Polish National Catholic Church, Roman Catholic Church Hold Fall Session

November 15, 2002 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON (November 15, 2002) -- The fall session of the dialogue between the Polish National Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church took place at the PNCC National Church Center in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on October 23 and 24, 2002. Only a few days previous, on October 8, the 21st General Synod of the PNCC had elected Bishop Robert M. Nemkovich, the PNCC Co-Chairman of the dialogue, as the Sixth Prime Bishop of the Polish National Catholic Church. As the meeting began Bishop James C. Timlin of Scranton, the Roman Catholic Co-Chairman, congratulated Prime Bishop Nemkovich on his election. The new Prime Bishop then announced that he had appointed his predecessor, Most Rev. John F. Swantek, to take his place as PNCC Co-Chairman of the dialogue. He also re-appointed all the other members of the PNCC team.

The first agenda item of this session was a review of the text prepared by Rev. Robert M. Nemkovich, Jr. and James B. Earley of a new edition of Journeying Together in Christ. The earlier edition reported the progress of the dialogue from 1984 to 1989; the new edition will encompass developments from 1990 to 2002. After reviewing and slightly modifying the narrative text, the dialogue members approved it for publication, most probably under the title, Journeying Together in Christ: The Journey Continues.

Rev. Anthony Mikovsky reported on the proceedings of the 21st General Synod of the PNCC, and distributed copies of three Synod documents for the information of the Roman Catholic members: a report on the Polish National Catholic-Roman Catholic Dialogue, the document "The Sacrament of Matrimony in the Polish National Catholic Church," and a statement, "Called to Faithfulness: The Church and Homosexual Conduct." The members felt that the implications of the document on marriage would merit further study in subsequent sessions of the dialogue.

On the morning of October 24, Msgr. Thomas J. Green of the School of Canon Law of the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, presented brief observations on the sex abuse problematic in the Catholic Church in the United States, including canonical issues raised by the "Charter" and "Essential Norms" adopted by the US Catholic bishops in Dallas last June. Prime Bishop Emeritus Swantek reported on the meeting of the International Bishops' Conference that took place last June in Austria, and developments within the Union of Utrecht.

The meeting ended with a presentation by Prime Bishop Nemkovich of the 1998 Constitution and Laws of the Polish National Catholic Church, and a general discussion of the way in which the PNCC is governed. The next meeting is scheduled to take place on March 26-27, 2003, most probably in Washington, DC.

The dialogue between the Polish National Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic Church has been meeting semiannually since it was established in 1984. The present PNCC members include Most Rev. John F. Swantek (Co-Chairman), Very Rev. Marcell W. Pytlarz, Very Rev. John Z. Kraus, Very Rev. Paul Sobiechowski, Rev. Anthony Mikovsky, and Rev. Robert M. Nemkovich, Jr. The Roman Catholic team is composed of Bishop James C. Timlin (Co-Chairman), Bishop John M. Dougherty, Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, Bishop Thomas G. Wenski, Msgr. John Strynkowski, Msgr. Thomas J. Green, and Rev. Ronald G. Roberson, CSP (staff).