NEWS for Labor Day Weekend, September 1-4, 2000
NEW DOCUMENT ON CHURCH ROLE IN SALVATION
VATICAN, Aug. 31 (CWNews.com)
"No salvation outside the Church"-- that
is the theme of a new statement to be published by the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith.
The new 25-page document, entitled Dominus Jesus, will concern "the
uniqueness and universality of salvation through Jesus Christ and the
Church." It will be made public by the Congregation on September 5, and
made available in translation in seven languages as well as Latin.
The new document, which has been in preparation for several years, is the
Vatican response to a series of theological disputes regarding the role of the
Church in salvation. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the prefect of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone,
the Secretary of the Congregation, will unveil the document at a September 5
press conference in Rome.
The statement Dominus Jesus is a meditation on the old formula, "nulla salus
extra Ecclesiam," which has been formally proclaimed as a doctrine of the
Catholic Church. The new Vatican statement seeks to clarify that doctrine.
The document reaffirms that Jesus Christ offers the only path to salvation.
However, the document states that believers of other faiths may also find
salvation through Jesus Christ. Thus, the argument concludes, the formula
"nulla salus extra Ecclesiam" should not be taken to mean that non-Catholics
cannot obtain salvation.
While strongly reaffirming the necessary role of the Church in the economy
of salvation, Dominus Jesus cautions that some believers may obtain
salvation even through they are not formally incorporated into the Catholic
Church. On the other hand, the Vatican document issues a strong caution
against the tendency to view the true Church as nothing more than the sum
of all Christian communities, or to suggest that all Christian churches are
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