In All Hubris "the only true church!"
The Roman Catholic Church in a recent document by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith has reasserted it prideful claim of being the only true Christian Church. Begrudgingly, Orthodox Churches are recognized as "churches" although flawed as they do not recognize the authority of the Pope. Protestant denominations are not worthy of even being considered true churches but as merely eccleciastical communities. Catholic Church Only True Church: Vatican
It seems just when we in North America have accepted the that the Catholic church has accepted religious plurality and respect for all branches of the Christian community. it wants to once again say " we are the only true Christian Church and all others are inferior and below us. As in the satirical anti-totalitarian novel, Animal Farm, "All animals are equal but some are more equal than others." It seems the conservative mood of bureaucratic Catholicism wants to return to pre Vatican II day. with this doctrine as well as others like the bringing back of the Latin Mass.
As one who has roots in the Mainstream Protestant Reformation and the Radical Reformation I am deeply offended by this Catholic position. My brother and his family and my son and his family are Catholics. The thought of some unenlightened parish priest teaching that my denomination and my
faith are inherently inferior offend me. More importantly, just when Catholics who are beginning to learn a little about other branches of Christianity and World Faiths they may come once again to feel this is not necessary as their Faith is the "One and only true church.."
Eclessia means , "gathering of the called out one". Prrotestants often use the phrase "communion of saints". To claim that there is only one church and one way to be "called out" to serve God is arrogant in the extreme. For it to be a doctrinaire authoritarian model is politically incorrect in our democratic pluralistic Society.. There are other polity models.
In congregational polity, the local church is complete within itself. The authority rests with the local church to fulfill all functions of the church as it comes to understand them in scripture, the Word.. In Radical polity, the authority rests with the individual or group as they understand God speaking to them directly. Churches can be inderstood as to where authority lies. Priesthood (Pope), Scripture (the Word and Individual (or small group) through direct revelation. ie. Roman Catholic, Congregationalists, Quakers. To say that one way of being the ecclesia is superior to the other is not acceptable and can lead to barriers in understanding or worse.
The Catholic Church you would think would want to downplay the dominance of the priesthood. Just today we hear of another massive financial settlement in cases of child abuse by priests. Since 1950 in North American the Roman Church has paid settlement totalling 2 billion dollars. This is not because of a few wayward priests it is because of a long standing systemic problem within the Church that has gone on for decades and has been covered up by the Church. It is amazing that the priesthood and the Pope have any religious or moral authority left. Diocese to settle sex-abuse claims for $660 million - CNN.com
The abuse problem in the Catholic Church has been so bad I have often thought it should be deemed a "criminal organization" and have the State step in to clean it up. If this has been going on in North American and Europe you can be sure it is going on, unchallenged, in Africa and South American and Asia. The idea that the church that has allowed this wants to claim it is the only one and true church would be laughable if it were not so tragic.
Even in the Catholic Church doctrine ultimately, not even the Pope, can stand between a person and God . We all must find our own way to "walk humbly with our God." and stand with the "community of saints".