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Dismay, disdain over Vatican document

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  • Islamic News and Information Network
    Assalamu alaikum See also: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/htx/nm/20000905/wl/pope_religions_dc_1.html Dismay, disdain over Vatican document
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 6, 2000
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      Dismay, disdain over Vatican document

      VATICAN CITY, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Religious leaders and theologians reacted
      with dismay and disdain on Wednesday to a Vatican document which rejected
      the concept that other religions could be considered equal to Roman
      Catholicism. The controversial document, issued on Tuesday by the
      Vatican"s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stunned many,
      worried others and left a number indifferent. But there was general
      concern that the complex theological document could hurt decades of
      inter-religious dialogue that has made great strides since the 1962-1965
      Second Vatican Council. The bitterness appeared to be felt most by other
      Christian religions, which the document implied were second-rate because
      of "defects," including their refusal to recognise papal primacy. The
      Archbishop of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the world"s 70 million
      Anglicans, rejected the Vatican"s contention as unacceptable, saying it
      appeared to question efforts to cement closer ties among various branches
      of Christianity. "The idea that Anglican and other churches are not
      "proper churches" seems to question the considerable ecumenical gains we
      have made," Archbishop George Carey said in a statement. "The Church of
      England, and the world-wide Anglican Communion, does not for one moment
      accept that its orders of ministry and Eucharist are deficient in any way.
      It believes itself to be a part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic
      church of Christ," said Carey. DISMAY AMONG PROTESTANTS There was also
      ecumenical dismay in Germany, home of Martin Luther"s Reformation, where
      evangelical churches felt slighted. "The declaration suggests that the
      Catholic and the Protestant church are not on equal terms with each
      other," Manfred Kock, chairman of the council of the Evangelical Church of
      Germany, told ZDF television. "This will not help discussions between the
      two churches," he said of inter-religious dialogue in Germany. The
      document repeated Catholic Church teachings that non-Christians were in a
      "gravely deficient situation" regarding salvation and that other Christian
      churches had "defects." It said the clarification and restatement of the
      official Catholic position was necessary to contest "relativistic theories
      which seek to justify religious pluralism" as a principle rather than a de
      facto practice. It said only the revelation of Jesus Christ was
      "definitive and complete" and that Christian revelation could not be seen
      as complementary to that found in other religions. Dissident Swiss
      theologian Hans Kung, who has been disciplined by the Vatican in the past,
      said the document was reactionary. "MEDIAEVAL BACKWARDNESS AND VATICAN
      MEGALOMANIA" "It"s a mixture of mediaeval backwardness and Vatican
      megalomania," he was quoted as saying by an Italian news agency. Kung, who
      had his licence to teach in a Catholic University withdrawn by the Vatican
      cardinal who wrote Tuesday"s document, said it was hypocritical to
      "continually talk about dialogue while not talking about this colossal
      pretence of absolutism." Walking a theological tightrope, the document
      said the "Church of Christ" was present in other Christian Churches. But,
      in the Vatican"s view, it subsists fully in the Roman Catholic Church
      because the Pope is the successor to St Peter, whom Christ named as his
      first vicar on Earth. The sting was also felt by non-Christians, whom the
      document said were disadvantaged regarding salvation because Christ was
      the Son of God. "This has fundamentalist overtones," said Tullia Zevi,
      director of inter-cultural and inter-religious relations for the European
      Jewish Congress. "It saddens and worries us," she said. Rabbi David Rosen,
      head of the Jerusalem office of the Anti-Defamation League, said the
      position was not surprising. But he added: "Those of us...pluralistic in
      our theological approach, are a little disappointed that nothing is moving
      in terms of the present theological position of the Vatican."

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