Is there an institution on the planet that contradicts itself more awesomely than the Roman Catholic Church?

Recently, Pope Benedict XVI approved a new Vatican document which declared that Protestant denominations are not churches because they lack apostolic succession, a legitimate priesthood and a valid Eucharist. The point of this document, obviously, is to lure Protestants into the Catholic Church.

But listen to what Benedict had to say when he was lead doctrinal watchdog under the late Pope John Paul II: “The Catholic does not insist on the dissolution of the Protestant confession [creed] . . . but hopes rather that they will be strengthened in their confessions and in their ecclesial realities.” (Principles of Catholic Theology)

A contradiction on stilts, no?

Speaking of the late pope: In his book “Crossing the Threshold of Hope,” he wrote that the 20th-century saints have been largely martyrs, and that these include “Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants as well. These are true martyrs.”

Oh? Then maybe someone can explain why another pope, Eugene IV (d. 1447), once declared in expressly infallible terms that “No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may be, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the name of Christ, can be saved unless he abide in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.” (Cantate Domino) Those not found abiding there at death, he said – pagans, Jews, heretics, and schismatics – will go, one and all, “into the everlasting fire.”

William LaRochelle, Lewiston

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