Salvation is not granted solely to Christians

Pope Saint John Paul II in Redemptoris Missio:

“10. The universality of salvation means that it is granted not only to those who explicitly believe in Christ and have entered the Church. Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all. But it is clear that today, as in the past, many people do not have an opportunity to come to know or accept the gospel revelation or to enter the Church. The social and cultural conditions in which they live do not permit this, and frequently they have been brought up in other religious traditions. For such people salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his Sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit. It enables each person to attain salvation through his or her free cooperation.”

“For this reason the Council, after affirming the centrality of the Paschal Mystery, went on to declare that ‘this applies not only to Christians but to all people of good will in whose hearts grace is secretly at work. Since Christ died for everyone, and since the ultimate calling of each of us comes from God and is therefore a universal one, we are obliged to hold that the Holy Spirit offers everyone the possibility of sharing in this Paschal Mystery in a manner known to God.’ [Gaudium et Spes 22]”

A person who rejects Christianity and the Church can still be saved, if that rejection is not an actual mortal sin, and if the person enters the state of grace by any of the three forms of baptism. And a baptism of desire is still available to a person who outwardly rejects the Church, as long as he or she inwardly accepts Christ, implicitly, by accepting love of neighbor.

Who goes to Heaven? not only Christians who die in the state of grace, but all who die in the state of grace. And that state is offered to all human persons. “Since salvation is offered to all, it must be made concretely available to all.”

Notice that the Beatitudes are a description of who goes to Heaven. And the list of ways to get to Heaven is clearly not restricted to baptized Christians.

[Matthew 5]
{5:1} Then, seeing the crowds, he ascended the mountain, and when he had sat down, his disciples drew near to him,
{5:2} and opening his mouth, he taught them, saying:
{5:3} “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
{5:4} Blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth.
{5:5} Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be consoled.
{5:6} Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.
{5:7} Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
{5:8} Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
{5:9} Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
{5:10} Blessed are those who endure persecution for the sake of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
{5:11} Blessed are you when they have slandered you, and persecuted you, and spoken all kinds of evil against you, falsely, for my sake:
{5:12} be glad and exult, for your reward in heaven is plentiful. For so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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One Response to Salvation is not granted solely to Christians

  1. Bob says:

    I agree Ron. Baptism removes original sin and restores sanctifying grace. So at some point baptism, by any of the three forms is required. A un-baptised person who goes through life is like a child born with a severe illness. It survies because Jesus died for all. But is easier for it to relapse (into sin). Then again, the mercy of God is so great that perhaps those of us who are baptized, know Jesus, are Catholic etc etc etc., may be like the first who are last!!! Who knows. Good post.

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