VATICAN CITY (CNS): After an alliance of Protestant Churches criticised a Vatican document as “ecumenically insensitive”, Pope John Paul met with alliance representatives last week and underscored the Catholic Church’s commitment to improving ecumenical relations.
“The commitment of the Catholic Church to ecumenical dialogue is irrevocable,” he told members of a formal dialogue commission of Catholics and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches meeting from September 13-19 outside Rome.
The World Alliance of Reformed Churches said it had considered cancelling that meeting after the Vatican released a document on September 5 reiterating Church teaching that the “Church of Christ … continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church”.
The declaration, titled “Dominus Iesus: On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church”, said some Christian denominations – those without a Catholic-recognised Eucharist and ordained ministry – are not “properly speaking Churches”.
General secretary of the Geneva-based World Alliance of Reformed Churches, Setri Nyomi, expressed “dismay and disappointment” with the declaration and said it “seems to go against the spirit of Vatican II, as we understand it”.