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Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Salvation of Non Catholics

I heard it once too often.

You know how it goes. Some older Catholic, or ex-Catholic, tells you, “When I was growing up ...” — in the 1930s or ’40s or ’50s, maybe; or, perhaps, until Vatican II in the 1960s — “... when I was growing up, the Catholic Church said that only Catholics go to heaven.”


Sometimes, it is said in all innocence. Sometimes, it is said accusingly. Sometimes, it is said with a virtual wink-of-the-eye, “knowingly,” as if to imply, You can believe that little white lie that the Church’s teachings don’t change. But I know better.


Yes, I heard it once too often. So, here is a small compendium of Catholic teaching concerning the salvation of Non-Catholics. All of these documents were published before 1950. I present them here from oldest to newest, with a very brief extract from each. The links here go to pages that present the relevant passages of the documents. Those pages include links, when applicable, to the full documents elsewhere.

Here’s the truth.

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