the “only true church” and roman catholicism

back on july 12th i saw a few articles talking about a new document the roman catholic church had put out talking about the status of other churches…

It was the second time in a week Pope Benedict XVI has moved to correct what he calls erroneous interpretations of the 1960s reforming Vatican Council. […] The new document, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which the Pope used to head, reaffirms traditional teaching that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true church — though “elements of truth” are found in separated churches. It says Orthodox churches are wounded because they are not in communion with the Pope, while protestant churches have more serious deficiencies, making it “difficult to see how the title of ‘church’ could possibly be attributed to them”.

(excerpts taken from here)
i don’t have a problem with churches believing they’ve got things figured out better than other churches, whether that be catholic, orthodox, some flavor of protestant, etc. — because, let’s face it, you believe what you do because you think it makes the most sense and is the best answer. or even if a church wants to believe they’re the “true” church (i grew up in one of them, after all). the roman catholic church has a pretty good historical argument, so they’ve got a better case than any protestant church for taking such a position. i don’t even have a problem with the slight they made toward protestant churches — *i* have difficulty seeing how some of them can have the title ‘church’. (i wouldn’t say it about protestant churches as a whole, but if i had a catholic or orthodox perspective i’m betting i would.)
that said… while i understand the perspective the roman catholic church has, it annoys me to see the church of rome say all of the other original (i.e., orthodox) churches are ‘wounded’ — after it was rome who went off on its own, turning their back on all of the rest of the early churches, then creating numerous bizarre theological constructs and positions based on power, control, land and money grabs, etc. over the ensuing years. if any church deserves the title of ‘wounded’ (as regards their integrity and theology) it is the church of rome.
although i suppose it’s true the actions of the roman church wounded the rest of the christian church, so maybe saying the orthodox churches are wounded isn’t so far off. rome is just wrong about the reason why and how to solve it. rome is the wayward church, who destroyed the unity of the original church and “wounded” the orthodox churches.
not that my opinion is worth anything. but there it is anyway.

2 comments on “the “only true church” and roman catholicism”

  1. Well said! I think only the Catholic Church has the arrogance to make public pronouncements of being the one true church. Either that, or the other churches aren’t getting any press. I’m glad that you mentioned the Orthodox church after saying that the Catholics have a “pretty good historical argument.” IMO the Orthodox churches have a better one for the reasons you go on to state from there.
    Having said that, I have yet to really pursue a serious interest in the Orthodox church.

  2. I also find it interesting that the Pope would call the Orthodox churches “wounded” considering the problems it is having with its priests and altar boys here in the states.

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