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Is The Catholic Church the church that Jesus Founded? Is it the only path to salvation?

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
I have serious issues with these two assertions. Can anyone provide enlightenment?

I have always been drawn to the Catholic church and have been near the point of converting several times. BUT, I just cannot get past the service itself (Mass) and the two below assertions.

What evidence is there that the Catholic Church is the Church that Christ founded/meant to found?

Why is salvation only found in the Catholic Church?

Am I wrong about these? If I am right that these are beliefs held by the Catholic church, what evidence backs up these assertions?
post #2 of 41
I'm not personally Catholic and don't know if the Catholic church believes those things. But, here's a great link that teaches about the history of the Christian church in 8 lessons. If you click on each one there is an mp3 of the class being taught and notes that go along with it. HTH!

http://www.generationword.com/_notes...h_history.html
post #3 of 41
It is a doctrine of the Church that "Outside the Church there is no Salvation." (Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Sallus)
post #4 of 41
I normally stay out of discussions in this forum as I'm just not knowledgable enough. But I saw this from new posts.

Quote:
What evidence is there that the Catholic Church is the Church that Christ founded/meant to found?
The Catholic Church can trace it's roots and history back to Peter the Apostle. We consider him the first Pope (though the designation and office of Pope became much later. For a long time in Church history the Pope was simply the bishop of Rome). Therefore Catholics consider themselves the Church founded by Jesus based on the fact that Jesus commanded his apostles to go out and spread the word of the lord. And even if you don't consider Peter the first Pope the Catholic Church can trace it's roots back to Jesus. Yes all other religions can as well. However, the vast majority of them are offshoots of Catholicism or offshoots of offshoots.
Quote:
Why is salvation only found in the Catholic Church?
You will find this claim in numerous christian religions, not only Catholicism. You will also find it is heavily debated among Catholics themselves. I remember numerous debates about this very issue (and about the related question of whether you can attain salvation without a belief in Jesus at all, but a good life). I've been Catholic my whole life and I've heard both parishioners and priests argue on either side of this question. Personally, I know very few Catholics that believe that the only way to salvation is through the Catholic Church (I do know several who think the opposite). I however do not know the official church doctrine on it. But I guess since I'm Catholic and I don't personally believe the only way to salvation is through my Church I guess I don't consider it a belief that precludes considering yourself Catholic.
post #5 of 41
I am no longer Catholic and really dont know the official stance, but going to Catholic school for 13 years and my whole family being catholic....I have never heard that only catholics go to heaven.
post #6 of 41
  • “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.)
  • “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.)
  • “The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.)
post #7 of 41
I am not trying to be controversial or cause a fight, but I had to memorize these quotes in school, so I am familiar with them.
post #8 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimiij View Post
What evidence is there that the Catholic Church is the Church that Christ founded/meant to found?
Historically, there are only a few churches still existing which go back to the time of the apostles: the Roman Catholic and related Catholic churches; the Orthodox church; and the Coptic church. This is important only if you accept the idea that Christ's Church, once founded, would continue to exist intact until the end of the world.
post #9 of 41
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the responses! I am still trying to do research and wrap my head around the link between Peter and what eventually became the Roman Catholic Church? I think this is the question that for me is probably easier to see in history. But, I guess I'm not sure that I think it's all that important because through one way or another Peter founded the WHOLE Christian Church, not just the Catholic Church.

But, I can't for the life of me understand the salvation alone through the Roman Catholic Church because that''s not what's in the bible.

Romans 10:9-10, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Romans 10:13, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
post #10 of 41
I think you would do well to read widely on these topics, from both the Catholic and the non-Catholic perspective, because the answers are going to vary hugely. Only you are going to be able to decide the answers to your questions based on the scholarly evidence.
post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimiij View Post
Thanks for all the responses! I am still trying to do research and wrap my head around the link between Peter and what eventually became the Roman Catholic Church? I think this is the question that for me is probably easier to see in history. But, I guess I'm not sure that I think it's all that important because through one way or another Peter founded the WHOLE Christian Church, not just the Catholic Church.

But, I can't for the life of me understand the salvation alone through the Roman Catholic Church because that''s not what's in the bible.

Romans 10:9-10, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Romans 10:13, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
This is a commonly misunderstood doctrine. It does not mean that all non-Catholics are not going to be saved. In fact, the Catholic Church teaches that it is entirely possible for Protestants, atheists, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and so on, to be saved. But, they are saved through the Church, even if they don't know it.

There is a lot of theology about what exactly the Church is. It is seen as much more objective than what most Protestant denominations say, but it doesn't comprise ONLY the visible parts we can see. For Protestants, usually the church is an invisible, spiritual entity. For Catholics, it has both invisible spiritual aspects and visible, institutional ones. (Much like human beings, who have both a body and soul.) Among the invisible elements are all the saved people. The Church seen as the institution through which God chooses to work. So that atheist who was saved, is indeed considered to be part of the Church.

A good metaphor is that we are all vines grafted to the Church, which receives its life through Christ, it's root and the source of it's being. When a person joins the Church they are grafted on through the sacrament of baptism. But others may also be grafted on, that we don't know about, through the action of God.

So, what is the difference, then, between someone non-Catholic who gets grafted on and someone who doesn't. Well, the official line is that they are not to blame for not joining the Church if they didn't know any. It could be that no one told them, or even that they could not see that it made sense. In that case they could be extended grace if they had lived according to what they did know. (But refusing to investigate more, or a "dishonest reason for not joining the Church wouldn't cut it.)

As far as why all the denominations that split off are not considered part of the Church. There are two reasons that this is considered to be the case, and not all groups are considered party to both.

One is a matter of authority - the group may have kept to true doctrine, but has rejected the authority of the Church - part of the visible part of the Church. Both the Orthodox and Catholic Churches feel that a legitimate authority is an important part of the institution of the Church, although they center the authority in different places. By rejecting that authority, they have moved out of the Church.

In the case of most of the Protestant churches, and the attitude of the Orthodox to the Catholic Church, is that they have moved outside of the Church not only by rejecting it's authority, but by rejecting true doctrine and substituting false doctrine.

I think the important point is the idea that the Church is both a visible and invisible institution. If it is only invisible as the Protestant view has it then it does not really make sense to talk about moving outside the Church. (Mind you, they do, for example many would say a person who denies Christ, or the Bible, is outside the invisible church. But that means that they actually do see the church as having a visible aspect - certain points of doctrine and a certain interpretation of the Bible.)

I'm curious about what it is you don't like about their services?
post #12 of 41
Many quotes about the "Church" being the only path to salvation are speaking of the "Church" in a broader sense than just the Catholic Church. If the the "Church" refers to Jesus' hands and feet. Then references to the Church as the only path to salvation simply means that they believe the only path through salvation is through Jesus.

Also remember that when you see references to the Catholic Church there is a difference between a big C and a little c. Catholic church is usually often to reference the Roman Catholic Church. With a little c - catholic refers to a united or universal church and usually referes to a more broad deffination of the faithful (http://www.answers.com/topic/catholic). Which is why you will find the line "I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church;..." in the apostles creed in many protestant churches.

Many faiths believe they are the only path to salvation. Basically if some other way will get the job done just as well why would you continue to practice that particular faith? Therefore many religious of many denominations believe that theirs is the only true or correct path. Because it gives their beliefs a feeling of legitimacy.
post #13 of 41
Quote:
In fact, the Catholic Church teaches that it is entirely possible for Protestants, atheists, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and so on, to be saved. But, they are saved through the Church, even if they don't know it.
So many words here, and I think it is so simple. Its not thru the church that anyone is saved. Its only thru Christ. Im willing to say that Im not sure how or who is saved thru Christ alone but to me, its clear that its thru Christ alone. Its not the Church who died for our salvation, its Christ alone.

I think that the Church, like Bluegoat said, is invisible and visible. It includes all denominations, imho. Also imo, while talking about this stuff can be benificial, it detracts from the point of it all, and makes Christ a sort of backseat figure in all this... dont you think?

I think we sometimes try to figure all this out, I dont know, may be to help us make sense of it all, needing a way of defining our faith, when its perfectly ok and (Im learning) right to just believe in Jesus. There was a time a long time ago when I was cleaning a house for an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair, it was a paid side job and I was hoovering and praying about all sorts of stuff like this, bc I too wanted an nice and tidy box to put it all in, some kind of security within this faith of mine. All the Holy Spirit said to me 'What about Jesus alone?... What about Just Jesus?'... For some reason one thing that kept popping in my head alongside this thought were criminals in prison who had accepted Christ, what about those... what church do they belong to? The Prison Church? ... The Holy Spirit left me to just ponder that for the last seven or 8 years lol... never gave me a conclusive answer, as if that was just an example of the point He was trying to teach me.

Im sorry I go on like this.... I think Im *finally* coming to terms with these kinds of dilemmas that have come up in my faith walk. (also, billy and mandy is on in the background and forgoodnesssake!! it is so distracting and ...kind of funny...where's my train of thought?)..... Yeah, coming to terms with this stuff. I used to question...'What KIND of Christian am I then?!?!'

Im finally coming to terms with it all and maybe going on like this on a forum like this is my own outlet... so this is an answer to all my questions as much as it is a response to the op...


post #14 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
I'm curious about what it is you don't like about their services?
I realize I didn't answer this question.

I'm not a fan of liturgy. I am more of a free-worship type. Singing songs, praying my own prayers, etc.
post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimiij View Post
I realize I didn't answer this question.

I'm not a fan of liturgy. I am more of a free-worship type. Singing songs, praying my own prayers, etc.
Hmm, well, a liturgy has a very specific purpose and reason for existing the way it does. The idea in the liturgy for the Mass, for example, is to a) make sure the people understand what the Eucharist is actually supposed to be and mean, both as a Church and as an individual, b) are as far as possible in the right sort of mental state to recieve it. As well, because the form is the same week to week, and many of the prayers, there is a lot of opportunity to gain a very intimate knowledge of them. It's rather like a kind of meditation, where you go deeper and deeper over time. And when that liturgy becomes very familiar, it becomes quite a comfort, the words can come back to you when you really need them.

You might find different styles of service at different churches, and of course the Catholic Church has other rites than the familiar Latin one.
post #16 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by genifer View Post
So many words here, and I think it is so simple. Its not thru the church that anyone is saved. Its only thru Christ. Im willing to say that Im not sure how or who is saved thru Christ alone but to me, its clear that its thru Christ alone. Its not the Church who died for our salvation, its Christ alone.

I think that the Church, like Bluegoat said, is invisible and visible. It includes all denominations, imho. Also imo, while talking about this stuff can be benificial, it detracts from the point of it all, and makes Christ a sort of backseat figure in all this... dont you think?
Probably the biggest difference between most Protestant denominations on the one hand, and the Catholic/Orthodox/Coptic denominations on the other, is their conception of what the Church is. We do not see the Church as an organization. To us, the Church is the mystical Body of Christ; it is a living thing, and we are like the cells of that body. Christ provides what we need spiritually through his Church. So, there is no question of being saved by the Church or being saved by Christ, because they are one and the same.

In the same way, we believe there can only be one Church, just as there is only one Christ.
post #17 of 41
Quote:
Probably the biggest difference between most Protestant denominations on the one hand, and the Catholic/Orthodox/Coptic denominations on the other, is their conception of what the Church is. We do not see the Church as an organization. To us, the Church is the mystical Body of Christ; it is a living thing, and we are like the cells of that body. Christ provides what we need spiritually through his Church. So, there is no question of being saved by the Church or being saved by Christ, because they are one and the same.

In the same way, we believe there can only be one Church, just as there is only one Christ.

Im really sorry mamabadger but when you say 'we' are you talking about the Catholic/Orthodox/Coptic denominations or Protestant denoms? And when you say that, does that include the 'other' as being part of the same invisible/mystic church, or are they considered heretics?? I can see what you mean tho, bc it says that Christ is the head... and my head IS part of my body so... it follows on, lol. And if you are talking about the Catholic/etc church, I totally have always seen that particular church as an organisation/institution. But thats just me, lol. THE biggest religious 'institution' out there. But then again, I dont know a whole lot about the Orthodox/coptic church. WHAT a variety within christianity tho, lol.

Saying that, I still see Christ as The Head but at the same time distinctly seperate in that the church didnt die for us. However, now that I say that... I can see how we DO die to our selves everyday.... for the sake of the gospel.... like Christ did... but I still see it kind of like 'us' and 'Him'.
post #18 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by genifer View Post
Im really sorry mamabadger but when you say 'we' are you talking about the Catholic/Orthodox/Coptic denominations or Protestant denoms?
Oh, sorry. By "we" I meant the Orthodox/Catholic/Coptic part.
Quote:
And when you say that, does that include the 'other' as being part of the same invisible/mystic church, or are they considered heretics??
No, the "other" would not be part of the one Church. The same Church does not contain an essential belief about God or Christ, and at the same time contain another belief which contradicts it. The word "heretics" is considered terribly harsh by modern standards, but strictly speaking, any belief at odds with Church doctrine is heresy, meaning it belongs to some belief system apart from the Church.
Quote:
Saying that, I still see Christ as The Head but at the same time distinctly seperate in that the church didnt die for us.
No, Christ died for us; however, he is no longer physically present on earth; but before he returned to Heaven, he left the Church as his means of guiding and caring for us. We do not get to deal with Christ more directly than that until after our death.
post #19 of 41
As information for you: I am not Catholic, but am a theologian and religious historian who claims no alliance to any Christian faith.

1. Jesus did not found the Catholic church or ANY Christian faith. He was a Jew and never considered himself anything but. Subsequent disciples and devotees founded the Christian faith, separate from Judaism.

2. The Catholic Church has no more claim on "the one true way" than any other religion. Frankly, I find religions that claim this suspect. There are many ways to the divine, and organized religions are a human making, not one of any Deity.
post #20 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillitu View Post
1. Jesus did not found the Catholic church or ANY Christian faith. He was a Jew and never considered himself anything but. Subsequent disciples and devotees founded the Christian faith, separate from Judaism.
That can be true only if you completely disallow written accounts of his life. Christian scripture indicates that Jesus made numerous references to the founding of his Church, such as "I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." (Matthew 16:18)
He established new practices such as baptism; and even some which were completely scandalous to the Jews of the time: "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:53-54)
He directly contradicted, or rather corrected, Jewish teachings. (Matthew 5)
He gave his apostles instructions on what to do with his teachings: "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." (John 20:21), "Whatever sins you forgive, they are forgiven; whatever sins you retain, they are retained." (John 20:22-23), "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19-20)
He discussed what would happen to the followers of his teachings (his church) after his death: "You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations." (Mark 13:10), "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26)
How can statements like this indicate that he had no plans to establish a church and no intentions to make any changes whatsoever in Jewish teaching or practice?
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