The Catholic Church recently released a document CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH in which they make some statements that have caused controversy this week. As the Associated Press reported:
"The document, in which Pope Benedict XVI reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, said other Christian communities were either defective or not true churches and that Catholicism provided the only true path to salvation."
This is what we here at Guided By Truth have been telling you all along. The Catholic Church has always felt this way, this was simply a clarification of that belief. As we have shown in our article Anathemas of the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church has always said there is no salvation outside of their church. They have always considered Protestants and non-Catholic Christians to be anathema, which means eternally condemned.
This current document simply reveals that they still believe in and teach that to disagree with them means you are not truly a Christian and cannot be saved. Many people were under the false impression that Vatican II somehow rolled back the old teachings of those like the ones in the Council of Trent, but that was never the case. This newly released document was written to prove that. Below are some quotes from that document; CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
"The Second Vatican Council, with its Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, and its Decrees on Ecumenism (Unitatis redintegratio) and the Oriental Churches (Orientalium Ecclesiarum), has contributed in a decisive way to the renewal of Catholic ecclesiology...
Given the universality of Catholic doctrine on the Church, the Congregation wishes to respond to these questions by clarifying the authentic meaning of some ecclesiological expressions used by the magisterium which are open to misunderstanding in the theological debate."
Let us look at how Pope Benedict XVI cleared up these misunderstandings.
Did the Second Vatican Council change the Catholic doctrine on the Church?
The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it."
It was never the intent of the church to change their definition of what the "true" church was, they merely decided to be more subtle in defining it openly. In doing so they began referring to some non-catholic churches using the term church, but as we can see, that was never intended to mean they were legitimate.
Why does the Second Vatican Council use the term “Church” in reference to the oriental Churches separated from full communion with the Catholic Church?
The Council wanted to adopt the traditional use of the term. “Because these Churches, although separated(emphasis ours), have true sacraments and above all – because of the apostolic succession – the priesthood and the Eucharist, by means of which they remain linked to us by very close bonds...
However, since communion with the Catholic Church, the visible head of which is the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Peter, is not some external complement to a particular Church but rather one of its internal constitutive principles, these venerable Christian communities lack something in their condition as particular churches" (emphasis ours)
Why do the texts of the Council and those of the Magisterium since the Council not use the title of “Church” with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?
According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church (emphasis ours). These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called “Churches” in the proper sense" (emphasis ours)
As you can clearly see, the Catholic Church today, as in times past, teaches and believes they are the only true church. They have condemned eternally those who believe that baptism, the mass, and the sacrament of Eucharist are not necessary for salvation along with those who do not accept the Apocryphal books, the doctrine of Substantiation and the list goes on. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church (846) states:
"Outside the Church there is no salvation.
Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it."
We should not be standing in unison with a church that teaches doctrines that are contrary to the Scriptures nor should we be shocked to find out that they have never truly stood in unison with us.