Local Clergy React to Pope's Statement on the Only "True" Church

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Knoxville (WVLT) - The Vatican says if you're not Catholic, you're only second best, if that.

Pope Benedict XVI has approved a document that calls the Catholic church the only "true" church and says all others are defective.

As Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy tells us, other Christian denominations and even some Catholics say not so fast.

It's not just best seat, but only "true" seat in God's house, at least according the Vatican.

"The statement does sound very arrogant," Father Ragan Schriver said.

On Tuesday, Pope Benedict XVI approved a new Vatican Document that says Christ "established...only one church." The Catholic church.
It says all other "Christian communities" shouldn't even be called churches.

"It's his job as the Pope to hold up the church," Father Schriver said.

Father Ragan Schriver says the direct link between Christs' original apostles and Catholic bishops makes all the difference.

"We believe that Peter and the apostles turned over the mission of the Gospel to the next generation and the next generation," Father Schriver said.

But he says don't think that means a monopoly on God's love or salvation.

"There's no way someone could condemn someone for their way of following the path of Christ," Father Schriver said.

The Doctrine of Faith document itself reads: "These separated churches and communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance or importance in the mystery of salvation."

So what about the other denominations the Pope says aren't real churches? Their leaders say that's out-dated, pre-reformation thinking.

"I know through faith and practice that the United Methodist Church and many other churches have validity, as well and by grace that we're saved by faith, not a particular church membership," Reverend Bill Fowler said.

And the Vatican calling others second best has divided Knoxville Catholics.

"All other religions are just as valid. We just choose to be catholic," Kevin Connors said.

"I obviously think the Catholic church is a better church, otherwise I wouldn't be catholic," Maggie MacDonald said.

But Father Ragan says Baptism links all churches together in the Body of Christ.

The Vatican's long-held the belief that Catholicism's the one "true" church. The document clarifies what it calls erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council. Those were that 1962 to 1965 meetings that modernized the catholic church.

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