Hasn't this been Catholic Doctrine since God was a corporal?
Pope Benedict XVI has ignited controversy across the world by approving a document saying non-Catholic Christian communities are either defective or not true churches, and the Roman Catholic Church provides the only true path to salvation.
From what I understand, the Catholic Church claims that B16 and the bishops are direct spiritual decendants of Jesus' 12 apostles (Is Saint Paul the replacement for that guy who went bad?). And Saint Peter gets a special commission - as well as his name- from the Lord in Matthew 17:16-19. The Fly will correct me if I am getting any of this wrong.
But what is missed lower in the story is how B16 is cutting us Bible-thumpers some ecumenical slack.
"These separated churches and communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation," the document read. "In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church."
Here is the standard evangelical belief as to what is meant by the word "church" as mentioned in the New Testament. It is considered all individuals who believe Christ as their Lord and Savior, regardless of where they worship. One cannot say, "All in Church X are unsaved" or "All in Church Y are saved", because the Lord saves people, not organisations. I think the above statment by B16 would support this opinion, but that the Catholic Church communicates the full Gospel.
One thing that I and the Fly and B16 and many of you out there are in agreement is that Jesus of Nazareth walked out of a tomb on a Sunday morning. If He didn't, then we are all screwed.