Vatican Representative Tones Down One True Church Statement. But Why?

Vatican Representative Tones Down One True Church Statement.

But why should he?

This issue is only complicated because we live in a world where statements of any kind which point out our differences are considered "politically incorrect."  The Catholic Church’s position on this matter is no different now than in 2000 when the current Pontiff, on behalf of John Paul II, wrote the encyclical Dominus Iesus, which I reviewed in We May Not Be a Church After All.  There I pointed out the following:

The term the New Testament uses for the church is ekklesia, the "called out ones."  Implicit in this is the idea that the church is made up of the people who have been called out, the "Body of Christ," if you please.  Such a concept is commonly expressed in Evangelical churches (it’s hard to figure out what the liberals are called out from) but is not unknown in Roman Catholicism.  The Second Vatican Council spent some time on it and of course Liberation Theology has used it as well.

But Roman Catholicism has another concept of church: an organization, whose leadership is the direct successor of the Apostles (and the head of this organization being the direct successor of Peter,) and which was established and empowered by Christ to dispense grace through the sacraments and truth through its authoritative teaching.  Such a church is in reality a mediator between man and God.  To back this up Roman Catholicism teaches that the establishment of such an authoritative institution was high on Christ’s agenda while He was here.  Roman Catholicism is not alone in this; the Orthodox churches have the same high view of themselves, the Anglican ones to a lesser extent.

The whole history of Protestantism has been an attempt to get past this concept of church and re-emphasise the unique meditative role of Christ Himself…We may not like the Vatican telling us we’re not a church, but if we look at their definition of church, then we can’t avoid the conclusion that, using their definition, we probably aren’t!

The one note of progress in this is that some in the Catholic church are coming around to the obvious: that some Protestant churches have a concept of themselves this is closer to that of Roman Catholicism than others:

"We meant that the EKD (Evangelical Church in Germany) or the Church of England, for example, have a different understanding of what the church is," the ecumenical leader stated.

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