On Tuesday, July 11, 2007, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a document entitled Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church, which affirms the primacy of the Catholic Church as the unique Church of Jesus Christ.
"The Holy Catholic Church, which is the Mystical Body of Christ, is made up of the faithful who are organically united in the Holy Spirit by the same faith, the same sacraments and the same government."
"According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities [protestant denominations] do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called 'Churches' in the proper sense."
"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. 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."
I encourage all of my readers to read the actual document in its entirety. Let us pray that this document leads to the conversion of non-Catholics. In the words of Pope Innocent III at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215: "There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved." For more information on the topic of salvation outside of the Church, see my post entitled Can non-Catholics be Saved.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Posted by Matthew
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