Friday, October 20, 2006

"Outside the Church there is no salvation"

Adoration tonight, 7-8 pm, SAA Church. All are invited!!
SJB asked, "What does the Church teach regarding the salvation of those who are non-Catholics? And what about those who may never have heard of Jesus Christ?" Thanks for your question. The Church's famous and contraversial statement regarding your question, which she first pronounced in the 4th century**, is: "Outside the Church there is no salvation". The Catechism explains:

"How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? 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' (Lumen Gentium,#14; Vatican II).

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' (LG, # 16).

"Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men" (CCC, # 846-848).
**St. Cyprian of Carthage
"Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress [a schismatic church] is separated from the promises of the Church, nor will he that forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is an alien, a worldling, and an enemy. He cannot have God for his Father who has not the Church for his mother" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 6, 1st ed. [A.D. 251]).

"Let them not think that the way of life or salvation exists for them, if they have refused to obey the bishops and priests, since the Lord says in the book of Deuteronomy: ‘And any man who has the insolence to refuse to listen to the priest or judge, whoever he may be in those days, that man shall die’ [Deut. 17:12]. And then, indeed, they were killed with the sword . . . but now the proud and insolent are killed with the sword of the Spirit, when they are cast out from the Church. For they cannot live outside, since there is only one house of God, and there can be no salvation for anyone except in the Church" (Letters 61[4]:4 [A.D. 253]).


At 8:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting reflection at adoration tonight. So this Sunday's homiles are going to be a bit hellfire and brimstone eh? I know who's mass to avoid then.

At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Searching For Holiness said...

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At 10:57 PM, Blogger Fr Greg said...

Anon, thanks for your comments but they have me a bit perplexed. First of all, if you were there, you probably saw a family there which included three young boys. The mother came up to me after Adoration and said that the boys all thoroughly enjoyed Adoration which would include my reflection. If it was 'hellfire and brimstone', I don't think they would have had that experience.

Secondly, I said that I plan on telling the story of salvation in my homilies this weekend. I have told this story to many parishioners here recently, and they been grateful to hear it. I went a little bit more in depth tonight about the climax of the story which is the Cross. That is because it was a reflection given to a crowd that, by and large, knows the story and understands what the Cross is all about. The typical Sunday congregation is not the same as the Friday night Adoration crowd, so it will not be the same talk. The main point of each, though, is to help people understand how to find Salvation.

So, what did I say tonight that you would avoid hearing again? Is it talking about the Cross? Is that what you felt was 'hellfire and brimstone'? Please help me to understand. Thanks.

At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fr. Greg all your reflections and homilies ROCK! To echo SFH you are an awesome priest!

At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Marion (Mael Muire) said...

Re: "hellfire and brimstone"

I don't know that the divine Cure of Ars' sermons didn't throw off a spark or two on occasion, and that there wasn't the occasional whiff of sulfur to a number of them as well.

At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Searching For Holiness said...

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At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would anyone ever want to avoid Fr. Greg's mass!

At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who knows why someone would avoid his masses.

Fr. Greg: I think you rock the casbah! Your homilies are always informative and insightful. Keep up the good work!

At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I read some of these messages I get the impression this is a site for the purpose of praising Fr. Greg. Fr. Greg is only the messenger. Let's keep in mind the One reason we gather to worship.

At 6:27 PM, Anonymous Searching For Holiness said...

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At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the "through no fault of their own" part that confuses me. It would be obvious that this applies to those who have never been exposed to the Gospels (the historical intent and basis for evangelation especially of the early Church?), but does this also imply that we are each responsible and required to seek and ultimately understand the truths of Christ and His Church? From lots of entries on this blog about the Eucharist etc, this takes some (Catholics) many years, if ever, to actually "get." And once they do fully understand that the Church was founded by God through Christ, how could one ever possibly knowingly reject these things, or any part of it, anyway?

Is it enough for salvation to be a Baptised Catholic who is responsibly seeking all of this, even if one has not completely "gotten it" by the time of death?


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