If there is no salvation outside of the Church, what about the Orthodox Churches, or the Protestants or thosw who have never heard about Christ?
The doctrine that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church is often very confusing to both Catholics and non-Catholics. With the aid of the simple picture I made above, I hope to illustrate visually, accomapanied by a brief explanation of the doctrine, how this doctrine works in relation to those that are not formal members of the Catholic Church.
First, there is the large circle which represents the entire Catholic Church which is identified with the Church Jesus established. Every member of the Catholic Church is part of this circle large circle and therefore part of the one Church Jesus established.
Second, there are smaller, but still fairly large circles within the large circle. These represent the true local Churches, such as the Eastern Orthodox Churches, or the Oriental Orthdox Churches. They are part of the Church Jesus established, as is evident by their existence in the large circle, but they are not part of the Church in a perfect way, they do not have the fullness of the faith, namely the Papacy, and for this reason, they are smaller circles in the larger circle. The Catholic Church is in them, though they are not fully in the Catholic Church. Everything the local Churches have, the Catholic Church has, though not everything the Catholic Church has is in the local Churches. It should also be noted that the Catholic Church is not merely an combination of all of the local Churches, hence the two mid sized circles do not add up to the large circle.
Third, there are the smallest circles parlty in the large circle and yet partly outside of the large circle, which represents validly baptized Christians who are not mebmers of the Catholic Church and are not members of any true local Church. The Catholic Church is in them, but they are not completely within the Catholic Church. An example of this group would be certain Protestants, such as Anglicans and Presbyterians.
Fourth, there is the small circle outside the large circles. These are people who are non-Christians who are not formal members of the Church but are responding to God’s grace the best that they can with the light that they have. They are not baptized, so they are not anywhere in the large circle of the Church of Christ, yet in a very mysterious way they are connected to the Church, hence the blue color of the small circle outside of the large circle is the same color as the large circle. In a mysterious way, this group (albeit it is probably pretty rare for one to be part of this group) has a relationsh with the Church yet they are not formally part of the Church. This last relationship with the Church is the most mysterious, hence the Second Vatican Council did not say much about this group.
Perhaps, since Christ is in this group and Christ is in the Church, in a mysterious way, we can might be able to say The Church is in this group and in this way they are part of the Church, though not visibly and formally. However, this is merely my own speculation and should be considered with caution.
Fifth, there is the white section, the rest of the pictures. This is pretty much everybody else and probably goes without saying.
With all of these factors in mind, one can see visually how one can claim that outside the Church there is no salvation, and yet still require the necessity of baptism, Christ and the Church, still affirm that the Orthodox are true local Churches, still affirm Protestants are part of the Church (yet in an incomplete way) and still affirm that it is possible for some to become part of the Church, through the work of Christ, but in a mysterious way since they are without baptism, and only under certain conditions.