People continue asking, “Did Vatican II change the dogma of Roman Catholic Church concerning what they teach about the Church and salvation?” And it seems that no matter how many times we try and tell people that it did not they continue to ask. So in this article I now ask a question in return: Will the pope do?

Apprising Ministries has covered this issue before as the interested reader can see for themselves below so this piece will take the route of mainly source quotes. Sadly as evangelicalism continues to turn its back on Sola Scriptura for Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism ala Richard Foster and Dallas Willard their approach to apostate Roman Catholicism becomes: “Don’t confuse me with the facts; I’ve already made up my mind.”

Yet in a July 12, 2007 story entitled “New Vatican document affirms centrality of Catholic Church” from the Catholic World News (CWN) Feature Stories we read:

The Vatican has issued a new doctrinal statement confirming the essential role of the Catholic Church in God’s plan for salvation. The short document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), presented in question-and-answer format, addresses questions about the teaching of the Second Vatican Council that the Church founded by Jesus Christ “subsists” in the Catholic Church… 

The document, entitled “Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church,” is approved by Pope Benedict XVI…and signed by Cardinal William Levada and Archbishop Angelo Amato, the prefect and secretary, respectively, of the CDF… The full text of the document is available on the Vatican web site. (Online source)

We’ll discuss “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” (CDF) and I’ll give you the direct link to it from the Vatican Library below so you can read it for yourself. But first notice carefully what I have highlighted above. You need to understand that when Rome speaks of the “Catholic” Church she is not talking about “the Holy and Catholic Church” of the ancient creeds, but rather, she is instead referring to herself. There is a huge and critical difference, which I discuss in more depth within the articles listed at the end of this missive.

But clearly Rome believes, as does her Pope Benedict, that she alone is the Church founded by Jesus Christ and further that she plays the—not an—but “the essential role” in “God’s plan for salvation.” And if something is essential then it is necessary, of the utmost importance, and thereby indespensible; in other words, if you do not have what is essential you are without. In this case it would mean that someone like me, who is a former Roman Catholic having rejected this apostate church, is now without its “essential role” in my “salvation.” 

Now the Roman Catholic Church considers her Pope the Vicar—as in the supreme and highest representative—of Christ on earth. So if he approves this document concerning Roman Catholic dogma it is considered God’s opinion on the matters to which it speaks. And at that point it matters not what the individual Roman Catholic scholar, theologian, or especially laymen, thinks about it. So with this as our background we tell you as per the Pope himself that the Roman Catholic Church teaches the exact same doctrine concerning salvation as she did when her Council of Trent cursed the Protestant Reformers as unbelievers.

CWN breaks the following down for you in simple terms:

In the first of 5 questions posed and answered, the CDF document asks, “Did the Second Vatican Council change the Catholic doctrine on the Church?” The answer begins with a straightforward statement: “The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it.” (ibid., emphasis mine)

You can see above that according to the Pope himself Vatican II did not change Roman Catholic doctrine nor with it being pronounced infallibly by the Pope and his teaching magisterium could it ever be changed. So exactly what is the point of on-going ecumenical dialogue with the Church of Rome who has zero intention of ever changing the dogma which led to the Protestant Reformation in the first place? One reason: For her to convince those in deceptive dialogue to change their positions.

The story from CWN then goes on:

Questions #2 and #3 address the teaching of the conciliar document Lumen Gentium…that the Church of Christ “subsists” in the Catholic Church… In the 4th and 5th questions that complete the document, the CDF draws a clear distinction between the Orthodox and Protestant denominations. The Eastern churches, the document notes, “have true sacraments and above all – because of the apostolic succession – the priesthood and the Eucharist.” They are therefore sister churches, even if they fall short of universality because of their separation from the Holy See.

The Protestant communities, on the other hand, “do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders.” Because these communities “have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery,” the CDF writes, they “cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called “churches” in the proper sense.
(ibid., emphasis mine)

Men and women, it really can’t be made any clearer; and, it can’t come from a higher Roman Catholic source than the Pope himself. As you’ll see for yourself in the CDF document the dogma concerning another gospel of baptismal regeneration and sacramentalism along with its false view of justification put forth by the Roman Catholic Church in her Council of Trent remains exactly the same as in the time of Martin Luther. And not only that but churches arising from the proper Biblical doctrines taught by the Lord’s Protestant Reformers are not valid churches as far as Rome is concerned:

The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it. This was exactly what John XXIII said at the beginning of the Council. Paul VI affirmed it and commented in the act of promulgating the Constitution Lumen gentium: “There is no better comment to make than to say that this promulgation really changes nothing of the traditional doctrine.

What Christ willed, we also will. What was, still is. What the Church has taught down through the centuries, we also teach. In simple terms that which was assumed, is now explicit; that which was uncertain, is now clarified; that which was meditated upon, discussed and sometimes argued over, is now put together in one clear formulation”. The Bishops repeatedly expressed and fulfilled this intention…

Fifth Question: Why do the texts of the Council and those of the Magisterium since the Council not use the title of “Church” with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?

According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called “Churches” in the proper sense. (Online source, emphasis theirs)

And in the end as I survey the reverse of the Reformation currently going on within evangelicalism e.g. SBC Protestant Pastor Rick Warren Double-Minded on the Reformation and Roman Catholicism I’m reminded of these wise words from Martin Luther:

The negotiation about doctrinal agreement displeases me altogether, for this is utterly impossible unless the pope has his papacy abolished. Therefore avoid and flee those who seek the middle of the road. Think of me after I am dead and such middle-of-the-road men arise, for nothing good will come of it. There can be no compromise.
(What Luther Says, II: 1019, as cited at Online source)

See also: