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Lionel Andrades wrote:

Hi guys,

Praised be Jesus and Our Lady.

Please look over the attachment I sent you and give me your response to the following two questions:

  1. Does the Catholic Church teach that non-Catholic religions (like Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) are paths to salvation, meaning paths to Heaven, so they can avoid Hell? <Yes or No>

  2. Does the Catholic Church teach that Catholic Faith and Baptism is necessary for all people in general, barring the exceptions, for salvation?
    <Yes or No>

Thank you.

In Christ,

Lionel Andrades

  { Are non-Catholic religions paths to salvation and is faith and baptism needed for salvation? }

Mike replied:

Hi Lionel,

You said:

  1. Does the Catholic Church teach that non-Catholic religions (like Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) are paths to salvation, meaning paths to Heaven, so they can avoid Hell? <Yes or No>

No, they are not paths to salvation but there are some very good things that are in Hinduism, Buddhism, etc, that the Church sees as stepping stones to the fullness of the Christian faith which can only be found in Catholicism. Some examples are:

  • regular prayer
  • loving ones neighbor as oneself, and
  • giving God alone the true worship He deserves.

Our Lord Jesus did not bring people into life just to damn them.

That said, you may be asking yourself:

If Catholicism is the only true Faith, why didn't Jesus bring every one into life as a Catholic?

The answer: to pull a greater good out of a sincere faith-seeker who journeys from Hinduism or Buddhism to Catholicism.

The attachments you sent with your question stated:

The message of Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church is that those non-Catholics who have had the Gospel preached to them and who know that the Catholic Church is the one, true Church of God, founded by His Son Jesus Christ, and who yet do not enter through baptism and Catholic Faith will go to Hell (they cannot be saved).

This is a True statement.

but the author forgot to mention this (from the Catechism):

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own,
do not know Christ and his Church:

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.

848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."

Note that the Catechism states may, not will be saved. Even Christians can loose their salvation. We [Christians] have to work and pray and follow God's ways too!

All men, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist etc., are called to pray on a regular basis, give thanks and praise to God according to what [he/she] knows and to form and develop their consciences by taking the time to study and learn their own faith, as well as its origins.

A knowledge of the historical roots of ones own faith is a very important, but often overlooked, issue.

You said:

  1. Does the Catholic Church teach that Catholic Faith and Baptism is necessary for all people in general, barring the exceptions, for salvation? <Yes or No>

Yes, Jesus states in the Scriptures that Baptism and faith are necessary for salvation.
(Mark 16:16) Before ascending into Heaven, He established His Church and put St. Peter (and Peter's successors) in charge of protecting and guarding the Christian faith Jesus taught. Catholicism is the fullness of Christianity.

Those who die with the desire for Baptism or who die for the faith are also considered baptized, by desire or by blood, respectively.

On this portion of what you sent:

When Fr. Feeney died on January 30, 1978, he died as a son of the Church.
(Hogan, p.303.)

The epitaph on his gravestone remains: Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus
(Outside the Church No Salvation.) Is his epitaph, then, a heresy, or a dogma of Catholic faith? It is not a heresy, of course... (Sullivan.p.204).

The excommunication was disciplinary and not doctrinal.

In 1972 all the apparent censures were lifted from Father Feeney, without his having to retract any of his teachings.

— St. Benedict Center, Fr. Feeney and the History of St. Benedict Center (web site). Still River. MA, USA.

These statements are correct. Fr. Feeney was excommunicated for his disobedience, not for teaching false doctrine. He was [exonerated|vindicated] by Rome before his death. The heading that precedes paragraph 846 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a testament to this.

Newspapers articles will rarely tell you the whole truth on this topic. This was the main problem Fr. Leonard had. The press was publishing various false news accounts of what he was saying, and Rome was insisting that he come to Rome to explain the issues himself. He did not.

In looking back, I see the late 1940s as a period of time when the Church was called to elaborate and clarify its teaching on this important, yet sometimes misunderstood, doctrine of the Church.

Instead of learning about Catholic Christianity from the newspaper, learn about it from the Church that teaches and preaches what Jesus believes — remember it's His Church, not the Pope's; the Pope is there to safeguard and protect His Teachings and clarify appropriate Christian views on issues that never existed at the time of Christ.

I use to run a free program that sent Catechisms to seeking Protestants and non-Christians but no longer have the financial or operational means to do this anymore. Nevertheless, if you wish to go deeper, consider buying a cheap copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to learn everything we believe as Catholics.

If you, or any visitor, has been helped by our work at AskACatholic.com, consider financially supporting us today.

Hope this answers your questions.

Mike

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