J Walking

J Walking


Spoiled by John Paul

posted by David Kuo

I have a friend who is pretty much a fundamentalist. She wraps it in intellectual garb but he is a fundamentalist and he knows it. She pretty much believes that the earth is only about 6000 years old. A couple years ago she had a son. She named him John Paul.
It was a bit of a surprise. More of a surprise, for instance, than if I had named my son Bjorn Armando Kuo. Everyone wanted to know why. “Because,” she said, “he is my pope and I love him.”
It didn’t matter to her that he was Catholic, that he venerated the Holy Mother, that he believed in transubstantiation, that he prayed to saints. He was her pope. He was mine too. So too for scores of millions of protestants.
Why? Because we sensed he loved us and in return we loved him. He spoiled us.
That is what makes Pope Benedict’s decree today so hard to take. In saying that Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations are not true churches, the lover has been replaced by the enforcer. It is just so sad.
Does Pope Benedict have every right to clarify church law? Of course. He is the pope. It is his responsibility to clarify mistakes he identifies in his church.
Has he said anything that is fundamentally different from things that have been stated before? No.
My friend Rod Dreher is right – this is not a theological stunner.
It may be worse.
At a time when the Christian church faces extraordinary opportunity and extraordinary peril, it appears the pope has decided to fiddle in matters of minutia.
Why is it necessary to slap protestant demoninations across the face? Why is it necessary to belittle their churches and their history and their love for Christ?
This feels like the equivalent of President Bush commuting v. pardoning Scooter Libby. If the president really believed he was innocent he should have pardoned him. If not, let him serve the sentence justice has delivered.
If the early articles about the decree are accurate – and I have not yet had a chance to read the full text of the decree [I am on a tight deadline and must rely on print reports that I have access to] – it sounds as if the pope believes all non-Catholics are going to hell. If that is true, say so explicitly Make the case that we are bound for the eternal fires. If not, why get bogged down in theological details over something that will simply divide Christians? Why send the world the message that we are more interested in fighting with each other over theological details rather than saving a lost world?
Theology matters of course. Theology matters a lot. But sometimes it matters far less than other times. This, I would suggest, is one of those times. A time when love and grace and mercy and kindness would have been much more powerful than an iron fist. Then again, I’ve been spoiled by John Paul, my first and maybe my only pope.



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Marlene

posted July 10, 2007 at 4:34 pm


I am not surprised by the pronouncements of this pope. It was 1986 in my first year of seminary (a Protestant one) that my Roman Catholic professor (a highly published theologian) railed against Cardinal Ratzinger and his strong-arm methods.
As a Protestant unfamiliar with the inner workings of the Catholic church, I could only take her well-respected word. So, when Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope, I wondered if he would change his ways. Apparently not.



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Patrick

posted July 10, 2007 at 5:08 pm


I grew up Baptist and am now Catholic, so I think I can look at this from both directions.
As usual, media reports show the Pope in the worst possible light. This document uses “church” in a very precise way. His point is that the sacraments, mainly the Eucharist, are what make a church a church. Catholic teaching is very clear that other Christians do many good works and have the same hope of salvation, even though they do not have what we view as the fullness of the faith. That has not changed.
Now why it came out now, I do not know. These things take years to wind their way through the Vatican bureaucracy. I suspect we will get some clarification in the next few days to remedy the way it has been perceived.



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Thinker

posted July 10, 2007 at 5:31 pm


One of the jokes during the time of JPII was that Ratzinger was God’s rotweiller. Many were horrified by his selection but for the most part, he has taken on a pastoral tone and view which is quite different from his original tone while he was still Cardinal Ratzinger. To put a bit of spin on it. He was like the current VP – too scary to contemplate – but hasn’t been so bad. I think this will blow up and be very difficult for him. We’ll see.



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Anonymous

posted July 10, 2007 at 6:13 pm


I think Benedict will get the church he wants – namely, one from which all but the most devoted members have fled.



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Jillian

posted July 10, 2007 at 6:34 pm


I have to admit I don’t see the difference in substance, and not a great one in tone between John Paul II and Benedict XVIII.
The only way the RCC’s various policies, on sexual matters, internal organization, and toward other faith groups, makes any sense in the big picture to me is that its core leadership still believes it has the charge to win- and win completely- the competition of religions and religious organizations across human history.
I used to think that Vatican II meant the end of this long-standing design and internal selfdefinition of being the prevailing and ultimately exclusive vehicle of Christianity and Salvation, the sole religious organization and authority at Christ’s Return, on Earth. But to look over JPII’s record of decisions and pronouncements and voiced expectations (of e.g. Poland), I find it quite obvious that he strongly believed in and did what he could in furtherance of this ancient charge, though he avoided laying out in any clear way. Benedict is considered substantially more radical, which I am not sure he really is- in good part John Paul II could duck charges of radicalism by having then-Cardinal Ratzinger take responsibility for the hard line taken on particular issues.



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Doug

posted July 10, 2007 at 7:08 pm


It’s a puzzling theological position to me. I understand without trusting the scriptural basis for apostolic succession but not for the necessity of acknowledging papal primacy. I guess if I weren’t a wounded Lutheran, I’d get it. Wounded and not very bright, to be more confessional.



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Thinker

posted July 10, 2007 at 7:37 pm


The Documents of Vatican II do speak of church with a new language. Karl Rahner – one of the chief theologians of the time envisaged a church that would be declericalized in the future. The primary metaphors for Church moved – The People of God – Sacrament – a Pilgrim Chuch were three of the words used to describe church that would change the vision of people. Such documents only begin to sink in after 50 years. In the hierarchal nature of things – a council trumps a pope.
Yes, Doug, it is puzzling, – I feel certain there will be attempts to tone it down in the next few days – not the first time such toning down has been necessary.



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Joey

posted July 10, 2007 at 7:51 pm


I’m not sure if I get Mr. Kuo’s point. The B-net home page that brought me here said that “Pope Declares Non-Catholics Aren’t Really Christian.” Mr. Kuo seems to be arguing that it’s more of a bad PR move. While I can see the merits in that latter argument, I can’t agree with the former, because the pope said no such thing—he merely said that the Catholic Church had the “full” truth, while other churches had only part of it. Which of course, is kind of like “duh.” Any clear-thinking person believes that about their faith—Protestants, after all, believe Catholics are misinterpreting the papal role, and thus lack the “whole truth.”
However, Mr. Kuo makes a point about PR. The pope should keep a strict control of his floundering church, but shouldn’t do too much to sacrifice his allies outside it.
God bless.



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canucklehead

posted July 10, 2007 at 9:00 pm


Hey David – the only time the pope makes the news in Canada is when he dies – where is this article you’re all pumped about?



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kmd

posted July 10, 2007 at 9:12 pm


What we would expect from the Pope, no? Isn’t it also the kind of desperate decrees we hear all the time from the leaders of rigid and inflexible institutions facing the beginning of the end of their domination? “WE are the only real _______(fill in the blank) and anyone who disagrees with us is a lesser form of human being.”
The Catholic Church is losing ground with the modern world, so it turns to messages of oppresion, fear, and bigotry to try to scare its remaining members and those in the uneducated parts of the third world into submission. I often wonder what exactly is the attraction to a religion that is so personally invasive and demeaning to it’s members on it’s very tenents. Where exactly does all this fit in with helping us know the true love of Jesus Christ?
Can someone please ship a copy of Martin Luther’s writings to Benedict?



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Patrick

posted July 10, 2007 at 9:40 pm


I’ve now read the actual document everyone is so excited about, and I recommend all of you do the same before further discussion. It’s not very long, and it does NOT say anything even remotely resembling the way it is being characterized by the media. Quite the opposite. Here is an example.
It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.[9] Nevertheless, the word “subsists” can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe… in the “one” Church); and this “one” Church subsists in the Catholic Church.
In regard to salvation:
“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, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church”
In other words, non-Catholic Christian churches and “significance” and “importance” and can be “instruments of salvation.” I think it sounds quite respectful of other churches.
Link to full text:
http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20070629_responsa-quaestiones_en.html



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waterboy

posted July 10, 2007 at 9:46 pm


Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). If Jesus himself stated that He is the truth, then what is the notion of the “full” truth. Also, I hardly see a connection between President Bush’s commutation on Libby and this matter. He (Bush) is only dealing with a very complicated and feisty Congress, and in this troubled world not everything is black and white but mostly gray.



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Daniel

posted July 10, 2007 at 9:59 pm


Mr. Kuo,
The matter is purely internal. Seminaries and Catholic colleges are filled with Catholic theologians who are teaching Catholics error–that their religion is no more true than other sects. It is this misinterpretation of the statement “the church that Christ founded subsists in the Catholic Church”–which was said in Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Council–that the Pope had to correct, since his theologians did not listen after Dominius Iesus. It was issued for the good of the souls of Catholics.



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pagansister

posted July 10, 2007 at 10:22 pm


I’m just curious why any church has to think it is the only church that is correct. The Catholic church, thanks to this pope, is once again making the point of telling everyone that they are the only true church. What happened to respecting all religions? This certainly doesn’t help interdenominational relationships.



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Jo Ann

posted July 10, 2007 at 10:45 pm


Why anyone in the whole wide world would care what this pope or any other pope says is beyond me. The central concept of every religion, christian or whatever, is that it has all the answers and that anyone who doesn’t subscribe to those answers is an infidel and will go to hell. You can try to soften that any way you wish, but that’s the crux. And so those who subscribe to any religion can’t possible live in love, mercy or understanding. That’s not what it’s all about.



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Daniel

posted July 10, 2007 at 11:04 pm


With all due respect, you must read the very short document. There are many things which constitute the Church of Christ–belief in a triune God, belief in Jesus as restorer of humanity, the coming of the Kingdom, etc. The Pope does not deny that many if not a large majority of these constitutive elements exist in Protestant and Orthodox sects. Furthermore, the document does not say that non-Catholics are de iure going to hell. Far from it. Indeed, the document admits salvation could even be abundant in non-Catholic sects. However, Catholic ecclesiology holds that there is an apostolic succession and Eucharist–substantial elements that Protestant sects are missing. This is all the document is saying.
http://212.77.1.245/news_services/bulletin/news/20581.php?index=20581&lang=ge#TESTO%20IN%20LINGUA%20INGLESE
It is very short, please read it if you have any interest in criticizing it.



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Peter

posted July 10, 2007 at 11:24 pm


In the same way that Samaritans said they were superior or equal in religion to Jews, but were told by JESUS that they were in fact of inferior religion – because they were mistaken in it – so too are do protestants have the view that they are superior or equal to Catholics in religion, while really holding to an inferior form of religion.
I once was as anti-catholic as you could get, but realized I was a heretic, as a protestant, and joined the Catholic Church – the only Church. While very mistaken, I know how important it was to me to be a true Christian, but that aspiration didn’t make the places I gathered with like-minded heretics (the high places of the protestants) the only House of GOD. Only the Catholic Church is that House – but many lovely souls are exiles from the true and full Christian heritage, like the Jews that were born in the Babylonian exile.
Come Home, rebellious sons and daughters, and come out of Babylon, where religion was confounded into many contradictory religions, falsely named after the one right aspiration we all hold in common, in aspiring to be Christians.



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Mike

posted July 10, 2007 at 11:26 pm


I think it is just incredible the way the media interpret religious issues, and especially issues relating to the pope. Like the Muslims and the lecture on faith and reason where the pope as reading a letter by some 14th century Byzantine as part of an overall package on this subject, “faith and reason” and multitudes went nuts without even reading what the pope was trying to say.
Same thing here, it seems.
Maybe few really cares about doctrine these days, but all to many care about “them vs us”. That is how the media seems to play things.



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Brian

posted July 11, 2007 at 12:10 am


I’m not a Catholic, but…
I think the Pope has every right to say what he said, and the authority to say it.
In fact, I think if he said anything contrary to it, then it would total destroy the church.
If a Church doesn’t claim that they are the only true Church than what is the point of its existence?
If a Church teaches a particular set of doctrine, and then agrees that the other churches down the street are true too, but different – then what is the point? Go down the street, believe something different and be saved too? Come on. What happend to one church, one baptism?
I’m not Catholic, I don’t believe their doctrine, but I’m glad the Pope said it. I don’t agree with him, but I’m glad. It needs to be said.



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Chuck

posted July 11, 2007 at 12:29 am


The sound that you hear in the sky is all the Protestants in Heaven laughing their heads off.



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Victoria

posted July 11, 2007 at 1:03 am


I give the Pope credit for his passion and conviction in upholding the Catholic Church’s teachings and doctrine. He is doing his job. That is what he should be doing. I don’t want a wishy-washy Pope that will always make the public happy. So what good change can a wishy-washy Pope do in this day in age when no leader truly has convictions? And what should he say then? I don’t think those offended by his comments would be happy either way. You know I almost feel sorry for him because of the media and the judgements placed on him, but I really don’t because I know how fickle the massees are and how Jesus himself was a controversial figure. He may be traditional but he’s what we’ve got and I pray he brings a more peaceful and truthful dialogue to the masses, lest anyone criticizes him. I am currently reading his book “Go is Love” I suggest anyone interested in what the Church finds love is and the love that is shown by God should read it. It’s a bit theolgical as this Pope has a great educational background, nonetheless I have found some profound insights on the nature of God and his love for us.



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Marcello

posted July 11, 2007 at 1:07 am


To David Kuo –
> If the early articles about the decree are accurate -
> and I have not yet had a chance to read the full text of the decree
For crying out loud, David! If you haven’t read the full text of the decree then you shouldn’t be posting gossip about it. The decree is not that long, it shouldn’t take you more than ten minutes to plough through it. If you had read it then you’d know that this comment of yours…
> the pope believes all non-Catholics
> are going to hell.
…is absolutely, clearly, verifiably false. The decree states quite unambiguously:
“the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them (non-Catholic Christian denominations) as instruments of salvation”
So you’ve basically built an entire blog entry around an assumption. And you managed to libel the Pope, spread false rumors about the Church, and piss off the entirety of the Catholic community. Who’s driving a wedge through the denominations now, David?
Bottom line: You screwed up. You owe us an apology.



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Thinker

posted July 11, 2007 at 1:12 am


Read several news accounts before I read the document. Aint that big a deal. It is from Cardinal Levaqua (former Archbishop of San Franscisco) and restates in only slighly more emphatic tersm the words from Lumen Gentium. Got interpreted by the American press to say that anyone who isn’t Catholic isn’t really Christian. checked German, England, press and they were silent . Tempest in a teapot at one level, and a reminder of a certain attitutde that does not encourage ecumenism.
Personally, it seemed to be addressing us Catholics to keep us in the fold., Not too sure this is the way to do it, Even tried to read the Latin – sounded good – couldn’t understand a word – Latin waas too long ago.
The tempest in the teapot over the Muslim scholar several hundred years ago that got the Pope in trouble last fall – it too was explained in such a way that somebody was going to feel upset,. That too was a fairly innocuous statement. I read it then and thought – Why the heck are you reading this out loud – it’ll just be misinterpreted for the people who read the internet. Accuracy isn’t a big issue over at the AP.
Benedict got in trouble when he was in South American – something about excommunicating legislatures who had voted for abortion rights., Well, thaat wasn’t exactly what he said that time either.
Can’t figure out how these speeches and remarks are being releaased. Because we just get the outrageous sound bites., But then, that’s the way this country has learned to operate. Need to demand a bit more from the press it seems.
Are there no journalists other than John Allen from NCR who can report on the pope with accuracy, objectivity and perhaps a bit of historical context to help us all out?



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Warren Anderson

posted July 11, 2007 at 5:23 am


I am a convert to the Catholic Church (21 years and counting!) from the United Church of Canada. The Catholic Church’s claim to authenticity as the one and same Church that Christ founded on Saint Peter (Mt. 16:17-19) has been maintained from the very beginning with consistency and continuity, and confirmed by the Apostolic witness, the testimony of orthodox bishops and the historical record of the orthodox councils. The recent document (“Some Responses…”) is an excellent clarification of the doctrine on the Church. The honest seeker will follow up on the many useful references to other sources in support of the theological position of the current document. The Successor of Peter, the Pope, is obligated by virtue of Christ’s injunction (John 21:15-17) to protect the Church from ideas and practices incompatible with Catholic teaching. To a person with a refined sense of the historical record, this recent document says what the Church has always been saying since its very inception (2 Thess. 2:15). The Church must distinguish herself from ideas that contradict the Apostolic understanding of the Church (Mt. 7:15). In this instant, the CDF has done so with charity and precision. As a protestant, I attended my friends’ Pentecostal, Baptist and Anglican services for years. In addition to the “numerous elements of sanctification and of truth” (Response: Third Question; and originally Lumen Gentium, 8.2.) I experienced in those communities, I can tell you I also heard many times over the usual uncharitable, uninformed and undeserved condemnations of Catholics and the Catholic Church coming from the pulpit. Most often, those condemnations were employed in a holier-than-thou manner to demean Catholics. Ad hominum attacks on Pope Benedict XVI, a faithful Christian with an impeccable character and superb intellect, reflect small minded thinking employed to promote a contrary position while demeaning the character of a devout christian. By contrast, the CDF has stated with respect and conviction the historical position of the Catholic Church (Mt. 5:38-42), while very charitably affirming “that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.” (“Response: Second Question”, and Ut unum sint , 11.3: AAS 87 [1995-II] 928). The CDF has taken issue with specific ideas. The CDF document is saying, without reservation, that the Catholic Church is what it is and always has been since Christ founded her (the Church). Take note, the will of Christ for the Church, too, remains the same as it always has been: ut unum sint (John 17:20-26).



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Rick

posted July 11, 2007 at 7:51 am


I am Catholic, I was told at a young age that no man may judge another, that there will only be one judge and that will be when Christ returns to judge us all. I feel that was not being a true Christian or Catholic by he way the Pope is acting. Why did Pope Benedict say that Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations are not true churches, the lover has been replaced by the enforcer. That is being judgemental and rude to those of those faiths.
I pray to God that he guide our Most Holy Pope and guide him in his daily works, and make him more Christ like.
Peace Be With You All.



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Rett

posted July 11, 2007 at 9:01 am


Silly pope.He’s just desperate with all the Catholics moving away from the church with all the man maid laws.God didn’t come up with all the Catholic laws.They are not the true church.



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NightLad

posted July 11, 2007 at 9:05 am


My mother attended the same medical school as my grandmother, which happened to be a Catholic Hospital/school run through a very good local University.
Neither she nor my Grandmother was Catholic. In fact, many of the people who went to this school were not Catholic.
One of the more funny stories she has recounted to me was the day one of their Nun teachers was away so a priest filled in. He opened the morning’s lesson with the following statement, “Good morning class. Today we are going to talk about hell. Now, on one hand you have your Catholics. One the other hand, you have…those OTHERS.” Apparently most of the class was non-Catholic, and everyone was passing side-long looks and little smiles at each other.
I guess the superiority mentality has always been a part of the RCC – it’s just now they are saying it out loud.



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aaron

posted July 11, 2007 at 9:10 am


Why did Pope Benedict say that Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations are not true churches, the lover has been replaced by the enforcer. That is being judgemental and rude to those of those faiths.
You’re, apparently, in the wrong religion.



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Alicia

posted July 11, 2007 at 9:33 am


If I can just offer, in the spirit of this website, the slogan that my church has adopted regarding evangalism in the 21st Century. It is “Conversation, not Conversion.” I agree with this because I feel the impulse to convert others stems from the desire to justify oneself.
Anyway I have a problem with the whole idea of conversion because I feel it is a psychological condition akin to hysteria, not a mature choice. Perhaps we need to opt for conversation whenever possible, and leave the converting to God.



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Anonymous

posted July 11, 2007 at 9:42 am


Patrick,
You said, “Catholic teaching is very clear that other Christians do many good works and have the same hope of salvation”.
That is a direct contradiction of what Maledict said. He said the other Chuirches do NOT have the path to salvation.



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Anonymous

posted July 11, 2007 at 9:47 am


Many of you have said Ratzi is ‘only doing his job’. NONSENSE! His job isNOT to insult other faiths.
Exactly WHAT about calling other Churches not “true” faiths, or that they do not have a path to salvation is part of his job???
I don’t even think Ratzi is AWARE (he certainly doesn’t seem to care) that he IS being insulting. Sorta like when the RCCInc calls gay people intrinsically disordered.



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Marcello

posted July 11, 2007 at 10:22 am


> That is a direct contradiction of what Maledict said.
> He said the other Chuirches do NOT have the path to salvation.
This is what the decree said:
“the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them (non-Catholic Christian denominations) as instruments of salvation.”
Case closed.



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Jestyrfyl

posted July 11, 2007 at 10:27 am


The best way to say his name is to roll the “Rrrr” and sneer as you enunciate the “At-zinger” What better name for a man who seems more sinister than “Richelieu”. Benny16 is as mean and manipulative as expected. His papacy as been years in the making, as he twisted JP2′s words and used the Office of Orhtodoxy to establish lines of contention. He will surely be laughed away as another hard-core Cult leader. Any sense of compassion, any opportunity for meaning discussion, and any willingness to take a useful role in the world will be cast into a dark, locked closet. Benny16 may yet make his mark in world history – he may be the one to close the shutters, lock the doors, and eleminate the Roman Catholic presence in the world.



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NightLad

posted July 11, 2007 at 10:28 am


Marcello
While I care about as much as this debate as I do about the color of your socks, I should point out that it won’t be won by making one-sentence quotes and then declaring “case closed.” No debate ever is. Clearly is there is a lot more to discuss, and a LOT of hurt Christians; the insensitivity you show is alarming for one who claims to walk with Jesus.
The general tone of your message is coming across like this:” “He said this you idiots. Now, if you are too dumb to get it, shut up.” Is that really how you want to be read? Consider what you write from the readers point of view.
Have a good day.



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Louise

posted July 11, 2007 at 10:29 am


I am SO glad I have had the priveledge to be part of an Interfaith Council that worked for the common good in our community.
Yes, we had our share of “sibling rivaly” and some bigatry, which is why there are 3 Interfaith/Ecuminical Councils.
I found that the more I learned why a denomination says/does what they do, the easier it is for me to respect their point of view. Then I can calmly review the latest press and understand it from several points of view.
And its okay if you dont agree with me.



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Marcello

posted July 11, 2007 at 10:41 am


Nightlad –
If you want to believe gossip, you should feel free to do so. But the statement from the Vatican is clear and unambiguous:
“the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them (non-Catholic Christian denominations) as instruments of salvation.”
Claiming that the decree said anything different is libelous.
– Marcello



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Kathleen

posted July 11, 2007 at 11:08 am


Jesus’s clear message in the New Testament (any version, KJV, NA, NIV etc.) is love one another, even your enemies, even your tax man, the leper, the Samaritan, etc. As someone with one foot in Catholicism (my husband and children are Catholic, my children go to Catholic school, and I attend mass every weekend) and one foot in “other” (I was raised Lutheran and still pretty much believe in what Luther tried to do–change the abuses the Catholic church was, and still is, guilty of). There honestly isn’t much difference in going to mass and to a lutheran service, except for the fact that I cannot take communion at the CC. No, the Pope didn’t say to hate others, but his message is not necessarily one of love and acceptance either. I think I get what Mr. Kuo is saying; Pope John Paul was much more loving in his message and people are looking for a big, friendly teddy bear to love them! However, that is not what the head of the Catholic Church is all about. He is not Jesus, not God, he is an ordinary human (in my opinion)who is a flawed human being and subject to all the impulsiveness and folly of the rest of us. To many non-Catholics, (Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Baptists, etc.) he isn’t the head of their church, so what he says shouldn’t matter. As a Lutheran, who does say the Apostle Creed and believes it, this is a problem. We (Lutherans as well as other credal faiths)are supposed to acknowledge the Catholic Church and the Pope, because we are hoping to one day reunite with the church, a repaired church without all the abuses and problems. With a Pope like this, forget it! He is clearly not interested in that and is clearly a highly conservative Catholic–suitable for his position. We all need to pray. All the time.



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David Gray

posted July 11, 2007 at 11:16 am


We were concerned today when Pope Benedict XVI asserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church stating that other Christian denominations were not true churches and do not have the “means of salvation.”
Theologically, we don’t find in the Bible how apostolic succession gets us to Heaven. To us as Christians, God’s grace through our faith in Christ does.
However, what really troubles us about the statement is that at a time when interfaith dialogue is so important and when relationships within faiths (see Sunnis and Shiites) are so critical, the Pope’s statement is a step back. The timing of criticizing other Christian faiths erects barriers between people at a time when we need to find common ground within religions and between people of different faiths.



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Jay Masters

posted July 11, 2007 at 12:13 pm


In Iraq, Sunnis blow up Shias, and Shias blow up Sunnis in their own version of divergent beliefs on apostolic succession in Islam.
One of the problems in any discussion is that when you insist you are absolutely right and everybody else is absolutely wrong, there can be no agreement, or reconciliation. That is what the Pope does here and by doing so now he increases the tension between people of the same faith.
We live in a fragile planet with many means of our own mutual destruction. In such a scenario further estrangement is more than counter productive, it is dangerous.
Who would argue in a burning house, rather than joining to put out the fire?
I can claim no superior knowledge through apostolic succession but I firmly believe this is not the course the Prince of Peace would take.



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elemgee

posted July 11, 2007 at 12:15 pm


So, let me get this straight.
Jesus Christ told us that he is the way to God– which I interpret to mean what he said, taught, and did while on this earth is what it takes to know and love God, and to live a life that matters. The tiny amount of information we can use to acertain his words is enough for a lifetime of reflection, practice, consideration. We really don’t need any pagan rituals or conduits to get to God–we have a personal, one on one relationship with him.
He didn’t say the Pope, or Jim Jones, or George W. Bush are the ones to worship. He said HE is.
Churches are created, institutionalized, doctrinated, managed by man.
Man is known to be easily flawed, to flatter himself with delusions that he alone has the inside message from God, likes money and power and will do almost anything to maintain his control over that position once he’s in it. Man has been known to pretend to be holy in order to get his way with others, to trick others into handing him riches or power over their lives. It takes incredible humility to be a religious leader because of the temptations described above, and humility doesn’t include declaring you are superior to others.
Catholic Church doctrine over the years has included forcing people to pay religious leaders for their salvation, torturing innocent people it suspected were heretical, and allowing grown men to sexually assault children for years while providing refuge for them.
So, I’m supposed to take it seriously when the latest, power-hungry leader of the Catholic Church declares non-Catholic Christians inferior? The Church is a man-made institution, and when people put their faith in a man-made institution, they get man-made problems as a result.



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Alicia

posted July 11, 2007 at 12:22 pm


For me, the Pope’s statement, while it clearly seems to be what he believes, smacks of the kind of religious triumphalism that I have come to despise. It seems to be human nature to justify ourselves by making other people wrong, but it is an ugly part of human nature, and I would have hoped for better from this pope. JPII was cut from a different cloth, even if he was equally conservative.



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canucklehead

posted July 11, 2007 at 12:40 pm


I’m “it” and you’re not! Na-na-na-na-na.
Didn’t we play this game as kids in the sandbox?
Is it any wonder so many people don’t give a rat petootie about organized religion?



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Mary

posted July 11, 2007 at 12:57 pm


Is it possible that somebody could tell me what the Holy Father’s Decree actually stated? (I don’t get out much)… and I don’t quite understand what the whole “thing” is about just by reading the comments that have been promoted to my sight here on Beliefnet…
Thanks and God Bless to those who can and furhter more DO help…



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Bishop Richard Palmer

posted July 11, 2007 at 1:24 pm


Catholicism is a carefully constructed understanding of the Christian religion, beyond any doubt, but Roman Catholicism is a construction only partially in tune with Catholicism as such. The essence and beauty of Catholicism has nothing whatever to do with pedantic pronouncements, often aimed at inflaming the good intentions of any individual or community on the path towards the light, or seeking to create an exclusive organisation to serve its own purposes. The Cosmos,in all its myriad patterns of life, does not recognise any validity in such endeavours from any community of individuals committed to being an end in itself. Such is at the heart of Roman Catholicism. CATHOLICISM is a liberating, inclusive, open door to the wider dimensions of existence, with the sacraments being the channels through which the Divine mediates the REAL PRESENCE to the world of form and illusion. http://www.reformedlcc.org



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Patrick

posted July 11, 2007 at 1:44 pm


I posted this link to the document in question last night, but people are obviously not reading it.
http://212.77.1.245/news_services/bulletin/news/20581.php?index=20581&lang=ge#TESTO%20IN%20LINGUA%20INGLESE
If you are going to criticize something, at least have the honesty to actually READ it first. It’s not very long. When you find the part where it says non-Catholics are not saved, please quote it here. I’ll be waiting…
Incidentally, it is not “the Pope’s statement.” It comes from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a Vatican agency. The Pope approved it, as he does most everything the Vatican issues, but the words are not his.



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pagansister

posted July 11, 2007 at 1:47 pm


As a “non-believer” , I really am not upset by Ben’s feelings of “righteousness” as the head of THE CHURCH. However I find any organized religion’s need to boast about how they are THE church just plain ridiculous. If everyone belonged to the same religion (all Catholic, all Jewish, all Hindu, all Muslim etc.) this planet would be totally boring. Folks migrate to whatever religion that fills the need they have. Or, they follow no religion which means that they are (in my case) more interested in the here and now and not trying to live to get into a make-believe- afterlife or worry about an all seeing divine being watching me or having me “serve” them.
If everyone was of the same faith, we’d still not get along on this planet. Organized religions can’t get along among themselves…many have 2 branches of the same religion.
Organized religion has caused a lot of problems for centuries, causing wars, trying by force to “convert” the heathens. Why can’t folks just live and let live, and not worry if their neighbor doesn’t belong to THE CHURCH.



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Paul

posted July 11, 2007 at 1:52 pm


I truly never understood the gush of love and support that JPII got when he was Pope. I thought that, as Popes go, the RC church could not get much worse. That was, of course, until the church hierarchy put their version of Carl Rove into office. Let this latest pope belittle everyone who is not male, RC, and heterosexual, as did his boss before him. He will have to answer to God.



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Patrick

posted July 11, 2007 at 1:57 pm


Catholic Church doctrine over the years has included forcing people to pay religious leaders for their salvation, torturing innocent people it suspected were heretical, and allowing grown men to sexually assault children for years while providing refuge for them.
“Catholic Church doctrine” does not now and never has included these things. Yes, individuals within the church have committed many evil acts over the centuries. That does not mean that the Church, as an institution, condoned them.
Does the fact that Ted Haggard used drugs, visited a gay prostitute, and was unfaithful to his wife mean that his church approved of all those things? No, of course not. Yet this is exactly the kind of logic that people use against the Catholic Church.



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Jestyrfyl

posted July 11, 2007 at 2:00 pm


Paul, you make an interesting assumption – that is that Benny16 is heterosexual. By choice, I suppose, the pope, as with all priests of the RC Church are asexual – which might be understood to mean without sexual preference or interest. So any declarations about sexuality are by someone who is not involved. It makes the statements far less interesting or meaningful. Of course, this ia only an assumption.



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Anonymous

posted July 11, 2007 at 2:35 pm


Hmmm…
“stating that other Christian denominations were not true churches and do not have the “means of salvation.”
Seems like the “case” isn’t so “closed” after all.



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Jim

posted July 11, 2007 at 2:54 pm


As an evangelical Christian and ex-Catholic I initially had some pretty strong feelings when I first heard about the Pope’s remarks. I have taken the time to download and read the remarks released through the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. My observations:
1. The media is sensationalizing this. Controversy always makes for a more interesting story and attracts more readers, listners or viewers.
2. The Pope does say the Catholic Church is the “one” true church. “Christ ‘established here on earth’ only one Church…This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him.”
3. The Pope does acknowledge that God may be at work through non-Catholic churches, the restates the Catholic Church is the “one” true church. “It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth present in them. Nevertheless, the word ‘subsists’ can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe in the ‘one’ Church); and this ‘one’ Church subsists in the Catholic Church.”
4. The Pope does state that other churches/denominations “suffer from defects.” “It follows that these separated churches and Communities, thogh we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation.”
What the Q&A with the Pope communicates to me is: He believes the Catholic Church is the true church and all other churches “subsist” (continue to live) within the Catholic Church. Personally, I don’t agree with this. I believe all followers of Jesus Christ subsist in Him, not in an earthly institution. Not the Catholic, the Methodist, Baptist or any denomination or even the smallest independent church. There is one church, the worldwide body of Christ, led by Christ alone.
Unfortunately, I think all of this is going to do more to divide the church than to unify us. Who benefits from this division? Only the enemy of Christ.
Jim



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Anonymous

posted July 11, 2007 at 2:56 pm


From elsewhere on B’net…
“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.”
Not “true” Churches”~
Lacking the “means of salvation”.
Good thing the Holy Spirit decided to ignore Ratzi’s directives, eh?



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pagansister

posted July 11, 2007 at 3:06 pm


jestrfyl: The pope(and priests) being asexual has never occured to me. Have always wondered how priests were supposed to be able to give advice to couples on matters concerning marriage when they have never participated in that sacrament personally.(except to perform the marriage ceremony).



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Patrick Igo

posted July 11, 2007 at 3:07 pm


I really don’t care what he says. He is the Pope….not, God.
Further, I do not even think he is a very good Pope.



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Anonymous

posted July 11, 2007 at 3:09 pm


It just comes across as the “Nearer to God than thee” school of ‘thought’ of the RRR. Instead of bene-dictum, it sounds like so much male-dictum.
Of course Ratzinger doesn’t care 2 hoots how much he offends others. It’s his modus operandi.



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Elizabeth

posted July 11, 2007 at 3:10 pm


David,
I’m very disappointed with you – you proferred your opinion, stated falsehoods and obviously did not read the Document beforehand. An ethical person would do their homework first, learn the truth and then proffer an opinion.
Your claim that the Pope said that Protestants will go to hell is nothing but sensationalism hype by you. He most certainly DID NOT say any such thing!
From the Document: “the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them (non-Catholic Christian denominations) as instruments of salvation.”
You at the very least, owe Catholics and all an apology for printing the wrong information and thereby doing your own part to alienate us all.



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gladys

posted July 11, 2007 at 3:17 pm


The lord is my savior… He is my one and only father. I am a Christian. My denomination is Assembly of God. I was raised a strict Catholic, and also attended a Catholic School. Comments like these were not even thought of, or at least spoken of. Regardless of an individuals denomination, the Lord loves us all just the same.



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Doug

posted July 11, 2007 at 3:34 pm


Good chrome! Magnificent dialog. Go team!



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Eriq

posted July 11, 2007 at 4:11 pm


Who keeps posting a Latin-language document and criticizes everyone for not reading it?



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Thinker

posted July 11, 2007 at 4:24 pm


This news bit was constructed to create rancor. “The Pope says” – a statement is taken out of context (and I must admit I was one of the first to bite) Patrick repeatedly asked us to read the document – which I did and then spent the evening reading Lumen Gentium once again. Theology is a language of art and nuance connected to the experience and collective wisdom of those who seek God – intellectually, in transcendance, emotionally. I am a Catholic because I find its wisdom to tell me the most truth about a God in relationship with humanity, the incarnation of God and the action of the Spirit in people who -like me – seek truth. Dare I paraphrase – I’ll get it wrong. The Pope who heads the Catholic community says that the Catholic Church contains the purest deposit of truth and that other churches – all of which contain truth – but not to the degree that the Church claims. The document does not deny the Christianity of anyone who follows Christ. If I was a Southern Baptist, I would probably be connected to that community because I believed that tradition came closest to the great truth we all week. If I was Calvinist – same thing. I am learning to always distrust what the culture and press tell me about any religion. Scholars go to original sources and perhaps study the commentary. Gotta remember to do that.



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Patrick

posted July 11, 2007 at 4:50 pm


Eriq, scroll down about halfway through the page I linked and you’ll get to the English version. The page contains translations in several languages.
That’s part of the problem here, incidentally. As Thinker says, theology is all art and nuance, and it’s hard to keep the intended message consistent across different languages.



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Rev. Judy

posted July 11, 2007 at 5:02 pm


This hullaballoo is ironic to me, because I was raised in a small fundamentalist Christian church that taught that they were the one and only “true Church” and all the people in all other churches, especially including the Catholic Church, were going to hell. This church even believed that other churches in the same denomination were going to hell if they didn’t have exactly the same doctrine and practices as this tiny sect who thought they were the only ones.
They had me so scared of Catholics as a small child,that I thought the nuns and priests were black ghosts or devils. As I grew up, I studied myself out of that hate-filled church and found the United Methodist Church, which was one of the first denominations that allowed women to follow the call of God to ministry. The fundamentalist church made me think that God made me a woman and then hated me for it. I am so grateful to find freedom from discriminating and hate-filled religion.
Jesus said in the New Testament that we can know who are his “true” followers by the ones who keep his commandments, and that “by their fruits — the fruit of the Spirit — we would know His followers. So let the pope say what he believes, it is no threat to those of us who see all people as God’s children, including the pope, who may think he is better than everyone else. Jesus said to love our enemies and to do good to them. That’s enough for me to work on without criticizing what other people are doing.
God bless us all — no exceptions.



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artemis01

posted July 11, 2007 at 5:25 pm


Oh, good heavens. If you were gay, you would never have made the mistake of believing that John Paul or Benedict or any Pope loves you.
It’s just more of the same. Here’s my advice: ignore it.



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Del Allan

posted July 11, 2007 at 7:08 pm


David:
I’m surprised that you used your blog here at Beliefnet to continue to fan the firestorm around this document, without first reading said document. Indeed, if you had read the document, you wold clearly see that you had adopted an opinion fed to you by the media. Shame. Yours is an example of very poor journalism.



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Donny

posted July 11, 2007 at 7:54 pm


Hmmmmmm, this sounds familiar . . .:
“I think Benedict will get the church he wants – namely, one from which all but the most devoted members have fled.”
Posted by: | July 10, 2007 6:13 PM
. . .
I wish it was not anonymous.
It sounds exactly like the Church founded by Christ Jesus shortly after His resurrection. “Devoted members,” are who is mentioned from the Gospel of Matthew through the Revelation of John.
Oh, and by the way, that Church was founded hundreds of years before any Roman Catholic dogmas, doctrines or decrees.
But still, Pope Benedict is showing some Christian confidence. Now it is time for the dialogue and the conversations to begin. He is wrong no differently than Peter was about food and fellowship. But, I realize that the line has to be drawn somewhere as we approach the abomination that brings desolation in sodomy being celebrated in marriage.
And, may I add, Pope Benedict did not and has not, proclaimed a “holy war” to kill, harm, or harrass ANY dissenters of his declartions.
Not a one.
And I am not a Catholic technically speaking.



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Marlene

posted July 11, 2007 at 8:47 pm


It seems to me that several people here are misreading David’s hyperbole in the next to last sentence of his post.
I have read and re-read the papal document and did not get any warm/fuzzy feelings.
As a pastor, I was dismayed at my dear Catholic father-in-law’s funeral to hear (as part of the Mass) the Words of Institution of the Lord’s Supper (exactly the words I use so often) — and yet I could not participate. Why?
Because I am not part of the “true church?” Our Lord would not turn away any person desiring to partake of this sacrament. Indeed, we are assured that he seeks us out like lost sheep.
The Catholic church’s exclusivist position as the true church (and this pope’s afffirmation of it) is divisive and akin to throwing crumbs to outcasts.



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Patrick

posted July 11, 2007 at 9:34 pm


Marlene, when you receive communion at a Catholic mass, the minister says to you “Body of Christ” and holds up the Eucharist. Catholics believe that is a statement of fact – the Eucharist is really, truly, the Body of Christ. When you say “Amen” and receive, you are saying “Yes, I believe that this is the Body of Christ. I will stake my life on it.”
Now if you don’t really believe this, and you still say “Amen” and take Communion, you have just told a lie to get something you want. I presume you don’t want to be dishonest, especially in Church.
If, on the other hand, you DO believe it is the Body of Christ, you can become a Catholic and receive Him frequently – and honestly.



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DA

posted July 11, 2007 at 10:39 pm


Reason number 837 why I’m thankful that God pulled me out of that religion and gave me freedom in Christ.



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John

posted July 11, 2007 at 10:48 pm


As a secular outsider, I’m curious as to why non-Catholic Christians would get upset when the Pope says their churches aren’t as good as his.



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c kitty

posted July 12, 2007 at 12:09 am


No matter how carefully crafted the language to not totally offend others, the message that drifts down to the populace is that the only real Christians are Catholics. I grew up in a neighborhood 99% Catholic. We were one of the few Presbyterians on the block. The Catholic kids were convinced the rest of us were doomed to hell. This attitude carried right through high school. And I expect there are a lot of adults that still will believe this because this is how they hear what the Pope is saying. Maybe this is because it appeals to the desire for some to feel they are better than others.



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canucklehead

posted July 12, 2007 at 12:17 am


And thus didst David Kuo open a brand new (can) Diet of Worms.



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canucklehead

posted July 12, 2007 at 12:19 am


>>>As a secular outsider, I’m curious as to why non-Catholic Christians would get upset when the Pope says their churches aren’t as good as his.
Posted by: John | July 11, 2007 10:48 PM
Hey John, major psychological stuff going on here on both sides, man.



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canucklehead

posted July 12, 2007 at 12:33 am


>>>>you make an interesting assumption – that is that Benny16 is heterosexual. By choice, I suppose, the pope, as with all priests of the RC Church are asexual – which might be understood to mean without sexual preference or interest. So any declarations about sexuality are by someone who is not involved. It makes the statements far less interesting or meaningful. Of course, this ia only an assumption.
Posted by: Jestyrfyl | July 11, 2007 2:00 PM
And if, as you assert, Benny and the Jets are “asexual” by choice, might that choice be as ominous as the choice of those who are gay (assuming you believe that is a choice). And if it’s not by choice, what might that say about any other sexual orientation?



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Anonymous

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:19 am


If you were aware of the deep humility of Pope Benedict you would be embarrassed by your words. He is posing questions to all separated Christians so that they take time to WONDER why this is so. Christ’s last prayer was for unity and we tend to ignore this.



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Marlene

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:44 am


Patrick — My religious tradition teaches that the spiritual presence is the Real Presence of Christ. In Communion, he is really there at the Table with us, but in spirit. To that I can and do say, “amen.”
I could engage in a long theological discussion here, but I’ll resist doing so because it would do nothing to unite Christians as (sadly) the papal declaration does little to unite us. I will not stake my life on a theological proposition, but I will and have staked my life on the all-inclusive love of Christ.



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Marlene

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:51 am


Canucklehead — loved your clever “diet of worms” post!



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andy

posted July 12, 2007 at 8:55 am


Here we go again. I am sure that the Pope has not thought of the consequences his reaffirmation, an it is just that – let’s not pretend that this is something new.It will again open the proverbial can of worms between Roman Catholicism and the wider protestant community. How often in the past winters of discontent led to chilly summers when ecumencal dialogue has failed to resolve our differences. As a former Catholic there is undoubtedly an arrogance that predominates Catholic churches up and down the country; a kind of ‘We’ve got the lot’ sort of mentality. Actually I find Catholic worship and liturgy deeply unmoving – and believe that may attendees go on a weekly basis to top up their glass with grace but show little evidence of a faith rooted in love in there everyday lives. That s just a small diatribe against the sacramental view that is perpetrated within Catholic churches – I speak from experience. However as much as we are different, we are fundamentally the same, united by the central belief of our FAITH, that is the Christian Faith – that on the thrd day the tomb of the Lord Jesus was empty and he really rose again for mankind. We are all called from our many different perspectives to take this message and tell the world to bow the knee. Telling an unresponsive world that they need to bow the knee to a figure long forgotten in society and making them face the fact that he is Lord and Caesar (in his many forms today) is a beaten entity is hard enough, without us carrying that message without the support of each other. The fact is phony religions from new world spirituality to Islam are trying there best to undermine the gospel, to beat us into submission. If we try and fight the battle in isolation we will undoubtedly lose. However if we join forces and fight the good fight, the true Lord of Glory will not allw us to fall short. We see muslims unite in protest in the name of their false god, is it not time for us to stand together as a united Church and proclaim Jesus, the name above all other names. Different we may be, (our God accepts our worship in the many diverse forms and knows when it is out of heartfelt love) but divided we must not stand. Let us pray that we can face the world together. Blessed be the Lord God Almighty. Amen



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Iris

posted July 12, 2007 at 9:36 am


Benedict should really just stop talking to the media. His thinking is quite nuanced, but the media reports on him in sound bites that distort what he’s actually saying and gets everybody angry at him. I thought I’d never accept Benedict as “my pope” the way I’d accepted JPII . . . but he won my heart last time the world got up in arms over a bad translation of a tiny piece of something he said, and he’s keeping it through this. Frankly, if he didn’t think the Catholic Church had something that Protestantism lacks, I’d want to know why he’s leading us Catholics anyway.



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Anonymous

posted July 12, 2007 at 9:44 am


“The Pope says” – a statement is taken out of context…”
How is this any worse than saying, “The Bible says…” and then pulling a quote out of context? It’s done all the time to denounce gays. How is Bennie’s denouncement of other faiths any different?



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aaron

posted July 12, 2007 at 12:15 pm


Because I am not part of the “true church?” Our Lord would not turn away any person desiring to partake of this sacrament. Indeed, we are assured that he seeks us out like lost sheep.
Of course, this wouldn’t be the same Lord who said not to cast your pearls before swine and who was unafraid to tell the Samaritans, though they believed in God, they believed incorrectly would it?



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Richard Chasen

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:15 pm


I’m an Orthodox Christian. I agree that succession from the apostles and Christ are necessary to be a true church in Christ. The question is which side of the split in the 11th century came up with succession from Peter, or was it split from the spliting?
The other question is: What if the mother church slipped away somewhat from Christ over the centuries? If there was spiritual leakage it had to go somewhere.
Modern Christianity is leaking and Islam is picking up some pieces. Modern Christianity is leaking from drug dependance. There are levels of spirituality from emotions to mind to angels and Christ the logos. All drugs stimulate a lower level by cutting off the higher levels. Dependance on drugs will send Christ away from Christian churches to Mosques.
Drugs range from poison, to street drug highs, to Psyche meds, to tobacco smoke exposure…



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Laura

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:40 pm


It isn’t that long of a “decree” and wouldn’t take very long at all read. Maybe it would be wise to actually read it before commenting on it? Maybe it would be wise to see what the Pope actually said, instead of news media versions of what he said?



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Richard Chasen

posted July 12, 2007 at 1:42 pm


One additional comment to my above posting.
The churches should logicly view those who profit from the sale of drugs that cut off Christ on the high spiritual levels to be in the same class as abortion doctors. Tobacco industry people should take the same communion as abortion doctors.
People who use these drugs should seek spiritual counseling. The churches need to reconnect with GOD.



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Keon

posted July 12, 2007 at 2:16 pm


Why are people overly surprised? This is what the church has taught for YEARS! They’ve taught this when they left the Orthodox or the Orthodox left them(Depending on who you ask.) and they’ve said this when Luther left and as they persecuted the reformers in open and secret. The only thing that changed is as the church fell out of ABSOLUTE power the candor/tone of the teachings softened..
Now Benedict is returning to what the church has said all along which is, “We are the true church, all others are impostor/heretics and are damned.)



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kjws

posted July 12, 2007 at 2:16 pm


The Pope’s choice of this time in history when Islamic fundamentalism is threathening the lives of all Christians and Jews-is an outrageous time to bring forth his renewed disavowal of Protestant Churches-and by extention,the body of Christ. His comments are bigoted. Every, single Catrholic child will be taught his new pronouncement this Fall in every single Catholic Church in the world. This smacks of the same hatred that is taought in many fundamentalist Muslim Madris schools. How dare the Pope be an This Pope has revealed himself to be narrowminded, bigoted, obstinate, and backward thinking.Pope JOhn Paul was respected for the love of Christ which shown thrown his spritit.This Pope will be remembered for this extreme fundamentalism which is neither loving nor helpful in this complicated world. I will be happy to worhip in my Protestant non-Church, and forget what the hate words the Pope has shared with the world this week. It makes me so grateful that I am a Protestant. OHIO



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Rita

posted July 12, 2007 at 2:39 pm


This is another Catholic bashing article, and I don’t see how it relates to health or your web site. The writer doesn’t cite how, where or when the Pope made this comment, which invalidates the article’s credibilty. Pope Benedict is a compassionate and loving man. Report acccurately and maybe we can have some meaningful discussion.
PS No Protestants do not consider the Pope theirs. What hog-wash!



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Evelyn S. Uslar-Pietri

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:03 pm


Wth all love and respect, not wishing to demean Catholics as Pope Benedict has demeaned Protestants and non-Catholic Christians by proclaiming us to be “wounded”, in error or inferior, I cannot understand how a council of men can lay down their own ground rules on issues that directly contradict The Holy Bible which is the inspired,inerrant word of God. The Roman Catholic Church (not the only “catholic” or “universal” church, incidentally) has throughout its history authorized itself to do exactly that. I have never seen anything in the Bible that empowers any church or individual not specifically anointed by the Lord Himself as is scripturally recorded in the case of St. Paul, to change or invent doctrines that do not strictly adhere to scripture. In fact, I have not seen anything in scripture that tells us “The Virgen Mary” should be declared equal and Co- Redemptrix with Jesus Christ (as Pope Jean Paul attempted to do),or
that she is the mother of God and not just the pure virgen and holy earthly vessel that God ( Who always was and always will be!) used to birth His only begotten Son. We, as Christians, all venerate Mary without worshiping her and she herself must be mortified by the worship of anyone. Neither does the Holy Bible say that all people ahould be Catholics and Roman Catholic church services should be conducted in the Latin language that so few understand, although the latter,admittedly, may be adopted as another dubious decision within the Roman Catholic Church, affecting only them and none of anyone else’s business. And where does God’s infallible word tell us that a pope is the person of Jesus Christ on this earth. Jesus said that Peter would be “the rock” on which He would build His church but not that Peter would be Jesus Himself nor that subsequent Peters would rule only one church: the Roman Catholic Church.And why is such pomposity necessary to worship our Lord and Savior, who lived so frugally? And it goes on and on. We should never forget that God shares His glory with NO ONE.
Jesus is the only way to salvation. Pope Benedict would serve himself and his church better by remembering that Jesus, not the Catholic Church,which he proclaims to be “the way to salvation”, died on the Cross for our redemption. It would behoove him to also review John 14:6, Jesus’ own clearly stated words, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through Me”. Not through Mary, the Roman Catholic Church or anyone else.
Lastly, why is the pope called “His Holiness”? Revelation ( also called The Apocalypse)15:4 tells us that The Lord God Almighty alone is Holy.
Again, I reiterate my hope that these lines will be taken in the same spirit of love in which they are written.



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Pauli

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:11 pm


If I had a nickel for every time I heard a wild-eyed Protestant minister say that the Roman Catholic church was not a “true church” or that Catholics were all going to hell or that Catholic beliefs were based on superstition or [insert favorite tirade here] then I probably wouldn’t be writing this, unless my 200-foot yacht had internet access.



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Marlene

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:17 pm


Aaron,
Same Lord — faulty analogies. “Swine” were unbelievers.
“Separated” Christians are believers.
As to the Samaritans — Jesus condemned the Pharisees (Jews who kept the ‘true’ Law) a lot more than he did the Samaritans. Indeed, he praised the “good Samaritan” as an example of a “doer of the word.”
We can proof-text Scripture all day long and miss the underlying theme of the entire Bible, which is love, as in “…God so loved the world…”



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Cory Myers

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:30 pm


This is so stupid of the Pope to say. My religion (Seventh Day Adventists)is not surprised from this act by the Pope. There was only one God on Earth and that was Jesus Christ and he’s awaiting in heaven. He is about to return to get his children. Now that the Pope has showed his true colors towards the churches, everyone agrees that the title God on earth is not right. Last time I looked the Pope was a man. Here’s a message to the Catholics: Thou shall have no other Gods before me.



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Steve K

posted July 12, 2007 at 4:47 pm


As a pre Vatican II Catholic and having lived the last many years I do understand. I do agree we all have one God and there are may ways to see him/her, too. However, I do believe, as I was taught as a pre Vatcan II Catholic that although the Catholic faith is rigorous, if followed, it assures your entrance into heaven. This attitude is present in the Pope’s restatement of current doctrine.



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Joe

posted July 12, 2007 at 8:05 pm


I was raised a Catholic but I realized at an early age what a sham it was. It took me longer to realize that organized religion is a con like many others. The con works for some, giving a sense of meaning and community to their life. However, they are still supporting institutions that “harm the many to protect the few”. Until we truly evolve spiritually beyond these corrupt and essentially worthless institutions we are doomed as a race.



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canucklehead

posted July 13, 2007 at 1:04 am


>>If you were aware of the deep humility of Pope Benedict you would be embarrassed by your words
>>Pope Benedict is a compassionate and loving man
It’s amazing the number of people here who seem to know Benny personally. Maybe David opened up that door by the nature of his comments about his feelings for Pope John Deux.
Let us remember that perceptions are just that – perceptions.



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annie

posted July 13, 2007 at 2:57 am


I don’t get it. What is everyone so upset about? The Pope, who is the head of the Catholic CHurch says that even thought other Christian communities are “deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation” and that the Spirit of Christ uses us as “instruments of salvation” and that there are “numerous elements of sanctification and truth” found outside the Catholic church which are gifts of the Church of Christ which impel us towards unity that the Catholic position is that non-Catholics are not in possession of the whole truth and that our theology/churches suffers from defects. Well, surprise, surprise. Where does he say we are all going to hell? Where does he say we are not Christian? How many Protestant denominations think the theology of other Protestant denominations is suffering from defects and does not display the whole truth? More to the point how many Protestant denominations actually do claim that other Christian groups who do not share certain “core” doctrines are not, in fact, Christian and are not “saved” and will be going to hell. As a liberal Christian I can’t tell you how many times conservative Christians has said or implied that to me. I was actually surprised by how gracious and inclusive he was, compared to say – conservative Protestants. The Catholic Church has its theology and I have mine but he thinks I’m still a Christian even though I haven’t quite got it right. That’s OK. I don’t think he’s got it quite right either – even though I think he’s a Christian. I don’t agree with his definition of Church and he wouldn’t agree with mine. That’s OK too. We can still agree on loving God and loving our neighbour. So my fellow non-Catholics, if you DON’T believe that your particular beliefs are “closer to the truth” than any one elses, if you truly believe that there are many paths to God and all are equally true and worthy, if you have never thought your brand of Christianity is superior to others, go ahead and cast the first stone.
To the non-CHristians out there. Just ignore us. Family stuff. You know how it is.



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fbc

posted July 13, 2007 at 3:57 am


My denomination is Assembly of God. I was raised a strict Catholic, and also attended a Catholic School. Comments like these were not even thought of, or at least spoken of.
I think I see the problem….



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Cheri

posted July 13, 2007 at 7:54 am


To 98 % of the people making comments:
This is the reason!
The reason I no longer say I am a “Christian”.
The reason I no longer believe in ANY “Organized Religion”.
The reason I question what I do believe, every day of my life, after 56 years of living on this earth.
The reason I am discusted by “Churches”, be they Catholic, Protestant, Pentecostal, Baptist, WHATEVER! (Within them ALL, are Holy than thou people, berating others!)
This IS “the reason”!
Thanks, to everyone of you, for taking away any crumbles of faith I had left!



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Tom B

posted July 13, 2007 at 7:55 am


It is distressing to read the comment of a chosen church official attack those of other faiths (Protestants, Islam. However, in talking with American Catholic friends and co-workers, this never comes up and when asked they give it the same attention as an earlier ban on artificial methods of birth control. One Catholic friend put it this way-The Pope doesn’t live in the real world at times, but the current one more so.



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Anonymous

posted July 13, 2007 at 7:58 am


What next will come out of the city of seven hills, Catholic sisters’s wearing the catholic rendission of the burqa again? Most Catholic’s do beleive they are the only true religion, just like Islam.



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aaron

posted July 13, 2007 at 9:07 am


Aaron,
Same Lord — faulty analogies. “Swine” were unbelievers.
“Separated” Christians are believers.

Thanks for proving my point. Most protestants are unbelievers in the mystery of the Eucharist, which is the reason for closed Communion
As to the Samaritans — Jesus condemned the Pharisees (Jews who kept the ‘true’ Law) a lot more than he did the Samaritans. Indeed, he praised the “good Samaritan” as an example of a “doer of the word.”
22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
So why are others offended when Catholics say similar?



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Brendan

posted July 13, 2007 at 9:15 am


I left the Roman church years ago, for a variety of reasons, among them the Pope, the Magisterium, the Mariolatry, and the sexual abuse that was allowed to rage unchecked for over a generation.
Now I don’t have to pay much attention to what Ratzinger, the Bishop of Rome, says– but it did seem unnecessarily offensive.
God help us all.



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Kre

posted July 13, 2007 at 11:03 am


David, I would recommend that you actually read documents pertaining to this (good start would be Dominus Iesus, Lumen Gentium, Mystici Corporis Christi, Ut Unum Sint, maybe a couple of the Church Fathers, and most importantly, the lines of scriptures they refer to.) This recent document is actually restating another document that was promulgated during John Paul II’s Papacy, believe it or not, and also drew fire.
As a Protestant, you must say that the Catholic Faith is somehow “defective,” otherwise you wouldn’t be saying that your Faith is the one true Faith –or even following it or even making this article. Let’s be honest. I think just about every Protestant “feels” (and now, Catholics infected by the “Vatican 2″ syndrome) that the Catholic faith is somehow defective. Let’s get not “offended” about it. I respect fundamentalists from Orthodoxy, Protestantism, and even Islam “for having the balls” to say that my Faith is wrong (though I must agree that the way in which they express it is quite sometimes distasteful). The Church is saying this: should we not correct a brethren who thinks 2+2=5,6, or infinity? Is the Trinity just a mere concept, rather than what is true?
All I have to say is that you should read and do your homework before you make your opinions. Anyone who’s at least READ the CDF document (whether the nominal Catholic or Protestant) has less ignorance than this article.
Our Lord, remember, prayed so that we may become one (Ut Unum Sint).



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Jay Egenes

posted July 13, 2007 at 11:11 am


The Pope’s recent statement was a re-issue of a statement made by the Roman Catholic Church (and apparently drafted by the current Pope) in 2000. While I don’t know what prompted its re-issue this week, it made a lot of sense in 2000.
The Roman Catholic Church and an international Lutheran organization had entered into an agreement in the late 1990s in which the RCC agreed that Martin Luther was right about some of the issues (primarily the centrality of grace, if I recall correctly; I don’t remember offhand what if any the other issues were) that were part of the debate that resulted in the Reformation.
In that context, it made sense for the RCC to issue something that assured its members there were still reasons to be Catholic instead of Protestant.
And the statement basically reaffirmed what had long been Roman Catholic teaching about the church.
So, while I don’t know what prompted the re-issue this week, I’m not surprised at all (or even offended, even though I’m not Roman Catholic) by the statement.



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Caroline N. Westbrook

posted July 13, 2007 at 11:15 am


Dear Cheri:
To keep it as simple as possible, you put your faith in the wrong things.
When Jesus Christ was here on earth he taught us the two greatest commandments are to: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, this is the first and greatest commandment; and the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. Matt. 22-34-39
Therefore any religion that does not follow the above is not in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior who sits at God’s right hand.
God gave the world his only begotten Son as a redemption for mankinds sins. God also gave us guidance through his word the Holy Bible. You do not have to be part of a religious group to love God. God’s word says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. The good news is that God loves us just the way we are. That Jesus died for all of our sins, and that we only need to accept God’s Son to receive eternal life. My experience is that God was very patient with me while I was lost and doing the exact opposite of God’s word and Jesus example. Today, not only do I love God and his only begotten Son, but I live each day to hear the spiritual words from my Father in Heaven, the Almighty God “well done my child”. Don’t give up. You can love God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind and not be a member of a religious group. Always remember that “God Loves You”!



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Marlene

posted July 13, 2007 at 4:37 pm


Aaron — your post is an example of what happens when we “proof-text” (cherry-pick) Scripture. If you read the New Testament, you will find
multiple evidence (about 12 to 1) in which Jesus condemns the Pharisees more than the Samaritans. As I said previously, the Pharisees were supposedly the “true” believers and keepers of the “true” Law.
As to the mystery of the Eucharist — We are called to believe in Jesus Christ and follow in his ways. That is what makes me (or anyone else) a true believer — not how we perceive the Eucharist.



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aaron

posted July 13, 2007 at 5:32 pm


Aaron — your post is an example of what happens when we “proof-text” (cherry-pick) Scripture. If you read the New Testament, you will find
multiple evidence (about 12 to 1) in which Jesus condemns the Pharisees more than the Samaritans. As I said previously, the Pharisees were supposedly the “true” believers and keepers of the “true” Law.

Sorry Marlene, while you are right about the many instances of Jesus criticizing the Pharisees, you are proof-texting when you fail to recognize that Jesus had no problems telling the Samaritans they were wrong in their worship, even though they believed in the same God, just as the Catholics do with other Christian confessions. Whether the Catholic church is right or wrong in irrelevant to the precedent that Jesus set.
As to the mystery of the Eucharist — We are called to believe in Jesus Christ and follow in his ways. That is what makes me (or anyone else) a true believer — not how we perceive the Eucharist.
And the Catholic church differs from your opinion, unless you claim infallibility for yourself that is.



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Marlene

posted July 13, 2007 at 7:09 pm


Unlike the Catholic church, (especially in matters of faith and morals)
I do not (nor does my church) claim infallibility. I do not believe that Catholics, are any less Christian than I am. I wish the reverse were true. We can get nowhere in this discussion as fellow Christians as long as one branch feels superior (or at least more informed) than the other. When we proclaim our faith in the words of the Apostles’ Creed each Sunday, we say “…I believe in the holy ‘catholic’ (universal) church…” And I do.
On one level, we will never agree, so I can only say, “God bless us both” as we try to live out our Christian faith in a broken and hurting world.



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aaron

posted July 13, 2007 at 8:45 pm


I wish the reverse were true. We can get nowhere in this discussion as fellow Christians as long as one branch feels superior
I imagine the Samaritans said stuff to that effect.



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Anonymous

posted July 13, 2007 at 10:36 pm


What good is it for the pope to say we have the fullness of the faith
and others do not when he cannot deliver this so called fullness.
Because of his position that RC priests must be mail and celibate, very
few men are interested. So the pope prefers to close churches because
of the lack of priests and deprive the faithful from spiritual nourish-
ment. Didn’t Christ teach a parable where the rich man who had the
fullness ignored the poor man at his gate who was starving for nourishment. In the parable this rich man with the fullness ended up in hell. Morris



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Clare

posted July 14, 2007 at 12:42 am


I find it odd that people from religions that began as direct spin offs of the Catholic church are hurt by what the Pope has to say about their choice of spiritual observance. The people didn’t agree with the Pope and Catholic doctrines so they started churches of their own, breaking away from the belief of the Pope as the highest representative of God here on earth. There were many reasons for these breaks, but the authority of the Pope was not respected by all religions except Catholic.
We can also question the Roman Catholic Church’s position as God’s Church, as was mentioned in a previous response, the church built by the Apostle Peter – upon whom my church will be built. The RC church didn’t come into being until three centuries after the crucifixion of Jesus thus the Apostles did not have a hand in it. It was developed in Rome by the Emperor Constantine, a pagan, who became a Christian in adulthood. Uniting the Empire in Christianity was a political move.
Although it may seem I’m taking two views, I am. Although I love the Pope, being a former Catholic and having no problem with it’s stand on many moral issues. I also understand the reasons people broke away from the church, in that meaning the RC church and the Pope. The main thing is that I don’t have unrealistic expectations. The church isn’t going to bend or paint a candy coating on issues that it considers life or death.



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canucklehead

posted July 14, 2007 at 12:55 am


Would joining hands and singing a verse or two of Kum ba yah yah be a good idea here?



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carlos c.

posted July 14, 2007 at 12:57 am


I’m not a Catholic, and altough there is the more than 1900 years than support the RCC as the oldest church, that does not make it right to claim they hold the truth. in fact through history we can see how the RCC has manipulated religion to its own beneffit. and to think that any person who does not comply with the RCC rules of faith is in danger of going to hell, is like telling the Lord Jesus Christ that He lied when He said ” I am the way, the thruth, and the life, and no one comes to the father but thru me ” if there is a thrue church it most be so acordding to the doctrine that the church practiced in the first 100 years of existence, meanning church guided by the apostles, their ministers being married men, ( they cannot be married to the church, the church belongs to the Savior.) and so forth many practices that the RCC has incorporated to their doctrine, and making the Lord’s doctrine obsolet. that’ what make many people open their eyes and search for the thrue doctrine, that the pope has said the non catholic churches also commit their effort to the salvation of mankind, is just like telling you ” you might be right, but still you are wrong ”



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Ken

posted July 14, 2007 at 7:31 am


As far as I am concerned the pope is just another person doing a job.I do not imagine he has ever heard of “He who is free of sin shall cast the first stone”. Also everyone should never forget where they came from. Look back on your own background or organizations background before you say or do anything that would offend anyone.



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Mike

posted July 14, 2007 at 9:25 am


Ken;
I am amazed that some would imagine the pope has never heard of the Gospel text “He who is free of sin shall cast the first stone”.
To say such a thing and believe it indicates a great gulf not only in belief but in simple knowledge. Pope Benedict, aka Joseph Ratzinger is one of the greatest intellectuals and thinkers of the age.
He is well versed in scripture- in, out, around, over, and under. He is a primary genius. Now that does not necessarily make him an automatic saint, but to suggest he is ignorant or perhaps not humble is to not know squat.



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DONA ESTEP

posted July 14, 2007 at 11:10 am


I’M SORRY TO SAY -I FEEL THIS COMMENT FROM THIS POPE ‘IS A SITUATION AS WITH A SMALL CHILD -SPEAKING WITHOUT THINKING !OF ALL THINGS TO COME FROM HIS MOUTH THIS IS DEPLORABLE! AS A CATHOLIC I;M EMBARRESD’ HUMILEATED! TRYING TO KEEP OUR COUNTRY STRONG MEANS -FREEDOM OF RELIGION’ WORKING TOGETHER ——–HELPING EACH OTHER &RESPECTING OTHERS BELIEFS——-CATHOLICS ARE HAVING A DIFFICULT TIME NOW DUE TO THE SHORTAGE OF PRIESTS-THESE COMMENTS FROM THIS POPE CERTAINLY ISN;T GOING TO HELP IN ANY WAY ——-BUT HIS APOLOGYS SEEM LAME ALSO -KEEPING SCORE -HE’S GETTING A FAILING GRADE ‘ I THINK -.



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Gene

posted July 14, 2007 at 12:49 pm


I have to share with my fellow brothers and sisters here (regardless of denomination) that I am really taken back, frustrated and angry on how B Net has presented what the Holy Father said. I think our Christian faith, as a whole, has been so attacked, so defiled, so spat on, in a manner of speaking, by an atheist secular media so hostile to Christ and God in general that they have succeeded in ways to pit ourselves against each other in faith as they have in politics, race etc.
I am Catholic, love my faith and church, and as many, have issues and conflicts with it but what the Pope issued has been distorted and sullied through a biased filter. And, to a disturbing degree where now is more blatant than ever before because the lack of respect the media has for religion, the RCC, Chrsitianity and its followers is deeper than ever. They think we’re idiots as they write and “report” from their pious-filled newsrooms.



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Patrick

posted July 14, 2007 at 2:50 pm


For the third time on this thread, I implore everyone to READ THE DOCUMENT before you draw conclusions about what it says. If you want to criticize Catholic beliefs, fine. But at least have the honesty to criticize the real thing instead of what you think it to be.
The common theme seems to be that the Vatican says non Catholic Christian churches have “defects.” How dare the Pope say such a thing, you complain, then you go on to review the defects you perceive in the Catholic church.
The fact is that ALL religions think other religions are defective in some way. That is what defines a religion. Catholics think Protestant belief is defective. Protestants think Catholic belief is defective. Why is hearing this such a shock to anyone? It’s common sense.
Some of you seem to be of a universalist, all-roads-lead-to-heaven bent. You are free to believe this, but it is not what the Catholic church believes. To state this fact is not an insult; it is a recognition of reality. Defining our differences is a necessary step if we are to have an honest dialogue.



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Lindas1

posted July 14, 2007 at 5:20 pm


I was my understanding that according to the Roman Catholic theology, salvation is an ongoing process.Yes we are all saved by grace, but salvation itself is a process. This differs from the Reformed view of Salvation.
The author of the article felt “loved by Pope JPII”. However, the article that is recited by this Pope is the one commisioned and signed by Pope John Paul II in 2000. Therefore, it is nothing new and something that was supported by that Pope that was so beloved. Go figure.



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etsryan

posted July 14, 2007 at 6:59 pm


when half of the folks following Jesus walked away saying ‘this teaching is too difficult’ when Jesus said He is the Living Bread come down from Heaven and that His Flesh is True Food and His Blood is True Drink – they became the some of the first ‘protestants’…
Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life.
Many non-catholics believe in the Real Presence or so they say
i ask – then why are we separated? apostolic succession? this has merit. but consider this: at first Paul’s ministry was suspect since he persecuted the folks who followed Jesus and he wasn’t with the original twelve disciples and he ministered to Gentiles. he became known as an apostle. Jesus called/taught him directly after His resurrection. Paul and Peter and James and the others worked together to resolve doctrinal issues. we have to today, too. (like whether adults need to be circumcised in order to be considered true believers…:P)
haven’t a lot of Martin Luther’s reformation issues been dealt with and aren’t there a few more things to be worked out?
I am a cradle Catholic who dropped out during a couple years in high school. I find the World Apostolate of Our Lady of Fatima and the Catholic Charismatic Renewal helpful these days in addition to Eucharistic adoration and sacraments.
other “Christians” still think I’m not Christian and in fact think the Catholic church is of the devil. that’s so compassionate and understanding and helpful. (not)
try reading “The Lamb’s Supper” by Scott Hahn and then talk to me. so much persecution and ‘friendly fire’. how am i supposed to witness to real non-believers when so many supposed brothers and sisters keep slamming me? walk the talk – make sure you know what you are shooting at/Who you are shooting at before engaging critical mouth.
study Catholicism, read the document(s), pray
then comment.
thank you.
Risen Lord Jesus’ Peace!
e.t./sue >> :) (:



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JoeCatholic

posted July 14, 2007 at 10:27 pm


First time poster here and I would like to say up front I am Catholic. In this age of as Pope Benedict calls it “dictatorship of relativism” it is refreshing for someone to state there are objective and transcendent truths. The last century has shown that moral relativism has resulted in Western society heading the way of the Roman Empire (our culture is decaying from within). So the fact that the Pope is clearly outlining Catholic identity actually will help the Catholic Church weather the storms of “militant secular humanism” and “militant Islam”. With that stated, I would like to make some observations. I will confess up front my post is long, but this “sound bite” mentality in American culture is not something I am fond of. So here it goes.
The reaction from Protestants about what the Pope says is somewhat puzzling. It appears that some folks did not read what was said. The fact that the Catholic Church clearly defined what it believes about itself (Oh the Horror of an institution stating something so dogmatically) in this age of “moral relativism” and “your truth, my truth, there truth” as I stated earlier is refreshing and much needed in the Catholic Church today. However, the document never stated Protestants wer NOT Christians are that there were no elements of sanctification in the Protestant Traditions. Now, it is not as the Catholic Church is the only one to state what it believes about itself relative to other Christian Traditions. Please consider the following examples:
Larry King had a discussion in 2000 discussing Pope JPII trip to Greece. One of the panelists was R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (which with some 16 million members is the largest evangelical fellowship of Protestant Christians in the U.S.) and in response to a question about how do Protestants view the Catholic Church and stated:
MOHLER: Well, I think the word “cult” is now basically useless in our common vocabulary, especially as applied in this sense. A cult means a small group. A cult, in our common cultural language, talks about some kind of psychological control. I’ll prefer to speak as a theologian. And as an evangelical, I believe that the Roman church is a false church and it teaches a false gospel. And indeed, I believe that the pope himself holds a false and unbiblical office.
On the same show, Bob Jones, a strict Calvinist, who hold to the Westminster Confession as written in the 16th century referred to a question by Larry King relating to the Pope and stated:
BOB JONES III, PRESIDENT, BOB JONES UNIVERSITY: Yes, but you know, the Westminster Confession of Faith, which is supposed to be believed by all Presbyterians that have embraced the Westminster Confession — it is their doctrinal basis. Article six of the Westminster Confession calls the pope an antichrist. This — there’s a long tradition for this.
Now, I don’t of any Catholics that strapped bombs to themselves and blew up Baptist Churches or Calvinist Churches, or employed Car Bombs to attack the Baptist seminary in Louisville, KY where A. Mohler teaches or Bob Jones University. In fact, I don’t think there was any condemnation from any Catholic Bishop or Official response to A. Mohler or B. Jones about anything. They stated what they believed about the Catholic Church and that was it, which is their right as Americans.
With respect to what Pope Benedict stated, it relates to how the Catholic Church understands the Church. The Catholic Church’s understanding of the Church (i.e. its ecclesiology) is linked to its Theology about God. The Holy Trinity tells us about the nature of God, which is God is a God of perfect communion and love and relationship. The Father eternally generates the Son and the Son returns of the love of the Father and the bond of love is the Holy Spirit. The second person of the Trinity, Christ, became incarnate (i.e. Christ has a fully human and divine nature) and founded a Church (Mt 16) which St. Paul describes as the pillar and foundation of Truth (1 Tim 3: 15). The Church is described by St. Paul as the body of Christ (1 Cor 12: 12-14), the Bride of Christ (Eph 5: 26-27) and by St. Peter as the People of God (1 Pet 2: 9-10). Since Christ has one Body, and One Bride, and one people, and since God is a God of perfect communion (Holy Trinity), the Church then is also one.
Hence, the Catholic Church’s doctrine of the Church is tied to its theology of God, and Christ and the Church is “Christ’s” instrument for salvation for all people.
The Churches faith comes from Christ, to the Apostles, down to us today via Apostolic succession. Thus, from the Catholic perspective, to be Church proper, requires Apostolic Succession, which leads to valid Holy Orders (Bishops, etc) an thus a valid Holy Eucharist. As St. Ignatius (107 AD) indicated “where there is the Eucharist there is Christ” and hence the Church. In addition, the Catholic Church sees that Christ appointed St. Peter with a special role in the early Church (Mt 16), which is also indicated in two other Petrine texts found in St. Luke and St. John’s Gospel, where Christ tells St. Peter that he prayed especially for him, and for St. Peter to strengthen his brothers, respectively. As a result, the Church of Rome and its Bishop has a Primacy among the Churches.
History supports this claim. For example, St. Clement of Rome, 3rd successor from St. Peter, wrote a letter to the Church in Corinth in circa 90 AD to address a schism that had occurred in that Church. St. Ignatius of Antioch, in around 107 AD wrote of the Church of Rome indicating that it “Presides in Love” among the Churches. In 144 AD, the first named Gnostic Heretic, Marcion, came from the Eastern Roman empire to Rome and stated that the Church should not use the Old Testament, and adopt only St. Luke’s Gospel and certain epistles of St. Paul. When he was told that this not part of the Apostolic Tradition, Marcion hardened his position and he eventually would be excommunicated by the Church of Rome in 144 AD when St. Pius I was Bishop of Rome. St. Irenaeus of Lyon, in 170AD, wrote against the Gnostic heretics and stated that because the Church of Rome can trace its origins back to St.’s Peter and Paul,, that it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority.
The Catholic Church recognizes that the Eastern Orthodox have Apostolic Succession and thus valid Bishops and Eucharist, as well as the other Sacraments, and thus are proper Churches. The Orthodox Churches welcomed the document as they see themselves in representing exactly what the Catholic Church sees regarding the Church (see EWTN or ZENIT.org for Russian Orthodox response to CDF statement). For the record, they view the Protestant Christian Communities the same way as the Catholic Church. With respect to the Protestant traditions, because they have not maintained proper ecclesial structures, which means no Apostolic succession, and thus no valid Holy Eucharist hence not a Proper Church in the sense of the Catholic and Orthodox Church.
However, what the document did NOT say that Protestants are not Christian. From the Catholic perspective, what makes one a Christian is Baptism in the Holy Trinity and belief in Christ’s divinity and his paschal mystery (passion, death and resurrection). In addition, the Catholic Church states that elements of sanctification (and Catholic doctrine would recognize two valid Sacraments, Baptism and Marriage in the Protestant Traditions) and that “many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church….Christ Spirit uses these ecclesial communities as mans of salvation” (Catechism of Catholic Church para. 819).
Still, the Catholic Church professes what is indicated in both the Apostles and Nicene Creed that the Church is one, because God is One, Christ is one, and the CHurch, which is his Body and Bride ontologically is also one.
Pax Domine



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Helene

posted July 15, 2007 at 10:53 am


Jesus is the only way to heaven. Because of His sacrifice on the cross we are free indeed,It is an extremely bad time for the catholic Pope to resurface what separates the catholics from the evangelicals.If Our Lord Jesus is your King of Kings you will live eternally regardless of man made statements.
Helene



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JoeCatholic

posted July 15, 2007 at 11:43 am


Helene:
Nice post and I agree Christ is the only way to salvatation, although Christ may operate in ways we don’t understand (i.e. Father forgive them for they know not what they do, etc). So anyone whos is save is because of the pachal mystery (passion, death, and resurrection of Christ) and yes the Catholic Church professes in the Creeds of the Church (Nicene, Apostles, etc,and I believe) that Christ is the Son of God who gave himself on the Cross for fallen humantity. So, you (I assume evangelical Protestant) and I as a Catholic in Full Communion with the Church of Rome believe the same thing on that point and for that we can both say Amen.
However, I still agree with what the Pope said about how the Catholic Church understands ecclesiology and thus what consistutes a Church in the proper sense.
Respectively submitted and Christ’s Peace.



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Laurel Aislin

posted July 16, 2007 at 3:34 pm


The Pope is God’s spokesperson on earth, but aren’t we all just that. Hopefully, we’re striving to interpret God’s word and live our lives accordingly. I suppose mistakes are inevitable because of our humaness. I, for one, intend to take the Pope’s words on the Catholic church being the one true church as being a little error on his journey through life.



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Lindas1

posted July 16, 2007 at 11:13 pm


The Roman Catholic Chruch is the one true church according to the Roman Catholic doctrine, because they are defining what the “one True Church” happens to be. The Roman Catholic Chruch basis its legitimacy on succession. Therefore, all other churches, while teaching a doctrine of Christanity while providing means of salvation are still defective because they do not have established succession. The entire doctrine makes perfect sense as long as one accepts the standard definitions set forth in the document.
Why is this important? I have no clue and I was born and raised Roman Catholic. Obviously never a good one.



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Sol Invictus

posted July 17, 2007 at 4:48 am


It would never had been hard to take, David, if you had kept faith
“ruminations” alive & well. I see you’ve kept your protestant
ruminations before thee, but not in ecumenical fun, where there is true joy in studying differences, & finally letting go of some
cultural customs that interfere w/ the “tangibles” of history.
For far too long, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, & others have
waddled around without venting their creed,ie., theological rumination.
For such is the exterior OF FAITH, one’s own belief until proven otherwise. But this should not keep us from loving & working
together for each other & the rest of God’s glory; Man Alive!
You’re Catholic Brother, SOL INVICTUS



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Harry McDougall

posted July 17, 2007 at 8:33 am


HI Dave,
I’m not sure how you would define fundamentalist if, for the sake of a pope being a nice guy, she would choose to ignore so many of the issues that will always divide Catholics and Protestants. Maybe a stripedownalist or (HT Miracle Max) mostleefundamentalist.
Anyway, what the Pope said is Catholic doctrine. The Catholic ecclesiology cannot leave this reality behind. To be hurt by it as a bible-believing Christian is, most sadly of all, to not understand the God of the bible.
But another point needs to be made, and I am surprised that no one is making it. Part of the strangeness of Vatican 2 is that, though it stated clearly that those who are in the Papal club are the only totally real deal, Protestants and Muslims and Wiccans and Atheists can be known by God (in a Matthew 7 sense) even if they never renounce their particular point of view. There are just gradations of justification. The Pope left a big part of the story out of his statement.
So take heart pantheists and nihilists! There is room under the golden dome for you, too!!..you’ll just be a little farther back according to Karl Rahner.
Harry



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lex

posted July 17, 2007 at 5:43 pm


The claim of being the one true church based on apostolic succession is a lie. The Eastern Orthodox church also can claim opostolic succession.
“Man is the only animal with the true religion – several of them” Mark Twain



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Nannerl

posted July 18, 2007 at 4:47 pm


As for the apostolic succession, the Church of Sweden (Lutheran protestant) can prove being in that tradition, thanks to a funny 16th century incident. Does that make us a “true” church? :)
If this is catholicism… I’m not so sure I want to support the view of a world-wide church any longer. I might just prefer being part of a non-church rather than being a perfect Christian looking down on less perfect humans.



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Athena

posted July 19, 2007 at 5:08 am


Why should it matter if a church is headed by a person of succession or whatever. Apostolic succession? In the Bible it says that where there are 2 or more gathered in His Name he is there! Where in the Bible does it say that decendants of certain men can only head a church?
What the Pope announced really isn’t new. I have always known Catholics to believe they are the only way to Heaven. Only recently had I met some who were willing to worship with Protestants.
Do Catholics forget that many times before the leaders of thier “universal” church were corrupt, and lovers of God had no choice but to stand up for truth and HAD to protest?
Anthign that man makes is imperfect.



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Gray

posted July 26, 2007 at 1:52 am


I’m very disappointed in the Popes statement about the true church; because its only going to cause more bad
feelings between protestants and catholics. The truth
is that, there is no physical church organization
that can be called the one true church. God in His infinate wisdom made the one true church without an earthly building, without an earthly pastor, but it
does have earthly members at the current time. True
christains are saved by Gods grace through faith in the
finish work of Christ’s shed blood on the cross. Anything more that grace is an insult to God and amounts to a works gospel. The true church is invisible, the true church is the bride of Christ, the leader of the true church is Jesus Christ not the Catholic Church or protestant church. God has not left the destiny of his church in the hands of one mortal sole. God instituded the preisthood of the believer where every one may approach God through Jesus Christ our advocate; God has a plan for his children and its success does not depend on foulible human soles. Me thinks that church leaders believe if it weren,t for them that the Lords work would never get done. Not so; God uses the common, the simple, the lowly things to confound the world, because they are holy, humble, and obedient, able to yeild to the power of the Holy Spirit. The Catholic(universal)Church is the true Church; not the Roman Catholic Church. Christain don’t
take yourself to seriously, be able laugh at yourself
and love your fellow brothers and sisters in christ no matter what church they go to. The bible is Gods Word;
why not study it to find out what it realy says. Don’t
except someones else’s interpretation or explanation as
gospel. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Whos running this
show God or man? Make your choice, follow a blind man
and wind up in a ditch, follow Christ and live in the light of His truth. Its your choice.



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William E. Maguire

posted August 6, 2007 at 6:06 pm


It troubles me that he thought he had to prounounce an aging premise from way-back when. I believe he should have thought it and kept it to himself. Problem is, he is too close to the forest and must address each tree. We need more togetherness rather than chasms between us. Like was said earlier, “when two or more are together”
My apologizes for my Popes stepping on your toes.
We need to stick together like glue!!!!!



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isaiah53_moshiach

posted August 10, 2007 at 2:47 pm


To the Vatican Church, if Jesus was on this earth and He was confronted with this issue, I could see the Son of God saying this:
“My sheep know me and love me and will obey my Father’s commandments. If you feel you are my true church then denounce the other major religions and their false prophets (such as Mohammed, who is neither above nor equal to Me) whom you have ‘publicly embraced,’ but yet, hypocritically chastise members of my flock (i.e., the Protestants) through legalism.”



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