World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

The Nature and Mission of the Church - Presentation by Fr Jorge A. Scampini

Fr Jorge A. Scampini emphasizes that theological reflection on the church only becomes meaningful if it leads to a renew of church life, to a widened horizon of the church's mission, and to a contribution of all church activities to making the mystery of its Lord more visible in the eyes of the world.

13 October 2009

by Fr Jorge A. Scampini

Introduction

I am grateful for the invitation to be a member of this panel that attempts to evaluate ‘The Nature and Mission of the Church’ (NMC) from the perspective of different regional contexts, in my case, from ‘a’ Latin American perspective. On other occasions when I have been asked to do something similar, the first thing that I feel appropriate to note is the fact that Latin America is too vast and complex a reality – not only geographically, but also in its diversity of peoples, cultures, and social, economic, political and even ecclesiastical situations – for one single contribution to be able to be considered as ‘the’ Latin American perspective. However, it is correct that there are many historical, cultural and political factors in Latin America that enable us to speak of a common underlying reality and a shared destiny, to a degree perhaps unknown in other parts of the world. The place where I live, Buenos Aires, in Argentina, is one among many possible settings in Latin America, and many will question whether it is the most representative. My church allegiance, Roman Catholic, cannot be left aside, and that determines how I conceive of the Church and its mission.1 Also, for historic reasons, the Catholic Church is the church with the most long established presence in Latin America, and which remains, despite the growing diversity in the religious scene, still numerically the largest.

 

In this meeting, there are six of us from Latin America and one from the Caribbean:

 

Evangelical Church of Lutheran Confession in Brazil (2)

Evangelical Methodist Church of Argentina (1)

Roman Catholic Church, Argentina (1)

Methodist Church in Bolivia (1)

Moravian Church in Nicaragua (1)

Episcopal Church of Cuba (1)


1 The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity has provided a timely contribution to the continuation of the NMC process in ‘A Catholic Contribution toward revising The Nature and Mission of the Church’, 14 January 2008.