The soul of the Church. Must one belong to the Church in order to be saved?

The soul of the Church is the Holy Spirit who dwells in her: the Spirit of Love. The Lord founded his Church as a society held together by the mortar of love: “Love each other as I have loved you” “Nobody loves more than who gives his life for his friends” If the Church became a perfect society, without apparent defects and working like a perfect clock, but without love, she wouldn’t be a live Church, because she wouldn’t be animated by the love of God and to fellow believers.

“They will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other!”Therefore, love must be the distinctive feature of the church; love among their members and love to God overflowing love to all men, especially, to those who are suffering in their soul or in their body, as an expression of our love to the Christ martyrized for our love.

Although nobody can be saved outside the Church, a lot of people who are physically outside the Church belong to the soul of the Church, are spiritually incorporated to it. Besides the visible Baptism, there is an invisible Baptism –wishing Baptism- through which a person can belong to the Church without any external manifestation.

And those having an implicit wishing Baptism are those who, having a different religion than the Catholic religion, lead an honest life, true to the voice of Natural Law which is set in their hearts, true to the love of God and of their neighbour and true to what they think to be the true religion, although objectively, they are mistaken, pertaining to false or only partially true religions.

Thus, although they are not part of the body of the Church, even if they don’t consciously know Christ, as they are unconsciously true to Christ, by being true to the voice that speaks in their conscience, by feeding their hungry brothers (…), they will hear Christ’s voice that will say to them: “Come you blessed by my Father, because I was hungry and you fed me…” which means they will be saved.

On the other hand, others who only belonged to the body of the Church, Christians that are untrue to Christ will hear the terrible words;“Go damned to the eternal fire… because I was hungry  and you didn’t feed me…”, which means that, having belonged to the body of the Church, they will not be saved.

In that sense, we quote the following passage from the inspired work by Maria Valtorta[15]: “Indeed, everyone who acts with a right conscience, following the voice of moral law, demonstrates to have a naturally Christian soul, which is open to the Best and to the Truth, and Jesus, who died in order that men of good will reach eternal life, will be their justification. Because those who, even without the knowledge that Catholics have about God, believe that there is a just, provident God, Who remunerates according to our merits, belong to the soul of the Church by the charity and the justice they practice towards their neighbours and towards themselves, by their wish for God and by the perfect contrition of the faults they may have committed”.

And Vatican II Council (Lumen Gentium Nº 14) leaves this point perfectly clear. Referring to honest members of other religions, it states: “Since those who, ignoring without guilt the Evangel of Christ and his Church, search nevertheless for God with a sincere heart, striving to fulfill His will with deeds, with the help of the grace known by  the judgement of their consciousness, can reach eternal salvation”. On the other hand, “Nevertheless, those will not be saved who, not persevering in charity (love), remain in the bosom of the Church “in body” but not “in heart”. But all the children of the Church shouldn’t forget that their excellent state is not due to their own merits but to a special grace of Christ, under which, if they don’t contribute with thoughts, words and deeds instead of being saved, they will be judged more severely”. 

[15]Maria Valtorta “Lessons about  Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Romans” (Pg. 192)