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Pope Benedict XVI
Dominus Iesus (English: The Lord Jesus) is a declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (known as the "Holy Office"), approved in a plenary meeting of the Congregation and signed by its then prefect, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later beame Pope Benedict XVI), and its then secretary, Archbishop Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone. The declaration was approved by Pope John Paul II and was published on August 6, 2000.
It is most widely known for its elaboration of the Catholic dogma that the Catholic Church is the sole true Church of Christ.
A Catholic dogma, Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus (literally "no salvation outside the Church") has sometimes been interpreted as denying salvation to non-Catholic Christians as well as non-Christians, though Catholic teaching has long stressed the possibility of salvation for persons invincibly ignorant (through no fault of their own) of the Catholic Church's necessity and thus not culpable for lacking communion with the Church. Vatican II further affirmed that salvation could be available to people who had not even heard of Christ. But all who gain salvation do so only by membership in the Catholic Church, whether that membership is ordinary (explicit) or by extraordinary means (implicit).
While affirming the teaching of Lumen gentium that the Catholic Church "is the single Church of Christ" and that "[t]his Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church", Dominus Iesus offers further comments on what it means for the true Church to "subsist in" the Catholic Church. The document states that, "[w]ith the expression subsistit in, the Second Vatican Council sought to harmonize two doctrinal statements: on the one hand, that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions which exist among Christians, continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church, and on the other hand, that 'outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth.' "
The document reserves the word "Church" for bodies that have preserved a "valid episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery". Such bodies, which include the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and the Old Catholic Churches, "are true particular Churches", and the document affirms that "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 Primacy."
The document uses the term "ecclesial community" (from the Greek word ecclesia, meaning "church") rather than "Church" for those Christian bodies not named in the preceding paragraph, most notably including all Protestants. The document states that, although such Christian communities "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." It further states that such Christian communities, "though we believe they suffer from defects, have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation."
The document declares that, although the Christian church is intended by God to be "the instrument for the salvation of all humanity," such beliefs do not "lessen the sincere respect which the Church has for the religions of the world." It does, however, "rule out, in a radical way... a religious relativism which leads to the belief that ‘one religion is as good as another'"
The document goes on to affirm the possibility that those who subscribe to non-Christian religions may be saved while insisting that the means of such salvation must be Christ, and not the religion to which such a person subscribes: "If it is true that the followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the Church, have the fullness of the means of salvation." The document then immediately reminds Christians that their more direct enjoyment of the means of salvation comes "not from their own merits, but from the grace of Christ. If they fail to respond in thought, word, and deed to that grace, not only shall they not be saved, but they shall be more severely judged."
On 1 October 2000, during one of his angelus, Pope John Paul II stated he had approved Dominus Iesus "in a special way". He added: "This confession does not deny salvation to non-Christians, but points to its ultimate source in Christ, in whom man and God are united."
The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, commonly known as the Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, addressed relations between the Catholic Church and the modern world. The Council, through the Holy See, was formally opened under the pontificate of John XXIII on 11 October 1962, and was closed under Paul VI on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December 1965.
Lumen gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is one of the principal documents of the Second Vatican Council. This dogmatic constitution was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 21 November 1964, following approval by the assembled bishops by a vote of 2,151 to 5. As is customary with significant Roman Catholic Church documents, it is known by its incipit, "Lumen gentium", Latin for "Light of the Nations".
Christus Dominus is the Second Vatican Council's Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops. It was approved by a vote of 2,319 to 2 of the assembled bishops and was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 28 October 1965. The title in Latin means "Christ the Lord" and is from the first line of the decree, as is customary for Roman Catholic documents. Christus Dominus calls for strong episcopal conferences of bishops, to set the standard for the church in their region, while fully supporting the Vatican and the Pope.
Ad gentes is the Second Vatican Council's decree on missionary activity. The title is Latin for "To the Nations," and is from the first line of the decree, as is customary with Roman Catholic documents. It establishes evangelization as one of the fundamental missions of the Catholic Church and reaffirms the tie between evangelization and charity for the poor. Ad gentes also calls for the formation of strong Christian communities as well as strong relations with other Christians. Finally, it lays out guidelines for the training and actions of the missionaries.
The Latin phrase extra Ecclesiam nulla salus means "outside the Church there is no salvation".
The magisterium of the Catholic Church is the church's authority or office to give authentic interpretation of the Word of God, "whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition." According to the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, the task of interpretation is vested uniquely in the Pope and the bishops, though the concept has a complex history of development. Scripture and Tradition "make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God, which is entrusted to the Church", and the magisterium is not independent of this, since "all that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is derived from this single deposit of faith."
In Christian theology, ecclesiology is the study of the Church, the origins of Christianity, its relationship to Jesus, its role in salvation, its polity, its discipline, its eschatology, and its leadership.
The universal call to holiness is a teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that all people are called to be holy, and is based on Matthew 5:48: "Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect". In the opening pages of the Bible, the call to holiness is expressed in the Lord's words to Abraham: "Walk before me, and be blameless".
The infallibility of the Church is the belief that the Holy Spirit preserves the Christian Church from errors that would contradict its essential doctrines. It is related to, but not the same as, indefectibility, that is, "she remains and will remain the Institution of Salvation, founded by Christ, until the end of the world." The doctrine of infallibility is premised on the authority Jesus granted to the apostles to "bind and loose" and in particular the promises to Peter in regard to papal infallibility.
Catholic Mariology refers to Mariology – the systematic study of the person of Mary, mother of Jesus, and of her place in the Economy of Salvation – within Catholic theology. Mary is seen as having a singular dignity above the saints. The Catholic Church teaches that she was conceived without original sin, therefore receiving a higher level of veneration than all other saints. Catholic Mariology thus studies not only her life but also the veneration of her in daily life, prayer, hymns, art, music, and architecture in modern and ancient Christianity throughout the ages.
Subsistit in is a Latin phrase which appears in Lumen gentium, the fundamental document on the church from the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church. Since the Council the reason for use of the term "subsists in" rather than simply “is” has been disputed. Generally, those who see little or no change in church teaching in Vatican II insist on the equivalence of subsistit in and “is”. Those who point to a new, ecumenical thrust in Vatican II insist that the term was introduced as a compromise after much discussion, and acknowledges new elements in the Council's teaching.
Anonymous Christian is the controversial notion concerning the fate of the unlearned which was introduced by the Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner (1904–1984) that declares that people who have never heard the Christian Gospel might be saved through Christ. Non-Christians could have "in [their] basic orientation and fundamental decision," Rahner wrote, "accepted the salvific grace of God, through Christ, although [they] may never have heard of the Christian revelation."
In Catholic Mariology, the title Mediatrix refers to the intercessory role of the Blessed Virgin Mary as a mediator in the salvific redemption by her son Jesus Christ and that he bestows graces through her. Mediatrix is an ancient title that has been used by many saints since at least the 5th century. Its use grew during the Middle Ages and reached its height in the writings of saints Louis de Montfort and Alphonsus Liguori in the 18th century.
The theology of Pope Pius XII is reflected in his forty-one encyclicals, as well as speeches and nearly 1000 messages, during his almost 20-year pontificate. The encyclicals Mystici corporis and Mediator Dei advanced the understanding of membership and participation in the Catholic Church. The encyclical Divino afflante Spiritu began opening the door to historical-critical biblical studies. But his magisterium was far larger and is difficult to summarize. In numerous speeches Catholic teaching is related to various aspects of life, education, medicine, politics, war and peace, the life of saints, Mary, the mother of God, things eternal and temporal.
The history of Catholic Mariology traces theological developments and views regarding Mary from the early Church to the 21st century. Mariology is a mainly Catholic ecclesiological study within theology, which centers on the relation of Mary, the Mother of God, and the Church. Theologically, it not only deals with her life but with her veneration in life and prayer, in art, music, and architecture, from ancient Christianity to modern times.
A dogma of the Catholic Church is defined as "a truth revealed by God, which the magisterium of the Church declared as binding." The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
The Church's Magisterium asserts that it exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging Catholics to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these.
The expression "one true church" refers to an ecclesiological position asserting that Jesus gave his authority in the Great Commission solely to a particular Christian institutional church— what others would call a denomination, believers of this doctrine consider pre-denominational. This view is maintained by the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, the Episcopalian Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox communion, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Ancient Church of the East and the Churches of Christ. Each of them maintains that their own specific institutional church (denomination) exclusively represents the one and only original church. The claim to the title of the "one true church" relates to the first of the Four Marks of the Church mentioned in the Nicene Creed: "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church". As such, it also relates to claims of both catholicity and apostolic succession: asserting inheritance of the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority and responsibility that Jesus Christ gave to the apostles.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Catholic Church:
Criticism of Protestantism covers critiques and questions raised about Protestantism, the Christian tradition which arose out of the Protestant Reformation. While critics praise Protestantism's Christ-centered and Bible-centered faith, Protestantism is faced with criticism mainly from the Catholic Church and some Orthodox Churches, although Protestant denominations have also engaged in self-critique and criticized one another.
Catholic ecclesiology is the theological study of the Catholic Church, its nature and organization, as described in revelation or in philosophy. Such study shows a progressive development over time. Here the focus is on the time leading into and since the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965).