What is Salvation in Roman Catholicism?

February 19, 2018

The RCC believes that there are two elements necessary for justification before God (i.e. salvation): faith and works.  This was the issue during the reformation when the reformers argued that salvation was by “faith alone” and not by works.  The RCC believes both are required and that God dispenses salvation through the “church” and Mary.


As discussed above in the section on authority, the RCC make a direct tie between the authorities of the RCC and salvation (95).  Since they believe that it is our choice that saves us then it makes sense that they also believe that our sin can lose us (162).  So when they discuss other religions they talk about salvation (kind of) through fearing or acknowledging God (841-843).  Although it is not clear if this salvation is the reconciling of man to God or just a drawing toward the RCC or salvation after a time in purgatory.  They state anyone who fears God will be saved (781).  However, the demons fear God and they are not saved?  Therefore, salvation must require something other than just a fear of God. 

Below are some more paragraphs to support the RCC view of salvation. 

“It is clear therefore that, in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way, under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.” (95)

Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can lose this priceless gift, … To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith; it must be working through charity, abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church. (162)

Mary stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from him. After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established. (489)

At all times and in every race, anyone who fears God and does what is right has been acceptable to him. He has, however, willed to make men holy and save them, not as individuals without any bond or link between them, but rather to make them into a people who might acknowledge him and serve him in holiness. (781)

The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day. (841)

The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life. (843)


The RCC clearly believes that “faith is man’s response to God” (26) and “faith is necessary for salvation” (183).  It is something that is obtained by man and can be lost by man (162).  It is most often connected with baptism (782, 784, 804, 846, 866, 977, 1226) and works (1815-1816, 2037).


The RCC view of faith is a gift of God but an act of man. The gift of God is the inner workings of the Holy Spirit that allows man to freely choose. Confused? Below are some paragraphs to support the RCC view of faith to help define faith and its purpose in salvation. 

By his Revelation, the invisible God, from the fullness of his love, addresses men as his friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into his own company. The adequate response to this invitation is faith. (142)

By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God. With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, “the obedience of faith”. (143)

To obey … in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. … The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment. (144)

Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. (150)

Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and ‘makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth. (153)

Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act. Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths he has revealed is contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason. Even in human relations it is not contrary to our dignity to believe what other persons tell us about themselves and their intentions, or to trust their promises. (154)

In faith, the human intellect and will co-operate with divine grace: Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace. (155)

What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: … So “that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit. (156)

Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth. (159)

Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man.  We can lose this priceless gift. (162)

Faith is a personal act – the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself. But faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone.
You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life. The believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others. (166)

Faith is a personal adherence of the whole man to God who reveals himself. It involves an assent of the intellect and will to the self-revelation God has made through his deeds and words. (176)

Faith is a supernatural gift from God. In order to believe, man needs the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. (179)

By faith man freely commits his entire self to God. (1814)

The RCC make a close connection between faith and baptism, as will be discussed below.  The following paragraphs reveal this connection.

One becomes a member of this people not by a physical birth, but by being born anew, a birth of water and the Spirit, that is, by faith in Christ, and Baptism. (782)

On entering the People of God through faith and Baptism. (784)

One enters into the People of God by faith and Baptism. (804)

[T]he necessity of faith and Baptism … (846)

The Church is one: she acknowledges one Lord, confesses one faith, is born of one Baptism. (866)

Our Lord tied the forgiveness of sins to faith and Baptism. (977)

Always, Baptism is seen as connected with faith. (1226)

… the response of faith, which is inseparable from Baptism.  Indeed Baptism is “the sacrament of faith” in a particular way, since it is the sacrament entry into the life of faith. (1236)

Uniting us by faith and Baptism … (2017)

… so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments. (2068)

The RCC also ties faith to saving works.

The gift of faith remains in one who has not sinned against it. But faith apart from works is dead: when it is deprived of hope and love, faith does not fully unite the believer to Christ and does not make him a living member of his Body. (1815)

Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation. (1816)

Faith and the practice of the Gospel provide each person with an experience of life “in Christ”. (2037)

The object of the person’s faith is not just Christ but also the RCC.

… faith in the forgiveness of sins not only with faith in the Holy Spirit, but also with faith in the Church. (976)


The RCC teaches that men can merit grace for their own salvation (546, 781, 2001, 2008) and others (2027).  These works of grace are found in the liturgy and the sacraments.


This is coupled with the teachings of the freedom of man and the choice of faith that starts the salvation process but a man must do good works to remain saved (and avoid purgatory).  See the paragraphs below for more support on the RCC view of works necessary for salvation. 

Words are not enough; deeds are required. (546)

Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. (837)

Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. (851)

The intercession of the saints. Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness…. They do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus…. So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped. (956)

Who will rise? All the dead will rise, “those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.” (998)

In this way they attained their own salvation and at the same time cooperated in saving their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body. (1477)

… it shows the importance of moral decisions for our salvation. (1696)

The gift of faith remains in one who has not sinned against it. But faith apart from works is dead: when it is deprived of hope and love, faith does not fully unite the believer to Christ and does not make him a living member of his Body. (1815)

Indeed we also work, but we are only collaborating with God who works. (2001)

grace also includes the gifts that the Spirit grants us to associate us with his work, to enable us to collaborate in the salvation of others and in the growth of the Body of Christ, the Church. There are sacramental graces, gifts proper to the different sacraments. (2003)

The merit of man before God in the Christian life arises from the fact that God has freely chosen to associate man with the work of his grace. The fatherly action of God is first on his own initiative, and then follows man’s free acting through his collaboration, so that the merit of good works is to be attributed in the first place to the grace of God, then to the faithful. Man’s merit, moreover, itself is due to God, for his good actions proceed in Christ, from the predispositions and assistance given by the Holy Spirit. (2008)

merits of our good works are gifts of the divine goodness. Grace has gone before us; now we are given what is due…. Our merits are God’s gifts.(2009)

we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God’s wisdom. (2010)

We can have merit in God’s sight only because of God’s free plan to associate man with the work of his grace. Merit is to be ascribed in the first place to the grace of God, and secondly to man’s collaboration. Man’s merit is due to God. (2025)

Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can merit for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods. (2027)

The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is still bound to keep them; the Second Vatican Council confirms: “The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord . . . the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments. (2068)

What good deed must I do, to have eternal life? – If you would enter into life, keep the commandments. (2075)


The RCC teaches that “Christ manifests, makes present, and communicates his work of salvation through the liturgy of his Church” (1076).  The liturgy is the order of worship, sacraments and prayers.


The liturgy often requires the use of special words to be spoken at specific times, i.e. during the sacramental services, etc.  The RCC believes that the liturgy, itself, communicates salvation. 

… in the sacramental liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy Spirit puts us into communion with Christ; (688)

In the Church’s liturgy the divine blessing is fully revealed and communicated. (1082)

In the liturgy and the celebration of the sacraments, prayer and teaching are conjoined with the grace of Christ to enlighten and nourish Christian activity. (2031)

The moral life is a spiritual worship. Christian activity finds its nourishment in the liturgy and the celebration of the sacraments. (2047)


A sacrament is the “visible sign of the hidden reality of salvation” (744).  The RCC believes that “they are efficacious” (1127) and “necessary for salvation” (1131).

There are seven sacraments:

  1. Baptism
  2. Confirmation
  3. Eucharist
  4. Penance
  5. Anointing of the Sick
  6. Holy Orders
  7. Matrimony (1113)


The sacramental system is the central theme of the RCC.  Sacraments are used to unify the RCC (815).  The RCC believes that other churches may be close to salvation in Christ, but without the sacraments, properly administered by the apostolic succession, they can never reach their goal.  It is in the sacramental system that the RCC dispenses salvation. 

– in the sacramental liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy Spirit puts us into communion with Christ. (688)

the term sacramentum emphasizes the visible sign of the hidden reality of salvation which was indicated by the term mystenum. … The saving work of his holy and sanctifying humanity is the sacrament of salvation, which is revealed and active in the Church’s sacraments … The seven sacraments are the signs and instruments by which the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Christ the head throughout the Church which is his Body. The Church, then, both contains and communicates the invisible grace she signifies. It is in this analogical sense, that the Church is called a “sacrament.” (774)

The Church in this world is the sacrament of salvation, the sign and the instrument of the communion of God and men. (780)

… through the sacraments, are united in a hidden and real way to Christ in his Passion and glorification. (790)

The ministry in which Christ’s emissaries do and give by God’s grace what they cannot do and give by their own powers, is called a “sacrament” by the Church’s tradition. Indeed, the ministry of the Church is conferred by a special sacrament. (875)

Therefore, the riches of Christ are communicated to all the members, through the sacraments. (947)

Communion of the sacraments. The fruit of all the sacraments belongs to all the faithful. All the sacraments are sacred links uniting the faithful with one another and binding them to Jesus Christ. (950)

In the forgiveness of sins, both priests and sacraments are instruments which our Lord Jesus Christ, the only author and liberal giver of salvation, wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us the grace of justification. (987)

Christ now acts through the sacraments he instituted to communicate his grace. The sacraments are perceptible signs (words and actions) accessible to our human nature. (1084)

Sacraments are “powers that comes forth” from the Body of Christ, which is ever-living and life-giving. They are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in his Body, the Church. They are “the masterworks of God” in the new and everlasting covenant. (1116)

The sacraments are “of the Church” in the double sense that they are “by her” and “for her.” They are “by the Church,” for she is the sacrament of Christ’s action at work in her through the mission of the Holy Spirit. They are “for the Church” in the sense that the sacraments make the Church, since they manifest and communicate to men, above all in the Eucharist, the mystery of communion with the God who is love, One in three persons. (1118)

The three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders confer, in addition to grace, a sacramental character or “seal” by which the Christian shares in Christ’s priesthood and is made a member of the Church according to different states and functions. (1121)

The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the Body of Christ and, finally, to give worship to God. Because they are signs they also instruct. They not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it. That is why they are called ‘sacraments of faith. (1123)

the liturgy, above all that of the sacraments, there is an immutable part, a part that is divinely instituted and of which the Church is the guardian, and parts that can be changed, which the Church has the power and on occasion also the duty to adapt to the cultures of recently evangelized peoples. (1205)

What faith confesses, the sacraments communicate: by the sacraments of rebirth, Christians have become children of God. (1692)


The RCC believes that baptism is necessary for salvation (846) and is efficacious (694, 1306).

“… the necessity of Baptism for salvation. The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. … Baptism is necessary for salvation … The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; …God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism” (1256-1257)

When the RCC talks about salvation through faith it is most often linked with baptism (14, 172, 403, 782, 784, 818, 846, 977, 1226, 1236, 1253-1254, 1271, 2017, 2068).  The RCC view of baptism is that it washes away the affects of original sin (978, 1263, 1279) and provides the forgiveness of past sins (978, 1263, 1486, 1999).


References to baptism and faith (14, 172, 403, 782, 784, 818, 846, 977, 1226, 1236, 1253-1254, 1271, 2017, 2068). 

The Church has constantly confessed this one faith, received from the one Lord, transmitted by one Baptism. (172)

References to justification by baptism (1987, 1992, 2020).

Baptism removes original sin (978, 1263, 1279).

Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle. (405)

References to the forgiveness of sin by baptism (976-979, 981, 985, 1213, 1237, 1262, 1265, 1279, 1299, 1434, 2042).

When we made our first profession of faith while receiving the holy Baptism that cleansed us, the forgiveness we received then was so full and complete that there remained in us absolutely nothing left to efface, neither original sin nor offenses committed by our own will, nor was there left any penalty to suffer in order to expiate them…. Yet the grace of Baptism delivers no one from all the weakness of nature. (978)

By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. (1263)

The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is conferred by a particular sacrament called the sacrament of conversion, confession, penance, or reconciliation. (1486)

grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. (1999)

References to salvation (new life) by baptism (168, 1212, 1219, 1250, 1262, 1277, 1279, 1426, 2042).

Baptism, since after the invocation of the Holy Spirit it becomes the efficacious sacramental sign of new birth. (694)

“Baptism is certainly valid and efficacious.” (1306)

the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it. (846)

the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit, for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one can enter the kingdom of God. (1215)

Baptism is the principal place for the first and fundamental conversion. It is by faith in the Gospel and by Baptism that one renounces evil and gains salvation, that is, the forgiveness of all sins and the gift of new life. (1427)

Baptism somehow marks the person with an eternal mark. 

Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated. (1272)


The RCC teaches that they have the power (1442, 1495), by God, to forgive sins committed after baptism (980, 1436, 14591486), in the sacrament of penance.  They believe that penance is as necessary for salvation as baptism (980).


Penance has the power to forgive sins committed after baptism. 

The sacrament of Penance is a whole consisting in three actions of the penitent and the priest’s absolution. The penitent’s acts are repentance, confession or disclosure of sins to the priest, and the intention to make reparation and do works of reparation. (1491)

It is through the sacrament of Penance that the baptized can be reconciled with God and with the Church: Penance has rightly been called by the holy Fathers “a laborious kind of baptism.” This sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen after Baptism, just as Baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have not yet been reborn. (980)

It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest’s sacramental absolution God grants the penitent pardon and peace. It is called the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the life of God who reconciles. (1424)

[Penance] is a remedy to free us from our daily faults and to preserve us from mortal sins. (1436)

Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. (1446)

But sin also injures and weakens the sinner himself, as well as his relationships with God and neighbor. Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused. Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must “make satisfaction for” or “expiate” his sins. This satisfaction is also called “penance.” (1459)

Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the “eternal punishment” of sin. (1472)

In the communion of saints, a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. (1475)

The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is conferred by a particular sacrament called the sacrament of conversion, confession, penance, or reconciliation. (1486)

Penance is necessary to reconcile man back to God, but that is not enough for the RCC.  The reason they believe that the RCC must have the power of absolution (1442, 1495) is to reconcile the sinner to the church (1444-1445, 1484).  The power of the RCC to forgive sins will be discussed more in the next section on the church as the dispenser of salvation. 

Christ has willed that in her prayer and life and action his whole Church should be the sign and instrument of the forgiveness and reconciliation that he acquired for us at the price of his blood. But he entrusted the exercise of the power of absolution to the apostolic ministry which he charged with the “ministry of reconciliation.” (1442)

In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church. … The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles united to its head. (1444)

Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God. (1445)

This sacrament reconciles us with the Church. (1469)

The Church, who through the bishop and his priests forgives sins in the name of Jesus Christ and determines the manner of satisfaction, also prays for the sinner and does penance with him. (1448)

Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible. (1452)

By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance. (1453)

Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance: All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly. When Christ’s faithful strive to confess all the sins that they can remember, they undoubtedly place all of them before the divine mercy for pardon. But those who fail to do so and knowingly withhold some, place nothing before the divine goodness for remission through the mediation of the priest, for if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to the doctor, the medicine cannot heal what it does not know. (1456)

Since Christ entrusted to his apostles the ministry of reconciliation, bishops who are their successors, and priests, the bishops’ collaborators, continue to exercise this ministry. Indeed bishops and priests, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, have the power to forgive all sins. (1461)

Notice in the following paragraph that the RCC admits that they have changed the sacrament of penance from public to private.  This is an attempt to reconcile their different views of this doctrine over the years.  It was supposedly handed down from God that penance needed to be public for the forgiveness of sins but now the RCC can change God’s plan.  This change was historically due to a change for politics not religion.  This is an example of where the RCC adjusts its doctrine to culture. 

Over the centuries the concrete form in which the Church has exercised this power received from the Lord has varied considerably. During the first centuries the reconciliation of Christians who had committed particularly grave sins after their Baptism (for example, idolatry, murder, or adultery) was tied to a very rigorous discipline, according to which penitents had to do public penance for their sins, often for years, before receiving reconciliation. To this “order of penitents” (which concerned only certain grave sins), one was only rarely admitted and in certain regions only once in a lifetime. During the seventh century Irish missionaries, inspired by the Eastern monastic tradition, took to continental Europe the “private” practice of penance, which does not require public and prolonged completion of penitential works before reconciliation with the Church. From that time on, the sacrament has been performed in secret between penitent and priest. This new practice envisioned the possibility of repetition and so opened the way to a regular frequenting of this sacrament. It allowed the forgiveness of grave sins and venial sins to be integrated into one sacramental celebration. In its main lines this is the form of penance that the Church has practiced down to our day. (1447)

Below is the RCC definition of indulgences.

An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints. An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin. Indulgences may be applied to the living or the dead. (1471)

An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins. (1478)

The Church as Dispenser

The RCC believes that Christ, through apostolic succession, has been given the power of salvation, to forgive sins (1442, 1444).  People in churches outside of the RCC can be on their “way of salvation”, but the RCC “must go out and meet their desire” (851).  The many ways or means of this salvation dispensed via the RCC are through the sacraments and liturgy (875, 979).


The RCC has a necessary role in salvation.  Salvation is not obtained without the RCC.  The reason for this is that the RCC believes that Christ has entrusted only the RCC to dispense salvation to men.  The paragraphs below will support this doctrine. 

It is the Church that believes first, and so bears, nourishes, and sustains my faith. … It is through the Church that we receive faith and new life in Christ by Baptism. (168)

Salvation comes from God alone; but because we receive the life of faith through the Church, she is our mother. (169)

the faith that we have received from the Church. (175)

the whole Church which transmits the faith to us and in whose midst we believe. (197)

The power to “bind and loose” connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgements, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church. Jesus entrusted this authority to the Church through the ministry of the apostles and in particular through the ministry of Peter, the only one to whom he specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom. (553)

For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. (816)

Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements. Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. (819)

It is in the Church that the fullness of the means of salvation has been deposited. It is in her that by the grace of God we acquire holiness. (824)

Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the Church together with her entire organization, and who – by the bonds constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government, and communion – are joined in the visible structure of the Church of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but ‘in body’ not ‘in heart. (837)

The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. (845)

Outside the Church there is no salvation … the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it. (846)

Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in God’s universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary. (851)

The apostles and their successors carry out this “ministry of reconciliation,” not only by announcing to men God’s forgiveness merited for us by Christ, and calling them to conversion and faith; but also by communicating to them the forgiveness of sins in Baptism, and reconciling them with God and with the Church through the power of the keys, received from Christ: [The Church] has received the keys of the Kingdom of heaven so that, in her, sins may be forgiven through Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit’s action. In this Church, the soul dead through sin comes back to life in order to live with Christ, whose grace has saved us. (981)

There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive. (982)

Christ’s gift to his Church: the mission and the power to forgive sins through the ministry of the apostles and their successors: … Were there no forgiveness of sins in the Church, there would be no hope of life to come or eternal liberation. Let us thank God who has given his Church such a gift. (983)

By Christ’s will, the Church possesses the power to forgive the sins of the baptized and exercises it through bishops and priests normally in the sacrament of Penance. (986)

Christian liturgy not only recalls the events that save us but actualizes them, makes them present. (1104)

Reborn as sons of God, [the baptized] must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church. (1270)

Only priests who have received the faculty of absolving from the authority of the Church can forgive sins in the name of Christ. (1495)

Salvation dispensed through the RCC via the sacraments.

No one can bestow grace on himself; it must be given and offered. … The ministry in which Christ’s emissaries do and give by God’s grace what they cannot do and give by their own powers, is called a “sacrament” by the Church’s tradition. Indeed, the ministry of the Church is conferred by a special sacrament. (875)

If the Church has the power to forgive sins, then Baptism cannot be her only means of using the keys of the Kingdom of heaven received from Jesus Christ. The Church must be able to forgive all penitents their offenses, even if they should sin until the last moment of their lives. (979)

Mary as Dispenser

If the RCC through the succession of Peter can dispense salvation, how much more can Mary?  Since her ministry is greater then Peter’s (733).  Mary’s current ministry is to intercede for those on earth and bestow upon them certain grace in the work of salvation (725, 969, 970, 1014).

[Mary] is inseparably linked with the saving work of her Son. (1172)

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