In the video below Pope Francis says the following:
“there are those who believe that you can have a personal direct and immediate relationship with Jesus outside the communion and mediation of the Church. These temptations are dangerous and harmful. They are, as the great pope Paul VI, “absurd dichotomies.”
He went on to say:
“Remember being a Christian means belonging to the Church. “
While that last statement is true we must understand that the Popes definition of “the Church” is different then the biblical Church. When the pope says “the church” he means The Roman Catholic Church today under his authority not the community of believers in Jesus Christ.
The centerpiece of the Catholic Church is without question the Mass also known as “The Sacrament of Salvation”
The Catholic Church re-presents the cross of Christ in the mass in order to turn the elements into the literal body/blood of Christ (transubstantiation). In the mass you offer up your sacrifices (works, prayers to saints, going to church etc.) in thanks, unite them with Christ, give them to God so that they may become redemptive.
This is a direct quote from a Catholic apologetics course on the Mass at formed.org:
Many Catholics say I don’t go to mass because I don’t get anything out of it. And my question for my students is. Well what did you give? You can’t get anything if you don’t give something. So the offertory becomes the moment for us to take up all our prayers, all our works, all our joys and our sufferings, and to thank God for all of that, including the sufferings, and unite them with Christs sacrifice so that He can offer them in thanksgiving to the Father in the Spirit. And that they can become redemptive, that they can be transformed through His offering to God. It is fundamental to when we participate in the sacrifice of the Mass.
The fundamental problem with this is that none of our good works or deeds can be ‘united’ with Christs sacrifice, are pleasing to God, and then be offered up in exchange / return for redemption. In the mass you will hear “Pray Brethren that my sacrifice and yours be acceptable to God.” This cannot be offered up and combined/added with Christs as a means of forgiving your sins. In Hebrews 10 verse 11 we see the sacrifices being offered can NEVER take away sins. NEVER take away sins? Yet this is exactly what Catholics are doing in the Mass.
First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. ~ Hebrews 10:8-14
In Catholicism Missing Mass is a Mortal Sin:
Knowingly missing mass is a mortal sin imputed to you resulting in a loss of salvation. Since you can only get the literal body/blood through an ordained Catholic priest (Rome calls her priests: “alter christo” meaning “Another Christ”) for a Roman Catholic they simply have to go to Church or they risk adding another mortal sin they’ll have to repent for. So according to the Pope you simply cannot directly approach Christ by confessing with your lips and believing in your heart Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9).
This is a quote from Catholic Answers about salvation being found only through the Roman Catholic Church:
Since the sacraments are the ordinary means through which Christ offers the grace necessary for salvation, and the Catholic Church that Christ established is the ordinary minister of those sacraments, it is appropriate to state that salvation comes through the Church.
According to Rome you must approach Christ through the Catholic Church for salvation and as a means to maintain that salvation throughout your life. This is the direct method since you are literally eating Him, and literally drinking His blood. Even if you go to Mass 20,000, 50,000 times in your life there’s no guarantee for salvation.
The only “out” in Roman Catholicism I see is being invincibly ignorant (not knowing any better). That’s my best understanding. So since I’m a separated brother in the Catholic Churches teachings, and I’m knowingly rejected transubstantiation, sinlessness of Mary, consciously missing mass weekly the mortal sins are piling high.
I am a former roman catholic and well studied in Catholic theology. I started this journey having a deep desire for the truth. Out of love and respect for my Catholic friends and family I’ve spent hundreds of hours studying Catholic teachings. It’s difficult for me to tell them their teachings especially of salvation simply fall apart in the Bible.
In summary, what the Pope is saying is relationship with Jesus is only possible through the Roman Catholic Church. Rome and her ordained priests are the door to Jesus. No direct relationship is possible. See the article from the official Catholic Answers website “With Him or Against Him” ~~~ https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/what-no-salvation-outside-the-church-means If you are not with the Roman Catholic Church you are against Christ. You MUST believe in the literal body/blood. They teach that you must submit to Romes teachings and authority in order to be saved.
I ask my Catholic friends to read the Bible and see what Jesus Himself has to say about salvation (see my notes about the book of John), pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance. You will find time and time again in context that we are saved by Faith Alone. Christ reveals Himself to us; not through a religious ceremony by special people he appoints. No. Jesus reaches out to us directly and personally. You can approach Christ in your bedroom, work, church or anywhere. Every single person in the Bible had a unique experience with coming to Christ just like Christ still does today. ALL of them were direct, and personal. You cannot lose your salvation and then maintain it by adding to the finished work of Jesus Christ. You cannot combine them with Christs perfect sacrifice as a means of maintaining salvation. Genesis 15:6 ( 6Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.)
You cannot ‘un-believe’ once you are transformed by the Holy Spirit. It is Christ that reveals Himself to you. It is Christ that enables you to believe. It is Christ who makes you righteous. Jesus Christ saves perfectly once. His final words “It is finished.” not “It is temporarily finished you take it from here.” He doesn’t try to save you, then fail. Your good deeds, going to Church, fellowship are a result of your faith not something you do to please God or “keep the salvation maintained.” If you’ve read this and want to talk more about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ I’d be happy to talk to you. Or if you want to rebuke something I said I’m also open to talk.
Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with your heart you believe and are justified, and with your mouth you confess and are saved.
John 6:37-40 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”