On July 11th, the Catholic Church released a document entitled: Responses to some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church.
The document states among many things that “the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.” However, it clarifies that this same Church of Christ subsists in “the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe… in the ‘one’ Church); and this ‘one’ Church subsists in the Catholic Church.”
This is a disheartening document in many ways. Some in our Reformed tradition are delighted that Rome has clearly set her boundaries; the “I told you so” attitude beams from their faces as their pride in their divisiveness stands clear in their dogmatic assertions. Those of us who still find hope in Jesus’ words in John 17:21, find hope in the redemption and restoration of all Trinitarian and Creedal churches worldwide.