Saturday, November 20, 2004

The Pontificator on Dominus Iesus

Pontifications looks back on Dominus Iesus:

When Dominus Iesus was released in 2000 by the Vatican, there was quite an ecumenical uproar. Though intended primarily to address the question of interfaith dialogue and evangelization, it also commented on the relationship of non-Catholic Christian communities to the Catholic Church. Anglicans especially were shocked, simply shocked, to discover that Catholics still and really do believe, despite all of the sherry we have poured down their throats during the past thirty ecumenical years, that “the Church of Christ … continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church.” It is just shocking that Catholics haven’t come around to our point of view.


The Pontificator goes on to discuss the Orthodox and Protestant (Anglican) reactions to the document:

The patristic principle of salvation in the visible Church is almost impossible for twenty-first century Protestants to understand, much less affirm. No Episcopalian, Presbyterian, or Methodist would ever say that salvation is mediated exclusively through a particular denomination. . . .

If Anglicanism is truly guided by the patristic interpretation of Scripture, as Bishop Andrewes long ago claimed, then we must advance the ecclesial principle with the same meaning and intent as the Church Fathers. But in fact we do not and never have. Anglicans do not claim to be the Catholic Church in an exclusive salvific sense. We are a part of the catholic Church; we are not the catholic Church. On this point Anglicans have long enjoyed consensus. . . .

As Stephen Sykes notes, Anglicans cannot and do not claim that their bishops are the true centers of unity in the Church because Anglicans cannot and do not profess that they are the Church in an exclusive sense: “Since the Anglican church has never claimed that in it alone is there to be found the fulness of the church, it follows that the theological interpretation of its episcopate is necessarily the interpretation of a partial and broken symbol of the continuity of faith.”

In light of which, The Pontificator concludes:

Pontificator’s Fourth Law would thus seem to logically follow: “A church that does not understand itself as the Church, outside of which there is no salvation, is not the Church but a denomination or sect.”

As one commentator on his blog asked the Pontificator: "Why call oneself an Anglican blogger and then denounce Anglicanism left and right?" -- to which he responded, "Why not?"

Here is a father who courageously told his own son this past April, " “There is no future for you and your future family in the Episcopal Church,” urging him to explore and read and pray. Nobody but God knows the inner movements of the soul and the promptings of the Spirit, but whenever I read Pontifications -- probably the finest Anglican blog on the 'net -- I get the sense that it is only a matter of time before he follows his son in "crossing the Tiber." Keep him in your prayers.

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