Melbourne Catholic bishop preaches at Scots

For only the second time in 167 years, a Catholic bishop has preached from the Presbyterian pulpit of Melbourne's oldest church, saying Christians must work together or disappear.

The Age reports that Bishop Mark Coleridge said at Scots yesterday that Catholic-Protestant hostility is over.

Scots Church minister Douglas Robertson says the Russell Street church, which was founded in 1838, is widely regarded as Melbourne's "mother church".

Catholic Archbishop Sir Frank Little spoke at Scots in 1974.

"The first time was history, now we've established a tradition," said Mr Robertson, who expects some flak from conservative Presbyterian colleagues for inviting Bishop Coleridge.

The Age points out that the 16th-century founder of Scottish Presbyterianism, John Knox, identified the Roman Catholic Church as "the whore of Babylon" (associated with the Antichrist in the Bible).

But yesterday, Bishop Coleridge said: "The games of the past are over . . . I was conscious of this being symbolically an important moment, which recognises that Christians work together or disappear together. We have no option but to work together in every way we can. We still disagree on some things, but in mission we can do a lot together."

The city was the new frontier. The challenge for Christians was to make "the great megalopolises" places where God's glory shined, which would need a new kind of mission. "If all we can manage is ideological warfare, it will come to nothing."

Catholic bishop preaches at Scots (The Age 26/5/05)

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Scots Church, Melbourne

26 May 2005