PC(USA) Delegation to the Vatican, 2001
In March 2001, fifteen Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) representatives traveled to the Vatican on a return visit from the previous December's first-ever formal meeting between the PC(USA) and the Holy See. PHS has newly digitized video of the Presbyterian delegation's audience with Pope John Paul II--with original footage provided by the Centro Televisivo Vaticano.
The outcome of the meetings was a joint statement in which all parties resolved to find agreement on the doctrine of justification, to recognize each other's baptisms, and to renounce Reformation-era mutual denunciations. Cliff Kirkpatrick, then stated clerk of the PC(USA), echoed the theme of Christian unity that John Paul II put forward in the 1995 encyclical Ut Unum Sint: "It is our deepest hope that the third millennium of Christian history will be the millennium of the reuniting of the broken body of Christ."
Ecumenical labor is ongoing in the church. During this year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we share evidence of that work in action nearly twenty years ago.