School of Theology and Seminary Graduate Papers/Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Graduate Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theology


School of Theology and Seminary

First Advisor

J. Michael Byron

Subject Categories

Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


The twenty-first century Catholic Church is in the process of understanding its relation to the Second Vatican Council. Yves Congar, one of the most influential theologians at the council, had a theological career spanning over fifty years, and his theological insights remain pertinent to contemporary historical and cultural concerns. This paper describes Yves Congar’s particular ecclesiological, pneumatological and Christological insights in response to the question of the salvation of people of non-Christian religions. Congar seeks to find a via media, or middle way, which denies two extreme perspectives, one of which holds that explicit non-Christians are not saved, and the other affirms the salvation of all people regardless of their professed religious tradition. Although his work is not extensive on the question of the salvation of adherents of non-Christian religions, he offers theological insights that reflect the Roman Catholic Church’s shift in understanding of this question demonstrated in the Vatican II documents. In this paper, I differ from other scholars who have sought to elucidate Congar’s via media by considering a wider range Congar’s writings in addition to Congar’s explicit discussion of salvation outside the Church. In doing so, I provide a more accurate appraisal of his understanding of the salvation of people of non-Christian religions, recognizing that his extensive writings on the Church, the Holy Spirit, Christ, and salvation must be considered in order to understand his articulation of the salvation of adherents of non-Christian religions.



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