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Extra ecclesiam nulla salus (est)

Extra ecclesiam nulla salus (est) (Lat., ‘outside the church there is no salvation’). The view, expressed first by Origen and Cyprian, that formal membership of the Church is necessary for salvation. The bull Unam Sanctam (1302) of Pope Boniface VIII declared that ‘there is one holy, catholic and apostolic Church, outside of which there is neither salvation nor remission of sins’, and that ‘it is altogether necessary to salvation for every human creature to be subject to the Roman pontiff’. The bull mentions specifically ‘the Greeks’ (i.e. the Greek Orthodox): a fortiori, those in other religions must be in equally great peril.

The apparent severity to non-Christians and non-Catholics is modified by invincible ignorance.

This caution issued in the teaching of Vatican II (especially Lumen Gentium) that those who live by conscience outside the Church may be saved. See also Anonymous Christians in RAHNER, K.

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