Theology by the Slice: Are people unaware of the church and/or are not Catholic doomed to hell?
On November 5, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Newman Center hosted an event titled, “Theology by the Slice.” Students were able to ask a panel questions about the teachings and traditions of the Catholic faith. The following is one of the questions. The panel included Bishop Peter Muhich; Father Mark McCormick, Newman Center chaplain; Sister Christine Hernandez, SCTJM, chancellor; Sister Rachel Gosda, SCTJM, director of Faith Formation; Sr. Maria Belen Musgrove, SCTJM, religion teacher, RCCSS; Seminarian Robert Kinyon; and Michael Pauley, director of the South Dakota Catholic Conference.
In scripture Jesus says, “I am the way the truth and the life no one comes to the father except through me. Are people unaware of the church and/or are not Catholic doomed to hell? Where do they go if they don’t hear this Gospel?
Bishop Peter Muhich: The Catholic Church officially teaches that he is the way, the truth, and the life. His one perfect sacrifice on the cross is the way to find freedom from sin and salvation and new life. But people around the world through no fault of their own may not have heard about Jesus. There are certainly a lot of people who live outside of the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church. We teach officially that they are saved too if they open their hearts to God. And only God knows how that’s going to work. He knows their individual circumstances. We believe that they can be saved as well because of what Jesus did and if they, to the best of their ability, are open to God and give their lives over to God as much as they can understand it then, yes, they can be saved too because of what Jesus did.