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‘Whoever Does Not Profess the Catholic Faith Will Perish Eternally’

In 1832, combating religious Indifferentism, Gregory XVI discerned the germs of what would later be called ecumenism. Here is his teaching

Pope Gregory XVI

We reach now another cause for the evils that unhappily afflict the Church at this time. That is, we arrive at this ‘Indifferentism,’ or this perverse opinion that has spread everywhere as the work of evil ones, according to which it would be possible to achieve eternal salvation by means of any profession of faith, so long as the practices be upright and honest. It will not be difficult, in such a clear and evident matter, to expel this fatal error from the bosom of the peoples who are confided to your care.

Given that the Apostle warns us that there is only ‘one Lord, one Faith, one baptism’ (Eph 4:5), these people should fear those who imagine that every religion offers the means to arrive at eternal happiness; and they should understand that, according to the testimony of the Savior Himself, ‘he that is not with Me, is against Me’ (Lk 11:23), and that they unhappily scatter since they do not gather with Him. Consequently, ‘it is not to be doubted that they will perish eternally if they do not profess the Catholic Faith and if they do not guard it entire and inviolate’ (Symbol of St. Athanasius).


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(Gregory XVI, Encyclical Mirari vos, August 15, 1832,
Recueil des allocutions, p. 163)

Posted on May 12, 2012

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