Dialogika

Pope John Paul II

Comments on Dominus Iesus

Vatican City

 

With the Declaration Dominus Iesus — Jesus is Lord — approved by me in a special way at the height of the Jubilee Year, I wanted to invite all Christians to renew their fidelity to him in the joy of faith and to bear unanimous witness that the Son, both today and tomorrow, is "the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14: 6). Our confession of Christ as the only Son, through whom we ourselves see the Father's face (cf. Jn 14: 8), is not arrogance that disdains other religions, but joyful gratitude that Christ has revealed himself to us without any merit on our part. At the same time, he has obliged us to continue giving what we have received and to communicate to others what we have been given, since the Truth that is has been given and the Love which is God belong to all people.

With the Apostle Peter, we confess that "there is salvation in no one else" (Acts 4: 12). The Declaration Dominus Iesus, following the lead of the Second Vatican Council, shows us that this confession does not deny salvation to non-Christians, but points to its ultimate source in Christ, in whom man and God are united. God gives light to all in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation, granting them salvific grace in ways known to himself (Dominus Iesus, VI, nn. 20-21). The Document clarifies essential Christian elements, which do not hinder dialogue but show its bases, because a dialogue without foundations would be destined to degenerate into empty wordiness.

The same also applies to the ecumenical question. If the document, together with the Second Vatican Council, declares that "the single Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church", it does not intend thereby to express scant regard for the other Churches and Ecclesial Communities. This conviction is accompanied by the awareness that it is not due to human merit, but is a sign of God's fidelity, which is stronger than the human weaknesses and sins solemnly confessed by us before God and men at the beginning of Lent. The Catholic Church — as the Document says — suffers from the fact that true particular Churches and Ecclesial Communities with precious elements of salvation are separated from her.

The document thus expresses once again the same ecumenical passion that is the basis of my Encyclical Ut Unum Sint. I hope that this Declaration, which is close to my heart, can, after so many erroneous interpretations, finally fulfill its function both of clarification and of openness. May Mary, whom the Lord on the Cross entrusted to us as the Mother of us all, help us to grow together in our faith in Christ, the Redeemer of all mankind, in the hope of salvation offered by Christ to everyone, and in love, which is the sign of God's children.