'Peace requires dialogue' between Catholics and Mennonitesby Gordon Houser
Asunción, Paraguay—Catholics and Mennonites are in dialogue in various places around the globe, according to a workshop July 17.
Neal Blough of France reported on a dialogue between Mennonite World Conference and the Roman Catholic Church’s Pontifical Institute between 1998 and 2003. A report from that dialogue, “Called Together to Be Peacemakers,” came out in 2003.
César Garcia of Colombia and Fernando Enns of Germany talked about how their churches used that report in their countries. Garcia offered a history of Catholics’ harsh treatment of Protestants in Colombia. This report, he said, helped change that and led to further dialogue that has been productive.
Garcia and Enns both noted that “peace requires dialogue.” Enns described some differences that came out of a meeting of Catholics and Mennonites in Rome. These related primarily to two areas: apostolic succession and baptism.
In answer to a question from participants, Gregory Fairbanks of the Pontifical Institute explained the meaning of the Eucharist to Catholics. It means more than the real presence of Jesus Christ. It also assumes the unity of the church. Fairbanks also said that this dialogue is important because “the division of the church is a sin.”
Garcia and Enns both emphasized the need to contextualize the report.
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