lost it, entered it again, but had requested the site post the original if it could be found, which they did.

    Our Catholic Church does not violate any Holy Scripture in the Bible and believes it is all inspired by the Holy Spirit, Who also guides the Church in interpreting Holy Scripture and in determining what is morally right when the Bible does not address a modern issue.

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