Reformed Churches open office in Rome


European Union


Rome and Reformation: sometimes they meet. Picture: the German Protestant Bishop Bedford-Strohm (left) and the Catholic Cardinal Reinhard Marx (right) met in 2017. Photo EPA, Jens Schulze

The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) plans to open an office in Rome. It does so to strengthen its cooperation with the Roman Catholic Church.

According to Hanns Lessing, the Secretary-General of the Protestant umbrella organisation said that the Catholic Church and its Protestant counterparts have a mutual interest in staying in touch. That is reported by Religion.orf. The WCRC says to represent 100 million Reformed Christians worldwide.

It is not yet clear how the new office’s financial side will be arranged. Yet, the umbrella organisation has made its decision final.

The WCRC wants to run the office in cooperation with Scottish churches. Therefore, the idea is that employees from WCRC and a Scottish pastor will both be present in Rome. They are then responsible for contacts with the Vatican.

Rome is an important place to establish bonds and achieve cooperation in ecclesiastical issues, Hanns Lessing says to the Dutch daily Nederlands Dagblad. “A large number of activities take place there, and we want to seek contact with more dicasteries of Vatican to see what we can do together.”

Lessing sees that the Protestant organisation and the Roman Catholic Church think the same on many issues. He says that it is primarily the structure of both ecclesiastical bodies that causes distance. Yet, he notes that it is necessary to build trust first. “We want to get to know each other and keep in touch.”

The Vatican has not officially received a notice yet. Lessing: “However, I met Bishop Brian Farrell of the Ecumenism dicastery last week. He says he found the idea very interesting.”

The World Communion of Reformed Churches is based in Hanover. It says it represents over 230 Reformed, Presbyterian, United, Uniting and Waldensian churches in more than 100 countries.



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