Sunday, July 13, 2008

Benedict Issues Statement Asserting That Jesus Established ‘Only One Church’

MSNBC-July 10, 2008---Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.

Benedict approved a document from his old offices at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that restates church teaching on relations with other Christians. It was the second time in a week the pope has corrected what he says are erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that modernized the church.

In the latest document — formulated as five questions and answers — the Vatican seeks to set the record straight on Vatican II’s ecumenical intent, saying some contemporary theological interpretation had been “erroneous or ambiguous” and had prompted confusion and doubt.

It restates key sections of a 2000 document the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, “Dominus Iesus,” which set off a firestorm of criticism among Protestant and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the “means of salvation.”

In the new document and an accompanying commentary, which were released as the pope vacations here in Italy’s Dolomite mountains, the Vatican repeated that position.

“Christ ‘established here on earth’ only one church,” the document said. The other communities “cannot be called ‘churches’ in the proper sense” because they do not have apostolic succession — the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ’s original apostles.

‘Identity of the Catholic faith’

The Rev. Sara MacVane of the Anglican Centre in Rome, said there was nothing new in the document.

“I don’t know what motivated it at this time,” she said. “But it’s important always to point out that there’s the official position and there’s the huge amount of friendship and fellowship and worshipping together that goes on at all levels, certainly between Anglican and Catholics and all the other groups and Catholics.”

The document said Orthodox churches were indeed “churches” because they have apostolic succession and that they enjoyed “many elements of sanctification and of truth.” But it said they lack something because they do not recognize the primacy of the pope — a defect, or a “wound” that harmed them, it said.

“This is obviously not compatible with the doctrine of primacy which, according to the Catholic faith, is an ‘internal constitutive principle’ of the very existence of a particular church,” the commentary said.

Despite the harsh tone of the document, it stresses that Benedict remains committed to ecumenical dialogue.

“However, if such dialogue is to be truly constructive, it must involve not just the mutual openness of the participants but also fidelity to the identity of the Catholic faith,” the commentary said.

‘Not backtracking on ecumenical commitment’

The document, signed by the congregation prefect, U.S. Cardinal William Levada, was approved by Benedict on June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul — a major ecumenical feast day. ...Cont.

--->Note: Catholics must welcome in hope any movement in the direction of the immutable pre-conciliar infallible dogmatic certainties which defined the Church for over 1,900 years. Yet concerns remain, specifically 1.) the matter of the grievously ambiguous texts of the Second Vatican Council which future neo-modernists will undoubtedly exploit; ambiguity which the preconciliar Church did not knowingly tolerate. 2.) also, and critically important, the fact that until now Benedict has shown no inclination to extirpate heretics who spread their heresies, destroying souls in Catholic schools and seminaries to this very hour (for me this is crucial), heretics who remain in "communion" with Benedict, saying the same Creeds (without believing them) and incensing the same altar-tables as he, leaving us mired in so small incoherence (See-click Labels below this post). 3.) An unprecedented ecumenism which involves "the huge amount of friendship and fellowship and worshipping together" which in the past was always condemned and forbidden as communicatio in sacris.

But one must nevertheless hope. One wonders, however, what is new here; the report above mentions the August 2000 document, Dominus Iesus, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith while the present pope was the head of that office. Now let's consider that document.

Whether one agrees with the other opinions or polemical tone of the author of the study that follows or not, his arguments / analysis demand answers which have stumped me. So I proceed to it forthwith in hopes that the Vatican will reply to it and not simply ignore the profound questions raised by the document itself. /Stephen Hand

Ratzinger's Dominus Iesus: A Critical Analysis by Bishop Donald Sanborn


In August, 2000 the Vatican issued a document entitled Dominus Iesus, which was touted by the press as a defense of the Church's traditional teaching that the Catholic Church is the unique means of salvation. The Wanderer, true to form in sanitizing everything which emerges from the modernists in the Vatican, called it a new Syllabus of Errors. (The Syllabus of Errors was the wonderful document issued by Pope Pius IX in 1864 which condemned modern errors). But is this document a true defense of the Catholic Faith? No. In fact, it contains explicit heresy, and is the boldest and most complete explanation of modernist Church theology to date.

A. The Catholic doctrine concerning the unicity of the Church. The Catholic Church teaches that she alone is the unique Church of Christ, and that all other religions, whether Christian or non-Christian, are sects. They are false religions. St. Cyprian said, "There is one God, and Christ is one, and there is one Church and one chair founded upon the rock by the word of the Lord. Another altar cannot be constituted nor a new priesthood be made except the one altar and the one priesthood. Whosoever gathereth elsewhere, scattereth." [1]

B. Who are members of the Catholic Church? The Church teaches that those people are members of the Catholic Church who have been validly baptized, and who have not been excluded from the Catholic Church by means of heresy, schism, or excommunication. Pope Pius XII teaches in his encyclical Mystici Corporis:

"Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. 'For in one spirit' says the Apostle, 'were we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free.' As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith. And therefore if a man refuse to hear the Church let him be considered - so the Lord commands - as a heathen and a publican. It follows that those who are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit."[2]

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What/Where is the Roman Catholic Church?

In light of Traditional Catholic dogma/doctrine, how should the Second Vatican Council be viewed ? Is it consistent with Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and prior Magisterial teaching?

What explains the tremendous amount of "bad fruit" which has been forthcoming since the close of the Council in 1965? “By their fruits you shall know them” (Matt. 7:16)

This site explores these questions and more in an attempt to place the Second Vatican Council in proper perspective.