Roman Catholic Contradictions on “No Salvation Outside the Church”

It’s hard to believe how many contradictions can be found in Roman Catholic theology just by comparing the views of modern Catholic leaders with those of the past. Because of papal infallibility, Roman Catholics are committed to defending the accuracy of every pope’s teachings when the pope is defining doctrine for the entire church. But what happens when what one pope taught as true is contradicted by another pope later on? If such a contradiction in teaching does exist, then papal infallibility is false and the church is not infallible as Rome claims. While many examples could be given, I will just provide you with the primary source material on the Catholic Church’s teaching of extra Ecclesiam nulla salus or “No Salvation Outside the Church.”

For No Salvation Outside the Church:

“Most firmly hold and never doubt that not only pagans, but also all Jews, all heretics, and all schismatics who finish this life outside of the Catholic Church, will go into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Dilectionis vestrae (585) by Pope Pelagius II

“Therefore, if the Greeks or others should say that they are not confided to Peter and to his successors, they must confess not being the sheep of Christ, since Our Lord says in John ‘there is one sheepfold and one shepherd.’ . . . Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

Unam sanctam (1302) by Pope Boniface VIII

“No man of the wayfarers outside the faith of this Church, and outside the obedience of the Pope of Rome, can finally be saved.”

Super quibusdam (1351) by Pope Clement VI

“It firmly believes, professes and preaches that never was anyone, conceived by a man and a woman, liberated from the devil’s dominion except by faith in our lord Jesus Christ, the mediator between God and humanity. . . . Therefore it denounces all who after that time observe circumcision, the sabbath and other legal prescriptions as strangers to the faith of Christ and unable to share in eternal salvation, unless they recoil at some time from these errors. Therefore it strictly orders all who glory in the name of Christian, not to practice circumcision either before or after baptism, since whether or not they place their hope in it, it cannot possibly be observed without loss of eternal salvation. . . . The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.”

Cantate domino (1441) by Pope Eugene IV

“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.”

Fifth Lateran Council (1516) by Pope Leo X

“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. . . . 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.'”

Summo iugiter studio (1832) by Pope Gregory XVI

“Hence we teach and declare that by the appointment of our Lord the Roman Church possesses a sovereignty of ordinary power over all other Churches, and that this power of jurisdiction of the Roman pontiff, which is truly Episcopal, is immediate; to which all, of whatsoever rite and dignity, are bound, by their duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, to submit, not only in matters which belong to faith and morals, but also in those that appertain to the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world; so that the Church of Christ may be one flock under one supreme pastor, through the preservation of unity, both of communion and of profession of the same faith, with the Roman pontiff. This is the teaching of Catholic truth, from which no one can deviate without loss of faith and salvation.

Pastor aeternus (1870) by Pope Pius IX

“The Church . . . regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own. . . . The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. . . . Whosoever is separated from the Church is united to an adultress. 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. . . . But he who dissents even in one point from divinely revealed truth absolutely rejects all faith, since he thereby refuses to honour God as the supreme truth. . . . And for a like reason St. Augustine publicly attests that, ‘the primacy of the Apostolic chair always existed in the Roman Church’ (Ep. xliii., n. 7); and he denies that anyone who dissents from the Roman faith can be a Catholic. ‘You are not to be looked upon as holding the true Catholic faith if you do not teach that the faith of Rome is to be held’ (Sermo cxx., n. 13).”

Satis cognitum (1896) by Pope Leo XIII

“And so Our Predecessor, Benedict XIV, had just cause to write: ‘We declare that a great number of those who are condemned to eternal punishment suffer that everlasting calamity because of ignorance of those mysteries of faith which must be known and believed in order to be numbered among the elect.'”

Acerbo nimis (1905) by Pope Pius X

“Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors.”

Mortalium animos (1928) by Pope Pius XI

“Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. ‘For in one spirit’ says the Apostle, ‘were we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free.’ As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith. And therefore if a man refuse to hear the Church let him be considered – so the Lord commands – as a heathen and a publican. It follows that those are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit. . . . After His glorious Ascension into heaven this Church rested not on Him alone, but on Peter too, its visible foundation stone. That Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head is the solemn teaching of Our predecessor of immortal memory Boniface VIII in the Apostolic Letter Unam Sanctam; and his successors have never ceased to repeat the same. They therefore, walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible head, broken the visible bonds of unity and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it.”

Mystici corporis Christi (1943) by Pope Pius XII

“Some say they are not bound by the doctrine, explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years ago, and based on the Sources of Revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing. Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation.”

Humani generis (1950) by Pope Pius XII

Against No Salvation Outside the Church:

“The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

Catechism 841

“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.”

Catechism 847

“From the Christian confession that there can be only one path to salvation, however, it does not in any way follow that the Jews are excluded from God’s salvation because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel and the Son of God. Such a claim would find no support in the soteriological understanding of Saint Paul.”

The Gifts and the Calling of God Are Irrevocable

“The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter. For there are many who honor Sacred Scripture, taking it as a norm of belief and a pattern of life, and who show a sincere zeal. They lovingly believe in God the Father Almighty and in Christ, the Son of God and Saviour. They are consecrated by baptism, in which they are united with Christ. . . . Likewise we can say that in some real way they are joined with us in the Holy Spirit, for to them too He gives His gifts and graces whereby He is operative among them with His sanctifying power. Some indeed He has strengthened to the extent of the shedding of their blood. In all of Christ’s disciples the Spirit arouses the desire to be peacefully united, in the manner determined by Christ, as one flock under one shepherd, and He prompts them to pursue this end.”

Lumen gentium (1964) by Pope Paul VI

“The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.”

Nostra aetate (1965) by Pope Paul VI

“As I have often said in other meetings with Muslims, your God and ours is one and the same, and we are brothers and sisters in the faith of Abraham.”

Address to the Participants in the Colloquium on “Holiness in Christianity and Islam” (1985) by Pope John Paul II

“The Holy Father explained [that] the Holy Spirit is mysteriously present in the heart of every person. Through the practice of what is good in their own religious traditions, and following the dictates of their consciences, members of other religions positively respond to God’s invitation and receive salvation in Jesus Christ, even though they may not recognize Him as their Savior.”

Vatican Information Service report on “The Spirit of God and the ‘Seeds of Truth’ in non-Christian Religions” (1998) by Pope John Paul II

“Today I would like to repeat what I said to young Muslims some years ago in Casablanca: ‘We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God, the God who created the world and brings his creatures to their perfection’ (Insegnamenti, VIII/2, [1985], p. 497).”

General Audience (1999) by Pope John Paul II

“Eternal damnation remains a real possibility, but we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of which human beings are effectively involved in it.”

Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II XXII/2 (1999) by Pope John Paul II

“These doves are a sign of peace which brings joy. And peace is made among all, between everyone: Muslims, Jews, Orthodox, Catholics and others. We are all brothers and sisters! We all adore the One God!”

Meeting with young people (2015) by Pope Francis

“It is not licit to convince them of your faith. Proselytism is the strongest venom against the ecumenical path.”

Speech to a group of Lutherans (2016) by Pope Francis. Sedevacantists have been running wild with this one.

If you can’t see a contradiction between these two groups of statements, you need to get your eyes checked. Even the secular world can see what’s going on here.

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