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NO LONGER SISTER CHURCHES

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  • Fr. Panagiotes Carras
    CHURCH ROW LOOMING By David Willey in Rome BBC ONLINE NEWS - September 2, 2000 The Vatican has decreed that Catholic theologians and commentators must stop
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2000
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      CHURCH ROW LOOMING
      By David Willey in Rome
      BBC ONLINE NEWS - September 2, 2000

      The Vatican has decreed that Catholic theologians and commentators must
      stop calling Protestant churches sister churches.

      The phrase is already in wide general use, but the Vatican says it
      cannot be properly used in future because the Anglican and other
      Protestant churches are not "churches in the proper sense". Two new
      documents recently approved by the Pope are expected to arouse
      strong criticism among churchmen, both Catholic and Protestant working
      for Christian unity.

      Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Pope's chief theological adviser, is
      angry about what he considers sloppy terminology. No 'sisters'

      He has banned the use of the term "sister churches" to describe
      Christian communities that are not in actual communion with Rome.

      He argues that there is only one mother church which is the Catholic
      church so it is terminologically incorrect to call say the Anglican and
      Roman Catholic churches sister churches as it places them on a level of
      equality.

      The cardinal's ban, which has the Pope's approval, is contained in a
      document marked confidential and sent to the heads of
      catholic bishops conferences around the world.

      In another document, to be published in Rome next Tuesday, the cardinal
      says that the word "church" can correctly be applied to the Orthodox
      churches which broke away from Rome nearly 1,000 years ago, but not to
      those which broke away at the time of the Protestant Reformation.

      In this document he says that the Reform Churches are not churches at
      all in the strict sense of the word.

      The new documents are bound to be regarded by Christians of other
      denominations working for the re-establishment of
      Christian unity as a significant step backwards by the Vatican in
      their ongoing dialogue.
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