Rome (Italy), 10-17 July 2015


The Fifth Session of the Sixth Phase of the International Catholic - Pentecostal Dialogue took place in Rome, Italy, from 10 to 17 July 2015. Participants in the Dialogue include Catholics appointed by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and some Classical Pentecostal churches and leaders. The general theme for the present phase of Dialogue is “Charisms in the Church: Their Spiritual Significance, Discernment, and Pastoral Implications”. The topics discussed during the past four sessions were Charisms - Our Common Ground (2011), Discernment (2012), Healing (2013) and Prophecy (2014). The 2015 session was devoted to writing the Final Report, which is expected to be published early in 2016.

The goal of this Dialogue, begun in 1972, is to promote mutual respect and understanding in matters of faith and practice. Genuine exchange and frank discussion concerning the positions and practices of the two traditions have been guiding principles of these conversations, which include daily prayer services that are led alternately by Catholics and Pentecostals.

The Catholic Co-Chair of the Dialogue is Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, NC, USA. The Pentecostal Co-Chair of the Dialogue is Rev. Cecil M. Robeck (Assemblies of God), Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA, USA.

During their working sessions in Rome, Cardinal Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, met with the group to engage in conversation, gather perspectives and respond to questions. The participants also had an informal meeting with Bishop Brian Farrell, Secretary of the Pontifical Council.

On Sunday, remembering the missionary journeys of Paul and his trip to Rome, participants attended Mass at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls, where it is believed that the Apostle to the Gentiles is buried. They enjoyed the hospitality of the Benedictine community.

According to Bishop Burbidge, “It has been a privilege to serve as Co-Chair of this phase of the International Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue and a real honor to work with such dedicated colleagues on both teams as we focused our attention on charisms in the Church and their spiritual significance. Through the scholarly papers that were presented, honest and respectful discussion throughout the Dialogue, and our prayer time together we grew to a deeper understanding of areas of agreement as related to charisms, healing, prophecy, and discernment, as well as points of divergence. We also identified together pastoral challenges and opportunities as we go forth to invite others to a deeper reliance on the gifts of the Spirit who is always at work within us.”

Rev. Robeck noted, “This current round of dialogue has revealed that the teaching of Pentecostals and Catholics on the charisms or gifts of the Holy Spirit have many points of agreement. Both traditions recognize that every believer has been given one or more gifts by the Holy Spirit to be used to build up the Church and to minister to the world. These gifts have been present in the Church since the time of the New Testament. Given the problems posed by society in the current culture, we acknowledge that we face common challenges in which our people must rely upon the help of the Holy Spirit to exercise these charisms in thoughtful and creative ways as they seek to extend the message of love and forgiveness that Jesus Christ brought to the world.”

The members from the Classical Pentecostal churches are: Rev. Cecil M. Robeck, Professor, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA, USA (Assemblies of God), Co-Chair; Rev. David Cole, Vice President for Student Development, The King’s University, Southlake, TX, USA (Open Bible Churches; Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America), Co-Secretary; and Rev. S. David Moore, Professor, The King’s University, Dallas, TX, USA (International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, USA).

The members of the Catholic team are: Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh NC, USA, Co-Chair; Rev. Msgr. Juan Usma Gómez, Bureau Chief of Western Section, Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Vatican City/Colombia, Co-Secretary; Dr. Mary Healy, Associate Professor, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, MI, USA, Chair of the Doctrinal Commission, International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services; Rev. Lawrence Iwuamadi, Catholic Professor, Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, Switzerland/Nigeria; Sr. Maria Ko, FMA, Professor, Pontifical Faculty Auxilium, Rome, and Holy Spirit Seminary, Hong Kong, China; Rev. Marcial Maçaneiro SCJ, Professor, Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná, Brazil; and Dr. Teresa Francesca Rossi, Associate Director, Centro Pro Unione and Professor, Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Rome, Italy.


[Information Service 146 (2015/II) 11]