Atheism and Salvation from Pius IX to Vatican II

Stephen Bullivant

in The Salvation of Atheists and Catholic Dogmatic Theology

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652563
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191740725 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

Atheism and Salvation from Pius IX to Vatican II

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This chapter explores the key developments in Catholic approaches to both the salvation of non-Christians and the growing phenomenon of modern atheism, in the century preceding Vatican II. Special attention is given to Pius IX’s influential statements on the nature of invincible ignorance, and to renewed understandings of the patristic axiom Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus (‘No salvation outside the Church’). Also discussed in depth are a number of initiatives in Catholic–atheist dialogue and engagement, especially in France (e.g. La main tendue, the worker-priest experiment), and the effects these had on theological speculations in the decades prior to the Council (focusing especially on Congar and de Lubac). Finally, Vatican II’s own landmark statement on modern unbelief, Gaudium et Spes 19–21, is analysed in detail.

Keywords: Pius IX; invincible ignorance; Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus; no salvation outside the Church; Congar; de Lubac; worker-priest; Gaudium et Spes

Chapter.  13788 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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