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Re: [mythsoc] the Pope, the way to God, and the Catholic Church

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  • Patrick Wynne
    I just want to thank both Carl and Matt for taking the time to write such thoughtful (and through-provoking) responses to my query about the Catholic Church s
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 12 3:29 PM
      I just want to thank both Carl and Matt for taking the
      time to write such thoughtful (and through-provoking)
      responses to my query about the Catholic Church's
      view of the Pope's role in salvation. There's much
      here to digest!

      -- Pat

      On Jul 12, 2005, at 8:55 AM, Fisher, Matt wrote:

      > Pat Wynne wrote:
      > "This was later reaffirmed by the First Vatican Council in 1869-70,
      > and seems pretty close (at least to this Lutheran's ears) to saying
      > that the Pope is "the only way to God". However, I gather from what
      > Carl has told me in conversations on this topic that the modern
      > Catholic Church no longer holds to this teaching. When was it
      > specifically changed, I wonder? At Vatican Two?"
      > As a non-Roman Catholic Christian teaching at a Roman Catholic
      > college, my understanding from colleagues in the Religious Studies
      > department is that the traditional teaching of Catholicism is
      > "outside of the Church, no salvation" (English translation of a
      > Latin phrase, I don't remember the source of the Latin). The catch
      > is this...what does "Church" refer to? Historically it was the
      > Catholic Church as we typically understand it. And since
      > acknowledgement of the Pope's teaching and spiritual authority is
      > an integral part of the Catholic faith, such an acknowledgement was
      > viewed as part of salvation.
      > That perspective has been significantly downplayed in the years
      > since Vatican II, in large part because of the document "Nostra
      > Aetate." In that document, issued by Paul VI in 1965, the Catholic
      > Church stated:
      > "other religions found everywhere try to counter the restlessness
      > of the human heart, each in its own manner, by proposing 'ways,'
      > comprising teachings, rules of life, and sacred rites. The Catholic
      > Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions.
      > She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of
      > life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many
      > aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often
      > reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she
      > proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ 'the way, the truth, and
      > the life' (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of
      > religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself.(4)"
      > From this point on, my understanding is that there was a tendency
      > within the Catholic Church to view the "Church" in "outside of the
      > Church no salvation" in the broadest possible terms (the Church as
      > God knows it in the infinite wisdom of the Divine, not as we humans
      > know it). In August 2000, then Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope
      > Benedict XVI) in his position as head of the Catholic Church's
      > Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued the declaration
      > "Dominus Iesus: On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus
      > Christ and the Church" that placed greater emphasis on the
      > traditional view of "outside of the Church, no salvation." While
      > the response from outside the Catholic Church to the declaration
      > was not generally positive, several individuals noted that the
      > Cardinal was, in fact, articulating a view that was historically a
      > part of Catholicism and had never been formally renounced. So while
      > the modern Catholic Church may not have emphasized the traditional
      > view in recen
      > t years, my understanding is that the teaching itself has never
      > been formally renounced by the Catholic Church.
      > Matt Fisher
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
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