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Vatican claims supremacy on Christian tradition [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2007-7-21 22:07:56 |Display all floors
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2 ... Sattr=World_3037922

Pope: Only One "True" Church

(AP) Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.

Benedict approved a document from his old offices at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which restates church teaching on relations with other Christians. It was the second time in a week that the pope has corrected what he says are erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that modernized the church.

In the document - formulated as five questions and answers - the Vatican seeks to set the record straight on Vatican II's ecumenical intent, saying some contemporary theological interpretation had been "erroneous or ambiguous" and had prompted confusion and doubt.

It restates key sections of a 2000 document the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, "Dominus Iesus," which set off a firestorm of criticism among Protestant and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the "means of salvation."

In the new document and an accompanying commentary - which were released as the pope vacations here in Italy's Dolomite mountains - the Vatican repeated that position.

"Christ 'established here on earth' only one Church," the document said. The other communities "cannot be called 'churches' in the proper sense" because they do not have apostolic succession - the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ's original apostles.

The Rev. Sara MacVane of the Anglican Centre in Rome, said there was nothing new in the new document.

"I don't know what motivated it at this time," she said. "But it's important always to point out that there's the official position and there's the huge amount of friendship and fellowship and worshipping together that goes on at all levels, certainly between Anglican and Catholics and all the other groups and Catholics."

The document said Orthodox churches were indeed "churches" because they have apostolic succession and that they enjoyed "many elements of sanctification and of truth." But it said they lack something because they do not recognize the primacy of the pope - a defect, or a "wound" that harmed them, it said.

"This is obviously not compatible with the doctrine of Primacy which, according to the Catholic faith, is an 'internal constitutive principle' of the very existence of a particular Church," the commentary said.

Despite the harsh tone of the document, it stresses that Benedict remains committed to ecumenical dialogue.

"However, if such dialogue is to be truly constructive it must involve not just the mutual openness of the participants but also fidelity to the identity of the Catholic faith," the commentary said.

The document, signed by the congregation prefect, American Cardinal William Levada, was approved by Benedict on June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul - a major ecumenical feast day.

There was no indication about why the pope felt it necessary to release the document, particularly since his 2000 document summed up the same principles. Some analysts suggested it could be a question of internal church politics, or that it could simply be an indication of Benedict using his office as pope to again stress key doctrinal issues from his time at the Congregation.

In fact the only theologian cited by name in the document as having spawned erroneous interpretations of ecumenism was Leonardo Boff, the Brazilian who was a target of the former Cardinal Ratzinger's crackdown on liberation theology in the 1980s.

Regardless, the timing of the document came less than four days after Benedict revisited another key issue from Vatican II, as he revived the Latin Mass. Traditional Catholics cheered the move, but more liberal ones called it a step back from Vatican II.

Benedict, who attended Vatican II as a young theologian, has long complained about what he considers the erroneous interpretation of the council by liberals, saying it was not a break from the past but rather a renewal of church tradition.

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Post time 2007-7-21 22:11:04 |Display all floors
We already have clashes among monotheists, those between Christians, Muslims and Judaism.

Is it possible future clashes will occur among Christians itself?

The word "monotheism" itself send clear message that it won't accept 'other' god, even if 'their god' is truly the same god.

The other word... it's INTOLERANCE. The source of clashes among monotheists.

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Post time 2007-7-22 01:11:56 |Display all floors
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Post time 2007-7-22 01:23:56 |Display all floors
Originally posted by schreiber at 2007-7-22 01:11
Well, non-monotheists aren't generally any better (or weren't, there are very few true polytheisms left) and tend to have a larger number of gods that don't include the gods of their neighbors or,  ...


Yes, I agree with this... but if you compare the scale of the clashes between faiths in these 2000 years, monotheists lead.

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Post time 2007-7-22 01:30:43 |Display all floors

Battle for followers

http://www.boston.com/news/world ... allenged_in_brazil/

Catholicism challenged in Brazil
By Paulo Prada, Globe Correspondent    April 8, 2005

SANTO ANDRE, Brazil -- To witness the challenges facing the Catholic Church in Latin America, pay a visit to this former diocese of Cardinal Claudio Hummes, a Brazilian considered a front-runner as a successor to Pope John Paul II.

Tuesday evening a young priest held a memorial Mass for the late pontiff in Santo Andre, a gritty, industrial suburb of Sao Paulo, South America's biggest city. As some 60 parishioners hummed along with a folksy duo by the altar, the pastor, in red vestments, followed a group of acolytes up the center aisle.

A few miles away, a Pentecostal evangelist, in white trousers and a cotton shirt, gripped the forehead of a young woman. Jumping in unison to his shouts of ''burn, burn, burn" and ''Burn the demons within this woman," some 700 faithful shook the church, a football field-sized building with a helipad for a roof.

The ground is trembling around the Catholic Church in Brazil. The Vatican's footing here and throughout Latin America is slipping because of attrition and inroads by rival faiths. In a region often roiled by economic hardship and violence, many Catholic clergy believe, people are abandoning Catholicism for what they see as more flexible, personable creeds or, worse, a rejection of worship altogether.

''It's a serious challenge," said Bishop Nelson Westrupp, head of the suburban diocese, a region of 3 million inhabitants. ''Faith has become subjective, individualized, and materialized and it's causing the [Catholic] Church to weaken."

Though half the world's Catholics live in Latin America, quickly shifting demographics are likely to fuel further departures, theologians say. The rural, less globalized Latin America that was a Vatican stronghold is evolving into an urban, contemporary region less pliant to a central dogma.

Consider the Catholic Church's recent history in Brazil.

According to a 2003 report by the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has 125 million Catholics -- more than any other country in the world. But the percentage of Catholics in the country's population is falling -- from 92 percent in 1970 to roughly 73 percent today -- and many of those remaining, the church admits, rarely attend church. ''We have to recapture those who haven't even left," Westrupp said.

Part of the loss is because of incursions by evangelical Protestants, now nearly 16 percent of the population. But some stems from a drop in churchgoing overall: in 1970, only 0.8 percent of the population considered itself ''nonreligious;" in 2003, the figure was nearly 8 percent.

Much of the exodus can be linked to migration. In recent decades, millions of rural Brazilians have flocked to cities like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where the demands and pace of life yield less to the draw of a local parish.

For those who did seek spiritual guidance, evangelical churches stepped into the breach. With the teachings of empowerment theology -- that devout worship can lead to success and personal gain -- evangelical churches thrived in Brazilian cities.

''The urban lifestyle is a consumer lifestyle," said Fernando Altemeyer, a theologian at the Catholic University of Sao Paulo. ''And evangelicals teach prosperity comes through faith."

The Catholic Church in Latin America also faces challenges that mirror those elsewhere around the globe. While societies in the region remain relatively conservative, a growing number of Catholics disagree with doctrine in areas ranging from birth control and homosexuality to biotechnology and women's role in the Church.

''Catholicism should be more tolerant," said Sonia Barros, 29, a Rio nanny who is unmarried, but lives with her boyfriend. Raised Catholic, she attends Mass occasionally. ''I'd like to participate more," she said, ''but I'm told I live in sin."

Such views exemplify the ''individualization" of faith that many church leaders lament. By opposing long-held matters of Catholic teaching, worshipers are pushing the church to reassess the principles to which Pope John Paul II held so firmly.

Many Latin Americans hope for a more progressive successor. In Brazil, that hope lies in Hummes, a Franciscan who was bishop of Santo André before becoming archbishop of Sao Paulo. Hummes has many followers because of his support for human rights, land reform, indigenous causes, and the labor movement. In the 1970s, when Brazil's military dictatorship was arresting strike protesters, Hummes gave union leaders -- including Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a leftist firebrand who is now the country's president -- a hiding place in his Santo Andre church.

This week, before departing for Rome, Hummes spoke on television of the Catholic Church's need to be more open ''to dialogue with science, reason, philosophy, culture, and society." ''We must show that our faith isn't fundamentalist, medieval," he said. ''There are important questions that demand modern answers."

But the absence of answers has driven many followers to other faiths. ''I don't need an intermediary to teach me right from wrong," said Marilda Paulino, a 33-year-old nurse who left a Catholic Rio parish for an evangelical congregation.

''Faith is not about the pastor, it's not about any saints," she said. ''It's about God and me."

Catholic priests worry about the social impact of such teachings. The immediacy offered by evangelical denominations, they say, is the equivalent of a spiritual quick fix. Their focus on personal prosperity, they argue, neglects the broader Christian goal of universal well-being for all.

''The goal is salvation for humanity, not just personal gain," said the Rev. Fernando Sapaterro, the priest who led the memorial Mass in Santo André.

Evangelical leaders disagree. Society at large, they argue, is enhanced by the prosperity of individuals. ''Is society better off if people remain miserable?" asked the Rev. Estevam Hernandes, leader of the Apostolic Church of Rebirth in Christ, a Pentecostal denomination with more than 1,200 churches in Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. ''Faith in Jesus improves every aspect of our lives."

In some instances the Catholic Church is trying to popularize its appeal. Around the corner from Hummes's residence in central Sao Paulo sits a military chapel that has recently grown popular with civilians. Its patron, St. Expeditus, is increasingly revered here as the saint of urgent causes.

Though theologians and church historians disagree on the saint's authenticity, including whether he existed, St. Expeditus inspires devotees who pray for him to intervene in job hunts, love woes, sickness, and other plights.

One morning this week the chapel was abuzz with supplicants at prayer -- a wooden sculpture of the saint towering above a photo of the deceased pope. Many of the worshipers do not even come to Mass, says the chapel's chaplain.

''Lots of them aren't even Catholic," said Captain Osvaldo Palopito. ''But they want help really fast."

Beneath the steps leading to the chapel, Patricia Aparecida Gobbo, a 22-year-old off-duty policewoman, speaks with a visitor. A Catholic -- her T-shirt reads ''Jesus is my Lifeguard" -- she praises the chapel's ecumenical following.

''People need more than doctrine to be religiously satisfied," she says, admitting that she goes outside the church to consult the ''white magic" of a spiritual adviser. ''Catholicism is just too rigid."

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Post time 2007-7-22 01:32:50 |Display all floors

Battle for followers

http://www.boston.com/news/world ... allenged_in_brazil/

Catholicism challenged in Brazil
By Paulo Prada, Globe Correspondent    April 8, 2005

SANTO ANDRE, Brazil -- To witness the challenges facing the Catholic Church in Latin America, pay a visit to this former diocese of Cardinal Claudio Hummes, a Brazilian considered a front-runner as a successor to Pope John Paul II.

Tuesday evening a young priest held a memorial Mass for the late pontiff in Santo Andre, a gritty, industrial suburb of Sao Paulo, South America's biggest city. As some 60 parishioners hummed along with a folksy duo by the altar, the pastor, in red vestments, followed a group of acolytes up the center aisle.

A few miles away, a Pentecostal evangelist, in white trousers and a cotton shirt, gripped the forehead of a young woman. Jumping in unison to his shouts of ''burn, burn, burn" and ''Burn the demons within this woman," some 700 faithful shook the church, a football field-sized building with a helipad for a roof.

The ground is trembling around the Catholic Church in Brazil. The Vatican's footing here and throughout Latin America is slipping because of attrition and inroads by rival faiths. In a region often roiled by economic hardship and violence, many Catholic clergy believe, people are abandoning Catholicism for what they see as more flexible, personable creeds or, worse, a rejection of worship altogether.

''It's a serious challenge," said Bishop Nelson Westrupp, head of the suburban diocese, a region of 3 million inhabitants. ''Faith has become subjective, individualized, and materialized and it's causing the [Catholic] Church to weaken."

Though half the world's Catholics live in Latin America, quickly shifting demographics are likely to fuel further departures, theologians say. The rural, less globalized Latin America that was a Vatican stronghold is evolving into an urban, contemporary region less pliant to a central dogma.

Consider the Catholic Church's recent history in Brazil.

According to a 2003 report by the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has 125 million Catholics -- more than any other country in the world. But the percentage of Catholics in the country's population is falling -- from 92 percent in 1970 to roughly 73 percent today -- and many of those remaining, the church admits, rarely attend church. ''We have to recapture those who haven't even left," Westrupp said.

Part of the loss is because of incursions by evangelical Protestants, now nearly 16 percent of the population. But some stems from a drop in churchgoing overall: in 1970, only 0.8 percent of the population considered itself ''nonreligious;" in 2003, the figure was nearly 8 percent.

Much of the exodus can be linked to migration. In recent decades, millions of rural Brazilians have flocked to cities like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where the demands and pace of life yield less to the draw of a local parish.

For those who did seek spiritual guidance, evangelical churches stepped into the breach. With the teachings of empowerment theology -- that devout worship can lead to success and personal gain -- evangelical churches thrived in Brazilian cities.

''The urban lifestyle is a consumer lifestyle," said Fernando Altemeyer, a theologian at the Catholic University of Sao Paulo. ''And evangelicals teach prosperity comes through faith."

The Catholic Church in Latin America also faces challenges that mirror those elsewhere around the globe. While societies in the region remain relatively conservative, a growing number of Catholics disagree with doctrine in areas ranging from birth control and homosexuality to biotechnology and women's role in the Church.

''Catholicism should be more tolerant," said Sonia Barros, 29, a Rio nanny who is unmarried, but lives with her boyfriend. Raised Catholic, she attends Mass occasionally. ''I'd like to participate more," she said, ''but I'm told I live in sin."

Such views exemplify the ''individualization" of faith that many church leaders lament. By opposing long-held matters of Catholic teaching, worshipers are pushing the church to reassess the principles to which Pope John Paul II held so firmly.

Many Latin Americans hope for a more progressive successor. In Brazil, that hope lies in Hummes, a Franciscan who was bishop of Santo Andre before becoming archbishop of Sao Paulo. Hummes has many followers because of his support for human rights, land reform, indigenous causes, and the labor movement. In the 1970s, when Brazil's military dictatorship was arresting strike protesters, Hummes gave union leaders -- including Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, a leftist firebrand who is now the country's president -- a hiding place in his Santo Andre church.

This week, before departing for Rome, Hummes spoke on television of the Catholic Church's need to be more open ''to dialogue with science, reason, philosophy, culture, and society." ''We must show that our faith isn't fundamentalist, medieval," he said. ''There are important questions that demand modern answers."

But the absence of answers has driven many followers to other faiths. ''I don't need an intermediary to teach me right from wrong," said Marilda Paulino, a 33-year-old nurse who left a Catholic Rio parish for an evangelical congregation.

''Faith is not about the pastor, it's not about any saints," she said. ''It's about God and me."

Catholic priests worry about the social impact of such teachings. The immediacy offered by evangelical denominations, they say, is the equivalent of a spiritual quick fix. Their focus on personal prosperity, they argue, neglects the broader Christian goal of universal well-being for all.

''The goal is salvation for humanity, not just personal gain," said the Rev. Fernando Sapaterro, the priest who led the memorial Mass in Santo Andre.

Evangelical leaders disagree. Society at large, they argue, is enhanced by the prosperity of individuals. ''Is society better off if people remain miserable?" asked the Rev. Estevam Hernandes, leader of the Apostolic Church of Rebirth in Christ, a Pentecostal denomination with more than 1,200 churches in Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. ''Faith in Jesus improves every aspect of our lives."

In some instances the Catholic Church is trying to popularize its appeal. Around the corner from Hummes's residence in central Sao Paulo sits a military chapel that has recently grown popular with civilians. Its patron, St. Expeditus, is increasingly revered here as the saint of urgent causes.

Though theologians and church historians disagree on the saint's authenticity, including whether he existed, St. Expeditus inspires devotees who pray for him to intervene in job hunts, love woes, sickness, and other plights.

One morning this week the chapel was abuzz with supplicants at prayer -- a wooden sculpture of the saint towering above a photo of the deceased pope. Many of the worshipers do not even come to Mass, says the chapel's chaplain.

''Lots of them aren't even Catholic," said Captain Osvaldo Palopito. ''But they want help really fast."

Beneath the steps leading to the chapel, Patricia Aparecida Gobbo, a 22-year-old off-duty policewoman, speaks with a visitor. A Catholic -- her T-shirt reads ''Jesus is my Lifeguard" -- she praises the chapel's ecumenical following.

''People need more than doctrine to be religiously satisfied," she says, admitting that she goes outside the church to consult the ''white magic" of a spiritual adviser. ''Catholicism is just too rigid."

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Post time 2007-7-22 01:54:03 |Display all floors
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