Of course, Ryan, I’m always happy to help .

I’m no Rahner scholar, but it seems implausible to me that a fellow can get famous for saying nothing more about the possibility of salvation outside the visible Church than had been said by Pius XII, Karl Adam, Pius IX, Thomas Aquinas, or even John Chrysostom.

More generally, I think virtually everyone, including Rahner and most Rahnerians, agree that (a) it is possible to be saved outside the visible Church, and (b) there is nevertheless a benefit to being inside the visible Church.

The disagreement concerns the nature of the possibility and the magnitude of the benefit. Is the possibility of salvation outside the Church a remote, metaphysical possibility rarely attained in practice, or is it a realistic feasibility that is routinely actualized? Is the benefit of being inside the visible Church a small help at the margin, or does it usually make the difference between salvation and damnation? The traditional view tilts strongly towards the idea that salvation outside the visible Church is rare and difficult and that membership in the visible Church is often the determining factor between salvation and damnation. The modern—I might say Rahnerian—view tilts strongly in favor of the idea that salvation outside the visible Church is commonplace and membership inside the visible Church is only a small help at the margin. I see the CDF note as a nudge back towards the traditional view.

Articles by Robert T. Miller

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