Originally Posted by kimiij
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?