A Neglected Opportunity by Robert Hart

A Neglected Opportunity

Robert Hart on the Criticisms of Dominus Iesus

In the Fall of 2000, the document Dominus Iesus: On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church was put out by the Vatican to make it clear that sound doctrine is not superseded by the passing of time and that eternal verities are not subject to any essential change simply because mankind, including the Church, experiences the increase of knowledge. Among the eternal verities, it included, much to the indignation of some other Christians and the press, the claims of the Roman Catholic Church.

I am an Anglican priest, not a Roman Catholic, and when I first read the news reports, I was sure that the Vatican had gone much too far. I began to exchange words to that effect with my Roman Catholic brother, until I read the declaration for myself. Then I said, in his language, mea maxima culpa, which in my language means, “by my own most grievous fault.” For what I saw in it was simply what the Holy Father intended, as America Press would later report: “The cardinal [Ratzinger], responding to criticism . . . said it was written because Pope John Paul II ‘wanted to offer the world a great and solemn recognition of Jesus Christ as Lord at the culminating moment of the Holy Year.’”

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Robert Hart is rector of St. Benedict's Anglican Catholic Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Anglican Catholic Church Original Province). He also contributes regularly to the blog The Continuum. He is a contributing editor of Touchstone.

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