Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In Chapter 17 of part IV of the Vatican's Dominus Iesus
(2000) the then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote:
Quote:17. Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him. The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches. Therefore, 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 the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church.
Now, of course, we would say, politely, that the current Roman interpretation of the doctrine of the Primacy is one not accepted by the early Church and one not accepted by all the 'true particular Churches', even as we would say the same about various other doctrinal innovations such as the filioque
clause and the Immaculate Conception.
The Romans would say that these things are not 'innovations' as such but are developments in our understanding of doctrine in like manner to, for example, the notion of Christ being homoousios
Now for the questions.
Do we have any counterpart to the Catholic statement quoted above? How do we regard the Roman Catholic Church?
Secondly, given that we know from the history of the Church that the idea of a developing understanding of the Faith once given is not a novelty, what is our attitude to the idea now?
To what extent, for example, would it be possible for us to say to Rome that whilst we are aware of their bishop's developing understanding of the Faith, we are equally aware that it is not one accepted by all the Church and that whilst it might be in order for those who accept Rome's readings to do so, it ought to be equally in order for others not to hold it until the mind of the whole Church can be taken on these things?
Of course, Rome might well retort that nothing save an acceptance of the bishop of Rome's view would do - but in that case we would at least know where we were.
From my reading of the practice in the early Church it was not unknown for differences to coexist provided there was no suspicion of heresy. We are very keen on the practice of the early Church, so unless we actually believe that Rome teaches heresy, are we right to reject its interpretations rather than simply express an interest but say that until proper discussion has taken place they are, at best, a local practice.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)