Papal visit to renew plans for ecumenism

 — Aug. 1, 19871 aoüt 1987

by Russell Chandler, Los Angeles Times

With the announcement that Protestant and Eastern Orthodox participants will join in an ecumenical meeting with Pope John Paul in Columbia, S.C., in September, the U.S. National Council of Churches has urged Christians “seize the moment” for renewed efforts toward Christian unity.

A three-page statement welcoming the Pope on his second pastoral visit to the United States Sept. 10-19 – including Detroit on Sept. 18 – acknowledged that diversity and tensions exist within the American religious community.

But the 33 Christian leaders and 154 Christian organizations endorsing the statement said: “This diversity … challenges all Christians to promote reconciliation within and between the churches…. However deep our divisions, the church as the mystery of Christ is called to be a sign and instrument of the unity of the whole human community.”

The statement, “Witnessing Together to a Divided and Hurting World,” was issued by Philip Cousin, president and Arie Brouwer, general secretary, of the National Council of Churches. Although the Roman Catholic Church is not a member, Catholics participate in many of the council’s ministries.

In a separate announcement this week, the U.S. Catholic Conference said John Paul would meet with 27 U.S. Christian leaders during a closed session in the home of James Holderman, president of the University of South Carolina, on the second day of the Pope’s nine-city tour.

Most of the participants will represent the Eastern Orthodox and “mainline” Protestant denominations rather than fundamentalist or conservative evangelical churches. Carl Eifert, a spokesman for the U.S. Catholic Conference, said the conference would not release the names of church leaders who had declined to meet with the Pope.

No television evangelist is on the acceptance list. Southern Baptist evangelist Billy Graham said he “regretfully declined” because of a prior commitment in China. The Rev. Adrian Rogers, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he would not meet with the Pope.

“We love our Catholic friends,” Rogers said in a press statement. (But) “I do not intend to meet with him for reasons which are best not expressed in the public media.” Rogers did not elaborate.

Posted: Aug. 1, 1987 • Permanent link:
Categories: NewsIn this article: Catholic, Christian unity, ecumenism, John Paul II, National Council of Churches of Christ (USA)
Transmis : 1 aoüt 1987 • Lien permanente :
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Catholic, Christian unity, ecumenism, John Paul II, National Council of Churches of Christ (USA)

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