His Holiness (?) Offends Jews and Protestants, Taking Catholicism Backwards

Pope Benedict XVI approved a declaration yesterday maintaining a 2000 document that Protestants cannot have churches. Saturday the man had reinstated the abolished Latin mass which includes a Good Friday prayer describing Jews as blind to the Christian truth.

In a world where fanatic fundamentalists are daily increasing their sectarian violence; and countries with religious differences, such as Lebanon and Syria, hover on the brink of war, the Pope has to blast the flames with pure oxygen? Isn’t the Catholic Church supposed to be THE Church of Christ? AKA The Prince of Peace ?

The UK Guardian chronicles the dismay and anger generated by the pontiff’s brazen actions.

Protestant churches yesterday reacted with dismay to a new declaration approved by Pope Benedict XVI insisting they were mere “ecclesial communities” and their ministers effectively phonies with no right to give communion.

Coming just four days after the reinstatement of the Latin mass, yesterday’s document left no doubt about the Pope’s eagerness to back traditional Roman Catholic practices and attitudes, even at the expense of causing offence.

The view that Protestants cannot have churches was first set out by Pope Benedict seven years ago when, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he headed the Vatican “ministry” for doctrine. A commentary attached to the latest text acknowledged that his 2000 document, Dominus Iesus, had caused “no little distress”.

But it added: “It is nevertheless difficult to see how the title of ‘Church’ could possibly be attributed to [Protestant communities], given that they do not accept the theological notion of the Church in the Catholic sense and that they lack elements considered essential to the Catholic Church.”

Forgive my Unitarian upbringing, I may have misunderstood the finer points of the Protestant Reformation. Was that not a formal declaration of independence from the Catholic Church? What ON EARTH gives this man the idea he can dictate such nonsense to other demominations? “No little distress” may be the understatement of the decade. It seems the Pope took it upon himself to revisit and rejudge positions changed decades ago.

The Pope’s old department, which issued the document, said its aim was to correct “erroneous or ambiguous” interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, which ended in 1965. Quoting a text approved by the Council, it said Protestant churches, “because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood”, had not “preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery”.

His Eminence presumes to know better than the Second Vatican Counsel, not to mention pure common sense. Not surprisingly, other denominations did not see it the same as the Pope.

However, other Christians saw the latest document as another retreat from the spirit of openness generated by the Council, which laid the basis for talks on Christian unity. Bishop Wolfgang Huber, head of the Protestant umbrella group Evangelical Church in Germany, said: “The hope for a change in the ecumenical situation has been pushed further away by the document published today.”

He said the new pronouncement repeated “offensive statements” in the 2000 document and was a “missed opportunity” to improve relations with Protestants. The president of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy, pastor Domenico Maselli, called it a “huge step backwards in relations between the Roman Catholic church and other Christian communities”.

A statement from the French Protestant Federation warned that the internal document would have “external repercussions”.

Although the Episcoplians were less upset due to a somewhat kinder, gentler opinion from Benedict XVI, the Jews echoed Italian Pastor Maselli.

The president of the Italian rabbinical assembly, Giuseppe Laras, yesterday called it “a heavy blow”. He told the daily Corriere della Sera: “We are going back. A long way back.”

The last thing this world needs is to go a long way back in religious differences between Catholics, other Christians and Jews. I was not aware that the Bible directs Christians to bring about the Apocalyse. This action plays straight into fundamentalist portrayals of the Pope as the AntiChrist.

How do the five Catholic Supreme Court Justices get to interpret this? That all Jews appearing before the court or appealing a conviction are liars? I sincerely doubt it will give W any anxiety that he can no longer go to church and get communion. He’ll just do it, anyway.

Maybe the Protestants could have another Reformation and tell Mr. Ratzinger to bug off.

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8 Responses to His Holiness (?) Offends Jews and Protestants, Taking Catholicism Backwards

  1. Michaelvdg says:

    describing Jews as blind to the Christian truth.

    That’s Biblically correct.

    “It is nevertheless difficult to see how the title of ‘Church’ could possibly be attributed to [Protestant communities], given that they do not accept the theological notion of the Church in the Catholic sense and that they lack elements considered essential to the Catholic Church.”

    Also true from a theological perspective.

    The last thing this world needs is to go a long way back in religious differences between Catholics, other Christians and Jews. I was not aware that the Bible directs Christians to bring about the Apocalyse. This action plays straight into fundamentalist portrayals of the Pope as the AntiChrist.

    Uh. What? Aren’t you overdoing it a bit? I mean – apocalypse? What do you think we protestants will do? Declare Holy War on the Catholic Church?

  2. Darrell Prows says:

    “This action plays straight into fundamentalist portrayals of the Pope as the Antichrist”. Sadly there are people of “religion” in this country who will make themselves become hostile over this. We have “Christians” who look for excuses to react with moral outrage.

    Meanwhile, the vast majority of Catholics, Protestants, etc. will shrug this off with a deeply felt “whatever”.

  3. Ginny Cotts says:

    Michael,

    As Darrell stated, it is a very sad fact here that some Christian groups are very hostile to the Catholic Church and have been for some time -decades. I have seen the literature they put out portraying Pope John Paul as the AntiChrist. And portraying him in the Apocolypse. These were almost like cartoon books – only deadly serious. The movement was discovered by Citizens Network at Cornell U. An anti war, anti nuclear proliferation group.

    There are indications that some would not hesitate to ‘facilitate’ the end times. Off the top of my head, one was the Secretary of the Interior (most likely under Reagan) who did not think it was necessary to protect the environment since the second coming was so near.

    While I agree with Darrell’s assessment of the shrug off by a majority, the responses of the officials also indicate that this is not totally ‘whatever’.

    There are a lot of things in the Bible that would no longer be acceptable to advocate. I see no real benefit to make such a declaration that insults people of other faiths just to bolster your own. It is a significant problem here that the Catholics had gotten away from. In the past few years the Bishops have taken to threatening candidates and voters who support free choice on abortions that they cannot have communion until they confess and repent.

    Given the tinder box in the ME (we are stupidly and primarily responsible for) I simply cannot wrap my brain around giving ANY group or individual a reason to join, act or in any way conflate the situation.

    I had some respect for the last Pope. I am not aware that this one is doing anything significant to promote peace and now he adds to the unstable mess with ugly, divisive declarations.

    My hope is that the religious leader gaining respect as the peace representative for the world, the Dalai Lama, can bring some sense to the Pope and help the others blow him off.

    It may be that he will, in a backlash, bring more people to advocate toleration and respect for the beliefs of others.

  4. Michaelvdg says:

    but Ginny: he does respect others beliefs. He simply believes that they have strayed from the truth. That’s true for a Catholic. That’s what, in my opinion, the Catholic church should officially teach. I am a protestant and, to be honest, I would find it a bit strange if a Pope says “doesn’t matter whether you’re part of the Catholic Church or not.”

  5. battlebob says:

    Ginny,
    I beleive it was Jim Watts who as Rambos SoI wanted to give every single rock to the oil folks. Use it or lose it…

  6. battlebob says:

    Actually, Protestants use the phrase “Holy Catholic Church” in some of their creeds.
    But the meaning is different where Catholic refers to the universality of Christianity.

    So what is this Popes next move…
    Start another Crusade and charge?
    There are already too many of us…How about advocating some kind of birth control?
    How about allowing priests to marry?
    I beleive this edict came from Pope Constantine around 800. Wasn’t he the hermit guy who lived in a cave?
    I may be mixing my popes up.

  7. Battlebob

    Ideas far too radical for this Pope I am afraid, but they sound good to me.

  8. Ginny in CO says:

    Michael,

    I can understand him saying they are not part of the Catholic church. I am disagreeing with the arrogance of telling them they can not be churches or have communions because they aren’t Catholic.

    My sense of any being that might judge us when we die is one who would say,

    “You claimed to be a Christian, did you follow that claim?”

    Having been a Unitarian and an atheist in a trinitarian society. I am all to familiar with being told that my church is not a church, that I am immoral, going to hell, bringing the country to rude, etc.

    I find it very rude, unchristian and condescending for people who are supposed to love their neighbors and enemies, and be humble and meek.

    battlebob, I was pretty sure it was Watt but the gray cells refused to be sure. There are others