Vienna, July 7-14, 2000


The third annual session of the fifth phase of the Catholic-Pentecostal International Dialogue took place in Vienna, Austria, July 7-14, 2000. The meeting was co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and some Classical Pentecostal Churches and leaders. This year's session was hosted by the Pentecostal team and took place at Am-Spiegeln Seminarzentrum, which is under the auspices of the Focolare Movement.

The goal of the Dialogue is a deepening of mutual understanding and respect between the two communities, and not organic or structural unity. The discussions were typified by an attitude of candor and trust. Each day was opened and closed with periods of devotions led alternatively by members of the two teams.

The topic of this year was Conversion and Christian Initiation: Biblical and Patristic Perspectives . The papers were read by Rev. Robert D. Duggan, Gaithersburg, MD, USA (Roman Catholic) and Dr. Matthias Wenk, Hindelbank, Switzerland, (Gemeinde fur Urchristentum [name is Bewegung Plus as of January 1, 2001]).

The papers provoked wide ranging discussion on the way each side considers the question of conversion within the process of becoming Christian. This included reflection on Biblical perspectives and the ways in which each understands the insights on the same thing provided by leading Christians of the post-biblical period. The Catholic presentation focused especially on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults which was developed after the Second Vatican Council. The Pentecostal paper developed Biblical perspectives on the diversity of conversion experiences. Participants agreed that for both traditions conversion is an essential element of the Christian life, and that its ultimate purpose is a life of committed discipleship.

Co-Chairs of the Dialogue are Rev. Kilian McDonnell, O.S.B. (St. Johns University, Collegeville, Minnesota) USA and Rev. Cecil M. Robeck, Jr. (Assemblies of God, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California) USA.

Other Roman Catholic participants included: Dr. Ralph Del Colle (Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI) USA; Mr. Hans Gasper (Deutsche Bischofskonferenz, Bonn) Germany; Sister Maria Ko, F.M.A. (Holy Spirit Seminary, Hong Kong) China; Rev. Patrick Lyons, O.S.B. (Glenstal Abbey, County Limerick) Ireland; Msgr. John A. Radano, USA (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) Vatican City; Rev. Luis Ramos, O.P. (Escuela Dominicana de Teologia, Mexico City) Mexico; and Rev. Juan Usma Gόmez, Colombia (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity) Vatican City, who served as co-secretary.

Other Classical Pentecostal participants included: Rev. Gary B. McGee (Assemblies of God, Springfield, Mo) USA; Rev. Raymond M. Pruitt (Church of God of Prophecy, Oxford, MS) USA; Rev. Steve Overman (International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, Eugene, OR) USA; Rev. David Cole (open Bible Standard Churches, Eugene Bible College, Eugene, OR) USA.


[Information Service 104 (2000/III) 147]