Some heretics are wont to demand from Catholics proof of their beliefs from the Scriptures; in their folly they believe that there is no Tradition passed down from the Apostles. While we Catholics are by no means under obligation to demonstrate the Catholic Faith to them in their terms, nevertheless it is certain that all the teachings of Holy Mother Church are in some form substantively contained in Holy Writ. However, it may well be of little profit to the heretics to show them the Scriptures’ teachings on these matters, since they erroneously believe that it is open to their private whims and fancies, which is itself condemned in the very Canon they profess, unto their own condemnation.
But what response are we Catholics to offer up to this charge of heresy pronounced against us by those who refuse to hear the Church, the Conciliars? We show them Papal teaching, and they say it is contextual. We show them Councils, and they say we haven’t the authority to decide what it was they were saying, as though the Councils were ambiguous and obscure. We show them even the Church Fathers who they claim are on their side (though I know not how) and their unanimous and consistent teachings that none are saved outside the Catholic Church. To this they respond that they are not guilty of heresy who have never heard Catholic Truth, as though this made one Catholic.
It seems necessary, then, to demonstrate to them that it was believed at the very source of our Faith; the Apostles themselves. The only ordinary direct means of doing this is the Holy Scriptures, and though delving into them foolishly without an understanding of the Catholic Faith is dangerous, it clearly and perfectly shows that same teaching, which is to some degree even understood by Protestants. In fact, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians is an abundant source of truth concerning this matter, and though this teaching permeates the entire Scripture, we shall restrict ourselves to this letter only, quoting other books when necessary, since this Epistle alone is sufficient.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith;” – Ephesians 2:8
The Scripture shows us, in this verse, that the grace which God gives to man is nothing else than to come to the Faith. It is by grace – that is, not given through our own merits, but given gratuitously – that we are brought to faith, which is the means by which we are saved. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God. For he who comes to God must believe that He is, and is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
Those who have not faith cannot please God, and it is necessary to please God to be restored to Him, which all men must be to be saved. The verse also says that one must believe that He is and is a rewarder. These two things, of course, are not all that we must believe, but are things that are required to be believed. Moreover, where the verse says that one must believe that God exists, and this belief must be a real belief.
What does a real belief in God consist of? Certainly it doesn’t mean any God whatsoever, but the true God. In the time before Christ knowledge of the true God was limited in most men to a knowledge of His Unity; however, in the time after Christ, knowledge of God consists in the Trinity as well. “Whosoever denies the Son has not the Father.” (1 John 2:23) It is through the faith in God given us by the Apostles that we are saved.
“Bear in mind that you were at that time without Christ” – Ephesians 2:12
St. Paul says that those to whom he is speaking – that is, the Christian faithful – were without Christ at the time before their conversion. Now, surely those Christians to whom St. Paul is addressing this letter were true and faithful believers, since he does not rebuke them for any sins. He was addressing those who were of good will. Well, if the converts were without Christ before their conversion, how much more those who are without Him their whole lives! We can know with certainty that these would have believed in Christ because they do believe in Christ; yet, their good will availed them nothing, until they came to the faith.
The Conciliars like to misconstrue the concept of baptism of desire to their maddening ends, saying that those who are saved outside the profession of faith are saved through an implicit baptism of desire. They say that these men, who they claim are of good will, cannot possibly be brought to the faith – as though anything were outside the power of God – and therefore have faith in what they know and would desire baptism if they understood the good it does. However, at the same time, they maintain that baptism is not a benefit, but rather a crime, to a soul that does not have faith in Christ, and this is true. Baptism has its efficacy because we trust in its power through faith in Christ’s teaching along with the sacramental power bestowed upon those who receive it. If one receives it without faith, that one only further damns his soul for abusing God’s grace.
How in the world can one accept both of these teachings at the same time? Do they not see that baptism grants the graces that it does to a soul through faith? If they do, then how can they maintain that one who lacks faith can merit from this so-called “baptism of desire” that they so ardently professes takes place in those who have no faith? What faith is to be of use except the divine faith, and what is the divine faith but that which Christ has given us? If they believe in God, they do well, but this can be naturally concluded, and if they believe in the existence of God because, say, it tells them so in the Koran, then they believe it on false evidence. Is faith in the Koran of any merit? Certainly not! Indeed, it is damnable. But if it is accepted and understood through reason, there where is there faith at all?
“You are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets” – Ephesians 2:20
The true faith, the faith that is bestowed by God upon humanity, is the faith which is told to us in Ephesians. The faith that is built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets is the faith that gains justification for the repentant sinner. Therefore the only meritorious faith, the only faith which can grant redemption, is the faith given by the Apostles, as promised through the Prophets. This is faith in Christ, the Trinity, and all other teachings of the Holy Catholic Church, nothing else.
A Protestant is not based on this faith; he accepts the testimony of the Scriptures as true, but misconstrues them to fit his own fancies, since he in no way accepts the interpretation that the Catholic Church sets forth. Moreover, how can he have any certainty that the Scriptures are complete, or that certain books are not inspired (just as the heretic Luther did) if he believes the Canon was not preserved from error when set forth by the Church at Carthage? Surely, if this Council did not have the infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit, it could certainly be mistaken. If this is possible, then the truth given by Christ to us could be lost, or warped beyond recognition, and any faith that we are to have in the truth of Christ’s testimony must be built on our hope in humanity’s fidelity. That faith, then, is human faith, and not the faith unto salvation.
“For know this and understand, that no fornicator, or unclean person, or covetous one (for that is idolatry) has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” – Ephesians 5:5
Since this verse relates to both, here it would be expedient to denounce the heresy of Protestantism and compare it to that heresy of Conciliarism, for they both err on this same matter of faith set forth by St. Paul in Holy Writ.
The error of Protestantism professes that we are saved through faith alone, with no good works in His service necessary. This pernicious heresy, set forth by the morally inept Martin Luther and his followers, is clearly contradicted by the Scripture, and in particular by this passage (along with many others). If one commits the acts above, they say, one can still enter the kingdom of Christ and God, since we are so wretched we cannot avoid doing great evils. In fact, they say that even those acts which we offer up to his service are laden with sin, and grievous mortal sin. Any knowledge of the life of the heretic Luther can show clearly why he came to this belief, to the contradiction of the Scriptures and Church; the man could not fulfill his duties in the least and he despaired over even the good things that he did. He continually failed to do that which his obligations required, but refused to accept that the Church had the power to forgive him through the Sacrament of Penance. He thereby derived his own method of entrance into Heaven, one that is easily fulfilled – do nothing. Since, according to him, we continually offend God mortally at all times anyways, do whatever pleases you, regardless of whether Christ condemned it or not, and you will be saved by simply thinking you are. Yet the Scripture clearly states that no fornicator, etc. will enter the kingdom of Christ and God.
The error of Conciliarism, however, is still more horrifying. One need not even have faith in Christ to be saved at all; simply follow the dictates of your conscience and you will serve Him perfectly enough. This belief amounts to a tacit denial of our sinfulness and the evil of original sin. These things must be washed away, or else we cannot enter the kingdom of Christ and God. These things, as the Scripture shows us time and again, are forgiven us by faith. To say we can be restored by living in accordance with natural law and conscience carries a twofold implication: first, God is weak, since He cannot possibly bring the faith to those outside the faith, and second, that we are capable of living a holy enough life that we are worthy of His kingdom, even though we have not Christ. They would tell you otherwise, saying that it is through Christ’s merits that these outside the faith are saved, yet it is clear that forgiveness of sins comes through faith. Either sins are of no effect, or faith in Christ is not necessary for salvation.
One can see, then, how the errors are related; Protestantism teaches that one can be saved by faith without works, while Conciliarism teaches that one can be saved by works without faith. Catholicism, on the other hand, walks the sure and true course, set out by God; the middle path of faith and works, and these works have their efficacy through grace by faith.
“That the Gentiles are joint heirs, and fellow-members of the same body, and joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel” – Ephesians 3:6
One of the key points of the Conciliar doctrine is the necessity of all people being within the possibility of salvation. This is true, for indeed God can give His grace through faith to whomever He wishes. They falsely believe, however, that there must be an ordinary and natural means by which all men can be saved. The madness of this statement is almost overwhelming.
Faith in God has never come through natural means. Anything that can be gathered by natural means is held by reason, not faith. Faith requires consent to the truths of revealed doctrine, and it can be nothing else than this. If faith, then, consists of acceptance of those truths given to us by God, how can one have faith who has not had any truths revealed to him by God? Moreover, if one holds a false doctrine to be taught by God, is he not given to an allegiance with a false god? For if it is the truth, it would be the Catholic Faith. If it is false, however, it must not have come from God.
It is pointless to say one would have believed in those truths, because anyone, given sufficient grace and a sufficient presentation of the truth, would accept it. Would there be a sinner in the world if they all had seen Hell in its truth? Would there be a heretic in the world if they had all seen clearly, from Christ’s own holy Mouth, that the Catholic Church is the true Church? Certainly not! A sufficient amount of revealed truth would prevent even the worst of sinners from committing the least of sins. It would seem, then, that all men are saved, since there is a sufficient degree of revealed truth that would turn them from sin. This is the conclusion one must reach if ignorance of things divine is as meritorious as accepting Christ’s words, in contradiction to the Scriptures.
Above and beyond this, we know through the Catholic faith that an act of enlightenment is given by the Holy Spirit to whoever converts. An acceptance of the Catholic Faith is an act given us by God, and by this fact alone does not come through natural means, even if the truth is presented externally. This is something that not only has been taught by the Church, but I have seen myself; for instance, I described briefly to an agnostic man one day why there must be a God, and why Christ would come, a conversation that lasted little more than a half hour. Three days later, without any further conversation, he told me he was Catholic. I offered to him no proof of the Catholic Faith over any of the Protestant churches, yet he has since then to this day fully accepted all the Church’s teachings and holds to them as firmly as any other I have ever met. To another man, however, I have shown to him the teachings of the Catholic Faith fully and clearly, and he swears to hold everything that the Church teaches; yet, when I presented him with the Church’s teaching on certain matters, he absolutely refused to believe it, and is now outside the Church.
How does all this apply to the verse? Quite simply the verse states that those who were outside of the promise of the Messiah, the Gentiles, are co-heirs through the Gospel. They have become co-heirs and partakers in the promise of Christ through the Gospel, that is, through the reception of the faith. The only people who can rightfully claim in any sense to have a “right” to the opportunity of salvation is the Jews, a people who forsook that right by rejection of Him who came for their redemption. It is false to assume that everyone must have the opportunity to be redeemed by purely natural means, both because this is altogether impossible, and second because it is by the grace we receive it.
“In Him we have assurance and confident access through faith in Him” – Ephesians 3:12
Access to God is through faith in Him, as the Apostle states here. He also says that through faith we have assurance, along with confidence, in that access to Him through faith. St. Paul is telling the believers here that it is through faith that God hears our prayers and accepts them. If this is the means by which we have access to Him, it follows that those without these means do not. This is not to say that God could not, out of His Beneficence, choose to hear the prayer for understanding from a heathen who does not know Him, and thereby grant that one grace. He is by no means obliged to, however, and it is no detraction from God’s Perfection that He chooses not to answer the prayers of those who refuse to obey Him.
So it is through faith that we have access, and confident access at that, to our God, and not through our own goodness, nor obedience to natural law, nor through even His Divine Nature, but by the gift that He gives to His elect for their salvation, so that you are able “To have Christ dwelling through faith in your hearts.” (Ephesians 3:17)
“One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism” – Ephesians 4:5
This is one of the most beautiful and most frequently cited verses of St. Paul in defense of the Church by the Holy Fathers. In this simple profession of the Apostolic Faith is the unity of faith shown, and every degree of separation from the Church demonstrated, and contains therein all that is necessary for redemption. Those who hope for salvation and are truly in the Body of Christ must have these three things, “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism.”
One Lord – Unity of Government, sinners, and Schism
“He himself gave some men as Apostles…for building up the Body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11,12)
Obviously all are under the authority of the one Lord, the Most Holy Trinity, God of all creation, by the very fact that they are created. What is meant by one Lord here, is subjection to the one Lord, and obedience to Him. Submission to the Lord Jesus Christ, however, does not simply consist in professing that He is Lord over all creation, since “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt. 7:21) It consists of primarily two things; obedience to His moral commandments, and obedience to His doctrine.
Obedience to His moral commandments consists of avoiding all sin and doing acts of virtue in His service. However, if one does not fulfill this, he is not by this fact cut off from the Church, but rather from salvation. If one does not deny that Christ taught us not to commit fornication, for instance, he is not doubting the words of Christ, even though he commits fornication.
The obedience that is due to Christ naturally relegates to all those whom He has given authority; if one refuses to obey the authority that Christ has set forth, then one refuses to obey Christ’s authority. This does separate one from the Church, and is the sin of schism. A schismatic does not deny all the teachings of Christ, but rather refuses to obey that authority which Christ placed over him. They therefore refuse to subject themselves to the “One Lord.” This consists of refusing obedience to the Apostles and their successors, since Christ said to them, “He who hears you, hears me; and he who rejects you, rejects me.” (Luke 10:16)
No one can continue in the Church of Christ, which is the Catholic Church, unless one obeys the legitimate Apostolic successors, and the unity of this Body is shown in the verse above. Notice that it says that some men are given to be Apostles, thereby distinguishing it from the foolish heresy of the Protestants, who believe in no hierarchy of the Church.
One Faith – Unity of Faith and Heresy
“And this He has done that we may be now no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine devised in the wickedness of men, in craftiness, according to the wiles of error.” – Ephesians 4:14
The Lord has sent the Apostles to us for the building up of the Body so that we may be perfected in love. Desiring that we no longer be tossed to and fro by all sort of false doctrines by the wiles of error and wickedness of men, He granted to us the Papal Authority, which is the succession of the authority of St. Peter. Anyone who does not accept that which has been declared by St. Peter’s successors, by the Scripture, or by the Church in another manner is a heretic, and outside the Body of Christ.
This, however, is the means by which one is expelled from the Body of Christ. To be expelled one must first be a member of that Body, and so the Conciliars foolishly believe that when a Pope says that one who rejects the Catholic Faith is a heretic, this is the only way of not being Catholic. How can one be expelled from the unity of faith if he never held that unity at the outset? Unity of faith, then, is required before one can be expelled, and if one never holds that unity of faith – that is, acceptance of all that the Church proposes for our belief – one need not be expelled; he is simply a heretic already.
There are many teachings professed by the Church, however, and it may not be feasible or possible for everyone to know all of them. What, then, is required of us? We are required to believe the most basic dogmas and their implications (the Nicene Creed and a sufficient understanding of each article, for instance) and to submit our faith to whatever the Church proposes; this is enough to be certain of avoiding heresy.
One is, however, duty-bound to find out the Catholic teaching in certain situations, and a denial of the basic dogmas cannot be excused for ignorance, since these are the substance of which faith itself consists. This is not difficult, however, even in our deplorable age of ignorance and immorality, since in much of the world simply having access to the internet is sufficient for finding the Catholic truth, as long as one avoids false teachers and looks simply to the sure guide of the Councils, Popes and Fathers.
One Baptism – Unity in Grace and Heathen
“Having their understanding clouded in darkness, estranged from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” – Ephesians 4:17
The last element of unity essential for enrollment in the Catholic Church is baptism. Through baptism one enters into the life of grace by the remission of one’s sins, and he thereby binds himself under the authority and jurisdiction of the Church, the Body of Christ. Those who are not united to the Church in baptism cannot be saved, though a believer who dies before they were able to be baptized can be saved, since they have this unity by desire.
This verse from Ephesians shows why the heathen – that is, the unbaptized – are not in the saving grace of Christ. They are estranged from the life of God in their ignorance, and that ignorance is upon them because of the blindness of their heart. The heart is the symbol of desires and the will; blindness of the heart consists of desiring that which is worthless, such as pleasure or honor or power. It seems, then, that God in His mercy would grant to the heathen a remedy for their ignorance if they would set their desire on finding truth and serving God, for a natural knowledge of God is possible for all, and if they obeyed sound reason they would know there is one God. It is their duty, then, to pursue the one God, and though He is not bound by any means to do so, if they choose to follow after Him He will be kind and grant them the light of faith, so that they may be saved.
The reason the Conciliars have such a hard time with this is because they have a false concept of man’s dignity. God did indeed create us superior to all but the angels, with an immortal soul which is the image of Him. God also unquestionably desires the salvation of man, being that He is perfectly Good. However, the first man defiled all men with his sin, so that we are all born “by nature children of wrath.” (Eph. 2:3) It is therefore entirely within the Holy Justice of God to condemn all without exception, so His goodness is exceptionally Good in that He allows exceptions.
Why, however, does He leave some in darkness? Because their deeds are evil, and they choose to follow after vain desires. If He chooses to save some of those who are even in this wicked state, does that mean He is unjust for not doing it to the rest? God knows who will serve Him and who will not from the masses of the unfaithful, if He calls them by grace. Let Him choose who He will! They commit “immorality and every uncleanness,” (Eph. 5:3) and so “Let no one lead you astray with empty words; for because of these things” – that is, their sins and blindness – “the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience.” (Eph. 5:6)
Even those who have been brought to the redemption given by Christ in the Holy Catholic Church were once evil, and undeserving. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” (Eph. 5:8) They who are of good will were yet still in darkness until they became light through faith. If others never come to this light, and are never changed by it, then it is no injustice of God, but may be very well suited to His purpose. He does not infringe upon their free will which He has granted them, and with this mercy given by God they abuse all good things and hate Him; yet He is still merciful, and allows them time to repent and turn toward Him. He would then give them light; if many, even most, choose not to do this, then what is improper about His Justice?
The Church’s Teaching Never Changes
Those most notorious and blind heretics of Vatican II are most clearly contradicting the teachings of the Church both in declaration and Scripture, and yet they continue to assert that even the Holy Church Fathers truly complied with their beliefs. What madness is this!? They cite passages from the Church Fathers which say that those who could not have heard the truth are not guilty of heresy or unbelief; this is fair enough, for this is asserted by the Scriptures, the Papacy, the Councils and the Fathers.
But in what way does being not guilty of a particular crime grant instead the opposing virtue? One has not committed adultery. Does that alone make one chaste? One has not murdered his brother. Does that make him a peacemaker? One has not broken the law in this matter; is he by this fact alone a keeper of the whole law? For I do not believe that the madness even of the Conciliars could go so far as to state that these outside the Faith are entirely exempt from all sinful actions; indeed, they must at the very least believe that these ones have the sin of Adam on their head. Doubtless some madmen within their sect may even doubt this, but it does not appear at the time to be the common profession of their masses.
It is beyond question that a proper understanding of the Church Fathers is not too terribly difficult if we take their teachings alongside the Papal declarations and Church Councils, and finally the Scripture. If all these four things obviously teach the same truth, what possible doubt could one entertain? Not that I believe it will do the pernicious any good, but rather for the sake of demonstrating the Holy Catholic Faith’s unwavering consistency since the Apostles themselves handed down the Faith, I write this: No claim for their heretical and damnable view of salvation can be supported by the Church Fathers, Councils, Popes, or Scripture.
As I have already shown how this is the certain teaching of Holy Scripture, what remains is simply to demonstrate the same certain faith as professed by the Church throughout every age. This can be done quite easily (and indeed has been demonstrated repeatedly by myself as well as other Catholic writers even in our day) to be the consistent belief professed, that none are saved who are not professing the Catholic Faith. First, we have the greatest of the Church Fathers, St. Augustine, who was abundantly clear on the matter in his refutation of Pelagius, On Nature and Grace:
[Pelagius says,] “Therefore the nature of the human race, generated from the flesh of the one transgressor, if it is self-sufficient for fulfilling the law and for perfecting righteousness, ought to be sure of its reward, that is, of everlasting life, even if in any nation or at any former time faith in the blood of Christ was unknown to it. For God is not so unjust as to defraud righteous persons of the reward of righteousness, because there has not been announced to them the mystery of Christ’s divinity and humanity, which was manifested in the flesh. For how could they believe what they had not heard of; or how could they hear without a preacher? ‘ For “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” But I say (adds he): Have they not heard? “Yea, verily; their sound went out into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”
[Augustine] Before, however, all this had been accomplished, before the actual preaching of the gospel reaches the ends of all the earth–because there are some remote nations still (although it is said they are very few) to whom the preached gospel has not found its way,–what must human nature do, or what has it done–for it had either not heard that all this was to take place, or has not yet learnt that it was accomplished–but believe in God who made heaven and earth, by whom also it perceived by nature that it had been itself created, and lead a right life, and thus accomplish His will, uninstructed with any faith in the death and resurrection of Christ? Well, if this could have been done, or can still be done, then for my part I have to say what the apostle said in regard to the law: “Then Christ died in vain.” For if he said this about the law, which only the nation of the Jews received, how much more justly may it be said of the law of nature, which the whole human race has received, “If righteousness come by nature, then Christ died in vain.” If, however, Christ did not die in vain, then human nature cannot by any means be justified and redeemed from God’s most righteous wrath–in a word, from punishment–except by faith and the sacrament of the blood of Christ…
This grace, however, of Christ, without which neither infants nor adults can be saved, is not rendered for any merits, but is given gratis, on account of which it is also called grace. “Being justified,” says the apostle, “freely through His blood.” Whence they, who are not liberated through grace, either because they are not yet able to hear, or because they are unwilling to obey; or again because they did not receive, at the time when they were unable on account of youth to hear, that bath of regeneration, which they might have received and through which they might have been saved, are indeed justly condemned; because they are not without sin, either that which they have derived from their birth, or that which they have added from their own misconduct. “For all have sinned”–whether in Adam or in themselves–“and come short of the glory of God”…
If, therefore, we wish “to rouse and kindle cold and sluggish souls by Christian exhortations to lead righteous lives,” we must first of all exhort them to that faith whereby they may become Christians, and be subjects of His name and authority, without whom they cannot be saved.
Augustine clearly speaks for all of us when he says that “human nature cannot by any means be justified and redeemed from God’s most righteous wrath except by faith and the sacrament of the blood of Christ,” which is to say, unless one has faith in Christ, which has its redemptive power through the shedding of His Blood, one cannot be saved. An accusation against context by the heretics will undoubtedly be brought forth on this statement, since they do not believe that any are saved without grace. It is true that their crime is not the same as the Pelagianists, but Augustine’s words ring true nonetheless; he says that human nature cannot be restored except by means of that same faith which we profess. To claim that a man is in a state of sanctification outside this faith is contrary to his words, and that much seems quite clear. Moreover, he shows that there is no distinction between sanctifying grace and the reception of the faith, in saying that “they, who are not liberated through grace, either because they are not yet able to hear…are indeed justly condemned.”
A hundred excerpts from as many Church Fathers could be brought forth to demonstrate the same belief, but this is unnecessary, and one can demonstrate that the Catholic teaching has been the same throughout, and must be, by means of the Councils:
“[The Holy Roman Church] firmly believes, professes and teaches that none of those who are not within the Catholic Church, not only Pagans, but Jews, heretics and schismatics, can ever be partakers of eternal life, but are to go into the eternal fire ‘prepared for the devil, and his angels’ (Mt. xxv. 41), unless before the close of their lives they shall have entered into that Church; also that the unity of the Ecclesiastical body is such that the Church’s Sacraments avail only those abiding in that Church, and that fasts, almsdeeds, and other works of piety which play their part in the Christian combat are in her alone productive of eternal rewards; moreover, that no one, no matter what alms he may have given, not even if he were to shed his blood for Christ’s sake, can be saved unless he abide in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, The Bull Cantate Domino, 1441).
Again we see the same teaching demonstrated, nay, infallibly defined by the Church at an Ecumenical Council. The wording of it is of such that it can leave no room for doubt or error, for it shows quite clearly that Pagans, Jews, heretics and schismatics cannot by any means be considered part of the Church, and that they will be damned on that point alone, regardless of their manner of life.
The papacy, moreover, has spoken consistently and sternly, with its great authority, throughout every age the same doctrine. Three examples alone are offered up here, but the consistency of its teaching is irreproachable:
Pope Adrian II (867-872): “The first requirement of salvation is to keep to the standard of the true faith.” (ACTIO I, D. 171, n.1, quoting the Rule of Pope St. Hormisdas, IV Constantinople)
Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303), Bull Unam Sanctum, 1302: “With Faith urging us we are forced to believe and to hold the one, holy, Catholic Church and that, apostolic, and we firmly believe and simply confess this (Church) outside which there is no salvation nor remission of sin, the Spouse in the Canticle proclaiming: “One is my dove, my perfect one. One she is of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her” [Cant. 6:8]. Certainly Noe had one ark at the time of the flood, prefiguring one Church which perfect on one cubit had one ruler and guide, namely Noe, outside which we read all living things on the earth were destroyed.”
Pope Gregory XVI, (1831-1846), Summo Jugiter Studio, 1832: “2. …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. …5. …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, not only that which all Latin churches use, but also that which the Greek Orthodox Church uses and that which other Eastern Catholics use. We did not mention these selected testimonies because We thought you were ignorant of that article of faith and in need of Our instruction. Far be it from Us to have such an absurd and insulting suspicion about you. But We are so concerned about this serious and well known dogma, which has been attacked with such remarkable audacity, that We could not restrain Our pen from reinforcing this truth with many testimonies.”
Most notable is our Holy Father Pope Gregory XVI’s quote, which is spoken both relatively recently and with perfect clarity, in response to the same heresy that is in our day so prevalent. He shows us that each of these sayings concerning salvation and the Church were referring to that one consistent teaching held by Catholics to this day – “all who are outside of her will not be saved.”
Those who pertinaciously deny the Faith despite such solid proofs from Scripture and Tradition are undoubtedly on the road to perdition. May God in His abundant mercy bestow upon such ones the grace to receive the Holy Catholic Faith, the same Faith given by the Apostles and handed down throughout the centuries which is the salvation of all believers. Amen.