Ultimatum from the Roman Catholic Church: Pope or Hell?

The following contains the official standing of the Roman Catholic Church regarding the authority of their Pope and salvation. This is a peculiar doctrine that one must obey the Pope or be condemned since most the Catholics that I know are partially ecumenical claiming to accept most sects of Christendom. The thoughts of some Roman Catholics are very welcome here. The necessity of following the Roman Pope is found under “Unam Sanctam” of the Catholic Encyclopedia. Unam Sanctam means “the One Holy” and refers to the Roman Pontiff. The following are the official doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church concerning the supremacy of the Pope and sealed by Pope Boniface VIII.

The Bull lays down dogmatic propositions on the unity of the Church, the necessity of belonging to it for eternal salvation, the position of the pope as supreme head of the Church, and the duty thence arising of submission to the pope in order to belong to the Church and thus to attain salvation.”

“First, the unity of the Church and its necessity for salvation are declared and established by various passages from the Bible and by reference to the one Ark of the Flood, and to the seamless garment of Christ. The pope then affirms that, as the unity of the body of the Church so is the unity of its head established in Peter and his successors. Consequently, all who wish to belong to the fold of Christ are placed under the dominion of Peter and his successors.

Quotes from the Bull, which is the Official Papal Affirmation presented in the Catholic Encyclopedia,:

Now, therefore, we declare, say, determine and pronounce that for every human creature it is necessary for salvation to be subject to the authority of the Roman pontiff…”

It is here stated that for salvation it is necessary that every human creature be subject to the authority of the Roman pontiff.

Referring to the last quote,

“This definition, the meaning and importance of which are clearly evident from the connection with the first part on the necessity of the one Church for salvation, and on the pope as the one supreme head of the Church, expresses the necessity for everyone who wishes to attain salvation of belonging to the Church, and therefore of being subject to the authority of the pope in all religious matters. This has been the constant teaching of the Church, and it was declared in the same sense by the Fifth Ecumenical Council of the Lateran, in 1516:…‘That it is of the necessity of salvation for all Christ’s faithful to be subject to the Roman pontiff.’” (Kirsch, J.P. (1912). Unam Sanctam. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved November 13, 2012 from New Advent: newadvent.org/cathen/15126a.htm)

About Scott J Shifferd

Minister, church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
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14 Responses to Ultimatum from the Roman Catholic Church: Pope or Hell?

  1. It is subterfuge, and a matter of false convenience to give the Roman Pontiff the sole glory of hell. When the Catholic monstrosity is all that make the church.


  2. “What about the “protestants” and the Orthodox before the Reformation? Were these saved in not being in subjection to the Pope?”

    QB: There weren’t any protestants prior to the reformation. The Waldensians, Albigensians and Cathari’s were all Catholic who embraced heresy and were condemned. They didn’t exist for more then a few generations.
    Hence the following does not apply to them
    Invincible ignorance is a doctrine where individuals find themselves brought up in a non-Catholic home, non-Catholic or anti-Catholic culture, but walks in faith with Christ. However this applies to individuals who were not Catholic to begin with. Now all the reformers were Catholic many were priests as well. When they left the church they were excommunicated formally. But again that means they are deprived of the graces an individual receives in the sacraments. If one operates under the assumption that this is the system that Christ established, it would give the person great pause to reject it.

    Pope Pius IX:
    “There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace since God who clearly beholds, searches, and knows the minds, souls, thoughts, and habits of all men, because of His great goodness and mercy, will by no means suffer anyone to be punished with eternal torment who has not the guilt of deliberate sin.”

    Membership in the church was likely view back then as formal membership in the Catholic church. Those outside were considered as actively resisting the Gospel and enterance into Christ’s church.


  3. Erik says:

    That has always been the Catholic understanding, that Protestants (specifically) are just schismatics who will either eventually come back to the Church of Rome or will continue to exist outside of the grace of the Sacraments (except baptism), but they are still saved. The Protestant schismatics are still, technically, under the Roman pontiff. This was just more clearly defined at Vatican II (though many people are so prone to take it out of context and to say that the Catholic Church teaches any man anywhere can be saved regardless of his religion).


  4. Scott says:

    Erik, I understand that the Catholic Church accepted others in 1964. Was there a time before?

    I also understand the historical context, but this does not answer why the Bull stated, “Now, therefore, we declare, say, determine and pronounce that for every human creature it is necessary for salvation to be subject to the authority of the Roman pontiff”? What about the “protestants” and the Orthodox before the Reformation? Were these saved in not being in subjection to the Pope?


  5. Erik says:

    Apparently you don’t understand that, whether you like it or not, you are a member of the Catholic Church ;) You’re just not in full communion (yet).

    The Catholic Church’s position is that any person baptized in the name of the Trinity is a Christian and therefore, even to the smallest extent, a member of the Catholic Church (seeing as how the Catholic Church is the original Church). There are members, though, who are not in Communion with the Bishop of Rome because of their denial of his succession, their denial of the sacraments, or what have you.


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