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Question
Hello and thank you for taking my question:

    I was listening to catholic theologian Chris Stefanick on Lighthouse Catholic Media. He stated that it is the official position of the church that if anyone seeks God with all their ability they can get to heaven through Jesus Christ - even those who dont know Him (Such as people in Sudan). Could you please tell me where I could find and read more about this concept.

         Thank you

Answer
Peace


Hello Pete,
    The concept is very old and is the most misunderstood teachings of the Catholic Church
which is this:

"Outside the Church there is no salvation" (Extra ecclesiam nulla salus).


But its was more clearly taught by various popes and Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church (notable Vatican 2)

The Church recognizes that God does not condemn those who are innocently ignorant of the truth about his offer of salvation. Regarding the doctrine in question, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (quoting Vatican II document Lumen Gentium, 16) states:

This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church: Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation. (CCC 847)

Vatican II document Gaudium Et Spes teaches similarly on the possibility of salvation:

All this holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way. For, since Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery. (22)

This teaching is consistent with Jesus’ own teaching about those who innocently reject him: "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin" (Jn 15:22).

But once a person comes to know the truth, he must embrace it or he will be culpable of rejecting it. We see this in Jesus’ words to the Pharisees: "If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains" (Jn 9:41). Paul taught likewise concerning the Gentiles:

   When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Rom 2:14-16)

I hope this is of some help, write me again if want more of the same or some clarified.


George  

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George A. Card,sfo, M.I

Expertise

I am willing to attempt to answer any question. If I don’t know the answer, I will look-up or pass the question on to friends for feed back. Beside Catholicism (especially the social/moral and the Eastern rites), I am well read on Mormonism and so-called Modern Christian Fundamentalism. Also I study Franciscan History as means of growing in my lay Franciscan calling to holiness in Christ.

Experience

25+ years as the Justice and Peace Liaison for my (local)Secular Franciscan Fraternity,22+ years public speaking on the Faith,and/or teaching CCD and Youth Retreats,a former Officer for K of C and my SFO Fraternity,still hold appointed offices in local osf fraternity

Organizations
Catholic Church, Rome Rite
Secular Fraciscan Order
Knights of Columbus
The Men's Study (A local Catholic study group I co founded)
Others
Militia Immaculata(Knights of the Immaculate

Publications
Local News Letters:Mostly my Poetry


Education/Credentials
2 years of Minor Seminary
Bible and Adult Faith Studies and Seminars

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