VATICAN CITY, July 10 (UPI) -- The Vatican issued a document Tuesday reaffirming that the Roman Catholic Church is the only true church.
The document, "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church," was signed by Cardinal William J. Levada of the United States, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Catholic News Service said.
It was approved by Pope Benedict XVI.
In the document, Levada said that Protestant churches had broken the apostolic succession, a line of popes founded by St. Peter. They "cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called 'churches' in the proper sense," the document said.
The Orthodox churches of eastern Europe preserved the apostolic succession but "lack something in their condition as particular churches" because they do not recognize the pope.
The Vatican has been debating its relationship to other Christian bodies since the Vatican II Council released a "Decree on Ecumenism" that said elements of "sanctification and truth" can be found in other churches.