Extra Jesum nulla salus

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"Extra Jesum nulla salus" is Latin for "There is no salvation outside of Jesus."

This maxim is derived from the classical formula, "Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus"--"There is no salvation outside the Church."

Jesus is the one Mediator between God and humankind.

Where there is goodness, there is grace.
Where there is grace, there is Jesus.
John 10:7
Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep.
John 14:6
Jesus said to Thomas, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
Acts 4:12
There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.
John Diller
"No one makes it through purgatory without becoming Catholic."

One Man Died for All


John 11:51-52 He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For the love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died. He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, saving all.
1 John 2:2 He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.


God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth":[1] that is, of Christ Jesus.[2] Christ must be proclaimed to all nations and individuals, so that this revelation may reach to the ends of the earth:
God graciously arranged that the things he had once revealed for the salvation of all peoples should remain in their entirety, throughout the ages, and be transmitted to all generations.[3]
Who belongs to the Catholic Church?
836 "All men are called to this catholic unity of the People of God. . . . And to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God's grace to salvation."[4]
837 "Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who - by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion - are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but 'in body' not 'in heart.'"[5]
838 "The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter."[6] Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."[7] With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist."[8]
"Outside the Church there is no salvation"
846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?[9] 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.[10]
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.[11]
848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."[12]
Our Father "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth."[13] He "is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish."[14] His commandment is "that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."[15] This commandment summarizes all the others and expresses his entire will.
The Church prays that no one should be lost: "Lord, let me never be parted from you." If it is true that no one can save himself, it is also true that God "desires all men to be saved" (1 Tim 2:4), and that for him "all things are possible" (Mt 19:26).
Those who die for the faith, those who are catechumens, and all those who, without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, can be saved even if they have not been baptized (cf. LG 16).

Faith Necessary for Salvation

Faith is necessary for salvation. The Lord himself affirms: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mk 16:16).

The Church Is Necessary for Salvation

"Lumen Gentium," §14
This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism[16] and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.

Explicit Faith Is Not Necessary for Salvation

"Lumen Gentium," §16
Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience.[17] Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel.[18] She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life.

Is Heaven Only for Catholics?

The Catholic Church does not teach now and never has taught that "only Catholics go to Heaven; everyone else goes to Hell."

Just a moment's reflection should show how ludicrous this thought is, whether it is held by poorly catechized Catholics or by Protestants who misunderstand the Church's teaching.

If only Catholics go to Heaven, then all of God's People prior to the Incarnation of God the Son are in Hell: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Judah, Moses, Joshua, David, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the holy innocents, the Good Thief, St. Joseph, John the Baptist, just to name a few of the greats.

Elijah was taken up to heaven in a "burning, fiery chariot." He was assumed into Heaven even though he was not a Catholic!

Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus "in glory" in the Transfiguration, even though they were not Catholic!

The Catholic Church calls John the Baptist a saint, even though he was not Catholic!

Anyone who thinks that the Catholic Church teaches that "all non-Catholics go to Hell" just doesn't understand the teachings of the Church!

There is only one Heaven

There are not separate Heavens for Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims, polytheists, animists, atheists, and the like.

There is only one God.

There is only one Heaven.

Whoever is saved is saved by Jesus.

Whoever is saved is joined to Jesus.

Whoever is saved is part of the Body of Christ which subsists in its fullness in the Catholic Church.

Whoever is baptized is baptized in Jesus. They are members of His Body. They are "born again" children of God. They belong to the Church even if they are not card-carrying Catholics.


In this set of reflections, I am only concerned with the reality that no one enters Heaven by any means other than through the Incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus. I have a separate page on "Atonement" that is dedicated to trying to understand how it is that God incarnate accomplishes our salvation.

I think it is luminously clear that whoever is saved is saved by Jesus. The big difficulty arises when we ask the question whether explicit faith in Jesus is required for salvation.

If we say "Yes, explicit faith in Jesus is required for salvation" then it follows that all who died before the day of Pentecost and who died afterward without hearing the gospel message have gone straight to Hell. Their predestination to damnation would be the consequence of the date and place of their birth. Abraham, Moses, and Elijah, just to name a few, would all be in Hell, because they were dead before the apostles announced the good news to the world. But we know from the New Testament that these three are in Heaven. Lazarus rested in the bosom of Abraham while the rich man burned in Hell; Moses and Elijah appeared in glory at the Transfiguration.

If we say, "No, explicit faith in Jesus is not required for salvation," we may make it sound as though there is some other way to Heaven than through the mercy of Jesus--and that is inconceivable. We must consequently clarify what kind of faith God requires from His children. In making this clarification, we have to be careful not to fall into the trap of indifferentism, thinking that there is no need to preach the gospel because God offers salvation to all of His children without exception.

God is at least as just as we are. If we can see that it would be evil for God to create sons and daughters who are predestined to be thrown into the fires of Hell, we may imagine that God does not do this, and we may conclude that we must therefore adjust our understanding of the Scripture passages that seem to suggest the contrary. God does not require impossible things of His children.

Jesus died to save all of God's children, from Adam and Eve down to the last child born before Judgment Day. Therefore, we must conclude that He knows how to save those who have not heard the gospel message or whose rejection of the message was not their fault. On Judgment Day, God will ask each one of us, "What did you do with the gifts I gave you?" From those who received much, much will be required; from those who received little, little will be required. God will not judge those who could not receive the gift of explicit Christian faith for not having the gift of explicit Christian faith--that would not be fair. But God can reveal to each soul what graces He did give that person from the mercy of Jesus, and He can judge each one on how well they responded to those graces, even though they did not know, as we do, to Whom they were indebted for those gifts.

God alone knows the secrets of the heart. God alone can judge who responded to His love with love. We cannot tell who is in a state of grace by considering the outward signs of their religious behavior. We are not saved or damned by membership in a group. Not all Catholics will go to Heaven; not all non-Catholics will go to Hell. No one is in Heaven except by their own personal decision to accept Jesus' saving action on their behalf; no one is in Hell except by their own personal decision to reject mercy.

To be developed

Nostra Aetate

Oxygen before Priestly

Whoever listens to the truth hears my voice.

176 Faith is a personal adherence of the whole man to God who reveals himself. It involves an assent of the intellect and will to the self-revelation God has made through his deeds and words.

177 "To believe" has thus a twofold reference: to the person, and to the truth: to the truth, by trust in the person who bears witness to it.

178 We must believe in no one but God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

179 Faith is a supernatural gift from God. In order to believe, man needs the interior helps of the Holy Spirit.

180 "Believing" is a human act, conscious and free, corresponding to the dignity of the human person.

Not against us, with us.

Not with us, against us.

prevenient grace?

Sheep not of this flock

Invincible ignorance

Since it rejects or denies the existence of God, atheism is a sin against the virtue of religion.61 The imputability of this offense can be significantly diminished in virtue of the intentions and the circumstances. "Believers can have more than a little to do with the rise of atheism. To the extent that they are careless about their instruction in the faith, or present its teaching falsely, or even fail in their religious, moral, or social life, they must be said to conceal rather than to reveal the true nature of God and of religion."62

John 3:18

"Whoever believes in [Jesus] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe in him stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."

The kind of faith Paul attributes to Abraham is not explicit Christian faith, but obedience to the gift, vision, calling that God gave him through his conscience. It is saving and justifying faith, though it is not dogmatic Christian faith. Romans 4. Very interesting line about the faith of the uncircumcised.


  1. 1 Tim 2:4.
  2. Cf. Jn 14:6.
  3. DV 7; cf. 2 Cor 1:20; 3:16-4:6.
  4. LG 13.
  5. LG 14.
  6. LG 15.
  7. UR 3.
  8. Paul VI, Discourse, December 14, 1975; cf. UR 13-18.
  9. Cf. Cyprian, Ep. 73.21:PL 3,1169; De unit.:PL 4,509-536.
  10. LG 14; cf. Mk 16:16; Jn 3:5.
  11. LG 16; cf. DS 3866-3872.
  12. AG 7; cf. Heb 11:6; 1 Cor 9:16.
  13. 1 Tim 2:3-4.
  14. 2 Pet 3:9; cf. Mt 18:14.
  15. Jn 13:34; cf. 1 Jn 3; 4; Lk 10:25-37.
  16. Cf. Mk. 16:16; Jn. 3.5.
  17. Cfr. Epist. S.S.C.S. Officii ad Archiep. Boston.: Denz. 3869-72 (Letter of the Holy Office to the Archbishop of Boston, DS 3870; ND 855.).
  18. Cfr. Eusebius Caes., Praeparatio Evangelica, 1, 1: PG 2128 AB.