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Center for World Christianity Sponsors Conference in Rome on the Pontificate of Benedict XVI

New York Theological Seminary through its Center for World Christianity, and with assistance from the William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company as well as several other donors, sponsored a theological conference at the Centro Pro Unione of the Franciscan Friars in Rome on April 19 to 21, 2009. The theme of the conference was “The Pontificate of Benedict XVI: Its Premises and Promises.” The event launched a book by the same title that was edited by William G. Rusch, Adjunct Professor of Church History at New York Theological Seminary, and published by Eerdmans. Dr. Dale T. Irvin, President and Professor of World Christianity at New Theological Seminary, was one of the contributors to the volume and was one of the lecturers in Rome.

New York Theological Seminary through its Center for World Christianity, and with assistance from the William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company as well as several other donors, sponsored a theological conference at the Centro Pro Unione of the Franciscan Friars in Rome on April 19 to 21, 2009. The theme of the conference was “The Pontificate of Benedict XVI: Its Premises and Promises.” The event launched a book by the same title that was edited by William G. Rusch, Adjunct Professor of Church History at New York Theological Seminary, and published by Eerdmans. Dr. Dale T. Irvin, President and Professor of World Christianity at New Theological Seminary, was one of the contributors to the volume and was one of the lecturers in Rome.

In the book, eight theologians and ecumenists explored how the life experiences and theological reflections of Joseph Ratzinger will influence the pontificate of Benedict XVI. During the conference these authors pursued from their own different traditions, as they did in the book, the question of how the present Pope could influence the ecumenical role of his church. The program concluded with a panel discussion involving several contributors to the book. This was the first time that such an interaction among them had been possible. The panel noted that the book and conference made two contributions to the ecumenical movement and churches participating in it. First, it assisted in providing an ecumenical estimate of Pope Benedict. Second, in a respectful manner it pointed out to the Pope the importance and expectations of his ministry to the unity of the churches.

The conference was opened to the various academic institutions in Rome and Vatican officials involved in ecumenism. Approximately 50 persons attended over the course of the three days. The program also received news coverage from Vatican television, which interviewed some of its participants. After the closing of the conference, Dr. Rusch had the opportunity to present a special leather-bound edition of the book to Benedict in person and to share with him a brief description of the event.

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