Salvation is only through the Church

I have a friend that wrote to me…Vatican II the Church no longer insists that salvation is only through the Church but may be provided through other religions.
Is this true??? not sure

here is your answer found in “ask an apologist”

June 10, 2004, 11:29 AM
Peggy Frye
Catholic Answers Apologist Join Date: May 4, 2004
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 381

Re: Salvation outside of the Church

Those who are not Catholic can be saved. It is a general theological principle that God gives all men an opportunity for salvation, since he wills all men to be saved (1 Tim 2:4), and he is a just God.

Sections 846-848 of the Catechism deal specifically with the doctrine of no salvation outside the Church.:

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church: Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337

Even the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council taught: “We believe that this one true religion continues to exist in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus entrusted the task of spreading it among all people (Mt 28:19-20)…all persons are required to seek the truth, and when they come to know it, to embrace it and hold fast to it” (Second Vatican Council, Declaration Dignitatis humanae, 1.).

Concerning the salvation of non-Catholic Christians, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1260) says “Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved.” It is not a salvation outside of Christ, but one through his grace.

Thus, a faithful Protestant, who truly seeks God, but who had seen no evidence or insufficient evidence for the Catholic faith, such a person could be innocently ignorant. On the other hand, if a faithful Protestant, who truly seeks God, knew in his heart the truths of the faith, he would become a Catholic (as I did). Whereas, if a Protestant is not ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but knowingly and willingly rejects the truth and dies outside of it, he cannot be saved. In short, what you know can hurt you.

Further reading on this subject:

Dominus Iesus:…s-iesus_en.html

You’ll find many excellent articles on this subject at the following sites:

“Salvation outside the Church”:…_the_Church.asp

“No Salvation Outside the Church” by Father William Most

God bless you! You are in my prayers.

The Catholic Church provides all of the means of salvation because it has all of the sacraments that Christ gave to humanity. It is the one and only Church He gave to us. That said, by ways known only to God, the Church does believe that those who in essence respond to the grace God does give them and live a life seeking Him and truth, even if they never fully discover it, may have salvation as well. I’m a devout Catholic, but I can’t sit here and tell you that I know 100% that I’m going to Heaven. What I can tell you is that I believe I have the surest path to get to Heaven because I’m following the path Christ laid out for man to follow. That knowledge that I have is the most precious gift God has given to me. Other folks have not received the gift, but that doesn’t mean He loves them less. Then too, those who have been given more…more is expected. I cannot rest on my rear end and call it good. He has called all of us who have heard the truth to take this message to as many other souls as we can. Evangelization. That was one of the key elements that came out of Vatican II.

Here’s the answer from the CCC. Your friend is making it say something that it flatly does not. Here it is.

Here’s what Lumen Gentium, The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church from the Vatican 2 council says about salvation and the role of the Church:

"This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism(cf. Mc 16, 16; Jn. 3, 5.) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.

They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion. He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a “bodily” manner and not “in his heart.”(Cf. Mk. 4, 26-29.) All the Church’s children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.(Cf. Cor. 3, 16; 6, 19.)

The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter. (Cf. Gal. 4,6; Rom. 8, 15-16 and 26.) For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour. (Cf. Jn. 16, 13.) They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ. They also recognize and accept other sacraments within their own Churches or ecclesiastical communities. Many of them rejoice in the episcopate, celebrate the Holy Eucharist and cultivate devotion toward the Virgin Mother of God.(Cf. Eph. 1, 11-12; 1 Cor. 12, 4 Gal. 5 22.) They also share with us in prayer and other spiritual benefits. Likewise we can say that in some real way they are joined with us in the Holy Spirit, for to them too He gives His gifts and graces whereby He is operative among them with His sanctifying power. Some indeed He has strengthened to the extent of the shedding of their blood. In all of Christ’s disciples the Spirit arouses the desire to be peacefully united, in the manner determined by Christ, as one flock under one shepherd, and He prompts them to pursue this end. (citation got messed up on my source) Mother Church never ceases to pray, hope and work that this may come about. She exhorts her children to purification and renewal so that the sign of Christ may shine more brightly over the face of the earth."

That should help. :thumbsup:

Thank you, each and everyone. For all the info I am passing it onto him. Hopefully it helps… Thanks for the quick response.