Index > Interconfessional Dialogues > M-RC > Honolulu Rep. 1981 | CONT. > note
Prefatory Note
  section 3 (CHRISTIAN MORAL DECISIONS) - select


   1. The successive joint Commissions between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Methodist Council have hitherto presented reports only at five-yearly intervals, on the occasion of the meetings of the World Methodist Council in 1971 and 1976. The present Commission (1977-81), feeling that such infrequent reports are insufficient to sustain the interest of our Churches in its work, has sought to make its work public as soon as it was ready, so that it might benefit from the comments and criticisms of theologians in both Churches. Hence the earlier parts of this report will be already familiar in substance to many readers (cf. below).

In these earlier interim publications the Commission invited theologians of both Churches to send their comments on the texts, and such comments as were received have been used in revising the texts for this quinquennial publication.

   2. Planning the work of the quinquennium at Bad Soden in 1977, the Commission took as general theme a study of the Holy Spirit in the hope that it would shed fresh light on various questions which have challenged both our traditions and do so even more urgently today, but which our separation has hitherto left us to approach in different ways.

   3. At the next meeting in Rome in January 1979 we were able to summarize the fundamentals of our shared doctrine in a paper which we felt free to entitle "Towards an Agreed Statement on the Holy Spirit" (World Methodist Council, P.O. Box 518, Lake Junaluska, NC, and One in Christ, Vol. XV [1979] no 3, pp. 274-81). See §S 7-22.

   4. At Epworth-by-the-Sea in January 1979 we went on to examine, in the light of this agreement, questions already broached in earlier discussions since 1967; the resulting report (see below §§ 2338) was published as "The Holy Spirit, Christian Experience and Authority" (World Methodist Council, as above, 1979, and One in Christ XVI [1980] n° 3, pp. 225-233).

   5. The last meeting of the quinquennium, at Rome, December 1980, continued to examine the theme of Authority particularly in its relation to conscience `in the practical sphere of Christian moral decisions' (see below §§ 39-47). One particular field of these decisions, Christian marriage, was chosen for closer scrutiny, with the emphasis on marriage as a Christian vocation (§§ 48-56) and witness.

   4. We have tried to maintain a concern which was evident in the earlier reports of Denver and Dublin, to speak together to men and women of our time. Hence we were led at the outset to point to "encouraging signs of the activity of the Holy Spirit" in the Church today. These signs—a quest for prayer, a care for human need and suffering, a passion for justice for all the oppressed, a groping hunger for truth now clearly unsatisfied by the achievements and claims of science and technology — are evident not only among Christians but among many others as well. The signs are widely recognized and offer we believe an opportunity and a challenge to that "broader common witness" among Christians which Pope Paul VI called for in Evangelii Nuntiandi.

   It is in the conviction that such common witness is both manifested and strengthened by dialogue in search of wider agreement and increasing convergence that we offer the present report.

The following took part in one or more of the meetings, either as an originally appointed member or as a substitute:


Rt. Revd. Bishop William R. CANNON, Bishop of the Atlanta Area, United Methodist Church (Co-Chairman)
Rt. Revd. Bishop James M. AULT, formerly: The Philadelphia Area, The United Methodist Church
Revd. Dr. James CONE, Union Theological Seminary
Dr. Kwesi DICKSON, Legon University, Accra, Ghana
Revd. Dr. Ira GALLAWAY, First United Methodist Church, Peoria, Illinois
Revd. A. Raymond GEORGE, Wesley College, Bristol, England
Revd. Prof. Eric OSHORNE, Queen's College, Melbourne, Australia
Dr. Norman YOUNG, Queen's College, Melbourne, Australia
Dr. Albert OUTLER, Perkins School of Theology, Dallas, Texas
Revd. Dr. Joe HALE, General Secretary of the World Methodist Council (Secretary)


Rt. Revd. Francis STAFFORD, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore (Co-Chairman)
Rt. Revd. Monsignor Charles MOELLER, Secretary of Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity
Revd. Edward MALATESTA, S. J., Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley
Revd. Cuthbert RAND, Ushaw College, Durham, England
Very Revd. Mgr. Richard STEWART, Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity
Very Revd. Mgr. Jorge MEJIA. Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity
Revd. Jerome VEREB, C.P., Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity
Very Revd. Mgr. William PURDY, Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity (Secretary)

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