It's like this Bulldogg:
What if in 1860, 11 southern states of the United States of America split from the United States of America but instead of calling themselves the "Confederate States of America," they actually retained the national title of "The United States of America," and so there were then two countries calling themselves the USA - one with a government, President and capital in Washington DC and the other with a government, President and capital in Montgomery, Alabama.
Now, which one is the USA? Which one would be the "real" USA?
Citizens of the two USA's would no doubt be split in their loyalties. Overseas, different countries would be split in their recognition of the true USA.
There is no doubt that Abraham Lincoln and all of his Presidential successors from 1861 to 2007, and all of the citizens of the "Union" or northern states of the USA, would claim to be the real, true, original USA - founded by George Washington and Co. and the US Constitution - even if Jefferson Davis and his successors from 1861 to 2007 claimed their eleven "Dixie" states were the "true USA" and were the genuine successors of Washington and that Lincoln and Co had lost the true spirit of Washington, and the US Consitution, and the Bill of Rights, and the spirit of the American Revolution.
Now imagine that the CSA - calling itself the true USA - was not defeated in 1865 but still existed today (I think you would like that ?
Now, substitute USA for Catholic Church and substitute CSA for the Protestant churches.
What Pope Benedict XVI has done, is like George W. Bush issuing an Executive Decree saying to the United Nations that (1) His USA is the true USA founded by the Founding Fathers in 1776, (2) that he is the true President of the United States and that the guy in Montgomery Alabama is not the POTUS and (3) the false United States (CSA) is "defective" in that they are unconstitutional and whilst they are a great people, good "Americans" and much loved southern brothers/cousins, they are nevertheless very naughty splitting the Union and pretending to be the country George Washington wanted.
Like Rev. Sarah MacVane said in your post above, Benedict XVI has not declared anything new since the 1500's - or first Century AD for that matter, just that she's puzzled about why the Pope has declared Catholic beliefs publicly again on July 10th 2007?
It's like George Bush issuing something in writing on July 10th 2007 stating that The USA is the true USA and he is the true President of the USA when - at least in the Union, everyone knows that already and or couldn't care less.
I don't think Christians in the 21st Century - Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox - care less who, what, which is the "true Church" established by Jesus in 30 + AD.
But if you do
care and if you do want the answer
to that particular question, then Benedixt XVI is reminding the pople of the Earth that it is the (Roman) Catholic Church..............and I agree. Last note
: that doesn't mean Catholics are better Christians than Protestants and in fact some of the best Christians I know are not Catholic. And it doesn't mean that God doesn't achieve good through Protestants and Protestantism and its 5,000 worldwide denominations. Just that Jesus established only one Church - not many churches - and if you are curious which one it is it's the one shepherd by the little German guy in Rome and his predecessors going way back to the little Jewish guy named Peter who got the job from Jesus.
P*ssed off with Peter's successor's in the early 1500's a Catholic priest named Martin Luther split and started his own church which has since splintered into thousands of protestant churches - all good people doing good work but nevertheless founded by a disgruntled Catholic priest.
Like wise, a few miles away, a Catholic King, Henry VIII, p*ssed off with the Pope at the time because the Pope would not approve of a divorce for Henry on the weak reasons that his wife wasn't producing a male child and heir to his throne, decided to start his own church called the Church of England (getting his divorce that way) and which has since evolved into the Anglican/Episcopal Communion - again Anglicans and Episcopalians are good people doing good work but nevertheless founded by a King who wanted to legally ditch his wife for a few others (6 in total).
Have I explained things clearly or are readers (1) more confused or (2) just as insulted by the Catholic Church's beliefs about where it came from and what it is and where Protestants came from and what they are not?
Is the "bridge" burned? Well my answer is that a bunch of European Catholics in the early 1500's gave the Church and her Pope the one finger salute and literally did some burning themselves - got some back in return from some fairly nasty Catholics, and we've (Christianity) been wounded and weakened and split ever since - not unlike what the USA would be if 11 of its states were still in rebellion and violently hostile.