Another facet of the Second Vatican Council that has garnered a variety of responses from Protestant Christians involves those documents discussing the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian Churches. While not universally affirmed, the general perspective of Protestant scholars on this issue has affirmed the position taken by Vatican II. Clearly the council gave special attention to Eastern Orthodox churches, which until Vatican II were summarily ignored or feuded with by Rome, as in Orientalium Ecclesiarum the Eastern Church was acknowledged to have an antiquity, continuity, and ecclesial validity rivaling Rome itself. Regarding Protestant-Catholic relations, Lindbeck argues that, despite of reports concerning numerous unintended consequences of Vatican II, the renewal of Protestant-Catholic relations remains very much an intended consequence of the council. Indeed, he argues that the placement of Marian dogma within the constitution on the Church was an important step along the road of ecumenical Protestant engagement and an important step away from pre-Vatican II Marian maximalism. Continue reading
This post is part of our ongoing series examining Protestant Reactions to Vatican II.