Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Christian Leaders Sign Agreement on Baptism

This is a wonderful sign of ecumenism (Christian unity):
Leaders of U.S. Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches will sign a historic agreement Tuesday in Austin by which the two traditions will formally recognize each other’s liturgical rites of baptism.

The product of seven years of talks among five denominations, the agreement will be signed at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at a prayer service and celebration at St. Mary Cathedral. The service will be open to the public and will be part of the opening day activities of the national meeting of Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A., which will continue through Friday in Austin.

Representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Christian Reformed Church in North America, Reformed Church in America and United Church of Christ will sign the document.

“This ecumenical effort, this mutual recognition of baptism, is part of our response to Jesus’ prayer that ‘we may all be one,’ ” said Bishop Joe Vásquez of the Catholic Diocese of Austin.
The one concern is that we are sure to understand that the differences we recognize are not unimportant.

1 comment:

George @ Convert Journal said...

Reading the comments at the link, I can see there is some minor confusion.

The agreement basically amounts to these non-Catholic ecclesial communities will (1) use the Trinitarian formula (if they were not always doing so already), (2) water (poured or immersed) and (3) proper intent (unlike Mormons for instance who meet #1 and #2). They will also (4) keep baptismal records.

From our perspective #1-#3 are required for a person to become Christian. This is no change for us and indeed, a national bishops conference (USCCB, who "agreed" to this) lacks any authority to change it.

This is a very small, but helpful step.