Faith Alone:
Have you been taught that Catholics work their way to Heaven?
Another misunderstanding.

Saint Paul the Apostle

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Faith Alone (Sola Fide):
Have you been taught that Catholics
“Work their way to Heaven?”

Many modern Christians believe that Catholic theology teaches that we are saved by doing “good works”, or that Catholics “work their way to heaven.” Nothing could be further from the truth. This is another example of the misunderstandings about the apostolic Catholic Faith. The Catholic Faith teaches, as the Holy Scriptures teach, that we are saved “by grace through faith” and that salvation is a free gift. The Faith has always believed this. The Christian Faith has always taught that one cannot work one's way to heaven. In essence:
“we are NOT born by good works, we are born TO good works; once justified, we should act as justified Christians, which includes good works.”
"The Catholic Faith does not teach “works righteousness.” It teaches faith in action as a manifestation of God’s grace in one’s life. That’s why Abraham’s faith results in righteousness, only when he attempts to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God."(1) The Council of Trent in the 16th century after the Protestant separation reiterated this very fact, which was originally proclaimed 1000 years earlier at the Council of Orange in the 6th century. This has always been a teachings of the Christian Faith.

Click here: The Canons of the Council of Trent (16th century), note the first 3 canons.

The 3rd canon states:

"CANON III.-If any one saith, that without the prevenient inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and without his help, man can believe, hope, love, or be penitent as he ought, so as that the grace of Justification may be bestowed upon him; let him be anathema. "

(Anathema meaning "outside the Church")

Click here, the Canons of the Council of Orange (529 AD), note canons 5,6,7

Here is canon 7 that says we are saved by grace, and that we can do nothing of ourselves without God. This is from the 6th century which reiterates what the Catholic Faith has always believed, which BTW. is 1000 years before the Protestant reformation.

Canon XII. If anyone affirms that we can form any right opinion or make any right choice which relates to the salvation of eternal life, as is expedient for us, or that we can be saved, that is, assent to the preaching of the gospel through our natural powers without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who makes all men gladly assent to and believe in the truth, he is led astray by a heretical spirit, and does not understand the voice of God who says in the Gospel, "For apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5), and the word of the Apostle, "Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God" (2 Cor. 3:5).

Clearly the Christian Faith teaches one cannot "work" one's way to Heaven. All Grace comes from God Almighty. We can do nothing of ourselves without his grace.



Faith Alone or Sola Fide, is it a Catholic position?

Catholics believe in Faith Alone as long as the word “Faith” is properly understood. The Apostolic Faith does not teach that one can simply say the “Sinners Prayer” and go to heaven no matter how grievous a crime he commits afterward. (Most mainline Protestant denominations do not teach this either, although most Baptist and "non-denominational" churches do.) For the Holy Scriptures tells us of heinous crimes against God:

“They who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.'' (Gal. 5:21).
(Not without repentance that is).

Even the original Protestants did not believe such a notion as "once saved always saved" no matter what you do afterward. Catholic Theology also does not teach that a mere intellectual acknowledgment of God, i.e. mental assent, will save one’s soul; for in James 2 we are taught that MERE “Faith Alone” will not save, for Satan himself has MERE Faith Alone:

“Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.” James 2:19

Only a saving or formed Faith as the Apostles Paul says will save. I.e. a:
"Faith that worketh by charity.” Gal 5:6

Do Catholics then condemn justification by Faith Alone? No.

Many Protestants today realize that Catholics adhere to the idea of salvation sola gratia (by grace alone), but fewer are aware that Catholics also do not have to condemn the formula of justification sola fide (by faith alone), provided this phrase is properly understood.

Whether a Catholic will condemn the idea of justification by faith alone depends on what sense the term "faith" is being used in. If it is being used to refer to unformed faith then a Catholic rejects the idea of justification by faith alone (which is the point James is making in James 2:19, as every non-antinomian Evangelical agrees; one is not justified by intellectual belief alone).

However, if the term "faith" is being used to refer to faith formed by charity then the Catholic does not have to condemn the idea of justification by faith alone. In fact, in traditional works of Catholic theology, one regularly encounters the statement that formed faith is justifying faith. If one has formed faith, one is justified. Period.

A Catholic would thus reject the idea of justification sola fide informi but wholeheartedly embrace the idea of justification sola fide formata. Adding the word "formed" to clarify the nature of the faith in "sola fide" renders the doctrine completely acceptable to a Catholic.
(From: Justification by Faith Alone)


The Catholic Faith comprises the verses not underlined in your personal Bible nor taught in
Modern Christian seminaries or churches.

Read the Bible verses not underlined in your Bible.

“Test everything. Hold on to the good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Suggested reading:

Intro to the Catholic Faith for Evangelicals

Catholic Answers: "Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth" A compendium of basic Catholic beliefs and the Biblicism behind these beliefs.

FAQ about the Catholic Faith from Columbia University


50 Practices and Doctrines not found in the Holy Bible.

2. JUST THE TRUTH: 2 Dozen Logic and Historical Facts Refuting the Apostolicity and Biblicism of the Modern Christian Belief Systems "Test Everything." 1 Thess 5:21

3. An Exercise in Logic, Two Logic Proofs from History 101 demonstrating how the modern Christian theologies did not even exist in the first millennium, making it impossible for Christ and His Apostles to have taught to His early Church.

4. The Promises of Jesus Christ to His Holy Church (as recorded in Holy Writ)

5. Three uneasy questions for your pastor concerning his personal theology.

6. Seven Reasons Christians Go To Church, Which One Is Yours?

7. "The 7 Stages of Christian Spiritual Development" What stage are you?

8. The Historical Origins & Authors of the Modern Christian Theologies.

9. Is Sola Scriptura or the "Bible Only" idea even Biblical? Where does the Bible teach the "SOLA" or the "ONLY" in Sola Scriptura?

10. Modern Christians often ask: "WHAT ELSE IS THERE? What else has Christ's infallible authority besides the Holy Bible?" Featuring the verses not underlined in most Bibles nor taught in modern Christian seminaries or churches.

11. FAITH ALONE (SOLA FIDE): It is a Catholic Position. Have you been taught that Catholics "work their way to Heaven?"

12. "Who is the Bride of Christ?" What does the Holy Bible say?

13. Did the BEREANS "Search the Scriptures" and therefore follow the BIBLE ONLY idea?
Or did the THESSALONIANS, who also "Searched the Scriptures?

14. The 3rd Unanswered Challenge for the Non-Catholic Theologies:
Is the Catholic Faith Apostolic? Name just one Catholic doctrine that isn't. Name one doctrine the early Church believed,,,, that the Catholic Faith today *no longer does*. Why can't the modern Christian theologies make the same bold claim?

15. Biblically, did the "Official Teachings or Doctrines of the Catholic Faith" become corrupt or Apostate as your Pastor might teach? Are there verses in the Holy Scriptures that forbid the "Gates of Hell" from overcoming His Church? What does the Holy Bible really say about: "The Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth" 1 Tim :15?

16. Is Praying to Saints Biblical? Is the "HAIL MARY" Prayer Biblical? Read the verses not underlined in your pastors Bible nor taught in his church.

17. How Modern Christian are compelled to use and embrace an unbiblical and anti-biblical definition and concept of a Christian Church.

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