Dr. Robert LaRochelle: A Conversation Between Protestants and Catholics

Bob LaRochelle is the pastor of the Congregational Church of Union, Connecticut, UCC, and is the author of the recently published CROSSING THE STREET (Energion 2012)

One of the primary purposes in writing my recent book Crossing the Street was to rekindle ecumenical conversations between Protestants and Catholics. Now, in a day and age in which there is such profound division between and among many different ethnic and religious groups in our world, one might wonder about the value in revisiting the Catholic-Protestant divide, one which held center stage in world Christianity for so many generations. Is this not old news? Have we not advanced well beyond its often disturbing past?

My contention is NOT that it is the most important of all divisions but rather that it continues to be a RELEVANT one. Most local Protestant churches, such as mine, have become new homes for former Catholics, such as I! Many committed relationships are between Catholics and Protestants and many children are raised in homes in which different parents espouse different ecclesial preferences.

In my view and my own personal experience, detailed in this book, Catholics and Protestants continue to harbor misunderstandings about the OTHER tradition and, just as significantly, ABOUT THEIR OWN as well. First among them is the notion that one can describe either Protestantism or Catholicism in monolithic terms. Catholicism especially is susceptible to this kind of interpretation. In my next column, I will spell out in detail one of the most significant differences that exists within the body of contemporary Catholics.

In my final column in this space, I will zone in on what is the fundamental contention of my book- that, in reality, there DOES exist an ECUMENICAL CENTER in which Catholics and Protestants can find COMMON GROUND. This is a common ground born not of theological minimalism or indifferentism but rather of a recognition of the proper prioritization of the essence of Christian faith. 

Final point for today:  If you happen to read my book, I would appreciate your feedback at rpbksl@gmail.com

NOTE: The author is conducting a WEBINAR on the book June 11 at 7 pm, Eastern Time. To register, contact www.progressiverenewal.org

The book is available at www.energionpubs.com and www.amazon.com