From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Adventists and Catholics Work Toward Better Understanding in Poland

From "Beckett, John" <>
Date 17 Feb 2000 13:54:05

ANN Bulletin
Adventist News Network
Seventh-day Adventist Church World Headquarters
February 15, 2000
Adventists and Catholics Work Toward Better Understanding in Poland

Warsaw, Poland ... [ANN]  After 15 years of dialogue, the Roman Catholic
Church and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Poland have issued a document
aimed at improving relations between the denominations while continuing to
recognize each other's autonomy and independence. The joint statement,
released on February 9, is intended to reflect a better understanding of the
teachings and practices of each denomination.

Citing the fact that "relations between Catholics and Adventists have not
been best in the past" the joint statement declares that "the Seventh-day
Adventist Church cannot be treated either as a 'new religious movement,' or
as a sect." 

The statement was signed by representatives of the Churches, including
Pastor Wladyslaw Polok, president of the Adventist Church in Poland, and
Archbishop Alfons Nossol, chairman of the Polish Episcopate's Commission for
Ecumenical Affairs.

"With regret we recognize cases when the different religious and civic
circles have denied the ecclesiastical status of the Seventh-day Adventist
Church, even refering to it as a 'sect.' Such an approach is unacceptable
and, we believe, it is highly detrimental for the mutual relations," the
document states. 
"This document affirms religious liberty," says Pastor Polok."We regard it
as an important development not only for our Church in Poland. Religious
minorities are too often regarded as less than what they are."  

The statement recognizes that though the Churches can refer to similarities,
they also see difference between each other's "doctrine, practice and church
policies." However, it also affirmed the need for both sides to cultivate
respect for each other and learn to understand each other. The document
further states that the dialogue was "conducted on the basis of partnership,
care to uphold a full identity of both sides, as well as their autonomy and
independence, in the spirit of mutual respect and Christian love, and in
recognition of the ideals of tolerance and religious freedom."

Professor Zachariasz Lyko, former public affairs director for the Adventist
Church in Poland, notes that the document does not deal with doctrinal and
theological issues. "Our Church recognizes that such a dialogue cannot be a
dialogue of compromise," says Lyko, "but one of cooperative spirit and
common understanding."[Ray Dabrowski]

Contact Information: 
Communications Department
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600

Phone: 301-680-6300

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