"The Catholic Church teaches..."

Subject: Fw: Faith Alone?

The Catholic Church teaches that to reach heaven you must have faith and the pratice sacraments, (good works, mass etc). How can you explain the following verses...

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not from yourselves, for it is the gift of God: not as the outcome of works, lest anyone may boast" (Eph. 2:8-9).

Man is not justified by the works of the Law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ . . . we also believe in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the Law; because by the works of the Law no man will be justified" (Gal. 2:16).

"Not by reason of good works that we did our­selves, but according to his mercy, he saved us" (Tit 3:5).

When Jesus died on the cross for our sin and said "Tis Finished" everything was fully done. Why do you feel man has to add to the work of Christ?

Thank You

Arron Hamilton


Dear Arron,

Thank you for the excellent question. The sacraments are not man's work, but God's. See: Necessity of Baptism.

The Catholic Church teaches that we are saved by sheer grace: "Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers in the divine nature and eternal life." See: Saved by Grace Alone.

Regarding works and merits, the first question is whether man in free. What is your position? Do you consider that human beings are free?

Prayers for God's blessing in the New Year.

Fr. Phil Bloom

P.S. I don't feel that "man has to add to the work of Christ," altho St. Paul taught that, in God's generosity, our sufferings could "fill up that which is lacking in the afflictions of Christ." Colossians 1 24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for His body's sake, which is the church,

P.P.S. About the intercession of Mary, I had an online discussion w/ a young man a while back: Could I ask you to read through and see if you have anything to add?

Other Questions

See also: Cloud of Witnesses: A Biblical Primer on the Communion of Saints

Catholic Home Study Resources

Peter Kreeft

Catholic Answers

Immaculate Conception

Mary's Vow of Virginity

Follow-up question from Arron: "If you were brought up away from all churches, chapels, popes and bishops, and you only had the Bible as your ONE and ONLY source of information. Would you honestly believe Mary was a sinner or not?"