What's next, bringing back the Inquisition? ROME: Pope Benedict XVI has restated what he said were the "defects" of Christian faiths other than Roman Catholicism, sparking anger from Protestants who questioned the Vatican's respect for other beliefs.
"It makes us question whether we are indeed praying together for Christian unity," the World Alliance of Reformed Churhes, which represents Protestants in more than 100 countries, said in a statement. The Vatican document repeated many of the contentious claims of a document issued in 2000 by the Vatican office on orthodoxy, which Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger headed for more than two decades before being elected pope in 2005.
The document released Tuesday focused largely on the Vatican definition of what constitutes a church, which it defined as being traceable through its bishops to Christ's original apostles. This, it said, the world's Orthodox Christians make up a chirch because of shared history, if "separated" from the "proper" Catholic tradition; Protestants, who split from Catholicism during the Reformation, are considered only "Christian communities."
The document repeated church teaching that the Roman Catholic Church alone is the mediator of salvation, though other beliefs can be its "instrument." That's odd. Many American fundamentalists, most of whom are descended from Protestant denominations, feel the same way about all other non-fundamentalists. Maybe the Church and the Protestants could reunite and cancel each other out, and let the rest of us seek salvation from God all on our own, in our own way. Wouldn't that be nice?