“Love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul,and with all your MIND”--Matt 22:37
There's a lot of really bad ideas about what Catholicism proclaims out there.
To wit, check out this, found on a barn near a highway:
I can't stop myself from doing this, whenever I see such ignorance in reference to Catholicism.
We Catholics should be quick to correct such gross misinformation by proclaiming clearly that we do NOT believe that Mary, the Pope, priests, or anyone else saves us...except for Jesus Christ.
Catholics do profess, affirm and declare: Jesus saves us!
Yes, indeed! Jesus alone is our Lord and Savior!
However, as with most Catholic answers, the response isn't an Either/Or but a Both/And.
It's not Jesus OR Baptism (and the sacraments). But Jesus AND Baptism.
It's not Jesus OR Mary. But Jesus AND Mary.
It's not Jesus OR the Church. But Jesus AND the Church.
Jesus has a Body, a living, breathing entity called the Catholic Church, and without His Body, no Christian could know a single thing about Jesus and his saving gospel.
Without His Body, Christians are serving a disembodied Head--a Jesus without any means of communicating with His followers.
So we are indeed saved by the Catholic Church.
We are saved by Mary, for without her Yes, we would have no Incarnation.
And we are saved by the Pope, who is the Vicar of Christ.
And we are saved by Baptism. (In fact, the Bible specifically states this in 1 Peter 3:21--"Baptism now saves you")
Indeed, the Bible states that we can save ourselves, and we can save others (!) (Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.—1 Timothy 4:16.
And don't forget that the Bible states that St. Paul can save people too! (If, by any means, I may provoke to emulation them who are my flesh, and may save some of them.—Romans 11:14)
All of this, of course, is understood in the context of the kergyma--that we save ourselves, we save others, St. Paul saves....ONLY through our union with the atoning death of Jesus Christ.
Catholicism doesn't take one verse in isolation of everything else (like John 3:16, as limned on the barn) and use it to form our understanding of salvation...
Rather, we take the Scriptures in their entirety and proclaim the Good News of our salvation.
Catholicism proclaims that we are saved:
By believing in Christ (Jn 3:16; Acts 16:31)
By repentance (Acts 2:38; 2 Pet 3:9)
By baptism (Jn 3:5; 1 Pet 3:21; Titus 3:5)
By eating his flesh and drinking his blood (Jn 6)
By the work of the Spirit (Jn 3:5; 2 Cor 3:6)
By declaring with our mouths (Lk 12:8; Rom 10:9)
By coming to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:4; Heb 10:26)
By works (Rom 2:6-7; James 2:24)
By grace (Acts 15:11; Eph 2:8)
By his blood (Rom 5:9; Heb 9:22)
By his righteousness (Rom 5:17; 2 Pet 1:1)
By keeping the commandments (Matt 19:17)
By our words (Matt 12:37)
By feeding the hungry and clothing the naked (Matt: 25:42)
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect" - 1 Peter 3:15