The Vatican on Tuesday said Christian denominations outside the Roman Catholic Church were not full churches of Jesus Christ.
A 16-page document, prepared by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Pope Benedict used to head, described Christian Orthodox churches as true churches, but suffering from a “wound” since they do not recognize the primacy of the Pope.
But the document said the “wound is still more profound” in the Protestant denominations — a view likely to further complicate relations with Protestants.
“Despite the fact that this teaching has created no little distress … it is nevertheless difficult to see how the title of ‘Church’ could possibly be attributed to them,” it said. Â
The Vatican text, which restates the controversial document “Dominus Iesus” issued by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2000, said the Church wanted to stress this point because some Catholic theologians continued to misunderstand it.