By approving a document saying non-Catholic Christian communities are either defective or not true churches, and the Roman Catholic Church provides the only true path to salvation, Pope Benedict leaves someone behind – Jesus!
This Week’s Top Scrooge – July 13, 2007
There are some weeks when picking a number one bonehead (This Week’s Top Scrooge) is really tough.
This week isn’t one of them. Pope Benedict XVI wins the dishoner hands down, no questions asked, slam dunk, done deal, finito.
The easy pick is made possible by this: Reports came out Wednesday that Pope Benedict XVI approved a document late last month saying non-Catholic Christian communities are either defective or not true churches, and the Roman Catholic Church provides the only true path to salvation.
The document stated other Christian communities such as Protestants “cannot be called ‘churches’ in the proper sense” since they don’t have what’s known as apostolic succession – that is, the ability to trace their bishops back to the original 12 apostles of Jesus.
Before you hear more from this born-againer (me) let me continue the Pope-blunder story with more as reported in WorldNetDaily:
The document said the Orthodox church suffered from a “wound” because it did not recognize the primacy of the pope, adding the wound was “still more profound” among Protestant denominations.
It was “difficult to see how the title of ‘Church’ could possibly be attributed to them,” said the statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, purporting Roman Catholicism was “the one true Church of Christ.”
“These separated churches and communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation,” the document read. “In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church.”
The document, formulated as five questions and answers, repeated sections of a 2000 text the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, “Dominus Iesus,” which angered Protestant and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches and did not have the “means of salvation.”
I’m not a Catholic. I came from a background of Russian Orthodox church services and Sunday school, but I ran from God. I didn’t really think much about anything other than having fun in life.
Simply put, more than eight years ago, at 42 years old, I said the sinner’s prayer with someone behind a church recovery group information table and my life has never been the same since.
I know about salvation and so do many others who agree with me that it is not about church. Even with the document’s caveat that other churches “are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation,” his signature places way too much weight on not only the Catholic church, but “church” in general. (BTW, I go to church nearly every Sunday…non-denominational that is…not to seal my salvation, but to fellowship and worship in community.)
The only statement that I would be thrilled to hear coming out of the Pope’s mouth is that Jesus is the way to salvation…not Catholicism, not 40 Hail Mary’s, not participation in a soup kitchen, not a Sunday service…and while I am on a roll…not ANY “religion”.
All that said, the Pope’s statment is really old news. The Catholic faith has been misleading people for a long time. Not to say that some Catholics are not saved, but they are a “works” based religion…guiding people to jump through hoops to get to heaven.
Sorry, it’s all about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Unless a church is preaching that, it’s barking up the wrong tree.
How do I know? I have personally experienced the salvation that only Jesus can bring. It is by His grace not mine that it happened for me.
So, now do we need to be softer and kinder to the Pope? Do we not call him out on his bonehead move?
Well, too late. The press is already dogging him. The headlines this week have been incredible…some misguided, some right on.
You’ll probably hear a lot of nothing from a lot of Christians. But the way I look at it, this “event” is an opportunity to share about Jesus. The Jesus whose church is bigger and works in more ways than we can understand.
For those that have a relationship with Jesus, God’s church has no boundaries. That, my friends, is the point Benedict has sadly left out of this mess.
As for those looking for salvation, seek Him, look to Jesus as Lord. For He is the door to salvation. You may find Him by simply asking for Him from wherever you are…even sitting in front of your computer!
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