- Page 216: “Evidently, certain distinctions must be made. Souls can be saved in a religion other than the Catholic religion (Protestantism, Islam, Buddhism, etc.), but not by this religion. There may be souls who, not knowing Our Lord, have by the grace of the good Lord, good interior dispositions, who submit to God...But some of these persons make an act of love which implicitly is equivalent to baptism of desire. It is uniquely by this means that they are able to be saved.”
- Page 217: “One cannot say, then, that no one is saved in these religions…”
- Pages 217-218: “This is then what Pius IX said and what he condemned. It is necessary to understand the formulation that was so often employed by the Fathers of the Church: ‘Outside the Church there is no salvation.’ When we say that, it is incorrectly believed that we think that all the Protestants, all the Moslems, all the Buddhists, all those who do not publicly belong to the Catholic Church go to hell. Now, I repeat, it is possible for someone to be saved in these religions, but they are saved by the Church, and so the formulation is true: Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus. This must be preached.”
What we see here from the founder of the Society of St. Pius X is blatant heresy. He directly contradicts the solemnly defined dogma that Outside the Catholic Church There is No Salvation. Some adherents of the Society of St. Pius X have tried to defend these heretical words of Archbishop Lefebvre by pointing out that, although he did say that men can be saved in other religions, he emphasized that it is by the Catholic Church.
This response is a pathetic attempt to defend the indefensible. In fact, those who attempt to defend Lefebvre in this way actually mock God. I could say that all men go to heaven (universal salvation), but all men go to heaven “by the Catholic Church.” Does this change the heresy? No, of course not. Thus, it doesn’t matter how Lefebvre tried to explain away or justify his heresy; he was still teaching that souls can be saved in non-Catholic religions, which is heresy!
The dogma of the Catholic Church does not merely affirm that “no one is saved except by the Catholic Church”; it states that no one is saved outside the Catholic Church and that no one is saved without the Catholic Faith. This means that no one can be saved inside non-Catholic religions. The defenders of the SSPX need to get that through their heads. The dogma of the Catholic Church excludes the idea that anyone is saved in another religion.
Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio (# 2), May 27, 1832:
“Finally some of these misguided people attempt to persuade themselves and others that men are not saved only in the Catholic religion, but that even heretics may attain eternal life.”
Since he was teaching that people can be saved in another religion, Lefebvre’s emphasis that everyone is saved by the Catholic Church has no relevance. The words of Pope Gregory XVI in Summo Iugiter Studio cited above could have been addressed specifically to Bishop Lefebvre and the Society of St. Pius X.
Bishop Lefebvre, Sermon at first Mass of a newly ordained priest (Geneva: 1976): “We are Catholics; we affirm our faith in the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ; we affirm our faith in the divinity of the Holy Catholic Church; we think that Jesus Christ is the sole way, the sole truth, the sole life, and that one cannot be saved outside Our Lord Jesus Christ and consequently outside His Mystical Spouse, the Holy Catholic Church. No doubt, the graces of God are distributed outside the Catholic Church, but those who are saved, even outside the Catholic Church, are saved by the Catholic Church, by Our Lord Jesus Christ, even if they do not know it, even if they are unaware of it...”
Here Lefebvre denies the dogma word for word.
Bishop Lefebvre, Address given at Rennes, France: “If men are saved in Protestantism, Buddhism or Islam, they are saved by the Catholic Church, by the grace of Our Lord, by the prayers of those in the Church, by the blood of Our Lord as individuals, perhaps through the practice of their religion, perhaps of what they understand in their religion, but not by their religion…”
Notice again, in fact, how Bishop Lefebvre stated that men can be saved by the practice of false religions.
Pope Pius IX, Qui Pluribus (# 15), Nov. 9, 1846:
"Also perverse is that shocking theory that it makes no difference to which religion one belongs, a theory greatly at variance even with reason. By means of this theory, those crafty men remove all distinction between virtue and vice, truth and error, honorable and vile action. They pretend that men can gain eternal salvation by the practice of any religion, as if there could ever be any sharing between justice and iniquity, any collaboration between light and darkness, or any agreement between Christ and Belial."
 Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Against the Heresies, p. 216.
 Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Against the Heresies, p. 217.
 Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, Against the Heresies, pp. 217-218.
 The Papal Encyclicals, Vol. 1 (1740-1878), p. 229.
 Brother Robert Mary, Father Feeney and The Truth About Salvation, pp. 213-214.
 Quoted in Bro. Robert Mary, Fr. Feeney and the Truth About Salvation, p. 213.
 The Papal Encyclicals, Vol. 1 (1740-1878), p. 280.
Sign up for our free e-mail list to see future vaticancatholic.com videos and articles.