Sat. Sep 26th, 2020

Does the Church teach that, “Outside the Church there is no salvation?” WHAT? That would mean that everybody who is not Catholic is going to hell? Crazy!
You may be surprised to hear that the Church does in fact teach this, and always has. However, I think it is important that we look at what the above statement means, and what it doesn’t mean.
We are saved by Jesus. Period. There is no other way to salvation but by His blood, His death and His resurrection. If I end up in heaven it is through Jesus. Outside of Jesus there is no salvation. St. Paul is clear that those who believe in Jesus are incorporated into the Body of Christ, the Church. When we are in heaven, then we are part of the Church, the Body of Christ. To not be incorporated into the Body of Christ is to be outside of salvation.
The normal way for that to occur is through baptism. Jesus tells Nicodemus in John chapter 3 that he must be born again if he wishes to enter into the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus is a little confused about how to do that so Jesus tells him that he must be born again of water and the spirit. However, this is not the only way to be incorporated into the Body of Christ. In Luke chapter 23 Jesus tells the Good Thief (who had not been baptized sacramentally) that, “today you will be with me in Paradise.” So, somehow that man was incorporated into the Body of Christ without being sacramentally baptized.
The point is simply this; there is no salvation outside of the Church, but that does not mean that everyone who is not nominally Catholic is going to hell. We have always believed that God can give grace outside of the Sacraments, but the grace He gives flows from Christ. There is no salvation outside of this, but to access that grace is not limited to inside of a church.
I do want to point out that Christ established His Church precisely to make His grace more accessible. I do not mean to imply that it does not matter whether we approach the Sacraments because God can give grace outside of them. In fact God CAN give grace outside of the Sacraments, but He DOES give grace through the Sacraments. I prefer the sure thing.
— Pat Arensberg is the Director of the Office for Evangelization and Family Life. Email him at parensberg@mobarch.org
For more information concerning the events of this office, visit us at mobilefaithformation.org

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