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Unlike what I hear from the RCC today, Matatics and others like him say there is NO hope for someone who is outside of the Catholic church. The RCC has a slightly different view of this, right?Well, we both agree that there is no hope for someone who is outside of the Church. Where we differ is on who we declare to be "outside." I haven't studied his stance too thoroughly, but I'm guessing Matatics believes that, if you are not a fully initiated member of the Catholic Church (as in, if you have not received the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Eucharist), then you cannot be saved. However, the official Catholic teaching (which, contrary to belief, has never changed) is more nuanced than that.
The Church believes that Jesus Christ died for all mankind and He desires that every human being be saved. As a result, He, Jesus Christ, provides grace to every man for his salvation, and this grace is utterly gratuitous. Unfortunately, many people turn their back on God and His grace, and these people run the risk of dying in complete separation from the Lord and thus not entering heaven.
Now, some people think that if a person does not have an explicit belief in Jesus Christ as God and the Savior of his soul then that person has rejected God and will go to hell. But, sometimes this lack of an explicit belief in Christ is not that person's fault. Believe it or not, there are still thousands (millions?) of people who grow up, live, and die w/o ever hearing the Gospel of Christ. It is unjust for them to be punished for something that is not their fault.
Of course, a Calvinist will say that these people never heard the Gospel b/c God, in his Providence and Sovereignty, simply decided not to reveal Himself to them and to thus send them to hell. But, Catholics don't believe in double predestination, and, as I said earlier, we believe that God gives every human being, as in every single last one of them, the grace necessary to get to heaven.
So, those people who, for whatever reason, never heard the Gospel of Christ will be held accountable for whatever grace and truth they were given. They, like all of us, will also be held accountable to the natural law imprinted on their hearts. If they lived according to these goods, then heaven will be theirs.
I've never been very good at explaining this (which is why it has taken me so long to respond), so I'd like to also provide an explanation given by one of the theologians at Catholic Exchange. I don't know exactly who wrote it, but it might be more helpful than what I have written:
- Question: If "no salvation outside the Catholic Church" is infallible teaching, how can we say today that people outside the Catholic church can be saved?
Answer: We can't and we don't. It remains as true as ever that outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation. However, the Church has never taught that its boundaries are co-terminous with the visible Roman Catholic communion. The fact is, it's hard to tell where "outside" is.
The same paradox is at work in the two sayings of Christ concerning those who are with and against him and his apostles. Jesus said, on the one hand, "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters" (Luke 11:23). In other words, there is no salvation apart from him and the Church which is his body. On the other hand, just who is really part of that body is not always obvious to the naked eye. Mark 9:38-41 tells us, "John said to him, 'Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us.' But Jesus said, 'Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward.'" It is this latter saying which the Church has in mind in speaking of those who are in imperfect but real communion with the Catholic Church. They are not "one of us" as John said, yet neither are they simply outside the scope of Christ's grace or the working of the Spirit.
Thus, those who have been, for instance, validly baptized in a Protestant Church have truly received the life of the Blessed Trinity and are in partial communion with the Catholic Church. So too, in mysterious ways, it is possible for Christ, the light who enlightens all, to be at work in the souls of those who are ignorant of or imperfectly educated about him yet disposed to grace (as he himself indicates in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats [Matthew 25:31-46]). This is why the patriarchs, who were never baptized, could still be saved by Christ. It is not to say that everybody will be saved. It is to say that anybody can be and that it is not our place to decide who is and is not responding to the grace of Christ. Anyone who does is in some form of communion with the Catholic Church, however tenuous. Anyone who, in the end, refuses grace (even if they are a baptized Catholic) shall not be saved.
If so, his seems to be more in keeping with what the Bible says concerning those who are outside of the body of Christ. I'll read the other articles you posted in the other thread.Yes, perhaps those other articles will help. As for what the Bible says about being outside the Body of Christ, I would have to take each passage on a case-by-case basis.
According to the RCC what will happen to Matatics when he dies? I know you don't view him as being a Catholic, but humor me on this. I hope this made sense.If he dies a formal heretic (which, btw, only Catholics can do), then there is a good chance that he will go to hell. I qualify that statement b/c it could be that his particular life circumstances or his emotional and psychological states are such that they lessen or even erase the culpability he would otherwise possess for separating himself from the Church. The Catholic Church certainly believes that many people do go to hell, but we also always reserve hope that even the most vile of individuals will somehow, some way find heaven, in a way that is in accordance with the mercy and justice of God.
I hope that answers your question. This issue of "outside the Church, no salvation" is a very difficult one. For a collection of articles that further explain my position, go here. I updated all the links especially for you :D