Rome – The International Commission for Dialogue between Disciples of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church held its third meeting in the fourth phase of its dialogue at Domus Internationalis Paulus VI, Rome from June 25 to 29, 2006. The focus of this session was “Unity in Christ: Baptism, Faith, and the Eucharistic Koinonia”.

The meeting provided an opportunity for the Commission members to underline the importance of holding together several theological aspects: Trinitarian, Christological, sacramental and ecclesiological. In the course of the discussion, Disciples and Roman Catholics agreed that the common confession of faith required for full visible unity includes all of these aspects; and, this agreement marked an important understanding in advance toward the dialogue’s goal of visible unity and full communion.

The Rev. Merryl Blair (Disciples), from Melbourne, Australia, led a bible study on the theme of Baptism. The major theological papers were given by Fr. Abbot Denis Farkasfalvy, O.Cist. (Catholic), University of Dallas, Texas, on the theme from a Catholic perspective, and the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, Eden Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, from a Disciples perspective.

As part of the meeting, each day began with morning worship together and closed with evening worship.

During the meeting, Cardinal Walter Kasper honored the International Commission for Dialogue by hosting a special lunch, at which Dr. William Tabbernee, co-moderator of the Commission, expressed gratitude to Cardinal Kasper on behalf of the members. In response, Cardinal Kasper expressed appreciation for the work of the dialogue Commission over the years. He said that the dialogue was one that reflected harmonious relations between the partners involved that also reflected the progress made so far, and reminded the dialogue members that we do our work within a much wider context of ecumenical relations in which both churches participate.

The Commission concluded with a special dinner celebrating the dedicated and faithful work of Msgr. John Mutiso-Mbinda for his twenty years of service to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and as co-secretary to this Commission.

The next session of the Commission will take place in June 2007 focusing on the theme, “The Relation between Word and Sacrament in the Eucharist.”

Members of the dialogue team include,

For Disciples of Christ: Dr. William Tabbernee (co-chair), the Rev. Merryl Blair, Dr. James Duke, Dr. Michael Kinnamon, The Rev. Marjorie Lewis, the Rev. Dr. Kay Bessler Northcutt, Dr. David Thompson, and Dr. Robert Welsh (co-secretary);

For Roman Catholics: Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, OSB (co-chair), the Most Rev. Basil Meeking, Rev. Abbot Denis Farkasfalvy, Dr. Margaret O’Gara, Dr. Lawrence J. Welch, Dr. Robert Wilken, and Msgr. John Mutiso-Mbinda (co-secretary). Father Gosbert Byamungu, Catholic professor at the Ecumenical Institute of Bossey attended the Commission meeting on the Roman Catholic side, in view of his succeeding Msgr. John Mutiso-Mbinda in September.