Faithful Catholics often boast that their church never changes, but even a casual student of history knows how far that statement is from the truth. Case in point: In 1302, pope Boniface VIII issued his famous bull, “Unam Sanctum,” which proclaimed that only Catholics who were submissive to papal authority could attain salvation. A few centuries later, the Council of Trent (1545-1563) infamously damned all Protestants to hell. But in the 2nd half of the 20th century, some of the hierarchy woke up and smelled the coffee and decided it was time for a different approach. The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) declared people of non-Catholic faiths; Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc., could also merit Heaven if they were “good” and “followed the light they were given.” Pope Francis has since extended the hope of salvation even to atheists as long as they follow their conscience and are “good.”
No one should be surprised by this historic, major shift in Catholic salvation teaching. Since Catholics believe salvation is ultimately merited, it was inevitable that they would eventually allow other works-righteous religionists and even “good” atheists into the circle. Of course, born-again believers know from God’s Word that no one is good and that salvation is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
There’s no doubt that the Catholic hierarchy thought it would be able to leverage its new policy and become the mother hen to all the non-Catholic chicks. But there’s also been an unforeseen, demoralizing downside for the church in all of this. Catholic clerics now ask themselves, Why bother evangelizing? (in Catholic parlance, this means catechizing and baptizing) while Catholic laypeople in the pews ask, Why even bother showing up for obligatory mass on Sunday if “good” atheists are also going to Heaven? In the revealing article below, pope emeritus, Benedict XVI, acknowledges that Catholicism has shot itself in the foot with its conflicted “wide-is-the-way but optimally you should be Catholic” policy.
Baptism and church membership don’t save. Church sacraments don’t save. Trying to be “good” won’t save because all of us sin every day. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. Once you have accepted Christ, THEN follow Him in obedience. Ask the Lord to direct you to an evangelical church in your area that teaches God’s Word without compromise.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, Catholics need to know they’re on the wrong path. We don’t do them any favors by joining hands, singing kumbaya around the campfire, and hoping they’ll pick up the genuine Gospel through osmosis.
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” – Romans 10:14-15
Church in ‘deep crisis’ as Catholics abandon traditional doctrine, says former Pope Benedict XVI