The headline reads: "Other churches have defects, Catholics say." A news report from "The Times News Service." London.

Quote: The Church of England and all other Protestant churches are not "proper" churches because they suffer from "defects", according to the Roman Catholic Church.

In a declaration approved by the pope, the Vatican will also state that followers of all non-Christian religions are "gravely deficient", and their rituals constitute "an obstacle to salvation."

The statements are contained in Declaration Dominus Iesus, to be published in Rome today. Although not in the name of the pope, it was approved by him and "reflects his thinking."

........written by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican body formerly known as the Inquisition, the declaration has the authority of Pope John Paul 11. It was ratified and confirmed by him "with sure knowledge and by his apostolic authority."

This newspaper article gives me grave cause for alarm. It is tantamount to fascism, religious intolerance, an insult to Jews, Muslims and Buddhists to name a few and is frighteningly reminiscent of the Inquisition that took place during the Middle Ages when millions of people were declared to be heretics, suffered physical and mental torture and were burnt at the stake. Just short of one thousand years ago, in the year 1002, the first Cathars (who followed a Gnostic religious teaching) comprising of Ten Canons of the Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross were burnt at the stake in Orleans and Toulouse. Two hundred and seventy one years later the Inquisition had completed it’s mission when the Languedoc came under the French Crown on the 24th of August and all Cathar beliefs were abolished as well Judaism and Islam. Prior to these massacres these groups had lived in a state of religious tolerance, early forms of democracy and had a thriving economy which to this date has still no! t recovered from this so called crusade.

One of the main issues involved in this persecution was that the Cathars refused to submit to the Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church and practised a form of democracy where rather than being totally under the power of the land Lords, elected consuls in the towns and cities to govern.It appears that religious tolerance and bridge building goes hand in hand with democracy while religious intolerance and fascism are it’s opponents. One thousand years later it appears that the monster has been set loose again where Christian churches who do not submit to Bishops are being called not "proper" and "defects" by this same authority led by Joseph Ratzinger. To quote again from the same article:

"Churches such as the Church of England, where the apostolic succession of bishops from the time of St, Peter is disputed by Rome, and churches without bishops, are not considered "proper" churches."

Early Christians, amongst which were the Ebionites or the poor, the Gnostics and James, the brother of Jesus’s church in Jerusalem, would not have agreed with the Holy See on this issue. However, throughout the last 2,000 years, the writings of these early Christians have been suppressed and burnt at the stake, as were those who read them. With the finding of the Gospel of Thomas amongst the Nag Hammadi texts, the issue has been raised again and it is not surprising that the Roman Catholic Church does not accept this Gospel as a Christian text especially when taking into account that these texts acknowledge the equality of women, that James was to be the leader of the early Christian movement and not Peter and that the true temple was our own bodies and minds wherein we should find God directly - as opposed to a hierarchal structure of bishops and cardinals through whom we should seek salvation within the confines of a built structure. I would appeal to all who read this to le! t reason, tolerance and inter-faith bridges prevail. The alternative is too frightening to contemplate. For a glimpse as to what sort of policies Joseph Ratzinger upholds, "Massacre at Montsegur" by Zoe Oldenbourg gives a 271 year blow by blow account of the policies undertaken by the Inquisition in the South of France......and what of Joseph Ratzinger??

John Hogue, the author of "The Last Pope" has this to say of him:

"John joined to the pallium of his theological soulmate, the Vaticans?chief enforcer of doctrine, Cardinal Ratzinger, Prelate of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith. If we might serve this title raw, this well-cooked modern-day euphemism makes Ratzinger the direct descendent of men who oversaw the anti-Semitic policies of the Church, burned witches and heretics and tortured countless millions under the auspices of the Spanish, Roman and Universal Inquisition.

Papal conservatives believe that Ratzinger will someday be remembered as a saint. Liberal and progressive Catholics call this German-born Archbishop of Munich Panzer Kardinal because he figuratively runs a tank over many a Catholic’s hope for a reformed and more progressive church during John Paul’s rule. Others whisper that Ratzinger is the other piece in John Paul’s theological puzzle and is considered by many in and outside of Rome as the most despised and feared member of the pope’s curia."

Gail Evans.

Author's Bio: 

Gail Evans is the author of "The Firstborn of God. Resolving the
Contradictions in the Bible."