Biblical teaching and salvation

Dear Sir: Although you have many answers to many questions regarding Roman Catholicism, I would like some clarification. Will a devout Roman Catholic, who accepts the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church (such as the Council of Trent, the veneration of the saints, etc.) and who remains faithful to those teachings to death, be saved? (If "will" is too strong, "can" is a fine substitute.) If the answer is not a clear yes, are some doctrines more damnable than others? Thank you.

In This We Believe, a statement of belief of our church body, we confess this:

“1. We believe that there is one holy Christian church, which is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16) and the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:23; 4:12). The members of this one church are all those who are the ‘sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus’ (Galatians 3:26). The church, then, consists only of believers, or saints, whom God accepts as holy for the sake of Jesus’ righteousness, which has been credited to them (2 Corinthians 5:21). These saints are scattered throughout the world. All people who believe that Jesus is their Savior from sin are members of the holy Christian church, regardless of the nation, race, or church body to which they belong.

“2. We believe that this holy Christian church is a reality, although it is not an external, visible organization. Because ‘man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’ (1 Samuel 16:7), only the Lord knows ‘those who are his’ (2 Timothy 2:19). The members of the holy Christian church are known only to God; we cannot distinguish between true believers and hypocrites. The holy Christian church is therefore invisible and cannot be identified with any one church body or with the total membership of all church bodies.

“3. We believe that the presence of the holy Christian church nevertheless can be recognized. Wherever the gospel is preached and the sacraments are administered, the holy Christian church is present, for through the means of grace true faith is produced and preserved (Isaiah 55:10,11). The means of grace, therefore, are called the marks of the church.”

Those statements make clear that salvation is not limited to a particular visible church body.

Since the Bible teaches that faith in Jesus Christ alone, apart from works, saves (Romans 3:20, 28; Galatians 2:15-26; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-7), Roman Catholic Church members will need to ignore official teachings of their church and trust only in Christ for salvation. Their church, after all, condemns anyone who teaches the biblical truth that faith in Jesus alone saves. The following quotations from the Council of Trent (Sixth Session) illustrate that.

“CANON IX.-If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.

“CANON XI.-If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema.

“CANON XII.-If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema.”

The book of Galatians emphasizes the truth that people jeopardize their salvation if they add anything to Jesus’ work as the reason for their salvation. That is an important message—not just for members of the church you referenced but all people.

All false doctrine is serious and threatening to saving faith. It may not be popular to point out false doctrine today, but Christians will do that if they care about the eternal welfare of others.

I hope this response has answered your questions satisfactorily.