Reflections on Pope Francis’ Visit

A note on this post: Highland Pastor Cynthia Campbell and member of our worshipping community, Rev. Dr. David Gambrell, are participants in the Roman Catholic-Reformed Dialogue. This is a reflection posted by the persons involved in this on-going theological project.


Reflections on Visit of Pope Francis by Members of the Roman Catholic-Reformed Dialogue in the United States:


As Reformed and Catholic participants in a long-standing official theological dialogue, we have been inspired by the ecumenical promise seen in the recent visit of Pope Francis to the United States. While the role of the Bishop of Rome has historically been a matter of contention between Reformed and Catholic communions, we affirm the manner in which Pope Francis modeled a service of unity for the whole church and its ministry. In his intentional compassion for those on society’s margins, his pastoral visits with prisoners, his identification with immigrants, his care for the integrity of God’s creation, and his public testimony to the values of the gospel, he gave voice and witness to aspirations of the wider Christian community. His servant heart gives hope for further developments along the road toward Christian unity, a journey that we trace to the Second Vatican Council and continue through our dialogue. Although we recognize that significant differences remain between us, we trust that the visit of Pope Francis will prompt further, honest dialogue – between our communions and others – in our search for a full expression of our unity in Christ.


Adopted on October 6, 2015, at the 6th meeting of Round VIII of the official Roman Catholic-Reformed Dialogue in the United States, meeting at New Brunswick Seminary to discuss the topic of ecclesiology.



Bishop Tod Brown, Roman Catholic Church (co-chair)

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia M. Campbell, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (co-chair)

The Rev. Dr. Peter Choi, Christian Reformed Church in North America

Anthony Cirelli, Ph.D., Roman Catholic Church

Kristin Colberg, Roman Catholic Church

Ronald J. Feenstra, Christian Reformed Church in North America

The Rev. Dr. Sidney Fowler, United Church of Christ

The Rev. Dr. David Gambrell, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

The Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America

The Rev. Dr. Allan Janssen, Reformed Church in America

Monica Schaap Pierce, Reformed Church in America

Msgr. John A. Radano, Roman Catholic Church

The Rev. Dr. Sue A. Rozeboom, Christian Reformed Church in North America

Fr. Dennis Tamburello, O.F.M., Roman Catholic Church

Randi Walker, United Church of Christ



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