In this age when so many forms of Christianity exist, and so often the mode of Christianity one chooses tends to be based on habit or preference, what are we to make of Christ’s prayer in John 17 that all His followers be one?
More than 500 years removed from the Protestant Reformation, many of the original issues at stake have been resolved, while new ones have arisen with the onset of modernity. Even Vatican II recognized that the way Catholics talk about our non-Catholic brothers and sisters needed to change, given that so many Christians outside the Catholic Church share our belief in the Trinity, the saving death and resurrection of Jesus, the crucial nature of Baptism, and more. But with all of those things in common, is it still necessary for Catholics to invite their non-Catholic brothers and sisters home to full communion with the Catholic Church?
Marcus and JonMarc Grodi look at what the Catechism says about these issues in a number of places, and what those passages mean for all Christians of goodwill who want to seek Jesus.
Passages from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?
335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.
1896 Where sin has perverted the social climate, it is necessary to call for the conversion of hearts and appeal to the grace of God. Charity urges just reforms. There is no solution to the social question apart from the Gospel (cf. CA 3, 5).
161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. 42 “Since “without faith it is impossible to please [God]” and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘But he who endures to the end.'”]
1129 The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation. 51 “Sacramental grace” is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament. The Spirit heals and transforms those who receive him by conforming them to the Son of God. The fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature 52 by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Savior.
1322 The holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation participate with the whole community in the Lord’s own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist.