Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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DOMINUS IESUS, an unfortunate document, problematic and an embarrassment? No, not now, not ever!

March 1st, 2013, Promulgated by Dominick Anthony Zarcone

Full series title: “DOMINUS IESUS: A MILESTONE IN RATZINGER’S LEGACY WHICH ASSURES OUR FUTURE IN HOPE”

“Jesus is an embarrassment to us. He is quite problematic and it is unfortunate that he is here.”

Sounds like something the Lord’s enemies in the Temple would have said. Actually, however, those words characterize the sentiments expressed by vocal critics of the Declaration DOMINUS IESUS.

For many who appreciated this ‘straightforward re-affirmation of perennial Catholic doctrine’, it is both unacceptable and annoying that Catholics publicly expressed disagreement and even distrust by lamenting this Declaration and accusing it of betraying Vatican II.

The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was disappointed by the vehement criticism. In an interview published on September 22, 2000, Cardinal Ratzinger said,
“I would like first of all to express my sadness and disappointment at the fact that public reaction, with a few praiseworthy exceptions, has completely disregarded the Declaration’s true theme. The document begins with the words ‘Dominus Iesus’; this is the brief formula of faith contained in 1 Corinthians 12:3 in which Paul has summarized the essence of Christianity: Jesus is Lord. With this Declaration, the Pope (John Paul II) wanted to offer the world a great and solemn recognition of Jesus Christ as Lord ….”

The gainsayers disregarded the Declaration’s true theme; Jesus is Lord. One wonders if this disregard implied a denial?

The 10/19/00 CATHOLIC COURIER article entitled, “Critics seek document’s saving grace”1, included interviews of people who apparently could not find the Lord Jesus.(( A Methodist Rev. Womack even stated that “he was not prepared to defend that Christ is the one Savior of the world.”

Kathleen Schwar writes, “….among diocesan Catholics there were audible sighs.”

Msgr. William H. Shannon is quoted asserting DOMINUS IESUS does not reflect the spirit of Pope John Paul II in his writings. Shannon also said, “There’s a narrowness that does not seem to reflect the very open spirit of Pope John Paul II.”

However, on page 14 of 19 one reads that the Pope knew exactly what he ordered to be published since by his apostolic authority he ratified and confirmed it. Moreover, Pope John Paul II’s writings are well represented in 24 references to REDEMPTORIS MISSIO, 7 to FIDES ET RATIO, and 3 references to UT UNUM SINT.

Msgr. William H. Shannon’s public disapproval is again described in ‘Critics seek document’s saving grace’:
“One of the things I see in it is evidence of an almost desperate effort to rebuild walls, walls that Vatican II tore down between Catholics and other people. … It’s an indication of a very strong movement in the church to take Vatican II apart piece by piece. I think it’s an unfortunate document.”

A movement to take Vatican II apart piece by piece? Hardly.

There are 20 references to LUMEN GENTIUM, 10 references to UNITATIS REDINTEGRTIO, 7 to AD GENTES and DEI VERBUM, 6 to GAUDIUM ET SPES, 5 references to NOSTRA AETATE. Also, there are 8 quotes from the CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.

DOMINUS IESUS is not unfortunate, problematic or an embarrassment. It is unfortunate and embarrassing that those who should know better disregard the Word of God, the saving mission of Christ and the truth: Jesus is Lord.

Next article: “Almighty God’s absolute and definitive revelation”


1: This article spans 3 pdfs (here, here, and here) – each being just one page of the Catholic Courier.
(the full list of pdfs around this time frame can be found here)

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