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This week in Christian history: Renaissance era pope born, Christian student mov't founded in Russia, ‘Unam Sanctam’

Catholic Church says it’s the only way to salvation — November 18, 1302

Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica is pictured at the Vatican March 7, 2013. |

This week marks the anniversary of when Pope Boniface VIII issued an infamous papal bull, titled Unam Sanctum, which declared that salvation could only be found in the Catholic Church.

Latin for “The One Holy,” the bull was issued in response to a political dispute Boniface was having with King Philip IV of France over whether he could levy taxes on churches.

“Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins,” declared the papal edict.

“There had been at the time of the deluge only one ark of Noah, prefiguring the one Church, which ark, having been finished to a single cubit, had only one pilot and guide, i.e., Noah, and we read that, outside of this ark, all that subsisted on the earth was destroyed.”

Philip IV responded to the bull by accusing the pope of various crimes and even having a group of men physically assault Boniface. The pontiff would die soon afterwards.

Around 200 years later, Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther took issue with the claims of the edict, countering that the bull wrongly excludes Greek Orthodox believers.

In addition to being a reporter, Michael Gryboski has also had a novel released titled Memories of Lasting Shadows. For more information, click here.  

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