Thursday, July 12, 2007

The pope has made quite a stir

Benedict XVI has issued a new document this week claiming his primacy as pope and the primacy of the Catholic Church.

The new document -- formulated as five questions and answers -- restates key sections of a 2000 text the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, "Dominus Iesus," which riled Protestant and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the "means of salvation." The commentary repeated church teaching that says the Catholic Church "has the fullness of the means of salvation."

"Christ ‘established here on earth’ only one church," said the document, released as the pope vacations at a villa in Lorenzago di Cadore, in Italy’s Dolomite mountains. The other communities "cannot be called ‘churches’ in the proper sense" because they do not have apostolic succession -- the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ’s original apostles -- and therefore their priestly ordinations are not valid, it said.

The document said that Orthodox churches were indeed "churches" because they have apostolic succession and enjoyed "many elements of sanctification and of truth." But it said they do not recognize the primacy of the pope -- a defect, or a "wound" that harmed them, it said.

"This is obviously not compatible with the doctrine of primacy which, according to the Catholic faith, is an ‘internal constitutive principle’ of the very existence of a particular church," said a commentary from the congregation that accompanied the text.

Ratzinger is feeling his oats. He is predictably standing for his traditions and asserting his place of primacy in the world of Christianity.

The truth is. The pope can't save anybody. He has no holes in his hands. There is only one Savior and one Lord, and that is Jesus. The idea that there is apostolic succession is a fallacy beyond credibility. For those who would like to know about Peter being a pope, apostolic succession and other such matters, please take a look at:

Did you know that Peter was married? That celibacy was not demanded for 300 years? That no one claimed to be a pope until 606 AD? That Catholics did not honor the apocrypha until the Council of Trent? that several popes excommunicated other popes? that the popes called each other's doctrines heresies?

Jesus is the only and only Lord of His church and the one and only Savior of the church. There is no other. The gospel is God's means of saving mankind, and the Lord himself adds the saved to His church. The church does not control salvation; the church is the saved (not the Savior).

The church of the New Testament is certainly very different from the Roman Catholic church. For my part, I am pledged to the church I can read about there, not to any other.



Anonymous said...

The fact is : the real reason the pope staed this was beacause of the doctrine on the Blessed Sacrament.

Protestants don't believe that the Eucharist is literally the Blood and Body of the Lord.

Catholics claim that it is. The Eucharist is Jesus.

Catholics also say that the Church is the mystical Body of Christ.

Jesus saves men through his Body and Blood.

The Church can save men because it is the Body of Christ.

Denying the Church is the same as denying Christ himself.

Emily said...

Phil, this is a great post!
I am often angered by this popular idea that the pope has some kind of magical power of salvation. He is not infallible as many will attest. Thanks for saying these things more intelligently than I have been able to!

Phil Sanders said...

Jesus saves men through his blood (Eph. 1:7; Rev. 1:5) and adds the saved to His church (Acts 2:47). The church is the saved, not the Savior (Eph. 5:23).

Christians who study the New Testament realize that the church is the Body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; 5:23; Col. 1:18, 24).

Christians partake of the Lord's Supper in remembrance of the Body and Blood of Jesus. The Lord's Supper is a memorial, not salvific.

From the second to the fifth centuries, there was a movement from the Lord's Supper being a simple, memorial feast to a sacrifice of the actual body and blood of the Lord. While the latter is where it ended, there is no New Testament indication that is what Jesus intended for it to be so.


harison said...

Yes as you said Pope/s may have had their weakness as so do he now too. But we ought to remember St. Peter to whom the Keys of the Heaven was given denied jesus thrice, was called as satan by Jesus himself and wished to run away when he was about to be killed. Who are we to judge the roles decided and guided by GOD. Yet I believe a true believer of Jesus will not agree in his heart what pope have said. But we are not to revolt against pope, there will be confusions, problems and trouble and it might shake of many who belive to be strong in faith, we are to be steadfast in faith and proclaim the message with clarity of what Lord speaks through every one of us.

Phil Sanders said...

God does not and has not ever spoken through the pope. He speaks through His Word the Bible, and it is His complete and final revelation of truth for all time (Jude 3; 2 Pet. 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; John 16:12-13). If the apostles in the first century did not reveal ALL truth, the whole truth, then Jesus Himself proves to be a false prophet.

As for being a judge, the popes themselves judged other popes as heretics and apostates. If the apostolic succession ended with any one of them, then no succeeding pope has any status whatsoever.

BTW, Matthew 23 still says, "Let no man be called 'father.'" God will judge who so disregard their word.

I am not the judge; but if the Word of God is authoritative (Jn 12:48) and I point out what it says, then the Word is what is judging (not I).

I have only one Lord, and His name is Jesus. The pope is not His vicar, and I will NEVER bow my knee to him or any other man. The pope has no holes in his hands, and he is not my Savior.


Joel1245 said...

Very well reasoned Phil. Thanks for your time. :)