Rome, Italy, 26-29, 1976


The final meeting in a Catholic Pentecostal dialogue was held in Rome, 26-29 May, 1976. It was the fifth in a series which began in 1972 and brought together Roman Catholics appointed by the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, leaders from some Pentecostal Churches and participants in the charismatic movements within Protestant and Anglican Churches.

On this occasion the theme for discussion was prayer and praise. Papers to introduce the theme were presented by Dom Jean Leclercq, Benedictine monk of the Abbey of Clervaux, Luxembourg, and Revd. W. Robert McAlister, Pastor, New Life Pentecostal Church, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. These presented considerations on the present day rediscovery of prayer as praise as well as petition ; the way this is expressed in Pentecostal worship and the enrichment and problems this presents. A central dimension of Pentecostalism is communion with God through prayer and praise.

In the discussion the relation between the objective and subjective aspects of worship and prayer were explored. In the Word of God there is a criterion that can validate the experience of prayer which is made in and through the Holy Spirit. The spiritual gifts given the believer are never to be valued above the Spirit who gives them. In Pentecostalism the experience of regeneration is basic to that of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, including speaking in tongues. It is necessary to be clear about the right relation between faith and experience. Faith undergirds and is expressed in both the peak experiences of the Christian life and the sense of desolation and absence of God which also belongs to the total Christian experience.

It was further emphasized that, although the manifestation of the experience of the power and life of the Holy Spirit differs, there are not two categories of Christians but all live by the same Spirit.

Another major concern of the meeting was the report on the discussions of the past five years in the dialogue. This had been prepared by the Steering Committee which has served the dialogue and was based on the agreed accounts of each year's discussion. It was presented to the meeting for advice and reaction and will go to the relevant authorities on both sides before being published.

Proposals for the continuation of dialogue were made and will be put before the appropriate bodies on each side.

Pentecostals: Dr. David J. du Plessis (Oakland, Cal., D.S.A.) (Co-chairman); Revd. W. Robert McAlister (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) (Co-secretary); Dr. Allan Hamilton (Portland, Ore., D.S.A.); Revd. Clément Le Cossec (Le Mans, France); Dr. john L. Meares (Washington, D.C., D.S.A.); Revd. Justus T. du Plessis (Lyndhurst, Rep. of South Africa); Revd. Carlton Spencer (Lima, N.Y., D.S.A.).

Charismatics: Pfr. Arnold Bittlinger (Lutheran, Wetzhausen, W. Germany); Revd. Michael Harper (Anglican, Hounslow, England); Dr. J. Rodman Williams (Presbyterian, Anaheim, Cal., D.S.A.).

Roman Catholics: Fr. Kilian McDonnell, O.S.B. (Collegeville, Minn., D.S.A.) (Co-chairman); Msgr. Basil Meeking (Vatican City) (Co-secretary); Fr. Pier- re Duprey (Vatican City); Fr. Jean Leclercq, O.S.B. (Clervaux, Luxembourg); Fr. joseph Lécuyer (Rome, Italy); Fr. Heribert Mühlen (Paderborn, W. Germany); Fr. Ignace de la Potterie, S.J. (Rome, Italy).


[Information Service 32 (1976/III) 31-32]