This is a taken for granted question in this age of apostasy! Some heretics address it but at the end they give the impression that all people of goodwill shall be saved and then they minimize Christ in the economy of salvation!
I remember reading such a poisonous article in the heretical Magazine First Things by the heretical but respected Avery Dulles, a former Novus Ordo "Cardinal" and president of Fordham University in New York. This man indeed followed the principles advanced by the heretic theologian Karl Rahner who said that every person is an anonymous Christian without knowing it and therefore shares in the salvific mission of Christ and so the question “who shall be saved” should not necessarily concern us since indeed all humans are going to heaven!
This kind of false and dangerous teaching was also advanced by John Paul II of unfortunate memory who descended into all sorts of apostasy during his life time and in particular during his false pontificate.
John Paul II is not alone in this false teaching. Josef Ratzinger who claimed to be pope Benedict XVI showed himself to be an agent of the Devil when he wrote: “meantime the catholic Church has no right to absorb other Churches….a basic unity – of churches that remain churches, yet become one Church must replace the idea of conversion” (Josef Ratzinger, Theological Highlights of Vatican II pages 61, 68).
Here Benedict XVI does not want conversion lest people go to heaven. He wants people to come together in a consortium of “churches” under one head without renouncing their various and numerous heresies! This is the work of the Devil taught by Benedict. The same Ratzinger/Benedict XVI many think is truly conservative and catholic. In actual fact Benedict XVI is the most dangerous man alive today!
The same Benedict XVI said “and we now ask, what does it mean to restore Christian unity?...this unity does not mean what could be called ecumenism of the return: that is to deny and to rejects one’s own faith history. Absolutely not” (Benedict XVI address to Protestants at World’s Youth Day, August 19th 2005)
Here again we see Benedict XVI insisting by the phrase “absolutely not” that non-Catholics should not be converted. They should remain in their errors and heresies. Who can teach this kind of thing other than the Devil? Of which Benedict XVI is the agent?
Both Benedict XVI and John Paul II and all the entire Novus Ordo hierarchy are against the Catholic teaching about conversion and salvation!
Pope Eugene IV elucidated the authentic catholic teaching when he said: “whosoever wishes to be saved, needs above all else to hold the Catholic faith….it is necessary for eternal salvation that he faithfully believe also in the incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ…the Son of God is God and man” (Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, 1439)
Today, many non-Christians, who nevertheless call themselves Christians but non-Catholic mainly claim that they are already saved. They believe that they are “born again” and therefore are already the citizens of heaven while yet on earth! They are filled with “joy” when they proclaim this.
One of them told me that she is saved already and is filled with “the spirit” and yet this lady dressed salaciously to provoke any man looking at her! She said the way she dresses does not matter since her flesh have been saved by Christ and her spirit is the “Spirit of Christ” and then she added “Alleluia! This is just laughable as it is stupid!
When you try to admonish them, they will ask “are you God?” and then abuse the Catholic Church. (I tend to forgive them on this because what they think is the Catholic Church around them is really NOT Catholic) Why is this so? It is because the world lives under a carefully planned system based on ignorance of God! These people are indeed deceived by those who claim to have been called by God and who perform “miracles” claiming to speak for God and say they take people to heaven. Many of these false teachers who the bible warned us about 2 thousand years ago have indeed deceived many good people putting their souls at risk. It beats the imagination how people simply believe it when they are told that this or that person is a “man of God” or “pastor” or “bishop” etc
Indeed the works of the Devil is always with us. The world is so blind today that the idea that to be saved one must, before all else become Catholic has been buried and is replaced with the idea that “the Church will not save you”. Here the Church means the thousands of sects which claim to be Christian! This is only a half truth. The other half of the truth is that ONLY the Catholic Church possesses what it takes to save since as the church established by Christ, Christ uses it to save mankind and only it!
After the Second Vatican Council, with such documents as UnitatisRedintegratio and Nostra Aetate and Gaudium et spes, the idea of the Catholic Church being the ONLY way to salvation has been destroyed and the world is encouraged to be lost!
But who shall be saved?
The written Traditions of the Church, the Scriptures taught that “only a few shall be saved” (Luke 13:23). The same Scriptures taught that “we should fight for our salvation with fear and trembling”. What does it mean? The idea that few are saved is quite prophetic since it shows what will happen on the last day. Christ himself asked when the Son of Man returns, do you think he will find faith on earth ( Luke 18:8)
What faith is being referred to here? The faith of the thousands of sects who have apostatized from the truth faith? Surely not!
Christ himself died for us ALL but he DID NOT by that very act save everybody, giving each a ticket to heaven. He died so that the gates of heaven can be opened for anyone wishing to enter. Indeed he saved us from sin, the Adamic sin and actual sins, through the sacrament of penance.
Wishing to enter heaven is not just a wish. This is where fighting for salvation comes in (Philippians 2: 12). Christ himself established ONE Church which later was called the Catholic Church (Matthew 16: 18). He gave his Church His Spirit of Truth so that those who follow this Spirit in His Church will be saved. He deposited in this Church remedies for weak souls, all of us who may fall away from the path of the truth! So it is ONLY through this Church of Christ that salvation is possible!
This is NOT to say that ALL Catholics are already saved by the simple fact of being Catholic or that once someone becomes Catholic he or she is saved! Not at all!
One is saved IF and ONLY IF one becomes Catholic and then keeps the faith and lives the faith.
To keep the faith means to believe ALL that the Church teaches and then LIVE IT by praying and avoiding sin! Many today, even those who call themselves catholic select doctrines to believe and then end up in heresy! These “traditional Catholics” are risking their souls just as the Protestants are risking their souls.
Today many are deceived into thinking that the current false Church occupying Rome and Catholic buildings worldwide is the Catholic Church!
It is NOT!
Only those who are able to look beyond appearances and who knows the true teachings of the Catholic Church will be able to see that this huge false religion is NOT Catholic. It behooves on these people who do find out to join urgently the Catholic Church and start to fight for their salvation, today!
There are other billions of people who are on the road to hell! Billions who will NOT be saved simply because the reject Christ!
Within these billions, there are a FEW who are invincibly ignorant! They are INCAPABLE of knowing or becoming catholic and yet they live according to the simple laws of God in their hearts in good will. These may be saved through the efficacious grace of God.
The idea of Invincible Ignorance has been misused. Many think that since someone is Not Catholic, then he or she is invincibly ignorant!
Invincible ignorance is ONLY when the person is INCAPABLE of knowing! Incapable of BECOMING CATHOLIC due to various circumstances! In this era of knowledge, Invincible ignorance hardly apply, hardly. The majority of non-Catholics are in CULPABLE ignorance and so they have themselves to blame!
But to be ignorant invincibly in itself does not save. It just places the person at the total mercy of God!
The following is a Catechism called Familiar Explanation for Christian Doctrine by Michael Muller (1825-1899) dealing with the idea of invincible ignorance:
"Question: What are we to think of the salvation of those who are out of the pale of the Church without any fault of theirs, and who never had any opportunity of knowing better?
Answer: Their inculpable (invincible) ignorance will not save them; but if they fear God and live up to their conscience, God, in His infinite Mercy, will furnish them with the necessary means of salvation, even so as to send, if needed, an angel to instruct them in the Catholic Faith, rather than let them perish through inculpable (invincible) ignorance.
Question: Is it then right for us to say that one who was not received into the Church before his death, is damned?
Question: Why not?
Answer: Because we cannot know for certain what takes place between God and the soul at the awful moment of death.
Question: What do you mean by this?
Answer: I mean that God, in His infinite Mercy, may enlighten, at the hour of death, one who is not yet a Catholic, so that he may see the Truth of the Catholic Faith, be truly sorry for his sins, and sincerely desire to die a good Catholic.
Question: What do we say of those who receive such an extraordinary grace, and die in this manner?
Answer” We say of them that they die united, at least, to the soul of the Catholic Church, and are saved.
Question: What, then, awaits all those who are out of the Catholic Church, and die without having received such an extraordinary grace at the hour of death?
Answer: Eternal damnation."
The blog, Introibo Ad Altare dei has indeed dealt with the idea of Invincible Ignorance and so banished the wrong applications of this idea!
So, again, who then shall be saved?
Surely ONLY GOD knows who shall be saved since we do not know what happens to a soul at the point of death. But the Church teaches that to be Saved one MUST become Catholic, profess the Catholic faith and live the Catholic faith. To do otherwise is to lose one’s soul!
It means that ALL CATHOLICS MUST work harder, everyday, to bring souls to the true faith despite the grave difficulties posed by layers upon layers of false teachings!
By Malachy Mary Igwilo, on the feast day of Sts. Hippolytus and Cassian, 13th of August 2016