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Natalie Kigerl wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a priest who is saying that all graces don't flow through the Church.

  • Can you send me some authoritative documents that define this?

He thinks graces can come through other channels, for instance, pagans can get graces directly from God as He chooses and not through the Church.



  { Can you provide authentic documents that define whether all graces flow through the Church? }

John replied:

Hi, Natalie —

Thanks for the question.

The Catechism of  the Catholic Church does say that God can save those whom he chooses outside the Church in ways known only to Himself. So to some extent, your priest has a point however, there is an incarnational principle which says, all graces come from Christ, the head of the Church. We the members, the Mystical Body of Christ, share in the distribution of grace, particularly through the Eucharist, which is offered daily on behalf of the whole world.

While a pagan may receive a grace, it comes as a result of the intercession of the Church and Christ Himself. Also, being the head of the Church, Christ is also a member of His own Church. Therefore, there is no getting around the fact that all graces flow from the Church. All salvation comes from Christ (regardless of how it is dispensed).  You can't separate the Head from the Body (Christ and the Church are one and the same on a mystical level); therefore no matter how you slice it, all graces ultimately flow through the Church.

If you are looking for a specific document, reference Dominus Jesus, a Papal encyclical on salvation, issued a year or so ago.

Hope this helps,

John DiMascio

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