God's Politics

God's Politics


Tony Jones: Caught Between the Apostle Peter and a Hard Place

posted by God's Politics

I feel for the pope. I really do. On the one hand, whenever he travels, he’s expected to make nice with everyone in his host country. To that end, he meets with Protestants and Orthodox, Jews and Muslims. They exchange pleasantries and have photo shoots. But then he gets back to the Vatican, and he must feel compelled to remind the one billion Roman Catholics in the world that the one billion followers of Christ without a tradition of apostolic succession don’t go to “church” on Sunday, but to “ecclesial communities.”
This is tied to the concept that only those clergymen who stand in a direct line from the apostles can rightly administer the sacraments, and the sacraments, being the primary vehicle for salvation, are pretty darn important. Why the pope felt the need to restate what had been already restated by his predecessor in 2000 has been the subject of much conjecture. Is it the massive headway being made by Pentecostalism in the global south? Is it the all-too-ecumenical Catholicism in the U.S.? Or is it another attempt by Benedict to win back his beloved—but backslidden and postmodernly relativistic—Europe (I’m paraphrasing him here)?
Probably all of the above. But in this stance, the Roman Catholic magisterium seems increasingly out-of-step with the Catholics that I know. When I ask Catholic friends, in-laws, and even priests I know about my salvation, they assure me that I’m safe. (I know there are American Catholics who don’t agree, so don’t bother commenting just to prove that that’s not a unanimous opinion.) American and European Catholics tend to be just as committed to civil, respectful, religious pluralism as I am. In fact, they warmly welcome me to partake in the Eucharist when I visit their churches, a stance in direct contradiction to Catholic teaching.
I’m not suggesting that the pope should water down his views based on popular opinion, or that the magisterium should back down from its doctrinal positions. I just think they should consider a different tack. Everything in world religion is bending toward populism, whether it’s the aforementioned growth of Pentecostalism or the American/European emergent movement. Dictating positions down-from-on-high works about as well in religion as it does in President Bush’s defense of his war policy. In an age of new media and a “flattening world,” opinion will be changed from the grassroots level by convincing thoughtful people that you’re worth listening to. It’s a bear market, you might say, for papal bulls. In fact, maybe Benedict should start blogging…
(In the interest of full disclosure, I was ordained as a Congregational minister in 1997. But I had a Catholic priest there to lay hands on me, just in case they’re right about that apostolic succession thing.)

Tony Jones is the national coordinator for Emergent Village.



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jesse

posted July 16, 2007 at 11:49 am


I’m not Catholic, but Tony is showing a very shallow understanding of Catholicism here. Catholic doctrine DOES NOT say that Protestants are not saved! Also, your partaking of the Eucharist in a Catholic church is profoundly disrespectful. You’re not asking the pope to water down his views? Give me a break. If you’re going to call yourself Catholic, you gotta adhere to its teachings (e.g., not “welcoming” Protestants to communion). If not, you need to find another church.



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jesse

posted July 16, 2007 at 11:52 am


Dictating positions down-from-on-high works about as well in religion as it does in President Bush’s defense of his war policy.
–Not really sure how the two are all that related (other than that you don’t like either), but I guess you had to get your digs in on Bush, right?



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Moderatelad

posted July 16, 2007 at 12:21 pm


Tony -
Good article and I believe that we can consider that we are on parrel tracks. I feel the same way about Graham – Crouch – Fawell and Dobson. But the last time I said that – I was blasted by many on this site for that type of thinking.
I have many Catholic friends that I know will be in Heaven on that Great and Glorious Day. But the offical standing of the Catholic church since the 6th century is that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic church. For that reason and out of respect to my friends – when I am in attendace at a Catholic church for whatever reason…I do not take communion.
You just had to get a dig in about Bush. The writing on this site fails so often. But then again, when a commedian is failing to many the audience laugh – they go to the crotch jokes. As a Moth goes to the flame – so Sojo seeks to bash the Bush Adm.
Whatever -
.



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Wolverine

posted July 16, 2007 at 12:43 pm


As far as the Bush administration crack goes, I think Mr. Jones has stumbled on an important if underreported truth: when the administration goes out and makes the case for Iraq, it tends to gain support — not necessarily majority support, but the unpopularity of the war is diminished when the President stands up for himself.
Why are Republicans hedging on Iraq now? I don’t think its a coincidence that this comes after several weeks in which the administration has been preoccupied with immigration reform. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see the trend come to an abrupt end once the President addresses the interim Iraq report.
By the same token, Benedict’s assertion that Roman Catholicism represents the truest form of Christianity, well, I would differ with that, but I think Benedict taking that stance will work out well over the long term. After all, if the Pope isn’t Catholic, why should anyone else be?
Wolverine



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tony jones

posted July 16, 2007 at 1:15 pm


Wolverine, right on. I’m no partisan, and those around Sojo will tell you that we often don’t agree on policy issues. So my dig on the Bush Administration is not some leftist agenda, but instead a point about how to sway public opinion. Beat the bushes, convince the people, and spend less time on the grand pronouncements (“Mission Accomplished”). Both the Administration and the Vatican could use a little Open Source philosophy…



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squeaky

posted July 16, 2007 at 1:19 pm


Jesse–I suppose his partaking of communion in a Catholic church would be disrespectful if he just did it without asking or being asked, but if you read what he wrote:
“In fact, they warmly welcome me to partake in the Eucharist when I visit their churches”
He was welcomed to take it. I see no disrespect in an act taken after being warmly welcomed to do so.



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Moderatelad

posted July 16, 2007 at 1:33 pm


Incrediable -
A article about the Catholic church and other denominations and people that was for the most part an insightful article. But we have to Bash Bush sohow in almost every article that is published on Sojo.
‘Climate Change’ – GWB fault.
Poverty in the US – GWB’s fault.
Global Terrorism – GWB’s fault.
Hunger around the world – GWB’s fault.
Oil shortage – GWB’s fault.
Gas prices – GWB’s fault.
DGIH – what are you going to bitch about when he is no longer in office and Hillary is there and we will still have the same problems. Oh – what you have done in the past, focus on something else until there is another Rep. in office that you can bash.
These problems were there prior to Bush and they will be there after Bush. For the record – The Clinton’s Pres. did not do much about these same issues either. They were to busy…
Have a nice day.
.



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jesse

posted July 16, 2007 at 1:44 pm


Squeaky,
If the priest was cool with everyone taking the Eucharist, I suppose that would be a different matter (one which would likely lead to his defrocking or whatever), but it is still problematic for the catholics who are defying their church authorities and breaking the biblical command to submit to these authorities. Like I said, I’m not catholic and have loads of problems with catholicism. But I’m bugged by dishonesty, as well.



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neuro_nurse

posted July 16, 2007 at 1:46 pm


Saturday my wife Emailed me a link to an article in MSNBC that said:
“[Reponses to some questions regarding certain aspects of the doctrine on the Church] 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.”
I was very disturbed by this. In the first place, this was not my understanding of the Church’s teachings on non-Catholic Christian denominations. Second, I’m a Catholic married to a Baptist. Christian doctrine is a hot topic around our house.
I remained upset by this until yesterday morning when I read the pope’s statements.
“It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches [small ‘c’] and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church [capitol ‘C’], on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.”
“It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation…”
Reponses to some questions regarding certain aspects of the doctrine on the Church
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070629_responsa-quaestiones_en.html
This document contains a link to Dominus Iesus:
“…those who are baptized in these communities are, by Baptism, incorporated in Christ and thus are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Church.”
I will concede that aspects of these statements and others in these documents are/can be offensive to Protestants, but nothing in Catholic doctrine says that non-Catholic Christians are not Christians or are not ‘saved.’
The qualifiers of Christianity listed in Dominus Iesus seem to me to excude those “Christian” religions that reject the diety of Jesus;
“…the truth of Jesus Christ, Son of God, Lord and only Saviour, who through the event of his incarnation, death and resurrection has brought the history of salvation to fulfilment, and which has in him its fullness and centre, must be firmly believed as a constant element of the Church’s faith.”
Regarding non-Christian religions:
“[T]he Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions states: “ The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions. She has a high regard for the manner of life and conduct, the precepts and teachings, which, although differing in many ways from her own teaching, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men.”
“…the way in which the salvific grace of God[...] comes to individual non-Christians, the Second Vatican Council limited itself to the statement that God bestows it “in ways known to himself”
But:
“With the coming of the Saviour Jesus Christ, God has willed that the Church founded by him be the instrument for the salvation of all humanity (cf. Acts 17:30-31). This truth of faith does not lessen the sincere respect which the Church has for the religions of the world, but at the same time, it rules out, in a radical way, that mentality of indifferentism “characterized by a religious relativism which leads to the belief that ‘one religion is as good as another.”
There is a semantic element to the pope’s statement that non-Catholic ‘Christian Communities’:
“do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called “Churches” in the proper sense”
That’s ‘Churches,’ with a capitol C, as in “the Church.”
I’m not going to try to defend the pope on this one. I’m not exactly sure what motivated him to make these statements, other than the overarching belief that there should be no divisions in the Body of Christ.
I get ticked off when I hear the John MacArthur/R.C. Sproul-types argue that Catholics aren’t Christian because we don’t accept the Protestant doctrine of sola fida. I’m afraid that the pope’s statements are just going to add fuel to that fire.
Seek peace and pursue it.



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Jedidiah Palosaari

posted July 16, 2007 at 2:09 pm


I don’t agree with them, but Catholics and Orthodox see the eucharist in a different way than Protestants and Quakers. You have to be participating in their direct faith community. You have to respect that POV.
But I do agree with the principle of Apostolic Succession, and if you don’t, then you’ve basically just removed all basis to differentiate us and the early heresies. Those churches that are in apostolic succession (like the Nordic Lutheran churches) help establish a continuity of theology that is valuable to the entire church, and such should not be swept aside as simply an impediment to ecumenicalism.



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Eric

posted July 16, 2007 at 2:12 pm


Neuro – Thanks for posting what the Pope actually said. There’s nothing like going to the source to clear confusion up. Bible-believing Protestants, like myself, shouldn’t be offended by what the Pope said.



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Don

posted July 16, 2007 at 2:13 pm


The Vatican statement isn’t just an assertion of their belief that the true Christian church recognizes apostolic succession; it’s that the true church recognizes apostolic succession in fellowship with the bishop of Rome as the recognized head of the Christian church.
This of course is the doctrine of papal primacy.
As many of you know, this statement is basically a reissue of the statements made in 2000 in the document Dominus Iesus, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which at the time was headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the current Pope Benedict XVI. The doctrines underlying this statement are, of course, nothing new, and most of the churches in ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholic church recognize and were not offended by this statement. (Although Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America wrote in response that the statment “does, however, restate known positions in provocative ways,” and that what the Vatican probably meant to clarify may have caused pain. (Bishop Hanson’s statement may be found at http://www.elca.org/bishop/messages/m_070711.html)
Although this is speculative on my part, my guess as to why this doctrine has been reissued might be that cracks are beginning to appear in the doctrine of papal primacy:
-Pope John Paul II’s encyclical in 1995 specifically, and officially for the first time, recognized that the doctrine of primacy itself is a major stumbling block to Christian unity;
-The 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification signed by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation was a major step toward reconciliation over perhaps the biggest issue of the Reformation. What many don’t realize is that the Vatican’s agreeing to the Joint Declaration weakens the doctrine of papal primacy, becuase the basis for the agreement is the Gospel itself and not some assertion of church authority;
-the Eastern Orthodox communities still refuse to recognize papal primacy, yet the Vatican is very interested in reestablishing full communion with the Eastern churches.
-The world at large is wary and weary of top-down authority structures, and that includes Christians.
Regardless of whether this speculation is right or not, it does seem that the Vatican, by issuing this statement now, seems to be in a defensive position.
Peace!



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Don

posted July 16, 2007 at 2:16 pm


I’m not sure why this didn’t come through in my post. The 1995 encyclical of Pope John Paul II I referred to was named Et unum sint.
D



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Don

posted July 16, 2007 at 2:32 pm


The hyperlink to Lutheran Bishop Hanson’s message doesn’t work. The closing parenthesis somehow got included with the hyperlink. Here it is without the parenhesis:
http://www.elca.org/bishop/messages/m_070711.html
D



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Nathan Smart

posted July 16, 2007 at 4:30 pm


I think there’s something interesting about how important the “Church” is in the Catholic faith. It is talked about more than anything else when regarding the authority of Christ.



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Jay Kelly

posted July 16, 2007 at 5:29 pm


Bear market for papal bulls? Brilliant! Warms the heart of a guy who was teaching his 5 year old ticker symbols just yesterday. :)



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NewJerseyKid

posted July 16, 2007 at 8:20 pm


I agree with Neuro and the others who see Catholic doctrine as much more nuanced than even this post would lead one to believe.
Whereas many so-called Bible-based churches would put salvation beyond the reach of a Muslim, Jew, Hindu or Buddhist simply because they have not accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour, the Catholic Church does not have such a hard and fast rule. The catechism of the Catholic Church states:
1260 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.”62 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.
I actually find that view much more generous and easier to live with than the “turn or burn” view taught to me in a conservative, “Bible-believing” church when I was growing up.



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Don

posted July 16, 2007 at 8:38 pm


NewJerseyKid:
I agree with you and I am glad our Catholic brothers and sisters are there to remind us of and encourage us with their deep theological and devotional traditions and wisdom.
I’m also glad my church leaders are committed to ongoing ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox churches, the Mennonites, and many other denominations. Nobody said it would always be easy, and there will certainly be more bumps in the road. But where would any of us be without each other?
peace



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kevin s.

posted July 17, 2007 at 10:42 am


“Whereas many so-called Bible-based churches would put salvation beyond the reach of a Muslim, Jew, Hindu or Buddhist simply because they have not accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour, the Catholic Church does not have such a hard and fast rule.”
I’m not sure that what you cite backs this up. There is a difference between being entirely ignorant of Christ and outright rejecting him, as (for example) practicing Hindus do. Either way, to the extent that Catholicism teaches that other religious beliefs are equally the path to salvation, that is absolutely out of line with scripture.



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Anna S

posted July 17, 2007 at 12:31 pm


“Dictating positions down-from-on-high works about as well in religion as it does in President Bush’s defense of his war policy. In an age of new media and a “flattening world,” opinion will be changed from the grassroots level by convincing thoughtful people that you’re worth listening to.”
Digs at GW aside, I think that this statement reflects a very Protestant outlook on religious progress. The Catholic church has, in fact, found that a top-down method of determining doctrine has worked remarkably well for a very long time. While there are small ‘grassroots’ movements in Catholicism, the largest denomination in the world is still strictly controlled by a hierarchy of Pope, cardinals, archbishops, etc. that settle questions of theologial importance. While Protestant denominations might be controlled by elected officials and by votes of convention delegates, the Catholic church is most certainly not, and it’s a system that has worked well for them. It’s the main reason why Catholic doctrine has remained reasonably consistant over a period of millenia, while many Protestant denominations have shifted quite strongly from their original doctrines over a much shorter lifespan.
The Church’s operating principles may not reflect much about democracy, but I think that most confirmed Catholics enter the religion knowing that the Church is not a democracy. In an atmosphere where people accept that, I’m not sure that grassroots-type movements are as important as you want to make them out to be.



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JerseyKid

posted July 17, 2007 at 1:13 pm


Either way, to the extent that Catholicism teaches that other religious beliefs are equally the path to salvation, that is absolutely out of line with scripture. kevin s
I guess that that would matter only to the extent that you accept the sola scriptura framework for determining doctrine. I don’t.



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Don

posted July 17, 2007 at 1:31 pm


“Either way, to the extent that Catholicism teaches that other religious beliefs are equally the path to salvation, that is absolutely out of line with scripture.”
The Scriptures teach that Christ is the way of salvation in that salvation is offered to all humanity through the work of Christ.
The Catholic Church is not teaching that other religions “are equally the path to salvation.” Reread the section of the Catechism quoted above (emphasis mine):
“Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.”
“Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.”
Gender-biased language aside, this statement is not arguing that any believer of any religion can be saved or that all religions offer an equal path to salvation. It is saying that those who seek the truth and who obey God to the extent the can according to what they know, can be saved. That’s not the same thing.
I assume you probably have already read it, but you might want to re-read CS Lewis’ The Last Battle. Although fiction, Lewis describes the salvation of the Calorman Emeth, who is taken in by Aslan despite his devotion to the Calormen demon god Tash. Emeth’s account of his devotion is precisely in line with what the Catechism is saying here.
Peace,



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PJ

posted July 17, 2007 at 2:16 pm


But in this stance, the Roman Catholic magisterium seems increasingly out-of-step with the Catholics that I know.

Tony my dear, don’t you think that at least you could have added “or is it vice versa?”

Far be it from me to suggest Catholicism is correct. I am not doing so. In fact I think Catholicism is wrong. But to suggest that because the Pope is trying to correct a drift away from doctrine that it is necessarily him who is out of step is a little… narrow minded don’t you think?



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neuro_nurse

posted July 17, 2007 at 2:28 pm


“There is a difference between being entirely ignorant of Christ and outright rejecting him, as (for example) practicing Hindus do.”
That is what the Church teaches.
Either way, to the extent that Catholicism teaches that other religious beliefs are equally the path to salvation, that is absolutely out of line with scripture.”
That is not what the Church teaches.
“This truth of faith does not lessen the sincere respect which the Church has for the religions of the world, but at the same time, it rules out, in a radical way, that mentality of indifferentism “characterized by a religious relativism which leads to the belief that ‘one religion is as good as another.”
Dominus Iesus, http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000806_dominus-iesus_en.html
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
The Church and non-Christians
839
“Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways.”
The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People:
When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People, “the first to hear the Word of God.” The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God’s revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews “belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ”; “for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.”
840
And when one considers the future, God’s People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.
841
The Church’s relationship with the Muslims:
“The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”
842
The Church’s bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:
All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . . .
843
The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as “a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.”
844
In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:
Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.
845
To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.
“Outside the Church there is no salvation”
846
How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.
847
This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:
Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation.
848
“Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”
http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt1sect2chpt3art9p3.htm



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kevin s.

posted July 17, 2007 at 2:32 pm


“Gender-biased language aside, this statement is not arguing that any believer of any religion can be saved or that all religions offer an equal path to salvation. It is saying that those who seek the truth and who obey God to the extent the can according to what they know, can be saved. That’s not the same thing.”
I agree with your interpretation.
“I guess that that would matter only to the extent that you accept the sola scriptura framework for determining doctrine. I don’t.”
Well, it matters reagrdless of what you believe. From which framework do you determine doctrine?
The question of whether Catholic leadership is out of step with Catholics only matters if what Catholic leadership is espousing isn’t true. If you believe, as Tony Jones does, that it is false, it seems entirely relevant to note that there are Catholics who have rejected false teaching.
If they are correct, then the question of whether they are in step with their membership is moot, though it raises interesting questions of why Catholics (often functional protestants or atheists) continue to identify with the religion.



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Joe

posted July 17, 2007 at 2:51 pm


I quite honestly expected a more thoughtful post from such a well-regarded and thoughtful contributor. First, the post shows little understanding or sensitivity to what is meant by “particular churches” and why the particular churches that have valid orders might be ones, but the local baptist congregation is not one. It is very simply because local churches (in Catholic/Orthodox ecclesiology) posses everything that is proper to the Church, but the baptist congregation lacks something essential. Baptists, Presbyterians, or any other type of Protestants “don’t go to ‘church’ on Sunday” because only elements of the sanctification and truth are present, but still others are lacking that are necessary for a “particular church” properly speaking. Furthermore, there seems to be some question about the necessity of this document. It seems to me that it principally results from a very real controversy in Catholic theology over the meaning of the word “subsists” in the Vatican II document “Lumen Gentium” rather than any compulsion to remind Protestants that they lack the fullness of Christian faith and life.
Honestly though, I am more disappointed by the understanding of ecumenism that is implied here. As a Catholic, I believe are differences with Protestants are important. I mainly believe this because I want to respect a Protestant’s freedom of conscience. I believe Protestantism to be significantly in error, but I believe our differences of doctrine and practice are important and meaningful to many people of goodwill. I want to come to a dialog with my Protestant brothers and sisters without holding back what I truly believe and with the expectation that my Protestant dialog partners will not hold back what they believe either. That is why I think the recent document is so important for the clarification of our thought and dialog. I really would hate to come to a dialog where my beliefs or the teaching of the Catholic Church were not shared or welcomed in their entirety. We take no pleasure in the fact that the Church of Christ is divided, but we do know that division will only be overcome by honest, but sometimes hard and uncomfortable dialog.



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 17, 2007 at 4:08 pm


I really would hate to come to a dialog where my beliefs or the teaching of the Catholic Church were not shared or welcomed in their entirety.
From the Protestant side, I will consider the matter addressed when I can take communion in a Catholic church without having to be re-baptized. I’m a cradle Presbyterian but I can commune in practically any other Protestant church, no questions asked, and I do enjoy exploring other traditions from time to time. To me, the issue is not “can we accept Catholics?” but “can Catholics accept us?”.



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Linda

posted July 17, 2007 at 4:14 pm


Jesse: I have a huge problem with anyone who takes exception to anyone being served communion (the Eucharist) in any church in any location anywhere at any time. The Lord said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” That’s all the invitation any of us needs! I can walk into my kitchen if I desire, pour a glass of juice or wine, break a piece of bread, and in a spirit of worship and obedience, drink the wine and eat the bread, and have communed with the Lord, all the time remembering what he has done and continues to do for all of us.
Participating in the Sacrament of the Eucharist as a non-Catholic is “profoundly direspectful”?! I don’t think the Lord would think so.
Linda



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kevin s.

posted July 17, 2007 at 5:02 pm


I agree with Linda. The notion that anyone should be offended simply because someone partakes in an act of communion with Christ is absurd. At our church, non-Christians may take communion, and it doesn’t offend me in the slightest. It obviously isn’t authentic communion for them, but there is no reason for me to take issue with it.



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Annie (UK)

posted July 17, 2007 at 5:11 pm


“I’m not sure that what you cite backs this up. There is a difference between being entirely ignorant of Christ and outright rejecting him, as (for example) practicing Hindus do. Either way, to the extent that Catholicism teaches that other religious beliefs are equally the path to salvation, that is absolutely out of line with scripture.”
Most Hindus I know don’t reject Christ outright. While they don’t accept or perhaps understand the atonement they usually regard Jesus as another manifestation of the Divine on a par with Krishna, Vishnu, Brahma etc . Most Hindus have a profound respect for Christ…..it’s his followers (us) they have the problem with especially in India where Christians were historically assosciated with the colonial repression of the Hindu, Sikh and Muslim masses or in South Africa where most Christians supported apartheid. Philip Yancey in his book “Soul Survivor” writes very movingly how the great Hindu Mahatma Gandhi actually followed the teachings of Jesus far more closely than most Christians ever manage to do.



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neuro_nurse

posted July 17, 2007 at 5:15 pm


The exclusion from participating in the Eucharist is a bone of contention between my wife and me.
For Catholics, the meaning of the Eucharist is much deeper than ‘remembrance,’ and it is one of the reasons I returned to the Church.
Catholics believe that the Eucharist is the real presence of Christ; Protestants do not share this belief.
While I can certainly understand Protestants’ offense at their exclusion, let me ask this:
Would your church baptize someone who did not believe that Jesus is the Son of God and our savior? Would you baptize someone for whom baptism has no meaning other than getting wet?
Peace!



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Don

posted July 17, 2007 at 5:35 pm


Neuro_nurse:
Lutherans very definitely believe that the real presence of Christ is with us in the bread and wine. Luther himself insisted on it and took issue with other Reformation Christians who denied it (e.g., Zwingli). The Lutheran confessional writings insist on it:
“Of the Supper of the Lord they [i.e., the Lutheran churches] teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, and are distributed to those who eat the Supper of the Lord; and they reject those that teach otherwise.”–Augsburg Confession, Article X
We just have a somewhat different understanding of what that means in regard to the elements themselves than Catholics do.
Anglicans also believe in the Real Presence, as do, of course, all Orthodox communities.
Peace,



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JerseyKid

posted July 17, 2007 at 6:02 pm


“Well, it matters reagrdless of what you believe. From which framework do you determine doctrine?”
Faith, tradition, the scriptures, the Holy Spirit and reason.
I have a question for you. In view of the Paul’s strong wording about taking communion in the wrong state of mind, why would your church allow non believers to partake? Please note that I don’t have a problem per se with you church doing that if it so chooses but how does that practice jive with “sola scriptura”? Then my question becomes- from what framework do you determine doctrine?



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neuro_nurse

posted July 17, 2007 at 6:02 pm


Don,
Thanks, I’ve appreciated your posts on this thread.
Regarding Anglicans; I recently began volunteering in a mobile medical mission with one of the Episcopal churches in New Orleans. I had never been in an Episcopal church, and was surprised by the similarity between the iconography and artwork that I saw in the Episcopal church and Catholic churches.
From the Episcopal Church website: “The presence of Christ in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The 1991 statement of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission notes, “The elements are not mere signs; Christ’s body and blood become really present and are really given. But they are really present and given in order that, receiving them, believers may be united in communion with Christ the Lord.” http://www.episcopalchurch.org/19625_15164_ENG_HTM.htm
Regarding the Orthodox Churches, the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church authority, [Eucharistic intercommunion] is not merely possible but is encouraged.” http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/pt2sect2chpt1art3.htm#iii
I guess my explanation was short of the target, but I really don’t want to go into trying to discuss transubstantiation!
Peace



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kevin s.

posted July 17, 2007 at 6:04 pm


I should have clarified the rejection of Christ’s gift of grace and authority. Yes, a number of other religions look upon Christ with some measure of reverance.



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Don

posted July 17, 2007 at 6:49 pm


Neuro_nurse:
Lutherans would agree with the Episcopal statement you cited.
I have often attended Catholic masses, and I usually have no trouble following along with the liturgy. You would probably have no problem participating in a typical Lutehran or Anglican service.
Although our sanctuary lacks iconography (we have banners), I have been in churches that do have elaborate paintings and icons. (Of course, what are stained glass windows, after all, if they aren’t icons?)
Oh, by the way, closed Communion isn’t exclusively a Catholic practice. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod practices closed Communion. That includes refusing to serve Communion even to Lutherans of other denominations. A retired Lutheran pastor I know has a son who is a professor at a Missouri Synod seminary. When he visits his son’s, he cannot take Communion!
I personally think that’s legalism, but it’s evidence of the seriousness with which we take the doctrine of the real presence.
Peace,



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 17, 2007 at 9:37 pm


The notion that anyone should be offended simply because someone partakes in an act of communion with Christ is absurd. At our church, non-Christians may take communion, and it doesn’t offend me in the slightest. It obviously isn’t authentic communion for them, but there is no reason for me to take issue with it.
In my CMA church it would be a bone of contention, and in fact our pastor expressly tells people that “if you’re not a follower of Christ, just let it pass by and no one will say anything.” He calls it “the believers’ covenant meal.”
Would your church baptize someone who did not believe that Jesus is the Son of God and our savior? Would you baptize someone for whom baptism has no meaning other than getting wet?
Another issue entirely — because in the Episcopal churches I’ve attended communion is open to “all baptized Christians.”
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod practices closed Communion. That includes refusing to serve Communion even to Lutherans of other denominations. A retired Lutheran pastor I know has a son who is a professor at a Missouri Synod seminary. When he visits his son’s, he cannot take Communion!
That’s not entirely true — I once dated a woman who grew up in the LCMS, and when I visited her before we became a couple she said I could possibly take communion if I met with the pastor beforehand. Of course, she left before that became an issue.



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neuro_nurse

posted July 17, 2007 at 9:55 pm


“Another issue entirely — because in the Episcopal churches I’ve attended communion is open to “all baptized Christians.”
The point of my question is more relative to your first statement.
Protestant do not have the same beliefs about the Eucharist that Catholics do, that’s why Protestants may not take communion at Catholic celebration of the Eucharist.



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kevin s.

posted July 17, 2007 at 11:40 pm


“I have a question for you. In view of the Paul’s strong wording about taking communion in the wrong state of mind, why would your church allow non believers to partake?”
I would not expect Paul to exalt the taking of communion in the wrong state of mind. You could say the same thing about prayer. Instead of refusing communion to attendees, we encourage them to adopt the right state of mind with respect to Christ.
I respect those who deny communion to non-believers out of concern for their soul. However, taking offense (as many do) to non-Catholics taking communion is ridiculous. It is not our place to be offended.
Sola Scriptura does not forbid the use of reason or common sense when interpreting the scripture. It does forbid the use of same to deny Biblical truth, which is a different matter entirely.



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JerseyKid

posted July 18, 2007 at 1:01 am


Sola Scriptura does not forbid the use of reason or common sense when interpreting the scripture. It does forbid the use of same to deny Biblical truth, which is a different matter entirely. Kevin s.
Who decides which interpretation of scripture is the correct one?



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 18, 2007 at 7:46 am


Protestant do not have the same beliefs about the Eucharist that Catholics do, that’s why Protestants may not take communion at Catholic celebration of the Eucharist.
Then, really, something has to give — because Catholics may not commune anyplace else, either.



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Don

posted July 18, 2007 at 8:51 am


Rick Nowlin wrote:
“That’s not entirely true — I once dated a woman who grew up in the LCMS, and when I visited her before we became a couple she said I could possibly take communion if I met with the pastor beforehand. Of course, she left before that became an issue.”
We’re both right, Rick. LCMS’ official policy is that Communion is only open to members of their community. But the pastor always has the discretion to offer communion to a non-member. The usual requirement is some kind of pastoral instruction beforehand. This appears to have been your experieence.
Some individual LCMS congregations, however, are more lax in applying the offical policy than others, and some may even have more-or-less open Communion policies. I have no personal experience, but I have been told that LCMS congregations in the South tend to be much more relaxed in their applying of this policy than their counterparts in the Midwest. As a pastor friend of mine, who grew up LCMS, told me, the policy tends to be more relaxed the farther away from “Mecca” (i.e., St. Louis) one is.
In my own congregation (ELCA), our worship bulletins announce that Communion is offered to all baptized Christians who believe in the Real Presence. And we do have Catholics who attend our services, mostly spouses of members. (Our preschool director is also Catholic, and she attends occasionally.) Some of them do commune, but many do not; the main issue there goes back to apostolic succession (i.e., recognition of holy orders).
D



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Longjohnsilver

posted July 18, 2007 at 8:59 am


“At our church, non-Christians may take communion, and it doesn’t offend me in the slightest. It obviously isn’t authentic communion for them, but there is no reason for me to take issue with it.”
So on the one hand you’re saying that they’re going to burn in hell and on the hand, you’re breaking bread with them. It hardly seems consisten to me.



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 18, 2007 at 10:19 am


So on the one hand you’re saying that they’re going to burn in hell and on the hand, you’re breaking bread with them. It hardly seems consistent to me.
I agree completely, especially in the context in which the “Last Supper” occurs. It is clearly only for “intimates.”



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Rick Nowlin

posted July 18, 2007 at 10:29 am


You know, I truly don’t understand the concept of “apostolic succession” and what it has to do with the legitimacy of the church. I don’t think the Apostles themselves considered that a doctrinal issue, and it assumes that the Holy Spirit works only through certain men in a certain hierarchy.



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Don

posted July 18, 2007 at 12:24 pm


Rick:
Apostolic succession is one of those thorny topics that seems difficult for those in traditons that don’t observe it to understand. I’ll try to do my best. (Please chime in if someone has more information, or if anything I say is inaccurate.)
You are correct that the apostles themselves didn’t hold to it. This is one of those “holy traditions” that grew up after the apostolic age was over. Essentially it’s rooted in the biblical practice of “laying on of hands.” The idea is that the apostles laid hands on their successors, who in turn laid hands on their successors, and so on up to the present age. According to the tradition, it’s a work of the Holy Spirit guaranteeing the continuity of the church through the course of this age. (I’m ignoring for the moment the question of whether this succession indeed is unbroken for two millenia and how one can know one way or the other anyway.)
To others, of course it guarantees nothing substantive; it’s merely a nice tradition. The true apostolic succession, acccording to them, is the preservation of the teachings of the apostles, which isn’t necessarily or exclusively passed from generation to generation through the ceremonial laying on of hands. And they would point out that apostolic succession is no guarantee of preservation of doctrinal truth. Some obviously would point to the crisis in the Anglican Communion over the US Episcopal church’s actions and postitions related to sexuality as evidence that apostolic succession alone is no such guarantee.
For myself, I like the tradition. A biblical outlook would say that the laying on of hands truly is more than just ceremonial. And the Holy Spirit has preserved the church through the years. I don’t think the teaching of apostolic succession asserts that the Holy Spirit works only through the hierarchy, but that the spiritual health of the whole church is enhanced and preserved through this tradition.
The ELCA is moving toward adopting apostolic succession, in part through the Swedish Lutheran church (which has always maintained it) and in part through our fellowship with the Episcopalians.
Peace,



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neuro_nurse

posted July 18, 2007 at 1:45 pm


Thanks Don,
For Catholics, apostolic succession is much more specific. Catholics believe that the papacy has been an unbroken succession from Peter, the rock on which Christ built his Church.
“Just as the office which the Lord confided to Peter alone, as first of the apostles, destined to be transmitted to his successors, is a permanent one, so also endures the office, which the apostles received, of shepherding the Church, a charge destined to be exercised without interruption by the sacred order of bishops.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 862
As I understand it, there are Protestant churches that accept apostolic succession – or at least a form of it. Members of these churches believe that one is not truly baptized unless they are baptized within their church. (I asked my wife if she could think of the names of these churches. She said, incorrectly, “I think they’re called Catholics”)
Seek peace and pursue it.



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kevin s.

posted July 18, 2007 at 1:57 pm


“Who decides which interpretation of scripture is the correct one?”
Nobody. But again, this does not mean that scripture is not the authorative source for wisdom and truth.
“So on the one hand you’re saying that they’re going to burn in hell and on the hand, you’re breaking bread with them. It hardly seems consisten to me.”
I am not in a position to know whether they are going to burn in hell. If they die instantaneously (say, by choking on communion bread) then yes, they will go to hell.
I would add that my church offers communion at our midweek service (for this very reason), which geared for members, though all are welcome to attend. We wouldn’t actively encourage non-Christians to take communion.



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Jerseykid

posted July 18, 2007 at 2:41 pm


“Who decides which interpretation of scripture is the correct one?”
“Nobody. But again, this does not mean that scripture is not the authorative source for wisdom and truth.”
I don’t think that anybody would deny that scripture is both useful and authoritative for wisdom and truth. But if nobody decides which interpretation is the correct one, then how can you say that sola scriptura is the way to arrive at doctrine and truth. Or are you saying that at all?
So now I ask you the question you asked me earlier: From which framework do you determine doctrine?



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Payshun

posted July 18, 2007 at 5:37 pm


For Catholics, apostolic succession is much more specific. Catholics believe that the papacy has been an unbroken succession from Peter, the rock on which Christ built his Church.
That’s true but historically innacurate. The papacy has been bought and sold more than a few times. How many popes were forced or deposed by violence? That’s one of my biggest critiques of the catholic church. I love the religion and find much my recent spirituality found in it but it has a hard time being honest about its weaknessess.
p



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neuro_nurse

posted July 18, 2007 at 6:24 pm


Payshun,
The truth be told, I wrestle with a lot of issues regarding Church doctrine.
The Church’s teachings on social justice are one of the reasons I chose my career path. My understanding of what it means to be a Christian is firmly based in how we treat others (although I can’t say I always live up to my own expectations). Like it or not, my theology is more strongly influenced by the social gospel of the Church than anything else.
There have been many times when I will consult the Catechism before I post a response on a God’s Politics thread and am pleasantly surprised to find that the Church’s teaching on a particular issue is fairly ‘liberal’ in comparison to the opinions expressed by the more conservative God’s Politics readers. Most of the time when I set the Catechism down I think, “I’m glad I’m Catholic.”
I was surprised to find out that there were Republican Catholics!
The aspects of Catholic dogma to which many Protestants object are not central to what being a Catholic means to me, e.g., veneration of Mary, praying to saints, and even the primacy of the Church.
I am married to a Baptist pastor’s daughter who has some serious objections to certain Catholic doctrines. I have some serious reservations about some Protestant doctrines – for many of which there is little agreement between Protestant denominations.
Ultimately, what does it matter? We are committed to Christ. We have different spiritual gifts.
Within each church there are people who dedicate their lives to serving the Lord and there are those who just warm the pews – if they show up at all on Sunday morning.
Seek peace and pursue it.



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kevin s.

posted July 19, 2007 at 12:06 am


“I don’t think that anybody would deny that scripture is both useful and authoritative for wisdom and truth.”
If you agree that it is authoratative, then I do not understand your original point.
“But if nobody decides which interpretation is the correct one, then how can you say that sola scriptura is the way to arrive at doctrine and truth.”
Whether or not man has interpreted correctly, what bearing does this have on truth?
“So now I ask you the question you asked me earlier: From which framework do you determine doctrine?”
Sola Scriptura, as properly understood, hits the mark for me.



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JerseyKid

posted July 19, 2007 at 9:23 am


“If you agree that it is authoratative, then I do not understand your original point.”
Because you are missing the nuance between being “authoritative” and being the ultimate, final, unquestionable authority.
“Whether or not man has interpreted correctly, what bearing does this have on truth? ”
Everything in the world. If you don’t know if it is being interpreted correctly, how do you even know what truth is?
“Sola Scriptura, as properly understood, hits the mark for me.”
It doesn’t for me for the reasons stated above.



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JD

posted July 19, 2007 at 1:20 pm


I am coming in late on this one and I have posted this similar reply on another blog. Some of the quotes are from the blog’s author, which I will credit.
As I read this, and in all fairness, a former Catholic, I respond to my fellow Protestants and appreciate the other comments posted here. Part of this may seem inflammatory, but is not meant to be. It is just truthful, which in today’s society, full of moral relativism, seems to hurt more than usual. This respnse is about non-Catholics whining about the Pope’s comments:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
There is a great deal of whining about the pope’s comments and the majority of it stems from the media’s slant regarding the pronouncement that focuses on division rather than unity.
A great deal of whining also stems from the majority of protestants not really understanding the roots of their current denomination(this includes all evangelicals, non-denominationalists, and orthodox alike).
To put it bluntly, we (Protestants) need to get it in our heads, whether we like it or not, whether we agree with it or not, that the Catholic church is the only Christian denomination that can trace its historical roots back to Christ. Every other Christian denomination either rose up out of the heretical sects in the early church or came about after the Protestant reformation. Again, we (Protestants) can believe what we want to believe, but truth is truth whether someone finds it to be so or not.
With that, where do we go from here? As Allen Bevere stated, focus on what was said not what was implied: “Benedict claims what the Catholic, Orthodox, and many Protestant Churches have always claimed: the church is the only vehicle of salvation.” Furthermore, many Christians today seems to forget the thousands of years of history that brought them to the very point at which we all are today. A crossroads. Allan adds, “Pope Benedict is not simply making a pointless declaration; he is getting at the heart of who we are as Christians. Soteriology, ecclesiology, and christology all go together. One cannot be understood without the others. Whatever its points of contention with Protestants, Dominus Iesus is a theologically rich document. Will Protestants now enter into the discussion in a way that is theologically competent and profound, or will we simply whine that we have been offended?”
I hope that we (Protestants) can stop the whining and look at this as a challenge for all Christians, and live up to Christ’s prayer for His church:
“‘I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
‘Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.’”
John 17: 20-26 (NKJV)
Until all Christians, put aside our petty differences about who is right and who is wrong and wasting time arguing about which tradition is correct and which is blasphemy, and focus on the truth of Christ, we will never be able to live up to Christ’s prayer of unity. Martin Luther never really wanted what we have today, why should Christians, that love Christ as Luther did, want it either?
PAX
JD



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Andrew

posted July 23, 2007 at 12:19 am


I’m not sure if this has been stated above already but as one who currently lives as a protestant (a Baptist, no less) in a Roman Catholic intentional community that shares a close relationship with another Roman Catholic “ecclesial community” a mile away, I feel I need to ask whether Tony knows that, for Catholics, an ecclesial community is an extension of the “One True Church.” The baptist Christians who nurtured my faith are certainly considered by Catholic doctrine to be Christians. The only thing in question from the Pope’s perspective is their reputations as “in full communion with the whole church.” Baptist, presbyterian, episcopalian, & reformed churches are considered to be communal/ecclesial extensions of the one true church and thus are not “excluded” from full Catholicity but enjoy a parallel (although possibly partially removed) status with regard to loyalty to and full communion with Rome. It seems that Tony, in an attempt at humor and controversy, has neglected historical/theological scholarship in favor of the sarcastic voice of a fleeting provocateur.



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Jason

posted July 24, 2007 at 9:34 am


Benedict 16 has shown a clear interest in reviving Catholicism, particularly in Europe, since the beginning of his papacy. That’s mostly what the speech in Regensberg dealt with (though it was hidden behind the controversy of his annecdote involving Islam). The CDF’s document cannot be separated from the larger context of his papacy and its direction. It came in a series of documents which included B16′s “Letter to Catholics in China” and “In the form of ‘Motu Proprio’ Summorum Pontificorum,” in which he made the Latin mass easier to be celebrated.
Historical continuity is a key issue in all of these documents. Regarding China, B16 expressed how much he desired the Chinese bishops to be in direct communion with Rome, in the line of apostolic succession. Regarding the Latin mass, the appropriation of Vatican II is a central issue, as it is in the CDF’s document.
We ecumenically minded Protestants read V2′s “Church as the people of God” and ran with it. In relation to non-Catholic Christians, Vatican II’s “separated brethren” is notably absent from the document. Regardless, the appropriation of Vatican 2 is a central issue here, one that hasn’t been addressed in many of the articles and blogs that I have read.
Additionally, who could really follow John Paul II? I think it’s sort of like having U2 as an opening act (not to disrespect the papacy). I think B16 is doing theologically what JP2 did more personally. JPII canonized more people than all other popes combined, travelled more, spoke vociferously against all sorts of global situations.
This document isn’t addressed to Protestants. It’s not primarily an attack. The pope’s concern is primarily for Catholics. I think that is a distinction that needs to be made.
Finally, it was helpful for me to ask myself, “What effect will this have on the relationships I have as a Baptist with those at my Catholic graduate school?” I don’t think much at all. I do think that positive things have come out of the short document already. It was meant to clarify the Church’s identity, and based on the massive amounts of responses, articles, blogs, etc., I think it has made us all grapple with the nature of the Church – though I wish we could have skipped some of the more divisive rhetoric.
Peace



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Peter

posted July 31, 2007 at 1:22 am


I’m curious about how people of faith respond to the following questions…
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?



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Jason

posted August 13, 2007 at 9:07 pm


So the Pope should say it, but not, but go ahead and feel strongly about it but it doesn’t matter because the nice guy down the street who wears the servant collar doesn’t think it’s important and all that’s really important is that everybody get their ideas out there no matter how sound or banal and they can say it any way they want, but not but go ahead and and feel strongly about it.
But don’t.
This Cliff’s notes of Tony’s mind was brought to you by another person worth listening to and should be heard.
Or not.
Jason



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