Symposium at The University of Scranton Addresses Division and Reconciliation Among Christians

Sep 24, 2010

        A symposium to be held at The University of Scranton on Friday, Oct. 15, will bring together scholars and clergymen involved in the work of ecumenism — the effort to bring into full, sacramental unity Christian bodies that have been long separated and sometimes hostile to one another.

        At the beginning of the new millennium, a document issued by the Vatican sparked intense debate through ecumenical circles because of “its candid re-emphasis on singular and exclusive claims of the Catholic Church and its direct reference to what it called the ‘defects’ of other, non-Catholic Christian communities,” said Will Cohen, Ph.D., assistant professor of theology and religious studies at The University of Scranton.

        Dr. Cohen explained, “Although the document’s main focus was on relations not between divided Christians, but between Christianity and other faiths, its comments on inter-Christian relations sparked intense controversy and debate, both within and outside the Catholic Church — debate about the nature of the Church, its purpose, the basis of its unity and the meaning of Christian division.”

        The event begins with a panel discussion entitled “The Church of Christ and Ecumenism 10 Years after Dominus Iesus: a Symposium on Christian Division and Reconciliation” that will bring together theologians from Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Polish National Catholic and Anglican traditions to discuss Dominus Iesus ten years after its publication and to consider current prospects and challenges of ecumenical dialogue. The panel discussion, which will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. in room 406 of the DeNaples Center, is sponsored by the University’s Education for Justice Office and the Department of Theology and Religious Studies

        In addition, a Catholic Studies Lecture will be presented by Monsignor Paul McPartlan, the Carl J. Peter Professor of Systematic Theology and Ecumenism at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.  A member of both the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church and the International Commission for Dialogue Between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Methodist Council, Monsignor McPartlan will focus his presentation on the progress of these two dialogue commissions in a paper titled, “An Exchange of Gifts: Catholic-Orthodox and Catholic-Methodist Dialogue.” The lecture will take place at 7 p.m. in the Moskovitz Theater of the DeNaples Center.  Monsignor McPartlan’s address will be followed by a question-and-answer period.

        Afternoon speakers include the Right Reverend Anthony Mikovsky, Ph.D., pastor of St. Stanislaus Cathedral in Scranton, Pa., and Bishop Ordinary of the Central Diocese of the Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC), as well as a member of the PNCC-Roman Catholic Dialogue; Reverend Dr. Ephraim Radner, professor of historical theology in Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto and a member of the Covenant Design Group, established in 2007 by Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury with the aim of developing an Anglican Covenant that would affirm the cooperative principles binding the worldwide Anglican communion; and Reverend Dr. John Panteleimon Manoussakis, the Edward Bennet Williams Fellow and assistant professor of philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. and an ordained deacon in the Greek Orthodox Church.

        Both the afternoon panel discussions and the Catholic Studies Lecture are free and open to the public. For additional information, please contact Dr. Cohen at The University of Scranton at 570-941-4545 or

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