Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Do Catholics believe Faith is Necessary to "Be Saved?"

Many well-meaning but misinformed believers often say the Catholic Church states that "faith is not necessary for salvation." You can understand their righteous indignation when they incorrectly assume that Catholics think Jesus death wasn't necessary for our salvation. Let's actually see what Catholics say by going to their own source, The Catechism of the Catholic Church:

161. Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. 42 "Since "without faith it is impossible to please [God]" and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life 'But he who endures to the end.'"]

Straight from the horses mouth, so to speak. So maybe there is a misconception about what Catholics believe. I was a "warm the pew on Sunday Catholic" for 15 years and didn't know that the Church believed or taught. Therefore it was easy for me to except the information presented to me by well-meaning but misinformed Protestants who told me that Catholics don't believe in Christ's death on the Cross for our Salvation. I have since come to find out, that the whole Mass is a celebration and re-presenting of that eternal sacrifice for us. I love to look at the Crucifix and meditate on this great love God had for me to come and die for me . But my belief in that death better manifest itself in right living! After all, the Scriptures say "even the demons believe and tremble....." and they won't be in heaven.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Gentlemen-

I was all happy about the CCC stating truth I could deal with and then I found this statement from the CCC that totally contradicts what you posted:

1) "that is, while it is normatively necessary to be a Catholic to be saved (see CCC 846; Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 14), there are exceptions, and it is possible in some circumstances for people to be saved who have not been fully initiated into the Catholic Church (CCC 847). Notice that the same Fathers who declare the normative necessity of being Catholic also declare the possibility of salvation for some who are not Catholics"

THEN:

2) "However, for those who knowingly and deliberately (that is, not out of innocent ignorance) commit the sins of heresy (rejecting divinely revealed doctrine) or schism (separating from the Catholic Church and/or joining a schismatic church), no salvation would be possible until they repented and returned to live in Catholic unity."

So Gentlemen, having fought hard and continue to walk the path of faith with my Deart Lord Jesus Christ isn't good enough...the small percentage that the CCC states that will be saved "by chance?" by " a miracle" or "?" isn't going to be any better than playing the Lottery to get into heaven! Maybe my faith in my Lord Jesus Christ isn't good enough because I am not Roman Catholic? Do you see how Christian unity is hard with statements like this?

June 09, 2006 5:58 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks for the comment!
I don't see that your reference to the CCC totally contradicts my previous reference to the Catechism. Your comments were taken from the Catholic Answers website and thus are a Catholic apologist's take on what the catechism is saying. A full reading of the web page and it's authors comments will make it a bit clearer and I will post the link to see the full comments. http://www.catholic.com/library/salvation_outside_the_church.asp When I read the CCC, it says folks can be saved outside the Catholic Church. But yes, normatively, for the past two thousand years, the gospel message of Christ's death for our sins has been offered only through the Catholic Church.(It's been the only church in town for 1517 years) Like it or not, it is just the way it was. It was only after the Reformation that the gospel message was preached in churches that were not Catholic and it was not the full gospel in complete harmony with the Church's teachings. The church believes that others can be saved who are not Roman Catholic and it is not a "miracle or lottery" if you are not Catholic and get baptized and repent of your sins. A good friend of mine likes to say of our protestant friends "They are Catholic, they just don't know it yet!" Read CCC 836-838 for the Churches view of non Catholic Christians. From the new Compendium of the Catechism: "All human beings in various ways belong to or are ordered to the Catholic unity of the people of God. Fully incorporated into the Catholic Church are those, who possessing the Spirit of Christ, are joined to the Church by the bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiatical government and communion. The baptized who do not enjoy full Catholic unity are in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."
Bottom line in Tiber Jumper's quick and dirty way of looking at things, without Catholicism, there would be no Protestantism! I know it smacks of Triumphalism, and I apologize for that tone, but I don't apologize for the Catholic Church's historically-based belief that it is the Church Jesus started and that schisms and separations were never part of the plan. Think of a Venn diagram: The Catholic Church is the big circle and the reformation churches are the smaller circles inside the big circle.So you are a part of us, but don't share the full communion yet.
Regarding your comment abount unity:
Truth is more important than "unity."
When the early Church needed to rid itself of arianism (denying the divinity of Christ) it had to declare those who espoused it heretics and schismatics. If it did not act against this heresy, but for the sake of unity allowed Arianism to flourish, as it almost did, we would not have the belief in the Trinity that God is truly one in three persons and Jesus was both God and Man. Where would we be now if the Church didn't squash heresy? We would be singing "Kumbaya" in a unitarian type church with all the moral and theological relativism that therein is engendered. Pope John Paul 2 was a living example that the Catholic Church is not "hatin' on the other brothers."

June 10, 2006 8:48 PM  
Anonymous Prodigal Daughter said...

Anonymous said:

“Notice that the same Fathers who declare the normative necessity of being Catholic also declare the possibility of salvation for some who are not Catholics"

If you are trying to say that the Fathers are contradicting themselves, I do not see the contradiction. It is just two ways of saying the same thing. Normative means that it isn’t necessarily always the case.

Anonymous also said:

“Maybe my faith in my Lord Jesus Christ isn't good enough because I am not Roman Catholic?”

I am assuming that you believe that your “faith alone” is what will save you, but where do you get that interpretation of scripture from? I think it originally comes from the Protestant reformation. When I read the Bible, I see that “faith without works is dead (James 2:26).” When I read Matthew 25 I see that the sheep and the goats were separated by what they did and did not do. So I don’t think the Church is saying that our faith is not good enough, The Church is saying like a mother who loves her children. “Don’t go off on your own with all that I have taught you and try and find your way in the dark. Come to me and I will guide you to heaven as you trust in Jesus, knowing that it is He who gave me to you.”

After all, the Catholic Church canonized the Bible. If you trust her enough to believe in her book, why not trust her for its interpretation?

June 10, 2006 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Prodigal Daughter said...

Anonymous said:

“Notice that the same Fathers who declare the normative necessity of being Catholic also declare the possibility of salvation for some who are not Catholics"

If you are trying to say that the Fathers are contradicting themselves, I do not see the contradiction. It is just two ways of saying the same thing. Normative means that it isn’t necessarily always the case.

Anonymous also said:

“Maybe my faith in my Lord Jesus Christ isn't good enough because I am not Roman Catholic?”

I am assuming that you believe that your “faith alone” is what will save you, but where do you get that interpretation of scripture from? I think it originally comes from the Protestant reformation. When I read the Bible, I see that “faith without works is dead (James 2:26).” When I read Matthew 25 I see that the sheep and the goats were separated by what they did and did not do. So I don’t think the Church is saying that our faith is not good enough, The Church is saying like a mother who loves her children. “Don’t go off on your own with all that I have taught you and try and find your way in the dark. Come to me and I will guide you to heaven as you trust in Jesus, knowing that it is He who gave me to you.”

After all, the Catholic Church canonized the Bible. If you trust her enough to believe in her book, why not trust her for its interpretation?

June 10, 2006 8:54 PM  

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