Pope: Other Christians not true churches
LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy - Pope Benedict XVI reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation.
The statement brought swift criticism from Protestant leaders. "It makes us question whether we are indeed praying together for Christian unity," said the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, a fellowship of 75 million Protestants in more than 100 countries.
"It makes us question the seriousness with which the Roman Catholic Church takes its dialogues with the reformed family and other families of the church," the group said in a letter charging that the document took ecumenical dialogue back to the era before the Second Vatican Council.
It was the second time in a week that Benedict has corrected what he says are erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-1965 meetings that modernized the church. On Saturday, Benedict revived the old Latin Mass — a move cheered by Catholic traditionalists but criticized by more liberal ones as a step backward from Vatican II.