Manifesto "Dominus Jesus" of the Catholic Congregation for Doctrine of Faith. / Essay Dik. St.
Bertagnolli OFM 00, 2001-04-24
Table: The ten Commandments of God
and those of the Catholic Church
The statements of the manifesto of the Catholic Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Dominus Jesus".
What does the Church hope to achieve with this? It is not
motivated by a spirit of self-interest, but rather on the basis of the
mission appointed to it by Jesus the Lord, because he is the truth that has
been revealed by God. It follows from this that the Catholic Church
is the one unique church of Christ that makes salvation
possible. In particular she
has been concerned – as she had to be – to point to the one centrally
important fact: namely, the identity of the person who founded her. And the
reason for this is to give humanity real truth, security and confidence. The
Catholic Church is the only church which was founded by Jesus Christ upon
Peter and his successors. Its commission therefore comes from God, and she
has plenary power derived from God. The Vatican Council gave this point the
greatest possible emphasis.
On whom, then, does the plenary authority of the Catholic
Who gave her the commission of developing structures of her
own, of teaching, of elevating teachings into dogmas, of preserving and
handing on the teachings of Christ in authentic form? Does she have this
authority of herself? No – she could never have the right to describe
herself as the only true church of Christ. In that case she would not have
had any authority from God, she would have had only an illusory authority,
which she had ascribed to herself just as she saw fit. The Catholic Church
truly goes back, through Christ the Lord, to the rock Peter and his rightful
successors. And this happy and salvific fact has divine authority and
validity, until the end of the world.
The statement about "Dominus Jesus".
The contours of the church of God on earth and its founder must be demonstrated in a spirit of entire love, firmness and clarity, whether at appropriate or inappropriate times, in such a way that they are clear and comprehensible to every single person. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith did not say anything new with its statement under the title of "Dominus Jesus", dated 20 August 2000, but just gave the decisive reaffirmation which seemed to be needed today. This important teaching of the Second Vatican Council is formulated in this document with the utmost clarity.
(This extract is taken from the Catholic essay "Im Land des Herrn" ["In the Land of the Lord"], a journal on the Holy Land, book 1/2001 by the General Superior for the Holy Land, Dik. St. Bertagnolli OFM, A-1010 Wien, Franziskanerplatz 4)
Alongside this recent manifesto by the Catholic Congregation for
the Doctrine of the Faith, which by this time has provoked reactions in
theological circles world-wide, that
"the Catholic Church is the one unique
church of Christ that makes salvation possible"
the author of the series of writings quoted above, the General
Superior for the Holy Land, claims that the Catholic Church possesses "plenary
power derived from God". He writes, too, that
"The Catholic Church is of divine origin, and so is furnished with divine plenary authority".
This assertion is backed up by the statement made in Mt 16,18:
You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church.
Mt16,13 Now when Jesus came into the district of
Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, "Who do people say that the
Son of Man is?" 16,14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others,
Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
16,15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" 16,16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 16,17 And Jesus said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
16,18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 16,19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven."
16,20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell
no one that He was the Christ. Mt 16,13-20;
And from this the author now derives the conclusion that "the
Catholic Church, the foundation of which goes back to Peter and his rightful
successors, is of the greatest significance for the truth, because she is of
The Catholic Church, then, in the opinion of this author, is "of divine origin" and therefore also has "divine authority".
Seeing that all these assertions do not come from just anybody – we find here that the Roman Catholic Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith is being quoted, alongside the Second Vatican Council, by the General Superior for the Holy Land – it is not possible to dismiss them as insignificant. So there are just two possible ways of forming a judgment of this claim to an elite position on the part of the Catholic church:
- Either we really have to do here with the one and
only church of God on earth,
- or the Catholic Church is here assuming a position to
which it is not entitled by Scripture.
Before we make a start with the analysis of the scriptural passage given above, and the task which the Catholic Church claims was given by the Lord to Peter, we would like to take a look at another task given by the Lord to Peter, which consequently should have just as much validity for the Catholic Church:
Jesus said to him, "Shepherd My sheep".
Jn 21,15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus
said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?"
He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend
My lambs." 21,16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of
John, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You."
He said to him, "Shepherd My sheep." 21,17 He said to him the third
time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He
said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord,
You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Tend
My sheep". Jn 21,15-17;
It is not hard to recognize that here Peter is being invited by
the Lord to look after the faithful – that is to say, the congregation of
Jesus Christ, or the "ecclesia".
Tend my lambs!
The Lord here gives Peter the task of supplying the congregation (lambs), still young at the time, with spiritual nourishment, that is, to instruct them in (let them feed on) the Word of God. If, then, the Roman Catholic church is truly the "rightful successor of Peter", then beyond doubt this task applied to her then, and applies to her today as well.
And yet this church actually withdrew this selfsame Word of God, the Holy Scripture, from the (lay) faithful, and in the year 1229 put it on its list of forbidden books. Furthermore, at the Council of Trent (1545-63) it rejected the Bible as the sole source of divine revelation, and accorded recognition to the Catholic tradition – i.e. the oral or written handing down of Catholic, human teachings, including the dogmas of the church as well – as a main source of faith alongside Holy Scripture, and as being of equal value and equal authority.
Now it might be possible to argue here that these were errors such as occur in every religion, and which are being ironed out in the course of the centuries. But in this case the Catholic Church is caught in the trap of its own dogmas. Since Pope Pius IX promulgated the dogma of papal "infallibility" in the year 1870, any errors of the church (whether at an earlier or later period) would contradict this dogma, and so, in terms of Catholic doctrine, are an impossibility.
Consequently too the shameful deeds of some Popes, such as theft, murder, brigandage, immorality and deceit and so on, cannot just be presented as "errors". If they are really infallible, then they must all be infallible. But as is plain to see, they were not and are not infallible, and so this dogma of the infallibility of the Catholic Popes is nothing but a blasphemy against God. Scripture tells us that God alone is infallible.
Shepherd my sheep!
Here the Son of God told the apostle Peter to protect the Christian congregation (the sheep) and to keep them (shepherd them away from) the tangled undergrowth of false doctrine and the pretensions of false religions.
On the basis of the resolution of the Council of Verona (under Lucius III in 1184) on the inquisition of "heretics", the Catholic Church condemned those of the faithful who could no longer, in the face of God and their own conscience, countenance the deviation of this church from the faith of the Bible and publicly confessed that they could not – condemned them to persecution by the Inquisition, put them in prison and subjected them to the most perverted forms of torture, all so as to make them give up their faith in the Bible.
The Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church lasted for more than six hundred years – in Spain the last instance of capital punishment was in 1781, though the Inquisition itself was not finally abolished until 1834. In this period hundreds of thousands of Christian believers were put to death or burned in autos-da-fé, bringing unimaginable suffering on millions of true-believing Christians. In all this, the Catholic Church acted in a directly contrary sense to the task given by the Lord to Peter – revealing itself rather as the wolf in sheep’s clothing.
That organ of the Catholic Church which directed the Inquisition for centuries, as the highest Catholic authority, was the "Holy Office". And this is also the organization which has now published the manifesto "Dominus Jesus" which is being commented on here. The name of the Holy Office was changed in 1965 (for understandable reasons) to the "Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith".
Tend my sheep!
This commandment of the Lord was designed to ensure that the developed, "grown up" congregation (the sheep) was to be supplied (tended) in the time following and right up to the present, up to the Second Coming of the Lord indeed, with that knowledge and those realizations derived from the Word of God which would strengthen its faith in the one and only Redeemer and intermediary between God and man – Jesus Christ – and maintain the steadfastness of this faith.
As early as the Council of Ephesus (431), it was resolved that worship might be paid to Mary the Mother of God as a "mediator", and the expression "Mother of God" was given official recognition. This teaching was confirmed by Pope Pius XI 1500 years later, that is to say in 1931! The dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception – which asserts that Mary was conceived by her mother (!!) without any trace of original sin – was elevated to a dogma by Pope Pius IX in the year 1854. Having brought about a similarity with the birth of the Lord Jesus, the picture became total when Pope Pius XII declared in the year 1950 that Mary too had ascended into heaven and elevated this theory (doubtless on the strength of his "infallibility") to a dogma.
In the same way as Holy Scripture was deprived of its unique claim to be God’s revelation by the human "tradition" of the Catholic Church, so here as well the claim of the Son of God to be the unique mediator between God and man was superseded by a "mediatrix".
This is in stark contradiction of the statements made by the Lord himself in Jn 14,6:
No one comes to the Father but through Me.
Jn 14,6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the
truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me". Jn 14,
Here the assertion contained in the extract quoted at the
beginning of this Discourse, that the Catholic Church sees it as its task "to
preserve the teachings of Christ in authentic form" looks rather like a
So we can consider it as having been proved: in view of the testimony of Scripture, and for all the reasons that have been given, the Roman Catholic Church cannot be the rightful successor of Peter. It must be admitted that the command of the Lord mentioned above, that of Mt 16.13-20, on which the argument of the Catholic Church essentially rests, still remains to be considered.
Although here Protestant researches have made it a question whether these words were actually spoken by Jesus, in other passages too, such as Mt 14,28-31; 17,4, but in a quite special sense in the passage mentioned earlier (Jn 21,15-17) there are further indications of a preferential position being accorded to Peter. This command of the Lord to Peter cannot, then, be denied.
But if we now, in the light of the New Testament, put ourselves into the position of the protagonists in the situation they were in at the time, we cannot deny, either, that as a matter of fact this command was not issued to Peter exclusively. And that in two different ways:
- On the one hand this passage includes statements made
by the Lord which could not possibly refer to the relatively short lifespan of
an individual human being – of Peter, that is. The building up of the
Christian congregation was not an event restricted to the first century AD: rather it is
an ongoing process until the Second Coming of the Lord, where the congregation
then, having preserved its faith in Christ, will have fulfilled the commission
entrusted to it. As a matter of necessity, then, there would have to be
successors to Peter in this task.
- And that, on the other hand, already suggest the
right approach which will make it possible for us to understand these sayings of
the Lord correctly. Although addressed to a single individual, namely Peter,
this command – even in the very first days of its application – already had
numerous individuals to carry it out. Among these one can of course count the
other apostles, and in a very special sense Paul, who, as we can see today, took
on himself this responsibility to a somewhat fuller extent than Peter did.
This last circumstance is surely explained by the fact that Paul – together with Barnabas – was selected by the Holy Spirit to preach to the Gentiles, as we are told in Acts 13,1-3:
Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.
Acts 13,1 Now there were at Antioch, in the church
that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called
Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the
tetrarch, and Saul. 13,2 While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting,
the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to
which I have called them." 13,3 Then, when they had fasted and prayed and
laid their hands on them, they sent them away. Acts 13, 1- 3;
In this context, though, it is also interesting to point out that according to Scripture Peter for the most part surrendered this responsibility with which the Lord had entrusted him. This was in connection with the restructuring of the early Christian congregations. As Paul writes to the Galatians, he came to an agreement with Peter that he (Peter) should preach the gospel to the circumcised (that is, the Jews) while he and Barnabas preached the gospel to the Gentiles.
So that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
Gal 2,6 But from those who were of high reputation
(what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality) - well,
those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me. 2,7 But on the contrary,
seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as
Peter had been to the circumcised 2,8 (for He who effectually worked for Peter
in his apostleship to the circumcised effectually worked for me also to the
Gentiles), 2,9 and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and
Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas
the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to
the circumcised. Gal 2, 6- 9;
If, then, the Catholic Church really insists on being the
rightful successor of Peter, it ought, in the light of this scriptural passage,
to address its mission exclusively to the Jews, and not to the nations of the
It appears that in terms of "rights" the situation between Peter and Paul is similar to that between Jacob and Esau. Whereas Esau sold his birthright to Jacob, and this, in God’s eyes, was a transaction having full legal validity, so that he blessed Jacob and his descendants, Peter surrendered his general commission to Paul, and, as we know from the New Testament, God confirmed this decision by making Paul the founder of the congregations among the Gentiles, and a blessing to them.
So from this point of view as well, the idea of an exclusive rightful line of succession to Peter, in the person of a Pope – as seen by the Catholic Church – finds no support in Scripture.
The congregation was built up, and continues to be build up, by preachers of the gospel and teachers of the Word of God. This goes on world-wide, without any kind of pretensions to exercise power on the part of the brethren involved.
If we now aim to attempt an approximate identification of these "construction workers" who built up the congregation, taking on the task entrusted by the Lord to Peter and so becoming in truth the rightful followers of Peter (and of Paul as well), we should have regard to the following criteria:
- Apart from being rewarded with the love and gratitude
of their brethren in the faith, these people enjoy no other kind of prominence,
they have no position of power and no direct leadership function in the
individual congregation (see what Paul says on this point). The leadership of
the congregation, which is an important and necessary element, will be assumed
by those brethren to whom the Lord has given a talent for exercising such
- The evangelists and teachers have been given their
special gifts by the Lord so that they may be able to use them on the widest
possible scale – if possible, world-wide – and so reach as many people as
possible (1Cor 9,19-21).
- As preachers of the Word of God they take no wages
for their activities (1Cor 9,18)! As Paul does as well, they earn a living from
the work that they do (Acts 18,3; 20,33-34) and give to others, free of charge,
what they have themselves received without having to pay for it.
If then the Catholic Church boasts that it has maintained and
handed on the teachings of Christ in its authentic form, the question suggests
itself how it came to make the following changes and falsifications of these
- Forbidding priests to marry, although this is not to
be found anywhere in Scripture, and several of the apostles, including Peter
himself – and the Catholic Church sees itself as being Peter’s successor –
- Forbidding the faithful to eat meat on Friday,
because (according to the traditional account) the Vatican had an interest in
the fishery business and so wanted to increase the turnover and therefore its
- Obliging the faithful to celebrate the Day of the
Lord on Sunday, the first day of the week, although God explicitly commands in
the fourth of the Ten Commandments, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy"
– the sabbath, that is Saturday, the last day of the week.
- In the second of the Ten Commandments it is stated:
"You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven
above or on the earth beneath (…) You shall not worship them and serve them."
The Catholic Church has suppressed this commandment (see the table at the end of
this Discourse), and enjoins the faithful to worship idols of wood and stone,
silver and gold (madonnas, saints).
- The sixth commandment states, "You shall not murder".
The Catholic Church, however, permitted the Inquisition to murder hundreds of
thousands of true-believing Christians, over a period of more than 600 years, so
as to cover up its own deficiencies.
- The seventh commandment states, "You shall not
commit adultery". Under some Popes of the Catholic Church adultery and
immorality were all part of the day’s work. The children who sprung from such
unions would then be placed in high and well-endowed church offices.
- The eight commandment reads, "You shall not steal".
Some Popes of the Catholic Church did not just steal, but plundered entire
cities and had them burnt to the ground.
- As for the ninth commandment – "You shall not
bear false witness against your neighbor" – and the tenth – "You shall
not covet (…) anything that belongs to your neighbor", many Popes of the
Catholic Church did not just countenance lying: they cheated one another and
those around them, and intrigued against one another mutually. The envy and
greed for power of these Popes was taken to such a pitch that for many years
there were two infallible Popes in Rome and Avignon, and for the years 1409 to
1415 there were actually three infallible (!) Catholic Popes in Rome, Avignon
and Pisa at the same time, all in competition with each other.
- The Lord Jesus introduced two sacraments: baptism,
and the Lord’s Supper. The Catholic Church did not just invent five additional
sacraments (1439) – it also completely distorted the two genuine sacraments.
Instead of the baptism of adults, who enter upon this decision with full
awareness and in the full knowledge of the implications to themselves, in the
Catholic Church children are brought to baptism just a few days after their
coming into this world, by parents who in many cases have never held a Bible in
In the Lord’s Supper, the Lord commanded that in memory of his sacrificial death we should break the bread, and drink the cup. Since 1414 the Catholic Church has forbidden the faithful to drink from the cup of the Lord’s Supper. In addition to this, it is laid down that the priest can transform the bread by means of muttered formulas into the actual (!) body of Christ (the doctrine of transsubstantiation: 1215). A proceeding, this, that was not taken seriously by the Catholics themselves – otherwise they would have to assume that in Communion they are consuming the actual body of Christ, which would mean that they could not take Communion on Friday. This "transformation", which was never commanded by the Lord, should consequently rather be seen as belonging to the realm of the occult.
- Although the Lord Jesus said, "It is easier for a
camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the
Kingdom of God", the Catholic Church is one of the richest organizations in
the world. According to a report that appeared recently, the Vatican amongst its
other investments also has holdings in companies that manufacture arms and in
pharmaceuticals companies (producing even the pill).
And all this surprises our Catholic contemporaries of today. – But is it
really so astonishing? Those familiar with the history of this same
Catholic Church are not going to be too surprised. For example, in
the Austrian daily newspaper Kurier:
Die guten und die bösen Päpste ["Vatican: the good and the bad popes"],
"They covered the complete range of human possibility, the approximately
265 popes in the Catholic Church: one finds among them schemers, despots,
criminals, murderers and sex-obsessed monsters. But of course there are
also benevolent, exemplary servants of God and saints in the truest sense
of the word. Yes, there have been all of these in 2,000 years of church
And these Catholic criminals are to blame for the world not taking God
seriously. Who would take seriously a God whose alleged "representatives" on earth
are "schemers, despots, criminals, murderers and sex-obsessed monsters",
who may then even also be "canonized"?
So finally the question has to be put why the Catholic Church has on the one hand laid commandments on the faithful which are not represented anywhere in Scripture, and have not been ordained by God either, while on the other hand she herself does not even abide by those genuine commandments which have been given her by God.
And here it is claimed in the comment quoted at the beginning that the Catholic clergy go "(...) goes back through Christ the Lord, to the rock Peter and his rightful successors". These "rightful successors" have sexually abused tens of thousands of children around the world and have remained unpunished.
If we look at pictures of the Popes of the past, and observe how these men,
wearing a crown of gold and jewels – the papal tiara, a threefold crown at
least three times as high as any earthly emperor’s crown – and decked out in
sumptuous garments (solemn ecclesiastical garb), throned also upon an artificial
"heaven", are carried through St. Peter’s by their bearers, and if we
compare this picture of the "representatives of Christ on earth" with Our
Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, it is clear at a glance why the Catholic Church
cannot "through Christ, go back to the rock Peter and his rightful successors".
This church has a different conception of itself, and a different conception of God, from the church of Jesus Christ. It cannot "maintain the teachings of Christ in their authentic form", because it has itself constantly falsified them and reinterpreted them to suit its own ends, its own power politics.
Therefore the Roman Catholic Church does not have any kind of "divine authority", nor is it "the only true church of Christ". On the contrary: it gets further and further away from the true, biblical teachings of Christ. The assertion that "the Catholic Church is the one unique church of Christ that makes salvation possible" is just one more proof of the way in which this church is geared only to power politics, and of the way in which its loss of faith and loss of objectivity becomes more and more apparent.
We may assume, however, that nobody – not even the Catholic Church – will be able to prevent the Lord from showing the faithful in this church, those who seek him with their whole heart, how they can find him.
So if the Catholic Church is rightly to be condemned for its gross errors, all the same the faithful in its ranks should not be judged by their fellow men. Each one of them who is an honest seeker has the possibility open to him or her to find the true path, that is, the path that is Jesus Christ.
I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Jn 14,6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and
the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.14,7 If
you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him,
and have seen Him." 14,8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and
it is enough for us." 14,9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you,
and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the
Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 14,10 Do you not believe
that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I
do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
14,11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise
believe because of the works themselves. 14,12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he
who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than
these he will do; because I go to the Father. 14,13 Whatever you ask in My
name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.14,14
If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it." Jn 14, 6-14;
We do not want to give the impression that this home page is dedicated to a "private war" against the Catholic Church (of 32 Discourses, only two, so far, have been concerned with this theme). Although the errors of this church cannot be overlooked, here too we must think of Paul’s warning – Who among us is without faults? At the same time, whenever advocates of this church come forward in public and try to put the teachings of Christ – and so the teachings of the Bible – in question, or even to argue against them, it is an obligation for all Christians whose faith is founded on the Bible to put the account straight. The author.
The manifesto "Dominus Jesus" of the Catholic Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith postulates that
"the Catholic Church is the one unique church that makes salvation possible"
As is shown below, however, it is just this church which has falsified
God’s commandments, so as to deceive the congregation of the faithful. It suppressed
the second commandment, so as to hush up the fact that worship paid to idols made of
stone and wood (the saints and madonnas) is expressly forbidden in the second of these
Ten Commandments given by God.
1. I am the LORD your God, (…) you shall have
no other gods before Me.
2. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or
any likeness of what is in heaven above or on earth beneath or in
the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them
3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your
God in vain.
4. Remember the sabbath day (Saturday), to keep
it holy (…).
5. Honor your father and your mother (…).
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery.
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness against your
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s
house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife (…) or anything
that belongs to your neighbor.
The Ten Commandments
Is the Catholic Church a Christian church?
When the unbelieving world speaks of Christianity, in nine
out of ten cases what is meant is the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church
has become practically synonymous with Christianity in the eyes of the
world. This is a massive error!
LUCIFER WORSHIPED IN VATICAN (Video)
Pope Francis on gays: "Who am I to judge them?"
The Bible on gays:
Röm 1,26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 1,27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.