Universal Salvific Will of God in Official Documents of the Roman Catholic Church

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This study is an examination of how official documents of the Roman Catholic Church have taught the universal salvific will of God. Through the study of papal and magisterial documents, this study seeks to show how official Church teaching has changed its approach to the salvation of members of other religious traditions, moving away from a position of exclusivity and developing an inclusive theology to account for the salvation of members of other religions.


“Dr. Josephine Lombardi has undertaken a significant study of the universal salvific will of God drawing especially from the teaching documents of the Catholic Church from Vatican II onwards ... Dr. Lombardi’s work provides background for understanding the theological dimensions of interreligious dialogue through official initiatives of the Holy See after the first two years of the Pontificate of Benedict XVI. ... Whatever happens next and in the years to come will require theological attention, and this book ... will be an important resource for theologians.” - Dr. John Borelli, Georgetown University

“This work is very relevant to some of the ongoing questions in contemporary Roman Catholic theology as the Church continues to come to grips with articulating its relationships with other religions theologically and doctrinally.” - Dr. John Dadosky, Associate Professor, Regis College, University of Toronto

“This is a fine piece of historical and systematic theological scholarship which traces the struggle of Christian theologians to articulate their faith in the universal salvific will of God well back into patristic times, and through a long historical development to the present time. While acknowledging the historic teaching of extra ecclesium nulla salus, and the various ways in which this has been understood in the Catholic tradition, the study shows that in recent decades, especially at Vatican II, and since then, the official teaching of the church has moved away from a position of exclusivity toward an inclusive theology which holds hope for members of other religious traditions.” - Dr. Harold Wells, Professor Emeritus in Systematic Theology, Emmanuel College, University of Toronto

Table of Contents

Foreword by John Borelli
1 Introduction: The Universal Salvific Will and Official Documents
2 Historical Steps toward Inclusivity
3 The Teaching of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65)
4 The Pontificate of John Paul II
5 Recent Contributions from Jacques Dupuis and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
6 Conclusion: The Development of Official Documents

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