the Catechism of Pope St. Pius X...
Q. Can one be
saved outside the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church?
A. No, no one
can be saved outside the Catholic, Apostolic Roman Church, just as no one could
be saved from the flood outside the Ark of Noah, which was a figure of the
forward, the Church has taught the necessity of being formally
incorporated into her fold for salvation. In fact, St. Peter, the first Pope, told the good
Jews that they needed to be added to the Church to be saved. Just days
previously, these devout Jews were practicing the true religion, but St. Peter,
under the influence of the Holy Spirit, informed them that they needed to
believe in Christ and be baptized – and therefore be added to Christ's only true
Church – for salvation. Those who wouldn't heed his teaching were not
"added to their number those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47).
Since then, The
Church has consistently confirmed the necessity of being Catholic for salvation.
In fact, the necessity of being Catholic for salvation has been put forward by
the Church in an infallible – and therefore irreformable – manner. Some
statements confirming the well-known dogma of "no salvation outside the Church"
"One indeed is the
universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved..."
(Lateran Council IV, 1215 A.D.)
condition of salvation is to maintain the rule of the true faith." (Fourth
Council of Constantinople)
Church baptism can be put in you but it cannot avail you (inesse potuit, non
prodesse)." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.)
"All who wish to
reach salvation outside the Church are mistaken as to the way and are engaged in
a futile effort." (Pope Leo XIII)
"No one can be
justified unless he faithfully and unhesitatingly accepts the Catholic doctrine
on justification." (Council of Trent)
"If anyone is
outside the Ark of Noe [that is, the Church] he will perish in the over-whelming
flood." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)
"For unless one
preserves the faith entire and uninjured, he will without doubt perish forever."
(Bl. Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846 A.D.)
"Anyone who dares
to secede from Peter's solid rock may understand that he has not part or lot in
the divine mystery." (Pope St. Leo I the Great, Doctor of the Church, 445 A.D.)
"The Church is
like the ark of Noah, outside of which nobody can be saved." (St. Thomas
Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the
the faithful are deeply and thoroughly convinced of the truth of the doctrine
that the Catholic faith is necessary for attaining salvation." (Bl. Pope Pius
IX, "Nostis et Nobiscum", 1849 A.D.)
to be saved must, above all, keep the Catholic faith; for unless a person keeps
this faith whole and entire he will undoubtedly be lost forever." (Athanasian
"We know that
salvation belongs to the Church alone, and that no one can partake of Christ nor
be saved outside the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith." (St. John
Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)
universal Church proclaims that God cannot truly be worshiped save within
herself and asserts that all they who are without her pale shall never be
saved." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church, 6th century A.D.)
"Indeed, as long
as you remain outside the Church and severed from the fabric of unity and bond
of charity, you would be punished with everlasting chastisement, even if you
were burned alive for Christ's sake." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)
"Hold most firmly
and never doubt in the least that no person baptized outside the Catholic Church
can become a participant of eternal life if, before the end of this life, he has
not returned and has been incorporated in the Catholic Church." (St. Fulgence of
Ruspe, 6th century A.D.)
"We must mention
and condemn again that most pernicious error, which has been imbibed by certain
Catholics, who are of the opinion that those people who live in error and have
not the true faith, and are separated from the Catholic unity, may obtain life
everlasting. Now this opinion is contrary to Catholic Faith, as is evident from
the plain words of Our Lord (Mt. 18:17; Mk. 16:16; Lk. 10:16) as also from the
words of St. Paul (e.g. Acts 20:28-30) and of St. Peter (2 Pt. 2:1). To
entertain opinions contrary to this Catholic Faith is to be an impious wretch."
(Bl. Pope Pius IX)
"[The Holy Roman
Catholic Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living
within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and
schismatics cannot 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 the same have been added to the flock; and that
the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining
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 practiced,
even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has
remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church." (Council of Florence,
c. 1441 A.D.) [Denzinger 714]
"Now We consider
another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at
present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the
fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal
salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as
morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly
error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the
apostle that 'there is one God, one faith, one baptism' may those fear who
contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any
religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that
'those who are not with Christ are against Him,' and that they disperse
unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore 'without a doubt, they will
perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.' Let
them hear Jerome who, while the Church was torn into three parts by schism,
tells us that whenever someone tried to persuade him to join his group he always
exclaimed: 'He who is for the See of Peter is for me.' A schismatic flatters
himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of
regeneration. Indeed Augustine would reply to such a man: 'The branch has the
same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit for it is
the form, if it does not live from the root?'' (Pope Gregory XVI, "Mirari Vos",
Note that the above is
just a sampling of such quotations. Similar statements could be multiplied many
The doctrine of "No
Salvation Outside the Church" has been always held, and is dogmatically defined.
It should be noted that it is not even within the power of the Church to change
dogmatically defined doctrines. As stated by the First Vatican Council...
"For the doctrine
of the faith which God has revealed is put forward not as some philosophical
discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine
deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and
infallibly promulgated. Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to
be maintained which has once been declared by holy mother church, and there must
never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a
more profound understanding." (First Vatican Council)
We must remember
that Christ founded only one Church and entrusted St. Peter with the keys to the
kingdom of heaven. Other so-called churches, even if they call themselves
"Christian" were founded by men. They were not instituted by Christ and have not
existed since Christ walked the earth. These so called "churches" deny Christ's
flesh (the Eucharist) and his body (the Church). They cannot bind and loose sins
or teach infallibly. Those who belong to them resist the ordering of God.
For those who argue
"invincible ignorance", note that invincible ignorance may excuse one from the guilt of / punishment for certain sins (e.g. heresy), it is
not on that account a "means of salvation".
As stated by Bl.
Pope Pius IX...
"For, it must
be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved;
that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered
therein will perish in the flood; but, on the other hand, it is necessary to
hold for certain that they who labor in ignorance of the true religion, if this
ignorance is invincible, are not stained by any guilt in this matter in the eyes
of God. Now, in truth, who would arrogate so much to himself as to mark the
limits of such an ignorance, because of the nature and variety of peoples,
regions, innate dispositions, and of so many other things? For, in truth, when
released from these corporeal chains 'we shall see God as He is' (1 John 3:2),
we shall understand perfectly by how close and beautiful a bond divine mercy and
justice are united; but, as long as we are on earth, weighed down by this mortal
mass which blunts the soul, let us hold most firmly that, in accordance with
Catholic teaching, there is 'one God, one faith, one baptism' (Eph. 4:5); it is
unlawful to proceed further in inquiry." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, "Singulari Quadem,"
Again, note that
invincible ignorance may excuse one from the guilt of / punishment for certain
sins (e.g. heresy), but it is
not on that account a "means of salvation".
Keep in mind that
those outside the Church (even if in invincible ignorance) lack both the grace
from the lawful sacraments (including the Holy Eucharist & the Sacrament of
Penance) and are deprived of teachings necessary for living properly as a
Even those within
the Church have been warned that...
disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him." (Jn.
"How narrow the
gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few"
invited, but few are chosen" (Mt. 22:14)
enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but
will not be strong enough" (Lk. 13:24)
Christ Himself let those who couldn't accept his teaching
on the Eucharist leave him (see Jn. 6:66). The Lord also warned that that
"unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will
not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Mt. 5:20) and that "Anyone who does not
remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather
them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned." (Jn. 15:6)
Belonging to Christ's only true Church, the Catholic Church
– the ONLY Church with the keys to the kingdom of heaven – is a serious matter.
here for more information on the dogmatically defined doctrine of the Church
"extra ecclesiam nulla salus" ("outside the Church there is no salvation").
+ + +
listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever
rejects me rejects the one who sent me." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Lk. 10:16)
first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic, realizing that such
a person is perverted and sinful and stands self-condemned." (St. Paul, Ti.
"Q. Can we
be saved in every religion? A. No; we can be saved only in the religion that
Jesus Christ has taught." (Catechism of St. John Neumann)
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