Roman Catholicism: Vatican Says Other Christian Faiths Are Not "Proper Churches"

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Last Updated By Bill's Bible Basics :
February 16, 2017

By Chris Staiti -

September 27, 2000

Vatican City, Sept. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Christian religions that differ from Roman Catholicism cannot be considered "proper churches," the Vatican said today, reaffirming its stance that it is the one, true Christian faith.

"The ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate," and do not recognize the Pope as their spiritual leader "are not Churches in the proper sense," said the Declaration Dominus Iesus, or Lord Jesus.

Roman Catholics believe St. Peter, who founded the church, received a mission from Jesus to administer exclusively the Christian faith and has passed this power through the popes.

Issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican body formerly known as the Inquisition, the document is already drawing criticism from Protestant church leaders.

"Of course, the Church of England, and the worldwide Anglican Communion, does not for one moment accept that its orders of ministry and Eucharist are deficient in any way," Archbishop of Canterbury George Leonard Carey said in a prepared statement. He expressed concern the church's position will cause a setback to recent efforts at interfaith relations.

Pope John Paul II is slated next month to meet with Queen Elizabeth II, the head of the Church of England, partly to apologize for the church's past sins toward Britain over the past millennium.

Today's declaration is the latest controversial pronouncement by the Catholic Church. On Sunday, the Pope beatified Pius IX, a 19th century pontiff whose anti-Semitic policies drew criticism from Jewish leaders and human rights groups.

The document released today reiterated that the Catholic Church does recognize the baptisms of other Christian churches. "Those who are baptized in these communities are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Catholic Church," the declaration said

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