Christian Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Excerpts

Is Rome the True Church?

  • Norman L. Geisler and Joshua M. Betancourt Authors
  • 2008 18 Dec
Is Rome the True Church?

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an extract from
Is Rome the True Church? A Consideration of the Roman Catholic Claim, by Norman L. Geisler and Joshua M. Betancourt (Crossway).

CHAPTER 1:  The Roman Claim to Be the True Church

The Roman Catholic Church claims to be the only true church and the only infallible interpreter of Christ’s teaching. What do these unique claims mean? The answer can come only after looking at the historical development that led to the papal claims to exclusivity and infallibility.

The Historical Development of the Roman Claim to Papal Authority

As the saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day,” and neither was the Roman Catholic Church. The belief in both the primacy of Rome and in its exclusivity did not come about overnight. As will be demonstrated, it developed gradually, step-by-step, over centuries of time. And like other gradual changes some doctrinal changes seemed imperceptible to the observer at any given time; but among the radical ones, e.g., papal primacy and infallibility, they became more perceptible with time, as we shall see.

These two Catholic claims—to papal authority and exclusivity—go hand in hand. Understanding the basis for Rome’s claim of being the only true church begins with examining the history of the church, particularly as it relates to the development of the Roman Catholic authoritative structure headed up by an infallible bishop of Rome.

The Development of the Authoritarian Structure of the Roman Church

It took many centuries for the Catholic authoritarian episcopal (bishop dominated) form of government to emerge from the simple, self-governing, independent New Testament churches1 to the authoritarian papal hierarchical structure of the Roman Catholic Church. Along with this development came the evolution of the Roman claim to being the only true church of Christ on earth. The evolution may be attributed to the following seven factors.

First, the seeds of an episcopal form of government were found in New Testament times when John the apostle spoke of it in his third epistle and warned: “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us” (3 John 9 NKJV). Even in apostolic times, a false tradition began based on a misinterpretation of some disciples about one of Jesus’ statements, which had to be corrected by the apostle John (see John 21:22–23).

Second, if false traditions could spring up even during the time of the apostles, it is easy to see how quickly they could spread once there was no apostle to squelch them. Tradition, as such, is neither authoritative nor reliable, except insofar as it is accurately transmitted. And written transmission, such as exists in Scripture and other writings based on it, is the only reliable source we have of apostolic teaching. Indeed, even Cyprian, (d. AD 258), who later failed to heed his own wisdom, said, “Hence, it is in vain that some who are overcome by reason oppose to us custom, as if custom were greater than truth” (Epistles, 72.13). He added, “Custom without truth is the antiquity of error” (73.80).

Third, by the mid-second century, almost a century after most apostles had died—the very time that even apocryphal gospels were emerging—the church embraced a more unorthodox authoritarian structure. Indeed, Irenaeus, writing decades after the time of the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas (c. AD 140), spoke of an emerging episcopal form of government. So there was plenty of time for false views to emerge, even among those who were otherwise orthodox.

Fourth, considering the attacks on Christianity at the time, there was strong motivation to develop an ecclesiology that would provide a united front against the divergent heretical groups emerging. This motivation is reflected in Irenaeus’s emerging episcopal view of church government, a view that, ironically, did achieve a more mature form in Cyprian who himself warned against basing something on tradition, not truth.

Fifth, even if some second-century writers can be shown to favor the primacy of Rome as the center of Christianity, this does not support the later Roman Catholic claim that the pope is infallible. The early fathers constantly appealed to the original “apostles” (plural) as the God-established authority. Further, they did not single out Peter as superior to other apostles. They thought him to be, at best, only a co-founder of the church at Rome along with Paul. He was in fact on the same level as Paul and the other apostles to whom he repeatedly refers.

Furthermore, his stress on the primacy of Scripture as the final written authority of the Christian faith demonstrates that all ecclesiastical authority is based on Scripture, not the reverse. Even Roman Catholic authority Ludwig Ott admits, “The Fathers did not expressly speak of the Infallibility of the Pope.”2 And as shown above, this was true up to the time of the greatest Catholic theologian, Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274), who spoke of the pope’s authority to promulgate a creed based on Scripture but not to have infallible authority in all official doctrinal decrees.3

Sixth, even if the disputed text of Irenaeus,4 that “every Church should agree with this Church [at Rome],” is taken in an authoritative way (and not reflectively), it does not follow that Rome could not later deviate from the truth and be an unreliable source for all essential Christian truth. Indeed, this is precisely what Protestants believe, and they point to numerous Catholic teachings that are supported neither by Scripture nor by the early fathers of the church.5 Nor does it mean that Rome is infallible in all its official doctrinal pronouncements.

Finally, the conversion of Constantine (fourth century) and his use of imperial power to influence the emergence of an imperial church structure were significant catalysts in the formation of the authoritarian episcopal form of government. This, combined with the natural penchant for power, produced the Roman Church with its claim to papal infallibility and other unbiblical teachings. This was well under way by the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) and culminated in the doctrinal deviations of the Council of Trent (1545–1547) and the eventual dogma of papal infallibility of Vatican I (1870), which has been reaffirmed ever since.

The Development of the Roman Claim to Exclusivity

With this background in mind, we are prepared to understand Rome’s claim to being the one true church. There are several things to note about the claim. First, it is an authoritative claim. It is neither casual nor incidental but lies at the heart of the institution for which it speaks.

Second, it is an infallible claim and has been made at ecumenical councils such as the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) and Vatican I (1870) and by popes defining the nature of Christian doctrine. As such, it is nonnegotiable and irrevocable.

Third, if the claims turn out to be false, unsupported by scriptural, historical, and rational argument, then the very structure of the Roman Church, being built as it is on its own magisterium, collapses. Not only is Rome not the true church, but it is also false in at least two, if not more, of its central claims. Its claim to infallibility would be false, since its fallibility is proven in its claim to infallibility.

Additionally, since its claim to infallibility underlies other distinctive doctrines of the Roman Church, these too are left, by their own confession, without a solid basis for belief. By its own claim, it is the infallibility of its magisterium that grounds its essential teachings for the faithful. An infallible Scripture, they claim, is not enough. What is also needed, they say, is to define Scripture and its meaning. Without this, they claim, there is no real basis for our faith. If so, if infallibility can be undermined, then the Roman Church as a whole crumbles. The rest of this book sets out to prove that this is indeed the case.

The Background of Rome’s Claims

Roman Catholicism, claiming unbroken lineage of apostolic succession since Peter, claims that through it alone can anyone receive the fullness of salvation. Such salvation supposedly comes about through the sacraments, through which one receives the actual body and blood of Christ, properly administered only through an ordained priest in the line of apostolic succession.

Cyprian (AD 259)

The bishop of Carthage in North Africa wrote:

“Can anyone water from the Church’s fountains who is not within the Church? But . . . they know that there is no baptism without, and that no remission of sins can be given outside the Church. For it is the Church alone which, conjoined and united with Christ, spiritually bears sons. But as the birth of Christians is in baptism, while the generation and sanctification of baptism are with the spouse of Christ alone, who is able spiritually to conceive and to bear sons to God, where and of whom and to whom is he born, who is not a son of the church, so that he should have God as his Father, before he has had the Church for his mother? But if His Church is a garden enclosed, and a fountain sealed [Cant. 4:12, 13], how can he who is not in the Church enter into the same garden, or drink from its fountain? Moreover, Peter himself, showing and vindicating the unity, has commanded and warned us that we cannot be saved, except by the one only baptism of one Church [by the ark illustration in 1 Pet. 3:20, 21].”6

Of course, at the time Cyprian’s statement had no creedal or ecumenical authority. However, it was picked up later by the more influential bishop Augustine of Hippo in North Africa, who did preside over a local council in his city (AD 410).

St. Augustine (AD 354–430)

Citing Cyprian, Augustine wrote: “‘Salvation,’ he says, ‘is not without the Church.’ Who says that it is? And therefore, whatever men have that belongs to the Church, it profits them nothing towards salvation outside the Church.”7 Indeed, Augustine said elsewhere, “The Catholic Church alone is the body of Christ, of which He is the Head and Saviour of His body. Outside this body the Holy Spirit giveth life to no one. . . Therefore they have not the Holy Ghost who are outside the Church.”8

Of course, Augustine does not take this absolutely, since he allows for baptism by martyrdom and by intent.9 He wrote, “That the place of baptism is sometimes supplied by martyrdom is supported by an argument by no means trivial,” namely, Jesus granting paradise to the dying thief without water baptism.10

“Imperial Edict” (AD 680)

This edict, following the Third Council of Constantinople, was posted in the church, warning, “No one henceforth should hold a different faith, or venture to teach one will [in Christ] and one nergy [operation of the will]. In no other than the orthodox faith could men be saved.”11

The Second Council of Nicea (AD 787)

The primacy of Peter and of apostolic succession are emphasized here: “For the blessed Peter himself, the chief of the Apostles, who first sat in the Apostolic See, let the chiefship of his Apostolate, and pastoral care, that his successors who are to sit in his most holy seat for ever.”12 It further speaks of “the holy Roman Church, which has prior rank, which is the head of all the Churches of God.”13

Fourth Lateran Council (AD 1215)

“One indeed is the universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved, in which the priest himself is sacrifice, Jesus Christ, whose body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the species of bread and wine; the bread changed into His body by the divine power of transubstantiation, and the wine into the blood. . . . And surely no one can accomplish this sacrament except a priest who has been rightly ordained according to the keys of the Church, which Jesus Christ Himself conceded to the Apostles and to their successors.” (Fourth Lateran Council, 1215)14

This culminates the long tradition beginning with Cyprian (d. 258) and Augustine (d. 430) and gives the official authority of the Roman Catholic Church to Cyprian’s statement that there is only one true church, outside of which there is no salvation. It was later confirmed by the Council of Trent, as well as by Vatican I and Vatican II.

Thomas Aquinas (AD 1224–1274)

The angelic doctor held that “those who lack baptism in this fashion [by rejecting it] cannot attain salvation because they are neither sacramentally nor intentionally incorporated into Christ through whom alone salvation is possible.”15 And since baptism is a sacrament of the church, this would mean that salvation is not possible apart from what is ordained by the church.

However, Aquinas allowed for baptism by intention, as is indicated by the above phrase “intentionally incorporated into Christ.” Salvation is also possible by fire (i.e., by martyrdom) without water baptism. Aquinas also affirmed, “No one achieves eternal life if he is not free from all sin and debt of punishment. Such complete absolution takes place in the reception of baptism and in martyrdom.”16

Pope Boniface VIII (AD 1234–1303)

In 1302 the Roman pontiff Boniface VIII made a similar pronouncement on the unique claim of the Roman Church: “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

The Council of Trent (AD 1565)

“I acknowledge the holy catholic and apostolic Roman Church as the mother and teacher of all churches; and to the Roman Pontiff, the successor of the blessed Peter, chief of the Apostles and vicar of Jesus Christ, I promise and swear true obedience. . . . This true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved, and which of my own accord I now profess and truly hold, I do promise, vow, and swear, that I will, with the help of God, most faithfully retain and profess the same to the last breath of life pure and inviolable.”17

Vatican I Council (AD 1870)

Here Pope Pius IX (1792–1878) said, “By faith it is to be firmly held that outside the Apostolic Roman Church none can achieve salvation. [Following Cyprian’s analogy, he added] This is the only ark of salvation. He who does not enter into it will perish in the flood.” But Pope Pius IX offered an important exception: “Nevertheless, equally certain it is to be held that those who suffer invincible ignorance of the true religion, are not for this reason guilty in the eyes of the Lord.”18

Vatican II (AD 1962–1965)

Despite the appearance of liberalizing the Roman Church, Vatican II held the same view as previous Catholic pronouncements. It declared: “The church is a saving institution” and “the Church is not only a communion between brother and sister, with Christ at its head, it is also an institution to which the universal mission of salvation has been entrusted.

. . . For this reason, the Church was presented by the Second Vatican Council as a reality . . . established as ‘the universal sacrament of salvation’ through the action of the Holy Spirit.”19

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (AD 1994)

Even in this most recent and highly heralded Catholic Catechism, the claim of the Catholic Church to being the one and only true church of Christ on earth remains. It speaks of “the one and only Church of Christ.”20 And in its “Decree on Ecumenism”21 it explains:

“For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God.”

It calls the Roman Catholic Church “this one and only Church of God.”22 However, like those before, Vatican II affirmed:

“Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation.”23

This is nothing more than a restatement of baptism by intention in early Catholic proclamations.24

What Rome’s Claim to Being the True Church Does Not Mean

Now that we have examined the background to claims of papal authority and to Rome’s exclusivity as the one true church, we will look more closely at particular aspects of Rome’s claim to exclusivity, beginning with what it doesn’t mean.

Rome’s Claim Does Not Mean That All Non-Catholics Go to Hell

Roman Catholic teaching allows for salvation without baptism or communion within the Catholic Church on the grounds of invincible ignorance. The exception is made for some people, including those who desired baptism but were not able to get it (called the baptism of intent) or those who die as unbaptized martyrs (called the baptism of blood). “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ . . . may achieve eternal salvation.”25 Though they are called “separated brethren”26 from “separated churches,”27 they are still “brethren.”

According to The Catechism of the Catholic Church, “All who have been justified by faith in baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.”28

In fact, they hold to the belief that not only are there true believers among non-Christians, but also that there is both truth and goodness in non-Christian religions. The Catechism declares: “Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as ‘a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.’”29

Rome’s Claim Does Not Mean One Cannot Grow in the Faith Outside the Catholic Church

The Catholic Catechism declares that “‘many elements of sanctification and of truth’ are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements.”30 It goes on to say that “Christ uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as mean of salvation.”31

Rome’s Claim Does Not Mean That Non-Roman Catholic Baptism Is Not Valid

Both Augustine and Aquinas allowed for baptism by non-Catholics, including by heretics, as long as it was done by water in the name of the Trinity. Even laypersons can administer the sacrament of baptism.

The Catechism of the Catholic Faith declares, “When the necessity of the Church warrants it and when ministers are lacking, lay persons . . . can also supply for . . . Baptism, and to distribute Holy Communion in accord with the prescriptions of law.”32

Rome’s Claim Does Not Mean That Baptism Is Absolutely Necessary for Salvation

The above exceptions show that neither baptism nor membership in a Roman Catholic Church is absolutely necessary for salvation but only normatively necessary. That is, it is the norm (rule) for all, but there are some exceptions such as baptism by intent or by blood (martyrdom). Flannery said, “In view of the stress laid upon the necessity of membership of the Church for salvation it is understandable that the possibility of salvation for those outside the Church is mentioned only hesitantly.”33

That was so only before Vatican II, which took it out of the footnotes, as it were, and put it in the main text in bold print. There was no change in doctrine, however; only in emphasis. As noted earlier, it stated that “those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation.”34 This includes Jews, Muslims, and even sincere atheists. So, what was previously whispered before was said here in a clear voice.

What the Claim to Being the True Church Does Mean

Clearly, there has been a continual claim of some in the church, at least from the time of Cyprian and later by Augustine that “there is no salvation outside the Church.” This claim was later made dogma by ecumenical councils beginning with the Fourth Lateran Council on through Vatican II.

In addition, their claim to being the only true church was granted by divine right, given to Peter by Christ and passed on by apostolic succession to the present pope. So it should come as no surprise that the reigning pope declares, “This Church, constituted and organized in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him.” The rest of professing Christianity is, at best, not a true church in “the proper sense.” There are many “ecclesial communities”35 but not true churches. Such communities are in fact gravely “defective” churches since they cannot trace their lineage to Saint Peter, the first pope. So says Pope Benedict XVI, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Benedict’s claims are not new. The Fourth Lateran Council accepted these claims as ecumenical, as did Trent and Vatican I and II. Also, in 1302 Pope Boniface VIII made a similar pronouncement: “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

Rome’s Claim Means That in the Roman Church Alone, Christian Truth Abides in Its Full and Proper Expression

While Rome admits that some truth can be found outside the Roman Church,36 the fullness of truth is only found within it and by “full communion” with it.37 According to Roman Catholicism, “The fullness of grace and truth . . . Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church.”38

Rome’s Claim Means the Roman Catholic Church Alone Contains the Fullness of Salvation

The claim that salvation is found only in the Roman Catholic Church means that “where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church. In her subsists the fullness of Christ’s body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him ‘the fullness of the means of salvation.’”39 Again, “the church is catholic: she proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation.”40 Since salvation is mediated through the sacraments, it means that only the Roman Catholic Church is the repository for all the sacraments handed down by Christ to Peter and on to the present pope by apostolic succession.

Rome’s Claim Means Non-Catholic Churches Are Not True Churches

With the exception of Eastern Orthodox churches, both Vatican II and the recent Catechism reserve the word church for the true church whose visible head is in Rome. The other Christian groups are called “separated churches”41 and “ecclesial communities.”42 Indeed, it is the church at Rome alone to which Christ referred when he said “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18 ESV). The Catechism of the Catholic Church says clearly that “all Christian churches everywhere have held and hold the great Church that is here [at Rome] to be their only basis and foundation since, according to the Savior’s promise, the gates of hell have never prevailed against her.”43 Thus, all non-Catholic Christians who have been properly baptized by water in the name of the Trinity, “although imperfect, [are in] communion with the Catholic Church.” But “with the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound ‘that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist.’”44

Rome’s Claim Means That Only the Roman Church Has the Infallible Truth of Christ

As was indicated above, there were implications of the claim to infallibility of the Roman Catholic magisterium before the nineteenth century, but Vatican I was the first council to officially pronounce papal infallibility. Pope Pius IX decreed that the pope, “using the counsel and seeking for help of the universal Church,” cannot err. Instead it ruled that the pope’s definitions are “irreformable of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church” when speaking ex cathedra, that is, as pastor and doctor of all Christians.

Rome has not been shy about this claim since that time. It was repeated in Vatican II and in the recent Catholic Catechism. Vatican II declared “the primacy of the Roman Pontiff and his infallible teaching office”:45

“This infallibility, however, with which the divine redeemer wished to endow his Church in defining doctrine pertaining to faith and morals, is co-extensive with the deposit of revelation, which must be religiously guarded and loyally and courageously expounded. The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful—he confirms his brethren in the faith . . . he proclaims in an absolute decision a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals.46

Likewise, The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms, “in order to preserve the Church in the purity of the faith handed down by the apostles, Christ who is the Truth willed to confer on her a share in his own infallibility. By a ‘supernatural sense of faith’ the People of God, under guidance of the Church’s living Magisterium,” unfailingly adheres to this faith.47 Of course, it is only infallibility in matters of faith and morals.48 “The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of Bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office. . . . The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium, above all in an Ecumenical Council.”49 In brief, on official doctrine for the Church, the pope cannot be wrong, nor can the bishops with him be in error in an ecumenical council.

Rome’s Claim Means Anyone Who Dies Knowingly Rejecting This Doctrine Will Go to Hell

According to the Roman Catholic Church, it is a mortal sin to reject one of its infallible teachings. Unrepented moral sins lead to eternal condemnation (hell). The Council of Trent often indicated this by attaching anathema to its decrees, saying something like, “If anyone, however, should not accept the stated dogma knowingly and deliberately, let him be anathema.”50 But the claims that the Roman Church is the only true church of Christ on earth and that its pope is the infallible interpreter of Christian truth are Roman dogma, since they were proclaimed at ecumenical councils such as the Fourth Lateran Council and Vatican I.

This means that, according to Rome, anyone who knows and rejects this, as most knowledgeable Protestants do (including the authors of this book), will go to hell.


Our concern in this chapter has been to understand the Roman claim to being the true church on earth. Before we could evaluate this claim, we examined, first, what it does not mean and, second, what it does mean. In order to understand its meaning we studied the historical development that led to the authoritarian papal claim to have and to interpret Christian truth. With this background, we conclude that while the claim is not absolute, allowing for some exceptions, nonetheless it is sweeping.

It means that Christian truth in its fullness and proper expression resides only in the Roman Catholic Church. It also means the Roman Catholic Church alone contains the fullness of salvation. Any other form is incomplete and diminished. It also means that non-Catholic churches are not true churches. And, finally, it means anyone who dies knowingly rejecting this and other Catholic dogma will suffer eternal punishment! So much for the ecumenical spirit. What remains before us now is to determine the truth or falseness of this unique Roman claim to being the one true church and its conviction that those who knowingly reject its claim will be punished forever in hell. We begin with an examination of the development of the authoritarian episcopal form of government.


Is Rome the True Church? A Consideration of the Roman Catholic Claim

Copyright © 2008 by Norman L. Geisler and Joshua M. Betancourt
Published by Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers
1300 Crescent Street Wheaton, Illinois 60187

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher, except as provided for by USA copyright law.


1. See Norman L. Geisler, Systematic Theology, vol. 4: The Church and Last Things (Bloomington, MN: Bethany, 2005), chap. 4.

2. Ott, in ibid., 288. Of course, Ott believed that Irenaeus and others did “attest the decisive teaching authority of the Roman Church and of its Pontiff.” But there are good reasons (see Appendix 1) to believe that this is a misinterpretation.

3. See Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica.

4. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3.3.2 in Philip Schaff, Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, MI:

Eerdmans, 1885).

5. See Norman L. Geisler and Ralph MacKenzie, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1995), part 2.

6. Cyprian, The Epistles of Cyprian (72.10) in Philip Schaff, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5

(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1957), 72:10; 72:24; 73:6; 73:7; 73:11.

7. Augustine, On Baptism, 4, 17 in Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 4:458.

8. Augustine, The Correction of the Donatists, 11, 50, in Philip Schaff, ed., A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church.

9. Augustine, On Baptism, 4, 21–28, 459.

10. Ibid., 22–30, 460.

11. Philip Schaff, ed., “Seven Ecumenical Councils,” in A Select Library, vol. 14, 353.

12. Ibid., 547.

13. Ibid.

14. Cited in Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma (St. Louis, MO: Herfer, 1957) no. 430, 169–70.

15. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica 3a 68, 2 (Blackfriars with McGraw-Hill, 1975).

16. Ibid.

17. Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, No. 999–1000, 303–4.

18. Ibid., 312.

19. Austin Flannery, Vatican Council II (Northport, NY: Costello, 1982), vol. 2, 568–69.

20. Catechism of the Catholic Church (Liberia Editrice Vaticana, 1994), no. 822 (218).

21. Cited in ibid., 215.

22. Ibid., 216.

23. Flannery, Vatican Council II, 367.

24. According to Catholic authority Ludwig Ott, many others held that “membership of the Church is necessary for all men for salvation” (p. 112). In addition to those mentioned above, he lists The Council of Florence (AD 714), Popes Innocent III, Clement VI, Benedict XIV, Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Pius XII (Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, p. 312).

25. Flannery, Vatican Council II, 367.

26. Ibid., 162.

27. Ibid., 449.

28. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 216.

29. Ibid., 223.

30. Ibid., 216.

31. Ibid.

32. Ibid., 239.

33. Flannery, Vatican Council II, 313.

34. Ibid., 367.

35. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 216.

36. Ibid.

37. Ibid.

38. Ibid.

39. Ibid., 220.

40. Ibid., 230.

41. Flannery, Vatican Council II, 449.

42. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 216.

43. Ibid., 221.

44. Ibid., 222.

45. Flannery, Vatican Council II, 370.

46. Ibid., 389.

47. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 235.

48. Ibid.

49. Ibid.

50. See Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, 245.