While preparing for an article about Holy Mother Church I came across some very much needed words of wisdom from our Holy Father of fond memory, PIUS IX in his encyclical:
"QUANTO CONFICIAMUR MOERORE"
7. Here, too, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, it is again necessary to mention and censure a very grave error entrapping some Catholics who believe that it is possible to arrive at eternal salvation although living in error and alienated from the true faith and Catholic unity. Such belief is certainly opposed to Catholic teaching. There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace.
8. Also well known is the Catholic teaching that no one can be saved outside the Catholic Church. Eternal salvation cannot be obtained by those who oppose the authority and statements of the same Church and are stubbornly separated from the unity of the Church and also from the successor of Peter, the Roman Pontiff, to whom "the custody of the vineyard has been committed by the Savior.
The words of Christ are clear enough: "If he refuses to listen even to the Church, let him be to you a Gentile and a tax collector;"
"He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you, rejects me, and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me;"
"He who does not believe will be condemned;"
"He who does not believe is already condemned;"
"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters."
The Apostle Paul says that such persons are "perverted and self-condemned;"
the Prince of the Apostles calls them "false teachers . . . who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master. . . bringing upon themselves swift destruction."
The following comment from The Holy Father is very much needed today:
You are certainly aware, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, that every kind of impious and deceitful writing, lies, calumny, and blasphemy has been let loose from hell. No pain has been spared to transfer schools to non-Catholic teachers and to appropriate churches for non-Catholic worship. With a multiple of other, surely diabolical treacheries, arts, and undertakings, the enemies of God employ every effort to destroy completely-if that were possible -- the Catholic Church, seduce and corrupt the people, especially guileless youth, and uproot our holy faith and religion from the souls of all.