7-December-2007 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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New Vatican Statement To Address Central Doctrinal Dispute

Dec. 7, 2007 (CWNews.com) - The Vatican will release a new document on evangelization next week, with officials in Rome indicating that it will be an important statement on the duty to spread the Catholic faith.

The subject of the new document, which is being released under the auspices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is evangelization. The document will be released on December 14.

The importance that the Vatican attaches to the subject is reflected by the list of ranking officials who will participate in a news conference introducing the document. Three cardinals will join in presenting the subject to the press. And because the three cardinals head three separate Vatican congregations, it is clear that the document is the product of careful preparation involving several dicasteries.

Cardinal William Levada, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will chair the December 14 presentation, assisted by Archbishop Angelo Amato, the secretary of the Congregation. They will be joined by Cardinals Ivan Dias and Francis Arinze: the prefects of the Congregation for Evangelization and Congregation for Divine Worship, respectively.

While Vatican officials have not announced a title for the document, or given a topic more specific than the broad theme of evangelization, informed officials suggested that this important new statement would address a lingering controversy over the claim that the Catholic Church is the one true Church of Christ.

In July of this year, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released, a document entitled "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church, reaffirming the central role of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church in the plan of salvation. That document, released without fanfare, revived a controversy that had been ignited in 2000 by Dominus Iesus, a powerful statement released by the same Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (headed at that time by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger), which affirmed the traditional Catholic teaching that the Christ and his Church provide the only means of salvation.

The new Vatican document is expected to carry the argument of Dominus Iesus a step further, explaining that because of the unique role played by the Church in the plan of redemption, Catholics have an obligation to spread the faith, thus offering others the best means of attaining salvation.

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