Is God a cruel God or a loving God? If you are a parent reading this, would you try to thoroughly confuse your child or would you want to make things plain to him so he would know beyond a shadow of doubt what your wishes are. Why would God tell us in His Word one thing and then instruct His church to do another? Is this not confusing? God’s Word says He is not the author of confusion.
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. ~1 Corinthians 14:33
The Word says that man can only be saved by grace and faith. If our works could be a part of our salvation, then we could boast about our accomplishment. Look at the Pharisees! Christ called them serpents and vipers. That is why the Holy Spirit made sure to include these two verses in the Bible.
~Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (8 Not of works, lest any man should boast. (9)
So what does the catholic church say on the issue of salvation?
At the Council of Trent (1545-1563), declarations were made:
“If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA” (Sixth Session, Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 12).
“If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA” (Sixth Session, Canons Concerning Justification, Canon 24).
Not only were these declarations made at Trent but they continue to be made by Vatican II:
“For it is the liturgy through which, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, ‘the work of our redemption is accomplished,’ and it is through the liturgy, especially, that the faithful are enabled to express in their lives and manifest to others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church” (Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Introduction, para. 2).
“As often as the sacrifice of the cross by which ‘Christ our Pasch is sacrificed’ (1 Cor. 5:7) is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out” (Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Chapter 1, 3, p. 324).
“… [Christ] also willed that the work of salvation which they preached should be set in train through the sacrifice and sacraments, around which the entire liturgical [ritualistic] life revolves. Thus by Baptism men are grafted into the paschal mystery of Christ. … They receive the spirit of adoption as sons” (Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Chap. 1, I, 5,6, pp. 23-24).
“From the most ancient times in the Church good works were also offered to God for the salvation of sinners, particularly the works which human weakness finds hard. Because the sufferings of the martyrs for the faith and for God’s law were thought to be very valuable, penitents used to turn to the martyrs to be helped by their merits to obtain a more speedy reconciliation from the bishops. Indeed, the prayers and good works of holy people were regarded as of such great value that it could be asserted that the penitent was washed, cleansed and redeemed with the help of the entire Christian people” (Vatican II, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Apostolic Constitution on the Revision of Indulgences, chap. 3, 6, pp. 78,79).
When a catholic reads his Bible, what does he do when he sees a contradiction between what he has read and what his church teaches? It is a decision that every catholic must make. The Apostle Peter said,
Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. ~Acts 5:29