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Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation

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Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation

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Category
Quotation

Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation

Also See: Those Outside the Church (Topic Page)

"Whoever 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)

"If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, cf. Mt. 18:17)

"One indeed is the universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved..." (Lateran Council IV, 1215 A.D.)

"The first condition of salvation is to maintain the rule of the true faith." (Fourth Council of Constantinople)

"...a religion out of union with the Chair at Rome is powerless to give salvation to its members" (Gueranger)

"Outside the Church baptism can be put in you but it cannot avail you" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.)

"If anyone is outside the Ark of Noe 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.)

"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." (The Council of Trent)

"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 Church")

"His Church is one, He is one, founded by the voice of the Lord on Peter. No other altar can be set up, no other priesthood instituted apart from that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever gathers elsewhere, scatters." (St. Cyprian of Carthage)

"[E]nsure that 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.)

"Whoever wishes 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 Creed)

"Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff." (Pope Boniface VIII, "Unam Sanctam", 1302 A.D.)

"If therefore not even His parents when standing without are acknowledged, how shall we be acknowledged, if we stand without? (cf. Mk. 3:31-35)" (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"Finally some of these misguided people attempt to persuade themselves and others that men are not saved only in the Catholic religion, but that even heretics may attain eternal life." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Summo Iugiter Studio", 1832 A.D.)

"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)

"For, regulars and seculars, prelates and subjects, exempt and non-exempt, belong to the one universal church, outside of which no one at all is saved, and they all have one Lord and one faith." (Fifth Lateran Council)

"He who will not willingly and humbly enter the gate of the Church will certainly be damned and enter the gate of Hell whether he wants to or not." (St. Bede the Venerable, Doctor of the Church)

"For outside the Church there is no remission of sins. She received as her very own the pledge of the Holy Spirit, without whom no sin whatever is remitted, so that those to whom sins are remitted receive life everlasting." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"I, N., promise, vow, and swear that, with God's help, I shall most constantly hold and profess this true Catholic faith, outside which no one can be saved and which I now freely profess and truly hold." (Creed of the Council of Trent)

"The holy 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.)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors: "Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ. " (Bl. Pope Pius IX, This proposition was condemned in the Syllabus of Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 A.D.)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors: "Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, This proposition was condemned in the Syllabus of Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 A.D.)

"By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess the one Church, not of heretics but the Holy Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic (Church) outside which we believe that no one is saved." (Profession of Faith Prescribed for Durand of Osca and His Waldensian Companions, 1208 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.)

"[T]here is no entering into salvation outside the Church, just as in the time of the deluge there was none outside the Ark, which denotes the Church, according to 1 Peter 3:20,21." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Finally, while by His grace He provides for the continual growth of the Church, He yet refuses to dwell through sanctifying grace in those members that are wholly severed from the Body." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"No one who knows that the [Catholic] Church has been divinely established by Christ and, nevertheless, refuses to be a subject of the Church or refuses to obey the Roman Pontiff, the vicar of Christ on earth, will be saved." (Letter of the Holy Office to Archbishop Cushing of Boston, 1949)

"It is known that all men of Noah's time perished, except those who merited to be in the Ark, which was a figure of the Church. Likewise, they cannot now be saved who will have turned away from the Apostolic Faith and the Catholic Church." (St. Gaudentius)

"Can. 17. If anyone in word and mind does not properly and truly confess according to the holy Fathers all even to the last portion that has been handed down and preached in the holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church of God, and likewise by the holy Fathers and the five venerable universal Councils, let him be condemned. " (Lateran Council, 649 A.D.)

"Whosoever shall have separated himself from the Catholic Church, no matter how praiseworthy such a person may fancy his life has been, yet for that one crime of having cut himself off from the unity of Christ he shall not have eternal life, but the wrath of God shall abide with him for ever." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.) 

"Christ teaching from the ship (Lk. 5:3) signifies that those who are outside the Church can never grasp the divine teaching; for the ship typifies the Church where the word of life is deposited and preached. Those who are outside are like sterile and worthless sand: they cannot comprehend" (Hilary, as quoted by Pope Leo XIII in "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

"Let no one, then, be persuaded otherwise, nor let anyone deceive himself: outside this house, that is, outside the Church, no one is saved. For if anyone go outside, he is guilty of his own death." [Origen ("the greatest scholar of Christian antiquity" - although he would eventually be excommunicated and be regarded as a heretic), 3rd century A.D.]

"[S]till it is in vain for any one without faith to promise himself eternal salvation. 'If any one abide not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up and cast him into the fire, and he burneth.' (Jn. 15:6) 'He that believeth not shall be condemned (Mk. 16:16)'" (Pope Leo XIII, Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus)

"They walk the path of dangerous error who believe they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while they reject the genuine loyalty to His vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible head, broken the visible bonds of unity, and they leave the mystical body of the Redeemer in such obscurity and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation cannot see it and find it." (Pope Pius XII)

"There is but one plain known road: when you wander from this, you are lost. You must be altogether within the House of God, within the walls of salvation, to be sound and safe from injury. If you wander and walk abroad ever so little, if you carelessly thrust hand or foot out of the Ship, you shall be thrust forth: the door is shut, the ocean roars, you are undone." (St. Edmund Campion)

"According to the words of Saint Augustine, who takes up an image dear to the ancient Fathers, the ship of the Church must not fear, because it is guided by Christ and by His Vicar. 'Although the ship is tossed about, it is still a ship. It alone carries the disciples and receives Christ. Yes, it is tossed on the sea, but, outside it, one would immediately perish.' Only in the Church is salvation. 'Outside it one perishes.'" (Pope John Paul I, 1978)

"[W]e have to be conscious of and absorb this fundamental and revealed truth, contained in the phrase consecrated by tradition: 'There is no salvation outside the Church'. From her alone there flows surely and fully the life-giving force destined in Christ and in His Spirit to renew the whole of humanity, and therefore directing every human being to become a part of the Mystical Body of Christ." (Pope John Paul II, 1981)

"Anyone who is outside this Church, which received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, is walking a path not to heaven but to hell. He is not approaching the home of eternal life; rather, he is hastening to the torment of eternal death. And this is the case not only if he remains a pagan without Baptism, but even if, after having been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he continue as a heretic." (St. Fulgence of Ruspe, 6th century A.D.)

"Against which ages (of hell) we read that Peter received the saving keys, that is to say, our prince, to whom it was said by Christ: 'To thee will I give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the gates of Hell shall not conquer them.' Whence is it therefore that you strive to obtain for yourselves the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven - you who fight against the chair of Peter?" (Optatus of Milevis, as quoted by Pope Leo XIII in "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

"When [St. Augustine] addressed himself to discussing the last end appointed for man, he makes haste to lay down the principle that those who wish to arrive thereto will make a fruitless endeavor, unless they submit themselves with docile obedience to the Catholic Church, since it alone is destined by God to enrich souls with the light of virtue, without which one of necessity strays from the right path and is driven headlong to imperiling his eternal salvation." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Salutem", 1930 A.D.)

"But this power of binding and loosing, though it seems given by the Lord to Peter alone, is indeed given also to the other Apostles, and is even now in the Bishops and Presbyters in every Church. But Peter received in a special manner the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and a supremacy of judicial power, that all the faithful throughout the world might understand that all who in any manner separate themselves from the unity of the faith, or from communion with him, such should neither be able to be loosed from the bonds of sin, nor to enter the gate of the heavenly kingdom." (Bl. Rabanus Maurus)

"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)

"A man cannot have salvation, except in the Catholic Church. Outside the Catholic Church he can have everything except salvation. He can have honor, he can have Sacraments, he can sing alleluia, he can answer amen, he can possess the gospel, he can have and preach faith in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; but never except in the Catholic Church will he be able to find salvation." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 418 A.D.)

"Likewise, all other things I accept and profess, which the Holy Roman Church accepts and professes, and I likewise condemn, reject, and anathematize, at the same time all contrary things, both schisms and heresies, which have been condemned, rejected, and anathematized by the same Church. In addition, I promise and swear true obedience to the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Blessed Peter, the prince of the Apostles and the vicar of Jesus Christ. And that this faith of the Catholic Church, without which no one can be saved" (Profession of faith from the Constitution "Nuper ad nos.", 1743 A.D.)

"This holy Council first of all turns its attention to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself on scripture and tradition, it teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is 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 (cf. Mk. 16:16; Jn. 3:5), 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." (Second Vatican Council)

"One in unity of doctrine as in unity of government and this Catholic, such is the Church; and since God has established that its center and foundation be in the Chair of Peter, it is rightly called Roman; for 'where Peter is, there is the Church.' Therefore, whoever wishes to be called by the name of Catholic, ought truly to heed the words of Jerome to Pope Damasus: 'I who follow no one as first except Christ, associate myself in communion with your Beatitude, that is, with the Chair of Peter; upon that Rock, I know the Church is built (Matt. 16:18); ...whoever gathereth not with thee scattereth' (Matt. 12:30)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Testem benevolentiae", 1899 A.D.)

"The Bride of Christ cannot be defiled. She is inviolate and chaste. She knows but one home, and with a chaste modesty she guards the sanctity of one bedchamber. It is she that keeps us for God, she that seals for the kingdom the sons whom she bore. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress is separated from the promises of the Church; nor will he that forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is an alien, a worldling, and an enemy. He cannot have God for his Father who does not have the Church for his mother. If anyone outside the ark of Noah was able to escape, then perhaps someone outside the pale of the Church may escape" (St. Cyprian of Carthage, c. 251 A.D.)

"Hold most firmly and never doubt in the least that the Sacrament of Baptism is able to exist not only within the Catholic Church but also among heretics who are baptizing in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; but outside the Catholic Church it cannot be of any profit; nay, just as within the Church salvation is conferred through the Sacrament of Baptism upon those who believe rightly, so too, outside the Church, if they do not return to the Church, ruin is heaped up for those who were baptized by the same Baptism. For it is the unity as such of ecclesiastical society that avails unto salvation, so that a man is not saved by Baptism to whom it was not given in that place where it is needful that it be given." (St. Fulgence of Ruspe, 6th century A.D.)

"Moreover, since subjection to the Roman Pontiff is necessary for salvation for all Christ's faithful, as we are taught by the testimony of both Sacred Scripture and the holy Fathers, and as is declared by the constitution of Pope Boniface VIII of happy memory, also our predecessor, which begins Unam sanctam, we therefore, with the approval of the present sacred Council, for the salvation of the souls of the same faithful, for the supreme authority of the Roman Pontiff and of this Holy See, and for the unity and power of the Church, His spouse, renew and give our approval to that constitution, but without prejudice to the declaration of Pope Clement V of holy memory, which begins Meruit." (Fifth Lateran Council)

"Among these figures [of the Church] the ark of Noah holds a conspicuous place. It was built by the command of God, in order that there might be no doubt that it was a symbol of the Church, which God has so constituted that all who enter therein through Baptism, may be safe from dangers, while such as are outside the Church, like those who were not in the ark, are overwhelmed by their own crimes. Another figure presents itself in the great city of Jerusalem, which, in Scripture, often means Church. In Jerusalem only was it lawful to offer sacrifice to God, and in the Church of God only are to be found the true worship and true sacrifice which can at all be acceptable to God." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Is there eternal life, then, outside the kingdom of heaven? First, turn your ears away from this error, eradicate it from your minds. This is something new in the Church, previously unheard of: that there is eternal life outside the kingdom of heaven, that there is eternal salvation outside the kingdom of God...whoever does not belong to the kingdom of God, undoubtedly belongs to damnation. The Lord, who will come and who will judge the living and the dead, just as the Gospel says, will make a division in two parts, on the right and on the left...To one group He designates a kingdom, to the other, damnation in company with the Devil. There is no one left for a middle place... Some will be on the right hand, others will be on the left hand: another hand I never knew." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 5th century A.D.)

"Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins, as the Spouse in the Canticles (Sgs. 6:8) proclaims: 'One is my dove, my perfect one. She is the only one, the chosen of her who bore her,' and she represents one sole mystical body whose Head is Christ and the head of Christ is God (1 Cor. 11:3). In her then is one Lord, one faith, one baptism (Eph. 4:5). There had been at the time of the deluge only one ark of Noah, prefiguring the one Church, which ark, having been finished to a single cubit, had only one pilot and guide, i.e., Noah, and we read that, outside of this ark, all that subsisted on the earth was destroyed." (Pope Boniface VIII, "Unam Sanctam", 1302 A.D.)

"Thus it is that the divine Founder of the Church, who willed that she should be a city seated on a mountain (Mt. v. 14), gave her visibility; it was an essential requisite; for since all were called to enter her pale, all must be able to see her. But He was not satisfied with this. He moreover willed that the spiritual power exercised by her pastors should come from a visible source, so that the faithful might have a sure means of verifying the claims of those who were to guide them in His name. Our Lord (we say it reverently) owed this to us; for, on the last day, He will not receive us as His children, unless we shall have been members of His Church, and have lived in union with Him by the ministry of pastors lawfully constituted. Honor, then, and submission to Jesus in His vicar! Honor and submission to the vicar of Christ in the pastors he sends!" (Gueranger)

"The third mark of the Church is that she is Catholic; that is, universal. And justly is she called Catholic, because, as St. Augustine says, she is diffused by the splendor of one faith from the rising to the setting sun. Unlike states of human institutions of the sects of heretics, she is not confined to any one country or class of men, but embraces within the amplitude of her love all mankind, whether barbarians or Scythians, slaves or freemen, male or female... Moreover to this Church, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets belong all the faithful who have existed from Adam to the present day, or who shall exist, in the profession of the true faith, to the end of time... She is also called universal, because all who desire eternal salvation must cling to and embrace her, like those who entered the ark to escape perishing in the flood." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"[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]

"Furthermore We teach and declare that the Roman Church, by the disposition of the Lord, holds the sovereignty of ordinary power over all others, and that this power of jurisdiction on the part of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate; and with respect to this the pastors and the faithful of whatever rite and dignity, both as separate individuals and all together, are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church [which is] spread over the whole world, so that the Church of Christ, protected not only by the Roman Pontiff, but by the unity of communion as well as of the profession of the same faith is one flock under the one highest shepherd. This is the doctrine of Catholic truth from which no one can deviate and keep his faith and salvation." (Vatican Council I, 1870 A.D.)

"Among these heresies belongs that foul contrivance of the sophists of this age who do not admit any difference among the different professions of faith and who think that the portal of eternal salvation opens for all from any religion. They, therefore, label with the stigma of levity and stupidity those who, having abandoned the religion which they learned, embrace another of any kind, even Catholicism. This is certainly a monstrous impiety which assigns the same praise and the mark of the just and upright man to truth and to error, to virtue and to vice, to goodness and to turpitude. Indeed this deadly idea concerning the lack of difference among religions is refuted even by the light of natural reason. We are assured of this because the various religions do not often agree among themselves. If one is true, the other must be false; there can be no society of darkness with light. Against these experienced sophists the people must be taught that the profession of the Catholic faith is uniquely true, as the apostle proclaims: one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Jerome used to say it this way: he who eats the [Eucharist] outside this house will perish as did those during the flood who were not with Noah in the ark." (Pope Pius VIII, "Traditi Humilitati", 1829 A.D.)

"Now, if we look at what was done, Jesus Christ did not arrange and organize such a Church as would embrace several communities similar in kind, but distinct, and not bound together by those bonds that make the Church indivisible and unique after that manner clearly in which we profess in the symbol of faith, 'l believe in one Church.' ... Now, Jesus Christ when He was speaking of such a mystical edifice, spoke only of one Church which He called His own: 'I will build my Church' (Matt. 16:18). Whatever other church is under consideration than this one, since it was not founded by Jesus Christ, cannot be the true Church of Christ... And so the Church is bound to spread among all men the salvation accomplished by Jesus Christ, and all the blessings that proceed therefrom, and to propagate them through the ages. Therefore, according to the will of its Author the Church must be alone in all lands in the perpetuity of time... The Church of Christ, therefore, is one and perpetual; whoever go apart (from it) wander away from the will and prescription of Christ the Lord and, leaving the way of salvation, digress to destruction." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis cognitum", 1898)

"Also all other things taught, defined, and declared by the sacred canons and ecumenical Councils, and especially by the sacred and holy Synod of Trent, I without hesitation accept and profess; and at the same time all things contrary thereto, and whatever heresies have been condemned, and rejected, and anathematized by the Church, I likewise condemn, reject, and anathematize. This true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved, (and) which of my own accord I now profess and truly hold, I, N., do promise, vow, and swear that I will, with the help of God, most faithfully retain and profess the same to the last breath of life as pure and inviolable, and that I will take care as far as lies in my power that it be held, taught, and preached by my subjects or by those over whom by virtue of my office I have charge, so help me God, and these holy Gospels of God." (Council of Trent, Profession of Faith, From the Bull of Pius IV, "Iniunctum nobis", 1565 A.D.)

"It is impossible for the most true God, who is Truth Itself, the best, the wisest Provider, and the Rewarder of good men, to approve all sects who profess false teachings which are often inconsistent with one another and contradictory, and to confer eternal rewards on their members. For we have a surer word of the prophet, and in writing to you We speak wisdom among the perfect; not the wisdom of this world but the wisdom of God in a mystery. By it we are taught, and by divine faith we hold one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and that no other name under heaven is given to men except the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth in which we must be saved. This is why we profess that there is no salvation outside the Church... It is clear that contempt of the Church's authority is opposed to the command of Christ and consequently opposes the apostles and their successors, the Church's ministers who speak as their representatives. He who hears you, hears me; and he who despises you, despises me; and the Church is the pillar and firmament of truth, as the apostle Paul teaches. In reference to these words St. Augustine says: 'Whoever is without the Church will not be reckoned among the sons, and whoever does not want to have the Church as mother will not have God as father'." (Pope Leo XII, "Ubi Primum", 1824)

"But this supremacy of man, which openly rejects Christ, or at least ignores Him, is entirely founded upon selfishness, knowing neither charity nor self-devotion. Man may indeed be king, through Jesus Christ: but only on condition that he first of all obey God, and diligently seek his rule of life in God's law. By the law of Christ we mean not only the natural precepts of morality and the Ancient Law, all of which Jesus Christ has perfected and crowned by His declaration, explanation and sanction; but also the rest of His doctrine and His own peculiar institutions. Of these the chief is His Church. Indeed whatsoever things Christ has instituted are most fully contained in His Church. Moreover, He willed to perpetuate the office assigned to Him by His Father by means of the ministry of the Church so gloriously founded by Himself. On the one hand He confided to her all the means of men's salvation, on the other He most solemnly commanded men to be subject to her and to obey her diligently, and to follow her even as Himself: 'He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me' (Luke x, 16). Wherefore the law of Christ must be sought in the Church. Christ is man's 'Way'; the Church also is his 'Way' - Christ of Himself and by His very nature, the Church by His commission and the communication of His power. Hence all who would find salvation apart from the Church, are led astray and strive in vain." (Pope Leo XIII, "Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus", 1900 A.D.)

"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", 1832 A.D.)

"Consider, most dear ones, that the Truth could not have lied, nor will the faith of Peter be able to be shaken or changed forever. For although the devil desired to sift all the disciples, the Lord testifies that He Himself asked for Peter alone and wished the others to be confirmed by him; and to him also, in consideration of a greater love which he showed the Lord before the rest, was committed the care of feeding the sheep (cf. John 21:15 ff.); and to him also He handed over the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and upon him He promised to build his Church, and He testified that the gates of hell would not prevail against it (cf. Matt. 16:16 ff.). But, because the enemy of the human race even until the end of the world does not abstain from sowing cockle (Matt. 13:25) over the good seed in the Church of the Lord, and therefore, lest perchance anyone with malignant zeal should by the instigation of the devil presume to make some alterations in and to draw conclusions regarding the integrity of the faith - and (lest) by reason of this your minds perhaps may seem to be disturbed, we have judged it necessary through our present epistle to exhort with tears that you should return to the heart of your mother the Church, and to send you satisfaction with regard to the integrity of faith... If anyone, however, either suggests or believes or presumes to teach contrary to this faith, let him know that he is condemned and also anathematized according to the opinion of the same Fathers... Consider (therefore) the fact that whoever has not been in the peace and unity of the Church, cannot have the Lord (Gal. 3:7)" (Pope Pelagius II, c. 585 A.D.)

"You know how zealously Our predecessors taught that very article of faith which these dare to deny, namely the necessity of the Catholic faith and of unity for salvation. The words of that celebrated disciple of the apostles, martyred St. Ignatius, in his letter to the Philadelphians are relevant to this matter: 'Be not deceived, my brother; if anyone follows a schismatic, he will not attain the inheritance of the kingdom of God.' Moreover, St. Augustine and the other African bishops who met in the Council of Cirta in the year 412 explained the same thing at greater length: 'Whoever has separated himself from the Catholic Church, no matter how laudably he lives, will not have eternal life, but has earned the anger of God because of this one crime: that he abandoned his union with Christ.' Omitting other appropriate passages which are almost numberless in the writings of the Fathers, We shall praise St. Gregory the Great who expressly testifies that this indeed is the teaching of the Catholic Church. He says: 'The holy universal Church teaches that it is not possible to worship God truly except in her and asserts that all who are outside of her will not be saved.' Official acts of the Church proclaim the same dogma. Thus, in the decree on faith which Innocent III published with the synod of Lateran IV, these things are written: 'There is one universal Church of all the faithful outside of which no one is saved.' Finally the same dogma is also expressly mentioned in the profession of faith proposed by the Apostolic See... Strive to eradicate these slithering errors with all your strength. Inspire the populace...to keep the Catholic faith and unity as the only way of salvation with an ever more ardent zeal, and, thus, to avoid every danger of forsaking it." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Summo Iugiter Studio", 1832 A.D.)

"For it is she alone who even demands in the spiritual sphere a complete and entire abnegation of self. From every other Christian body comes the cry, Save your soul, assert your individuality, follow your conscience, form your opinions; while she, and she alone, demands from her children the sacrifice of their intellect, the submitting of their judgment, the informing of their conscience by hers, and the obedience of their will to her lightest command. For she, and she alone, is conscious of possessing that Divinity, in complete submission to which lies the salvation of Humanity. For she, as the coherent and organic mystical Body of Christ, calls upon those who look to her to become, not merely her children, but her very members; not to obey her as soldiers obey a leader of citizens a government, but as the hands and eyes and feet obey a brain. Once, therefore, I understand this, I understand too how it is that by being lost in her I save myself; that I lose only that which hinders my activity, not that which fosters it. For when is my hand most itself? When separated from the body, by paralysis or amputation? Or when, in vital union with the brain, with every fiber alert and every nerve alive, it obeys in every gesture and receives in every sensation a life infinitely vaster and higher than any which it might, temporarily, enjoy its independence. It is true that its capacity for pain is the greater when it is so united, and that it would cease to suffer if once its separation were accomplished; yet, simultaneously, it would lose all that for which God made it and, saving itself, would be lost indeed." (Benson)

"Here, too, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, it is again necessary to mention and censure a very grave error entrapping some Catholics who believe that it is possible to arrive at eternal salvation although living in error and alienated from the true faith and Catholic unity. Such belief is certainly opposed to Catholic teaching. There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace. Because God knows, searches and clearly understands the minds, hearts, thoughts, and nature of all, his supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments. Also well known is the Catholic teaching that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church. Eternal salvation cannot be obtained by those who oppose the authority and statements of the same Church and are stubbornly separated from the unity of the Church and also from the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff, to whom 'the custody of the vineyard has been committed by the Savior.' The words of Christ are clear enough: 'If he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you a Gentile and a tax collector'; 'He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you, rejects me, and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me'; 'He who does not believe will be condemned'; 'He who does not believe is already condemned'; 'He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.' The Apostle Paul says that such persons are 'perverted and self-condemned;' the Prince of the Apostles calls them 'false teachers...who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master...bringing upon themselves swift destruction.'" (Bl. Pope Pius IX, "Quanto Conficiamur Moerore", 1863 A.D.)

"Do not (therefore) because of a love of ostentation, which is always next to pride, remain in the vice of obstinacy; since in the day of judgment no one can excuse himself... For although it is evident from the word of the Lord Himself in the Sacred Gospel (cf. Matt. 16:18) where the Church is established, let us hear nevertheless what the blessed Augustine, mindful of the opinion of the same Lord, has explained. For he says that the Church of God is established among those who are known to preside over the apostolic sees through the succession of those in charge, and whoever separates himself from the communion or authority of these sees, is shown to be in schism. And following additional remarks (he says): 'If you are put outside, for the name of Christ you will also die. Suffer for Christ among the members of Christ; clinging to the body, fight for the head.' But the blessed Cyprian...among other things, says the following: 'The beginning starts from unity, and the primacy is given to Peter, So that the Church and the chair of Christ may be shown (to be) one: and they are all shepherds, but the flock, which is fed by the Apostles in unanimous agreement, is shown to be one.' And after a few (remarks he adds): 'Does he who does not hold this unity of the Church believe that he has the faith? Does he who deserts and resists the chair of Peter, on which the Church was founded, have confidence that he is in the Church?' Likewise after other remarks (he asserts): 'They cannot arrive at the reward of peace, because they disrupt the peace of the Lord by the fury of discord... Those who were not willing to be at agreement in the Church of God, cannot remain with God; although given over to flames and fires, they burn, or thrown to wild beasts, they lay down their lives, there will not be [for them] that crown of faith, but the punishment of faithlessness, not a glorious result (of religious virtue), but the ruin of despair. Such a one can be slain, he cannot be crowned...For the crime of schism is worse than that which they [commit] who have offered sacrifice, who, nevertheless, having been disposed to penance for their sins prayed to God with the fullest satisfaction. In this case the Church is sought and solicited; in the other the Church is opposed. So in this case he who has fallen, has injured only himself; in the other, who attempts to cause a schism deceives many by dragging (them) with himself. In this case there is the loss of one soul; in the other there is danger to many. Certainly the one knows that he has sinned and laments and bewails (it); the other puffed up with pride in his sin and pluming himself on the sins themselves, separates sons from their mother, seduces the sheep from the shepherds, disturbs the sacraments of God, and, whereas the former having stumbled sinned once, the latter sins daily. Lastly although the lapsed, if afterwards he acquired martyrdom, is able to secure the promises of the kingdom; if the other is slain outside of the Church, he cannot attain to the rewards of the Church." (Pope Pelagius II, 585 A.D.)

"[T]he Son of God decreed that the Church should be His mystical body, with which He should be united as the Head, after the manner of the human body which He assumed, to which the natural head is physiologically united. As He took to Himself a mortal body, which He gave to suffering and death in order to pay the price of man's redemption, so also He has one mystical body in which and through which He renders men partakers of holiness and of eternal salvation. God 'hath made Him (Christ) head over all the Church, which is His body' (Eph. i., 22-23). Scattered and separated members cannot possibly cohere with the head so as to make one body. But St. Paul says: 'All members of the body, whereas they are many, yet are one body, so also is Christ' (I Cor. xii., 12). Wherefore this mystical body, he declares, is 'compacted and fitly jointed together. The head, Christ: from whom the whole body, being compacted and fitly jointed together, by what every joint supplieth according to the operation in the measure of every part' (Eph. iv., 15-16). And so dispersed members, separated one from the other, cannot be united with one and the same head. 'There is one God, and one Christ; and His Church is one and the faith is one; and one the people, joined together in the solid unity of the body in the bond of concord. This unity cannot be broken, nor the one body divided by the separation of its constituent parts' (S. Cyprianus, De Cath. Eccl. Unitate, n. 23). And to set forth more clearly the unity of the Church, he makes use of the illustration of a living body, the members of which cannot possibly live unless united to the head and drawing from it their vital force. Separated from the head they must of necessity die. 'The Church,' he says, 'cannot be divided into parts by the separation and cutting asunder of its members. What is cut away from the mother cannot live or breathe apart' (Ibid.). What similarity is there between a dead and a living body? 'For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the Church: because we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones' (Eph. v., 29-30). Another head like to Christ must be invented - that is, another Christ - if besides the one Church, which is His body, men wish to set up another. 'See what you must beware of - see what you must avoid - see what you must dread. It happens that, as in the human body, some member may be cut off - a hand, a finger, a foot. Does the soul follow the amputated member? As long as it was in the body, it lived; separated, it forfeits its life. So the Christian is a Catholic as long as he lives in the body: cut off from it he becomes a heretic - the life of the spirit follows not the amputated member' (S. Augustinus, Sermo cclxvii., n. 4). The Church of Christ, therefore, is one and the same for ever; those who leave it depart from the will and command of Christ, the Lord - leaving the path of salvation they enter on that of perdition. 'Whosoever is separated from the Church is united to an adulteress. He has cut himself off from the promises of the Church, and he who leaves the Church of Christ cannot arrive at the rewards of Christ... He who observes not this unity observes not the law of God, holds not the faith of the Father and the Son, clings not to life and salvation' (S. Cyprianus, De Cath. Eccl. Unitate, n. 6)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

Also See: The Importance of Being Catholic / No Salvation Outside the Church | Heaven Cannot Be Entered Without the Keys | Against Religious Indifferentism | Cannot Have God For Father Without Church For Mother | Cannot Live Without the Root | Heresy/Heretics & Schism/Schismatics | No Good Hope of Salvation For Those Outside the True Church | One Cannot Find the Way to Salvation in Just Any Religion | Those Who Reject the Church Reject Christ | Necessity of Union With the Roman Pontiff (Vatican View Reflections) | Those Who Leave the Church | Unbelievers | Invincible Ignorance

Can Catholic Dogma Ever Change?

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