The Vatican set itself on a collision course with other Christian faiths Tuesday, reaffirming the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church in a corrective document which it said was designed to clear up recent "erroneous" doctrine.
The document's central claim, that only the Catholic Church is "the one true Church of Christ", is likely to revive a debate which has dogged the Vatican's relationship with rival Christian denominations for decades.
Such faiths, namely the Protestant and Orthodox churches, "lack elements considered essential to the Catholic Church," it said.
The document is the second strong reaffirmation of Benedict's traditional conservative line in the space of a few days. On Saturday, he issued a decree bringing back the old Latin mass alongside the modern liturgy.
Yes, Benny, this is exactly the way to save the Church: hold service in a language nobody understands and imply that other Christian denominations are going to Hell. Don't think that's what he's saying?
It restates key sections of a 2000 document the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, “Dominus Iesus,” which set off a firestorm of criticism among Protestant and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the “means of salvation.”
Say what you will about John Paul II, he at least thought Protestants and Orthodox were going to Heaven, too.
And what "elements," by the way, are essential to the Catholic Church that other denominations lack?
Central to that identity [of the Catholic faith] is the idea that eastern or Orthodox churches were suffering a "wound" because they do not recognize the primacy of the pope.
It said "the wound is still more profound" in "communities emerging from the Reformation" -- the Protestant and Anglican churches.
Is the pope offering salvation to other Christians only if they bow to himself? Ya see, the Pope has Peter's keys to Heaven, and when he ordains priests, they also have access to the keys, and that's why they can hear confession, absolve sins, perform baptisms and, most importantly, hold Communion. If your preacher wasn't ordained by the man with the Keys, well...
Heckuva job, Benny, this is exactly why the Church is hemorrhaging followers: because the Church's relationship with other churches meant that Catholics were unsure where to go. Perhaps their unseemly proximity to heathens like Anglicans and Methodists was clouding their faith. Or maybe because they just weren't getting enough Latin in their lives. Certainly it couldn't be because the Church looks like a bunch of tools because it preaches against science and birth control and it hoards wealth while its followers starve and its clergy rapes boys and it tells people that God only wants people with penises running God's Church.
Righto, Benny. The problem was your followers were fraternizing with the Lutherans.