Catechism of the Catholic Church
618 The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the "one mediator between God and men". 452 But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, "the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery" is offered to all men. 453 He calls his disciples to "take up [their] cross and follow [him]", 454 for "Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps." 455 In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries. 456 This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering. 457
Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven. 458
619 "Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures" (I Cor 15:3).
620 Our salvation flows from God's initiative of love for us, because "he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (I Jn 4:10). "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself" (2 Cor 5:19).
621 Jesus freely offered himself for our salvation. Beforehand, during the Last Supper, he both symbolized this offering and made it really present: "This is my body which is given for you" (Lk 22:19).
622 The redemption won by Christ consists in this, that he came "to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mt 20:28), that is, he "loved [his own] to the end" (Jn 13:1), so that they might be "ransomed from the futile ways inherited from [their] fathers" (I Pt 1:18).
623 By his loving obedience to the Father, "unto death, even death on a cross" (Phil 2:8), Jesus fulfils the atoning mission (cf. Is 53:10) of the suffering Servant, who will "make many righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities" (Is 53:11; cf. Rom 5:19).
English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.