Pope holding the hard line

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Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
I welcome unequivocal lines to be drawn. Let there be truth again and may God, in His wise Providence, use whatever means to that end to bring it about!
I don't think that the lines are unequivocal. Consider this. The Roman Catholic Church still teaches (per Vatican II), that protestants are "Christians" and properly called "brothers." Protestant ecclesial communities also have means of salvation. They can be (!) unwitting members of the Roman Catholic Church. This is from the new document:
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.
. . .
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.
So, our "ecclesial communities" have some relationship with the Catholic Church that we don't recognize.

I think this is a huge departure from and inconsistent with Trent (in spite of RC protests). They explain it away, in part, by saying that today's protestants are not responsible for the sins of the reformers. Too far removed. In any event, the RC position is still quite ecumenical compared to pre-Vaitcan II days. They don't say all protestants are damned or anything like that. And they recognize truth and the means of grace in protestant churches (what they call communities).

Today's interactions with Catholics are different than those of the reformers. I think this is progress on their side and I don't see Monday's documents as clawing back any of that progress.
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
It's good to see the line drawn, nice and clear.

Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio (# 2), May 27, 1832:“Finally some of these misguided people attempt to persuade themselves and others that men are not saved only in the Catholic religion, but that even heretics may attain eternal life.”

Pope Pius IV, Council of Trent, Iniunctum nobis, Nov. 13, 1565, ex cathedra: “This true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved… I now profess and truly hold…”

Pope Benedict XIV, Nuper ad nos, March 16, 1743, Profession of Faith: “This faith of the Catholic Church, without which no one can be saved, and which of my own accord I now profess and truly hold…”

Pope Innocent III, Eius exemplo, Dec. 18, 1208:“By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess the one Church, not of heretics, but the Holy Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church outside of which we believe that no one is saved.”

Anyone read Pius the X? He wrote about smashing prots, etc.

12 Q: The many societies of persons who are baptized but who do not acknowledge the Roman Pontiff as their Head do not, then, belong to the Church of Jesus Christ?

A: No, those who do not acknowledge the Roman Pontiff as their Head do not belong to the Church of Jesus Christ.link

j
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
It's good to see the line drawn, nice and clear.

Pope Gregory XVI, Summo Iugiter Studio (# 2), May 27, 1832:“Finally some of these misguided people attempt to persuade themselves and others that men are not saved only in the Catholic religion, but that even heretics may attain eternal life.”

Pope Pius IV, Council of Trent, Iniunctum nobis, Nov. 13, 1565, ex cathedra: “This true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved… I now profess and truly hold…”

Pope Benedict XIV, Nuper ad nos, March 16, 1743, Profession of Faith: “This faith of the Catholic Church, without which no one can be saved, and which of my own accord I now profess and truly hold…”

Pope Innocent III, Eius exemplo, Dec. 18, 1208:“By the heart we believe and by the mouth we confess the one Church, not of heretics, but the Holy Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church outside of which we believe that no one is saved.”

Anyone read Pius the X? He wrote about smashing prots, etc.

12 Q: The many societies of persons who are baptized but who do not acknowledge the Roman Pontiff as their Head do not, then, belong to the Church of Jesus Christ?

A: No, those who do not acknowledge the Roman Pontiff as their Head do not belong to the Church of Jesus Christ.link

j
Vatican II was a break from those views, as I outline a bit in my prior post. The views you posted are not what the Roman Catholic Church teaches now.
 

Dieter Schneider

Puritan Board Sophomore
I certainly think Vatican II was a serious break with Trent and pasty doctrines. The RC attempt to harmonize VII with older doctrines, as you suggest, fails.
Vatican II reaffirms Trent - without any doubt (the whole substance dressed up in a different style).
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
Vatican II was a break from those views, as I outline a bit in my prior post. The views you posted are not what the Roman Catholic Church teaches now.
Vat II was a break with the views I posted and the pope is now restating the old line RC view, he's re-introducing the teaching, it is RC teaching...once again.

j
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
If you're interested, check out my first blog listed below. I just happened upon a nifty quotation from Spurgeon just a couple of days after the Pope, uh, popped.
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
Vat II was a break with the views I posted and the pope is now restating the old line RC view, he's re-introducing the teaching, it is RC teaching...once again.

j
I don't think so. It affirms the salvation of protestants, protstants as brothers and Christians, etc. This is not Trent. The Pope is affirming VII's changes.
 

crhoades

Puritan Board Graduate
Al Mohler on recent RC happenings...Al Mohler makes me want to be a Baptist.

No, I'm Not Offended
Posted: Friday, July 13, 2007 at 3:51 am ET

Aren't you offended? That is the question many Evangelicals are being asked in the wake of a recent document released by the Vatican. The document declares that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true church -- or, in words the Vatican would prefer to use, the only institutional form in which the Church of Christ subsists.

No, I am not offended. In the first place, I am not offended because this is not an issue in which emotion should play a key role. This is a theological question, and our response should be theological, not emotional. Secondly, I am not offended because I am not surprised. No one familiar with the statements of the Roman Catholic Magisterium should be surprised by this development. This is not news in any genuine sense. It is news only in the current context of Vatican statements and ecumenical relations. Thirdly, I am not offended because this new document actually brings attention to the crucial issues of ecclesiology, and thus it presents us with an opportunity.

The Vatican document is very brief -- just a few paragraphs in fact. Its official title is "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church," and it was released by the Vatican's Congregation for the Defense of the Faith on June 29 of this year. Though many media sources have identified the document as a papal statement from Pope Benedict XVI, it is actually a statement from the Congregation for the Defense of the Faith that was later approved for release by the Pope (who, as Cardinal Ratzinger, headed this Congregation prior to assuming the papacy).

The document claims a unique legitimacy for the Roman Catholic Church as the church established by Christ. The document stakes this identity on a claim to apostolic succession, centered in the papacy itself. As the document states, "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."

Lest anyone miss the point, the document then goes on to acknowledge that the churches of Eastern Orthodoxy also stake a claim to apostolic succession, and thus they are referred to as "Churches" by the Vatican. As for the churches born in whatever form out of the Reformation -- they are not true churches at all, only "ecclesial communities."

Look at this:

According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called "Churches" in the proper sense.

Pope Benedict was already in hot water with the media because of his recent decision related to the (limited) reinstitution of the Latin mass, complete with a call for the conversion of the Jews. He was not likely to be named "Ecumenist of the Year" anyway. This latest controversy just adds to the media impression of big changes at the Vatican under the current papacy.
There have been changes for sure. Benedict is truly a doctrinal theologian, whereas his popular predecessor, Pope John Paul II, was more a philosopher by academic training. Those familiar with the current pope know of his frustration with the tendency of liberal Catholic theologians and laypersons to insist that the Second Vatican Council (known popularly as "Vatican II") represented a massive shift (to the left) in Catholic doctrine. Not so, insisted Cardinal Ratzinger as head of the Congregation for the Defense of the Faith. Now, as Pope, Benedict is in a position to shape his argument into a universal policy for his church. Vatican II, he insists, represented only a deepening and reapplication of unchanging Catholic doctrine.

Evangelicals should appreciate the candor reflected in this document. There is no effort here to confuse the issues. To the contrary, the document is an obvious attempt to set the record straight. The Roman Catholic Church does not deny that Christ is working redemptively through Protestant and evangelical churches, but it does deny that these churches which deny the authority of the papacy are true churches in the most important sense. The true church, in other words, is that church identified through the recognition of the papacy. Those churches that deny or fail to recognize the papacy are "ecclesial Communities," not churches "in the proper sense."

I appreciate the document's clarity on this issue. It all comes down to this -- the claim of the Roman Catholic Church to the primacy of the Bishop of Rome and the Pope as the universal monarch of the church is the defining issue. Roman Catholics and Evangelicals should together recognize the importance of that claim. We should together realize and admit that this is an issue worthy of division. The Roman Catholic Church is willing to go so far as to assert that any church that denies the papacy is no true church.

Evangelicals should be equally candid in asserting that any church defined by the claims of the papacy is no true church. This is not a theological game for children, it is the honest recognition of the importance of the question.
The Reformers and their heirs put their lives on the line in order to stake this claim. In this era of confusion and theological laxity we often forget that this was one of the defining issues of the Reformation itself. Both the Reformers and the Roman Catholic Church staked their claim to be the true church -- and both revealed their most essential convictions in making their argument. As Martin Luther and John Calvin both made clear, the first mark of the true Church is the ministry of the Word -- the preaching of the Gospel. The Reformers indicted the Roman Catholic Church for failing to exhibit this mark, and thus failing to be a true Church. The Catholic church returned the favor, defining the church in terms of the papacy and magisterial authority. Those claims have not changed.

I also appreciate the spiritual concern reflected in this document. The artificial and deadly dangerous game of ecumenical confusion has obscured issues of grave concern for our souls. I truly believe that Pope Benedict and the Congregation for the Defense of the Faith are concerned for our evangelical souls and our evangelical congregations. Pope Benedict is not playing a game. He is not asserting a claim to primacy on the playground. He, along with the Magisterium of his church, believes that Protestant churches are gravely defective and that our souls are in danger. His sacramental theology plays a large role in this concern, for he believes and teaches that a church without submission to the papacy has no guaranteed efficacy for its sacraments. (This point, by the way, explains why the Protestant churches that claim a sacramental theology are more concerned about this Vatican statement -- it denies the basic validity of their sacraments.)

I actually appreciate the Pope's concern. If he is right, we are endangering our souls and the souls of our church members. Of course, I am convinced that he is not right -- not right on the papacy, not right on the sacraments, not right on the priesthood, not right on the Gospel, not right on the church.
The Roman Catholic Church believes we are in spiritual danger for obstinately and disobediently excluding ourselves from submission to its universal claims and its papacy. Evangelicals should be concerned that Catholics are in spiritual danger for their submission to these very claims. We both understand what is at stake.​


The Rev. Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the
 

Dieter Schneider

Puritan Board Sophomore
Vat II was a break with the views I posted and the pope is now restating the old line RC view, he's re-introducing the teaching, it is RC teaching...once again.

j
Having studied Roman Catholicism in some depth I know of no changes since Trent - at any rate. A departure would amount to a denial of infallibility - which Peter, at any rate, did not possess.
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
According to the CCC 839-843, you don't even have to be a Christian to be saved...
Yes, it seems to me that the RC is far less Roman Catholic in the Trent sense and has become very relativistic. In America, it is essentially a mainline liberal church even more so that the CCC. Their theologians and seminaries for the most part differ little from mainline protestant seminaries. You won't see that perspective from internet apologists, but much of the official church has adopted these views. See, for example, Michael Rose, Goodbye, Good Men.

Anyway, I think the concerns about B16's supposed Tridentine views may be misplaced. I think the larger issue is relativism. That is certainly the impression I also get from talking to ordinary Catholics (as opposed to internet apologists).

As JM did, it is often easiest to see the problems with modern Catholicism by looking at the writings of Catholic critics, especially traditionalists. Here is another good source, from an Arch-bishop who was later excommunicated: Open Letter to Confused Catholics.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Graduate
The new papal document's understanding is consistent with the way I originally read Lumen Gentium and related docs, except I was not clear on "subsists," and am still not totally clear.

The VII docs still say that protestants are "Christians" and "brothers," which is good. Their failure to recognize protestant groups generally as churches is not surprising. We have a hard time ourselves determining that.

"Separated bretheren" is the usual post VII way of referring to Protestants. Some papal/Vatican documents refer to Protestant denominations and congregations as "ecclesiastical communities." I've never understood that one back in my Catholic days and even now. :blah::blah:
 

christiana

Puritan Board Senior
For sure most baptists in this area want nothing to do with doctrines of grace! Just love, only love! Mohler speaks pure truth!
 
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