Magazine article The Christian Century

Bishops OK Baptism Pact with Reformed Churches

Magazine article The Christian Century

Bishops OK Baptism Pact with Reformed Churches

Article excerpt

In a "milestone" pact six years in the making, the U.S. Catholic bishops approved a mutual agreement with four Reformed Protestant denominations to recognize each other's baptisms as valid.

The American bishops, assembled in Baltimore for their annual fall meeting, voted 204 to 11 on November 17 to approve the baptism agreement with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Reformed Church in America, the Christian Reformed Church and the United Church of Christ.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, chairman of the ecumenical and interfaith committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called the agreement a "milestone on the ecumenical journey."

Added Gregory: "Together with our Reformed brothers and sisters we Catholic bishops can once again affirm baptism as the basis of the real, even if incomplete, unity we share in Christ."

"This is a significant moment in ecumenical history," said Robina Winbush, who directs the PCUSA ecumenical department. "In the context of so much that divides us and upon which our churches may not agree, we remind ourselves that our fundamental unity begins and is rooted in our baptism. …

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