To mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the international Catholic‒Pentecostal dialogue, Pope Francis sent a message to members of the Commission gathered in Rome from 8‒14 July for its plenary session.
The dialogue, which commenced in 1972 with the aim of promoting mutual understanding and overcoming of prejudices between Catholics and Pentecostals, was until 1996 the only international theological dialogue undertaken by Pentecostal representatives with another Christian communion.
One of the pioneers of the dialogue was Pastor David du Plessis, who participated in the third session of the Second Vatican Council as a guest of the then Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity. In its fifty years of activity, the dialogue ‒ which involves representatives of the two currently most numerous Christian communities ‒ has published six reports on various themes: Final Report (1972‒1976); Final Report (1977‒1982); Perspectives on Koinonia (1989); Evangelization, Proselytism and Common Witness (1997); On Becoming a Christian: Insights from Scripture and the Patristic Writings with Some Contemporary Reflections (2006); and “Do Not Quench the Spirit”: Charisms in the Life and Mission of the Church” (2015). The theme of the current phase of dialogue is “Lex orandi, lex credendi”.
The current phase of dialogue is co‒presided by Reverend Cecil M. Robeck, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA, USA, and Most Reverend Joseph Bambera, Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton, PA, USA, assisted by Reverend David Cole, President of the Christian Unity Commission of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches of North America, and Monsignor Juan Usma Gómez, Head of the Western Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity.