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Catholic/Evangelical Relations

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a formal dialogue with the Evangelical Community that works on a national level to develop stronger ties between our communities. The USCCB also encourages collaboration and dialogue on a local level. More and more, Catholics and Evangelicals are discovering the richness of what they have in common. Often brought together over a concern for family and societal issues, Catholics and Evangelicals have been able to support each other and work together.

Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States are active and vocal about their faith.  Whether it is over abortion, marriage or family life we see ourselves as part of the great conversation going on in our country regarding these issues.   Both our communities engage the political world through the communication of Christian tenets and values that help to shape a more just society.  Whether that is through lobbying in Sacramento, encouraging national and local discourse on the issues of the day, or registering neighbors to vote, both communities work to make Christ's teachings practical and real for today's modern world.   Both communities have taken stands on criminal justice reform, environmental issues, marriage, religious liberty, family and life issues.

In 1994, a landmark statement was produced called "Evangelicals and Catholics Toward a Common Mission " (ECT).  Evangelical and Catholic leaders, while acknowledging important doctrinal differences within the two communities also noted places of convergence and agreement on basic Christian doctrines and Christian morality.  Though not a formal statement representing Evangelicals or the Catholic Church, it had a dramatic impact on the Evangelical/Catholic landscape.  This statement helped forge a new relationship for Catholics and Evangelicals offering new opportunities for dialogue.

In 2013, Catholics and Evangelicals joined together to sign the statement, "A Christian Call for Immigration Reform" that was signed by more than 100 leaders of both communities.  An initiative of Christian leaders in Minnesota four years ago, this statement still speaks to the present concern of care for immigrants and the need to develop a more just and compassionate process for immigration and citizenship.  

In 2015, the Poverty Summit at Georgetown University  was held providing an opportunity for Evangelicals and Catholics to address key questions related to the moral, human and economic consequences of poverty. 

Evangelicals and Catholics continue to explore, both on a local and national level, ways to engage the world around us.  While we acknowledge important differences between our two communions, there should be no doubt that issues of mutual concern help bring us together.  A new path of understanding and friendship, therefore, has been established that should not be misunderstood.

Evangelicals and Catholics, two of the largest religious communities in the United States, are important voices in the public square.  The real differences between us have not kept us from that "practical ecumenism" that Pope Francis often speaks about, even as we engage together the complex questions of the day.  Our continued collaboration can only strengthen the moral and ethical fabric of the country, which bodes well for the future of Catholics, Evangelicals and the nation. 

In 1942, the National Association of Evangelicals  (NAE) was formed and today represents more than 45,000 local churches from almost 40 different denominations.  Along with individual bridge building on the local level, presently our collaborative partner on the national level is the NAE.  The USCCB also sponsors a yearly meeting of the Catholic/Evangelical Dialogue that studies theological questions and ways both communities can cooperate together for the good of our local communities.

The Evangelical-Catholic Dialogue met from 2003 to 2008.  Theologians from Catholic, Evangelical, and Pentecostal traditions met to discuss issues such as the nature of authority and the meaning of Christ's atonement and redemption.  The last meeting, which took place in October 2008, was co-chaired by the Most Rev. John Gaydos, Bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City, for the USCCB and Bonn Clayton, then staff of the National Association of Congregational Christ Churches for the Evangelicals.

Since 2003, the USCCB and the Evangelical Community have been in an official dialogue and continue to collaborate on initiatives of common interest and import.  Rev. Alfred Baca, Executive Director, represents the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs to the Evangelical Community.

News Releases Produced by the Dialogue

Link to our collaborative partner: The National Association of Evangelicals


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