Theologians from the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU) met together 6-12 April at Coatbridge, Scotland, for their fourth session in the fourth phase of the International Reformed-Catholic Dialogue.
The theme designated for this current phase of the dialogue, which is slated to conclude in 2017, is “Justification and Sacramentality: The Christian Community as an Agent for Justice.”
The two teams discussed several papers on topics related to the theme of justice. Marina Behara presented a paper titled “Sanctification: The middle term between justification and justice.” Jorge Scampini presented a paper on “The relationship between the Eucharist and justice from a Catholic perspective.” George Hunsinger addressed the topic “The Eucharist and social ethics.” Peter De Mey offered a paper on “Justification and the universal call to holiness.”
The two teams were also privileged to receive members of the Joint Commission on Doctrine of the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, which has promoted ecumenical conversation since 1977. The members of the Joint Commission shared with them results from more recent rounds of talks, including a study document on the ecclesiological significance of the sacrament of baptism and a publication containing papers given at two theological conferences: the first in Glasgow (2009) to commemorate the quincentenary of John Calvin’s birth and the second in Edinburgh (2010) to mark the 450th anniversary of the Scottish Reformation.
The Rev. Dr. Martha Moore-Keish, of Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia (USA), and the Most Rev. Kevin Rhoades, Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana (USA), co-chair this phase of the dialogue on behalf of WCRC and the PCPCU, respectively. The secretaries for the co-chairs are the Rev. Dr. Douwe Visser, executive secretary for theology of the WCRC, and the Rev. Dr. Gregory J. Fairbanks, secretary of the PCPCU.
Members of the Reformed team are the Rev. Dr. Reinerio Arce-Valentin (Cuba), the Rev. Dr. Marina Ngursangzeli Behera (Switzerland), Dr. Christopher Dorn (USA), the Rev. Dr. George Hunsinger (USA), the Rev. Dr. George Sabra (Lebanon), the Rev. Dr. Lindsay Schluter (Scotland) and the Rev. Dr. Benebo Fubara-Manuel (Nigeria).
Members of the Catholic team are Dr. Peter Casarella (USA); Prof. Dr. Peter De Mey (Belgium); the Rev. Dr. William Henn, O.F.M Cap. (Italy); the Rev. Dr. Jorge Scampini, O.P. (Argentina) and Prof. Dr. Annemarie Mayer (Belgium).
The event was sponsored by the Ecumenical Relations Committee of the Church of Scotland. The Conforti Institute, an educational initiative of the Xaverian Missionaries, generously provided the accommodations for the participants, who were especially grateful for the warm hospitality they received.
In spring 2015 the two teams will convene to receive and revise drafts of chapters to be included in the final report. A venue has still to be determined.