Why Do Catholics Believe that Only Catholics can be Saved?


In Revelation, the inhabitants of heaven sing to Christ: "With your blood you purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue, people and nation" (5:9). The Catholic Church affirms this wideness of God's mercy in Christ, embracing the whole world, desiring with him that "everyone...be saved and... come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tm 2:4). Nevertheless, the Church also recognizes that the gift of salvation must be accepted to be effective, and human beings, having free will, may choose to reject or "ignore so great a salvation" (Heb 2:3).


The Church accepts Christ's declaration about himself: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (Jn 14:6). She also recalls his words to her that warn those who would turn away from her: "Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me" (Lk 10:16).


If Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, and the Church is his body on earth, we can understand why the Church is his Body on earth, we can understand why the Church father often declared: "Outside the Church there is no salvation." Or to put it another way: All salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body" (Catechism 846). Does this mean that only Catholics can be saved?


The Second Vatican Council made the following affirmations about the possibility of salvation for those outside the Catholic Church:


Other related scriptures: Mt 8:11-12; 10:40; 28:18-20; Lk 13:28-30; 1 Cor 9:16; 2 Cor 5:14-15; Heb 11:6; Jas 2:21-23.


Catechism of the Catholic Church: 816-822l 846-856.


*Quoted from The New Catholic Answer Bible. Wichita, Kansas, Fireside Catholic Publishing, 2005. www.firesidecatholic.com


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