[quote=CollegeKid]In regards to my recent post, where I said that a Encyclopedia Britannica Online article stated that at the 2nd Vatican Council the Church dropped its “one true church” position, here is the quote and author:
The Roman Catholic Church has officially abandoned its “one true church” position. It has entered into ecumenical conversations with the Protestant churches that could lead to Christian union; the Catholic Church has expressed a readiness to make doctrinal and disciplinary concessions, but how far these may go is not yet clear. The church has even made gestures of friendliness to Islam and Judaism and does not speak of the great Oriental religions as simple paganism.
The Rev.John L. McKenzie
Professor of Theology, DePaul University, Chicago, 1970–78. Author of The World of the Judges; Dictionary of the Bible; and others.
Anyone know exactly what the good Reverend was saying here? Is his point that the Church declared its not the only hope for salvation on earth, or he is making a more far-reaching statement? From this excerpt you’d think that he was saying the Church declared its not the only one founded by Jesus and that it would start changing its dogmas to suit the tastes of protestants, but I find it hard to believe the Church would do that.
CK - Fr. McKenzie does not present an accurate understanding of the Church’s ecumenical outreach. While the Church recognizes the aspects of truth found to greater or lesser degrees in other Christian Churches (the Orthodox) and communions (Protestant congregations) and within non-Christian religions, Vatican II is too frequently misread, particularly Lumen Gentium, as having overthrown the Church’s self-understanding about it’s fullness and uniqueness vis-a-vis other religious bodies.
For a far more accurate understanding of what Lumen Gentium is saying in this regard, I suggest Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith: The Church As Communion, by (then) Cdl. Ratzinger, Ignatius Press. Our present Holy Father goes into great detail in looking at the particular passages which gave rise to such erroneous understandings as Fr. McKenzie presents. Here is a brief quote that gets to the heart of your question:
. . .The Church of Christ is not hidden behind the multitude of human constructions, intangible and unattainable; she exists in reality as a corporal Church that shows her identity in the Creed, in the sacraments, and in the apostolic succession.
With the subsistit formula, Vatican II intended - in line with the Catholic tradition - to say something the exact opposite of ‘ecclesiological relativism’: there is a Church of Jesus Christ. He himself willed her existence, and ever since Pentecost the Holy Spirit is constantly creating her, despite all human failures, and preserves her substantial identity. The institution is not an unavoidable - although theologically irrelevant or even damaging - external phenomenon; it is, in its essential core, a part of the concrete character of the Incarnation. The Lord is keeping his word: ‘The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.’ . . .The Council is trying to tell us that the Church of Jesus Christ may be encountered in this world as a concrete agent [emphasis in the original] in the Catholic Church. That can happen only once, and the view that subsistit should be multiplied fails to do justice to the particular point intended. With the term subsistit, the Council was trying to express the particular quality of the Catholic Church and the fact that this quality cannot be multiplied: the Church exists as an active agent within historical reality.