Michael Voris’ Grave Errors on Salvation

Voris’ latest Vortex rant is called: “The Church Is Necessary for Heaven”, and it repeats the ancient formula, “Outside the Church there is no salvation”. Those two assertions (in quotes) are true, if properly understood. And to obtain the proper understanding, we simply need to answer certain questions, which define the limits of the formula, correctly.

What are the Dimensions of the Church? Which persons on earth are within the Church, and which are outside the Church? We know that a baptized Catholic Christian is within the Church; baptism makes him or her a formal member. But if he is also unrepentant from actual mortal sin, he will lose his salvation and end up in Hell. So a person can be formally a member, and yet be in a sense outside the Ark of Salvation by the loss of the state of grace.

Conversely, anyone who is in the state of grace, by a non-formal baptism of desire or of blood, is a non-formal member of the Church. And if that person dies in the state of grace, they will have eternal life, probably after a time in Purgatory, where they will be instructed on the truths of Christ.

Can a Protestant Christian be saved if he knows about the Catholic Church, and does not join? If the refusal to join is not an actual mortal sin, but is done with invincible ignorance, then the Protestant can be saved. He must also avoid all actual mortal sin, or repent with perfect contrition, so that he dies in the state of grace. But Protestants certainly can be saved. It is neither impossible, nor unlikely.

Can a devout Jew be saved, if he knows about Christianity, and does not convert and be baptized? If the refusal to convert is not an actual mortal sin, but is done with invincible ignorance, then he can be saved. He must enter the state of grace by a baptism of desire or blood (ordinarily, by desire). And if he commits an actual mortal sin, he must repent with perfect contrition.

{2:17} Thus even faith, if it does not have works, is dead, in and of itself.
{2:18} Now someone may say: “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works! But I will show you my faith by means of works.

Faith alone does not save. A person must have the state of grace, which includes love, faith, and hope, in order to be saved. A living faith is supernatural faith enlivened by supernatural love and hope. Works do not save, but they show that a person has love, faith, and hope.

Works do not save, but the moral law requires us to love our neighbor, which includes the spiritual and corporeal works of mercy. Failure do to these works might constitute an actual mortal sin of omission. So works are, in a sense, necessary to salvation, as they are part of the mora law.

Does a devote Jew have supernatural faith? Yes. Their love for God and neighbor proves that they have supernatural love, and supernatural love is never present in the soul without supernatural faith and supernatural hope. Just as works can prove faith, works can prove love, which proves faith.

Jews do not have a merely natural faith. They have a supernatural faith, which is why Abraham is praised by the Christian Church for his great faith.

Can a devout Muslim be saved without converting to Christianity? Yes, under the same types of considerations. Here I’m excluding the extremists Muslims, who murder innocents and abuse women and children. Their evil works show their lack of supernatural love and their lack of the state of grace. But moderate peaceful Muslims prove their supernatural faith by means of their supernatural love of God and neighbor.

As for other religions, some are so far from true religion that they are not much different from atheism. The ancient pagan religions were essentially no different from atheism, as they lacked any substantial truths about God.

Can an atheist be saved? Yes. For the true selfless love of neighbor always includes the love of God, at least implicitly. By loving his neighbor, the atheist loves God without realizing it, for his neighbor is made in God’s image. The atheist can enter the state of grace by an implicit baptism of desire, by the selfless love of God, and he can return to the state of grace, after actual mortal sin, by sorrow for sin out of love for his neighbor, who is harmed by that sin.

Can a gay married person be saved? Can someone who is living as a trans person be saved? What about a Catholic who is divorced and remarried? Can persons who are living in a state of objective mortal sin be saved without repentance and conversion? If their sins do not have the full culpability of actual mortal sin, they may be saved. They still must enter the state of grace, and return to it if they commit actual mortal sin. But many gay persons, who are sexually active, might be in a state of invincible ignorance, and so they could be saved.

Finally, what is someone is unrepentant from actual mortal sin? Can they be saved without conversion and repentance? No, but repentance can be implicit. A person who is in a state of actual mortal sin can repent by implicit perfect contrition, that is, they can repent and be forgiven, by love of God or neighbor, without conscious repentant from that specific mortal sin.

Example: A soldier commits an actual mortal sin. For a long time, he does not repent of that sin; he is in a state of unrepentant actual mortal sin. One day, he is with his comrades in arms, for whom he has some filial affection. An enemy throws a grenade in their midst. If the soldier decides, in full cooperation with grace, to give up his life to save the life of his fellow soldiers, by throwing himself on the grenade, his act of love of neighbor implicitly includes perfect contrition for all his sins — even though he does not call each sin to mind and does not explicitly repent from each one. He therefore dies in the state of grace and is saved.

However, in all of the above examples of persons who are saved, they are saved by means of Christ and His Church, even though they do not realize it. They are saved by the Church, though they are not formally baptized into the Church and sometimes even outwardly reject Her.

Why be Catholic then, if one can be saved without Catholicism? The surest path to Heaven is to be a believing and practicing Catholic. That path is level, well-lit, paved, straight, and easy to walk. The further way from Catholicism you go, the more difficult is the path to Heaven. An atheist can possibly be saved, but it is probable that the percentage of atheists who are saved is low, as they have little guidance as to how to walk the path of salvation. They are wandering alone through the woods at night, and we are following a well-lit paved road with a sure guide directing us.

Are few saved? See my post opposing the errors of Michael Voris on this point:
* How Many Will Be Saved? The Moderate Catholic View
* How Many Are Saved?

I believe that most persons are saved by way of Purgatory. Relatively few persons, as a percentage, go directly to Heaven. Most need purification first in Purgatory. At Medjugorje, Mary said that most human persons go to Heaven by way of Purgatory, relatively few go directly to Heaven. That is what I believe. However, I still think that the number of human souls in Hell is large as a number, though it is a minority as a percentage.

Our Lord’s expression that few are saved is figurative, meaning that the path directly to Heaven is difficult; it is narrow in the sense of which behaviors please God. Few go directly to Heaven. And all who eventually arrive in Heaven are few in the sense of special; they are the elect. Jesus did not mean that God has failed to save most persons, despite His universal salvific will. If it were true that literally few are saved, it would seem as if God was unable or unwilling to save; it would seem as if the plan of salvation were broken. Instead, God succeeds in saving most human persons, despite the many failings of us poor fallen sinners.

Voris’ Errors

Michael Voris errs by refusing to admit that non-Christians are saved by implicit membership in the Church, through an implicit baptism of desire, refusing to admit that devout Jews and Muslims have supernatural faith, and refusing to admit that the number who are saved (even within Christianity) is large.

I should also point out that Mr. Voris realizes that his views on salvation are reprehensible, and so he mostly keeps them hidden. He uses vague expressions, which might be interpreted in different ways. He says that once you get to Heaven, everyone is Catholic. Okay, fine. But do you think that Jews and Muslims, other believers and unbelievers can be saved without converting to Christianity — if they have sufficient accurate knowledge of Christianity and yet do not convert? Or might they still have invincible ignorance and an implicit baptism of desire?

Love not Hate

The path of salvation is like the destination. Heaven is a place of love, so the way to get to Heaven is to love others. If you hate the Pope, the Bishops, liberals, gay and trans persons, Jews, Muslims, and so many other persons and groups, then you are not on the path of salvation.

If you believe that the Catholic Church is the sole Ark of Salvation, which it is, but you have nothing but contempt for the Pope and the Bishops, then how will you be saved by that Church, which you hate? Jesus taught us to love our enemies, and some Catholics cannot bring themselves to love even the Vicar of Christ and his fellow Shepherds.

And don’t tell me that you love the Church, while hating Her leaders. That’s like loving God and hating your neighbor.

[1 John]
{4:20} If anyone says that he loves God, but hates his brother, then he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother, whom he does see, in what way can he love God, whom he does not see?
{4:21} And this is the commandment that we have from God, that he who loves God must also love his brother.

The Church is founded on the Pope as the successor to Peter and the other Bishops as the successors to the Apostles. If you hate them, you hate the Church. There is no Church without the successors to Peter and the Apostles. If you call yourself Catholic and hate the Church leaders, you are not really Catholic. The Church is the Ship of Salvation, and those who hate the Pope and the Bishops are guilty of mutiny.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian
* My books of theology
* My translation of the Bible
* Please support my work

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1 Response to Michael Voris’ Grave Errors on Salvation

  1. Alex says:

    Ron, I not only agree with you, but I thank you for the theological backing of what I knew from Vatican II and from the sane reason that all good and loving people, also repentant people, are saved. Yes we need the Sacraments as the highest expression of God’s care for us. But many people pass to God’s love through ways that are shadowed by the Sacraments if not fully participated…if I may say that way.

    That comes in agreement to what Our Lady repeats ceasingly in Medjugorje, Love all people, or giving messages for those who did not yet know God’s love…and who are those people who would read Her messages and who still don’t know God’s love? People inside the Catholic Church, not Buddhist from China!

    Therefore I find it very alarming when people like Voris and much more those clothed in authority, like card. Sarah and bishop Schneider, try to restrict God’s love and mercy in frames set by themselves or similar minded. It is dangerous what could result if they are given way, and the history of the Church shows it clearly.

    I’d like a reform in the Church that does not introduce new things, neither going back to 17th century, rather going back to 1st century when people lived the Love of Jesus everyday.

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