Archbishop Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of Westminster has sought to explain to non-Catholic Christians the declaration of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, that the Catholic Church is the 'mother' of all churches, which has caused a storm of protest in the UK and elsewhere.
    He said: "Certainly no slight is intended by its comments regarding other Christian communities. As Christians we share a common baptism, and the Catholic Church believes that this brings us all into a real, if imperfect, communion."
    Emphasising that it was written mainly for Catholic bishops and theologians, Archbishop Murphy-O'Connor described the Vatican Declaration's main purpose as a warning against "a tendency to regard all religions as equivalent".
    The head of the Anglican Communion Dr George Carey had earlier rejected the Declaration, saying: "Of course the Church of England, and the Anglican Communion, does not for one moment accept that its orders of ministry and Eucharist are deficient in any way. It believes itself to be a part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church of Christ." John Wilkins, editor of the Catholic newspaper The Tablet, commented: "Of course people are feeling a bit sore, and that's understandable. It is a backwards step, even if it is being made so that we can take a better step - a forwards one - later."

Cath Media Office/Telegraph
6 Sep 00

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