Saturday, February 05, 2005

Catechism of the Catholic Church on salvation

Outside the Church there is no salvation

"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." (CCC, 846).

"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." (CCC, 847).

This is the authentic teaching of the Church as expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and at Vatican II. When examining the Athanasian Creed, we should remember this teaching so that our understanding of that Creed won't be flawed.

God love you,
Paul Anthony Melanson

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