Catholic Church Teaching Universalism?

"VATICAN CITY, (ZENIT.org) – "How is it possible to explain the unique character of Christ and of the Catholic Church to a Jew or a Lutheran", a reporter asked Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, during a press conference to present the 'Dominus Jesus' declaration, which is concerned, precisely, with the unique and universal salvation of Christ and the Church. Referring to a believing Jew, Cardinal Ratzinger clarified that 'we are in agreement that a Jew, and this is true for believers of other religions, does not need to know or acknowledge Christ as the Son of God in order to be saved,….'. (6-Sep-2000 — ZENIT News Agency)"

"Cardinal Ratzinger has, along with the pope, betrayed Jesus Christ and the truth of His Word. What more needs to be said after reading the last sentence of the above quote?!"

I have a good idea of what else needs to be said: "Give the quote in context!". Here's the complete sentence.

"We are in agreement that a Jew, and this is true for believers of other religions, does not need to know or acknowledge Christ as the Son of God in order to be saved, if there are insurmountable impediments, of which he is not blameworthy, to preclude it. However, the fact that the Son of God entered history, made himself part of history, and is present as a reality in history, affects everyone."

I'd say that pretty dramatically changes the tone and meaning of what Ratzinger said. That "if there are insurmountable impediments" bit is a reference to invincible ignorance.

Furthermore, those comments were in response to the promulgation of Dominus Iesus, which takes a very hard stance on salvation through Christ, and more particularly the Church, much to the chagrin and consternation of Protestants and Orthodox alike. To them, this was a slpa in the face and damaging to hopes for reuniting the Body of Christ. The reality is that the document said nothing new and merely restated for modern ears that which the Catholic Church has believed all alone, but people conveniently forgot in the hubub of Vatican II.

Comments 4

  1. Steve N wrote:

    I think this all boils down to a very simplistic and wrong-headed view of grace among my Evangelical (and esp. Calvinistic) brethren. They often draw (a completely ficticious) line between “general grace” and “salvific grace,” all the while ignoring that, since it is God’s perfect and unambiguous will that all be “saved” and come to the knowledge of the truth, that ALL grace is inherently “salvific.”

    Cheers!

    Posted 26 Jan 2005 at 6:01 pm
  2. Tom Smith wrote:

    < ?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> < !DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> This guy doesn't seem to understand that, if He wanted to, Christ could save as many people who don't accept Him as he darn well pleases. No one is saying that Christ isn't the one who saves, they're saying that it's possible (though far, far less likely) to be saved by Christ without acknowledging Him.

    Also, this bit irked me: "The church that killed millions of true Christians throughout the centuries is now opening its arms to embrace her 'separated brethren.'"

    Millions? Really? I'd like to see some evidence for millions. And unless he really is an Albigensian or something, he doesn't really understand the ramifications of calling early heretics "true christians." "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" does not apply here.

    Also, this dude thinks that the Pope said that every prayer is inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Pope actually said that every *true* prayer is inspired.

    Anyway, I agree that, perhaps, some within our hierarchy have gone a tad too far with ecumenism, though not so far as to preclude an orthodox interpretation of things. I don't have a problem with understanding between religions, but we don't have to be syncretistic, either, like it seems the Anglican and liberal Protestant ecumaniacs have.

    Posted 26 Jan 2005 at 4:38 pm
  3. Jeremy Pierce wrote:

    Usually the complaint regarding the Galatian heresy has to do with salvation by works. As someone who fully endorses the Reformed view of salvation, I don’t think Roman Catholicism commits the Galatian heresy. I think some Catholics add something to the gospel, but the Galatian heresy replaced the gospel with something else. The official Catholic view has never been that works themselves save. It’s always been that true faith will result in works and that for many people those works will confirm that process of salvation over time. It amazes me how many Reformed people will take the same view in response to libertines but then accuse Catholics of heresy for saying the same thing.

    Posted 02 Feb 2005 at 4:00 am
  4. Rodger Tutt wrote:

    Google up Catholic universalist theologian’s book
    DARE WE HOPE THAT ALL MEN BE SAVED
    Hans Urs Von Balthasar
    Ignatius Press

    for an interesting “unorthodox” point of view

    Posted 19 Jun 2010 at 2:58 pm

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 2

  1. From Ales Rarus - A Rare Bird, A Strange Duck, One Funky Blog » Salvation, Discipleship, and Priorities on 20 Feb 2006 at 11:08 pm

    […] Don’t get me wrong. I’m not endorsing universalism. There are plenty of uncertainties in this parable, such as how different charitable acts balance against failures to act charitably, to leave more than enough rope for man to hang himself. There’s also the matter of explicit rejection of Christ, which seems to be pretty…well…condemned. […]

  2. From Ales Rarus - A Rare Bird, A Strange Duck, One Funky Blog » A Wicked and False Religion? on 30 Mar 2006 at 12:09 pm

    […] Like I said, the Church has PR problems. Rand, of A Pattern of Sound Words, asserts: […]

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