A few weeks ago Fr. Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P. was ordained to the episcopate in a grand ceremony in Washington, DC. Before he was an Archbishop, the new Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments wrote “ Jesus and the World Religions,” in which he addressed the question of Jesus as the unique mediator of salvation:
Is Jesus Christ the unique mediator of salvation? I was one of five panelists assigned to address this question at a recent meeting of Catholic theologians. I was the first to speak and, as it turned out, the only panelist prepared to advance an unqualified affirmative response to the question. Why is this? Why would a group of Catholic theologians decline to affirm what, until recently, would have been considered an unquestionable tenet of ecumenical Christian faith?
As the session unfolded, it became clear that their reluctance to do so was motivated at least in part by a desire to avoid giving offense to religious people of other traditions. The underlying premise of their remarks and of the ensuing discussion seemed to be this: To ascribe a uniquely salvific role to Jesus Christ would constitute a denial of the salvific role of other religious founders (like the Buddha and Muhammad) and thus would be an affront to their communities.
This article, in turn, prompted an exchange with Jerry L. Walls, “Must the Truth Offend?” on how Christians think about those who reject Christian teachings. We commend the articles in question to you and wish Archbishop Di Noia well in his new ministry.