After the Vatican
released a July 10 document that said other Christian denominations
“cannot, according to [Roman] Catholic doctrine, be called ‘Churches’
in the proper sense,” ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson issued a July 11 statement saying the ELCA’s commitment to ecumenical dialogue with Roman Catholics would not change.
Authorized by Pope Benedict XVI, the Vatican’s “Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church” said Orthodox churches are “wounded” but still closer to the Roman Catholic Church because they share a common historic line of ordained clergy and bishops.
“Dominus Iesus,” a similar statement Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote in 2000 before he became pope, was also troubling to many in the ecumenical community.
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