The Catholic Church teaches that some might be saved outside the Catholic Church.

This question relates to those, for example a non-denominational Christian that lives his life ignorantly but faithfully to what he believes is the Truth. Such a person dies, without the Graces of the Sacraments, but by God's grace alone is seen to be one of his children and graced with eternal Salvation. According to Catholicism, would that soul be responsible to pay the punishments for sin, which where not expiated during this life?

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    We don't yet have a definitive answer to this question. I expect that the "official answer to the question would likely be "most probably".
    – brasshat
    Apr 11, 2017 at 6:31
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    The doctrine of purgatory is as of yet not been defined. But all souls in need of purification must be cleansed in purgatory, whether Catholic or otherwise. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich states in her revelations that there are there are non-Catholics and non-Christians in purgatory.
    – Ken Graham
    Apr 11, 2017 at 12:32
  • I've tweaked your question to make it a bit more clear that you're looking for the Catholic viewpoint on this, not an evangelical one. Apr 12, 2017 at 2:16
  • Note that non-denominational Christians do enjoy the grace of the Sacrament of Baptism, and they, like Catholics who are unable to have recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, can have their post-baptismal sins forgiven through perfect contrition. The question becomes more interesting, however, for non-Christians. Apr 12, 2017 at 6:49
  • @AthanasiusOfAlex Forgiveness of sins, but the question concerns the temporal punishment that we must make reporations for. Baptism or the effects of martyrdom would be the exception for Christians.
    – Marc
    Apr 12, 2017 at 11:31

1 Answer 1


I thought I would share some relevant words from 'The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich':

“I was present when God passed sentence on notorious sinners. Great is His justice, but still more inconceivable is His mercy. He damns only those who are determined not to be converted; they who have a spark of good will are saved... I have seen in Purgatory Protestants who were pious in their ignorance; they are very desolate, for no prayers are offered for them... I saw that by our prayer and suffering, many a soul who labours not during life, can be converted and saved at the hour of death.”

It is important for us to remember the Church's doctrine: they are saved who die in a state of grace. Who knows how many accept God in their final moments e.g. through an act of perfect contrition.

Revelation 21:27

but nothing unclean will enter it, nor any[one] who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Matthew 5:26

Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.

  • Thank you Grasper, I understand how your answer was formulated. My question already assumes contrition, the removal of guilt, I'm addressing the punishment instituted by God to repair the damage caused by sin. That must be expiated by some means of reparation.
    – Marc
    Apr 11, 2017 at 13:01
  • @Marc, I added 2 verses that sum it up. Yes, they will need to suffer in purgatory to expiate their wrong doings up to the level they understood it. God is just and he uses just means to repair the damage caused by sin. I'm sure God sent opportunities to most of the protestants for conversion.
    – Grasper
    Apr 11, 2017 at 13:13
  • Thank you again Grasper, I'm familiar with the scriptures, I can give you many more. I'm looking for official teachings of the church
    – Marc
    Apr 11, 2017 at 15:52
  • since the Church didn't condemn Anne Catherine Emmerich's vision on this, it means it is in line with what the Church teaches.
    – Grasper
    Apr 11, 2017 at 15:55

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