From a reader:
in one of your recent post, concerning “extra Ecclesiam nulla salus”, you have discussed an option, that actually, one might be saved outside the Catholic Church. Your proposition was also based on Augustin. Recently, however, I have found the following quotation from St. Augustin, which, as if contradicts your saying. It sounds as
follows: Extra Ecclesiam catholicam totum potest praeter salutem.
Potest habere honorem, potest habere Sacramenta, potest cantare Alleluia, potest respondere Amen, potest Evangelium tenere, potest in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti fidem habere et praedicare:
sed nusquam nisi in Ecclesia catholica salutem poterit invenire (St.
Augustin, Sermo ad Caesareensis ecclesiae, Patrologia Latina, t. 43, kol. 695.). Could you comment once more the issue. Thank you in advance.
First, that sermon of Augustine is spurious. It was attributed to Augustine, but it isn’t by him.
This is something people have to pay attention to when they pull up quotes, especially from older sources, and especially when they refer back to PL. Some sermons attributed to Augustine over the centuries have been determined not to be his. The very style of the Latin is the first clue. Then when you check this against what is accepted in the authentic collection of Augustine’s sermons, it is not to be found.
Augustine didn’t write that. We don’t care who wrote it.
Seriously, I will say what I said clearly elsewhere. God can save whom it pleaseth God to save. How He does that apart from the sacraments and formal membership of the Church is a mystery to me. All I know is that if someone can be saved at all, he is saved solely through the merits if Christ’s Sacrifice. The merits of Christ’s Sacrifice, all graces, everything for our salvation is mysteriously mediated through the Church Christ founded, the Catholic Church. Any person who doesn’t belong to the Church but comes to salvation nevertheless receives whatever was sufficient through the mysterious mediation God has willed through the Catholic Church. In that sense, outside the Church there is no salvation.