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16. The Lord Jesus, the only Saviour, did not only establish a simple community of disciples, but constituted the Church as a salvific mystery: he himself is in the Church and the Church is in him (cf. Jn 15:1ff.; Gal 3:28; Eph 4:15-16; Acts 9:5). Therefore, the fullness of Christ's salvific mystery belongs also to the Church, inseparably united to her Lord. Indeed, Jesus Christ continues his presence and his work of salvation in the Church and by means of the Church (cf. Col 1:24-27),47 which is his body (cf. 1 Cor 12:12-13, 27; Col 1:18).48 And thus, just as the head and members of a living body, though not identical, are inseparable, so too Christ and the Church can neither be confused nor separated, and constitute a single “whole Christ”.49 This same inseparability is also expressed in the New Testament by the analogy of the Church as the Bride of Christ (cf. 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:25-29; Rev 21:2,9).50
Therefore, in connection with the unicity and universality of the salvific mediation of Jesus Christ, the unicity of the Church founded by him must be firmly believed as a truth of Catholic faith. Just as there is one Christ, so there exists a single body of Christ, a single Bride of Christ: “a single Catholic and apostolic Church”.51 Furthermore, the promises of the Lord that he would not abandon his Church (cf. Mt 16:18; 28:20) and that he would guide her by his Spirit (cf. Jn 16:13) mean, according to Catholic faith, that the unicity and the unity of the Church - like everything that belongs to the Church's integrity - will never be lacking.52
The Catholic faithful are required to profess that there is an historical continuity - rooted in the apostolic succession53 - between the Church founded by Christ and the Catholic Church: “This is the single Church of Christ... which our Saviour, after his resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care (cf. Jn 21:17), commissioning him and the other Apostles to extend and rule her (cf. Mt 28:18ff.), erected for all ages as ‘the pillar and mainstay of the truth' (1 Tim 3:15). This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in [subsistit in] the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him”.54 With the expression subsistit in, the Second Vatican Council sought to harmonize two doctrinal statements: on the one hand, that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions which exist among Christians, continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church, and on the other hand, that “outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth”,55 that is, in those Churches and ecclesial communities which are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.56 But with respect to these, it needs to be stated that “they derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.57
17. Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him.58 The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches.59 Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church, since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church.60
On the other hand, the ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery,61 are not Churches in the proper sense; however, those who are baptized in these communities are, by Baptism, incorporated in Christ and thus are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Church.62 Baptism in fact tends per se toward the full development of life in Christ, through the integral profession of faith, the Eucharist, and full communion in the Church.63
“The Christian faithful are therefore not permitted to imagine that the Church of Christ is nothing more than a collection - divided, yet in some way one - of Churches and ecclesial communities; nor are they free to hold that today the Church of Christ nowhere really exists, and must be considered only as a goal which all Churches and ecclesial communities must strive to reach”.64 In fact, “the elements of this already-given Church exist, joined together in their fullness in the Catholic Church and, without this fullness, in the other communities”.65 “Therefore, these separated Churches and communities as such, though we believe they suffer from defects, have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.66
The lack of unity among Christians is certainly a wound for the Church; not in the sense that she is deprived of her unity, but “in that it hinders the complete fulfilment of her universality in history”.67
18. The mission of the Church is “to proclaim and establish among all peoples the kingdom of Christ and of God, and she is on earth, the seed and the beginning of that kingdom”.68 On the one hand, the Church is “a sacrament - that is, sign and instrument of intimate union with God and of unity of the entire human race”.69 She is therefore the sign and instrument of the kingdom; she is called to announce and to establish the kingdom. On the other hand, the Church is the “people gathered by the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”;70 she is therefore “the kingdom of Christ already present in mystery”71 and constitutes its seed and beginning. The kingdom of God, in fact, has an eschatological dimension: it is a reality present in time, but its full realization will arrive only with the completion or fulfilment of history.72
The meaning of the expressions kingdom of heaven, kingdom of God, and kingdom of Christ in Sacred Scripture and the Fathers of the Church, as well as in the documents of the Magisterium, is not always exactly the same, nor is their relationship to the Church, which is a mystery that cannot be totally contained by a human concept. Therefore, there can be various theological explanations of these terms. However, none of these possible explanations can deny or empty in any way the intimate connection between Christ, the kingdom, and the Church. In fact, the kingdom of God which we know from revelation, “cannot be detached either from Christ or from the Church... If the kingdom is separated from Jesus, it is no longer the kingdom of God which he revealed. The result is a distortion of the meaning of the kingdom, which runs the risk of being transformed into a purely human or ideological goal and a distortion of the identity of Christ, who no longer appears as the Lord to whom everything must one day be subjected (cf. 1 Cor 15:27). Likewise, one may not separate the kingdom from the Church. It is true that the Church is not an end unto herself, since she is ordered toward the kingdom of God, of which she is the seed, sign and instrument. Yet, while remaining distinct from Christ and the kingdom, the Church is indissolubly united to both”.73
19. To state the inseparable relationship between Christ and the kingdom is not to overlook the fact that the kingdom of God - even if considered in its historical phase - is not identified with the Church in her visible and social reality. In fact, “the action of Christ and the Spirit outside the Church's visible boundaries” must not be excluded.74 Therefore, one must also bear in mind that “the kingdom is the concern of everyone: individuals, society and the world. Working for the kingdom means acknowledging and promoting God's activity, which is present in human history and transforms it. Building the kingdom means working for liberation from evil in all its forms. In a word, the kingdom of God is the manifestation and the realization of God's plan of salvation in all its fullness”.75
In considering the relationship between the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Christ, and the Church, it is necessary to avoid one-sided accentuations, as is the case with those “conceptions which deliberately emphasize the kingdom and which describe themselves as ‘kingdom centred.' They stress the image of a Church which is not concerned about herself, but which is totally concerned with bearing witness to and serving the kingdom. It is a ‘Church for others,' just as Christ is the ‘man for others'... Together with positive aspects, these conceptions often reveal negative aspects as well. First, they are silent about Christ: the kingdom of which they speak is ‘theocentrically' based, since, according to them, Christ cannot be understood by those who lack Christian faith, whereas different peoples, cultures, and religions are capable of finding common ground in the one divine reality, by whatever name it is called. For the same reason, they put great stress on the mystery of creation, which is reflected in the diversity of cultures and beliefs, but they keep silent about the mystery of redemption. Furthermore, the kingdom, as they understand it, ends up either leaving very little room for the Church or undervaluing the Church in reaction to a presumed ‘ecclesiocentrism' of the past and because they consider the Church herself only a sign, for that matter a sign not without ambiguity”.76 These theses are contrary to Catholic faith because they deny the unicity of the relationship which Christ and the Church have with the kingdom of God.
20. From what has been stated above, some points follow that are necessary for theological reflection as it explores the relationship of the Church and the other religions to salvation
. Above all else, it must be firmly believed that “the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mk 16:16; Jn 3:5), and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door”.77 This doctrine must not be set against the universal salvific will of God (cf. 1 Tim 2:4); “it is necessary to keep these two truths together, namely, the real possibility of salvation in Christ for all mankind and the necessity of the Church for this salvation”.78
The Church is the “universal sacrament of salvation”,79 since, united always in a mysterious way to the Saviour Jesus Christ, her Head, and subordinated to him, she has, in God's plan, an indispensable relationship with the salvation of every human being.80 For those who are not formally and visibly members of the Church, “salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit”;81 it has a relationship with the Church, which “according to the plan of the Father, has her origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit”.82
21. With respect to the way in which the salvific grace of God - which is always given by means of Christ in the Spirit and has a mysterious relationship to the Church - comes to individual non-Christians, the Second Vatican Council limited itself to the statement that God bestows it “in ways known to himself”.83 Theologians are seeking to understand this question more fully. Their work is to be encouraged, since it is certainly useful for understanding better God's salvific plan and the ways in which it is accomplished. However, from what has been stated above about the mediation of Jesus Christ and the “unique and special relationship”84 which the Church has with the kingdom of God among men - which in substance is the universal kingdom of Christ the Saviour - it is clear that it would be contrary to the faith to consider the Church as one way of salvation alongside those constituted by the other religions, seen as complementary to the Church or substantially equivalent to her, even if these are said to be converging with the Church toward the eschatological kingdom of God.
Certainly, the various religious traditions contain and offer religious elements which come from God,85 and which are part of what “the Spirit brings about in human hearts and in the history of peoples, in cultures, and religions”.86 Indeed, some prayers and rituals of the other religions may assume a role of preparation for the Gospel, in that they are occasions or pedagogical helps in which the human heart is prompted to be open to the action of God.87 One cannot attribute to these, however, a divine origin or an ex opere operato salvific efficacy, which is proper to the Christian sacraments.88 Furthermore, it cannot be overlooked that other rituals, insofar as they depend on superstitions or other errors (cf. 1 Cor 10:20-21), constitute an obstacle to salvation.89
22. With the coming of the Saviour Jesus Christ, God has willed that the Church founded by him be the instrument for the salvation of all humanity (cf. Acts 17:30-31).90 This truth of faith does not lessen the sincere respect which the Church has for the religions of the world, but at the same time, it rules out, in a radical way, that mentality of indifferentism “characterized by a religious relativism which leads to the belief that ‘one religion is as good as another'”.91 If it is true that the followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the Church, have the fullness of the means of salvation.92 However, “all the children of the Church should nevertheless remember that their exalted condition results, not from their own merits, but from the grace of Christ. If they fail to respond in thought, word, and deed to that grace, not only shall they not be saved, but they shall be more severely judged”.93 One understands then that, following the Lord's command (cf. Mt 28:19-20) and as a requirement of her love for all people, the Church “proclaims and is in duty bound to proclaim without fail, Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6). In him, in whom God reconciled all things to himself (cf. 2 Cor 5:18-19), men find the fullness of their religious life”.94
In inter-religious dialogue as well, the mission ad gentes “today as always retains its full force and necessity”.95 “Indeed, God ‘desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth' (1 Tim 2:4); that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the promptings of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in God's universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary”.96 Inter-religious dialogue, therefore, as part of her evangelizing mission, is just one of the actions of the Church in her mission ad gentes.97 Equality, which is a presupposition of inter-religious dialogue, refers to the equal personal dignity of the parties in dialogue, not to doctrinal content, nor even less to the position of Jesus Christ - who is God himself made man - in relation to the founders of the other religions. Indeed, the Church, guided by charity and respect for freedom,98 must be primarily committed to proclaiming to all people the truth definitively revealed by the Lord, and to announcing the necessity of conversion to Jesus Christ and of adherence to the Church through Baptism and the other sacraments, in order to participate fully in communion with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thus, the certainty of the universal salvific will of God does not diminish, but rather increases the duty and urgency of the proclamation of salvation and of conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ.
23. The intention of the present Declaration, in reiterating and clarifying certain truths of the faith, has been to follow the example of the Apostle Paul, who wrote to the faithful of Corinth: “I handed on to you as of first importance what I myself received” (1 Cor 15:3). Faced with certain problematic and even erroneous propositions, theological reflection is called to reconfirm the Church's faith and to give reasons for her hope in a way that is convincing and effective.
In treating the question of the true religion, the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council taught: “We believe that this one true religion continues to exist in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus entrusted the task of spreading it among all people. Thus, he said to the Apostles: ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you' (Mt 28: 19-20). Especially in those things that concern God and his Church, all persons are required to seek the truth, and when they come to know it, to embrace it and hold fast to it”.99
The revelation of Christ will continue to be “the true lodestar” 100 in history for all humanity: “The truth, which is Christ, imposes itself as an all-embracing authority”. 101 The Christian mystery, in fact, overcomes all barriers of time and space, and accomplishes the unity of the human family: “From their different locations and traditions all are called in Christ to share in the unity of the family of God's children... Jesus destroys the walls of division and creates unity in a new and unsurpassed way through our sharing in his mystery. This unity is so deep that the Church can say with Saint Paul: ‘You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are saints and members of the household of God' (Eph 2:19)”. 102
The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the Audience of June 16, 2000, granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with sure knowledge and by his apostolic authority, ratified and confirmed this Declaration, adopted in Plenary Session and ordered its publication.
Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, August 6, 2000, the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.
Joseph Card. Ratzinger
Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B.
Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli
1. First Council of Constantinople, Symbolum Constantinopolitanum: DS 150 .r>
2. Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 1: AAS 83 (1991), 249-340..
3. Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Ad gentes and Declaration Nostra aetate; cf. also Paul VI Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi: AAS 68 (1976), 5-76; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio..
4. Second Vatican Council, Declaration Nostra aetate, 2.
5. Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Instruction Dialogue and Proclamation, 29: AAS 84 (1992), 424; cf. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 22.
6. Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 55: AAS 83 (1991), 302-304.
7. Cf. Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Instruction Dialogue and Proclamation, 9: AAS 84 (1992), 417ff.
8. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Fides et ratio, 5: AAS 91 (1999), 5-88.
9. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei verbum, 2.
10. Ibid., 4.
11. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 5.
12. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Fides et ratio, 14.
13. Council of Chalcedon, Symbolum Chalcedonense: DS 301; cf. St. Athanasius, De Incarnatione, 54, 3: SC 199, 458.
14. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei verbum, 4.
15. Ibid., 5.
17. Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 144.
18. Ibid., 150.
19. Ibid., 153.
20. Ibid., 178.
21. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Fides et ratio, 13.
22. Cf. ibid., 31-32.
23. Second Vatican Council, Declaration Nostra aetate, 2; cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Ad gentes, 9, where it speaks of the elements of good present “in the particular customs and cultures of peoples”; Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 16, where it mentions the elements of good and of truth present among non-Christians, which can be considered a preparation for the reception of the Gospel.
24. Cf. Council of Trent, Decretum de libris sacris et de traditionibus recipiendis: DS 1501; First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, cap. 2: DS 3006.
25. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Dei verbum, 11.
27. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 55; cf. 56 and Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi, 53.
28. First Council of Nicaea, Symbolum Nicaenum: DS 125.
29. Council of Chalcedon, Symbolum Chalcedonense: DS 301.
30. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 22.
31. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 6.
32. Cf. St. Leo the Great, Tomus ad Flavianum: DS 294.
33. Cf. St. Leo the Great, Letter to the Emperor Leo I Promisisse me memini: DS 318: “...in tantam unitatem ab ipso conceptu Virginis deitate et humanitate conserta, ut nec sine homine divina, nec sine Deo agerentur humana”. Cf. also ibid. DS 317.
34. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 45; cf. also Council of Trent, Decretum de peccato originali, 3: DS 1513.
35. Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 3-4.
36. Cf. ibid., 7; cf. St. Irenaeus, who wrote that it is in the Church “that communion with Christ has been deposited, that is to say: the Holy Spirit” (Adversus haereses III, 24, 1: SC 211, 472).
37. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 22.
38. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 28. For the “seeds of the Word” cf. also St. Justin Martyr, Second Apology 8, 1-2; 10, 1-3; 13, 3-6: ed. E.J. Goodspeed, 84; 85; 88-89.
39. Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter, Redemptoris missio, 28-29.
40. Ibid., 29.
41. Ibid., 5.
42. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 10. Cf. St. Augustine, who wrote that Christ is the way, which “has never been lacking to mankind... and apart from this way no one has been set free, no one is being set free, no one will be set free” De civitate Dei 10, 32, 2: CCSL 47, 312.
43. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 62.
44. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 5.
45. Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 45. The necessary and absolute singularity of Christ in human history is well expressed by St. Irenaeus in contemplating the preeminence of Jesus as firstborn Son: “In the heavens, as firstborn of the Father's counsel, the perfect Word governs and legislates all things; on the earth, as firstborn of the Virgin, a man just and holy, reverencing God and pleasing to God, good and perfect in every way, he saves from hell all those who follow him since he is the firstborn from the dead and Author of the life of God” (Demonstratio apostolica, 39: SC 406, 138).
46. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 6.
47. Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 14.
48. Cf. ibid., 7.
49. Cf. St. Augustine, Enarratio in Psalmos, Ps. 90, Sermo 2,1: CCSL 39, 1266; St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Iob, Praefatio, 6, 14: PL 75, 525; St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, III, q. 48, a. 2 ad 1.
50. Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 6.
51. Symbolum maius Ecclesiae Armeniacae: DS 48. Cf. Boniface VIII, Unam sanctam: DS 870-872; Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8.
52. Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 4; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint, 11: AAS 87 (1995), 927.
53. Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 20; cf. also St. Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, III, 3, 1-3: SC 211, 20-44; St. Cyprian, Epist. 33, 1: CCSL 3B, 164-165; St. Augustine, Contra adver. legis et prophet., 1, 20, 39: CCSL 49, 70.
54. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 8.
55. Ibid.; cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint, 13. Cf. also Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 15 and the Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 3.
56. The interpretation of those who would derive from the formula subsistit in the thesis that the one Church of Christ could subsist also in non-Catholic Churches and ecclesial communities is therefore contrary to the authentic meaning of Lumen gentium. “The Council instead chose the word subsistit precisely to clarify that there exists only one ‘subsistence' of the true Church, while outside her visible structure there only exist elementa Ecclesiae, which - being elements of that same Church - tend and lead toward the Catholic Church” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Notification on the Book “Church: Charism and Power” by Father Leonardo Boff: AAS 77 , 756-762).
57. Second Vatican Council, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 3.
58. Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae, 1: AAS 65 (1973), 396-398.
59. Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 14 and 15; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter Communionis notio, 17: AAS 85 (1993), 848.
60. Cf. First Vatican Council, Constitution Pastor aeternus: DS 3053-3064; Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 22.
61. Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 22.
62. Cf. ibid., 3.
63. Cf. ibid., 22.
64. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae, 1.
65. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint, 14.
66. Second Vatican Council, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 3.
67. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter Communionis notio, 17; cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 4.
68. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 5.
69. Ibid., 1.
70. Ibid., 4. Cf. St. Cyprian, De Dominica oratione 23: CCSL 3A, 105.
71. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 3.
72. Cf. ibid., 9; cf. also the prayer addressed to God found in the Didache 9,4: SC 248, 176: “May the Church be gathered from the ends of the earth into your kingdom” and ibid. 10, 5: SC 248, 180: “Remember, Lord, your Church... and, made holy, gather her together from the four winds into your kingdom which you have prepared for her”.
73. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 18; cf. Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia, 17: L'Osservatore Romano (November 7, 1999). The kingdom is so inseparable from Christ that, in a certain sense, it is identified with him (cf. Origen, In Mt. Hom., 14, 7: PG 13, 1197; Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem, IV, 33,8: CCSL 1, 634.
74. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 18.
75. Ibid., 15.
76. Ibid., 17.
77. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 14; cf. Decree Ad gentes, 7; Decree Unitatis redintegratio, 3.
78. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 9; cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 846-847.
79. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 48.
80. Cf. St. Cyprian, De catholicae ecclesiae unitate, 6: CCSL 3, 253-254; St. Irenaeus, Adversus haereses, III, 24, 1: SC 211, 472-474.
81. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 10.
82. Second Vatican Council, Decree Ad gentes, 2. The famous formula extra Ecclesiam nullus omnino salvatur is to be interpreted in this sense (cf. Fourth Lateran Council, Cap. 1. De fide catholica: DS 802). Cf. also the Letter of the Holy Office to the Archbishop of Boston: DS 3866-3872.
83. Second Vatican Council, Decree Ad gentes, 7.
84. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 18.
85. These are the seeds of the divine Word (semina Verbi), which the Church recognizes with joy and respect (cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree Ad gentes, 11; Declaration Nostra aetate, 2).
86. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 29.
87. Cf. ibid.; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 843.
88. Cf. Council of Trent, Decretum de sacramentis, can. 8, de sacramentis in genere: DS 1608.
89. Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 55.
90. Cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 17; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 11.
91. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 36.
92. Cf. Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Mystici corporis: DS 3821.
93. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 14.
94. Second Vatican Council, Declaration Nostra aetate, 2.
95. Second Vatican Council, Decree Ad gentes, 7.
96. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 851; cf. also 849-856.
97. Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, 55; Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia, 31.
98. Cf. Second Vatican Council, Declaration Dignitatis humanae, 1.
100. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Fides et ratio, 15.
101. Ibid., 92.
102. Ibid., 70.
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