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 Issues | Questions | Ratzinger on the CofE

What did Joseph Ratziner (Roman Catholic Bishop of Rome - aka Benedict XVI) say about the Church of England?

Joseph Ratzinger's former job was as the Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly known as the Inquisition).

In 2001 the CDF produced a paper entitled Dominus Iesus in which it explained its relationship to other Churches.  Ratzinger was one of two signatories.

The argument of Dominus Iesus is that to be a proper Church one has to be in full communion with the See of Rome. DI states

"17. Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of
Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him. The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the
Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are
true particular Churches. Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they
lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according
to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church.

On the other hand, the ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral
substance of the Eucharistic mystery, are not Churches in the proper sense; however, those who are baptized in these
communities are, by Baptism, incorporated in Christ and thus are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Church.
Baptism in fact tends per se toward the full development of life in Christ, through the integral profession of faith, the
Eucharist, and full communion in the Church."

Since Rome has consistently rejected the validity of Anglican Orders this means they consider the CofE to be at best an 'ecclesial community'.

Dominus Iesus was therefore welcomed by Evangelicals in the Church of England since it made liberal eccumenists wake up to what Rome is really about. However, as subsequent events have shown the lessons have not been learnt.

Garry Williams addressed this issue for us at a fringe meeting at General Synod - Toward Reunion.

See also our pages - The Church of Rome Has Erred.

 

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