(Ed. Some parts of the recording were hard to decode, so there's been some light editing to preserve continuity of thought. If anyone wants to translate the Italian and Spanish parts please do so; contact me via www.societyofsaints.net if you need the approximate times on the recording for them. I will update this transcription with the translations as soon as they get sent to me.)
This is the link for the video recording: https://youtu.be/w6NjoLJmYsc
To appreciate this meeting fully, some background reading is highly recommended because it will give you an introduction to most of the panelists and to the many places and organisations mentioned in the meeting:
Firstly this report on what God has been doing in Argentina.
Secondly the transcript of the workshop on spiritual ecumenism held the previous day 1 June 2017.
Finally the translation of the address by Pastor Giovanni Traettino on the day after i.e. 3 June 2017 at the Pentecost Vigil.
Introduction of the panel (edited)
Matteo Calisi, vice president of ICCRS for many years, and president of the Catholic Fraternity for years. He founded the Community of Jesus in Bari.
Sean Larkin, a member of the Community of Jesus in the Anglican tradition, and Anglican archbishop.
Charles Whitehead, a past president of ICCRS, married to Sue who is Anglican.
Giovanni Traettino, pastor of the Christian Fellowship of Caserta and Evangelical Church of Reconciliation
Norberto Saracco, part of the CRECES movement in Buenos Aires (CRECES : Renewal Communion of Catholics and Evangelicals in the Holy Spirit).
All of them have worked for many years for Christian unity, with God-given passion for this task.
Let us open our hearts to listen to them, and the Holy Spirit will come down and give us revelation of what this means. Who started ecumenism? Jesus did in John 17:21-23. This is why we are here. This is a journey that Jesus wanted from the night He was going to be imprisoned.
Giovanni: Welcome everybody. Why don't we start by giving a worship clap to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? (clapping) Thank you. The first thing I want to say is that I am amazed that we are at this point in history and I consider it a real Kairos of God, the season we are living in; and today, you know, to be together and even tomorrow to celebrate the vigil of Pentecost together, that's amazing! And I believe that this deserves a big clap. (clapping)
The second thing I want to say about our ecumenical encounter is that the word oikoumenismos comes from oikos which means house. We are here together on the basis that our oikos is filled with the Holy Spirit. So that the basis of our ecumenism has to do with the inhabitation of the Holy Spirit. Isn't it true in our lives? Amen.
On this basis I welcome Matteo, Sean, Charles and Norberto. We are basically going to listen to their experience, because what really puts us together is our experience of God, our experience of the Holy Spirit, which is what we would like to see all of the Church to experience – not only the Pentecostals and charismatics. We believe that this is, as Pope Francis says, a stream of grace, a current of grace for all of the Church, and I believe we should expand our paradigm and see that this gift, this visitation, is for all of the Church. Do you agree? (Yes)
Let's start with Matteo. Matteo and myself, we are very good and old friends and we still are after many years. We met together in the early '80s, '83 I believe, was it, and we've been walking together over all these years, and he has stayed Catholic and I've stayed Evangelical Pentecostal. But we are very good friends and I believe God has used us to bridge into the two different areas. So please Matteo, share with us your experience.
Matteo: (he spoke in Italian, which was not translated on the recording)
Sean: I would like to begin by the reading of two Scriptures. The first comes from Acts 20:28, and we won't look at the context, 'The Apostle says to the leaders, 'Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has made you guardians, to feed the Church of the Lord which He obtained with His own Blood'. Jesus loves His Church. And the blood that He spilt for you is the same blood that He spilt for us. And if Jesus loves His Church, I must follow, when it is convenient and when it is inconvenience.
And in the Gospel reading of the day we get one of my favourite passages where the Lord prophesies to Peter and says this, 'When you were young, you fastened your own belt and walked where you would, but when you are old you will stretch out your hands and another will fasten your belt for you and carry you where you do not want to go'. This is not about us, it's about Him. Now that means we follow the One even in the resurrection and season of the ascension with nail prints. It means that if we are going to embrace His will for us, we will walk the way of the Cross. We don't walk the way of the Cross and then leave it. The way of the Cross is ours to live. So it's sacrificial, and it's very painful, but just like Jesus, the reason He went to the Cross, in part, was for joy, the joy set before Him. He wanted you. He wanted His Church. He died for that very reason. And so there is great joy, but along that pathway.
Jill and I were invited to become part of the Community of Jesus and as a good obedient son of the Church I said, 'No'. And Matteo being a good obedient son of the Church smiled and prayed. And then after a while the Community with others in the orthodox world came back to us and said, 'We believe that this is right'. And then they threw in a little, what we call, curved ball or kicker, and they said, 'The Vatican wants you to do this'. Now that's a bit difficult for a non-Catholic mind set. And so what we discovered was a new grace in following of obedience. It has opened some of the most remarkable doors to us. It has taken us to many places and God has filled us with joy for His Church, and I have never cried so much.
Charles: As I look at you all this morning, as I sat here, I was reminded of a scripture. It's 2 Cor 3:17 'Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, and we who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory are being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory which comes from the Lord who is Spirit'. I think it's because you got in here and got a seat, but it's still glory.
I want to just say a few words in introduction about my own journey because I have been on an ecumenical journey for many years. I was educated at the Jesuits. And when I left school and went to university I had a head full of understanding and good teaching about my Catholic faith. And when we sat in pubs in England as students and people started discussing the Christian faith and God, I was always brought out to explain Catholicism. It was not easy, but I always had free beer, so it was a good opportunity. But I began to realise it was all in my head. It was an intellectual faith.
I met Sue, we got married, and we had our first two children and after a while we met – we were invited really – to join an ecumenical discussion group. At the time my wife was an atheist, but they needed a Catholic, so that's why they asked us. When I said to them, 'My wife will say terrible things because she is an atheist' they said, 'We'll just pretend she's another Catholic'.
Now what happened in this ecumenical group, it was Baptists, Anglicans, Methodists, we encountered a Baptist couple whose faith was alive in a way that mine was not. They had Jesus in their hearts and they talked about a personal relationship with the Lord. And I felt I had an ecclesial relationship with the Lord. And Sue didn't have any relationship with the Lord.
So to make it very short, after some time, Sue gave her life to the Lord. I was away in Scotland on a business trip for 2 days. I left behind a well behaved atheist. I returned home after 2 days to find I had a singing, dancing charismatic. It was a bit of a shock, but of course it confronted me with the reality of my intellectual faith, and my lack of a personal relationship with the Lord. So I started to search, and an Anglican priest prayed for me after some months. And he had a word of knowledge from the Lord, which is why he prayed for me and he told me, 'You don't know the personal love of Jesus'. And I was going to give him a good 'God loves everyone, Jesus died for us all', you know, but I didn't, I said, 'You're right', and he said, 'God is going to change your life.' And this was in an Anglican church where we had gone for a service for Sue.
And the next day I was working in London, in the city, and I went out for a walk to think about this, went into a small church, Catholic church, in the city of London, mid-morning there was no body there. I went down to the front, I knelt in front of the Blessed Sacrament and I said, 'Help', and the Lord just filled me with the knowledge of His love. I realised I was loved. I was on the floor repenting of sin, I was up singing and praising God, and as I walked back to my office after an hour or 2 hours, I was still singing. And everybody walking towards me was stepping to one side, and giving me a slightly strange smile. Well, I have to say in the city of London you don't meet a lot of people at lunch time singing praises to God as they walk back to their office.
So my simple comment to you really is that I recognise the gift that this Baptist couple had, of this personal relationship with the Lord, and by their example, they shared it with me. And from there I developed a love for the word of God, an understanding of evangelization, baptized in the Holy Spirit, and so it went on. I won't say anymore now but as we go through the morning I'm sure they'll be other opportunities, but it was sharing their gift. And today, our local church, we have a really close relationship with the Baptist church. We now have scripture study groups, they have communion 3 times a week instead of once. And we have shared our gifts. So it's the Lord through His Spirit working among all of us. And that's why your faces are shining this morning. Amen? Amen.
Norberto: (In Spanish, not translated on the recording)
Matteo: (In Italian, not translated on the recording)
Sean: Matteo said that we would be surprised. At the last Luna Park in Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio addressed us, all charismatics, Pentecostals and Catholics. He ended his talk. His third point was a question. Have we lost the ability to be surprised by the Holy Spirit? I think many of us have lost that ability. And we are here to be renewed by the Holy Spirit.
I love history, because it teaches us so many things, but God has made us to be alive today. This is where He has placed us. So we must not be robbed of the past, or by the past, not must we be robbed of the future or by the future because we live in this present moment.
I studied theology at Manchester University and had a wonderful time, and my friend the Rev Russ Parker and I were at university together. And Russ took me to a Catholic charismatic prayer group in the spirituality of St Teresa of Avila. And because in those days those charismatic prayer groups required leadership, a small leadership from a non-Catholic group, we were made leaders within 2 weeks. Not because there was a great anointing but because there was nobody else. So please don't wait to be anointed. You'll wait all day. Now this is the point. By going to that prayer group I was changed. By encountering the spirituality of others, I was broadened in my faith in Jesus. I learned to understand that we need one another and we cannot make it alone. It is not good to be alone. And from that group eventually the dear nuns sent me to be trained as an Ignatian director (shoulder shrug) I believe in penance. Anyway.
But I'm thinking just along those lines in the Body of Christ. You see, Jesus is not black and white. He is in His understanding and the doctrines and the truth. But in His grace together in the gifts He is multi-coloured, He is a variegated God. The book of Peter tells us that. God's variegated grace. And God wants you for you.
Now as I explored that, I began to go to other Christians. By the way my Catholic charismatic experience left me thinking this, 'Catholics are baptised in the Spirit. Did you know that?' I assumed they were all baptised in the Spirit. I had heard the word Pentecostal, they must all be baptised in the Spirit. Really? We need God. We need the reality of the Holy Spirit.
When I wanted to explore the healing ministry, I went to my priest friend in Buenos Aires and he let me minister with him in the Church. By the way, don't go to his healing services. You will be there 4 or 5 hours without a cup of tea. Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous! God knows we stop for a cup of tea, 'cause He's English. But then there was a moment, and I asked the priest and his leaders, I said 'Would you bless me to follow in the way that God has given you?' Never the same again. Changed. Because I don't just want to be formed (pointed to head) I want to be formed (pointed to heart).
I look out on Brazilian bishops. I remember my time well in Brazil. I want to thank you. When you open your heart to others, you open the heart of Christ to us all. So as brothers and sisters we place ourselves in the place of the disciples and say, 'Lord, I am here to learn, teach me, and if possible could you use me'.
And then very quickly I have learned to pray for the grace of what we would call the virtues. Without the grace of humility, the Spirit would be upset – that's putting it mildly. It's a grace of servanthood, not control. It's the grace of the washing of the feet, not 'look I'm in charge'. It's also the grace, and you will hear Pope Francis speak about this, from Acts 4, we need to seek the Lord together as a Church for apostolic boldness. We need the courage of the Gospel to be ours afresh that in that humility and service we may run together.
And lastly, as Charles and I were sharing yesterday in the workshop, the devil uses ignorance. It is time to learn of one another and it is therefore time certainly to listen, even and especially when you don’t agree. It's all right not to agree. I don't agree with myself, so what is the point of dialogue?
Charles: Amen. And as a good Catholic I will start with a piece of scripture. I want to just read a few phrases from Ephesians 4, at the beginning of Chapter 4. Paul says, 'I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.' Amen? Amen. You are supposed to be charismatics - an alleluia would be even better.
I'm very excited by the climate in which we are living spiritually. This really is a special time in the Holy Spirit. I honestly believe that. There is a framework for us, particularly I am thinking as I say this of Catholics, but it is true for others too, but there is a framework which makes work for Christian unity is actually totally the teaching of the Catholic Church. We are told in many, many, many ways since Vatican II that this work for unity is one of our absolutely primary tasks today. So we don't have any doubt about that, we shouldn't. And people who question it should simply be taken to scriptural texts, to the teaching of the Church, to the teaching of the last three Popes and Pope Francis, very much today which shows this very clearly.
But for me, I've enjoyed that, I like it. I've contributed to it in my own way at international levels. But for me, work for unity is always going to be locally based. It has to be with the people we know and share with in our local areas and in our own lives. And this is why the scripture I just read speaks about relationships, about love for one another, about listening, about humility, and for me this is crucially important.
I told you the story of Sue and me, and of course what happened was my atheist friend – sorry –wife returned…we've only been married 50 years, so I'm still learning. The Lord said to us in the first times when we were nailed together in relationship with Him, 'Bloom where you were planted'. Right? Now my wife prior to becoming an atheist because she was a scientist, prior to that had been brought up in the Anglican tradition, so that's where she went. And I was brought up Catholic, so that's where I went. So we've been living an ecumenical relationship now for 40 something years. And it still has its moments of tension, is one way of putting it. I won't go into it, but the virtues that I just read out, we still need those.
But what I think is the most exciting thing today is that building relationships with brothers and sisters from other parts of the Body of Christ is one of the most fruitful and rewarding things I know. It's quite remarkable. And in our local church situation we have relationships that have now been running for 25 years where we pray together regularly – the leaders of the churches, we share, we discuss, we go on retreat together for a couple of days once a year. We do a lot of things together. We do not agree about everything.
A few months ago I was sitting at a conference with the Archbishop of Canterbury, we were sitting together, and we were being interviewed in front of 3500-4000 people. And I was sharing some particular point when I got a sign from my wife in the front row. The person who was interviewing us gave her the microphone and she shared something that was actually very important. And the wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of this session comes up to me and says, 'I've never done that. I've never interrupted him when he's speaking', she said, 'but I think it's great. I'm going to start doing it.' So I have to say ecumenical relations took a little step backwards, because he put his arm around me and said, 'Dear brother, thank you so much for that'.
Sue's point, which is absolutely valid, is that we often come from a total misunderstanding of other people's Christian traditions. I was once flying back from Stockholm on an aeroplane and an American was sitting on my left and when we broke through the clouds I took out my bible and I was reading on of the psalms about the glory of heaven. He's reading it over my shoulder, and he says to me, 'You're reading a psalm.', 'Yes I am' I said. He said, 'I like the psalms' and he started to recite Psalm 23 very loudly. When he'd finished, he said to me, 'What kind of Christian are you?', and I said, 'I'm a Catholic'. And there was a horrified silence. And he said to me, 'You cannot be a Catholic', and I said, 'Well I am', and he said, 'But Catholics do not read the scriptures' and I said, 'Well I'm reading them', and he said, 'That's why you can't be a Catholic'. So I couldn't resist it, I said to him, 'Well, I have my bible here and I'm reading it. Where's your bible?' To which he replied, 'It's in my luggage', I said 'It's not much good there. What kind of Christian are you?' He said, 'I'm a Southern Baptist'. We talked for 2 hours on the flight, and he repeated everything I said, so the whole plane enjoyed our conversation because the Lord had gifted him with this very loud voice. But you know, when we got to the baggage collection point, two people came. One went to him and gave his life to Christ and a man came to me and said, 'You're a Catholic?' and I said, 'Heathrow airport is well aware of that'. He said, 'I am, at least I used to be. I haven't been to church in 30 years.' And I said, 'Do you want to come back?' 'Yes', he said. 'I'll pray for you'. Anyway, but it was very interesting, one of those God encounters, but thank you darling that's used up my time so I don't need to say much more.
Just very simply, that the key for me to ecumenical relationships is to invest time in them. We need to talk to each other, we need to pray with each other, we need to understand each other, and then we need to do things together. We can't do everything but we can do a lot, and public witness of churches together is so vital today.
And this is what we are doing locally. The clergy come to our house on the first Monday of every month and we pray together, we pray for each other, all the different churches. And we've just started a 24/7 prayer room in our village with all the churches involved. 24/7 prayer if you are not aware of that, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, people are in this room praying for the local area – and that is the fruit of co-operation.
So my request, a plea, would simply be to build those personal relationships, because they are the foundation, and the context for it has been laid out already. We know it is the Lord's will, know that the Church supports it, and so we just need to get on and do it. Amen? Amen.
Norberto: (In Spanish, not translated on the recording)
Matteo: (In Italian, not translated on the recording)
Sean: When Jesus spoke to Peter, and He spoke about the keys He said something that He will make good on, 'I will build My Church' and 'The gates of Hades will not win'. The more I walk in the ecumenical journey, the less I know how He will do this. But this I know. He will do this. So we turn afresh today with confidence to the One who is the head of the Church.
And my invitation would be in this season to place yourself afresh not only in the place of repentance which is ongoing, daily and necessary, but what I have learned with this word docility to the Holy Spirit. One of things in the early days of the Anglican renewal was this: Father Dennis Bennett, who was our father figure said this, 'It is not a question, 'Do you have the Holy Spirit?' If you're a Christian you have the Holy Spirit. The question for us today is, 'Can the Holy Spirit have us?'' And I pray that from this gathering in this season, there will be however difficult for us, 'Yes, Lord' and then tomorrow, 'Yes, Lord' and on Sunday, 'Yes, Lord'. The One in whom we place our confidence, who said He can do this, so He will do it. How? (shoulder shrug) Amen.
Charles: I believe today that as we build these personal relationships with our brothers and sisters in other parts of the Body of Christ, this takes us to a very important place, and we need then to bring our church congregations together, so we want the local churches to begin to catch the vision in a new way for unity. And I believe that's the challenge that faces many of us today, bringing the local churches together in acts of public witness to the area where we live. This is the most powerful thing I have experienced. People are amazed. The local media write headlines about us being together, and they are surprised because they don't think we can do it. But we can, and the reason we can is very simple, it's Romans 15:13 and it says there, Paul says, 'May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit'. When we come together in individuals but more so in groups, the power of the Spirit flows and gives us hope for what we are doing in witness to our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
Norberto: (In Spanish, not translated on the recording)
Matteo: (There was some trouble with the translating, so he had a go in English, asking listeners to forgive his poor English)
Pope Francis shows us he is a model for unity in the Church. Not only as a teacher but through the gesture prophetic when he asked and gave forgiveness and visited the Pentecostal church and received different leaders of the different parts of the world, and it's incredible because in his person institution and the charisms are joined, not separate. It's an incredible model for us. Ecumenism institutional it needs to recognise its limits. It does not depend on documents, it's the work, very deep of the Holy Spirit, and depends from all us walking in holiness. The ecumenism it depends on interior space. Cardinal Kasper spoke about the phenomenology theology in the unity of the Christians. This dependence totally on dependence in the Holy Spirit, this the part mystical of the ecumenism. The whole depends from our roots, our life, joined with God in holiness. This is number one. This is Pope Francis, spoke about this.
The second, Pope Francis spoke many times about the theory of Oscar Cullman, reformation Protestant theologian, about the unity in the diversity – reconciled unity. One difference is not necessarily one division. But the difference, one difference is one richness for us. And John Paul II in his encyclical 'Ut Unum Sint' spoke the ecumenism is one exchange of gifts, one church give me its gift and my church is open to receive, with one heart reconciled. It's not obstacle for unity, it is one commitment for unity. This is another level.
And Pope Francis is not asking 'come back to Rome'. Ecumenism is not 'you come back to the Catholic Church' like in the past, but when every church is covenant to Jesus Christ, one Lord one Saviour. But for this our job is the need to confess, the most important to heal inner the memories like John Paul II. It is most important to recognise the division is the diabolic sins, because 'diabolos' in Greek is division.
(Mattteo then continued, but speaking in Italian).
Sean: Fr Dennis Bennett and his second wife Rita (his first wife died) were sent around the world with a particular proclamation of the baptism in the Spirit, and many, many people received the baptism in the Spirit from many different situations and circumstances. But then they discovered something – the baptism in the Spirit doesn't heal everything. The baptism in the Spirit is part of our entrance into the kingdom of God, it's just part of being birthed as a child of God's. And so they personally began a healing ministry, but with a particular emphasis within it – and we may argue about terminology, we're good at that – but effectively it was for inner healing, the healing of memories. Now whatever you want to make of that, at the root of inner healing is very simply this: it is taking to ourselves the reality of forgiveness. And we must learn to take the stories that very often are true and cruel and painful, and not say they didn't happen, history is littered with sin in the church, but at the same time, take to ourselves the actualization that God in Christ has forgiven me, God in Christ has forgiven you, and therefore as His forgiven people, we can ask Him to write a new page.
But where He brings us back to is the foot of the Cross. Until we keep coming to the foot of the Cross, kneeling, open hands, and waiting there, I believe that is the place that He wants us to position ourselves for the new life. So God in that sense I believe needs to somehow – whatever this looks like – He needs to heal us, in order that we can stop saying the same things, and just going around the same loops.
I'll end with this: I've had the privilege again of meeting many Christians from very different situations of circumstances who have taught me so much about Jesus. I say again, I don't necessarily agree with them and they don't agree with me, but this I have learned to do. When somebody else speaks about them and often speaks about them badly, I know better. They are my brother, they are my sister, and we will not speak ill of one another. We will defend one another. We will speak well of the things of Jesus and we will ask Him to bless our mouths to speak well of one another. Amen.
Charles: We are dealing with a culture of encounter, as it has been described, with those around us from other parts of the Body of Christ – and one of the primary things is to share our gifts. I think that is so important.
I remember when I first became involved with those from other churches. They were really good at spontaneous prayer. It was not part of my tradition. I mean maybe a couple of words, but not a good long spontaneous prayer. So the first time I was leading our ecumenical group I wrote my spontaneous prayer out, because I knew everyone when I said, 'Let us pray', they would bow their heads, join their hands and close their eyes, and I would (he mimed drawing out papers from his pocket). So with full confidence I said, 'Let us pray' and I put my hand in my pocket and discovered I had changed my jacket. It's a good way to learn to pray spontaneously. (laughter)
We have learned together how to really praise and worship the Lord with great freedom, which I believe is a wonderful gift.
Matteo spoke about greater holiness, and this too is something that we share together, a desire to grow in holiness.
The other thing that I think as Catholics we have often learned from our Protestant and Pentecostal brethren is the value of personal testimony. And trying to introduce that into our regular Mass is quite a challenge, but it is possible after Communion at Mass to have someone give a personal testimony. You need an agreeable parish priest. (laughter and clapping). Amen.
And then, of course, the love for the Word of God is something that we have so often been blessed with as Catholics and we have shared our love for the Eucharist, and seen a growth in interest in Communion in other churches.
Then we've shared our contemplative prayer. Now that's much easier because you don't have to say anything. It's the same kind of challenge we have with spontaneous prayer, but the other way round. I was invited to give a morning's teaching on contemplative prayer to a very evangelical charismatic church, and they loved it and clapped and cheered and everything. And then the minister came up, their pastor, and he said, 'Well, now, let's have a time of prayer', and they all were immediately praying and he said, 'Have you not listened to the last 2 hours?' It's just spontaneously is not what they do. But they have learned, and now it's very interesting because you go and you sit in silence sometimes. I am very moved by this.
But I think for me, the thing I have learned – apart from the personal relationship with Jesus, which of course is the key to beginning all this – what I have learned is a lot about being a missionary disciple. I've learned a lot about evangelization from my brothers and sisters in the other churches. How they do it. How they organize it. And it has given us the courage to step out in faith and do some public work out on the streets. But then of course to learn that, we have done it together.
So we've been out on our streets where we live, on a Saturday morning, half a dozen different churches together publically witnessing in some simple way to our shared faith, and people are amazed.
I don't know, for example, if in all countries you have St Valentine's Day. In many Western countries we do. And this is the day when you think of the person you love, your husband, wife, or girlfriend, boyfriend, and you give a special card expressing this love on Valentine's Day. And this is very normal and common. So we went on the streets, churches together, and we gave everybody a special card with a picture of a heart on the front, and they were very moved by this on Valentine's Day. When they opened it, of course it said, 'Jesus loves you' and then it quotes John 3:16 and then we gave them a little gift of a very nice chocolate wrapped in paper, and people were amazed by this. And they started going round and queueing up to have a second one. We should have had some cards that said, 'Jesus still loves you'. I'm joking. But I mean we have a lot to learn from one another and huge blessing flows as we share together. Amen? Amen.
Question and Answer time
Andre from Sword of the Spirit in Lebanon: We are in the middle of the East and the West, living and co-existing with Muslims. Alongside the ecumenism of the blood there is the ecumenism of the witness. We all can be witnesses to Jesus Christ to all religions, not just to Christians. Amen? Amen. So what I would say is, when we present the Gospel, present it in a spirit coming from an ecumenical approach. I don't preach my Catholic details to someone who doesn't know the Lord at all. And I present him with our divisions as soon as he walks in the door, come let me show you all our divisions? I show him Jesus Christ. Amen? Amen.
Rosa spoke in Italian and then broke into charismatic prayer. From Charles' prayer with her it seems she was asking for prayers for the work of unity to be done in Sicily.
Man from South American, Mexico maybe. He spoke in Spanish and Norberto responded to him in Spanish.
Nancy an evangelical Presbyterian leader from Pittsburgh: For 30 years I have helped lead, 'Pray Pittsburgh', we walk around in the neighbourhood, from the county jail to the abortion clinics and to the schools and we pray. And I find that unity comes in those kinds of prayer activities. So I have one question for you. How many churches are in your communities? How many? The answer is one. And we need to be together, we need to find unity, we are one body of Christ, we serve one Jesus. And so I would say also that I find unity in the opportunities of service to the poor and the vulnerable. People will readily come together for that kind of Christian service. What are your comments? Pope Francis tells us, figure out who else passionately loves Jesus and then journey with them. Do you passionately love Jesus? (Yes).
Bob from Alleluia community, an ecumenical covenant community: We've been together for 44 years and it’s a great blessing. I'm the overall co-ordinator. I'm an evangelical, but most of our community is Catholic. How does that work? It works very well as a matter of fact. I want to bring up one thing that I've heard it mentioned, but that's the absolute centrality of John 17:20-23. That we can become one. Now here we have 2 Pentecostals, 2 Roman Catholics and an Anglican whom you all know one another very well and I know each of you personally and have I not adopted you each as a brother? I feel very close to Norberto and Giovanni and each one of you – Charles, I had a wonderful time with you. This is an amazing thing that God will do. He will allow us to experience the unity in diversity that the Father, the Son and the Spirit experience, of complete difference but complete unity. We can adopt each other. I have 5 adopted children; they are not half-way my children, they are all my children. These brothers are not kind-of my brothers, you are really my brothers and if you have a need I will try to meet it. This message you have presented has fit together very, very naturally because it has demonstrated that we really do need each other to finish our witness to the world, and we can adopt each other and recognize that we are already brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to act that way. Amen.
Young man, possibly speaking in Spanish or even Portugese. At one point he quoted a line in English, 'There are many people suffering different pains'.
Carole Jones, Canada. I was raised Catholic, encountered Jesus and the baptism of the Holy Spirit under the witness of the Pentecostals. So for 35 years I served God in many capacities and walked with Pentecostals of non-denominational background. Then the Lord called me back to the Catholic church and that's when I realised what a huge problem we have in semantics. I came back but I did not understand the Catholic language or traditions anymore and the first Catholic book I read I wrote a 5 page glossary –typed glossary- of terms I did not understand and I would keep going back until I would Google it just to understand what the Catholics were saying. I think that there's a huge need for books, workshops etc to learn about each other's faith. I ended up going to a Catholic university, Steubenville, for 2 years, just to understand Catholic theology because I had so many questions and nobody really at the time to answer them. So have you developed material to help you in crossing this little language barrier, translate from Christian-ese to Latin-ese?
Charles: I think this is sometimes a difficulty we sometimes face in both directions. What exactly do we mean by certain things. I'm not aware of any book that translates Catholic into Evangelical, but I think as we work together we will learn that, and as you have done it, you've made a list that you needed to be translated. When I first brought together all the local church leaders in our area to share and talk together and to build relationships before we could do anything together, we had a lot of examples of people not really understanding. I remember our Baptist pastor, when the Catholic parish priest talked about having a special novena to the Holy Spirit, we went a bit pale – the Baptist pastor, and he said, 'I'm terribly sorry Hugo but you have to explain that, what is a novena?' So when he said it is a period of time – we can decide the time – when we pray daily to the Holy Spirit. The Baptist pastor said, 'We can do that, we'd love to do that, but please don't call it that funny thing because no one will know what it is'. So it is a question.
Young man: We haven't spoken about art in the ecumenical culture. You know there's basic symbols for the Holy Spirit in the bible, right? The cloud, the dove, the fire on everybody's heads, in our hearts we hope we have it. What is each of your favourite symbol for the Holy Spirit? And because we speak of the new evangelization, can each of you think of a new symbol that we can draw, paint (we have art above us here) that would inspire the modern eye, the modern heart to unity in our ecumenical work?
Matteo responded in Italian (not translated on the recording).
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