The question of whether and how people who have not had the chance to hear the gospel can be saved goes back to the beginnings of Christian reflection. It has also become a much-debated topic in current theology. In Will Many Be Saved? Ralph Martin focuses primarily on the history of debate and the development of responses to this question within the Roman Catholic Church, but much of Martin’s discussion is also relevant to the wider debate happening in many churches around the world.
In particular, Martin analyzes the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, the document from the Second Vatican Council that directly relates to this question. Contrary to popular opinion, Martin argues that according to this text, the conditions under which people who have not heard the gospel can be saved are very often, in fact, not fulfilled, with strong implications for evangelization.
For many years we have all appreciated Dr. Martin’s considerable contributions to the mission of the Church. Now he gives us a profound doctrinal foundation for understanding and implementing the ‘new evangelization.’ This is a shot in the arm for bishops, priests, and laity as we respond to the Holy Father’s call.
—Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York
Dr. Ralph Martin’s Will Many Be Saved? contributes significantly to a richer understanding of our faith, helps restore confidence in the gospel message, and engenders a desire to share the truth of Christ’s message. An important contribution to the pastoral strategy of the ‘new evangelization.’
—Donald Cardinal Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C.
Martin clarifies a doctrinal point that has been often obscured but must be recovered as a necessary foundation for the ‘new evangelization.’ This is a uniquely important book.
—Francis Cardinal George, archbishop of Chicago
Provides a refreshing reminder of the undiminished urgency and validity of the missionary mandate of Jesus to his followers to evangelize.
—Peter Cardinal Turkson, president, Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice
These penetrating reflections will compel us to reassess our pastoral approach to the preaching of the gospel in our present circumstances. An important book.
—J. Augustine Di Noia, OP, archbishop, Vatican City
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