Pope John Paul II took personal responsibility Sunday for the controversial Vatican assertion of the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, saying it was wrong to see it as a belittling of other religions.
    "Our confession of Christ as the only son, the medium through which we see the face of God, isn't arrogance that deprecates other religions but an expression of joyous gratitude," John Paul said, saying that dialogue had to start with making one's position clear.
    Jews and leaders of some Christian denominations objected to last month's Vatican document, which renewed longstanding church assertions of its primacy over other Christian denominations.
    John Paul specified on Sunday the declaration had been "approved by me."
    "It's my hope that this declaration that I hold dear, after many mistaken interpretations, can finally serve its function as clarification and at the same time as an overture," John Paul said, speaking to pilgrims gathered at St. Peter's for the canonisation ceremony.
    "The document clarifies the essential Christian elements, which serve as the basis for dialogue rather than as obstacles, because a dialogue without foundation would be destined to degenerate into empty verbosity," he said.
3 Oct 00

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