Most catholics believe that as long as non-catholics are trying their best, they go to heaven. For this reason it is very rare today to know of catholic missionaries trying to convert non-catholics. There are great discussions about the meaning of “Outside the Catholic Church there is no Salvation”. To be honest, after studying this in the light of history and church documents, I am still confused. Maybe that is good since this is such a difficult doctrine to understand. Nevertheless it is so important to understand this since salvation depends on it.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states; “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.” (CCC 846)
Today I was at lunch with friends at a restaurant and heard two women talking about giving up meat on Fridays for lent. I went over and found out that they were christians and felt that this was not a good tradition because it did not come from the heart, but was more a tradition that had to be obeyed. It was obvious that they loved God and were trying to be good christians. We had a rather long discussion. In the end I said I believe they need to become catholics to be saved. As it says in the catechism that once you know, than you will not be saved if you reject it. I explained it this way; that Jesus founded His church to give us the graces necessary to be cleansed and reborn through the sacraments.
They loved and lived by the Bible. I told them I totally agree with them and have studied the Bible all my life. Then I told them that the Bible says in the Gospel of St. John that if you do not eat His Body and drink His Blood you have no life in you. Chapter 6. One of the ladies asked me how that was possible and I explained the Apostolic Succession of laying on of hands so that through the priesthood we receive the power to change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus. I also told them about the miracle of Lanciano where it truly turned into flesh from the heart of Jesus and His human blood. If you do not know about this miracle please look it up. Our talk ended up with one of the ladies inviting me to go and talk with her pastor and husband to tell them about what I told them. I do intend to try to do this when I have time.
Why am I bringing this up? Because I care about everyone becoming catholic so they can be saved. I explained to them that in this day and age with so much crime, drugs, pornography and divorce, we need to come together as the catholic church to help each other out and to help the world out. Many non-catholics agree with me on this.
If I believe that good people, no matter what are saved, I would not bother to talk to people. I would not try to convert people to catholicism. It is too difficult to dialogue in love to convert others. It may be that all those who never knew that they needed to be catholic to be saved are saved. But that does not let me off the hook. It is our fault that they do not know this TRUTH.
Many good authorities on this subject believe that, yes you can be saved outside the catholic church if you are ignorant of its necessity. But they also say that it will be very difficult and almost impossible, since you could commit a mortal sin because you do not have the graces of the sacraments to fight temptations.
Anyway before Vatican II there were so many missionaries all over the world to convert people to the catholic faith. Now most catholic see no need for it because it is believed that everyone goes to heaven as long as they are good people. I wonder why St Francis Xavier sacrificed so much to convert the people in India if they were already good people and saved? I am certain that we need to share our catholic faith with everyone.
The Catholic Church is the OnlyTrue Church of Jesus Christ. Truth is so important. There are so many blessings and graces that come from the One Holy Catholic Church. When you are a member of the catholic church and living a life in accordance with Jesus and the churches teachings, you can relax about your eternal destiny. If you live like the saints, you can be rather assured of God granting you the beatific vision.
Let us keep studying this all important question: How does the catholic church equate into how we are saved by Jesus Christ. I explained to these women about the Latin Mass and the eternal sacrifice of Jesus remade present at every mass. Because they did truly want to serve God they were somewhat open to catholicism. May all of us be proud to share our catholic faith. May all of us worry about all those who are not catholics. Why not give the best to everyone because we love them. Are we not so fortunate to be traditional catholics.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.