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All Can Learn From Pope's Act Of Confession
National Council Of Churches General Secretary Says

            March 16, 2000, NEW YORK CITY – The Pope’s unprecedented act of confession, offered in the context of liturgy, for historical errors committed in the name of the Roman Catholic Church merits study and serious reflection by all Christians, commented Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches.

            “Repentance, whether on the part of individuals or of churches, is essential if the visible unity of Christ’s church is to be advanced, and almost all significant ecumenical documents acknowledge this,” he noted.  “Pope John Paul II has articulated a message of repentance from the Roman Catholic Church.   Any concern that such a word of repentance had come earlier or been more specific should not overshadow the profound ecumenical significance of what has occurred recently in Rome.

            “It is an ecumenical step that could well be taken elsewhere,” Dr. Edgar continued.  “Let’s accept this as a challenge to examine our own histories.  I will be encouraging the NCC’s 35 Protestant and Orthodox member communions to circulate the Pope’s statement widely for study.

            “If other churches respond positively to the Pope’s message,” he concluded, “it could be a major contribution to ecumenical advance in this new century.”

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