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Westmont College’s Gayle Beebe Reflects on Historic Visit with Pope Francis

College president’s meeting at Vatican is part of ecumenical outreach effort to find common ground between Protestants, Catholics

Westmont President Gayle Beebe's Visit with Pope Francis. (Larissa White / Noozhawk video)

Earlier this month, Westmont College President Gayle Beebe was one of 15 non-Catholic Christian leaders invited to visit with Pope Francis at the Vatican for an ecumenical conversation. Beebe, the only college president in the group, joined politicians, business people, theologians and pastors to discuss finding common ground between Protestants and Catholics.

“There has always been this potential for misunderstanding between Catholics and Protestants,” Beebe told Noozhawk’s Lara Cooper prior to his visit.

He cited the Protestant Reformation, the Thirty Years’ War, the rise of enlightenment and secularism as a few of the historical markers of conflict between the groups.

Beebe said the post-reformation church must figure out how to move beyond the fighting that reached an apex 500 years ago “and get back to talking about the life and ministry of Jesus,” which he called a “galvanizing interest” for both groups.

Before meeting with Vatican leaders, the delegation attended the pope’s Convocation of the “Renewal of the Spirit” at Olympic Stadium in Rome.

Click here for the blog Beebe wrote during his trip. Click here for a related Noozhawk article.

Noozhawk contributor Larissa White can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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