Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
October 24, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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October 24, 1998

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IMPLEMENTING VATICAN II + Faithful gather to pray for president- elect and the nation of the Church to Non-Christians directed the Church to adopt an ecumenical spirit. Bishop McDonald has ensured this hap- pens in the Diocese of Little Rock. Bishop McDonald's confer- ence role follows Pope John Paul II's encouragement for Church leaders to work with those of other faiths. In his encyclical "Ut Unum Sint" (That All May Be One), the pope wrote in May 1995 "it is necessary to pass from antagonism and conflict to a situ- ation where each party recog- nizes the other as a partner. When undertaking dialogue, each side must presuppose in the other a desire for reconciliation, for unity in truth. For this to hap- pen, any display of mutual oppo- sition must disappear:' In Arkansas, Bishop McDonald has worked to emphasize com- mon ground and friendship with his non-Catholic colleagues. The strength of his leadership comes from his "personal piety and gen- uine warmth. He cares for peo- ple," says Rev. William Henning, who is the former executive pres- byter of the Presbytery of Arkansas. He served in the con- ference with Bishop McDonald from 1984-1996. The Presbyterian leader said his Catholic colleague "is a won- derful human being and every- 60 one appreciated him. We worked together well. "All of the representatives of the families of faith within the conference considered him to De a strong participating member of that family:' Bishop Kenneth Hicks of the United Methodist Church, has been a conference memba for 14 years, said Bishop McDonald "is always an inspira" tion and has good ideas:' "It is important to have activeRoman Catholic represeS" tative, Hicks continued, "BishOP McDonald s presence helps give strength and encourageraeSt to representatives of smaller denominations:' One representative of a sra ll church once commented, "wgeS we can stand beside you large denominations it enables us to be strong, too, and make a coS" tribution:' Conference Beginnings The conference was started is 1957 after the integration crisis at Little Rock Central ttigl School to promote racial healig said Mimi Dortch, conferer e director and a parishioner at Cathedral of St. Andrew. At that time, it was called the ArkanSas Arkansas cattfoli~