Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

The Conditions, Preliminary Conclusions, and Implications for the New Evanglization

October 24th, 2012, Promulgated by b a

This is a multi-part book review on Ralph Martin’s new book “Will Many Be Saved?: What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization” by guest submitter Dominick Anthony Zarcone.

btw (this is still Ben until you get to the horizontal line) – if you haven’t read the Pope’s homily for the opening mass of the Syond of Bishops check it out here. I was moaning the other day on facebook about not being able to find full texts of what the Pope says and then bam! a friend shared this site. They’ve got everything the pope says right there.

Also, this post on includes a youtube lecture by Dr. Martin.

The Conditions, Preliminary Conclusions, and Implications for the New Evanglization

Dr. Ralph Martin studies and analyzes the doctrinal development of LUMEN GENTIUM 16 and the necessary conditions to be fulfilled for Non-Christians to be saved. The author’s painstaking process of tracing this theology’s history affirms the truth that the non-baptized can be saved by God in ways known to the Lord alone. Analysis of the necessary conditions to be fulfilled by those who do not know Christ or his Catholic Church demonstrates the possibility or potential. However, that same analysis and reflection on the optimistic assertion of its certainty are determined and substantiated by Martin to be something different than what the Second Vatican Council actually teaches.

Therefore, under certain very specific conditions salvation is possible (not certain) for non-Christians: they must not be culpable for their ignorance of the Gospel; they must seek God with a sincere heart; moved by grace, they must live according to what they know of God’s will as they follow natural law; they must receive whatever good or truth exists in their lives.

While there really is a possibility for Non-Christians to be saved, Martin aptly reminds his readers that the world’s situation has been radically changed with Christ’s coming. (Christ Has Died, Christ Is Risen, Christ Will Come Again) For God freely offers the gift of salvation and there is an urgency to proclaim to the whole world this gracious treasure and the need for its acceptance.

The Catholic Church must not forget that hearing and understanding the Gospel while steadfastly rejecting God’s gift of salvation in Christ, in fact, does jeopardize one’s salvation. This truth applies to both Non-Christians and the baptized. “To depart from the Catholic Church or not to enter it, knowing it to be the Church of Christ, is to jeopardize one’s salvation.”

A memorable Martin sentence reads: INCULPABLE IGNORANCE OF THE GOSPEL IS A CONDITION OF, NOT A CAUSE OF, SALVATION. So much for those theologies (for example Rahner’s ‘Anonymous Christians’ and Balthasar’s ‘Dare We Hope that All Are Saved’) which promote an optimism of salvation and at the same time undermine the urgency to proclaim Christ Crucified and Risen to the ends of the earth.

Why is there an urgency to proclaim the Grace of God through Jesus Christ?

Of course, an important element to the answer is because the Lord Jesus has commanded us to preach the Gospel. We must obey the Lord!

Knowledge of humanity’s condition without the grace of God through Christ, moreover, informs our desire to obey and inspires us to action.

Ralph Martin’s study of LUMEN GENTIUM 16’s Scriptural Foundations, which concentrated on the verses referenced in the foot notes (Romans 1:25, 29 and Mark 16:16), as well as the context of Romans chapters 1, 2, and 3, sheds light on the darkened, rebellious condition of the human heart apart from the Savior.

How does one sincerely appreciate God’s good news treasure gift?

By first realizing how bad the bad news is.

Dominick Anthony Zarcone

Doesn’t the Apostle Paul make us aware of the wrath/anger of God (Romans 1:18-32) before revealing the saving justice of God (Romans 3:21ff)? Dr. Martin quotes Stanislas Lyonnet who wrote, “in order to receive justification as a purely gratuitous gift of God, it is necessary that a man be deeply aware of his sin (Romans 3:19-21).

The last three sentences of LUMEN GENTIUM 16 [which detail how often the conditions to be saved without knowing Christ are not fulfilled] inform us and inspire us to ‘promote the Glory of God and procure the salvation of all who believe by preaching the Gospel to every Creature and as such foster the missions with care and attention’.

“WILL MANY BE SAVED?’ reminds all of us that ‘Something is really at stake: eternal salvation or damnation.’

Now that spells URGENCY.


8 Responses to “The Conditions, Preliminary Conclusions, and Implications for the New Evanglization”

  1. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Ben, thank you for the link to the Ralph Martin talk at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids.

    Our book’s author does a fine job highlighting significant topics he covers more in depth in

    It is a very good talk with a question period following.

    Access it at

  2. Richard Thomas says:

    Until our clergy preaches about homosexuality, birth control, premarital sex, pornography and abortion on a regular basis, the “New Evangelization” will merely be the extension of the tird, and failed “Old Evangelization”.

  3. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Richard Thomas, I think you are correct.

    Because of the reluctance to speak of sin and the
    unwillingness to name specific sins, there is no genuine
    exhortation to repentance.

    If there is no perceived need for repentance there is no
    real appreciation of the good news of salvation.

    The possible problem, the elephant in the room, is that we might
    be a Church filled with unconverted clergy and laity.
    This situation reminds me of a church ‘playing church’
    rather than being Church.

    The cross is an offense, but it must be preached.

    Pray God the Holy Spirit gives us HOLY BOLDNESS,
    the salvation of souls is at stake!

    By the way, Richard Thomas, have you started reading
    Martin’s book as yet?

  4. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Our book’s author, Ralph Martin, is in Rome at the Synod on The New Evangelization.

    Enjoy this report of an interview he gave to EWTN news.

  5. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    Rejoice, brothers and sisters, apparently the Synod on the New Evangelization has considered Dr. Ralph Martin’s book.

    See proposition 6 of the 38 propositions surfacing by the Bishops:

  6. raymondfrice says:

    Richard Thomas:
    I hope that the new evangelization will include other issues besides the subjects you listed above which all involve regulation of the genitalia in some shape or form.

  7. BigE says:

    Amen to that!

  8. Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    In an interview while he was in Rome for the Synod on the New Evangelization,
    Ralph Martin summarizes the essence of his book’s thesis.

    Enjoy Father Pope’s analysis and scroll down for the 4 minute video of Martin.

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