Pope Francis I has presented himself since his first appearance at the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square as a simple and humble man committed to the poor, leading observers to speculate that the Latin American leader from Argentina could invigorate faith communities beyond the 1.2 billion Catholics who look to him as pope.
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which has more than 40,000 member churches, is among those who believe Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, has the capacity to not only "attract young Latinos who want to do good in the name of Jesus" but also stir up U.S. evangelicals to pursue a deeper commitment to the poor.
"There is something that evangelicals can learn from our Catholic brothers and sisters. We get the vertical right … I think we lack at the horizontal, where the Catholic Church gets it right and we lack," Rodriguez told CP, noting differing Catholic and Protestant views on the doctrines of salvation and justification in his explanation of the "vertical." more >>
The Executive Committee of the Baptist World Alliance met this week to discuss several matters, including that of its ongoing dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church.
Eron Henry, associate director of communications for the Baptist World Alliance, told The Christian Post that the report on the dialogue has still not been finalized. "The report of the dialogue between Baptists and Catholics will be available for public consumption after it has been formally accepted and approved by the BWA General Council in July," said Henry.
"Both the BWA and the Vatican are in the process of approving, adopting or ratifying the report. Until that is done it cannot yet be deemed to be an official document." more >>
The National Council of Churches has announced that it will be shutting down its historic New York office as a means of consolidating its operations.
NCC announced Wednesday that it will leave its office at the Interchurch Center building in Manhattan, N.Y., known by many as the "God Box." Kathryn Lohre, president of NCC, said in a statement that the consolidation was part of the organizational streamlining process the group is undertaking.
"It is important that we honor this moment with reverence and respect for the Council's history as an iconic presence in the beloved 'God Box'," said Lohre. more >>
Several evangelical Christian leaders gave high praise to Pope Benedict XVI for his advocacy for the dignity of human life after hearing about his plans to resign Monday. They chose to focus on common biblical ground shared with some of the Pontiff's beliefs rather than dwell on the doctrinal differences between Catholicism and the Protestant faith.
"As a Baptist Christian, I disagree with Rome on many things, of course, and some of those things relate to the nature of the Petrine ministry, the relationship of the Bishop of Rome to the rest of the church, the merging of civil and ecclesial power, and so on," Russell D. Moore, dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote in a column. "It might surprise previous generations of Protestants, though, that one of the primary emphases of the Vatican in the last generation has been on the dignity and liberty of the human person."
Moore stated that the Pope "has constantly spoken for those whose lives are seen as a burden to society: the baby with Down syndrome, the woman with advanced Alzheimer's, the child starving in the desert, the prisoner being tortured. "These lives aren't things, he has said, but images of God, and for them we will give an account." more >>
Leaders representing the Roman Catholic Church and some American Protestant denominations have signed an agreement in Texas to recognize each other's baptisms.
After about six years of dialogue, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Reformed Church in America, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Christian Reformed Church in North America, and the United Church of Christ signed a document recognizing each other's liturgical rites of baptism.
The five denominations signed the "Common Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Baptism," affirming the baptism agreement on Tuesday evening at a prayer service held at St. Mary's Cathedral in Austin. more >>
Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Kurt Koch spoke on Thursday at the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, telling members of the council that divisions within Christianity further inhibit evangelism.
Previous to the plenary meeting, president of the council Cardinal Koch said that "the credibility of the message of the Gospel depends on unity."