If they don’t know about any other Catholic dogmas (other than the Trinity and Incarnation) then they are not heretics but Catholics [Christians], unless they hold a position that is incompatible with Faith in the Trinity and Incarnation or deny a truth that all know about God and the natural law or deny something that they know to be clearly taught in Scripture. For instance, if the baptized person described above claims to believe in the Trinity and Incarnation but holds that all religions are more or less good, then he is a heretic and does not have the Catholic Faith (even before he knows that such a position is condemned by the Church) because his belief is incompatible with true Faith in the Trinity as the one true God, which belief he must have to be said to have the Catholic Faith in its simplest components.
Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos (# 2), Jan. 6, 1928:
“…that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy... Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it...”
Another example would be if the baptized person who believes in the Trinity and the Incarnation (which are the simplest components of the Catholic Faith) and has never heard of other Catholic dogmas holds that man does not have free will (which some Protestants teach). This person would also become a heretic even before he has seen his position condemned by the Church and before he has heard of other Catholic dogmas (other than the Trinity and Incarnation) because he is rejecting a truth which all know to be true from the natural law, namely, that man has a free will. Thus, he is denying a truth all know about man from the natural law and he is a heretic.
Another example would be if the baptized person who believes in the Trinity and Incarnation (the Catholic Faith in its simplest components) and has never heard of other Catholic dogmas refuses to believe that God is a rewarder and a punisher. This person is a heretic, even though he has never seen that his position is condemned by the Church and has never heard of other Catholic dogmas, because he rejects a truth he knows to be true from the natural law, that God is a rewarder and a punisher of our actions (see Heb. 11:6).
A large majority of Protestants today believe in the doctrines of “faith alone” and “eternal security.” These doctrines contradict both the natural law and reason which says that every man shall be rewarded or punished for his deeds. It also contradicts, word for word, the teaching of James 2 in scripture, which teach that faith without works is dead, and that man is not saved by faith alone. This person who believes in faith alone or eternal security is a heretic, even though he has never seen that his position is condemned by the Church and has never heard of other Catholic dogmas, because he rejects a truth he knows to be true from the natural law, that God is a rewarder and a punisher of our actions, and that faith alone does not justify a man only, but our deeds also.
Other common heresies against the natural law is to hold that birth control or natural family planning, also called nfp, which many “Catholics” practise to avoid conception, (which makes them guilty of the mortal sin of contraception) is acceptable, or if a person is to hold that abortion is acceptable, or if a person is to hold that the consuming of mind altering drugs to the point where the conscience is impeded is acceptable. These examples would all fall under the category of deadly sin, because he is rejecting a truth which all know to be true from the natural law, namely, 1) that abortion is murder, 2) that contraception or nfp deliberately frustrates the natural power to generate life, 3) and that mind altering drugs such as smoking marijuana is a mortal sin, just like getting drunk is.
Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi (# 23), June 29, 1943:
“For not every sin, however grave it may be, is such as of its own nature to sever a man from the Body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy.”
We can see that it’s the teaching of the Catholic Church that a man is severed from the Church and Salvation by heresy, schism or apostasy.
The baptized children who reach the age of reason in Protestant, Eastern Schismatic, etc. church buildings and believe in the Trinity and the Incarnation (the essential components of the Catholic Faith) and who don’t reject any Catholic dogma because they don’t know of any other than the Trinity and Incarnation, and who don’t embrace any of the positions like those described above, which are directly incompatible with Faith in God, Jesus Christ, the Trinity, the Natural Law or what they know to be clearly taught in Scripture, would be Catholics in a heretical church building.
THERE IS NO SALVATION FOR MEMBERS OF ISLAM, JUDAISM OR OTHER HERETICAL OR SCHISMATIC NON-CATHOLIC SECTS So far we’ve seen that it’s an infallibly defined dogma that all who die as non-Catholics, including all Jews, pagans, heretics, schismatics, etc. cannot be saved. They need to be converted to have salvation. Now we must take a brief look at more of what the Church specifically says about some of the prominent non-Catholic religions, such as Judaism, Islam, and the Protestant and Eastern schismatic sects. This will illustrate, once again, that those who hold that members of non-Catholic religions can be saved are not only going against the solemn declarations that have already been quoted, but also the specific teachings quoted below.
SPECIFIC CATHOLIC TEACHING AGAINST JUDAISM Jews practice the Old Law and reject the Divinity of Christ and the Trinity. The Jews reject Our Lord Jesus Christ and call him a deceiver, yet many “Christians” say that they are good? This is mind-blowing! The Church teaches the following about the cessation of the Old Law and about all who continue to observe it:
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, 1441, ex cathedra: “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and teaches that the matter pertaining to the law of the Old Testament, the Mosaic law, which are divided into ceremonies, sacred rites, sacrifices, and sacraments… after our Lord’s coming… ceased, and the sacraments of the New Testament began,and that whoever, even after the passion, placed hope in these matters of the law and submitted himself to them as necessary for salvation, as if faith in Christ could not save without them, sinned mortally. All, therefore, who after that time (the promulgation of the Gospel) observe circumcision and the Sabbath (not to be mistaken with the Christian Sabbath) and the other requirements of the law, the holy Roman Church declares alien to the Christian faith and not in the least fit to participate in eternal salvation.”
Many people, who call themselves Catholic, do also boldly assert in contradiction of this infallible statement by Pope Eugene IV in the Council of Florence, that Jews who either reject Christ or who have not found or accepted Christ as their Messiah, can be saved. They also contradict our Lord’s words in the gospel.
John 3:36 “He that believeth in the Son, hath life everlasting; but he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Pt. I-II, Q. 103, A. 4: “In like manner the ceremonies of the Old Law betokened Christ as having yet to be born and to suffer: whereas our sacraments signify Him as already born and having suffered. Consequently, just as it would be a mortal sin now for anyone, in making a profession of faith, to say that Christ is yet to be born, which the fathers of old said devoutly and truthfully; so too it would be a mortal sin now to observe those ceremonies which the fathers of old fulfilled with devotion and fidelity.”
Pope Benedict XIV, Ex Quo Primum (# 61), March 1, 1756:
“The first consideration is that the ceremonies of the Mosaic Law were abrogated by the coming of Christ and that they can no longer be observed without sin after the promulgation of the Gospel.”
Pope Pius XII, Mystici Corporis Christi (#’s 29-30), June 29, 1943: “And first of all, by the death of our Redeemer, the New Testament took the place of the Old Law which had been abolished… on the gibbet of His death Jesus made void the Law with its decrees [Eph. 2:15]… establishing the New Testament in His blood shed for the whole human race. ‘To such an extent, then,’ says St. Leo the Great, speaking of the Cross of our Lord, ‘was there effected a transfer from the Law to the Gospel, from the Synagogue to the Church, from many sacrifices to one Victim, that, as our Lord expired, that mystical veil which shut off the innermost part of the temple and its sacred secret was rent violently from top to bottom.’On the Cross then the Old Law died, soon to be buried and to be a bearer of death…”
Thus, those who obstinately defends that faithless Jews who reject Christ can be saved and willfully contradict these infallible teachings of the Church, is a heretic, and will receive the full force of the automatic condemnation.
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Cantate Domino,” 1441, ex cathedra: “The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Church before the end of their lives...”
SPECIFIC TEACHING AGAINST ISLAM Pope Eugene IV, Council of Basel, Session 19, Sept. 7, 1434: “… there is hope that very many from the abominable sect of Mahomet will be converted to the Catholic faith.”
Pope Callixtus III, 1455: “I vow to… exalt the true Faith, and to extirpate the diabolical sect of the reprobate and faithless Mahomet [Islam] in the East.”
The Catholic Church considers Islam an “abominable” and “diabolical” sect. [Note: the Council of Basel is only considered ecumenical/approved in the first 25 sessions, as The Catholic Encyclopedia points out in Vol. 4, “Councils,” pp. 425-426.] An “abomination” is something that is abhorrent in God’s sight; it’s something that He has no esteem for and no respect for. Something “diabolical” is something of the Devil. Islam rejects, among many other dogmas, the Divinity of Jesus Christ and the Trinity. Its followers are outside the pale of salvation so long as they remain Muslims.
Pope Clement V, Council of Vienne, 1311-1312: “It is an insult to the holy name and a disgrace to the Christian faith that in certain parts of the world subject to Christian princes where Saracens [i.e., the followers of Islam, also called Muslims] live, sometimes apart, sometimes intermingled with Christians, the Saracen priests, commonly called Zabazala, in their temples or mosques, in which the Saracens meet to adore the infidel Mahomet, loudly invoke and extol his name each day at certain hours from a high place… There is a place, moreover, where once was buried a certain Saracen whom other Saracens venerate as a saint. This brings disrepute on our faith and gives great scandal to the faithful.These practices cannot be tolerated without displeasing the divine majesty. We therefore, with the sacred council’s approval, strictly forbid such practices henceforth in Christian lands. We enjoin on Catholic princes, one and all… They are to remove this offense together from their territories and take care that their subjects remove it, so that they may thereby attain the reward of eternal happiness. They are to forbid expressly the public invocation of the sacrilegious name of Mahomet… Those who presume to act otherwise are to be so chastised by the princes for their irreverence, that others may be deterred from such boldness.”
While the Church teaches that all who die as non-Catholics are lost, it also teaches that no one should be forced to embrace baptism, since belief is a free act of the will.
Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei (#36), Nov. 1, 1885: “And, in fact, the Church is wont to take earnest heed that no one shall be forced to embrace the Catholic faith against his will, for, as St. Augustine wisely reminds us, ‘Man cannot believe otherwise than of his own will.’”
The teaching of the Council of Vienne that Christian princes should enforce their civil authority to forbid the public expression of the false religion of Islam shows again that Islam is a false religion which leads souls to Hell (not Heaven) and displeases God.
SPECIFIC CATHOLIC TEACHING AGAINST PROTESTANT AND SCHISMATIC SECTS The Catholic Church also teaches that those baptized persons who embrace heretical or schismatic sects will lose their souls. Jesus founded His Church upon St. Peter, as we saw already, and declared that whoever does not hear the Church be considered as the heathen and publican (Matthew 18:17). He also commanded His followers to observe “all things whatsoever” He has commanded (Matthew 28:20). The Eastern schismatic sects (such as the “Orthodox”) and the Protestant sects are breakoff movements that have separated from the Catholic Church. By separating themselves from the one Church of Christ, they leave the path of salvation and enter the path of perdition.
These sects obstinately and pertinaciously reject one or more of the truths that Christ clearly instituted, such as the Papacy (Matthew 16; John 21; etc.), Confession (John 20:23), the Eucharist (John 6:54), and other dogmas of the Catholic Faith. In order to be saved one must assent to all the things which the Catholic Church, based on Scripture and Tradition, has infallibly defined as dogmas of the Faith.
Below are just a few of the infallible dogmas of the Catholic Faith which are rejected by Protestants and (in the case of the Papacy) by the Eastern “Orthodox.” The Church “anathematizes” (a severe form of excommunication) all who obstinately assert the contrary to its dogmatic definitions.
"To understand the word anathema…we should first go back to the real meaning of herem of which it is the equivalent. Herem comes from the word haram, to cut off, to separate, to curse, and indicates that which is cursed and condemned to be cut off or exterminated, whether a person or a thing, and in consequence, that which man is forbidden to make use of. This is the sense of anathema in the following passage from Deut., vii, 26: ‘Neither shalt thou bring anything of the idol into thy house, lest thou become an anathema like it. Thou shalt detest it as dung, and shalt utterly abhor it as uncleanness and filth, because it is an anathema.’”
Thus, a Protestant or an “Eastern Orthodox” who obstinately rejects these dogmatic teachings is anathematized and severed from the Church, outside of which there is no salvation. It’s quite interesting that, in issuing these dogmatic canons, the Church says: “If anyone shall say…. let him be anathema [anathema sit]” as opposed to “If anyone shall say… he is anathema [anathema est].” This qualification of “let him be” allows room for those Catholics who may be unaware of a particular dogma and would conform to the teaching of the canon as soon as it were presented to him. The person who is obstinate, however, and willfully contradicts the dogmatic teaching of the Church receives the full force of the automatic condemnation.
The point here is that if one is able to reject these dogmas and still be saved, then these infallible definitions and their accompanying anathemas have no meaning, value or force. But they do have meaning, value and force – they are infallible teachings protected by Jesus Christ. Thus, all who reject these dogmas are anathematized and on the road to damnation.
Pope Pius XI, Rerum omnium perturbationem (#4), Jan. 26, 1923: “The saint was no less a person that Francis de Sales… he seemed to have been sent especially by God to contend against the heresies begotten by the [Protestant] Reformation. It is in these heresies that we discover the beginnings of that apostasy of mankind from the Church, the sad and disastrous effects of which are deplored, even to the present hour, by every fair mind.”
Pope Julius III, Council of Trent, Session 13, Can. 1 on the Eucharist, ex cathedra: "If anyone denies that in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist there are truly, really, and substantially contained the Body and Blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and therefore the whole Christ, but shall say that He is in it as by sign or figure, or force, let him be anathema."
Pope Julius III, Council of Trent, Session 14, Canon 3 on the Sacrament of Penance: “If anyone says that the words of the Lord Savior: ‘Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins ye shall retain, they are retained’ [John 20:22 f.], are not to be understood of the power remitting and retaining sins in the sacrament of penance… let him be anathema.”
Pope Julius III, Council of Trent, Session 14, on Extreme Unction and Penance: “These are the things which this sacred ecumenical synod professes and teaches concerning the sacraments of penance and extreme unction, and it sets them forth to be believed and held by all the faithful of Christ. Moreover, the following canons, it says, must be inviolately observed, and it condemns and anathematizes forever those who assert the contrary.”
Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 6, Chap. 16, ex cathedra:
"After this Catholic doctrine of justification - which, unless he faithfully and firmly accepts, no one can be justified - it seemed good to the holy Synod to add these canons, so that all may know, not only what they must hold and follow, but also what they ought to shun and avoid."
Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council I, 1870, Sess. 4, Chap. 3, ex cathedra: "… all the faithful of Christ must believe that the Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff hold primacy over the whole world, and the Pontiff of Rome himself is the successor of the blessed Peter, the chief of the apostles, and is the true vicar of Christ and head of the whole Church... Furthermore We teach and declare that the Roman Church, by the disposition of the Lord, holds the sovereignty of ordinary power over all others… This is the doctrine of Catholic truth from which no one can deviate and keep his faith and salvation."
THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM IS NECESSARY FOR SALVATION To further show that the Sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation, I will quote numerous infallible statements from the Chair of St. Peter.
Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, Sess. 7, Can. 5 on the Sacrament of Baptism, ex cathedra: “If anyone says that baptism [the Sacrament] is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation (cf. Jn. 3:5): let him be anathema.” This infallible dogmatic definition from the Chair of St. Peter condemns anyone who says that the Sacrament of Baptism is not necessary for salvation. The Sacrament of Baptism is necessary for all for salvation, first of all, because, as the Council of Trent defines, all men (except the Blessed Virgin Mary) were conceived in a state of original sin as a result of the sin of Adam, the first man. The Sacrament of Baptism is also necessary for all for salvation because it is the means by which one is marked as a member of Jesus Christ and incorporated into His Mystical Body. And in defining the truth that all men were conceived in the state of Original Sin, the Council of Trent specifically declared that the Blessed Virgin Mary was an exception to its decree on Original Sin. But in defining the truth that the Sacrament of Baptism is necessary for salvation, the Council of Trent made no exceptions at all.
Pope Eugene IV, The Council of Florence, “Exultate Deo,” Nov. 22, 1439: “Holy baptism, which is the gateway to the spiritual life, holds the first place among all the sacraments; through it we are made members of Christ and of the body of the Church. And since death entered the universe through the first man, ‘unless we are born again of water and the Spirit, we cannot,’ as the Truth says, ‘enter into the kingdom of heaven’ [John 3:5]. The matter of this sacrament is real and natural water.”
Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 1, 1215, ex cathedra: “But the sacrament of baptism is consecrated in water at the invocation of the undivided Trinity – namely, Father, Son and Holy Ghost – and brings salvation to both children and adults when it is correctly carried out by anyone in the form laid down by the Church.”
Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas (# 15), Dec. 11, 1925 : “Indeed this kingdom is presented in the Gospels as such, into which men prepare to enter by doing penance; moreover, they cannot enter it except throughfaith and baptism, which, although an external rite, yet signifies and effects an interior regeneration.”
We see here that one cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven without faith and the external rite of baptism (i.e., the Sacrament of Baptism). Ignorant people nowadays contradict this fact and claim that people can reach heaven without a real and actual water baptism. One could easily understand if a person were ignorant of these facts and believed that a person or infant could be Saved without the sacrament of baptism since many have been wrong on this issue, even Saints. But when one has seen these infallible dogmatic declarations from the Popes, and still obstinately hold to the position that people or infants can be saved without real and actual water baptism, he is a heretic. A heretic is a person who obstinately, willfully and knowingly hold an opinion which he knows to be in opposition with what the Church teach.
Pope Paul III, The Council of Trent, Can. 2 on the Sacrament of Baptism, Sess. 7, 1547, ex cathedra: “If anyone shall say that real and natural water is not necessary for baptism, and on that account those words of Our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit’ [John 3:5], are distorted into some sort of metaphor: let him be anathema.”
Pope Benedict XIV, Nuper ad nos, March 16, 1743, Profession of Faith: “Likewise (I profess) that baptism is necessary for salvation, and hence, if there is imminent danger of death, it should be conferred at once and without delay, and that it is valid if conferred with the right matter and form and intention by anyone, and at any time.”
Catechism of the Council of Trent, Baptism made obligatory after Christ’s Resurrection, p. 171: “Holy writers are unanimous in saying that after the Resurrection of our Lord, when He gave His Apostles the command to go and teach all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, the law of Baptism became obligatory on all who were to be saved.” For a person to assert that salvation can be attained invincibly or ignorantly by Jews, pagans, heretics or schismatics without baptism or the Catholic Faith, is truly the most evil of doctrine since it renders Faith in Jesus Christ and the true Catholic Faith meaningless. According to this erroneous world view, anyone who is “good” can attain eternal life.
Many people like to object against these truths as “bitter” or “uncharitable.”But this is not true. The “foundation of charity is faith pure and undefiled” (Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, #9). Some will also say that they cannot understand the justice behind these infallible declarations by God through the Popes. But it is not our job to question God’s laws and decrees. Our job is to believe first and understand second. Yet, if one looks at this situation clearly, one can understand the justice behind it. Adam and Eve brought death and original sin on every human being through their sin of eating the forbidden fruit. Did they fall for just desiring the fruit? NO! They fell after eating a real physical fruit. If you cannot accept that all of humanity must be baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, how can you accept that all of humanity fell into sin because of Adam and Eve ate a physical fruit?
Here are some very relevant quotes from the Revelations of St. Bridget that describes the power of a real baptism and how real water must be joined to the sacrament of baptism for baptism to be efficacious:
“The Mother appeared again and said: “My son, you still have need of a horse and saddle. The spiritual signification of the horse is baptism. Just as a horse has its four legs and carries a man on the journey he must accomplish, so too baptism, as signified by the horse, carries a man in the sight of God and has four spiritual effects. The first effect is that the baptized are liberated from the devil and bound to the commandments and service of God. The second effect is that they are cleansed from original sin. The third is that they are made God's children and coheirs. The fourth is that heaven is opened to them.
Yet how many there are today who, having reached the age of reason, pull the reins on the horse of baptism and ride it off on a false path! The baptismal path is true and rightly followed when people are instructed and upheld in good moral habits before reaching the age of reason and when, upon reaching the age of reason and carefully considering what was promised at the baptismal font, they keep their faith and love of God intact. However, they ride away from the right path and rein the horse in when they prefer the world and the flesh to God.
The saddle of the horse or of baptism is the effect of the bitter passion and death of Jesus Christ, which gave baptism its efficacy. What is water if not an element? As soon as God's blood was poured out, God's word and the power of God's outpoured blood entered into the element. Thus, by the word of God, the water of baptism became the means of reconciliation between humankind and God, the gate of mercy, the expulsion of demons, the way to heaven, and the forgiveness of sins. So those who would boast of the power of baptism should first consider how the effect of baptism was instituted through bitter pain. When their mind swells up with pride against God, let them consider how bitter their redemption was, how many times they have broken their baptismal vows, and what they deserve for their relapses into sin.” The Revelations of St. Bridget, Book 4, Chapter 74 As we can read from this splendid teaching by our Holy Mother, the water received the blood of our Lord when he died for our sins, and that is why the water can have such a great efficacy that it can even wash away original sin when it is used with the invocation of the name of the Holy Trinity. Here comes another good example from St. Bridget's revelations about the efficacy of baptism:
Christ describes why a three year old boy is tormented by a demon: “And even though the boy is born by the seed of the father and mother, the devil still has the greatest power over him, for he is not reborn through the true baptism, but is only baptized in the way that women are accustomed to baptize, who do not know about the words of the Holy Trinity. That is why the boy may be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; then he will be cured.”