What is the meaning of the affirmation “Outside the Church there is no salvation”?
This means that all salvation comes from Christ, the Head, through the Church which is his body. Hence they cannot be saved who, knowing the Church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her. At the same time, thanks to Christ and to his Church, those who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ and his Church but sincerely seek God and, moved by grace, try to do his will as it is known through the dictates of conscience can attain eternal salvation.
Note: I have removed what I orginally wrote so as to not inadvertently mislead others regarding salvation. The above quote from the CCC speaks for itself.
Recently, someone in one of my Catholic groups, posted an article he wrote regarding points of view that are circulated and attributed to St. Padre Pio, one being salvation outside the Church. And, I'd like to share it with you:
Padre Pio on Salvation Outside the Church
by Frank M. Rega, S.F.O.
As published in Christian Order, December 2006 issue.
This article may be reproduced in print or electronic form, as long as its original publication in Christian Order is cited.
It is quite unfortunate that alleged quotations or viewpoints attributed to Padre Pio have frequently been used to justify the stances, rumors, or agendas of various individuals or groups. Often it is difficult to find reliable documentation to verify his involvement in such scenarios as the "three days of darkness,"1 his alleged opposition to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, 2 or his purported support of Garabandal.3 Another area of speculation focuses on what he would think of the current state of the Church – where would this Tridentine rite Catholic, known for his lifelong obedience and loyalty to the hierarchy, place his support along the Novus Ordo – Traditionalist – reactionary spectrum?
It is not surprising, then, to find some who contend that St. Padre Pio held their own strict interpretation of extra ecclesiam nulla salus – outside of the Roman Catholic Church no one can be saved. The most notable proponents of this presumed stance of Padre Pio are to be found among the Sedevacantists (the See of Peter is vacant, since it has been occupied by invalidly elected and/or heretical popes since Vatican II). In particular, "Brother" Michael Dimond, a Sedevacantist from the non-canonical Most Holy Family Monastery in Fillmore, New York, has recently written and published an 86-page illustrated booklet on the life of Padre Pio. Regrettably, he promotes this booklet as containing evidence that Padre Pio would support the central tenet of the Most Holy Family Monastery, that absolutely no one can be saved outside of the Catholic Church. Along with adherence to the true Faith, and being in a state of grace at the moment of death, Dimond and his followers insist that a strict requirement for entering the kingdom of heaven is water baptism, and water baptism alone. "Baptism of Desire" and "Baptism of Blood" are rejected as not being true Catholic dogmas. Neither can those invincibly ignorant of the Faith be saved.4
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