On Tuesday, the Vatican released a church doctrine document from 2000 asserting that tre churches are defined by having bishops traceable to Christ’s original apostles.
Orthodox Christians, thus, are in because of shared history, though “separated” from the “proper” Catholic tradition. Protestants are out because of splitting from Catholicism during the Reformation, and so are only “Christian communities.”
Wonder why the Vatican chose to issue this document now?
Just a little more from the document: “These separated churches and communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church.”
Is Pope Benedict XVI going to continue the divisiveness he displayed when, as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith? I hope not.