Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, Why Does It Matter?

By: Tony Capobianco


Artwork Attribution:
{TitleThe Bible panorama, or The Holy Scriptures in picture and story
Year1891 (1890s)
Authors:  Foster, William A. (from old catalog)
Contributing Library:  The Library of Congress
Digitizing Sponsor:  The Library of Congress*}

Why does Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus matter? It matters because it is an infallible Dogma of The Faith which pertains to salvation. A Great Apostasy is unfolding around the globe as many souls and entire nations are tragically abandoning The Ark of The Church. The loss of so many souls is heart wrenching and cause for great sorrow. True Charity demands that the Dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus be proclaimed loudly and universally do to a love of souls for the sake of Christ and His Glory. The Theological Virtue of Charity moves us to love our neighbors for the sake of God. A faithful Catholic’s First Love must always be God. In Matthew 22: 36-40 Our Blessed Lord Teaches:

[36] Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? [37] Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. [38] This is the greatest and the first commandment. [39] And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [40] On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets.

A Catholic’s interior life, that is, his heart, mind, and soul ought to be properly ordered towards placing The Most Blessed Trinity as his highest priority, greatest treasure, and greatest love. When God is rightly ordered as the center of a man’s life, then it necessarily follows that then and only then can the rest of a man’s relationships also be rightly ordered. It is for this reason that a man loves his neighbor, because his Lord has commanded him to do so. The Lord wants souls to be saved and thus those who love Him also want souls to be saved. We ought to want what He wants because He wants it. To love someone is not merely a feeling, to love someone is to desire the good for the other. Doctor of The Church, St. Thomas Aquinas explains it as follows in his Summa Theologiae:

An act of love always tends towards two things; to the good that one wills, and to the person for whom one wills it: since to love a person is to wish that person good. Hence, inasmuch as we love ourselves, we wish ourselves good; and, so far as possible, union with that good. So love is called the unitive force, even in God, yet without implying composition; for the good that He wills for Himself, is no other than Himself, Who is good by His essence, as above shown (I:6:1 and I:6:3). And by the fact that anyone loves another, he wills good to that other. Thus he puts the other, as it were, in the place of himself; and regards the good done to him as done to himself. So far love is a binding force, since it aggregates another to ourselves, and refers his good to our own. And then again the divine love is a binding force, inasmuch as God wills good to others; yet it implies no composition in God.

The greatest good that a man can will for another is his eternal salvation and possession of The Beatific Vision. Therefore in charity, the greatest good that a man can will for another is for him to enter into the safety of The Ark of The Holy Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation. The raging deluge destroys all that remain outside of The Ark. Any man which leaps from The Ark, drowns and is eternally swallowed up into the darkness of the abyss. In the days of Noe, all perished outside of his ark which is a biblical type of The Ark of The Catholic Church. Genesis 7: 21-24 states:

[21] And all flesh was destroyed that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beasts, and of all creeping things that creep upon the earth: and all men. [22] And all things wherein there is the breath of life on the earth, died. [23] And he destroyed all the substance that was upon the earth, from man even to beast, and the creeping things and fowls of the air: and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noe only remained, and they that were with him in the ark. [24] And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days.

Some object and say that this is a cruel, unmerciful, and difficult teaching that is contrary to modern sensibilities. Do to this type of errant thinking, many either ignore this Holy Dogma or water it down to a meaningless formula. When Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus is ignored, it is often replaced by the weak assertion that “The Catholic Faith is the fullness of The Truth.” While that assertion is technically correct it is also banal and woefully deficient. Which of these two statement captures the urgency of The Gospel imperative better? The Catholic Faith is the fullness of the Truth? Or, Outside of The Holy Roman Catholic Church, there is no salvation? Most certainly it is the latter which best conveys the urgency of The Gospel imperative. Who would be moved to repentance and conversion upon hearing that The Catholic Faith is the fullness of The Truth? Who would be willing to pick up his cross and to follow Jesus Christ upon hearing such an inadequately sterile statement? Who would give up their favorite sins to obtain the fullness of The Truth when they could cling to their favorite sins while possessing some truth? Can you imagine a man assenting to martyrdom for “the fullness of The Truth”?

The statement “The Catholic Faith is the fullness of The Truth”, as used by those who attempt to sidestep the Dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, begs the question which it desperately seeks to avoid, mainly, how much Truth is necessary to obtain salvation? Is a small smattering of truth sufficient for obtaining salvation? This type of reasoning leads to noting that most religions have elements of The Truth, so therefore all religions may lead to salvation. This is creeping Universalism. If there is salvation outside of The Catholic Church, then why should a man bother becoming Catholic and giving up the sins that The Church exhorts him to give up? Why would a man battle concupiscence? Why would a man battle the world, the flesh, and The Devil? Why would a man do the hard and uncomfortable work of evangelization? In a word, why would a man obey The Great Commission given by Our Lord to His Church?

Our times all too often and sorrowfully resemble an episode of “The Twilight Zone”. For a moment, indulge yourself in entering the realm of “The Twlilight Zone” and imagine if you will, St. John The Baptist preaching to King Herod, not repentance and conversion but instead preaching:

Warm greetings King Herod, I hope to meet you where you’re at. I see your Queen, your brother’s wife, and observed that you find yourself in a differently ordered union. Perhaps you could consider, maybe, that you haven’t yet expressed the Fullness of the truth by fully integrating the ideals of The Faith into your life choices. If you feel like it, maybe allow me to accompany you on your unique faith journey as we discern your concrete circumstances together. This is a judgement free zone and all are unconditionally welcomed into this safe space. I affirm you for who you are and I wish to extend my hand to you so that we may join together and build a bridge to the adulterers community. Adulterers have been excluded for far too long.

If this absurd trip into “The Twlight Zone” was reality, do you really believe that St. John The Baptist would have been martyred? Would any of the Apostles have become martyrs of The Faith if they spoke in such a lukewarm, diluted, weak, and uninspired a manner? Would the Fathers of The Church, The Apostles, and their successors have succeeded in converting The Roman Empire and the pagan world to Catholicism if they had believed and spoken as modern Catholics often do? Would they have successfully built Christendom if they catered to sentimentality and feared offending their audiences by speaking The Truth? Christ The King gives a message to the lukewarm in (Apocalypse 3: 16-17):

[16] But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth. [17] Because thou sayest: I am rich, and made wealthy, and have need of nothing: and knowest not, that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

Be not lukewarm weathervanes blowing aimlessly with the zeitgeist of the age. Be not indoctrinated into accepting cultural communism, political correctness, tribal identity, freemasonic principles, immodesty, impurity, heresy, and apostasy. Conform not your mind to The Spirit of The World but rather conform your mind to the Mind of Christ. Be not concerned with offending man, but rather be concerned with offending All Mighty God. God is much offended when souls perish outside of The Ark of His Church. Be not afraid to speak The Truth and loudly proclaim The Dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus. Do not hesitate professing The Truth out of fear of being falsely labeled as intolerant, insensitive, haters, fundamentalists, rigid Catholics, Catholic Triumphalists, Pharisees, doctors of The Law who use the law as stones to throw at men, Neo Pelagians, Neo Gnostics, Rosary counters, radical reactionary traditionalists, or relics  from medieval times. Christ The King warned us in John 15: 18-27 that we would be persecuted for following Him:

[18] If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you. [19] If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. [20] Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.

[21] But all these things they will do to you for my name’s sake: because they know not him who sent me. [22] If I had not come, and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. [23] He that hateth me, hateth my Father also. [24] If I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated both me and my Father. [25] But that the word may be fulfilled which is written in their law: They hated me without cause.

[26] But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me. [27] And you shall give testimony, because you are with me from the beginning.

During a time of great crisis, confusion, scandal and apostasy it is The Dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus that can reassure and guide men to remain within The Ark of The Catholic Church. If a man saw the hypocrisy, corruption, wickedness, filth, and apostasy committed amongst some of the members of the human element of The Church and particularly amongst many of the Shepherds, would reassuring that man that “The Church is the fullness of The Truth” be an adequate reason for him to remain within The Holy Catholic Church? It is not really the awareness of sins committed by Judas laity, Judas Priests, Judas Bishops, and or Judas Pontiffs which cause men to abandon The Catholic Church. Rather, it is a lack of formation in The One True Faith, a lack of The Theological Virtue of Faith, a lack of comprehension of what The Catholic Church Truly is, and in particular it is a lack of properly understanding The Dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus which causes men to recklessly leap from the sacred safety of The Ark of The Catholic Church. If a man believes that there are many paths, different religions, that lead up the mountain to God, would the feeble statement that “The Catholic Faith is the fullness of The Truth” be reason enough to disturb his conscience into meditating upon the claims made by The One True Faith? If a man doesn’t believe in original sin, actual sin, and the existence of an eternal Hell because he errantly asserts that God doesn’t condemn anyone forever, would timidly mentioning to such a man that “The Catholic Faith is the fullness of The Truth” jar him into questioning his errant belief? After all the implication of not believing in a religion that merely claims to have the fullness of The Truth is that it’s not such a big deal, it doesn’t seem to be a matter of eternal consequence. It makes it appear as though The Holy Catholic Faith is but a cherry on top of a sundae as opposed to being THE Ark of Salvation established by The Second Person of The Most Blessed Trinity Himself.

The Dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus matters because it pertains to The Four Last Things. It is a matter of life and death, eternal salvation and eternal damnation. Replacing The Dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus with the phrase “The Catholic Faith is the fullness of The Truth” is to sacrifice a Dogma of The Faith at the altar of tolerance. Tolerance is not one of the Christian virtues. The reigning zeitgeist exalts sentimentality and relativism over reason and Truth. This zeitgeist has consequently led to a fear of speaking The Truth which cuts as a sharp sword that may result in an emotional disturbance. The dread of potentially offending someone emotionally and being perceived as intolerant often results in an effeminate silence. A Truth not spoken is drowned in an ocean of silence. A burning candle deprived of oxygen suffocates in darkness. So too a Dogma deprived of the oxygen of profession and proclamation will be snuffed out. Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus…. know it, live it, love it. Let this Dogma live loudly within you. The Truth is out there and it shall set you free. The Divinely revealed Truths necessary for eternal salvation exist solely within The Ark of The Catholic Church. Cooperating with the grace of God, each faithful Catholic must assist as many souls as possible into The Ark of Salvation, The Catholic Church. Fittingly this article ends with Christ’s final words found within The Holy Gospel According to Saint Matthew in which He commands us to “Teach all nations to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” The Infallible Dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus is included in The Great Commission. Christus Rex, Christ The King commands us as follows in The Great Commission (Matthew 28: 16-20):

[16] And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. [17] And seeing him they adored: but some doubted. [18] And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. [19] Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.

The link to part 1 of The Virgo Potens 2 part series on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus is here: https://virgopotens.org/blog/2019/1/18/pwqx5jnw0sl07qohay98nstdanrxw3

The Virgo Potens series on the Church begins here: https://virgopotens.org/blog/2019/1/30/ugois5dp2gopmgnkxd1yccy5y1rs9y


The quote from St. Thomas Aquinas is found in this link: http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1020.htm

The quote from The Book of Genesis can be read in full context here: http://drbo.org/chapter/01007.htm

The quote from The Gospel According to St. John can be found here: http://drbo.org/chapter/50015.htm

The quote from The Gospel According to St. Matthew can be found here: http://drbo.org/chapter/47028.htm

The link to the Quote from The Apocalypse According to St. John can be found here: http://drbo.org/chapter/73003.htm

* Further information on photo copyright: This image was originally posted to Flickr by Internet Archive Book Images at https://flickr.com/photos/126377022@N07/14761884206. It was reviewed on 5 August 2015 by FlickreviewR and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the No known copyright restrictions.