St. Anicetus had the deepest compassion for the heretics on account of their eternal destruction, therefore, he left nothing untried to bring them to the knowledge of their error. St. Justinus did the same by the heathens, and pitying their blindness, he endeavored to win them to the Christian faith. Both believed, what ought to be an article of faith withevery true Catholic; namely, that there is no salvation out of the Catholic Church. There are, at the present time many who believe that there are three religions in which a man can be saved: yes even that every man can gain salvation through his own belief. They give the same hope to those who are not Catholics as they do to those who are.
These false doctrines are worked out in hell to the destruction of many thousands of souls. The word of God clearly contradicts them, for it bears emphatic testimony that there is but “one Lord, one faith ” (Ephes. iv.). That means, only one true God, only one true faith ; hence only one true soul-saving Church. This only true faith is the Holy Roman Catholic Faith, for it alone was taught by Christ and the Apostles. This is proved not only by the blood of many thousand martyrs, but also by the verbal and written instructions of the holy Fathers and by many miracles of the Almighty. This faith is the first Christian faith and has no one but Christ for its founder. Out of the pale of this faith no Saint has risen during 1800 years. Thus, also, the Catholic is the only true Church, because Christ has built it with the assurance that: “The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (St. Math. xvi.). Had she fallen into errors or superstition, as those pretend who live out of her pale, Christ would not have been true to His promise: He would have erred and would have deceived us. Only to think so would, however, be blasphemy.
Hence the Church founded by Christ, as she had been, as even her enemies say, at the beginning of her existence, the true Church, must still be the same, and so continue until time shall be no more. If, therefore, the Catholic faith is the only true faith, and the Catholic Church the only true Church ; it follows, undeniably, that there is no salvation possible out of the Catholic Church : hence, all those who do not die in the Catholic Church go to eternal perdition. “Without faith it is impossible to please God:”says St. Paul (Heb. ii.). He doubtless speaks of the true faith. Without it we cannot please God, hence we cannot be saved. It may please you or not; you may protest as much as you like; this remains true: Out of the Catholic Church, out of the Catholic faith, there is no salvation. Whoever, by his own free will dies out of the Catholic Church goes to eternal perdition. If you do not believe this infallible truth, you are no true Catholic; for you’have no faith in the teachings which God imparts through His Church. Should you remain in this unbelief until your end, you will go to everlasting punishment with those who are not Catholics, because you also do not die in the faith.
In conclusion, consider well the words of St. Fulgentius: “Be certain beyond all doubt, that not only all heathens, but also all Jews, heretics and schismatics, who end their earthly existence out of the Catholic Church, go into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his legions. Be certain, beyond any doubt that each heretic and schismatic, if he be not incorporated into the Catholic Church, cannot be saved, although he may give great alms, and even shed his blood for Christ’s sake.”
Lives of the Saints: Compiled from Authentic Sources with a Practical Instruction on the Life of Each Saint, for Every Day in the Year by Rev. F. X. Weninger. Permissu Superiorum. New York: P. O’Shea, Publisher, 67 Barclay Street and 42 Park Place. 1876