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Anonymous wrote:

Hi, guys —

I believe in Jesus Christ, that he died for my sins, and rose again. I believe he has saved me, and that I'm going to Heaven.

  • Though I'm not a Catholic, do Catholics believe I will get to Heaven?

Anonymous

  { Do Catholics believe I will be saved if I only believe these teachings? }

Bob replied:

Dear friend —

Jesus can save you just as sure as he can save anyone. He does not categorize people into groups before he decides to save them, therefore, in that sense, being Catholic is irrelevant.

Nevertheless, don't think that I am suggesting that being Catholic is really irrelevant.

Catholics believe that Christ came to establish a Church through which he would minister to the world and liberate it from sin. The Catholic Church alone can maintain the claim that it is that Church established by Christ. Therefore, it is the normal way for people to receive God's nourishing gifts and covenant of salvation; what we call the sacraments, tradition, the Word, etc.

That does not mean that God is incapable of working beyond the normal route. Circumstances in the world would make it virtually impossible for every person, born in every place, at every moment in human history, to hear the saving Gospel of Jesus explicitly through their human ears and receive his covenantal sacraments. Because God wills that all be saved (1 Timothy 2:5),
he has taken into consideration ways to overcome the obstacles that individuals cannot overcome on their own and provided the necessary grace that would save those who cooperate with him. Consider the obstacles that retarded people or babies who die young would face.

Therefore, in as much as you do not resist God's grace and follow him to the fullness of truth, you will be saved. Christ is the only savior (Act 2:14) and if there is a way to save you, he will do it.

However, if you deny Christ's Church you may be guilty of denying Him (Luke 10:16), or if there is some prejudice you hold that would prevent you from seeing the truth.

If you do not become a Catholic because of a legitimate intellectual difficulty in which you have no fault, then you are blameless, but to shun the Church on some principle for which you can be held responsible (i.e., pride, inconvenience, etc.) would be damnable.

Remember, Christ identifies the Church as his own Body (Acts 9:4), take it seriously and see it as the fountain of grace that it truly is.

Sincerely in Christ,

Bob K.

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