Dominus Iesus (DI) | Conclusion

CONCLUSION


23. The intention of the present Declaration, in reiterating and clarifying certain truths of the faith, has been to follow the example of the Apostle Paul, who wrote to the faithful of Corinth: "I handed on to you as of first importance what I myself received" (1 Cor 15:3). Faced with certain problematic and even erroneous propositions, theological reflection is called to reconfirm the Church's faith and to give reasons for her hope in a way that is convincing and effective.

In treating the question of the true religion, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council taught: "We believe that this one true religion continues to exist in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus entrusted the task of spreading it among all people. Thus, he said to the Apostles: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you' (Mt 28: 19-20). Especially in those things that concern God and his Church, all persons are required to seek the truth, and when they come to know it, to embrace it and hold fast to it". 99

The revelation of Christ will continue to be "the true lodestar" 100 in history for all humanity: "The truth, which is Christ, imposes itself as an all-embracing authority". 101 The Christian mystery, in fact, overcomes all barriers of time and space, and accomplishes the unity of the human family: "From their different locations and traditions all are called in Christ to share in the unity of the family of God's children... Jesus destroys the walls of division and creates unity in a new and unsurpassed way through our sharing in his mystery. This unity is so deep that the Church can say with Saint Paul: You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are saints and members of the household of God' (Eph 2:19)". 102

"The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience of June 16, 2000, granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with sure knowledge and by his apostolic authority, ratified and confirmed this Declaration, adopted in Plenary Session and ordered its publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, August 6, 2000, the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord."

Joseph Card. Ratzinger
Prefect


Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B.
Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli
Secretary





(1) First Council of Constantinople, Symbolum Constantinopolitanum: DS 150.

(2) Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 1: AAS 83 (1991), 249-340.

(3) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Ad gentes and Declaration Nostra aetate; cf. also Paul VI Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi: AAS 68 (1976), 5-76; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio.

(4) Second Vatican Council, Declaration Nostra aetate, 2.

(5) Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Instruction Dialogue and Proclamation, 29: AAS 84 (1992), 424; cf. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 22.

(6) Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 55: AAS 83 (1991), 302-304.

(7) Cf. Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Instruction Dialogue and Proclamation, 9: AAS 84 (1992), 417ff.

(8) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Fides et ratio, 5: AAS 91 (1999), 5-88.

(9) Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei verbum, 2.

(10) Ibid., 4.

(11) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 5.

(12) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Fides et ratio, 14.

(13) Council of Chalcedon, Symbolum Chalcedonense: DS 301; cf. St. Athanasius, De Incarnatione, 54, 3: SC 199, 458.

(14) Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei verbum, 4.

(15) Ibid., 5.

(16) Ibid.

(17) Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 144.

(18) Ibid., 150.

(19) Ibid., 153.

(20) Ibid., 178.

(21) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Fides et ratio, 13.

(22) Cf. ibid., 31-32.

(23) Second Vatican Council, Declaration Nostra aetate, 2; cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Ad gentes, 9, where it speaks of the elements of good present in the particular customs and cultures of peoples; Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 16, where it mentions the elements of good and of truth present among non-Christians, which can be considered a preparation for the reception of the Gospel.

(24) Cf. Council of Trent, Decretum de libris sacris et de traditionibus recipiendis: DS 1501; First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, cap. 2: DS 3006.

(25) Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei verbum, 11.

(26) Ibid.

(27) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 55; cf. 56 and Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi, 53.

(28) First Council of Nicaea, Symbolum Nicaenum: DS 125.

(29) Council of Chalcedon, Symbolum Chalcedonense: DS 301.

(30) Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 22.

(31) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 6.

(32) Cf. St. Leo the Great, Tomus ad Flavianum: DS 294.

(33) Cf. St. Leo the Great, Letter to the Emperor Leo I Promisisse me memini: DS 318: ...in tantam unitatem ab ipso conceptu Virginis deitate et humanitate conserta, ut nec sine homine divina, nec sine Deo agerentur humana. Cf. also ibid. DS 317.

(34) Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 45; cf. also Council of Trent, Decretum de peccato originali, 3: DS 1513.

(35) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 3-4.

(36) Cf. ibid., 7; cf. St. Irenaeus, who wrote that it is in the Church that communion with Christ has been deposited, that is to say: the Holy Spirit (Adversus haereses III, 24, 1: SC 211, 472).

(37) Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 22.

(38) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 28. For the seeds of the Word cf. also St. Justin Martyr, Second Apology 8, 1-2; 10, 1-3; 13, 3-6: ed. E.J. Goodspeed, 84; 85; 88-89.

(39) Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter, Redemptoris missio, 28-29.

(40) Ibid., 29.

(41) Ibid., 5.

(42) Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 10. Cf. St. Augustine, who wrote that Christ is the way, which has never been lacking to mankind... and apart from this way no one has been set free, no one is being set free, no one will be set free De civitate Dei 10, 32, 2: CCSL 47, 312.

(43) Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 62.

(44) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 5.

(45) Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 45. The necessary and absolute singularity of Christ in human history is well expressed by St. Irenaeus in contemplating the preeminence of Jesus as firstborn Son: In the heavens, as firstborn of the Father's counsel, the perfect Word governs and legislates all things; on the earth, as firstborn of the Virgin, a man just and holy, reverencing God and pleasing to God, good and perfect in every way, he saves from hell all those who follow him since he is the firstborn from the dead and Author of the life of God (Demonstratio apostolica, 39: SC 406, 138).

(46) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 6.

(47) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 14.

(48) Cf. ibid., 7.

(49) Cf. St. Augustine, Enarratio in Psalmos, Ps. 90, Sermo 2,1: CCSL 39, 1266; St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Iob, Praefatio, 6, 14: PL 75, 525; St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, III, q. 48, a. 2 ad 1.

(50) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 6.

(51) Symbolum maius Ecclesiae Armeniacae: DS 48. Cf. Boniface VIII, Unam sanctam: DS 870-872; Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8.

(52) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 4; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint, 11: AAS 87 (1995), 927.

(53) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 20; cf. also St. Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, III, 3, 1-3: SC 211, 20-44; St. Cyprian, Epist. 33, 1: CCSL 3B, 164-165; St. Augustine, Contra adver. legis et prophet., 1, 20, 39: CCSL 49, 70.

(54) Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8.

(55) Ibid.; cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint, 13. Cf. also Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 15 and the Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 3.

(56) The interpretation of those who would derive from the formula subsistit in the thesis that the one Church of Christ could subsist also in non-Catholic Churches and ecclesial communities is therefore contrary to the authentic meaning of Lumen gentium. The Council instead chose the word subsistit precisely to clarify that there exists only one ‘subsistence' of the true Church, while outside her visible structure there only exist elementa Ecclesiae, which — being elements of that same Church — tend and lead toward the Catholic Church (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Notification on the Book Church: Charism and Power by Father Leonardo Boff: AAS 77 [1985], 756-762).

(57) Second Vatican Council, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 3.

(58) Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae, 1: AAS 65 (1973), 396-398.

(59) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 14 and 15; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter Communionis notio, 17: AAS 85 (1993), 848. (60) Cf. First Vatican Council, Constitution Pastor aeternus: DS 3053-3064; Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 22.

(61) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 22.

(62) Cf. ibid., 3.

(63) Cf. ibid., 22.

(64) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae, 1.

(65) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint, 14.

(66) Second Vatican Council, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 3.

(67) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter Communionis notio, 17; cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 4.

(68) Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 5.

(69) Ibid., 1.

(70) Ibid., 4. Cf. St. Cyprian, De Dominica oratione 23: CCSL 3A, 105.

(71) Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 3.

(72) Cf. ibid., 9; cf. also the prayer addressed to God found in the Didache 9,4: SC 248, 176: May the Church be gathered from the ends of the earth into your kingdom and ibid. 10, 5: SC 248, 180: Remember, Lord, your Church... and, made holy, gather her together from the four winds into your kingdom which you have prepared for her.

(73) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 18; cf. Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia, 17: L'Osservatore Romano (November 7, 1999). The kingdom is so inseparable from Christ that, in a certain sense, it is identified with him (cf. Origen, In Mt. Hom., 14, 7: PG 13, 1197; Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem, IV, 33,8: CCSL 1, 634.

(74) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 18.

(75) Ibid., 15.

(76) Ibid., 17.

(77) Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 14; cf. Decree Ad gentes, 7; Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 3.

(78) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 9; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 846-847.

(79) Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 48.

(80) Cf. St. Cyprian, De catholicae ecclesiae unitate, 6: CCSL 3, 253-254; St. Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, III, 24, 1: SC 211, 472-474.

(81) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 10.

(82) Second Vatican Council, Decree Ad gentes, 2. The famous formula extra Ecclesiam nullus omnino salvatur is to be interpreted in this sense (cf. Fourth Lateran Council, Cap. 1. De fide catholica: DS 802). Cf. also the Letter of the Holy Office to the Archbishop of Boston: DS 3866-3872.

(83) Second Vatican Council, Decree Ad gentes, 7.

(84) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 18.

(85) These are the seeds of the divine Word (semina Verbi), which the Church recognizes with joy and respect (cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Ad gentes, 11; Declaration Nostra aetate, 2).

(86) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 29.

(87) Cf. ibid.; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 843.

(88) Cf. Council of Trent, Decretum de sacramentis, can. 8, de sacramentis in genere: DS 1608.

(89) Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 55.

(90) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 17; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 11.

(91) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 36.

(92) Cf. Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Mystici corporis: DS 3821.

(93) Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 14.

(94) Second Vatican Council, Declaration Nostra aetate, 2.

(95) Second Vatican Council, Decree Ad gentes, 7.

(96) Catechism of the Catholic Church, 851; cf. also 849-856.

(97) Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 55; Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia, 31.

(98) Cf. Second Vatican Council, Declaration Dignitatis humanae, 1.

(99) Ibid.

(100) John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Fides et ratio, 15.

(101) Ibid., 92.

(102) Ibid., 70.



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