Interpreting Silence: A Response to Miikka Ruokanen

Knitter, Paul

With Miikka Ruokanen, I admit that the documents of the Second Vatican Council are silent about the issue of whether other religious traditions can be viae salutis or ways of salvation But to interpret this silence, as he does, to mean that the council fathers implicitly denied that there can be authentic revelation and salvation through other religious paths is even less warranted than to conclude that they implicitly affirmed such salvine value It seems to me that Ruokanen's analysis moves beyond the evidence of the texts themselves and contrary to the broader Roman Catholic theological context in which these texts were fashioned Within this broader context of Catholic experience and tradition, there are, I suggest, even clearer and more persuasive reasons to interpret the council's silence in a positive sense and to conclude, with the majority (not just "many") of contemporary Roman Catholic theologians that Vatican II implicitly affirms the salvine potential of other religions.



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International Bulletin of Missionary Research

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Union Theological Seminary
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April 6, 2012