Vatican II, Salvation, and the Unsaved: A CWR Symposium

This special CWR symposium, consisting of eight essays, is the result of a promise made earlier this year as well as the desire to address and discuss some timely questions related to the Year of Faith (which concludes this Sunday on the Feast of Christ the King), the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, and the New Evangelization.

In April, CWR published a review by Dr. David Paul Deavel of Dr. Ralph Martin’s book, Will Many Be Saved? What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization (Eerdmans, 2012). It was then decided that the review would be withdrawn until a later time; as Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press and publisher of CWR, explained, CWR wished “to provide a fuller treatment of a difficult subject than the original review, in my opinion, is able to provide. … The goal is to try to understand what’s what, who’s who, and how best to proceed in fulfilling the Great Commission, without overlooking the genuine nuances and insights theological wisdom provides.”

To that end, we asked six theologians to take up one, two, or all three of the following questions:

• What did the Council say about the possibility of salvation for those who do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church?

• What are the reasons for the apparent widespread loss of emphasis on evangelization following the Council?

• How can the directives of Vatican II and recent popes about evangelization be best explained and implemented?

Those theologians are Douglas Bushman, STL, Dr. Nicholas Healy, Father David Meconi, SJ, Tracey Rowland, Father James V. Schall, SJ, and Father Thomas Joseph White, OP.

This symposium includes Dr. Deavel’s original review, as well as essays from the seven authors above. It concludes with the essay, “Did Hans Urs von Balthasar Teach that Everyone Will Certainly be Saved?” by Mark Brumley.


 • “Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required” by Douglas Bushman

 • Vatican II and the “Bad News” of the Gospel by David Paul Deavel 

 • The Universality of Christ’s Saving Mission – The Teaching of Vatican II by Nicholas J. Healy, Jr.

 • Salvation and Christian Evangelization: Vatican II in Continuity with Tradition by Father David Vincent Meconi, SJ

 • Salvation and Missionary Work after Ad Gentes by Tracey Rowland

 • On Universal Salvation: The Logic by James V. Schall, SJ

 • Who Will Be Saved? The Council and the Question of Salvation by Father Thomas Joseph White, OP

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About Carl E. Olson 1201 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.