Outside the Church their is no salvation

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"It [the Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that none of those outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but neither Jews, or heretics and schismatics, can become participants in eternal life, but will depart “into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels” [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life they have been added to the Church; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those abiding in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practised, even if he has shed his blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has abided in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church." (Council of Florence, A.D. 1442)

**“One indeed is the universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” ** (Pope Innocent III, A.D. 1198-1216: Ex cathedra)

So this means that even people who had no idea about the Catholic faith are not saved? But Vatican II says:

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. -(Lumen Gentium 16)

**But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Mohamedans, 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. ** (ibit.)

…separated Churches and Communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Church
(Unitatis Redintegratio 3)

Please help!
The two teaching actually compliment each other.

Outsid the Church, there is no salvation; but the Church has traditionally taught that those who seek to do God’s will to the best of their well-formed consciences are in some way united to the Church, and therefore are saved by virtue of this invisible membership.
If you have a Catechism of the Catholic Church, check out “Baptism” in all its forms. You will see that this covers more than only members of the “Catholic Church”, and of course, even those people need to remain faithfull to Christ’s teachings
The key to understanding these seemingly contradictory positions lies in the definition of what is meant by the term “the church”, and by and large these texts humbly refuse to give one.

In a sense “the church” refers to the community of all believers. i.e. if you believe in Jesus Christ and attempt to follow his teachings, you’re in. This understanding can be extended to include people who have no direct knowlege of Jesus as a person and his efforts for our salvation while he lived here on earth. Since “Through Him all things were made”, if an Australian Aboriginie of 5,000 years ago woke up one day to a glorious sunrise which prompted him to recognise that creation is obviously the work of a Creator, then he (she?) is in fact recognising Christ. Should this person take the further step of commiting the rest of their life to living in accordance with the dictates of this Creator (following the Natural Law that God has written in our hearts) to the best of his ability & understanding, then this person has, albeit informally become a Catholic.

That said “the church” does have a visible and recognisable form, and anyone who recognises it for what it claims to be “one holy catholic and apostolic” is obligated, not by the laws of the church, but by the faith already mentioned to formalise their relations with this entity, get baptised and become a ‘real’ Catholic.

Any one who at this point refuses to do this is either a Pagan, Jew, Moselm etc as mentioned in the first post

I would like to dicuss the below papal statement and what it means as far as outside The Church no salvation.

The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church. (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.)

The Pope damns those Jews etc. Now obviously they are not straying catholics because he nominates them ultimately as jews, and straying catholics etc are covered by heretics and Schismatics.

He then goes on to say no almsgiving etc, or in other words no good works can save them. This would tend to rule out all faiths outside of the catholic faith. But what really amazes me is that he says no one who gives his life in the name of Jesus can be saved unless within the Church.

Now who would give their life in the name of Jesus and not be in the Church, I think he can only be referring to those Christians who are outside the Catholic Faith, ie. Protestants etc. A non Christian would certainly not give his life in the name of Jesus, so it stands to reason that it must be Christians of some sort.

He also uses the word Unity, which means must be joined to the CAtholic Church.

Now I am aware that this was said at a time of rift between East and West and this at the very least refers to those of the Eastern Churches outside of CAtholicism, if my memory serves me correctly.

He is either condemining the Eastern Churches who split with Rome inthis statement which means it still applies today or he is speaking to the whole world.

Can people enlighten me and give reasons both for and against.


It is true that outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation. Regardless of what particular Protestant or non Christian religion one is in, there are two things to keep in mind. The people that understand that the church is the one that Christ founded and handed over to Peter and his successors until He comes again, will go to Hell if they reject the Catholic Church. The reason for this is because by rejecting the Church they reject Christ Himself. The other ones are those that either don’t know, or can’t understand the fact that they are in error.
Some of these people are very Holy in they’re own way with prayer and the word of God. How beautiful it would be if these people could enjoy the fullness of faith in the Catholic Church.
Boy, after reading that I’m glad I’m in the RCC!:bowdown:

OK, joking aside?😉 We need to put it into context and see what the rest of the document said, etc… What are other teachings of the RCC, etc. “Context” proofs false myths about the RCC false. This Bull is a popular tool to ridicule the RCC but if you read the entire story you’ll see that you can be mislead by those who do not like the RCC or understand its teachings and how they work and build on one another.

Simply put the Bull is 100% true! Read it entirely!:eek:

Now the “context” and this is not meant to insult but to inform. The RCC teaches, as I understand it, that a person who is ignorant of the truth cannot be held accountable for it. This means that if a person does not recognize the RCC as the true Church of Christ because he has never ‘seen’ it as so the person can still be saved! Now on the other hand, if a person knows the RCC as ‘true’ and rejects it he will be lost. So there is salvation outside the RCC for those who have never ‘seen’ Her as Christ’s body, His one true Church!:yup:

I have summarized greatly so please read the documents so as not to be mislead by my very short summery. Remember, the Catholic Church is 2,000 years old and has a library full of teachings. They build upon one another and without context to previous documents will lead one to incorrect conclusions as indicated by protestant use of this letter to defame and belittle the Church erroneously. The RCC is just one rite of that Church by the way.

Here is a link to more of the Bull.


Here is a link for more “CONTEXT” on the subject:


I hope this helps, it is a very very very long topic and I tried to put it in a small space.

Remember God loves all His children and came to save us all.:love:

Let’s bring this up to this century (or at least the last one):

Boniface VIII wrote Unam Sanctam, this was a papal bull directed to French Catholics to solve a political problem the Pope was having with French king Philip IV. Since it is not infallible under any of the Vatican I definitions it is equally as valid as the Catechism of the Catholic Church which says:
818 “However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.”
819 “Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth” are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: “the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements.” Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him, and are in themselves calls to “Catholic unity.”
838 “The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter.” Those “who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.” With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound “that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist.”
Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus!

How refreshing, reassuring this is bold statement is.

Much has already been said and that is good. However, let us not forget that at the moment of death we will meet Him face to face and be judged. In the Light of His Presence we will be judged and if we are saved the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ Himself, saves us. As Jesus is the Head of the Church, and as no one is saved without Jesus, there is no salvation outside the Church.

The beauty of this bold statement is that it rightly correlates with the “unforgivable sin” which is the rejection of, or blasphemy against, the Holy Ghost. Further, it prompts us to ponder the Judgement itself. Jesus Himself advises us of what is needed for Salvation – those who are on the right and those who are on the left.

Ah, yes, this is a most bold and beautiful statement!

Your unworthy brother in Christ and by the Grace of God a future priest,


P.S. John, brother Irish, good to see you…thanks for advising me of this MB.
Thanks for the response, the part I have tropuble understanding is that it essentially it applies (according to most theologons) to those who know the Catholic Church is the complete true Church of God

The reality is that next to no one, who either fails to enter the Church or who in fact leaves the Church would actually believe at the time they either are refusing to enter or who are leaving would actually believe that the Catholic Church is the true Church. It does not matter whether they at some time believed it to be the true Church or not (For those who were in the Church) because at the time of leaving the Church they no longer believed the Church to be the one and only true Church of Christ.
The other thing I have been studying is that in relation to Graces supplied by God. We are told that The sacrements themselves are Graces that help us achieve our salvation(heaven) Obviously if we are given these graces it means that we need them, if we need them then it means that it is obviously a lot harder to get to heaven without them.

What then are we to make of those who are not Catholic who do not receive some or all of the sacrements, they must then find it that much harder to get to heaven.

Now much of what I have read of the Church Fathers back through time, suggest that we desperately need the sacrements to help us to heaven.

What I am getting at is, if the sacrements are that important in terms of helping us achieve salvation, then those that do not get/have them must be in a very dangerous and subsequently most likely position of not achieving salvation.
Right on Tim!

This is exactly the case. While it is possible to have salvation outside the Church, the probability is much higher if you are within the Catholic church, in large part because of the graces that are received in the sacraments. Catholic Answers has a good tract on this…
It is true that outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation.
Salvation does not depend on either you are inside or outside “a church”. Salvation is only through Jesus Christ our only Savior.

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3:36

“He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life…” John 5:24

“He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” John 6:47

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Romans 10:9-10

“But as many as received (trusted in) him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 1:12

“To him (Jesus) give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:43

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…” Romans 1:16

“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:15

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” Acts 16:31

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

“… God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9

“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Romans 5:9

“Neither is there salvation in any other (except Jesus): for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:10, 12
  • Jesus is the Head, the Church is His Body.
  • “All salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 846).
  • In the words of Pope John Paul II,
"There is salvation only and exclusively in Christ. The Church, inasmuch as it is the Body of Christ, is simply an instrument of this salvation…
“People are saved *through * the Church, they are saved *in * the Church, but they always are saved by the grace of Christ.”
Vicent, salvation is a free gift from God. Once you believe in Jesus Christ as a saviour and let him enter your heart you will be saved. You will not need any “through” or “in” or “by” the church to be saved. God gave us the ultimate gift of salvation through his Son and that’s enough.
Dr Paul:
Right on Tim!

This is exactly the case. While it is possible to have salvation outside the Church, the probability is much higher if you are within the Catholic church, in large part because of the graces that are received in the sacraments. Catholic Answers has a good tract on this…
Dr Paul listen to yourself! Talking about probabilities and that sacraments give you a higher probability!
Read your Bible. Once you believe in Jesus as your savior and surrender your life to him YOU WILL BE SAVED. There is no such thing as probability. It is mentioned so many times that if you believe in Jesus you will be saved.
Once you believe in Jesus as your savior and surrender your life to him YOU WILL BE SAVED.
There’s more to it than that. Though one must believe in Jesus Christ as Saviour, that’s not enough. For starters, one must be baptized. One must also keep the Commandments, obey Christ, and endure to the end. That goes for non-Catholics as well as Catholics.
Vicent, salvation is a free gift from God.
Great. The Catholic Church not only agrees, but insists on it.
Once you believe in Jesus Christ as a saviour and let him enter your heart you will be saved.
It’s properly quoted as,

“If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
…which sounds absolutely Catholic.
You will not need any “through” or “in” or “by” the church to be saved. God gave us the ultimate gift of salvation through his Son and that’s enough.
Reread John Paul II’s quote carefully. He *did not * say that people are saved “by” the Church, “but they always are saved by the grace of Christ.”

He’s careful to emphasize that we can speak of being saved “through” and “in” the Church for the very reason that the Church is the Body of Christ the Head. . . .

. . . .that is, unless you believe the Body is running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Homer posted a lot of quotes. Here’s another one.

John 6:53-54
Thereupon Jesus said to them:
Let me solemnly assure you,
If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man
And drink his blood,
you have no life in you.
He who feeds on my flesh
And drinks my blood
Has life eternal,
And I will raise him up on the last day.

I apologize that I do not have time to address the issue completely, but in response to a previous inquirer, anytime Vatican II contradicts a previously infallibly declared doctrine, we can disregard its erroneous claims because Vatican II was not dogmatic but pastoral and does contain some errors. God bless.

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