This being the case, what particular aspects of the Second Vatican Council would you like to see clarified?
This is what I did my doctoral dissertation on last year here in Rome, and this is the subject of my book that’s just been published by Eerdmans. In short, it relates to Lumen Gentium, the Constitution of the Church, Section 16. This states it’s possible under certain circumstances for people to be saved without hearing the Gospel if they’re inculpably ignorant, seeking God seriously, trying to live their life according to their conscience, assisted by grace — which is a very important point.
But then almost everyone ignores the next three sentences, which say that even though it’s theoretically possible for people to be saved without hearing the Gospel, as a matter of fact, “often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator.”
Therefore, for the sake of their salvation, it’s urgent that the Church carry out its work of evangelization. Even though it’s possible for people to be saved without hearing the Gospel, it’s not so easy, because we’re not talking about a neutral environment. We’re talking about where the world of flesh and the devil are doing their best to put people on the broad way or keep them there.
So lots of people aren’t seeking God and really do need to hear the Gospel and be called to repentance, faith, baptism and conversion in order to be saved. Christianity isn’t just about enriching somebody’s life. For many people, it’s a matter of heaven or hell. This truth needs to be brought forward at this time because all our exhortations to be more enthusiastic about evangelization, more zealous, are going to fall on semi-deaf ears unless people really believe it will make a significant difference to people’s lives. Not just for this life, but for eternity.