Catholic Speak Local

Can only Catholics go to heaven?

by Olivia Martin
olivia.martin@theleaven.org

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — One of the most misunderstood teachings of the Catholic Church concerns who can attain eternal life in heaven.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “outside the church there is no salvation.”

If so, what does that mean for other Christians? Or what about non-Catholics or people who have never heard of Christ?

Father Joseph Arsenault, SSA, archdiocesan consultant for ecumenical & interreligious affairs, explains.

Q: Jesus taught that those who believed in him and followed him could attain eternal life. What did he mean by that?

A: Jesus meant those who follow him, do his will and believe in him will have eternal life in heaven available to them.

Q: Who did he mean it to apply to?

A: “To everyone,” said Father Joseph. “He came to call everyone to heaven.”

Q: Was belief in heaven part of Jewish tradition, or would this have been a teaching unique to Jesus?

A: There was a belief in a kind of afterlife in ancient Judaism. “However,” explained Father Joseph, “there were some of the Jewish people who did not believe in the resurrection of the body.”

Q: Did teaching on heaven develop in any way during Jesus’ years of ministry? For example, was it taught that Gentiles as well as Jews can enter the kingdom of God?

“The Jewish people believed that they were the ones that God revealed himself to and that he was theirs,” said Father Joseph.

The early Christians believed, however, because of Jesus’ teaching, that the kingdom of God was open to Gentiles (non-Jewish people) as well as Jews.

“The Gentiles helped to bring about the church [and show] that heaven was open to everyone,” said Father Joseph. “You didn’t have to be Jewish to believe in Jesus.”

Q: In the centuries that followed, was the teaching on heaven developed at all? Who was eligible for the afterlife? Those who came to Jesus through the Catholic Church but no one else?

A: This is where things get complicated. For centuries, it was believed that people had to come to know and follow Jesus in “real time,” so to speak, to have a chance at eternal life. 

And it is true, said Father Joseph, that if people are going to make it to heaven, it’s going to be through Jesus Christ.

“They can’t acquire it through anyone else,” he said. “He is the only way.”

But that does not mean that faithful Jews, or Buddhists or those who lived and died before Jesus had no chance at heaven if they did not come to know and follow Christ in their lifetime.

Everyone is created in the image and likeness of God, explained Father Joseph. Even without knowing him, they could be redeemed through Jesus if they had lived lives in accord with Christian teachings. 

“Whether we acknowledge it or not,” he said, “deep within us is the reality of God.

“As we come in touch with who we really are, we come in touch with God — even if we can’t articulate that.”

Q: What happened after the Protestant Reformation? Were Protestants not eligible for eternal life according to Catholic Church teaching at that time?

A: The church teaches there is no salvation outside of the church. And for centuries of church history, that was interpreted very literally.

“The way that was interpreted at the time [of the Protestant Reformation] was that you had to be a Catholic in order to get into heaven,” said Father Joseph, “and if you weren’t a Catholic, it wasn’t possible.”

So, there was a period in the history of the church in which it was believed that you had to be a Catholic to go to heaven.

Q: Did the Second Vatican Council impact this teaching?

A: Yes, it made the proper interpretation of the church’s teaching clearer.

“Vatican II made it clear that there is the possibility of attaining heaven without being Catholic,” said Father Joseph.

“I think we would still say there is no salvation outside the church,” he continued, “but what we mean by that is that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, as he said.

“He’s it. So, if there’s salvation, it’s in him.

“If I am saved, I am saved by Jesus Christ and no one else.”

Q: What does the Catholic Church teach today about faithful Protestants, Jews or non-Christians entering the kingdom of heaven?

A: “We teach that it’s a possibility for everyone to enter heaven if their life conforms to the ways of the Lord,” said Father Joseph.

“They may not know or acknowledge Jesus,” he added, “but if they have an openness to striving to live a good and godly life, then, doing that, they are pleasing to the Lord.”

Q: How should we understand the clarification of this doctrine?

A: In simple terms, that which was assumed within doctrine was investigated and made explicit in Vatican II.

“[This clarification of teaching] is giving it a different interpretation because the doctrine hasn’t changed,” said Father Joseph. “There is no salvation outside of the church. That hasn’t changed. How we understand that has.”

Father Joseph gave the example of Jesus while on the cross offering eternal life in heaven to the repentant thief.

“Well, he wasn’t a Catholic!” said Father Joseph. “Hope of resurrection is open for all.”

About the author

Olivia Martin

79 Comments

  • Remove the threat of hell for people who are honestly mistaken, and you have a problem: if you don’t have to be a Christian to be saved, what is the point? This is a question that really troubles Benedict. It has led, he says, to a “deep double crisis” in the church. First, it takes away the inspiration for the heroic missionary efforts of the past, and indeed takes away the point of being a missionary in the future. Worse than that, though, it raises the question of why anyone already a Christian should bother to keep it up when they are going to heaven anyway.

    Seems they’re a little undecided on that. You may be destined for Hell after all.

  • Thanks Frank. I would like to add:
    Try that in a court of law. Tell the judge, even though you killed Joe Smith you are generally a good person. You promise not to do it again. He doesn’t really have to send you to jail or death row right?
    The judge will look at you like you’re crazy and still send you to jail!
    Jesus walks into the courtroom offering to take your place. Will you turn Him away then? Of course not! Then why turn away from Him now? Jesus did jail time, was put on death row, tortured and paid the final price by being hung on the cross not with ropes, but with nails through His hands and feet! Talk about taking our place for our crime He didn’t commit, and literally suffering for it!
    And you think that being a “good person” without Christ will get you out of Hell?
    Everyone would agree with me (and the Bible) when we say that we make mistakes and that we can’t be 100% good all the time!
    Romans: 3:10 , , ;
    3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
    3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; , , .
    Ephesians 2:8 For by are ye saved through ; and that : it is the gift of God.
    Ephesians 2:9 , .

    To my Catholic friends. Please reconsider your position on works based salvation.
    Even Satan believes in Christ. We all know where that’s getting him right?
    If Salvation was NOT based on Grace, then Jesus would not have told the thief on the cross that he would be with Him in paradise.
    Luke 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
    :
    , ” , ”
    Read the New testament with the eyes of a child. You will find the truth.

  • If Mary supposedly accepts a billion prayers a day, so she can relay them to Jesus to instantly decide which ones will be answered, and Mary is immortal, doesn’t that make Mary a God?

    Same with the so called Arc Angels, and Satan,, or devil? They are supposedly immortal, they too must be gods

    Why would God need an intermediary?

  • Heaven and hell are mythical places. They don’t exist in the universe. The Bible is a work of fiction, ultimately mythology. Once people accept reality, then peace may be possible among people.

    • Is that right, Rusty! You better hope for the sake of your soul that you’re right…but I don’t think so? God help you!

    • Why do atheist’s care if other’s believe? Why do they actually seek out religious sites to try and convince believers that God doesn’t exist? I wonder if they spend as much time seeking out others that believe in things that they don’t agree with, do they attack satan worshipers as much as they do those who follow God? Probably not.
      If you don’t believe in something the rational mind doesn’t give it even a minute of consideration, take for example the tooth fairy, we know it isn’t real, but if there are people who believe the tooth fairy is real who am I to try and convince them otherwise.
      Perhaps those that denounce Jesus and God are actually trying to convince themselves because they know God is imprinted on every human heart yet their minds are struggling to accept this truth? This makes more sense than someone trying to justify why they don’t believe in something, by attacking others that know that it does.
      If you don’t believe, don’t believe but stop trying to persuade others to follow you in disbelief, in doing so you may be cementing your soul to eternal damnation.

  • The former Pope Benedict XVI has suggested that those who believe in other religions may not be damned after all. As so, Catholics can no longer believe that all Muslims, Hindus, atheists and so on are going to hell. We have this on the authority of the former Pope Benedict XVI. So I can be a Muslim and still go to heaven if Muslims were right, and also if Catholics were right, this is smart !!

    • Anyone who teaches any other gospel than the one Paul taught to them is cursed and/or will be eternally condemned.

      Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
      1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
      Why make it so hard? Repent and accept Christ as your lord and savior. Nothing to do. You don’t have to work to get your salvation. IT’S FREE FOLKS!
      Repent means to be and feel sorry for what you’ve done wrong in the PAST.
      Accepting Christ as your savior means those sins are forgiven and wiped clean. Like it never happened.
      I get that no one wants to be persecuted like Christ was then and Christians are today. If that is the reason you don’t want to accept Christ. What’s the alternative? Be in an accepted religion so others like you? That’s what Satan wants for you! What if you die tomorrow to find out the truth. To have Jesus say to you, I never knew you?
      If I’m wrong, the I still go to heaven or float away into nothing. If you’re wrong then you’re gonna be owned by Satan! Where does he dwell? Yikes!

    • Remove the threat of hell for people who are honestly mistaken, and you have a problem: if you don’t have to be a Christian to be saved, what is the point? This is a question that really troubles Benedict. It has led, he says, to a “deep double crisis” in the church. First, it takes away the inspiration for the heroic missionary efforts of the past, and indeed takes away the point of being a missionary in the future. Worse than that, though, it raises the question of why anyone already a Christian should bother to keep it up when they are going to heaven anyway.

      Seems that Benedict might be undecided on that. You might be destined for Hell after all.

  • God is spirit. Those who worship God, worship in spirit. God being spirit, is in a spirit place. Heaven and hell as literal places are pre-scientific concepts. God will be where God will be – even in a manger. Where God’s spirit is, there is a figurative heaven. We can not control this spirit and in whom and where this spirit dwells. That’s the point of a spirit-forsaken place, a cattle stall.

  • A Christian is better than a Catholic and a Catholic is no better than any other religion..I was reading a article the other day about how Christian’s are hypocrites but so are Catholics Muslims Mormons etc etc but i don’t understand why do Catholics believe in the Virgin Mary and then God or does God go 1st so where does JESUS CHRIST COME IN AT WHERE DOES HE FIT IN AND WHAT ARE THESE MYSTICS OR WHATEVER THEY ARE CALLED CATHOLICS BELIEVE IN MYSTICS TOO?

      • A person is a human being. I could never understand why the church teaches the Trinity as PERSONS in God.

        If the Trinity is each a self, making 3, yet all are one still makes no sense., and I was a catholic for 50 years.

        If So called Michael the Arc Angel, and Gabriel, and Satan or the devil, and Mary are all immortal, (will be forever) doesn’t that make them God’s too?

        The priest tried to make up excuses why 2000 years ago the church leaders at that time claimed to attain salvation was different than it was centuries later, different again after Vatican II, and yet again different meaning today.

        I say it doesn’t matter what one believes, just be kind and helpful to EVERYONE.
        If that’s not good enough.. Too bad!

        No wonder Christianity in the western world, Europe, the USA, Canada, and North Africa, is in rapid decline

        • Roger the church is having a great revival in 2020 and 2021 around the world. There is also great persecution. Even in USA pastors have been arrested for singing to God during Covid and ignoring lockdowns and worshiping God anyway. In China the Christians are being send to slave camps with other religions called reeducation camps. IN India the hindus are beating and killing the Christians. IN Nigeria they have been chopping christians heads off and killing them while they protect their church buildings. Gods church grows even faster during persecution. Millions of new Christians around the world in 2020 and 2021. Many scared it is beginning of end. Time of 7 year tribulation and becoming Christians to save their souls. Please look in the world news and see the truth.

      • If Mary supposedly accepts a billion prayers a day, so she can relay them to Jesus to instantly decide which ones will be answered, and Mary is immortal, doesn’t that make Mary a God?

        Same with the so called Arc Angels, and Satan,, or devil? They are supposedly immortal, they too must be gods

        Why would God need an intermediary?

    • A Christian is no better than anybody else! Read Romans Chapter 3 Please!
      Romans 3:9-26
      King James Version
      9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
      10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
      11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
      12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
      I come to these verses a lot because it reminds me that I am no better than anybody else. Every person has a chance at Salvation, and I still make mistakes and rely every day on Jesus to help me live this life. The difference is that I am no longer afraid of death. Salvation doesn’t make you better, it makes you saved.

  • This is article is wrong. Only people who accept and follow Jesus in THIS life will go to Heaven. While it can be tempting to tell people what they want to hear, it’s wrong to mislead them. For if we truly love others (versus seeking to please others), we need to tell them the truth for their sake.

    • hmmmmmmm, What would Jesus do and say…. LOVE is the only thing that is real…. the rest is an illusion….

      • As she said – if we truly LOVE others…..
        People tend to minimize God’s righteousness and holiness and conversely maximize their own “goodness” to the level that they think will be acceptable to God. They make God out to be less Holy and JUST than He is and make themselves less sinful than they really are. In effect, they invent another God and hide behind the words – “My God is so loving that he’ll take care of all sinners in a loving way…..no hell for anyone”.
        God’s justice and holiness demands the death of a sinner. God’s love and mercy has made a way for the sinner to escape that punishment. You cannot separate the holiness and justice of God from the love and mercy. Doing so makes a mockery of the gospel – if there is no BAD news, what’s the point of there being any GOOD news?
        God’s wrath and vengeance is coming against sinners who reject Him and they WILL end up in hell. Full stop.

  • I am still confused . I know I am not perfect & never will be . I believe in the 3 persons ( God the Father, God the Son & God the Holy Spirit .) I do what I think is right, but still wonder who will get to enter Heaven ? By the Grace of God or by faith & baptism .?

    • Thanks Judy…. I feel the same way. I get a Holy fear as I’ve heard it referred to. I can’t really seem to find a straight answer. If I could be perfect I wouldn’t need Jesus to begin with. Yet I keep hearing the message that those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh and the evil desires thereof. I’m told to repent and ask Jesus to be my Lord and follow his teachings. That if I sin I am immediately to confess and ask forgiveness by running to the throne of grace. Only this can often be every 5 minutes.
      I hear some preachers say this isn’t true repentance. So I try and try and I keep falling short.
      I don’t want to be lost without God and I also can’t pretend to be without sin when I know I’m a sinner. Yet when I strip everything away I see that Jesus set the example of how to live and I am to be identified with his suffering and I return to this and ask for forgiveness and I just keep trying because I know without Jesus I will forever be lost so I just keep trying to follow him.

      • It all falls into place when you t hink about it this way:
        1. We all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (romans 3:23). Jesus said Seek first the kingdom of God and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS – Matthew 6:33.
        2. Because of our sins we do not have the required righteousness to enter God’s presence. Hence, we are condemned to hell. But here’s the problem – there is NO WAY to acquire that righteousness once you have sinned because you have died spiritually. You are DEAD and the DEAD cannot achieve anything. Which means you need to be made spiritually alive – resurrected – BORN AGAIN!!!!
        3. The only one who has the power to raise the dead is GOD! So the only one who is able to raise your dead spirit is the One who is authorised to to so : Jesus. So the physically alive person has to cry out to God/Jesus for mercy based on the forgiveness of sins that Jesus attained on the cross. You need to come to the realization that you CANNOT earn a right standing (righteousness) with God by your own good works or attempts at not sinning! It just is not going anywhere! Only once you acknowledge your plight and realize you need the righteousness of Jesus (God himself) do you get close to the mercy of God. God only accepts absolute sinlessness – just as He is. That’s why He says – Be HOLY for I am HOLY.
        4. That humbling of oneself comes from God leading one to repentance – and one is justified in the eyes of God on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus and granted faith to believe. This is called justification.
        5. Following on the once-off-forever-true event of justification, follows a lifelong process of sanctification – the Holy Spirit working in you to do God’s will – convictions of sins, forsaking them, repentance, sinning less and less, doing good works, spreading the gospel etc.
        6. Only once Jesus returns will we be glorified with Him.
        I hope that helps.
        You might want to read about the doctrine of election or listen to sermons on it, e.g. https://www.gty.org/library/topical-series-library/280

      • Rick

        The law of God, the Ten Commandments, are perfect as HE is perfect. We are not! They provide an example, as Jesus the Christ did, for all who call on and believe in HIM should strive to follow. Jesus carried our sins to the cross and through HIS blood, when we righteously repent, our sins are washed away from the book of life. They are forgotten. Blotted out. If we repeat a sin then we have a problem with addiction and should, in addition to prayer, seek help through a counselor, the church, or a men’s/women’s Christian group. God knows we live in a fallen world. That is why HE wrote us His letter, the bible, and desires we read it and get to know HIM. Asking for forgiveness is not a quick fix, it is the first step in a process of asking your Heavenly Father for wisdom. He is the beginning of all wisdom. HE loves HIS children and knows we live in a fallen world. HE desires that we turn to HIM in times of trouble. HE desires we get to know HIM. And mostly HE desires our love.

        • You are spot-on Richard and let me offer the following prayer:
          THE “GIFT of GIFTS”
          Dear Jesus Lamb of God, you have followed the Will of the Father, and have taken away the Sins of the World,
          at a great expense.
          With Your Agony in the Garden, You accepted the enormous pains and weight of all the sins of the world on Your Soul That caused Your Blood to burst from Your Forehead.
          You also accepted the excruciating pain from the Scourging at the Pillar, the Crowning with Thorns, and carrying Your Cross to Your Crucifixion.
          Then, being nailed to Your Cross with extreme suffering for three hours, and finally with Your Death on the Cross, You opened the gates of heaven for the whole world, a gift that only You could give us.

          Thank You Dear Jesus

          Dear Jesus, through all Your pain and suffering for us to take away our sins, let us never forget the Majesty of Your Love for all of us, and never forget to constantly give You thanks Dear Jesus, for the Divine Gifts of Your Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist, that allows us to partake in Your Divinity and Your New Eternal Covenant.
          Let us never forget the price You paid for our salvation and to share in Your Divinity
          providing us the path to spend eternity with You.

          We can never thank You enough, Dear Jesus, and we humbly pray to the Holy Father
          to teach us to love one another as You love us, Amen.

    • We are saved by faith in God’s grace of offering his Son Jesus to die in our place. Jesus was the Lamb of God who replaced the O.T. yearly sacrificial lamb once and for all as payment for our sins when He died on the cross. His resurrection proved He was who He said He was, the Son of God who came to bear the sins of the world.

    • Strictly by grace through faith. Not how good we are. Ephesians 2:8-9. Simply trust Jesus. We are all sinners. Nobody perfect. We can’t make it that way. Gotta just trust Him. He said “Nobody comes to the Father but by me.” John 14:6. Then baptism is AFTER you get saved. Not before. Baptism is only to testify that you did receive Christ all the way. Acts 2:41. Trust Jesus today, right now! Romans 10:9-13

    • None are worthy , no not one . It is by God’s grace and mercy that we can enter into Heaven . We are commanded to go forth and share that teaching of Grace and mercy with everyone the Holy Spirit gives us the unction to approach and share with .The same mercy and grace that God gives to us we extend to humanity wherever our feet takes us .The most important step in salvation is , We must be born again . Meaning we take on Godly attributes and follow every anointed Word by the direction of the Holy Spirit . The Holy Spirit is our Comforter and guidance counselor . We must act and respond to situations as the Holy Spirit directs . When we trade our carnal , sinful nature for the glorified life that God offers , we must follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ . Achieving and maintaining this born again experience is just our step in the door . After we are ” IN ” Christ JESUS we are commanded to carry on the ministry or mission that He was sent to this world to establish . His life here on earth and His teachings through His Word must be followed in detail . We are ministers of Jesus Christ . If we are too lazy and lackadaisical to live out His teachings , we are not born again because true Children of God don’t just talk about it , THEY DO IT !

    • The only way to heaven is by the grace of God. Salvation is attained by a belief in Christ and in the sacrifice He made for your sins. Salvation does not come thru works, as all are sinners and in need of Christ’s grace and mercy. The Catholic teaching on salvation is wrong and leads many into hell. Please read the new testament teachings for yourself.

    • Can only get to heaven if have spirit of God dwelling in you.
      How get spirit of God?
      By calling on Jesus to save you. Believe that Jesus is son of God. Admit do wrong.
      Then Jesus sends spirit.
      Jesus says that only what comes from heaven goes to heaven. Need the key
      The door is Jesus for escape of this world.
      To have sin paid for need Jesus who pays them for you.
      To get holy spirit need Jesus, who sends it
      Then stay faithful till end.
      this is why those who are alive after Jesus came must call on Jesus
      Are accountable for what Gods word is and availability of it. Time of life.

    • You get to heaven my acknowledging Jesus Christ as your personal savior, that he died on the cross for your sins. That death on the cross was Gods grace for you and me. Baptism is to show others that you have accepted Christ but will not get you into heaven,

  • Many need to settle themselves & pray, pray, pray.
    6th Seal is about us now.
    All will know & no one will be confused.
    The Warning will be between each of us as He appears on The Cross
    out of a sudden dark afternnon .
    The claps of thunder & the quaking of the earth will awaken all to Him.
    It will be a time to know His Mercy for the very last time.
    A time of bringing our affairs to an orerly manner that He will arrange.
    Tomorrow or in many years,none of us do know. But end times are here.
    Warning is the last day of God’s Mercy.
    The final day will follow some time after & Justice will be eternal.Revelations
    A devout elderly Catholic who knows his Protestant descendants will have
    equal chances as do I.Meanwhile,all should pray,pray pray.esp to Her.Amen.

  • This was put on my heart today.

    To be a believer, is to be God’s hands and feet and do what He instructs us to do during the time He gives us on earth. I believe that every life on the planet makes up the pieces or strands of God’s creation. When a life has fulfilled one of God’s instructions, a piece or strand representing that purpose is placed in the tapestry. Each piece is required and necessary to complete the final puzzle.
    This is a visual representation of how all things work together for good for those who believe in God. It may not feel good or positive at a particular point in time, but that’s because the puzzle isn’t finished. Only when Jesus returns will we then be able to see and know how everything goes together to complete God’s will for all of us.

    Our job as believers is to encourage one another to remain optimistic knowing that God is in charge. We must be open to God’s instruction and carry out what He directs us to do. It requires everyone to complete the tapestry … so to tear down any one life that contributes to the whole, is to attack and harm the completion of the overall harmonious end result.
    A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. We need to fortify one another to remain strong in faith and carry on God’s will.

    Mutual respect for all of God’s people. Loving forgiveness provided to us by God is the only answer to moving forward together.

    • There are no Popes in heaven neither are there catholics who bow down to the idol statue of the Virgin Mary. When you bow and pray to an image of a crucified Christ you worship an idol, the image of the beast and therefore you worship the beast. Exodus 20:4, Leviticus 26:, Deuteronomy 4:16, Read Psalm 115. Repent and spread the word. In Revelation it says “…come out of her…” cries the angel in Revelation 18. The her is the Catholic Church. The corrupt church is the Vatican. It is the seat of the anti-Christ.

  • God is coming back for a pure and blameless church without spot or blemish not a denomination those that believe in Jesus Christ and are born of water and spirit will see heaven those that do the will of the father

  • To those who will read thisThe only way a person can get toheaven is by Christ alone trusting only in his finish work on the cross Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou will be saved we saved through his blood that was shed on calvery No church pope minsters Christ alone The thief on the cross cried out to Jesus he was saved immediately Today u will be with me It’s so sad to see how Rome add on all other practices and burdens on people No man can forgive or save u is Christ alone Look what Peter said to the Philippian jailer Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and u will be saved he points him to Christ he could do nothing for him Christ only Acts 16v30 The Bible states 1Tim2v5For their is one mediator between God and man the man Christ Jesus It’s Christ alone

    • In that case any child or infant that dies young and is born into Buddhism or Muslim has not even had the opportunity or chance to learn about Christ , will go to hell? As a Christian I fail to believe this, I believe we serve a loving God, and those of us that can spread his word are blessed , but these children which are of God will also see the light of our Lord. This is what I believe with all my heart and soul. There is Evil and there is good, good will make it through the gates of heaven. Evil will not.
      God Bless All

      • Sure, good will make it through, but who on earth is “good”? Jesus said there is None who is good except God alone! So where does that leave us? You might want to rethink you profession of who gets into heaven….
        As far as I can see ( which is not very far ), those who do not have the ability to reason and know right from wrong will not be found guilty of sin by God. Anyone else, even those who never heard about Jesus will pay the penalty for their sins.

        ==>>> People go to hell because they SIN, not because they never heard about Jesus. <<<==

        This is why it is so important to follow a correct theology about the sovereignty of God to decide who will be saved. God Himself said – I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. This brings you to the doctrine of election. Like it or not, it's everywhere in the bible – GOD IS THE ONE WHO CHOOSES!!!! Just check out all the verses where God makes a choice – you'll be absolutely stunned!

    • I agree and that removes the man from the box so he too can repent and be saved . No repentance to Jesus Christ personally , means no salvation ! No one comes to the Father except my the way of the Son Jesus Christ , the Son of the living God , Creator of the Universe and all eternity . God is not looking for a piece of us , He requires all of us . Christian’s are in this world but not part of it . The born again experience sets us upon an elevated highway that leads to Heaven and our mission is as was Christ , take as many with you , as you can convince of His truth .

  • Comments are more correct than the actual article. A mere person’s interview about the history and the world, versus scriptures from Bible, and the controversial details of the seemingly truth, whoever has a true love for Jesus should understand which is accurate. It’s sad that there are still lots of people believe they can be saved by their good deeds, but hopefully Jesus Christ will show them enough signs before too late for them to accept Jesus, repent, and get baptized (according to the Bible, this is the process of being saved after Jesus gone to heaven). Amen.

    • I agree . I believe being ” IN ” Christ Jesus is like a soldiers climbing into a tank and looking out through His
      ( Christ’s ) eyes and heart . Do I mean physically observing life through His eyes and moving across this planet with Heaven as your destination ? ” YES ” , I do !

  • A: “We teach that it’s a possibility for everyone to enter heaven if their life conforms to the ways of the Lord,” said Father Joseph.

    “They may not know or acknowledge Jesus,” he added, “but if they have an openness to striving to live a good and godly life, then, doing that, they are pleasing to the Lord.”

    This is a total contradiction of what the Bible teaches.
    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

    • that is a Baptist’s point of view… which is absolutely not Biblical…

      IT IS NOT BY FAITH you are saved, according to the verse you are showing, but it is BY GRACE!

      Also, 1 Corinthians 13:13 says that LOVE is greater than FAITH. Therefore, with what John 3:16 says, that through God’s love, we can attain eternal life by responding to His love.

      Hence, your stupid answer is absolutely debunked!

      • I’m afraid you’re mistaken, GerryL — the verse in Romans that Bob quotes is certainly biblical, and is exactly what the Catholic Church believes about salvation. It is very strange and troubling that Father Arsenault’s answer never once mention grace, without which no one can be saved. The Council of Orange, and the Council of Trent, dogmatically define that it is by grace alone that we are saved. Any “striving to live a good and godly life” that does not arise out of the grace of Christ is not pleasing to the Lord, but is entirely irrelevant to one’s salvation. To speak of attain heaven through striving to live a good life, without reference to grace, is effectively to preach the condemned heresy of Pelagianism. Protestants often accuse the Catholic Church of espousing Pelagianism, and if one reads Father Arsenault’s answers here, one might suspect their accusations are just!

      • Nah, Perhaps you should carefully read Ephesians 1 and 2. Read it very, very, very carefully. Then study the doctrine of election, then find how many times the words and phrases to the effect of “God’s elect” is used in all the books in the new testament.

      • You will find out the truth upon your death. Baptist views are completely derived from the bible, compared to Catholic traditions, which are man made. The Bible contains the way to heaven, not a Pope or church. You only called Bob’s response stupid because you havent read the bible for yourself, and you need to attend a Godly Church, not a Catholic one. Baptist Churches are correct about salvation, not Catholic ones.

  • IT IS SUCH A SHAME THAT SO MANY PEOPLE BELEIVE IN CATHOLICISM, FOR THEY HAVE “NO”, CHANCE OF ENTERING HEAVEN !!! THE ONLY WAY IS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST..NO PRAYER TO MARY WILL EVER BE ANSWERED..JESUS SAID ” WHAT HAVE I TO DO WITH YOU WOMAN ??? BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST IS WHEN U PUT THE SPIRIT IN STATUES ETC..THE POPE IS A PRIME EXAMPLE OF BLASPHEMY CONSIDERING HIMSELF TO BE GOD EVEN PRAYING WITH HIS HEAD COVERED..GRAVEN IMAGES THROUGHOUT THE BUILDING (not a Church) MAY GOD LEAD YOU TO JESUS !!!

    • I mean no disrespect but you really don’t have to put everything in all caps to make a point. It seems you are upset but getting upset won’t help you win the argument. The truth is that the Catholic Church was the only church for the first 1000+ years. I’m a protestant Christian, but I can’t ignore the fact that the Catholic church can be traced back to Jesus. No other denomination in protestant Christianity can claim this as man started every other branch (ex. Luther, Zwingli, Calvin and Symth etc.). I’m not trying to change your mind but enlighten you with some historical context.

      • I agree Meg that we owe much to Catholics for preserving the scripture but while in northern Israel I met Christians who traced their heritage back to first century. Can any support this?

      • You might be able to trace the Catholic church back to Jesus, but you’ll definitely struggle to do so with the ROMAN catholic church!

      • I am hearing you . I believe for every truth of God there is an anti truth the confuses the carnal thinking into believing anything that is said by the spirit of the antichrist is gospel while all along they are deterring people from the true gospel of Jesus Christ . That is really all satan has to work with is ( lies ) and he is busy at trying to confuse the masses . God tells us that only a remnant is going to inherit His Kingdom . If this is true there is going to be a lot of smoldering carpet strewn across , planet earth .

    • Actually it is necessary to pray to Mary in order to enter Heaven because Jesus will not hear your prayers unless you also pray to Mary.
      Most Holy Family Monastery refutes your protestant heresies.

      • With all due respect, isn’t our Lord God? How come He can’t hear our prayers, except through Mary? Although Mary played an important role, she can’t be greater than God, can she? Isn’t even the Creed saying that: ‘ We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father’ ? If Jesus is consubstantial with the Father, He is God. If He is God, He is almighty, correct? So Jesus must be able to hear our prayers. Isn’t our Lord our great High Priest? If He is, then He must be able to hear our prayers above all else. That is what priests do, right? So all the more, should He, the High Priest be able to hear, and fulfill our prayers according to the Father’s will?

  • If you think you need to add anything to Jesus’ sacrifice then you are sadly mistaken….i for one would not want to tell God …that just didnt feel like it was enuff to save me…so i fixed it…Jesus said you only have to believe….the thief on the cross had mere minutes to believe on Jesus …he didnt have to get off that cross and go live a good life…Jesus told him he would be in heaven with him….JUST BELIEVE….

  • Vatican !! Was invalid. Our Lady tried to have the third secret read before it started in 1960 but the last seven Popes have hidden her message. Now we have Chasstisement in need of the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate heart of Mary Since then sin and error have entered into the Church and the world. Even one of the seers of Garbandal four children have left the church as have mine-I personnaly cannot believe that when Jesus returns after all that has happened in the Church my children who believe in Jesus would be outright denied Heaven.

  • “They may not know or acknowledge Jesus,” Mr. Arsenault added,”but if they [faithful Protestants, Jews or non-Christians] have an openness to striving to live a good and godly life, then, doing that, they are pleasing to the Lord”.

    The problem with this statement is that no one can please God apart from Jesus Christ. Our own “goodness” comes no where even remotely near comparing to God’s holiness – to say nothing of all the sin each of us commits.

    “…we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags…” (Isaiah 64:6).

  • This is a lie straight from the pit of hell….no one comes to the father but through me Jesus said. None are good, and Christ paid the penalty for our sins. If we can get there simply by being “good”, then what was the point of His life, death and resurrection?

    • I agree with the above comment. Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the father but by me. Why in the world what he suffer what he did not only on the cross but fighting for our souls which meant he had to be apart from God for that time, if all we had to do was live a good life. it is correct in one away if we could live a perfect sinless life we could go to heaven but that is impossible oh, Jesus was the only one that lived a sinless life and was able to be our sacrifice. I’m

      • Amen sister! Who can judge what is good enough for God? Only Christ will judge our lives and by the time that moment comes when we are absent from the body and present with the Lord, it will be, sadly, too late for any who’ve strived to achieve salvation through his/her own good works. The Apostle Paul is very clear on that in Ephesians 2:8-9, “for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast.” The one question, then, I have to ask myself is do I believe that all scripture is the inspired Word of God? If not, which is true and which is not? Is what Christ says in John 14:6 true? For me, a literal acceptor of God’s Word, I remain at peace. It’s only when man attempts to interpret God’s inspired Holy Word with man’s limited everything that these type questions emerge. Blessings.

    • I thought you had to confess Jesus as Lord before getting saved and also is the church still saying today that only Catholics going to heaven

    • You are correct no one can be good enough. The only way to the Father is thru acceptance of Jesus as their Lord and savior

    • You don’t get there by simply leading a good life. The doors are open because of his sacrifice, that is why he died. Previously if you were good you would go to limbo. But just because he died does not mean that you do not have to do your part. I’d argue that Martin Luther and his “Love God and Sin Boldly” quote is more likely to be from the pit of hell. If someone is able to live such a good life as to be in accordance with Christ they are such in spite of their respective religions not because of them. The Catholic church is the one true church of Christ founded by him. What is the point of this life if you are not to be tested, and labour for heaven? Face it, Protestantism started with Luther being unable to conquer a set of sins that plagued him and then deduced that it is beyond the power of us to fight our sins, which gave rise to his “read the bible and make your own religion” 10s of thousands of protestant denominations. The catechism of Saint Pope Pius X is a good place to start for basics, and St Thomas Aquinas for more details. You are not required to live a sinless life but one without mortal sin, and if commited to confess and receive the absolution of sin on Earth, if unable to do so to be perfectly contrite of heart, that is to regret having sinned because you regret offending God by this, and not solely out of fear of damnation.

      • It is necessary to be Catholic in order to go to Heaven. Dont listen to these heretics who say one can go to Heaven in any religion.
        Get the book “Outside the Catholic Church there is absolutely no salvation” by Brother Peter Dimond!
        Most Holy Family Monastery is correct!

      • “If someone is able to live such a good life as to be in accordance with Christ they are such in spite of their respective religions not because of them. The Catholic church is the one true church of Christ founded by him. What is the point of this life if you are not to be tested, and labour for heaven? ”
        There you have it – a very bold and beautiful statement of salvation by works. So this is what ROMAN catholics believe, correct?
        Stefan does not seem to realize that human sinfulness is so utterly despicable and repugnant to God that none of us can enter into His presence no matter how we labour to cleanse ourselves from any sin we have already committed. Stefan seems to make God much less holy than He is and elevates the pitiful efforts of man to a much higher level than the filthy rags that it really is.
        The standard is this : Your righteousness has to exceed that of the Pharisees and in fact reach such a high standard as to be equal to that of God. No human being can achieve that – except the One who is able to make intercession for us – namely Jesus , the One and Only begotten Son of God. We go by HIS righteousness or we go nowhere. This self-made righteousness proclaimed by Stefan only leads to hell.

        • I agree . I believe being ” IN ” Christ Jesus is like a soldiers climbing into a tank and looking out through His
          ( Christ’s ) eyes and heart . Do I mean physically observing life through His eyes and moving across this planet with Heaven as your destination ? ” YES ” , I do !

    • If Mary supposedly accepts a billion prayers a day, so she can relay them to Jesus to instantly decide which ones will be answered, and Mary is immortal, doesn’t that make Mary a God?

      Same with the so called Arc Angels, and Satan,, or devil? They are supposedly immortal, they too must be gods

      Why would God need an intermediary?
      If you believe he died for YOUR sins, why can’t you stop sinning?

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