Catholic Primacy

by Ryan on July 14, 2007

in Religion

Pope Benedict XVI just reinforced his interpretation of the Second Vatican Council which states that the “Catholic” church was the one that “Christ established here on Earth.”  Protestant and other churches are missing something, according to a reinforcement of the Pope’s own work back in 2000, while John Paul II was pope.  Questions arise as to why he has to reinforce this notion at this time.  Some say internal Catholic politics, others think that it’s just putting everyone on the same page during this period of ecumenical outreach by the Catholics to the Orthodox and Protestant churches.

I see Benedict’s point as Pope.  The word “catholic” means universal and the Roman Catholic Church is the only Christian sect that can trace itself back to Peter and Paul, and by extention Jesus himself.  Reorganized and codified by Emperor Constantine in the AD 300s, the Catholic Church was historically the first universal/unified church and the one with the oldest traditions.  Catholics have always maintained that scripture AND tradition are necessary to understanding the great mystery.  Protestants felt they needed to separate themselves from a church that they had believed was corrupt, not because of Christ, but because of church politics and from traditions they deemed spiritually harmful.  So, they embraced the Bible without the centuries old tradition along with it. 

The Catholic Church as an organization is roughly 1700 years old, but the Orthodox, Coptic, Anglican and Lutheran churches are also now centuries old themselves and have established their own traditions with which they are happy.  What should be done with them?  It’s a difficult question for a pope trying to create a dialogue toward reintegration.  Benedict seems to be trying to salvage a broken family of sorts by trying to get everyone back together under the same roof.  Whether or not rhetoric like this will help, I think it is good that the churches are at least talking to each other, which is always a great step in the healing and reconciliation process.

Fox News Picture.

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