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Document Details :
Title: Yves Congar, Extra Ecclesiam and the Identity of the Church
Author(s): DE PRIL, Ward
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 37 Issue: 2-3 Date: 2013
Within the context of mid-twentieth century ecclesiological renewal theologians were challenged to reconsider the meaning of the traditional adage Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. For Congar, the adage continued to have meaning in modern times on the condition that it has no bearing anymore on the salvation of persons, but on the Church and its universal mediation: a correct understanding of the adage depends upon a correct understanding of the nature of the Church. In this article we first investigate Congar’s contribution to a renewal of the idea of the Church and the consequences for the theology of salvation outside the visible Church in his early ecclesiological writings. Next the doctrine of the encyclical Mystici Corporis (1943) is studied together with its reception by Congar. Finally, Congar’s votum De Ecclesia (1961) is analyzed, for in it Congar gives a clear exposition of his reinterpretation of the adage Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, in line with both a ‘traditional’ ecclesiology and modern insights and experiences. Furthermore, some elements of the votum, which expounded ideas about the salvation of non-Catholic Christians and non-evangelized, were adopted in the final documents of the Second Vatican Council.