From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Dominus Iesus (Latin for "Jesus (the) Lord") is the title of a document by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Tarcisio Bertone, archbishop of Vercelli. The document, published August 6, 2000, is subtitled "On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church".
A Catholic dogma, Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, traditionally taught that "there is no salvation outside the Church", which thus would have denied salvation to non-Catholic Christians as well as non-Christians; Catholicism revised this position in Vatican II, which said that "the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator", thus potentially extending salvation to other monotheistic faiths. Vatican II further affirmed that salvation was available to people who had not even heard of Christ.
However, later official Vatican papers have led some to question the Church's commitment to ecumenism. Actually, Pope John Paul II personally endorsed the document called Dominus Iesus, and ratified and confirmed it "with sure knowledge and by his apostolic authority" (a formal sentence used at the beginning or with the signature of an official document).
This document  states that people outside of Christianity are "gravely deficient" in their relationship to God, and that non-Catholic Christian communities had "defects". Jewish and Muslim groups have expressed distress at this disparagement of their faiths.
In response to these criticisms, Pope John Paul II on October 2 of that year emphasized that this document did not say that non-Christians were denied salvation: "this confession does not deny salvation to non-Christians, but points to its ultimate source in Christ, in whom man and God are united". The Pope then issued on December 6 a statement to further emphasize that the Church continued to support the position of Vatican II that salvation was available to believers of other faiths: "The Gospel teaches us that those who live in accordance with the Beatitudes - the poor in spirit, the pure of heart, those who bear lovingly the sufferings of life - will enter God's kingdom." He further added, "All who seek God with a sincere heart, including those who do not know Christ and his church, contribute under the influence of grace to the building of this kingdom."