Paper on Church Unity is Major Topic at Fall Session of the Polish National Catholic – Roman Catholic Dialogue

October 5, 2005 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON (October 5, 2005)--The Polish National Catholic – Roman Catholic dialogue held its fall session in Buffalo, New York, on September 19 and 20, 2005. Bishop Edward U. Kmiec of Buffalo, the Roman Catholic Co-Chairman, hosted the meeting.

The bulk of the session was devoted to further reflections on the paper that the PNCC presented at the spring 2005 session, "The Polish National Catholic Church Commitment to Work for Church Unity." The full text of this document has been published in God's Field, the official organ of the PNCC. Msgr. Thomas J. Green presented a paper giving extensive "Initial Reflections" on the PNCC paper from a canonical perspective. Likewise, Msgr. John Strynkowski reacted to the paper from an ecclesiological perspective, focusing in particular on the role of the Bishop of Rome in the Church and a proper understanding of jurisdiction in Roman Catholic theology.

In a similar vein, the members of the dialogue discussed "Petrine Ministry," a study document prepared for the November 2001 Plenary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity that was published in the Pontifical Council's Information Service 109 (2002/I-II). This text summarizes the treatment of Petrine Ministry in the various ecumenical dialogues, reports reactions to the invitation that Pope John Paul II extended to other Christians to discuss this ministry in his 1995 encyclical Ut Unum Sint, and identifies the theological issues that remain to be resolved.

The members of the dialogue also considered elements that might be included in a draft statement on their commitment to unity. An initial text will be prepared by two of the members for presentation at the next meeting for consideration. Sacramental sharing between PNCC military chaplains and Roman Catholic military personnel was also discussed.

The next meeting of the dialogue was set to take place in Fall River, Massachusetts, on May 16 and 17, 2006. It will be hosted by Rev. Robert M. Nemkovich, Jr., the pastor of Blessed Trinity PNCC parish in that city.

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 PNCC Prime Bishop, Most Rev. Robert Nemkovich, also attended the meeting as an observer. The Roman Catholic participants include Bishop Edward U. Kmiec (Co-Chairman), Bishop Thomas G. Wenski, Msgr. John Strynkowski, Msgr. Thomas J. Green, Rev. Phillip Altavilla, and Rev. Ronald G. Roberson, CSP (staff).